Useable Classic Cameras

Using an old camera gives a patience and quality that is somewhat absent in most ‘point and shoots’. Whether you are tracking down that long lost camera that you foolishly sold years ago, or are just looking at the different types of old cameras, here is a breakdown of the main types of usable classic cameras.


Twin Lens Reflex (TLR)

The photojournalist’s weapon of choice from the 1930’s to the 1970’s, a TLR can still make a more than capable user camera. The big names (Rollei, Yashica) can command big prices, but the lesser known names have a similar level of features, but still are of excellent quality. Most are fully manual, later TLRs were assisted with a ‘match needle’ light meter.



Single Lens Reflex (SLR) 

The more versatile cousin of the TLR, modern Single Lens Reflexs hit the market in the late 1950’s, and have been em-bedded as the enthusiast weapon of choice ever since. Most take 35mm film, which is easy to find. They can be fully automatic or totally manual, with many being both.


Rangefinder (RF)

Often thought of as a combination of a TLR and SLR, the rangefinder was once a main choice of the professional photographer. Using one is like using a compact camera with a viewfinder, but with a small area in the middle with a ‘ghost image’, overlapping the actual scene. Moving the focusing ring adjusts these two images and when they overlap the picture is in focus. Most popular rangefinders date back to the 1960s and make perfectly good useable cameras today, especially as most were well made with a wide range of controls.


Art Camera

A recent trend in photography has been using cameras that are singled out as being ‘bad’, and creating images with light leaks, distortion, murky colours and blur. They are also capable of ‘double exposures’ (two photographs on one negative) In other words, the opposite of the SLR! Some models known to be ‘bad’ (or ‘good’ depending how you look at it) are...

Great Wall Plastic Factory’s Diana
Agfa’s Clack, Click series
Budget 110 cartridge cameras
Anything old, cheap and Russian!


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