This is a „Travel Camera“ and pretty old already. It doesn’t really belong to this group of cameras, because I have no knowledge of comparable cameras and hence I have no idea about its ‘oddity’. The “film transport” however is worth to be mentioned: The camera works with sheet film or glass plates of which quite a number can be pre-loaded in the camera. After exposure, when the rear lever is actuated, the last plate clashes into a storage chamber and makes room for the next one to be exposed.
Bella 66 (1960)
As simple device, not much advanced over a basic box camera but certainly much prettier in its pidgeon blue colour. Still, “continue to save money until you have enough for a really decent camera” might have been good advice…
As far as I know this was the only classic MF stereo camera produced after the second world war. Regrettably, the poor quality shows in almost every detail, apparently this is an inevitable asset of every Russian or GDR production camera. The pictures are nice though…
Ricoh TLS 401 (1971)
I dreamed of this camera when I was a child, looking into the camera from above seemed like a fascinating option, somehow “professional”, like on a Rollei or Hasselblad.
Unfortunately, this rarely used option means a miserably dark finder image on all other occasions, while a simple angle finder attachment offers the same advantages and leaves the finder image bright when not in use. Were the people at Ricoh aware? At least the must have realized somewhen, because they did not make another camera of this type (and nobody else did either…).
Canon T70 (1984)
Looking back, the past hype around the Canon T70 camera seems hard to understand. It must probably be attributed to the motorized film transport, which however was so slow that any manual film transport was equally fast. Even more so as other comparable cameras (Minolta X-700. Pentax Super A) gave the option to be fitted with much faster motors, if needed.
If you take one in hand now, the buttons seem odd and not practical, and not being able to see the shutter speed in the finder is another disadvantage. But Canon sold them like hot cake…
Agfamatic 6008 Makro Pocket (1977)
Yes, I know, when the horse is dead, stop beating it, and since the 110 film format is dead, all these cameras are history. But the more expensive Agfamatics have to be listed here together with the Rollei A110 and the Pentax auto 110. This 6008 Agfamatic is a sophisticated camera, not even small, for a lot of money, that delivered bad pictures, without exception. Looking through old photo albums you can see how the pictures changed from small, square and sharp (copies from MF negatives) to maybe a little bit bigger, rectangular, equally sharp and maybe even in colour (35mm), then square again and much worse (126 “Instamatic” cassette). And when the pictures turn really bad, you know that the time of the 110 “pocket” cassette has come…
Minox EC (1991)
The Minoxes have to be looked at carefully. Certainly, the film format (8x11mm) is so small, that it makes for some advantages, namely smaller and lighter cameras. The EC, as pictured here, is one of the lightest and smallest cameras of all times, in absolute terms. But just how big is this advantage? How many situations are there, where a 8x11 Minox is appropriate, but, to stay with Minox, a Minox 35 is not? Not many, if any.
This Minox EC I have purchased new in 1991, for a lot of money. Some years later the price had dropped a lot, as happens often with essentially bad products.
I really put effort in it, I used the most expensive, finest grain ISO 25 film, and I tried hard to talk me into liking the pictures – but today, a look into the photo album reveals without mercy just how bad the pictures really are.
Kodak DISC 4000 Camera (1982)
Another miniature film format, the Disc, has now disappeared for good. And I hesitate to continue bitching; the respective cameras weren’t expensive, after all. Those were flat, pretty small things for the handbag, that allowed easy film change. Unfortunately, the quality was too bad for the customers to accept it in the long run.
Certainly, Kodak didn’t die of the Disc format. On the contrary, at the time nobody would have imagined that anything ever could become a threat to the giant from Rochester. But if I look at Kodak’s last attempts to gain some foothold in the consumer digital camera market of the last years, those somehow remind me of the Disc cameras…
Yashica Samurai X 3.0, Samurai 4000 ix and
Samurai 2100 DG
Two more examples for the time when the digital age began – the Yashica Samurai cameras: To the left, the half frame SLR X 3.0, to the right the APS compact camera version, and the digital camera in the middle (with a finder, but certainly also with a display o look at). Yashica had cultivated this form factor for years and years, without breaking sales records, but at least without going bust. The X 3.0 isn’t bad at all, it just hasn’t much of a size advantage over other cameras for the full 35mm format, even after the integration of a zoom lens, flash and winder, so that buying a real 35mm camera wasn’t a bad alternative.
The APS version on the other hand is cute (APS is a very decent format anyway, big enough for all “hobby” applications and without the disadvantages of 35mm).
It is difficult to judge the digital variant, it works well, but the digital age was still at its very beginning (in 1999) and the camera certainly is no match for later cameras.
Nexia Q1 and Q1 Digital
The other example is from Fuji,
and it is really a Happy End, in that Fuji has managed to convert itself from
film to digital very well, contrary to so many other brands (and even is the
only good film supplier today…) Here we have a funny design, and a successful
one, in the case of the APS Nexia Q1, that Fuji capitalized on with the Q1
Digital, equally funny, just digital.