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Your Top Ten Historic SLR Cameras?
Old 08-18-2016   #1
tunalegs
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Your Top Ten Historic SLR Cameras?

I'm going to use the term "historic" instead of "influential" or "innovative" so one can interpret it how they like. I've noticed usually when these sorts of lists are published some really important cameras are left off, while popular cameras that didn't really do anything make the list.

My 10 in chronological order:
  1. Ihagee Kine Exakta (first production 35mm SLR)
  2. Rectaflex (first production SLR with eye-level viewfinder)
  3. Exakta Varex (first production SLR system camera)
  4. Miranda T (first production Japanese 35mm system SLR)
  5. Asahiflex IIb (first SLR with powered instant mirror return)
  6. Minolta SR-2 (first "modern" SLR with lever wind, fixed pentaprism, automated mirror return and diaphragm)
  7. Topcon RE-Super (First SLR with TTL metering - also first with open aperture metering)
  8. Praktica LLC (first with an electronic shutter (edit: oops, it wasn't))
  9. Canon AE-1 (first SLR with a microprocessor)
  10. Minolta 7000 AF (first auto-focus SLR)
For me, that pretty much sums up the film era, might add a top ten DSLRs later. Go ahead and post your top ten historic SLR cameras, I'd be interested in seeing what people choose and why.
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Old 08-18-2016   #2
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Nikon F? It basically killed the rangefinder 35mm camera (except for Leica).
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Old 08-18-2016   #3
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tunalegs--see Robert's post--make a place for the Nikon "F" and "unflaw" your list! :-) :-)
And oh--BTW?? Pentax Spotmatic? Don't see it...
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Old 08-18-2016   #4
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Old 08-18-2016   #5
Sarcophilus Harrisii
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tunalegs View Post
I'm going to use the term "historic" instead of "influential" or "innovative" so one can interpret it how they like. I've noticed usually when these sorts of lists are published some really important cameras are left off, while popular cameras that didn't really do anything make the list.

My 10 in chronological order:
  1. Ihagee Kine Exakta (first production 35mm SLR)
  2. Rectaflex (first production SLR with eye-level viewfinder)
  3. Exakta Varex (first production SLR system camera)
  4. Miranda T (first production Japanese 35mm system SLR)
  5. Asahiflex IIb (first SLR with powered instant mirror return)
  6. Minolta SR-2 (first "modern" SLR with lever wind, fixed pentaprism, automated mirror return and diaphragm)
  7. Topcon RE-Super (First SLR with TTL metering - also first with open aperture metering)
  8. Praktica LLC (first with an electronic shutter)
  9. Canon AE-1 (first SLR with a microprocessor)
  10. Minolta 7000 AF (first auto-focus SLR)
For me, that pretty much sums up the film era, might add a top ten DSLRs later. Go ahead and post your top ten historic SLR cameras, I'd be interested in seeing what people choose and why.
Historic still has a meaning. From the Oxford:
"Famous or important in history, or potentially so."

500C: flown on Mercury flights
Contarex Special: first camera used by man in open space (Edward White, Gemini IV)
500EL: modified versions flown on Apollo missions and spawned the EDC used on the lunar surface.
All about as historic as you can get. With respect, most of those on your list are historical but they are not particularly historic.
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Old 08-18-2016   #6
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Old 08-18-2016   #7
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1. Folmer & Schwing Graflex Reflex (1898)
2. VP Exakta (1933)
3. Hasselblad 1600F (1948)
4-5. Rectaflex & Contax S (tie, ~1949)
6. Asahiflex I (1952)
7. Nikon F (1959)
8. Topcon RE-Super (1963
9. Mamyia RB-67 (1970)
10 Minolta Maxxum 7000 (1985)

the above list is based on my impression of the impact they models had on the evolution of cameras and is not a narrow list of only 35mm models.
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Old 08-18-2016   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by conyon View Post
Olympus OM1n
A minor tweak on an existing design. Hardly "historic".

One might contend that the earlier Olympus M-1 (later rebadged "OM-1" for legal reasons) had adequate influence on later cameras to be considered as a potential for listing.
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Old 08-18-2016   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tunalegs View Post
...
My 10 in chronological order:
  1. Ihagee Kine Exakta (first production 35mm SLR)....
This was simply a reformat of their earlier VP Exakta and not all that novel in itself. It was much more popular as 35mm came into its own as a major format at about the same time.
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Old 08-18-2016   #10
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Old 08-18-2016   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sarcophilus Harrisii View Post
Historic still has a meaning. From the Oxford:
"Famous or important in history, or potentially so."

...With respect, most of those on your list are historical but they are not particularly historic.
You don't think they are important for the reasons I gave? I think they're all historic, by the definition you give.

But feel free to give us ten you would choose.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dwig View Post
[/list]This was simply a reformat of their earlier VP Exakta and not all that novel in itself. It was much more popular as 35mm came into its own as a major format at about the same time.
I didn't choose the VP exakta for several reasons: roll film SLRs already existed, 127 film fell out of popular usage relatively quickly whereas 35mm became the new standard, the Kine Exakta is a much, much more advanced design if you ever put the two next to each other.
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Old 08-18-2016   #12
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"First" does not always equate to "historic". The original list is a lot of "firsts", but are they all what I would call "historic"?
To me, an "historic" camera would have to be memorable and impact the way things were done.
The Nikon F.
The Hasselblad 500.
..?
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Old 08-18-2016   #13
Sarcophilus Harrisii
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tunalegs View Post
You don't think they are important for the reasons I gave? I think they're all historic, by the definition you give.

But feel free to give us ten you would choose.



I didn't choose the VP exakta for several reasons: roll film SLRs already existed, 127 film fell out of popular usage relatively quickly whereas 35mm became the new standard, the Kine Exakta is a much, much more advanced design if you ever put the two next to each other.
You seem to be looking at the topic from the perspective many of us here often do, Ie photography geeks on the web. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that in itself, of course, but I'm inclined to take the definition (recap: famous or important in history) at face value. Eg Abraham Zapruder's Bell and Howell movie camera that he used at Dallas in November 1963 became famous (not as famous as Zapruder himself, but, still) and was used to record an important event in history. Canon releasing an SLR with a microprocessor, or Praktica one with an electronic shutter (are you sure the Electro X wasn't first anyway, some sources say 1968, for that?), well: not so much.

On that basis, I think confining the candidates to SLRs isn't particularly appropriate. If you want to open it up to other types of cameras, I might play. At the moment I have to develop a roll of Agfa Isopan ISS, Ilford Selochrome, Kodak Super -XX and a more prosaic roll of Verichrome Pan. I don't know where people find this stuff. Later.
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Old 08-18-2016   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sarcophilus Harrisii View Post
You seem to be looking at the topic from the perspective many of us here often do, Ie photography geeks on the web. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that in itself, of course, but I'm inclined to take the definition (recap: famous or important in history) at face value. Eg Abraham Zapruder's Bell and Howell movie camera that he used at Dallas in November 1963 became famous (not as famous as Zapruder himself, but, still) and was used to record an important event in history. Canon releasing an SLR with a microprocessor, or Praktica one with an electronic shutter (are you sure the Electro X wasn't first anyway, some sources say 1968, for that?), well: not so much.

On that basis, I think confining the candidates to SLRs isn't particularly appropriate. If you want to open it up to other types of cameras, I might play. At the moment I have to develop a roll of Agfa Isopan ISS, Ilford Selochrome, Kodak Super -XX and a more prosaic roll of Verichrome Pan. I don't know where people find this stuff. Later.
I thought the context of the thread should have been clear, from the fact that it was posted in the SLR section of a photography forum.

Not that a list of most famous cameras in history wouldn't be interesting, but that's not what I had in mind (I also think one shouldn't confuse "popular" with "important" in that context either).

Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelwj View Post
"First" does not always equate to "historic". The original list is a lot of "firsts", but are they all what I would call "historic"?
To me, an "historic" camera would have to be memorable and impact the way things were done.
The Nikon F.
The Hasselblad 500.
..?
Well they are, by definition, historic, as they all have historic significance in the development of photographic technology. The Nikon F? From my point of view it is not as significant as those I chose, but it is famous, so therefore still historic.
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Old 08-18-2016   #15
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Why so much emphasis on being "right?" Even the definition of "historic" proffered by Brett is wide open to interpretation.

The OP's intent, as I understand it, was for RFFers to list cameras that they saw as historic. It is an opportunity for each person to list cameras that s/he sees as historically significant. Each such list would be a statement of opinion. There are no absolutes here and, in spite of all the arguments that have taken place here so far, all are still not in agreement.

Tunalegs has started this thread with his opinion, offering the opportunity for everyone else to state theirs. Each person can provide his/her own list, even explaining why s/he has included certain cameras. There is no need to assail anyone's judgment in this thread.

- Murray
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Old 08-18-2016   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CMur12 View Post
Why so much emphasis on being "right?" Even the definition of "historic" proffered by Brett is wide open to interpretation.

The OP's intent, as I understand it, was for RFFers to list cameras that they saw as historic. It is an opportunity for each person to list cameras that s/he sees as historically significant. Each such list would be a statement of opinion. There are no absolutes here and, in spite of all the arguments that have taken place here so far, all are still not in agreement.

Tunalegs has started this thread with his opinion, offering the opportunity for everyone else to state theirs. Each person can provide his/her own list, even explaining why s/he has included certain cameras. There is no need to assail anyone's judgment in this thread.

- Murray
Exactly. My list is only an example. I was hoping that if people had different ideas, they'd post their own list.
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Old 08-18-2016   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CMur12 View Post
Why so much emphasis on being "right?" Even the definition of "historic" proffered by Brett is wide open to interpretation.

The OP's intent, as I understand it, was for RFFers to list cameras that they saw as historic. It is an opportunity for each person to list cameras that s/he sees as historically significant. Each such list would be a statement of opinion. There are no absolutes here and, in spite of all the arguments that have taken place here so far, all are still not in agreement.

Tunalegs has started this thread with his opinion, offering the opportunity for everyone else to state theirs. Each person can provide his/her own list, even explaining why s/he has included certain cameras. There is no need to assail anyone's judgment in this thread.

- Murray
Hi Murray,
sorry if you took my posts that way. I'm likely guilty of taking the proposition too literally. The definition I quoted of "historic" was not my own, mind, it's straight from the Oxford. I agree it's still a good topic for discussion; but I still maintain there is a difference between historic cameras and those cameras which achieved a first for the industry. I don't think anyone's judgement has been "assailed" nor that my posts were particularly confrontational. But if you read them as such please accept my apologies, it was not intended as such.
Cheers
Brett
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Old 08-18-2016   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sarcophilus Harrisii View Post
Hi Murray,
sorry if you took my posts that way. I'm likely guilty of taking the proposition too literally. The definition I quoted of "historic" was not my own, mind, it's straight from the Oxford. I agree it's still a good topic for discussion; but I still maintain there is a difference between historic cameras and those cameras which achieved a first for the industry. I don't think anyone's judgement has been "assailed" nor that my posts were particularly confrontational. But if you read them as such please accept my apologies, it was not intended as such.
Cheers
Brett
Because a first in history is, by definition, historic.
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Old 08-18-2016   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sarcophilus Harrisii View Post
Hi Murray,
sorry if you took my posts that way. I'm likely guilty of taking the proposition too literally. The definition I quoted of "historic" was not my own, mind, it's straight from the Oxford. I agree it's still a good topic for discussion; but I still maintain there is a difference between historic cameras and those cameras which achieved a first for the industry. I don't think anyone's judgement has been "assailed" nor that my posts were particularly confrontational. But if you read them as such please accept my apologies, it was not intended as such.
Cheers
Brett
Hi Brett -

My post wasn't directed to you individually, other than to borrow the dictionary definition. I understood Tunalegs' thread to be an invitation for others to offer their own lists of the ten most historically significant SLRs, and he started it off by offering his own. Instead of offering their own lists, most sought to dispute his. I just felt that it was a lot of contention for naught.

I don't know enough about early SLRs to offer an opinion of my own here, so I'm just along for the ride. I looked forward to seeing more lists and explanations than I found. (Though I must admit that I was delighted to find a Minolta in Tunalegs' list.)

- Murray
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Old 08-18-2016   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tunalegs View Post
Because a first in history is, by definition, historic.
I agree with this. At the same time, we all interpret the definition of "historic" a little differently. Each list will be based on the poster's interpretation of "historic," and I have no problem with this. I have no problem with people having an opinion that varies from my own.

- Murray
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Old 08-18-2016   #21
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My contender for #1: "The first true SLR camera was invented by the English photographer Thomas Sutton and patented by him in 1861... it was designed for portraiture and was made by two London manufacturers, Ross and Dallmeyer. Only a very small number were produced".
(from A History of Photography in 50 Cameras by Michael Pritchard FRPS. p.70).
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Old 08-18-2016   #22
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The Praktica LLC didn't have an electronic shutter - it had electronic transmission of diaphragm settings to the meter. The shutter is a standard Praktica metal shutter.
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Old 08-18-2016   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnf04 View Post
The Praktica LLC didn't have an electronic shutter - it had electronic transmission of diaphragm settings to the meter. The shutter is a standard Praktica metal shutter.
You're correct.
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Old 08-18-2016   #24
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*Olympus OM-1
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Old 08-18-2016   #25
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Olympus OM-1(n)
Olympus PEN-F if single-frame camera counts.
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Old 08-19-2016   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nukecoke View Post
Olympus OM-1(n)
Olympus PEN-F if single-frame camera counts.
1/2 frame (aka single frame) counts, in my opinion, as does 110. I wouldn't put the Pen-F overly high on a "historic" list. It was, though, the first of the family of what proved to be the pinnacle of 1/2 frame evolution. What little followed the Pen-F family (F, FT, Fv) was all downhill. It qualifies, in my mind, as an "historic" camera; I just wouldn't put it in my top 10.

The OM-1(n) was in no way "historic". It wasn't the first, it wasn't a "landmark", and it had no novel impact on the market or on the offerings of competitors. It was only a minor tweak to fix the flaws in the original M-1/OM-1 design. It didn't even have any significant impact on Olympus' own sales. It was the M-1/OM-1 that had a big impact on the camera designs of the day and it therefore a "historic" camera.
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Old 08-19-2016   #27
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These would be my choices (though I've made a few choices about cameras I've never owned but have experienced through friends)... not necessarily historic in a true sense either.

1) Nikon F2
2) Nikon F
3) Nikon F3
4) Nikon F4
5) Pentax 67
6) Hasselblad 500c
7) Leica R6
8) Olympus Pen F
9) Pentax K1000
10) Canon F1
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Old 08-19-2016   #28
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I wonder how many posts it will take to turn historical into hysterical...

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Old 08-19-2016   #29
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The Alpa certainly should be on the list IMHO.
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Old 08-19-2016   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tunalegs View Post
  1. Minolta 7000 AF (first auto-focus SLR)
#10 Is incorrect. The first Auto-focusing 35mm SLR was the Pentax ME-F of 1981.



The first Auto-focusing SLR regardless of format was the Polaroid SX70 Sonar OneStep (1978)



The Minolta is still significant as it's the first Autofocus 35mm SLR to incorporate automated film advance (which the polaroid also had), but the SX-70 OneStep was the first. And frankly, it doesn't get any cooler than a folding instant Auto-focus SLR, at least to me
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Your Top Ten Hysterical SLR Cameras
Old 08-19-2016   #31
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Thumbs up Your Top Ten Hysterical SLR Cameras

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Originally Posted by David Hughes View Post
I wonder how many posts it will take to turn historical into hysterical...

Regards, David

I second that!
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Old 08-19-2016   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unixrevolution View Post
#10 Is incorrect. The first Auto-focusing 35mm SLR was the Pentax ME-F of 1981.



The first Auto-focusing SLR regardless of format was the Polaroid SX70 Sonar OneStep (1978)



The Minolta is still significant as it's the first Autofocus 35mm SLR to incorporate automated film advance (which the polaroid also had), but the SX-70 OneStep was the first. And frankly, it doesn't get any cooler than a folding instant Auto-focus SLR, at least to me
I didn't choose the Pentax because it's really more an autofocus lens than an autofocus camera. It is still pretty cool though.
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Old 08-19-2016   #33
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This is a little like trying to pick your 5 favorite cameras.
  1. Kodak Brownie
  2. Kodak 2D
  3. Graflex Reflex
  4. Rolleiflex Standard
  5. Leica 0
  6. Speed Graphic
  7. Contaflex
  8. Leica M3
  9. Hasselblad 1600F
  10. Pentax K1000 (just because many thousands of people were introduced to photography with one of these.)
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Old 08-19-2016   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tunalegs View Post
Because a first in history is, by definition, historic.
Sorry, I disagree. Something can be a first, without being either famous, or important. But please carry on, it's an interesting conversation and I have no wish to impede it...
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Old 08-19-2016   #35
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The people who actually make/made cameras probably pay/paid more attention to cameras that didn't always sell well (or indeed at all, because plenty of patents never made it to market), but had features people might like; and also to those that incorporated what the French call a fausse bonne idée, a false good idea.

The former group almost certainly includes the (Swiss) Alpa, the (Russian) Sport, the (British) Wrayflex (as patented, not as built), and the (Hungarian) Duflex. The latter group probably includes Alpa again, anything with backs that could be interchanged in mid roll, anything with a film cutting knife (Rectaflex dropped theirs early on), and the (British) Periflex with its reflex focusing but not full-frame viewing.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 08-20-2016   #36
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Hmm, the Periflex worked best with an accessory RF in the 'cold' shoe, the periscope focussing was the all time photographic PITA imo. I've had two, one when I was young and they were new and the second in retrospective mode a few years ago..

I'd nominate the Lomo 'Cosmic Symbol' as an innovative camera in that it introduced a lot of people to 35mm photography without breaking the bank, it had a good instruction book (something people never mention) and a good 40mm lens. It also had a mechanical 'funny 16' exposure system built into it and so no batteries required - and that's a great plus.

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Old 08-20-2016   #37
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My slr history,

1.Ricoh KR5 ..(gone)
2.Nikon F90X.. (gone)
3.Canon EOS 3.. (gone)
4.Mamiya RB67.. (gone)
5.Hasselblad 501CM
7.Nikon F5

Now, mostly use RFs and one dslr

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Old 08-20-2016   #38
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Originally Posted by Sarcophilus Harrisii View Post
Sorry, I disagree. Something can be a first, without being either famous, or important. But please carry on, it's an interesting conversation and I have no wish to impede it...
It think "first" makes it "historic", but it by no means makes it the most historic of the type. For a Top 10 list, being first is not, in and of itself, a qualifying attribute.
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Old 08-20-2016   #39
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Originally Posted by unixrevolution View Post
...The Minolta is still significant as it's the first Autofocus 35mm SLR to incorporate automated film advance (which the polaroid also had), but the SX-70 OneStep was the first. And frankly, it doesn't get any cooler than a folding instant Auto-focus SLR, at least to me
The Minolta Maxxum/Dynax 7000's major "AF first" was being the first interchangeable lens SLR with system wide AF. Earlier AF issues were mere toe-in-the-water experiments. Minolta dove in head first and made a big splash.

I should have included the first SX-70 in my list of historic SLRs, though I don't know which other contender I should have bumped. There were a lot of truly historic SLRs and its not really possible to limit the list to just 10 without leaving out some important models.
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Old 08-21-2016   #40
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Originally Posted by Dwig View Post
The Minolta Maxxum/Dynax 7000's major "AF first" was being the first interchangeable lens SLR with system wide AF. Earlier AF issues were mere toe-in-the-water experiments. Minolta dove in head first and made a big splash.

I should have included the first SX-70 in my list of historic SLRs, though I don't know which other contender I should have bumped. There were a lot of truly historic SLRs and its not really possible to limit the list to just 10 without leaving out some important models.
Granted, the Minolta did have a huge historical impact, but the exact nature of such was not noted with a great deal of accuracy.

And yes, the SX-70 is awesome, but a list of 10 is always hard. And you can't do "just list all the historic ones" because you get stuff like "First Japanese Pentaprism SLR with Open Aperture Metering and a Self Timer that Wasn't available only in black, but did have a data back option"

I would need to do many hours of research to compile my own list and call it any kind of authoritative, but I definitely believe the F&S Graflex, the SX-70, and the Hasselblad belong on it. I also would argue for the inclusion of the Asahi Pentax (1957), as it wasn't necessarily the first at anything too spectacular, just the winding lever and rewind crank, and a fixed pentaprism combined with auto-return mirror. But what it DID do was make SLRs a lot more popular, and pioneer the general layout of the 35mm SLR from then on.
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