Universal Mercury II
Universal Mercury II

…the Universal Mercury series was a very innovative and distinct line of cameras produced by the Universal Camera Corp of New York between 1938 and the early 1950s.  It featured a rotary shutter that had a top speed of 1/1000.  It had an interchangeable lens mount and a hot shoe making for a compelling low cost option for the professional photographer on a budget…

AGFA Flexilette
AGFA Flexilette

…the AFGA Flexilette was one of a small number of 35mm Twin Lens Reflex cameras that had a separate viewing lens for the viewfinder and one for taking the picture.  The advantage was an extremely quiet shutter sound and lack of any sort of viewfinder blackout when the shutter was open…

Olympus Pen F
Olympus Pen F

…Olympus re-introduced half frame 35mm cameras with the original Pen in 1959.  This started a huge trend of half frame cameras released by almost every manufacturer in the 1960s.  Despite the competition, Olympus topped them all with their Olympus Pen F SLR.  The smaller size of the exposed image meant the camera could have a sideways mirror and pentaprism inside of the body decreasing the overall size, while still maintaining all of the benefits of an SLR.

Kodak Retina
Kodak Retina

…the Kodak Retina was developed by a man named Dr. August Nagel after the Eastman Kodak Company purchased Nagel’s own Nagel Camera-Werke company in 1931.  Nagel was one of the most successful German camera designers of the time, previously working for Zeiss-Ikon and Contessa-Nettel.  The Retina was the world’s first camera designed for Kodak’s then new format of 35mm ‘miniature’ film.

Sawyer’s View-Master Personal Stereo Camera
Sawyer’s View-Master Personal Stereo Camera

…the View-Master Personal Stereo Camera was a purpose built camera by Sawyer’s that show 13mm x 17mm stereo pairs, intended to be mounted in circular View-Master reels.  Instead of buying premade reels from the store, you could make your own with this camera…

Kodak No. 3A Folding Brownie
Kodak No. 3A Folding Brownie

…the Eastman Kodak Company was one of the most influential photographic companies of all time.  Pioneering the earliest forms of photographic film, they introduced the world to a dizzying array of inexpensive folding and box cameras like this No. 3A Folding Brownie from 1909.  Despite their vast number of cameras, Kodak was always a film first camera, selling new models as a means to get more people to buy film.

Voigtländer Superb
Voigtländer Superb

…first released in 1933, the Voigtländer Superb was the company’s entry into the medium format Twin Lens Reflex market.  Designed to compete with Franke & Heidecke’s successful Rolleiflex line, the Superb offered a number of unique innovations such as automatic parallax correction, horizontal film transport, and a bottom mounted focus control arm.

Berning Robot
Berning Robot

…the Robot series of cameras by the Robot Berning Company remain one of the most highly sought after and unique cameras ever made.  Offering an extremely compact, but high quality body that shoots 24mm x 24mm square photos on regular 35mm film, all Robots featured a motorized clockwork film advance, a rotary shutter, interchangeable lens mount, and a series of high quality lenses, making them very interesting cameras to both collect and shoot.

Bell & Howell Foton
Bell & Howell Foton

…the Bell & Howell Foton was the company’s first attempt at a still camera, and was aimed at the professional photographer.  It’s signature feature was a mechanical wind up film advance that could fire the shutter as fast as 4 exposures per second.  It came with a top of the line Cooke Amotal 50mm f/2 lens made by Taylor, Taylor, & Hobson of England and when it first went on sale in 1948, it had a retail price of $700 making it one of the most expensive cameras ever made.

Nikon Rangefinders
Nikon Rangefinders

…Nikon was originally formed in 1917 as Nippon Kogaku K.K. or Japanese Optical Company in English.  Nikon’s earliest years were devoted almost exclusively to developing products for the Japanese military.  Their first consumer goods were not released until after WWII, and the company did not officially drop the Nippon Kogaku name until 1988.

Anscomark M
Anscomark M

…many cameras made over the last century cross over between multiple companies.  The Anscomark M was an interchangeable lens 35mm rangefinder sold and marketed by the American company ANSCO, but was built by the Japanese company Riken, in exchange for photocopier technology owned by ANSCO’s German parent company, GAF.  The resulting camera turned out to be one of the most distinctive looking cameras ever!

Royer Teleroy
Royer Teleroy

…the Royer Teleroy was a folding rangefinder camera that shot either 6×9 or 6×4.5 images on 120 roll film.  It was made in France around 1950 and had a solid aluminum body and a high quality shutter and SOM Berthiort lens…

Kodak Ektra
Kodak Ektra

…the Kodak Ektra was Kodak’s answer to a disruption of professional 35mm cameras from Germany at the start of WWII.  It was a top of the line camera with innovative features like an adjustable varifocal viewfinder, interchangeable film backs, and a lens selection made up of the best that the Eastman Kodak Corporation could offer.  It sold for $300 back in 1941 and remains a popular collector’s item today.

Asahiflex IIa
Asahiflex IIa

…the Asahiflex was the first Japanese SLR and was the predecessor to the Pentax.  Featuring a fixed waist level viewfinder and interchangeable M37 lens mount, the Asahiflex was a well built and capable camera that opened the door to later Japanese SLR dominance…

Olympus XA2
Olympus XA2

…Designed by famed Olympus designer Maitani Yoshihisa the Olympus XA2 is a camera whose reputation precedes itself.  This is a very well known and very highly regarded camera for a reason.  Perhaps the best characteristic of the camera is that it offers some of the simplicity of a 1980s point and shoot camera, in a very small package, with an excellent lens and meter, but with the control and speed of a manual focus camera.  The entire XA series are highly sought after by collectors and photographers alike for good reason.

Zeiss-Ikon Contessa 35
Zeiss-Ikon Contessa 35

…the Contessa 35 was one of the last cameras Zeiss-Ikon produced that was created by Hubert Nerwin.  It was the Zeiss-Ikon equivalent to the Kodak Retina, supporting nearly the same features, in an equally well made and compact folding body with an excellent lens and shutter.

Miranda Sensorex
Miranda Sensorex

…at one point in time, the Miranda Sensorex was seen as a viable low cost option to pro cameras like the Nikon F and Topcon RE Super.  Although it shared a similar feature set, and an available selection of excellent lenses, quality control proved to be the company’s undoing.  The Sensorex was in production for nearly 6 years and was one of the company’s biggest successes prior to their failure.

Voigtländer Vitessa L
Voigtländer Vitessa L

…the Vitessa was an innovative medium priced rangefinder with a folding bellows design with barn doors to conceal the lens and shutter when not in use.  Consistent with Voigtländer’s habit of not following established norms, the camera had a number of unique features such as a rear thumb wheel focus and a large metal plunger that both advanced the film and set the shutter before each exposure…

Welcome

Welcome to my site.  My name is Mike Eckman and I’ve been running this site for a few years without any predefined direction for what kind of content would be here.  In late 2014, I had a “re-discovery” of film cameras which took off into directions I never could have imagined.  I grew a collection of film cameras made in nearly every decade of the 20th century and started reviewing them. 

This entire site is maintained entirely by me and hosted by Bluehost.  Every review and article was written by me using mostly cameras from my personal collection.  A small number of reviews were written about cameras that were loaned to me by other collectors.  I often source my factual information from other sites on the Internet and I do my best to provide credit wherever I can.

If you have any questions, comments, corrections, or criticism of anything on this site, I’d love to hear from you!

Newest Posts

Everything from the latest vintage camera review, a Keppler's Vault blast from the past, or some other camera related article, it's all here in reverse chronological order.
Second Look: Zeiss-Ikon Contessa 35
Mistakes were made. Pulling back the curtains here , I can imagine at least a few readers of this site believe there is a vault filled with a never-ending supply...
Read More "Second Look: Zeiss-Ikon Contessa 35"
Kodak Colorburst 100 (1978)
This review is part of the Cameras of the Dead series which I have been publishing every year on Halloween and "Halfway to" Halloween, featuring three cameras that I've wanted...
Read More "Kodak Colorburst 100 (1978)"
Harrison Fotochrome (1965)
This review is part of the Cameras of the Dead series which I have been publishing every year on Halloween and "Halfway to" Halloween, featuring three cameras that I've wanted...
Read More "Harrison Fotochrome (1965)"
Film Cameras in Movies and TV Shows
If you're like me, it is exciting to see an old camera in a movie or television show set in the past.  My attention is quickly diverted and I play...
Read More "Film Cameras in Movies and TV Shows"
Traid Fotron (1962)
This review is part of the Cameras of the Dead series which I have been publishing every year on Halloween and "Halfway to" Halloween, featuring three cameras that I've wanted...
Read More "Traid Fotron (1962)"
2020 Year in Review
Holy bleep!  I cannot believe this year is finally almost over.  What a disaster 2020 has been!  From COVID, to the killings of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, the US...
Read More "2020 Year in Review"
Aires 35-V (1958)
This is an Aires 35-V, a 35mm rangefinder camera produced by Aires Camera Ind. Co., LTD in 1958.  The Aires 35-V was part of Aires's line of 35mm rangefinder cameras...
Read More "Aires 35-V (1958)"
Zeiss-Ikon Cocarette 519/2 (1926)
This is a Zeiss-Ikon Cocarette 519/2, a folding bed camera that shoots 6cm x 9cm images on 120 roll film.  The Cocarette was considered a premium model in Zeiss-Ikon's post...
Read More "Zeiss-Ikon Cocarette 519/2 (1926)"

Featured Guides

These how-to guides were written in an attempt to help the novice collector start a collection, use it, and what to do when things go wrong.
How to Spot a Fake Leica
There's a saying that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and when it comes to prestige products like handbags, watches, and cameras, there are whole industries of companies looking...
Read More "How to Spot a Fake Leica"
Reloading Instamatic Film (The Better Way)
The Eastman Kodak Company's daylight loading 35mm film cassette made it's debut in 1934.  With the release of the first Retina camera, Kodak's type 135 film format took the world...
Read More "Reloading Instamatic Film (The Better Way)"
What Is My Camera Worth?
As a member of the Vintage Camera Collectors group on Facebook, the most common "new member" post is from someone who in one way or another, has acquired an old...
Read More "What Is My Camera Worth?"
The Outdoor Eight Rule – Metering without a Meter for Beginners
Whether you are new to shooting film or are a grizzled veteran, you've likely heard someone mention a fundamental rule of photography called "The Sunny 16 Rule". The Sunny 16...
Read More "The Outdoor Eight Rule – Metering without a Meter for Beginners"

Contact Me

If you would like to contact me about a review on this site, or a question you have about a particular camera, use this form.

I likely won’t have any useful information about a camera if I haven’t already reviewed it.  I only have experience with models in my own personal collection.  I do accept donations, but if you are looking to sell your camera, you’ll get more money by selling it on eBay than I’d likely pay you for it.  I am a notorious cheapskate!

Alternatively, I can also be reached on Facebook and Instagram at the Mike Eckman dot Com official pages:

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