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Tuesday, 06 June 2017

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I think I agree with your choices. I had to go find a picture of the x-t2 to compare, but it's just slighty more BBP looking, for the sake of practicality. Looking at all sides on camerasize.com, I think the front of the Pen is purdier (though that useless dial bugs me), back of the x-t20 wins, and top-down is a draw. Lens-wise, a 45/1.8 on the pen-f is mighty good-looking, while the Fuji lenses make up for their less svelte design with aperture rings. What I find appealing about the retro bodies isn't only looks, but also the idea of shooting the way I used to shoot 25-30 years ago, and for that reason, I like Fuji's flavor of retro (with aperture rings) better. That said, I've chosen practicality over retro; I recently spent a couple weeks considering a move to Fuji or Olympus or Panasonic from my A6000, but opted to upgrade to an A6500 (for IBIS, a better EVF and a level gauge) and add a couple lenses ... and any time I shoot an event or sports or kids in the backyard, I choose my Nikon DSLR with it's twin control dials, vertical grip and buttons that let me do what I need to do without taking my eye from the VF. Those BBPs might be ugly (for the most part) but they're practical.

I'm waiting for a digital bellows camera, styled like a Kodak Retinette.
Retinette type 017

It *is* possible for camera to be retro-ish, and not fall too deep into retro-area. Best proofs for that are Fuji X-E1, Panasonic GX7, and GX80/8. They all look retro-ish, mostly because traditional-film-rangefinder-with-finder-on-the-edge style haven't been used in general-audience consumer cameras since the heydays of film rangefinders (a-la Yashica 35 GSN), so it's retro by itself.

I just didn't like it when Olympus called it the 'Pen F'. I have a genuine Pen F, from 1965, and a few original Zuiko's for it. When searching no longer can I type in 'Pen F', now all this digital stuff comes up, even if I add 'film' in the search line.
(Also happen to have a Fujica ST605n)

I have the Olympus 12, 17, 25, and 45mm lenses, and just bought the Pen-F camera...it is truly a thing of beauty, but someone better write a step by step manual on it quick!

As a 40 year pro, with previous commercial experience with Nikon, Canon, and Panasonic digital pro cameras, I just cannot wade through this damn thing. Every time I pick it up, after a while, I realize how much time I'm spending just trying to set it, I just go back to my Panasonic G series (I didn't even read the manual on that).

It's not like I can't eventually figure it out, it's just that the settings are confusingly designed; this camera is a total example of a "pro" quality build camera that has so many settings on it that would be of zero interest to a pro!

I'm glad I got it, but it's going to be a while before I can set it and trust it!

Seems like I remember that when those chrom cameras were ubiquitous folks paid extra to get black ones

The assurance I get from my Nikon D750, an unapologetic BBP camera, is worth more than a pretty face. Still, the siren song from those two is darn near irresistible.

I bought an X-T20 the second week after it started shipping.
I switched from Nikon and bought one Fuji zoom, which I love, and a whole slew of xxxx to Fuji X mount adapters for many of the lenses I've collected over the years.
I have worked slower, learning the Fuji way of controlling things, but have been loving every minute of it.
Biggest adjustment? EVF. Biggest surprise that I love? EVF.
I'm 54 and my eyesight has taken a dive the past five years. The Fuji lens' autofocus, and the focus peaking feature and my old manual lenses have me getting razor sharp images.
I still occasionally trip over what I consider to be weird things, like the flash not working if I have the X-T20 set to one of the continuous shooting modes, the flash only fires in single shot mode. This happened last week when trying to use the popup flash as fill on a sunny day and it wouldn't work until I remembered to change from continuous-low speed to single shot mode, but I'm getting there.
I love the looks, the feel, and the images I get from the little Fuji.
I don't have small hands, but I haven't bumped too many buttons accidentally, and the one I did bump sometimes, I just turned it off where nothing happens if I accidentally press it.
A big thumbs up on the Fuji X-T20 for me, and also that the necessity to rethink taking all kinds of images on a camera so different from the Nikon stuff I used for a number of years has helped rekindle the desire to just get out and shoot, where I was in a slump there for a while.
And, of course reading TOP helps keep me inspired to go shoot as well.
Your "Have Faith" post was a timely one for me..."We all should have that faith, even if it doesn't always pan out. However you manage to make yourself comfortable with a camera in your hand, do it, and you'll find something. The pictures are out there. It's just our willingness to put ourselves in front of them that's needed."

"I have to specify that I mean "IL"—interchangeable-lens—cameras, or else Fuji X100F owners and aspirants will form a mob and pursue me with pitchforks and torches. Or perhaps tasers and LED flashlights."

Why not go the whole hog and call them EVIL cameras - Electronic Viewfinder, Interchangeable Lens.

Or will you get a different group of pitchfork wielders coming after you? ;)

I'll take a good old BBP that works over a cool retro ergonomically challenged camera any day. I bought the T90 in 1986 when it came out. First time I held that camera it was like someone put a lump of clay on the front of it and wrapped their hands around it and used that for the grip design. It was way ahead of other cameras of the time. Given that the T90 is over 30 years old it could also be considered retro. Main difference between that and the Pen F is that it is retro that still works.

I would love to have a Pen F - to sit on the shelf and look at. Undeniably a beautiful camera.

So where does the Sony A7-series fit in here? It most certainly doesn't fit in the BBP category. It has retro features such as a dedicated exposure compensation dial, what looks like (but isn't) a pentaprism hump, and a fairly boxy body shape. Then again, it's mostly black, with no "brushed chrome" option. Should we call it "retro-ish?"

Talking about retro, I do really wish some camera manufacturer would gather enough guts to create another digital rangefinder. I love Leica and I was very happy with my M6, before turning to digital. However I cannot afford one of their digital M models and I don't want a Fuji X pro or a film rangefinder. I want a real digital rangefinder; nothing very fancy and of course with real manual focus.
I'm convinced it would be a hit whoever attempted to create it.

I do like the somewhat retro looks of my GX8s, but I have to say, when I pick up my BBP Nikon D800, I realize how comfortable it is, and how intuitive the controls are. (And also how heavy it is with a lens attached, and how much space a set of lenses takes up.) I think if the GX9 came as an LBP, I might adopt it with relief.

You just can't weasel out by specifying IL to exclude the Fuji X100 because the Fuji X Pro 1/2 will bite you.

Some of Panasonic’s small mirrorless cameras have a retro feel. The tan GF7 or GF8, the green GM5, and the blue GM1 have a vintage travel/vacation camera look. They are made with a bit more amusement than the Olympus or Fuji retro style. The “friends at the bar” might knock off points for the lack of seriousness, but “strangers on the street” will still smile.

I didn't buy my Fuji X100-series cameras (currently the 100F) because of anything that might be seen as "retro". I bought them, and love them, because they're small, fit well in the hand, and have a good-enough, fast-enough fixed 35mm equiv. lens. All of this adds up to a camera I want with me all the time, and that makes fine photos. Good enough, fast enough, cheap enough.

Is there something in the way that these retro-cameras seem to fit the way one thinks and works? I was never really at home with aperture adjustment through buttons a Canon but put up with it for years. Fuji's approach with old-fashioned aperture rings on lenses just feels right.

I could give many other examples where the Fuji way of doing things just feels right. (And I don't even have the years of using film cameras to justify my feeling.) I guess, the same is similar for other cameras as well that fit this trend.

I also fall into the relatively smaller (it would seem these days) camp of people who favor the comfortable ergonomics of the BBP design over the eye-catching beauty of cameras like those shown above. Some interesting reading on the topic here: http://cameraergonomics.blogspot.com.au/p/design.html

Bob

I fell for the Pen F and also got an OMd-1, I do wish Oly would make more silver lenses, especially in their "pro" line.
Having an A7RII, I must say the m43 is what I take out most of the time. I am fond of the 60mm macro, which makes a kit about half the size of the Sony with their 90mm macro.

As usual, great, and in this case influential piece of work. I agree. The Olympus offering leans heavily in the direction of the Barnack Leicas. As I still use those cameras frequently, I have had my eye on the Oly from day one. Thanks for the news on the present discount. I will look closer now. I am going to click the $200.00 Off link. I can't help myself.......And I had just pretty much resolved I was going to have to pay the freight on a GM5. Please distract me further before I hurt myself. :)

I saw a film Canon Rebel in a thrift store the other day - man, was I tempted to buy it.

But I was amazed at how *few* controls it had. It really was a plastic blob. You had to set everything with the thumbwheel and depend on the top LCD.

I'm with J Williams: I have always loved the feel of my Canon SLRs, from the EOS 650 onwards. I had other SLRs before that one, and I've used other cameras since, but it's the BBP feel that means 'camera' to me.

A friend (old pro photog) and I was discussing a camera. I was in doubt whether he'd just mentioned the Fuji X100 or the X10. He said "the one that looks like a camera, and I had no doubt he meant the X100.

I'm surprised they don't sell black versions that come pre-scuffed to show some brassing.

What about my Rolleiflex 3.5E? Is that retro enough? That is the only camera that I use where people approach me on the street and ask to see it or admire the craftsmanship. It even uses that incredibly sophisticated chemical imaging media: film.

I also like the rangefinder style Fuji cameras more than the one you chose (standing in line now for the X-E3), but can we all agree that the Nikon Df, that looks like it was designed by committee, might just be the least beautiful retro camera?

The Olympus E-P1 was the first of the Olympus/Fuji "retro" line. It was also the first Olympus mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. It was released in 2009, just in time for the 50th anniversary of the original Olympus Pen launch:
Olympus Pen revisited

Cheers!

Abbazz

I enjoy the look and nostalgia of retro but once I work with it I can't help thinking...needs less cowbell. I prefer my black-blob that I can control with one hand if need be. I'm glad retro exists because it's beautiful to behold, I just don't need to own it...most of the time. :-)

Pentax K-01s seem to be appreciating in value, much reviled as they are by those with insecurity issues. Was it essentially retro, an attempt to define the future, or simply a stripping away of the superfluous details of the DSLR? Does anyone care? It still looks more interesting to me than my Pen-F, much as I love that camera. For pure retro beauty, I'll go with the graphite X-Pro 2 and matching graphite 23mm -- wow.

'Retro' is Latin for 'backwards.'
And, apparently, Japanese for 'frivolous.'

I do not own either camera but yes, I agree that they're pretty. I wrote here about the original Olympus digital PEN some years ago. It was a retro-ground-breaker and was also pretty. (But it did have some ergo issues.). My own indulgence into retrospective photographic fantasy has been those small, heavy cameras made by that age-old German company. (With their most recent model, by George, I believe they've finally hit close to perfection.)

Camera manufacturers have long realized that the -experience- of using their products is at least, and maybe more, important than the actual performance of the products in the mas enthusiast market. The conversion to the digital medium has, I think, greatly freed the industrial design possibilities for cameras. Yes, cameras are now tight packages of circuitry but they are no longer enslaved to the mechanical dimensions required for accommodating film movement. I believe that digital cameras could be made to impersonate nearly any form. So I’m almost surprised that companies have remained relatively conservative with their impersonations.

Rangefinder impersonators are old hat. My prediction (suggestion, actually) for an upcoming costumer: a twin-lens reflex-style medium-format-like camera. Clearly the sensor is here (i.e. Sony’s sensor in the Fuji GFX and the Hassy X1D). And a lens shouldn’t be a problem, either. A film tlr camera is nearly a completely empty box so there should be plenty of space for circuitry. But someone should do this soon rather than later, as the strongest market segment — people who remember the Rollieflex and who can afford the likely high price of a digital impersonator — is -ahem- shrinking daily.

Raise your hand if you'd love to shoot with a digital Rolleiflex!

I think you might have forgot about the Leica M10 there!

One can be "retro" yet highly functional. The Olympus OM-D cameras evoke the old Olympus OM cameras, down to a set of function buttons on the top left designed to look like the film rewind lever. But they adopt all of the good functionality and ergonomics from the black lumps, without the melted-plastic design ethos.

I agree that the Olympus menus are inordinately complex. I've been using them since the original E-M5, and have had the E-M1ii since it shipped, and I'm still learning how to control the camera. On the other hand, the things I do often are all properly setup, and saved in the wonderful Custom settings, and a snap to access without menu diving.

I love the Pen F's looks. But I think that knob in the front is an ergonomic disaster. It's just uncomfortable as it hits your right forefinger. And if you're not shooting jpegs, it's useless. The camera really needs a grip, which will take no extra space in your bag or pocket as long as a lens is mounted.

My vote has to go for the camera that copies itself. My PenF is certainly a beautiful camera but even it doesn't come close to the loveliness of the M10. Sparse on "features" and obscenely expensive, hewn from a solid block of unobtanium, it is what the Olympus and the other fake rangefinders strive to be. A real one.

Gordon

I couldn't agree more, the ugliness of the black lumps is a tribute to our lousy taste. Yeah, I know, I own a couple but not for their beauty.
When I look back at the simple beauty of my old Spotmatic I wonder what is wrong with me, why do I buy this black junk.
I love the look of the Fuji, just wish I could buy one. Does the beauty of the tool matter? Of course it does - if you love the tool you work with the result must be better. Surely?
The Fuji XT series remind me of better times when quality mattered.

Raise my hand for a digital Rollieflex ?

I think I just dislocated my shoulder.

I have had my PEN-F since last year and I really like that ergonomic homerun: the front knob. My middle finger falls naturally just beneath it and it along with the rear thumb rest means that holding the camera much better than one might think if only looking at a photo of the camera.

While some might say the front knob is useless if one is not shooting jpegs, well, the EVF is useless if using the rear LCD, the mode dial is useless if only using M (or P or A or S mode), the flash shoe is useless if not using flash, the tilt/swivel hinge on the LCD is useless for people who always keep the LCD flat against the camera back, the AF function is useless for people who just use MF, etc..

I agree with the M10 comment. Sort of. But then, you would have to call the Porsche 911 a retro car. I am not sure it fits.

I pulled my Pentax LX tonight. It has the detachable grip. It immediately made me think of last time I held an OMD. Does that make OMD a retro camera?

I like the retrodesign of Fujicameras, not only for their looks, but also for their functionality.
In the 1980's I owned an Olympus OM-1, later the OM-2. Today I am very happy with my Fuji X-E1. It is my déjà-vu-camera. Like the old OM-cameras it offers an aperture-ring, a shutterspeed-dial and a +/- exposure compensationdial. No SPAM here, no digging in menus or trying to figure out LCD-screens. That brings back memories. Fuji is more Olympus than Olympus, nowadays...

Bassman,
You are forgetting that, as usual, "Pentax did it first but nobody remembers it".

I do think it is the notion that "old times were better", or the romantic view of it [it is happening with mobile telephones as well]. You are buying a prefabricated charm. Like pre-stressed jeans, or factory ripped t shirts...

What?
Wait. That is what the red-dot has been doing, right? Building "retro" on the already retro bodies [remember the pre-stressed and brassed bodies? That is quite akin to prestressed and factory ripped jeans].

About the retro thing: well, I am very sure that most of those cameras are fashion accesories [as it is the obscene ammount of unnecesary gear sport fishing gets, or the obscene techyness of cycling gear to save a couple of grams when the heaviest part of the ensemble is the cyclist]. Yes, most of the time that carbon fibre and unobtanium shank is as blingy as having a gold watch.

I don't understand why you've put the XT-20 in there; the fake prism is out of place.

When looking for 'authentic', I'd rather choose the XE-2.

Anyway, I do support cameras with "simple design". Simple is elegant and a pleasure to use.


Since a few weeks I got the black PEN-F. More neutral, just a little bit less over-the-top retro than the silver one. Great about it are the positive reactions I get, even from strangers. My Rolleiflex has that charisma too. People don’t feel threatened and sometimes the camera even works as a conversation piece.
Despite the complex menus, the odd choices for the swivel LCD and the knob, it's very easy to work with. It’s a box full of miracles. Glorious colors, great black and white (Monochrome 2), a high res mode and a stunning in-camera stabilization. And above all: every day I sing psalms about my Micro Four Thirds optics.

Retro cameras remind me of the imitation Rolex watches that you could buy in Singapore thirty years ago. Classic on the outside, quartz clock inside. And therefore much more accurate than the mechanical original.

Retro is romanticism. It's referring to happy things that probably never happened. For a rainy Sunday afternoon here some real flashbacks:
http://www.popphoto.com/cameras/2013/09/45-awesome-classic-camera-commercials

My most recent 2 cameras have been the Panasonic GX7 (reference to Leica M) and the Olympus E-M5II (reference to OM-1), both in silver, so I am well drenched in the retro chic of which you speak.

But you know what? I'm a bit over it. I don't actually want my next camera to have that retro design motif.

Which brings me to a suggested follow-up article for your consideration: the visually most appealing of modern camera designs. Anything that has no *obviously intentional* retro references would qualify. What say you, Mike?

Beauty of industrial design products should be a result of functionality. Sometimes you see chairs that look magnificent but just aren't made for sitting!
My best handling and most beautiful cameras are:
Film - Contax 139. Compact, small, perfect build and everything you need at your fingertips.
Digital - Panasonic G3. Small, light, beautiful to hold and handle. Logic in controls and menu system. Like a very small CaNikon DSLR. Yes, polycarbonate, but not black. Rounded corners ARE more comfortable. The material is MUCH better suited for camera bodies than old fashioned metal! (resilient yet sturdy, resists wear)
The digital Pen F? Too much bling for bling's sake. My brother owned the original Pen F: A no nonsense camera.
The Fujifilm X-T is much a better representative of the basic "box and hump" design concept that has survived the transition to digital - for a reason.

I'm glad there's some variety out there now. I don't begrudge BBP-lovers their cameras, but for over a decade that was the only choice. I'd like to see an even wider variety of styles available, even though I personally prefer retro.

For Fujifilm, the retro look complements their retro approach to camera controls. Now if only they could produce a usable split-image focus display for manual focusing.

I'll raise my hand for a digital Rolleiflex. Though it needn't be retro. I am puzzled why nobody has made a waist level digital camera with horizontal screen and deep hood. It would seem to a an easy DIY job using existing digicams but it doesn't seem anyone has done it.

@Kenneth Tanaka: and the groundglass viewfinder of that digital Rolleiflex needn't offer a mirrorwise image! It could even have a switch to choose between mirrorwise and left-right correct viewing.

Yep, I'd love a digital Rolleiflex.

But what I'd really like is for Pentax to come up with a digital Spotmatic. That's the first 35mm camera I ever used--borrowed from a friend who had borrowed it from another friend who had bought it while on R&R in Japan during the Vietnam war. However, despite loving that camera I've never owned one. I'd be sorely tempted by a digital model that kept the same Spotmatic form factor. In my opinion, it was the prettiest camera of its time.

Hmm the Olympus Pen? A yes vote from me. The Fuji XT? Well I am sure they are wonderful but that look just does not work for moi.

Others on my yes list. Fuji X100 series. My Olympus EP5 minus the VF4 finder. The aging Panasonic LX100 and though not retro looking I'd like to nominate in the SLR category the very handsome Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II.

Digital Rolleiflex, eh ? I'm not sure. I loved using my 3.5F (though it was never a workhorse - only ever something for occasional flings). The big ground glass (I bought a new screen from Bill Maxwell for it) with the flip out magnifier and all those wonderful mechanical controls.

But I see the TLR design as a solution to a problem that's been solved better* with live view. There's no need for a second lens and its parallax issues. No need to adjust the meter reading for filters. No need to set your polarizer on the viewing lens then move it to the taking lens. No need to (try to) get used to left being right and right being left ! But a design that's either modular or flexible with regard to viewfinder options would be interesting. Maybe an LCD that could be attached to either the back or the top with options for shading and for eye level viewing ... it probably wouldn't be too hard to rig a FrankenFlex using a small mirrorless body with a small external monitor designed for video recording.

@ Richard Parkin: I am puzzled why nobody has made a waist level digital camera with horizontal screen and deep hood.
Done, actually. Phase One's XF body system offers exactly such a waist-level finder that replaces the regular prism finder. It's completely a tlr-style finder, right down to the magnifier. Here's a brief video of its installation. As you can see if you watch closely, you adjust the XF's small top display to compensate for the loss of viewfinder information normally presented in the prism.I was very stoked about getting one but, honestly, it hasn't been all that useful to me yet.

But, honestly, today's tilting lcd displays are far, far more useful than those optical-only Flintstone finders! Brightness adjustment, focus magnification and peaking, ~200 degrees of rotation, c'mon! They're like heads-displays for fighter pilots! Really, the tilting touch-screen on the new Fuji GFX 50S is simply wonderful. But ditto for the screen on the much more modest Panasonic GX85, for example!

Hmm...maybe a digital Rolleiflex is a dopey idea after all, eh?

I thought cams were all about being a tool. Making them look pretty was for losers? Isn't that what you said when those Hasselblad glitzy Panasonic upgrades came out?

I learned that a camera's appearance is at least somewhat important too me, but retro alone isn't enough when I am serious and need, speed, reliability and flexibility.

My ugliest camera--the GX7---is not what I would call "retro" at all and has a few defects and features that I hate, but is the camera that I tend to pick up when I am serious. The articulating LCD and the speed of use are hard to beat among the mirrorless cameras that I own.

The most retro is my original beta-like version of the Fuji X100, which is so slow, unreliable, and buggy ("quirky," if you insist) that I rarely use it for anything other than the most casual photography. My XE-1 isn't as retro, is much faster and reliable, but due to its lack of a tiltable viewfinder or articulating real LCD lack the flexibility of the GX7. Or even of my aging Olympus EP3.

The best thing about retro style cameras for me are if they have dials for shutter speed and f-stop so that I don't need to squint through the viewfinder to see my settings. Other than that, it's all about their looks.

Having said all that though, I still think the easiest cameras for me to use are my Nikons D70/D300. And I have never thought either of them were ugly either.

Oh, and I have to add, there is one series of retro-style cameras that I have never, ever liked---the Olympus OM-Ds

The original OM, the OM-1, was my first SLR from just after high school. It was my first real "love" among cameras, and the new versions are just imitations to me. They sorta look like the old OMs, but obviously aren't, even from a distance. No doubt they are very good cameras, but they look like they are trying to be something they are not.

I may have to buy one in the future to disabuse myself of such thinking.

You know those tiny images of all the camera models in DPR under Cameras>Camera Hub>Browse All Cameras? After reading your article, Mike I asked my daughter to scan through the DPR 'tiny camera parade' and pick out the most attractive. Unbelievably, it only took her a few seconds to single out the Fuji X-T20!!! How do you like that Mike? Although I should point out that she was looking at it in black. The silver one she said, "Not so much". Did not care for the PEN-F.

@Kenneth Tanaka. Thanks for that ... but no thanks, the Waist-Level Finder for the Phase One costs about $800 so the camera would have to come free for me to afford that ;-) . I guess I should have specified a price range.

As far as I can see what is meant about the Leica, Nikon Df, Fuji, and Olympus cameras when they are called retro is the case colors, some of the lines of the case, and the color/shape of the external controls. So far I haven't seen any that have non-functional external controls, etc. that are meant just for looks, but serve no other purpose. On my Olympus cameras all the knobs, buttons, control wheels, etc. do something and do something important -- just as my Sony and Canon cameras. So, what does retro styling really mean? What makes many current cameras which look like 32 years old film cameras not retro, but cameras that look like 33 years old film cameras retro?

In the same way, the pen I used to sign a paper yesterday is pretty darn retro. It looks and works almost exactly the same as pens I used 40 years ago. Retro! :) Or maybe the designers a long time ago decided that a long cylindrical object with a pointy thing at one end that makes marks on paper was just a pretty good design as a handwriting instrument so we are still mostly using that design. :)

Since almost every camera sold today (other than phones) looks similar to old film cameras and for people who don't like those retro looks then I suggest forgetting about Olympus, Panasonic, Sony, Canon, Nikon, Fuji, and Pentax. If you want something that doesn't look retro go for the Sigma Quattro dp2, Sony QX1, Olympus Air 01, or other very un-retro looking camera designs.

Some years ago cameras such as the Sony F707 and F828, Minolta D7i, Nikon 990, and a few others had new designs, but these days almost all digital cameras are retro styling. For whatever reason the companies have almost all returned to designs from decades ago. Tried and true?

Sigma Quattro dp2

Wow, the Fuji XT 20 just reminds me of how cheap and ugly, though usable and effective, their cameras of the early 1970s were. You know, the Fuji 701 and 801. And they looked cheap like Mamiya TL and DTL cameras. Maybe just before your time? They were cheap and questionable. We didn't know they were bad, we just didn't think they were good enough.

We have very different ideas of what Retro should look like.

And very different ideas of design and images in general.

I really don't like Ives designs other than that they made me a lot of paper profits on APPL stock.

But white plastic Chiclets? No thanks, almost as bad as Chris Bangle, and I do own and drive a BMW, don't like how it looks though.

Olympus has been doing retro for probably longer than anyone, long before digital. The O-Product, designed by Naoki Sakai in 1988, is the first example I'm aware of https://massmadesoul.com/olympus-o-product

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