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Sunday, 19 February 2017


It's pretty hard choosing just one camera, but the Mamiya 6 with all three lenses remains my favorite overall. I just spent the weekend flaneuring in the strangely too warm winter weather in the city, and enjoying the opportunity to give it a workout. I love the quiet 'snick' of the leaf shutter and the wonderfully simple controls.

When the camera is collapsed, I can fit the entire system with spare film in a pretty small camera bag that barely fits one mid-sized DSLR and lens. It's the only camera I've ever bought a second body just as a backup...

I wanted to show off with a photo of some cute film camera like this one:


But honestly, I have never used it.

This one on the other hand, has seen some action; it's a Nikon FM2 that I inherited from my wife's dad, together with a bunch of nice old manual lenses like the 50/1.4 you see pictured here, a 28mm f/2.8 Ai that I use a lot on my modern Nikon -- a D600 --, and a couple of longer lenses that while small and well built I just can't use effectively (200mm f/4 Ai and a 70-150 zoom which I think is a lens that Galen Rowell used or anyway mentioned somewhere):


Sorry for the digression on old Nikon lenses.

Anyway, this is the camera that I'm currently in love with, it's also a vintage camera but in a different way; a Fuji XPro-1 bought a few months ago for very little money and that I have written about in my little blog:



Alessandro // aadm

M3 FrankenLeica
M3 + parts of an M2 and M4

My favorite is my current daily camera, a Leica D-LUX (Typ 109). M43 sensor, great mini-Summilux, and small, light, and rugged. It served me well on two recent trips (to China and Cuba) where I brought my Nikon D600 but ended up using the baby Leica instead. Below that photo is its predecessor, my Leica D-LUX 3 from 2008.

Leica D-LUX (Typ 109)

Leica D-LUX 3

I just love this camera. I have others that I've gotten more keepers with, some with more sentimental value, clearly some which are just better tools but this one I love. To hold it, look through it, hear the shutter, wind the film...

That lens (Voigtlander 35mm f2.5) is a beauty as well. I normally push Tri-X considerably and stand develop with Rodinal so f2.8 and 1/30 will get you surprisingly far.


The Minolta XD-11 with its bright viewfinder and great sounding shutter is my favorite. Unfortunately, with the advent of digital, it hasn't been getting much use although the small "herd" of Rokkors are fun on the Sony Alpha 7.

Your first love is often your favorite. My 16th birthday present and what I learned photography with.


May I suggest we now see the favourite picture everyone has taken with their favourite camera?

Pentax K-30 & K-50(pictured). I've been shooting with the former for 4 years now. I upgraded from a Pentax *ist DL - a 1st gen 6mp DSLR. I've done ski resort photography, sportscar races, nightlife, astrophotography, you name it, these little DSLRs are troopers. Before these I shot with a D70 & Sony F828, but I only love the Pentax cameras - The ergonomics, the build quality, the surprising capabilities (google "Astrotracer"). They do have their quirks... AF isn't the greatest and someday the aperture linkage on the camera will fail (Except for the very newest lenses, Pentax lenses still rely on the body to manually close the aperture). But mostly, these cameras are workhorses. And I can use my Great Grandfather's 50+ year old Super Takumar lenses on them, which is brilliant.

As a journalist I've always had people around me who are really good. I only shoot as a hobby, documenting trips, and because it's nice having pictures on the wall. The Canon Powershot G11 was nearly perfect for this, and then I fell in love with the Fujifilm X-E1. (On the picture it's decked out with cheap Hongkong extras, and i was decked out with a Tsingtao.)

My second favourite would be the Praktica SuperTL 1000 loaded with Fortepan. That's the machine, that taught me to think before I shoot.

Mike, I didn't include my favorite camera because I am trading it in tomorrow on a new model. It is the Fuji X100s which I am trading on the new F. I have had the S for 2+ years and take it everywhere I go. I am optimistic that the new F will be as good and as loved as the S.
My main comment is that there are very few DSLR that are loved as much as small-portable cameras. Maybe it is just that your readership loves the small cameras rather than the larger ones or the smaller cameras are just with us all more often. Interesting question and topic for a future article. Great post. All the best. Eric

My parents bought me this particular Yashica-Mat camera for my 15th birthday in 1989. It was my first camera that I didn't inherit from my mother. Even though it was a gift, it was my own and I loved it. I never once think, "It's not a Rollei." Now, almost 30 years later, whenever take it out for a spin I can still get that teenage feeling.

I don't have access to it right now, but I think this has to be my favourite camera - the Noblex 150 Pro U. Here is a link to a picture of it (not mine):


I've used many pano cameras such as Widelux, Horizon, Horizont and Roundshot, let alone regular ones from Minox to 8x10, but the Noblex just worked wonderfully and for a number of years I travelled everywhere with it, from the Himalayas to Europe and Africa when I wasn't using it for work, where it paid for itself many times over.

6x9 folding Kodak and a couple more:

It's far from perfect and would love an SL2 (ain't happening) but I've shot portraits, the Blue Angels, flowers, cars at 120 on a dirt track, macro, ultra wide, astrophotography, etc etc. with this.

Hey Mike ... I'm sure you're going to provide a summary count of the various camera models shown here! It's nice to see a 2nd Minolta XE-7 (called the XE-1 outside of the U.S.?) and other cameras I have owned over the years, specifically the Olympus XA2 tiny rangefinder (for me, too hard to focus) and the Olympus Stylus Epic (yes, epic(!), but my XE-7 will always have a special place in my heart).

While flying from Okinawa to the Philippines in 1971, I used the cockpit mirror of an F4 Phantom to record my first self portrait with a brand new Nikkormat.


A tip to link to Smugmug in these comments: Click the share button, then pick the right sharing size (small if horizontal, up to large if vertical). Then you choose "html" instead of the direct link. Copy and paste the code into your comment. This will put a nice copy of your photo here that links back to your gallery. Be sure to test it out by choosing "preview" before posting.

My original X100 (with any luck the Flickr link will work)

[It didn't. Here's the plain link. --Mike]


I loved this tiny tiny Rollei A110 so much I bought two of them when they failed to sell well enough and the price dropped. I should have bought enough film so I could still use it. Thanks to Lomography, I can.

I have both the 8x10 and 5x7 versions of the Agfa-Ansco view. The 5x7 is actually my favorite, for convenience, but this shot explains why I have the attachment to the line. Left is me in 1966 at the studio where I worked in high school, right in 2016.

[Great illustration! Thanks! --Mike]

This FED-2: My first effort at replacing shutter curtains and repainting a camera. But for actually getting stuff done, I'll stick with my Sony A7 thank you very much.

Hi Mike,

Late to the party, as usual.

Nowhere as pretty as that Graflex, but this Linhof Tech IV is still a lot of fun. Seen here with a Rodenstock Sironar-N 150mm on the gorgeous Ries tripod and head.

[Sorry Kent, your picture link was a fail--I can't make it work at all. Are you sure there's public access to it? Sorry I couldn't help. --Mike]

This is my Polaroid Model 100, the first Polaroid that used pack film. The picture shows it with the Portrait Lens Kit that included a very nice, glass portrait lens and a special viewfinder that fitted onto the rangefinder. On the strap of course is the timer so pictures are processed correctly. I included two sample photographs taken with it. This camera changed my life.


So awesome, thanks everyone for sharing! (My personal favorite I'd contribute if I had time is the Panny LX-1.)

My favorite camera of past to present is the pentacon six with the kiev ttl view finder. One just like this:

Mike, I also read about the new old maxmax monochrome only converted fuji pro and thought it could be your next favorite.



A Cambo Wide DS with the Schneider Super Angulon 72mm 5.6. Its fantastic for architecture and grand landscapes. Every time I walk out with it I feel I am going out to create art.

The Wide DS is a minimalist piece of precision CNC-machined metal art, and was introduced in 2001 to make use of Schneider's ground-breaking series of Super Angulon XL (eXtra Large image circle) wide angle lenses, introduced from 1994-95.

The SA XL 72mm lens in particular is a design tour de force. Its focal length is nominally equivalent to 19mm in 35mm format but its huge image circle means it can capture much larger structures at close range than an ordinary camera and 19mm lens can, and still keep the verticals vertical.

The first time I used this camera I was totally hooked. The experience is still unlike anything I had known from my previous 35 years of 35mm and medium format photography.

Thank you very much for publishing my comment despite the fact that I failed the test of editing a picture to be TOP-compatible!

Thanks for your comment beneath too! I was unbelievably lucky to find the surveying and mapping profession.

I do have another love in this contest -- God's own point N shoot, the Hasselblad Superwide. No one seems to want to mention Hassies. I got this SWC/M after long admiring what Lee Friedlander does with his. It has acquired a 48x36 mm digital back from Phase One which is the last and biggest of the CCD MFD backs, so it is getting used fairly often these days. Hasselblad has a CMOS back for these with less area and more pixels, which doesn't require the cable to wake it up for each shot. Pictures are not square any more, but by taking two shots in landscape orientation, one above another, and mosaicing, that can be overcome.

full sized: http://www.pbase.com/skirkp/image/165004890/original.jpg


No picture, I'm afraid, but Lawrence Plummer hit close to the spot with his OM1 pic with a wide angle as standard.

But why the f2.8 24mm, Lawrence? I always thought it a bit of an average lens. My standard was the f2 28mm -- a real jewel, backed up by three other jewels, the f3.5 21mm, the f2 85mm, and the f4 200mm. What an outfit.

Today's favorite is the Panasonic GX7 for which I am about to buy the Leica f2.8-4 12-60mm lens to replace the top performing (but not quite long enough) Lumix f2.8 12-35.

Surprisingly few Canon and Nikon devices in the samples, did anyone run any analysis on the comments yet?

No love for Hasselblads? None at all? Not even X-Pan?
What about Mamiya 6 / 7? None too?

[You might have missed the second page of comments, where there is a Mamiya 6 and a Hassie. But if you did, then you will miss this reply too.... :-( --Mike]

Probably a bit late to the party, but I think my favourite camera was a Holga that I used while taking darkroom night classes about 10 years ago. Most of the enlargers were 35mm, but a few were set up for 120, and I loved printing those big negs. For some reason I bought the version with the flash, but of course the flash broke immediately. And I liked to tape up the sides once the film was loaded, as I didn't like light leaks. I did like the crummy lens though.


The first print I ever sold was made from a Holga neg. It was printed about 16x16" and looked lovely, better than here on the 'net


This is a tough choice, but I'm going to interpret favorite as "the camera I've had the most fun with." And with that in mind, I pick my Holga 120S with the full-sized Polaroid back: aka the Holgaroid.

Take the already odd-ball Holga with it's various light leaks and quirks and add the complexity of a diopter for the front lens and peel-apart Type 80 film. It was so much fun to use. I wish someone still made film for it.

Well, a few GF1s... which I also own :). My question is, how do I get a new battery for it ?

My favorite tends to be whatever I currently have. Every camera I have moved to over the years is the best camera ever. If this makes sense. My current favorite.

I own a LOT of Cameras, I get attached to them, so I almost never bother to sell them. My all time favorite camera was the Hasselblad 903 Superwide CF. It just never disappointed. I have the viewing screen back so I could precisely compose on a ground glass eother with the chimney hood, or metering prism.
The 38mm Biogon has this beautiful drawing ability that makes everything it renders look right. It's a true wide angle lens, but because it is not a retrofocus design it doesn't work well with digital backs. It is the one camera I miss using.

After three years I continue to take my Pentax K-01 with me almost every time I go out; an excellent cropped sensor in a compact body, mostly with the the very fine 43mm 1.9.

(I truly loved each one, and each one better than the previous one: manual: Canon Ftb -> Canon auto focus+exposure -> Pentax DSLR -> Pentax mirrorless.)

[[with it's various light leak]]

Oh the shame. I'm sorry for the its/it's typo there!

As I've been traveling for the past week I'm getting to this thread quite late. Geez, lots of "favorite" cameras! And so many were made so very long ago!

I own many cameras, some quite antiquated and lovely mechanical objects such as many shown here. Others are very contemporary and sophisticated. But if I had to pick a "favorite" in terms of the four key -abilities (capability, versatility, portability, and usability) here's my pick:

Yup, the Apple iPhone 7 Plus is my favorite all-'rounder, hands-down. Not only is it a "real" camera, it's TWO excellent real cameras with 28mm and 56mm prime lenses, switchable (and digitally meldable) without an iota of break in attention. Consider its other highlights.
- It’s compact enough to go everywhere.
- It’s more water/weather-resistant than ever. Some have even used it underwater.
- It’s also quite rugged.
- Its functionality and sophistication is determined largely by software.
- It can produce image quality that far exceeds any film emulsion across a vast range of light conditions. In fact, its image quality rivals that of several of my (dedicated) cameras.
- It’s about as inconspicuous as you can get as an overt photographic device. Few subjects will shy away from it.
- It automatically records more than you’re likely to ever need to know about each frame it shoots (i.e. full Exif plus very accurate GPS coordinates).
- Its communications capabilities are the gold standard.

I could write an entire essay of the merits of the iPhone 7 Plus camera. And I could provide plenty of examples of its capabilities. No, it cannot rival dedicated cameras for highly specialized jobs. But it sure can best most of the cameras above.

Of course the joy of photography is very much a blend of self-image and captured image. And the iPhone 7 Plus can’t beat the panache of a vintage Leica M, Ken James’s Graflex, or Mike’s Exacta 66. But to those willing to appear as unsophisticated snappers, and willing to devote some serious practice to its use, the iPhone 7 Plus offers a bounty of capabilities that could only be dreamed of just a few years ago.

The Gibellini 4x5. Rock solid. Modern interpretation of a classic concept. Armed with the incomparable Cooke PS945.

Regarding your "little tip to "find your place" in the Comments". If you are using Safari on iOS or Mac then adding the green date stamp to the Reading List is a quicker option and automatically puts TOP and the date as a title.

I had a Dacora Dignette as a teenager, that lived in my coat pocket until sand got in and killed it. I can't make the link work (probably because I'm too tired) but this is the nearest model I can find:
It might look familiar even though you might not have heard of it. That's because it was known as an Ilford Sportsman here.

Life has moved on, and I've just picked up a nice new Pentax K3. I was lucky to get it, as it was one of the last two or three in the shop. They were superseded by the K3ii a little while ago.

Here's mine in the category of film SLRs (and the only one I have a decent photo of):


It's a Nikon F3 with the non-HP finder and a 28/2.8 AI-S Nikkor, though I like the Zeiss 2/35 Distagon ZF.2 lens on it a lot too. Its film advance lever action feels lovely, I love its 100% finder, and its fat spot-ish meter works well despite all expectation.


Good of you to add links to those who couldn't post photos of their favorites. I see my earlier post could use a link, it's the post with this date/time stamp:

20 February 2017 7:20 AM

The link would be:


Thank you, Mike!

GM5 with X Vario 2.8/12-35mm. A joy without end!


This is the 5x7 camera hand-assembled by Keith Canham that I used to shoot all the large format photographs in Treasured Lands. I bought it in 1995 and although it is not my main camera anymore, I still plan to keep putting it to work as long as I live, and new national parks are created.

What I like about so many of these choices is that even when a camera was pretty much a turkey photographically speaking -- and was even frustrating to use -- it can still reflect a fifth key "-ability": enjoyability!

I've got a closet full of digital marvels, including three full-frame DSLRs, and I also always have in my pocket what is currently the top-rated smartphone/camera. When the final image is all that matters, I'll reach for a digital camera every time. They are, in every quantifiable metric, my "best" cameras and by far the easiest way to get reliably good photographs.

But we were charged with naming our "favorite" cameras, not our "best" ones, and the two often are not the same. None of my digital cameras has brought me as much enjoyment as have numerous cameras in my "film gear" closet, where all of my "favorites" reside -- warts and all.

The camera you do not own .... or the one you want to use more: Deardorff 8 x10; trust me on that.

(BTW, for flickr, you do share -> embedded and the cut-and-paste the bit code as told i.e. img and src= part bracketed. It seemed you can left other like width, height and alt etc. info there as well.)

favourite camera to TopP

Ok, a little late but here is mine. This was the OY/OC/OL for me.

My grandfather's Nikormat FTn. The lightmeter no longer works but it is still the nicest camera I've ever used. My Pen FT comes close, but this thing is beautiful.

[Zac, your link was blocked because of "adult content"!! --Mike]

You asked for it ;-)

A made-in-China TLR (Twin-Lens Reformed) that is compact, lightweight and quite unconspicuous.

Nobody emotionally attached to the Olympus OM cameras?

I have fond memories of my OM1, OM2 and OM4, and I used Olympuses for longer than any other brand. I have no picture of the cameras, but lots of memorable (to me) pictures made with them.

Interpreting your question as 'what was the camera that brought me the most pleasure at the time when I owned it?'

Aged 11, I thought this was the most fantastic thing I had ever owned.

As we're waxing nostalgic, this was my favourite (and only) camera three and a half decades ago...


The original Leica Monochrom is the camera I used the most, the one that gives me the maleable files and the best prints. The new model is probably better but can't afford it and I don't think I really need it. The lens pictured here is a Summicron 35 V2, circa 1969. A tiny lens, not so great wide open but very, very nice from f:2,8 to f:8.


Favourite camera? That would be this one:

A Fujifilm GA645Zi. It was my first successful step into larger than 24x36mm film and a complete joy to use. Perfect for vacation shots with very quick handling and precise focus. Winding is a bit on the noisy side but picture quality exceptional.

Today it is not the camera I use the most as I am fortunate enough to enjoy both a Mamiya 7 and more recently a Konica Hexar AF. It was the GA645Zi that set me on track towards larger formats and for this it has a special place in my photographic heart.

Like Christer Almqvist I'm surprised at the scarcity of Olympus OM cameras here. If indeed I can be said to understand anything about exposure, the seeds of enlightenment were certainly sown in learning to use the multi spot meter in the OM4 Ti. It was inspired product design and engineering by people who clearly understood what they wanted to achieve. In use it became second nature, but one always retained intimate connection with the process: something poignantly lost from the inscrutably clever automated processes available to us now.

I guess I have goofed somewhere. I will try this way:


I don't think I'd pick this as my only camera, but I'm always impressed by the quality and I like its quirkiness. Even Sigma Photo Pro, running on a three and a half year old i7 MacBook Air 11" isn't too bad - when I've set the exposure and fill light to my tastes, I find that I don't need to do any further editing.

Funny how we seem to be waiting for the perfect camera to be released, yet many of us have favourites which have one or several particular flaws. I guess the limitations of our equipment ultimately help us to become better photographers.

When I was little I SO WANTED one of those curved black and white Bakelite Brownie 127s - shown above by Tim Auger - which I saw at the beach. I must have mentioned it now and again, so when I was thirteen I was given a Brownie 44a ..not the same thing at all: a two-tone, angular, unlovely grey box.

But when I was 33 I found, and treated myself to, one of those beautiful curved black Brownies (..form following function: the curved film path at the back matching the light path of sharpest image from the very simple lens at the front..) and I've subsequently bought another two or three to cannibalise, matching the best lens to the best body.
I really, really LOVE them!

Can´t choose


Although, I am starting to master finally the G lense on the... Xperia Compact Z3

[It's almost embarrassing how many of the cameras on that poster I have used or reviewed. My best count is 20. --Mike, former Pentaxian]

Well, maybe not my favourite camera, but I took the train for nearly three hours from the small city Larvik to the big city Oslo, and bought the Nikon FG, in crome, since it had - new for Nikon - P(rogram) mode as one of the options. And that was alluring for me then. It was in the spring of 83. I nearly never used that P mode though. I cannot remember if I also bought a 50mm series e lens at the same time, but I think I did. Do not have it anymore, but it is a nice 50mm. The shop was called "Bislet foto", named after the sports stadium it resided by. It is long gone. The stadium is still there. I then saved up to a 35-105mm zoom which I payed for in two rounds. Big money for me at the time. I still have both the camera and the zoom. They still work as they have always done. Very fond memories of pictures and places and countries they traveled with me. Here are some pictures of it: https://www.google.no/search?hl=nb-NO&ie=UTF-8&source=android-browser&q=picture+of+the+nikon+fg&gfe_rd=cr&ei=dFqxWJKnFJGr8weKr6i4Dg&gws_rd=ssl

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