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Wednesday, 13 April 2022


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The humble Pentax MX. In both film and digital versions!

Nikon Coolpix 995. It was my first digital. It proved to me that digital "works" and so I moved on to a DSLR because Nikon didn't progress very far with the physical format of that Coolpix line. But it also proved to me that a digital camera isn't a film camera so it doesn't have to be limited by that form factor.

My M2 was probably my most fun camera. Something about having almost nothing in the way of tech was fun. Having said that, as soon as you start updating the tech any of the fun old cameras just become the modern cameras. An M11/12/13/whatever they’re on, is just an M2 with the tech updated, with all the associated strengths and annoyance. Having just sounded like a Luddite, if anyone want to give me an M-whatever to try and see if it’s fun, I’m all about having an open mind.

Leica M3 - no improvements needed, thank you.

A digital Contax that would take those crazy good G series lenses!

Mamiya 7 II with a digital sensor. No autofocus, nothing else changed.

Nikon F3HP with a 36MP sensor. I loved that big, clean viewfinder, and the the simple choice between M and aperture priority.

Contax Aria. Light but fully motorized, with a beautiful viewfinder: bright and big. For Zeiss lenses that will last forever :) oh boy, that was the first camera I've bought and literally had worn it out.

The original Leica (M9) Monochrom, with CCD sensor and same lowish 18 MP, but with the improved VF/RF, body refinements and build quality enhancements from the M10 platform.

If I still had a darkroom and shot film, there would be other candidates, including a modernized Leica R 6.2. But then I’d need to buy back, at substantially higher prices, long ago sold R lenses.

The larger fixed lens Fuji medium format cameras: 6x7, 6x9. Not sure what new tech should be included.

This will be fun.

My favorite 35mm film camera is the Contax G2. I feel lucky that the Fujifilm X-T2 is available. For me, it closely replicates the G2 shooting experience, so I no longer pine for a “digital G2” as I once did. Also, like the Contax, Fuji have some very nice compact primes that render nicely on the X-T2 sensor.

My guess is that many responders will name film cameras they loved that have no close digital counterparts. Btw, I’ve tried to go back to film on a couple of occasions, but found it’s just not for me. The quality and ease of digital is now just too good.

An updated Ricoh GXR is my choice. My GXR, bought new, has served me well for more than a decade. It's easy to use and has two superb optics: 28mm and 50mm. Longer battery life, an improved electronic viewfinder, and the sensor used in the Ricoh GR III and GRx III would be welcome.

Contax 139 Quartz, with a couple of T* lenses. I have a Yashica FX-D, as you know, a little brother to the Contax.

There are lots of cameras I wished they would re-introduce but never will.

Off the top of my head, I would say the Agfa Super Isolette. It's a 6x6 folding rangefinder with an exceptionally nice lens.

The reason why I mention it is that this afternoon I was looking at negs taken with one these cameras on a trip to Naples and the image quality was noticeably good. Better than the stuff taken with Super Ikontas and Rolleis....

Of course, you can buy the original versions but there can be issues with them. One is the loading mechanism which was designed for thicker backed roll film and with modern films you can suffer with over-lapping frames. Another problem is the passage of time taking its toll on the viewfinder and the lens coating. A lot of lenses from the 50s and 60s have this issue.

The closest modern camera to this is the Bessa III AKA Fuji GF670. They've stopped making them and second hand prices are bonkers.

Mind you, it's difficult to talk about film cameras given Fuji's recent 60% hike in prices. Yikes.

The Kodak Signet 35. Upgrades would be a better (faster) shutter, an accessory shoe, a PC terminal instead of an ASA bayonet, and a bigger viewfinder. But mostly because it would mean Kodak was still behind film and we would have lots of plentiful inexpensive film stocks.

Kodak Signet 35

Hasselblad 500CM, my desert island camera in the film era. It was so totally modular; a box to which one could attach a lens and a back, with dark slides too. It could be a pain to load the film but I dearly loved that machine. I thought about keeping mine to run an occasional roll through and then scan, but the overwhelming convenience and quality of the digital process crushed that idea and I sold it, boo hoo.

The first choice would be an updated Pentax 645N (strengthen the dials and reinforce the battery holder) and the second would be a set of Fuji 6x9 rangefinders - GW690 and GSW690 (improve the focus patch and the film door opening mechanism).

Remanufacture an old camera? Nope. Occasionally I wonder what a digital Rolleiflex TLR would be like to use. But I have absolutely zero nostalgia for any old camera equipment. The equipment I have far exceeds my expectations, needs, or skills. There were no good ol’ days of film for me.

[I didn't say anything about film, Ken--"Any era, any type." Besides, you have it easy--you're a color photographer, and digital does color better than film ever could. I'm a B&W photographer, and, with few exceptions that prove the rule, they don't even make digital cameras for me. --Mike]

A true sucessor of the Panasonic GX8: with the new shutter mechanism, with the G9 IBIS, a bit better eye-relief on the EVF and the new sensor of the GH6.

Just yesterday I've been playing with some GH6 sample RAW files downloaded from the review sites (Adobe just released an update to support the GH6), and I have to say I think they're the best quality files from a micro-four-thirds camera yet.

From my memory anyway, the Leica CL film camera would be my pick. The 40 and 90 lenses were spectacular, fitting perfectly the very modest rangefinder format. Needs a little improvement in the metering system especially in the little semaphore flag concept, but otherwise good to go. Yes, Leica jewelry.....

Kodak IIIc..no need for the "BIG C" as the lenses were TOOOO large. Improve the shutter actuation lever TOOOO fragile.
Nikon 28Ti..no improvements necessary. Best compact AF 28mm fixed camera I ever owned, especially for B&W.

Olympus Stylus Epic

Hasselblad X-Pan, digital this time.

Olympus E-M10 mk2 : simple and affordable, but with a very high level of customization that disappeared in the next iterations, and a few cool gadgets (night vision live view among others, with the very poetical name of 'Live view boost On2').
I wouldn't object to a 20MP sensor, but prefer a very clean dark frame (readout noise) to the phase AF.

Simple swing-lens panoramic camera, like Horizon 202.

Probably technically complex enough to be totally unviable commercially.

A digital version of a Mamiya 6 with a zoom lens. Better yet if it was a folding design, again with a zoom.

I will gladly go a new Rollei 2,8 twin lens. With a meter inside the camera.

Actually, it's the wonderfully small 'full frame' prime lenses that I wish could be brought back with updated innards, including AF. The Canon 50mm f1.4 FD was small as was the 35mm f2, both which are still with me.

As for a camera, my favorite was the hockey puck mechanical Canon F-1, but an electronic, AF version would not be the same.

Leica M6 with a 30-MP monochrome digital sensor, settable ISO, and a card slot — and no other changes (no screen, no modes, no nuttin’).

Nikon F100

Updates: Metal film door and metal rewind clutch like the F5; 100% viewfinder coverage.

Yes, the F6 exists, but it's too big and uses the less ubiquitous CR123 batteries. It would be awesome to use a pair of these as a pro-rig alongside a D780 or similar.

Konica Hexar AF, with a stabilized digital sensor

Pentax MX, 20-30 mega pixel sensor and hand grip. PASM dial with a secondary EV/iso dial.

Rolleiflex TLR (in f3.5 and f2.8). Any era would be fine. I have a Rolleiflex Standard f3.8 (circa 1932) that still works, with amazing sharpness at the right aperture and a great conversation starter.

"...And it could have updates (technology, mechanics, build quality, cosmetics) if you want..."

I was disappointed that Nikon did not continue their template of making a pro model and then making a prosumer version with the same processor and sensor in both like they did with the D3 and D700.

I wish they made a prosumer version of the D4. 16mp, outstanding noise rendering in a body that mirrors the D700. I'd have bought two and been set for life. This is the model Nikon should have made instead of the overpriced Df. I wanted that D4 sensor so bad but I couldn't spend two grand plus on the plastic Df.

Nikon FM-3A. All the convenience of electronics, all the reliability of all-manual operation without a battery, simple controls, huge range of compatible lenses including a bunch of really excellent ones, a highly accurate exposure meter, small, light, and tough.

It's like the National Geographic Signature Pro edition of the Pentax K-1000. If you shoot film, it can be a starter camera that will last you an entire lifetime and a whole career.

Olympus OM-1n, with a 35mm "full frame" sensor in it. No autofocus. No continuous shooting. No automation whatsoever.

Best, Thomas

Olympus A1, that is all, thanks, J

Canon AE1, no upgrades, just brand spanking new.

An Alpa 12SW/A, still produced, but with modifications. 6x12 capability, better interchangeable rotating digital backs, and film back capable of 35mm-6x12, more lenses by Angieneux, Schneider, and Rodenstock, planar shutter like Alpa 12 FPS, and other shutter capability, interchangeable plate lens mount for analogue cameras, medium/large format lenses mount(s) capable, waist lever view finder with prism, and Rangefinder viewfinder with through lens prism, and of course an advanced light metering system, and more. I designed such a modular medium format but like most disabled people I don’t have the resources.

Minolta CLE, but digital.

Leica M2. No improvements needed.

Leica M3 body, with M9 metering and its 18Mp sensor, minus the winder of course but with M9 battery, with the silent shutter of an M11, priced at about $3K.

Hassleblad X-Pan. I bought one around 1999 and sold it a few years later. I have regretted it ever since.

I recently bought an Agfa Isolette folding 120 camera and it's pretty great for what it is and what it is not. It was made in a time when it was fairly normal for amateur photographers to work with 120 (or 620) film. The one I have, the 'L', was the last Isolette model and very likely among the very last of its kind, the non-professional MF camera (excluding Holgas and the like). When it was new it sold for something like the equivalent of $500-800 in today's $. Folders that came later, whether made by Plaubel or Fuji, were much more expensive products. I'd love to see a revived and modernized 120 folder. I would give it a light meter, but keep it with scale focus to keep the price down. One of the nice features of the Isolette L is that it has an unusual mask built into the back that allows you to take 60mm x 24mm shots. It's a slightly clunky experience, but it's cool because you can take nice panoramas. I'd build this into the modern camera as well, but with a better implementation.

Leica M3 with mechanical rangefinder and shutter release and digital sensor that doesn’t cost more than a new car.

Easy, I want a Contax G series with a digital sensor and better viewfinder.

How about a Minolta CLE with the sensor from, say, a Z6.Full frame, auto & manual exposure, manual focus, in a compact package. The M mount is fine and I have the 40mm F2 M-Rokkor that would live on it!

Well, my hands remember my Canon AE-1, while my wife would probably like a digital version of her Nikon F2.

But, I'm pretty comfortable with my GX-8.

Contax G2

Contax G2.

Canon 5D mk v

The Hasselblad Xpan II / Fujifilm TX-2 would be my choice to revived. I love the cinematic 2.70:1 aspect ratio of that camera. It is a lot like Cinerama and Cinemascope and every since I was a kid I have loved that widescreen look.

It would be sweet if Fuji made a digital Xpan too

For me it would be an early G series Lumix camera, G1 through G6. I think Panasonic hit the mark with those early m4/3 cameras, especially in terms of size and weight. I never did like the sensors, Oly was better, but the cameras resonated with me.

The one camera that I wish I had never sold was a Deardorff 5x7 field camera with an additional/accessory 4x5 reducing back. Such a sweetly designed little rig! Just about perfect for what it was. I still have a Wisner 5x7, which I haven't used in an embarrassing number of years, but the Deardorff just hit a sweet spot on weight, rigidity, and ease of use.

Runner up would be a Leica M5. Ugly to the eye, but beautiful in the hand.

So those would be my votes for resurrected tech. There was a moment in the middle of the last century when these were carefully made by hand, and I think that showed through in the photographer's experience.

Hasselblad Xpan, if only to have used ones come back down out of the stratosphere

Olympus OM2N just as it was, I would be happy to stay with the manual focusing and match needle exposure. I think I would prefer a digital back however as I don't want to go back to all that messy and time consuming wet processing.

I wish Ebony large format cameras were still made.

The new version would be similar to an ALPA Max with independent vertical and horizontal shifts for digital back panorama making. You could shoot 4x5 or 120 film when you wanted to, and it would have an outer cosmetic shell that fits in with the old Ebony camera look. Cambo makes something a little similar (I shoot a Cambo Wide), but cosmetically it does not come close to the beauty of an Ebony 4x5 camera.

The Nikon FM3a is the ultimate 35mm SLR. The Rolleiflex 3.5F / 2.8F is the ultimate 6x6. Having both would ensure continuing happiness of film shooters.

OK, you can add the Hasselblad 500 c/m, but only if you redo the whole system!

The Leica is the ultimate rangefinder, but it appears the MP is still in production, so that doesn't count. As for LF, there are still excellent cameras being made.

A follow up to the Fuji X30 compact digital camera. I'd love an X40 with an APS-C sensor. The X30 was a perfect carry-around little camera with a great 28-112 (eq.) f2-2.8 lens. Zooming of the lens was done by hand, not with motors (which I dislike). But the sensor was too small.

A digital version of the Pentax LX would not be amiss -- a fullframe hi-res sensor on a small body, kind of an interchangeable-lens Leica Q2.

Olympus OM-1 gets my vote. Small, simple jewel of a camera yet solid (I've dropped a few in my day)

Contax 645 with interchangeable digital and film back

As much as I would love a new, digital Brownie Hawkeye, but that's an iPhone now - how I wish the Contax G series had made the jump to mirrorless digital - it would have been amazing.

Pentax ME Super.

Minolta XM with AF and matrix metering.

The digital equivalent of any square or vertical format roll film reflex leaf shutter camera would be fine by me.
A 500cm Hasslablad or a Yashica Matt 124 would be fine.
A digital Minolta autocord would be absolutely fabulous.

Actually what I really miss is some film for the cameras that I already have. Some Polaroid 655 for my RB Graflex, Kodachrome in 120 (anybody remember Colorworks in New York City when they were processing 120 Kodachrome?), 620 verachrome pan for my medalist II, 70 mm panatomic X aerographic film for my 70 mm Graphic.

Fujifilm s5 pro, upgraded to full frame, modernized sensor, mild or no moire filter. I gave the s3 with the weaker filter. It’s still fun to use!

actually, it is a camera that was jusr discontinued -- the Fuji GFX R. The Fuji lenses are wonderful, I love the rangefinder like feel, and love that key functions such as EV Comp, shutter speed, and aperture are easily accessible with no menus -- I am old and grew up on leica and nikon cameras.

Nikon SP. No changes except slamming a sensor inside rather than a place for film.

The Rolleiflex T (with the Tessar f 3.5 75 mm, if I remember correctly), with a sensor replacing the 120 film (12 exposures of 6x6 cm each), and an integrated lightmeter. Come to think of it, there was also a smaller twin lens Rollei, which used the smaller/narrower 127 film (12 exposures of 4x4 cm), of which the negatives were regarded rather tiny, but which as a sensor size would of course more than suffice.
As an aside, I have always felt that one secret of Vivian Maier’s photographs was her use of the twin lens reflex, as it enables you to have direct eye contact with the person you want to take a picture of - first you look down at the viewfinder, then you look straight at your subject, waiting for the right moment. The subject, on its turn, looks at a human being instead of at an apparatus, and therefore looks more natural her-/himself.

A digital Olympus XA would be a dream, especially if it were a hair larger and grippier.

Rollei 2.8f or just a digital back for the one I have.

That’s so easy to answer, I’ll give you THREE.

1. Widelux - The first camera that I grab if I’m ever forced to flee my burning condo. Sure, mine still works perfectly. But for how much longer? Bonus points for updating the design to ensure ones fingers never encroach into the frame.

2. Minolta TC-1 - The camera that I don’t have to grab if I’m ever forced to flee my burning condo (since it’s probably already in my pocket). Sure, mine *almost* works perfectly, except that f/3.5 is a goner, making it a sunny day machine. But how much longer ’til f/5.6 suffers the same fate? Probably the best of the 'luxury' compacts of the 1990s... but it's a Sword of Damocles in a tiny titanium package.

3. Any half frame - The cameras I won’t grab if I’m ever forced to flee my burning condo (since they’re crazy cheap). Sadly, most of mine no longer work since they were all built out of paper mâché and chewing gum some 50 years ago to appease cheapskates (like me). But I love them dearly. And sure, I can keep replacing them, but how long ’til they’re finally all extinct? Paper mâché doesn't last forever.

A digital version of the Olympus OM 3 Ti in black chrome as the original. The originals, if you can find one, still fetch a price 4x the cost of a new one. Fabulous camera.

Nikon F801 (N8008) but with a digital sensor and LCD back. Best handling camera I ever owned.

Nikon D40 with 24mp CCD sensor.

Pentax 67! My old workhorse still functions, but it would be nice to be able to work with it in the digital age. I don't mind having to carry around with the beautiful lenses all the time. I would ask myself what lenses are needed for any job and then carry them in my backpack. It would also be very nice if the flash sync could be adjusted to a more workable shutter speed.

Rolleiflex SL66, but with digital back.
Full line of Hasselblad-equivalent ZEISS lenses on a long-throw and tilting focusing rail: the perfect medium-format view camera for macro, landscape, portraits and art

OM-1, Rolleiflex TLR ( Planar or Xenotar ). No improvements needed

I don’t need entire cameras. Replacement parts would be enough. =)

My daydream camera of the moment is the Pixii with a full frame sensor and low magnification viewfinder (28/35/40/50).

Just keep making the Nikon D500 and one or two full-frame Nikon DSLRs. I have no interest in past cameras - only in keeping the current models with optical viewfinders. EVF hurts my eyes and I want to keep enjoying photography without worrying about my DSLRs giving up the ghost.

Being a Confirmed Contrarian, I vote for a Folmer and Schwing 12x20inch and a Korona 7x17inch view camera

More seriously - Sony NEX - update the menu system and absolutely keep the super small form-factor. For Bonus Points, drop a full frame sensor into it.

A digital Pentax 6x7. Please keep the shutter loud. 40 mp would be fine.

Olympus Pen.
Olympus Trip.

The two most perfectest cameras that were ever ever.

My daughter adores them (she's 25). And I'm no different.

Contax II or III. Why? It was the first quality camera I had. From 1956.

Fuji GX680, with a full sized 6x8 sensor digital back. Hands down the best portrait camera ever made.

The Panasonic GM5.

I bought a used one recently and I love it but apparently they have a common issue which is contamination under the sensor glass. Mine had it and cost £175 to be professionally disassembled and cleaned. If they'd make a new one with an updated senor or even just the same one but with better control over manufacturing I'd buy one immediately.

Since I got it I've used it with 20mm f1.7 but I did buy a 14mm f2.5 too. I'll use it one day. It's just a lovely thing and give image quality that not only beats anything I got from 35mm film but also beats the big fat Canon DSLR's I had including the 5D for noise and shadow recovery.

I love it.


Tough one, with lots of interesting comments.

As others have already stated, it would be good to see Nikon continue with the Nikon 1 series, including fixed aperture zooms, more primes & revised AW1 body.

A revamp of the FM2n/FM3a would be fun.

My Nikon 35mm franken-camera would be:
- the form factor of FM2n/FM3a, esp. manual focus
- Z-type BSI sensor (24MP, I don’t need ultimate resolution) with IBIS, and touch rear LCD
- ideally, combined OVF/EVF
- for bonus points, shutter-less sensor

In short, gimme manual focus, with the techno-wizardry of digital focusing assistance. It’s a bit like a D780 with simplified controls (esp no video, as per an earlier blog) and enhanced technomological innards, with allowance for some menu-controlled features. The hard part would be avoiding the Jekyll & Hyde personality of the Df.

Extra bonus points would allow for changeable mount, to take manual focus lenses from almost any 35mm system. That idea was inspired by this Kickstarter campaign - https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/reflexcamera/reflex-bringing-back-the-analogue-slr-camera
Declaration of disinterest - I’m not an investor, and I have no other interest or connection to this campaign.

And for larger format, how would a Pentax 6x7 digital body fly these days?

Way late thanks to my net being down.

But give me a new Zeiss Contessa just modernize the meter.

Yes, I was thinking about very good camera models from the analog era as for the digital actual period but among about all those sentimental choices (Nikon F3 HP, Leica M6, Canon A-1, Olympus OM-2, etc), I came eventually to the conclusion that the Panasonic Lumix G85 should be my favorite among others even if I am now working with the updated G95 version.
So many cameras and so few money left!

Sony F707 (or the F717, though I liked the F707 more). The folding design, that decoupled the lens from the back of the camera, was brilliant. It had some features such as night vision that are not on modern cameras. And if it were updated to modern standards such as 24MP, eye focus detection, etc, it would be droolworthy!

Digital version of the Pentax MX with no video.


Another vote for a reboot of the Epson RD-1, but with a modern full-frame sensor. I'd want them to keep the dials for battery charge and memory use, and the manual shutter that has to be cocked after each shot, making the original RD-1 the only digital camera you had to 'wind on' each time like a film camera.

Widelux 35mm or perhaps it's big brother the Noblex 6x12.

Olympus Pen F half frame, with a hi-tech bright contrasty interchangeable screen. And while we are dreaming, a selection of 5 or 6 small moderate speed primes from 14mm to 100mm.

Another vote for digital XPan. (I had the Fuji version).

That was my last film camera, and if I didn't think digital was a thousand times better in every way, I'd miss it.

I always thought that Olympus could have revived my favorite pocket camera, the Stylus Epic, in digital form. Same shape and lens cover. Perhaps one added button and a rocker switch for exposure compensation. And the same 3 axis stabilizer they managed to make for tiny cameras like the EPM1. Sharp little lens like the classic, but with a 4/3 or ASPC sensor. It would be a competitor to the GR series, but more of a point and shoot.

Minox 35 GT. I loved that camera. In my memory it had a Zeiss lens. I lost it during my move from Europe to the USA.

At first I was tempted to say a Nikon D700 with updated electronic gadgetry but, fact is, that camera is already perfect--12mp and all. As long as there are used models available, no need for another. Can't improve on perfection. IMO, of course.

Like some others, I would love to see a digital Rolleflex TLR with a reasonable megapixel square sensor.

Deardorf 5x7 with a digital back

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