Let’s Roast – We Pick Our Most Hated Cameras

Get ready for some grumpy, burnt out bitching about camera stuff from writers who possibly spend a bit too much time shooting them. You’re still here? Wow. Well, let’s do it.

In our Desert Island Cameras series, I ask the guys here at CP to write a bit about their absolute favorite camera from a given brand. We’ve picked the crème de la crème from brands like Nikon, Minolta, and more.

Today we’re doing something different; instead, we’ve picked our least favorite cameras. The ones that really get our goats. The cameras that annoy us to death even as everybody else seems to love them. Here are the cameras that leave us scratching our heads and wondering why.


Jeb’s Pick – Olympus Mju II

I was only a few rolls into my $15 Mju when I started to feel pangs of regret. The photos looked good, but not amazing. Later, I spent just $10 on the Infinity Zoom, the zoomy version of the same camera, and strutted the streets feeling a bit better. That is, until I noticed the looks of disgust leveled at the sight of my beautiful Mju with its comically long zoom lens protruding from the legendarily slim frame. Plus, the pictures still weren’t amazing. Why had I heard so many amazing things about these Olympus compacts?

Then it hit me. What I needed was a Mju II. And to get one I’d only have to spend ten times the amount of money as I spent on the oldie. For $200 (or more) I’d gain one stop on my maximum aperture and that sweet, sweet fixed lens. Finally I’d be able to take decent photos! More importantly, I’d be able to spend my time doing what really matters; taking Instagram photos of my new Mju II placed neatly next to a lit cigarette, cup of coffee and the Sunday Times. If I’m really feeling it, some avocado toast.

Like with most things everyone seems to universally love (The Beatles), I’m somehow inclined to recoil from the Mju II and the hype surrounding it. I’m not quite willing to spend hundreds of dollars on one in great condition, and yes, I might roll my eyes at people that do. Seriously, this point-and-shoot revival is getting out of control. These aren’t mechanical tanks that could theoretically last forever, or at least be repaired if they do break. These point-and-shoots are bound to start breaking, and when this tech fails, good luck finding a Mju specialist. And let’s be honest, the photos they make aren’t that special.

Did we learn nothing from 2008? We’re in a point-and-shoot bubble, people, and the Mju II has Lehmann Brothers written all over it!


Josh’s Pick – Canon AE-1

Sure, the Canon AE-1 might be the most popular 35mm camera in the world and one that’s introduced countless folk to the wonders of film photography. That’s great. But it doesn’t stop me from hating its guts.

Part of my repulsion comes from just how popular it is. Everywhere you go it’s AE-1, AE-1, AE-1. Find a cool camera at the thrift store? It’s probably an AE-1. Googling for the best 35mm camera for beginners? Oh look, it’s the AE-1. Poke the Instagram hashtag for 35mm film? Guess who. Spend long enough doing what we do here at CP and you might understand how we could get tired of this camera.

But all that over-saturation could be forgiven if the AE-1 lived up to its reputation as one of the best inexpensive cameras for beginners, but it doesn’t. Not only is the AE-1 a bad choice for beginners, but for the money the AE-1 commands there are many other, better cameras to choose.

Its choice of shutter priority over aperture priority auto-exposure is just silly. Aperture and depth-of-field are about the most important concepts in artistic photography, concepts novices sometimes find difficult to comprehend. It would make sense for an amateur camera to have an aperture priority auto-exposure mode to teach them these concepts, right? Right. Well Canon decided that wasn’t very important and stuck the AE-1 with shutter priority mode. What’s the difference? Think of it as art versus math, and Canon chose math.

Shooters who wish to practice manual exposure will find no quarter with the AE-1, and that’s because the AE-1’s manual override mode is absolutely dismal. Unlike almost every other camera with a light meter, the AE-1’s light meter display doesn’t tell you whether or not you’re over or underexposing; it only tells you what the recommended aperture is at your chosen shutter speed. No lights, no arrows, no needles, no nothing. Just a solitary black bar telling you that you better be at this aperture value, or else. Or. Else.

It doesn’t help that AE-1s have more issues than National Geographic. Battery doors are always broken, the electronics are fragile, and all of them eventually develop the dreaded Canon squeal that results in half-exposed shots if left unchecked. Every classic camera has quirks, but this one’s fussier than most.

To top it all off, the Canon AE-1 is overpriced. When an inferior camera consistently sells for more than its far superior, better looking, and more capable successor, something’s wrong. And if you look at all of the other cameras available at or below the AE-1’s price point you’ll find cameras much more suitable for beginners who wish to learn and grow with their cameras. There’s the Minolta X-700, XD-11, and XE-7; the Nikon FG, FE, and FM; the Pentax ME Super, MX, K1000, Spotmatic… you get my point. It boggles my mind as to why people choose the AE-1 over all of these great cameras.

I don’t discount the fact that the Canon AE-1 is one of the most important cameras in the history of photography. I don’t even argue the fact that it’s a good camera. But for the love of God, let’s stop putting this thing on a pedestal.


James’ Pick – Every Leica M

Strip away all the nonsense and I like Leica. Don’t get me wrong. They make nice cameras. But the problem is you can’t have Leica without an ample helping of pretentious bullshit. Lenny Kravitz special editions? The 0.95 lifestyle brand? An $845 pen? Come on.

“The Leica is an extension of my eye.”

“It helps me see the world differently.”

Let’s be real. Leica Ms aren’t as amazing as everyone says. Much of their allure comes from the artificially high price point, and many people who buy them after a long time pining are left let down. Sure, they’re heavy. And yeah, they’re made out of brass, or whatever, but that’s not a selling point for normal humans. You know what else is made of brass? Those disgusting brass testicles that overgrown man-babies hang from their repulsive pick-up trucks.

And why do people care if their Leica came from Canada or some probably-fictional town in Germany called Wetzler? Wetzler? Yeah, I’m sure that place doesn’t exist. And if it does, has anyone who’s ever boasted the superiority of Wetzlar-produced Leicas actually been there? I suppose some have – probably house-sat in a castle for some lord, or whatever you call lords in Germany. Meisters, I guess. I don’t know. I’m just a normal person. Even so, I’ve shot every M that takes film and a couple of those fat, digital ones. They’re okay. Just okay.

Personally, I’d pick the CLE. It’s smaller and stealthier than every M, can shoot in aperture-priority mode, and has the best light meter in the classic camera world. Oh, and those Minolta lenses are amazing (and a fifth the cost of Leica glass).

Leica Shmeica, I say. If you’ve got to go German, go Zeiss.


And that concludes Camera Bitch Fest 2017. What a weird post, but hey, they can’t all be winners. Guys. Why’d we write this?

I guess if you reader people hate a particular camera, let us know about it in the comments. Maybe it’ll take some of the heat off of us.

Still want one of these awful cameras? What’s wrong with you?

Find one at our own F Stop Cameras

Find one on eBay

Find one on Amazon

Find one at B&H Photo

CASUAL PHOTOPHILE is on ElloFacebookInstagram, and Youtube

You Might Also Like

47 Comments

  • Reply
    Neilson
    June 12, 2017 at 9:30 am

    Very entertaining article! I’ve owned a Mju-ii / Stylus Epic ever since they first came out in the 90’s but I agree that they’re overrated and not worth what they’re going for. I use mine for a very specific purpose: to shoot in bad weather. The Mju-ii has come with me on trips to England, Scotland, and Ireland and I’ve gotten good landscapes from it on rainy days. About a year ago I got another weatherproof camera, the Nikon Action Touch, which I think is vastly superior in spite of its bulkier size, so I don’t think I’ll be using the Mju-ii very much going forward.

    Yes, the whole Leica mystique is incredibly annoying. I have an M6 with a 35mm f/2 Zeiss Biogon and I love how it handles and the photos I take with it, but are the results really better than from my Nikon FM2n and Nikkor 35mm f2 AF D?

  • Reply
    Simon
    June 12, 2017 at 9:40 am

    The popularity of the AE1 baffles me, its a total plastic turd throwaway. A spotmatic or FE2 are hands down better machines, never mind an FM.

    • Reply
      James Tocchio
      June 12, 2017 at 10:20 pm

      “Plastic turd throwaway” may just enter my lexicon. See it soon in an upcoming review.

  • Reply
    Hugh Rigley
    June 12, 2017 at 10:08 am

    Must agree with your overall sentiment. I have never liked the Canon AE-1 for exactly the reasons you suggest. I prefer the the black only Canon A1 (and I am a Nikon shooter?). Yes it is fiddly, however, it is a beautiful example of industrial art, at least to my eyes. I do own a Leica M, however, it is the most disparaged one (possibly after the M5) the M4P and it was made in .Canada – yay! with an Abrahamson made in Canada exquisite Rapidfinder – yay again (or should I say eh! Whatever! Ha Ha. I shot a roll with your described Olympus and was not impressed. However, it was just one roll I must try again. I on a Zeiss Zi, which is like the M7 but it is all but impossible to see the camera settings in the viewfinder unless it is extremely, extremely overcast. Even with that I have come to love it, however, at times frustrating. What were they thinking? That’s it for my thoughts. And thank you so much for yours.

    H.R.

  • Reply
    Francisco Taborda
    June 12, 2017 at 10:20 am

    I always really enjoyed this unpopular opinion articles. There’s not perfect camera. I bought an mju ii and after a few rolls I couldn’t understand why the focusing was often off. It felt unreliable. A year later I found an XA2 for half the price and I fell in love. I just needed something simpler and the lens in the XA2 kicks ass.

  • Reply
    Henry
    June 12, 2017 at 11:03 am

    Agree about the AE1. IMO the glass also really isn’t what it’s hyped up to be. Looking through the viewfinder, there’s a very clear difference between a canon FD 50mm f1.8 and a nikkor 50mm f1.8 Ai.

    About the point-and-shoot craze, I was given a yashica t4super. Was a fun little camera but nothing special, even more so, I never got a photo I was proud of from it. I would say it’s me, but I didn’t exactly have control over the camera settings. I guess that next we need a sheet film craze!

    • Reply
      Josh Solomon
      June 12, 2017 at 2:46 pm

      Yes! I was never fond of the FD 50/1.8. I’d take a Series E 50/1.8, the Pentax 50/1.7, or the Minolta 50/1.7 over the FD any day of the week.

      • Reply
        Merlin Marquardt
        June 12, 2017 at 4:48 pm

        What’s wrong with the Canon FD 50mm f/1.8? Many people seem to like it.

        • Reply
          Josh Solomon
          June 12, 2017 at 7:06 pm

          It ‘s just… okay. It’s can do the job, but it’s lacks in sharpness and resolution, especially when pitted against its contemporaries. Every time I see a photo from that FD 50/1.8 I find myself wanting a little more detail resolution and for a little more definition across the frame. The FD 50/1.8 also breaks down quite often and suffers from oily aperture blades more often than other lenses in my experience.

          The FD 50/1.4 SSC, however, is a entirely different story….

          • Merlin Marquardt
            June 12, 2017 at 8:13 pm

            Okay. Thanks.

  • Reply
    mmarquar
    June 12, 2017 at 12:17 pm

    Interesting. Cool article.

  • Reply
    the6millionpman
    June 12, 2017 at 4:36 pm

    Much prefer to read about what people don’t like instead of what everyone likes. I would disagree with the AE-1 as I love mine but……I happen to agree with all the points, and I probably only love it so much as I didn’t have to pay for it (thank you Grandpa 6MillionPMan).
    Agree totally with the whole point and shoot bubble analogy though. I love a camera as much as the next geek but no point and shoot is worth the crazy prices they’re being sold for nowadays, especially the Olympus’ and especially not 80’s/90’s technology filled ones that are going to break not long after you’ve forked out a million bucks on it. (Disclaimer: I love Olympus and actually do quite like a point and shoot just not bankrupting myself for one).

  • Reply
    bodegabayf2
    June 12, 2017 at 4:46 pm

    I’ve not been able to properly evaluate the AE-1. I have been given two and both were DOA and no amount of first aid has been able to revive them. I have shot the F-1n though and it is a fabulous camera.

  • Reply
    Cory
    June 12, 2017 at 8:14 pm

    I agree for the most part with all of this! The stylus epic is a fragile, overpriced piece of garbage. I’ve owned three and all of them either broke or had a light leak from a poor design around the barrel of the lens. I paid no where near $200 for them and for the life of me can’t understand why anyone would. (I sold of one of the light-leaked ones on eBay after fully disclosing the issue along with sample images for $115!!!).
    No experience with the AE-1. My first film camera was an FE and it was a superb entry level SLR.
    I think the main issue with the Leica M series is that people want them because they’re cool or exclusive without understanding what they really are. I fell victim to this when I was first starting out and bought an M6 because it was ‘the’ camera to have, but I was too inexperienced in photography to be comfortable with it so I sold it. Now I own another M6 and will never sell it, but in that time in the interim I became comfortable with manual exposure and manual focusing and understood a Leica is a compact, stripped-down mechanical and simple camera that doesn’t get in my way and allows me to focus only on the basics. I shoot Zeiss glass and have no intentions of spending the money on Leica lenses (or pens!)

    Great article!

  • Reply
    Huss
    June 13, 2017 at 12:53 am

    “Leica Shmeica, I say. If you’ve got to go German, go Zeiss.”

    Out of the four photos your link leads to, 3 of them are items made in Japan. The German Zeiss is from the 1950s?
    😉

    I got to agree about the Olympus Stylus/Mju. I took it out of the drawer just now to give it another, albeit brief, chance. Put a battery in it, saw how long the delay was from pushing the shutter button to it taking a pic. Took the battery out, put it away again..

    My all time most hated camera is the Pentax K1000. The default response to what camera for beginners. That may have made sense at the time, because it was a bargain priced camera for students. But now you can get a much better camera like a Nikkormat – which was a pro camera at that time – for less (often much less) than a K1000. ‘Experts’ are still telling beginners to get a K1000. Perhaps because that’s what they used when starting out back in the day, even though if they were offered a Nikkormat back then they would have tossed that K1000 into a bin.

    • Reply
      Nikolas
      June 15, 2017 at 8:27 am

      hi
      if you don tuse your mjuII anymore i would like to buy it to try this little camera that is crazy hard to have. Thanks

  • Reply
    Randle P. McMurphy
    June 13, 2017 at 4:53 am

    We all are on a journey and first we stand before a moutain blocking our view
    When we get on top our sight just reach to the next higher one
    Looking what´s after it is the journeys challange

    There is nothing like a useless, ugly, stupid camera to hate in my opinion
    Find the one you can handle and take pictures
    If the tool fells wrong try another one

  • Reply
    Madis McLembrus
    June 13, 2017 at 5:42 am

    Canon is popular mainly because Millennials think its the biggest and best brand. Leica stopped being a practical tool for taking photos somewhere in the 1960’s and became a photographic equivalent of jewelry.

  • Reply
    Pentermezzo
    June 13, 2017 at 7:38 am

    Always been a nikon shooter, from back when you had to decide what system to sink your money into. Now prices are so low that you can sample different systems for not a lot of money. But I also don’t get the point & shoot craze, those cameras were not great when new: they’ll all for soon, with no hope of repair.

    Leicas are good cameras, but I don’t see the point of spending the price of a used car on one when one can buy a Canon L1-2-3, P or even Model 7 for less than a c-note if you’re patient. And the matching lenses are just as good as anything from Germany. I found a Canon L2 for $54, with a Jupiter 8 lens I have a fantastic camera for the price of a Leica lens hood. I don’t hate Leica, but the prices irritate me.

  • Reply
    Tobias Weisserth (@polarapfel)
    June 13, 2017 at 12:39 pm

    Nice article.

    The greatest mistake with analog cameras I’ve made: buying overpriced, hardly working, over-hyped toy cameras from Lomography. All of the products they self-developed are crap and overpriced. All of the products they simply resell are also highly overpriced.

    As to the Leica rant. I can follow, I don’t necessarily agree 100%. And by the way, Zeiss is not German (anymore), it’s essentially Japanese as most Zeiss lenses are made in Japan. There’s nothing wrong with that of course. I prefer my Contax G2 with its Japan made Zeiss lenses over most Leica bodies most of the time.

    • Reply
      Neilson
      June 13, 2017 at 3:47 pm

      I agree with you about Lomography. The LC-A isn’t such a bad little camera, though not worth the crazy price tag. I made the mistake of buying their medium format panoramic camera, The Bel-Air. What a piece of junk. The film wouldn’t even wrap properly around the take up spool, so parts of the roll would be fogged. Lomography did get me back into analogue photography. It take a while, but I eventually realized there were much better and cheaper analogue cameras out there so I drifted away from it and never came back. Now I’m back to using my Nikon FM2n which I’ve had for over 20 years!

  • Reply
    tony dadson
    June 13, 2017 at 1:28 pm

    Got my dad’s Spotmatic c/w Super-takumar lenses for free. Got my Stylus Epic from my sister for free. Both take very nice pictures. I’m content.

  • Reply
    WC
    June 13, 2017 at 6:53 pm

    The entry on the Stylus is essentially just a thinly veiled hipster hate piece with no real content relating to the camera. The Olympus is a fine camera that has many limitations in trade for a tiny size. The price is inflated because people want a small camera to take to parties, not everyone lugs a mechanical SLR everywhere they go, even if they should. I totally agree about the AE-1 though, it’s a bit of a dog compared to the other offerings. Finally the Leica, while I agree that the hype is just that, hype, the M mount bodies are the best 35mm rangefinders ever made. There might not be such a thing as the best SLR but there certainly is with rangefinders, and that’s a Leica.

    • Reply
      James Tocchio
      June 13, 2017 at 7:06 pm

      I’m interested to hear why you think the Ms are the best rangefinders ever made? Best is a very vague term. The kind of adjective that you’d find in a Yelp review. “The best chicken nuggets everrrrr.” Well, if the person writing “best” loves spicy food, those nuggets might be a bit burny for me.

      Keep in mind I’m not arguing. Just looking for a conversation.

      • Reply
        WC
        June 13, 2017 at 7:20 pm

        In terms of handling and build quality they are superb. Brightest RF patch, nicest shutter feel, they hang around the neck well. Obviously the camera has short comings like the top shutter speed and slow film loading but of all the M mount rangefinders I own it’s the one I always want to take with me.

    • Reply
      jeffwalin
      June 20, 2017 at 4:27 am

      I’d probably say the Contax G2 is the best rangefinder ever made.

  • Reply
    Zachary James
    June 13, 2017 at 8:30 pm

    Sx-70! The last article baffled me; That viewfinder is deal-breaking….and the Impossible Film- I’ll bite my tongue on that one before I say something rude.

  • Reply
    @Gnarstynate
    June 13, 2017 at 9:39 pm

    The Leica guy should have written about coffee table pictures! Look up the Instagram hashtag for any Leica M and you’ll be convinced more people buy them to take pictures of them than to shoot with them. Sure they’re pretty and well built, but I’ll take a $30 Minolta over a Leica any day. I can’t tell the difference in the photo quality and my wallet sure is a lot happier for it.

    • Reply
      tony dadson
      June 13, 2017 at 10:58 pm

      Agreed. I picked up 2 spotmatics and 1 SV1 c/w lenses for $30 each.

  • Reply
    MCF
    June 14, 2017 at 9:12 am

    I disliked to dislike the Yashica Electro 35. Lovely lens, terrible terrible ergonomics. Nothing to hold onto and painful to grip. I got rid.

    If you’re talking about bandwagons such as Leica, you have to talk Hasselblad as well. Silly expensive for what they are. (I don’t have one… sux eggz.) I have the perfectly cheap enough Bronica though with many lens, probably for a similar price to a Hass’ 500 body.

    • Reply
      Neilson
      June 21, 2017 at 4:28 pm

      I assume you mean the GT, GSN, GTN etc…? I have a GSN and agree about that one. However, some of the subsequent Yashica Electros, such as the CC and GX, are smaller and have greatly improved ergonomics.

  • Reply
    jeffwalin
    June 20, 2017 at 4:23 am

    Check on the Olympus mju, or for that matter any other point and shoot from the film era. These were the cameras to buy your mom if she needed snapshots of the family, or if you just could not afford a 35mm SLR. There is nothing special about them. MAYBE the Olympus XA would be…but just because it is so small. I’d rather a point and shoot digital.

    Check on the Leica. They are nice cameras. They make great pictures. But the price is just ridiculous. Just think of the old SLR film gear you could get for that money. I do plan to get an M2 at some point. And a 35m lens. But that’s it. And really just so I can try it.

    Now, the Canon AE-1. Just hold your horses here. Yes they break. What old camera doesn’t? So maybe you’ve seen more broken ones than any other model? Maybe because there were more AE-1’s sold than any other model? (Maybe not the k1000, but a totally different animal there) Yes, they were a consumer item, and are a really minimalistic consumer product at that. And yes, ABSOLUTELY they are overpriced. What the market will bear….

    But complaining about shutter priority? Because aperture is so important? Dude, APERTURE IS RIGHT THERE IN THE VIEWFINDER. Shooting one while putting a priority on the aperture is a cakewalk. You have ONE control. Just move it until you see the aperture in your viewfinder that you need. Shooting a true aperture priority camera and you must remember where you set the ring unless you have a camera with a full information viewfinder. I’d rather have aperture in the viewfinder than shutter speed if I can only have one…and all the shutter priority cameras from Canon and Konica give you that info.

    And the single coated 50 f1.8 FD is a respectable lens. Not the best, but it will get the job done. The FDn 50 f1.4 or FDn 35mm f2.8 is what I would choose, though. If you really want to try a stellar lens on a shutter priority camera go for a Konica with the Hexanon 50 f1.7.

    The AE-1 is a minimalistic camera, and a properly serviced one will be a great camera to learn film photography with….in my mind better than a manual exposure camera. I mean, if you are relying on the meter in the camera anyway, why shoot a manual exposure camera? And if you are using the creative aspects of different apertures, wouldn’t you want that information in your viewfinder?

    But, I don’t fully worship at the feet (baseplate?) of the Canon AE-1. I’d rather have the AE-1 Program for it’s extra features and better quality. Or the A-1, which is still, to this day, better than any other Manual Focus PSAM camera made (hint: there were only four). Or the friggin’ big daddy of Shutter Priority badness, the Konica Autoreflex T (or T3).

    I love reading the articles, you have a great website! I just gotta step up for the little old Canon AE-1. It is a legend in photography.

    • Reply
      Josh Solomon
      June 20, 2017 at 4:48 pm

      Thanks for your thoughts! You bring up a lot of good points, but I think I should fight my corner on this one!

      I’ve heard lots of folk cite the fact that the AE-1 is a vintage camera and is prone to problems just like all other vintage cameras. That’s like saying the Ford Pinto’s exploding gas tank can just be chalked up to the fact that Old Cars Have Problems Sometimes. The issue is that AE-1’s specific problems are so consistent across the range that it deserves scrutiny. The fact that the “Canon Squeal” has become commonplace when talking about the AE-1 (not unlike the Yashica Electro 35’s ‘Pad of Death’) is pretty damning.

      You sound like a shutter priority kinda dude, and that’s great! I prefer aperture priority. Different strokes for different folks. I just think it’s counterintuitive to adjust aperture with a dial meant for… shutter speed. I have the same issue with all-purpose dials found on DSLR’s. The act of adjusting a certain value feels more distant when you’re doing everything with one dial. This mode also makes it easier for folks to completely ignore what that aperture ring really does and end up never touching it at all, which i have seen happen in the past with a few of my AE-1 owning friends. It’s nitpicky, but I think it’s a valid concern.

      And while I do hear what you’re saying when it comes to manual exposure, I don’t completely buy into the “if you’re using a meter anyway, why manually expose” argument. Sometimes you have to compensate for exposure and ignore what the meter says. Sometimes you want to intentionally under or over-expose using a very particular aperture or shutter speed. The AE-1 makes it incredibly hard to do any of that because it lacks the tools you need to determine manually-set exposure values, tools which are found in nearly all of the AE-1’s contemporaries and forbears in the same market segment.

      The AE-1’s a wonderful camera and I wouldn’t fault anybody for loving it. It just doesn’t jive with me!

  • Reply
    Glenn
    June 20, 2017 at 10:23 am

    When the AE-1 was all the rage in the late 70s, I went for its cheaper, less-popular sibling, the AT-1. Full manual control with match needle metering, just like the Minolta SR-T 101 and variants. I never looked back, and it serves me well today.

    • Reply
      jeffwalin
      June 20, 2017 at 12:16 pm

      I’ve got an AT-1 also. The only thing I don’t like about it is the complete lack of information in the viewfinder. No shutter speed, no aperture. But, I’d choose it over a K1000 any day….as long as it has been serviced, the shutter will be far more accurate than the K1000….it’s electronic. And it weighs less. And you can use a motor drive. And it has a self timer….

      But the fact is I can shoot faster with the same metering system with the AE-1.

  • Reply
    Jose
    June 21, 2017 at 2:11 pm

    Oh yes, let the hate flow through you. There’s so much to hate now in film photography as people without any background in it start to get acquainted. They seem to be awful ready to throw down huge chunks of money without doing even a cursory amount of research.

    My personal hate object are the T2-T5 (both the Yashicas and the Contax). Not that they’re bad cameras, they aren’t, but people seem to be under the illusion that they aren’t buying something that could turn into an attractive (or ugly, in the case of the Yashicas) paperweight at literally any moment. There’s so many internet instagrammer articles hyping these particular models to the absolute exclusion of all else, including camerass that don’t cost as much as a used car, that the noobs flock with fists of cash in hand the minute they see a T followed by a number greater than or equal to 2.

    If I showed you the latest pictures from my $30 Inifinity Stylus (mju i) and told you it was a $400 Yashica T5, how would you prove me a liar? They’re all blown out flash shots of my friend’s cat anyway. Craigslist and Ebay are littered with decent point and shoots available for peanuts, but nobody seems to care. Goodness forbid your shots looked a bit different than everyone else’s (or Terry Richardson’s…) as well.

    Ditto the AE-1…it just seems so….bad compared to like all of its contemporaries. Worse than the OM-2, the FE and FM, the ME and MX, hell even the Autoreflex TC and Nikon EM. Why anyone would buy one nowadays is utterly beyond me. FD glass is good sure…but why not get an F1 or T70?

    • Reply
      James Tocchio
      June 21, 2017 at 2:14 pm

      Instagram has been both really great and really terrible for people who have loved film cameras for a long time.

      • Reply
        Neilson
        June 21, 2017 at 5:08 pm

        I have a love/hate relationship with Instagram. I love getting my photos out there and communicating with people around the world, but I hate viewing photos on a phone, especially my own, since I do a lot of landscapes.

    • Reply
      jeffwalin
      June 21, 2017 at 3:48 pm

      I’m amazed ANY point and shoot camera is even bought for more than $5 these days. Well, maybe some are worth more, but there are so many better options….

      As far as the AE-1…realize that of those contemporaries you mention only the OM-2 was released the same year as the AE-1, all others were later, and all of them except maybe the EM were in a higher price bracket. Like it or not, the AE-1 was a groundbreaking consumer product.

      As far as buying one today…I agree, there are much better options for the same money. What the market will pay for this old tech is silly sometimes…but good for us if we have them to sell!

      But when serviced properly they still take great pictures….

  • Reply
    Jon
    June 24, 2017 at 9:12 am

    I like this post. I love my Leicas, but spent so much money buying and fixing them they seldom leave my house. I worry about them too much.
    My vote would be the Pentax ME series. I have several and have never seen one that worked.

    • Reply
      James Tocchio
      June 24, 2017 at 10:05 am

      I’ve had a good number of ME Supers come through the shop. They’re nice machines but I think you’re probably right, and if I had to guess I’d say many of them have had rough lives with entry-level owners who don’t care to much about being gentle. Maybe?

  • Reply
    Thorsten
    July 12, 2017 at 1:54 pm

    Agreed. Tried Leica M3 and M6, loved to hold them, loved to push the button and listen to it and hated to shoot them. I like shooting wide open so zone focussing is not an option. Focussing on he mall patch and then recompose is also not an option, if your subject is moving. I came to realize: I have rangefinders.nsold them both, made profit. Good.

    Grabbed an AE-1 and realized it had light leaks and some mechanical problem, but when shooting the test rolls I realized that I hated the manual mode and shutter priority…… Pffffff. Might be ok if you need fast speed to capture something fast and don’t care for background. So it is great for 0.3% of my images. Lovely.

    I still had it fixed and paid three times it’s worth to keep it working. Why? Because it wasn’t a stupid eBay purchase. It was the camera my dad bought weeks before I was born in 77 to document my growing and 100% of the pictures of my and my younger brother’s childhood were shot with this idiotic machine. So it has a sentimental value no matter how utterly stupid it is. Dad to!d me some time ago that he wanted to buy an Olympus OM-1 instead but the salesman explained him that this me marvelous gem of latest technology with it’s microchip controlled shutter priority was so much greater than this obsolete lump of mechanical stuff called OM-1. Oh my. An OM-1, next to an F2 currently is my favorite camera, if only the old man has grabbed the right thing 39 years ago, I could have my favorite camera with personal history instead of an ugly paperweight.

  • Reply
    jrbutler90
    August 1, 2017 at 4:38 am

    I think that anyone can use whatever camera they want, and the camera has little influence on a good picture.

    That said…

    I can’t stand Leica cameras, and that’s mostly from the price and the snobbish image that comes with them. I’ve held a couple of models and thought they were nice, well made cameras. They feel like you can take them anywhere, photograph anything and they’ll come home and want to do it all over again. However, at the price, are you really going to take a Leica into India, or the Amazon rain forest? And if you want a tough as nails camera, what’s wrong with the Nikon F4, or a Minolta SRT 101? Since the camera doesn’t make the image, why spend several thousand dollars for one? For the same reason people buy an Aston Martin; “Look at ME!”
    It would be one thing if Leica was pushing the boundaries of photography technology, but they’re not. So the price kills my desire to ever own one.

    My dad has owned an Olympus Stylus Infinity Zoom since I was maybe 13. Someone just gave it to him. I remember what she said; “It’s film, so it’s useless.” I’ve used it a few times and I think that for what it is, it’s a great camera. Go to Kings Island, bring the Stylus. Cram a roll of Kodak 400 or Gold 200 in it and walk away with great pics of a great time. Our has never not worked. Would I go around and take it with me to make artsy pictures? No. That’s not what it was made for. It’s a family companion and it excels at the job. The problem with the cost of these machines, though, is that the Canon Sure Shot 76 Zoom my mom got in 2001 works just as well. It’s not waterproof, but the pictures look just as good. So I don’t get the obsession, except that maybe the world is getting tired of cold, digital iPhone family vacation pictures that get lost every time you upgrade your phone.

    Now. The Canon AE-1. My grandfather’s last camera.
    *sigh*
    I love this camera. I bought one after shooting my grandpa’s once out of curiosity. It feels good in my hands, the weight is nice, and the lack of violent shaking during shutter actuation is a lovely experience over my Nikon FE or EM. Yes, the model has problems. Shutters will stick, battery doors (like mine) are often broken, and the plastic top is prone to cracking. It’s kind of like having a puppy or a kitten. Really annoying a lot of the time, but if someone tried to take it or hurt it, you’d kill them. It also doesn’t hurt that it is a truly beautiful machine, either in black or white.
    I admit that family legacy plays a large part in my love for the AE-1, but still. I love it. I also have to wonder if the AE-1 is really any less reliable than another similarly aged system: the Olympus OM series. I come across many OM models and many AE-1’s in my browsing at my local camera shop and I’ve noticed that more OM’s are broken and missing parts than the AE-1’s that come through. Maybe the Olympus owners are rougher on their machines; the previous owner of my OM-2 smoked so much in close proximity to the camera that the inside smells like Marlboro and has tar I just can’t clean out on my own, but sadly it seems like the OM line is either just as problem prone, or badly mistreated by owners.

    At the end of the day, judging cameras just on their camera-ness, I don’t think there’s one I hate.

    Wait…

    The Minolta Freedom Dual 60. That utter piece of s……….

  • Reply
    Mayank Gautam
    August 16, 2017 at 9:10 am

    The argument against Ae-1 doesn’t make sense to me. I use any camera in manual mode. I would particularly dislike an aperture priority camera because the camera might select such a slow shutter speed that picture comes blurry, now THAT is what is not good for newbies. Ae-1 also has a needle in the viewfinder which tells the aperture to select, you select that aperture and it’s done, what’s the fuss about it. Also I got it for under 30 dollars and FD lenses which I can use on it are one of the best lenses of the age. I have a few others too but the only one that looks as beautiful as AE-1 to me is Olympus OM-1, a small SLR with a big viewfinder, only gripe is that it used mercury batteries not available anymore.

  • Leave a Reply

    Spread the love of cameras and photography.

    Facebook
    Facebook
    Instagram
    Follow by Email
    RSS