Top 5 retro inspired modern cameras

Beauty probably isn’t the first metric that you should judge a camera on. There’s things like dependability, ergonomics, autofocus speed, battery life and other qualities that usually come first when buying a camera. But photographers supposedly have an eye for pretty things. So who could judge us for wanting a beautiful retro looking camera as our tool?

Leica M Monochrom ”Stealth Edition”

So without further ado here’s our top 5 retro inspired modern cameras that we would actually use. One DSLR, two mirrorless, one rangefinder and one fixed lens compact.

Pentax KP

Pentax have their history of making unique looking cameras. Some highlights were definitely the multicolored Pentax K-x and the yellow brick of a mirrorless camera designed by Marc Newson. So it comes as no surprise that even their current enthusiast DSLR is a unique looking camera.

The Pentax KP is an interesting looking camera that wouldn’t be out of place in a steampunk movie. It’s plethora of buttons, dials, along with its interchangeable grips provide a great user experience. And Pentax made it easy to customize it by including 3 grips in the box.

Couple it with a Pentax Limited Lens and you’ll have a unique kit that gives you great image quality in a small weatherproof package.

Fujifilm X100V

This unassuming camera is a powerhouse in a small package. It’s got a 26 Megapixels fast readout sensor that is great at autofocusing, fast framerates and 4k video. It resembles a vintage rangefinder which is great because it makes it unintimidating in street photography, portraiture, travel photography and documentary work.

And not only does it look like a rangefinder, the Fuji X100V also has a unique optical viewfinder. The small red lever on the front plate switches from the electronic viewfinder to a clever optical one with an electronic overlay.

You can also use the dial around the lens barrel for setting the Aperture, and the top dial for both Shutter Speed and ISO value. It’s as much of the classic film shooting experience that you can get without actually shooting film.

And if you require something more pocketable but with the same image quality there’s always the Fujifilm XF10.

Leica M10-P

We honestly don’t think an ugly Leica camera exists. Everything they ever made starting with the iconic M series all the way to the more current Leica SL, CL or Q look amazing.

Their industrial almost bauhaus minimalist design complement their usage philosophy well. And while the price point puts them out of range for most of us we can’t help but admire Leica for both the quality and the design of their cameras.

The Leica M-10-P shown here might be the most retro inspired modern camera in this top. The M series cameras have a proud history dating back almost 70 years without undergoing major changes. So no autofocus on these digital cameras, I’m afraid.

Olympus OMD E-M5 Mark III

The Olympus OMD E-M5 Mark III is a diminutive SLR styled modern mirrorless that reminds us of the golden age of SLR photography, the late 70s. Inspired by models such as the iconic Olympus OM-1 this camera is a joy to use due to it’s well thought ergonomics for the size and low weight.

If you’re after a small but high quality photography kit then this might be the model you’re looking for. The m43 sized sensor only has a quarter of the surface area when compared to a full frame camera but this allows for smaller lenses that match the size of the body. Other strong points are the class leading image stabilisation and weather sealing.

Fujifilm X-Pro 3

The Fujifilm X-Pro 3 is arguably the best looking digital camera you can buy today. It’s got a sloped top plate, retro dials for the exposure settings and a small e-ink color display where the main screen would be.

The color e-ink display is definitely a nice touch, helpful for checking the exposure settings or showing the film simulation. It doesn’t allow you to frame or see an image but it stays on even when the camera is off.

The Fujifilm X-Pro 3 does have an LCD screen to view your photos on but it’s hidden. All you have to do is pull it down from the left side and it will reveal itself in all its glory.

While the choice of hiding the main LCD screen might seem odd it does help reduce chimping after each shot. This helps you stay more alert and in the moment without constantly looking at the back screen. It’s an homage to the screen-less Leica M-D but without the drawbacks of not having a screen at all.

Author: cameraguy

I love cameras.

2 thoughts on “Top 5 retro inspired modern cameras

  1. Yes, friends mistook my KP for an old camera and it does have some resemblance to the LX and MZ5n, the latter itself being a retro film camera.

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