Reading 35mmc can be dangerous to the pocketbook and can lead to GAS (no, not flatulence, but gear acquisition syndrome). I read several glowing articles here about Voigtländer cameras. I never knew much about the company because, as far as I recall, no family members or friends had any of their products. But I kept reading about their precision and optical excellence. For the last couple of years, I almost stopped using my digital Fuji and have been using 35mm film instead. And although I have a Leica IIIC, Leica M2, Yashica Electro 35CC, and Pentax Spotmatic at home, one can never have too many classic 35mm cameras at home (right??).
The Agfa xx35 series of cameras (in this case the 1035) and the Plaubel Makina 67 are both wonderful examples of what what appears to be German functionalist industrial design. As you might notice they are fairly similar in shape and design features, though obviously not size. For a while I assumed that this was just coincidence, or at least that there was no real connection between the designs beyond perhaps a slither of inspiration in one from the other. That was until I found a Makina 67 in my hands and realised just how similar they really are. I found this all quite intriguing, especially as the Makina 67 is of course a Japanese camera and not a German one. As such, I decided to do a bit of digging to see what, if anything, they had in common.
Having now been in direct correspondence with the son of the designer of the Agfa, and indirect correspondence with the designer of the Makina, I thought I’d write a little bit about what I know and what I’ve found out… but first a bit about this sort of industrial design, and indeed why I like it so much.
Holidays often provide the opportunity to explore new areas for Street Photography. However, for this break, I traveled to the far reaches of Pelorus Sounds in New Zealand. Beautiful nature, but no Streets. This situation meant I could focus my camera lens on the family, and to catch up with a little holiday reading.
In the great British tradition of “Keep calm and muddle through”, during WW2, British official war photographers had used a whole hodge podge of assorted cameras, ranging from large format 5″ x 4″ plate cameras from Houghton Butcher in the UK and Graflex in the USA down to 35mm cameras from Leica, Contax, Kodak and others.
Until a few weeks ago I hadn’t held a Barnack Leica for a good few years, so long in fact that whilst I knew the name “Leica” when I did hold one, I had no real concept of what I was looking at. In the maybe 15 years since then I have picked up quite …