Contemporary Camera Design – What’s Old is New Again

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In a CES 2013 follow up article titled “What’s in a Look?”, Professional Photographer discusses the latest trend in camera design, that many of the new cameras look like old cameras.  From the Olympus OM-D E-M5 (featured in the video above), which is a virtual doppelganger to the Olympus OM cameras of the 1980s, to the Fuji X-Series Cameras, the Pentax Q and the Leica M9, it’s clear that many of today’s top cameras are borrowing their styling cues from cameras that are decades old.

ProPhoto reports:  The vintage revival is something that has been floating around for quite a while now, and it was only a matter of time before the photography market picked up on the hype too. With the mainstream makings of the Lomography cameras which made retro film photography cool, everyone seemed to have jumped on the band wagon. Now it’s not only seen as a piece of gear, a camera is a fashion accessory too. And the fact that these contemporary cameras have a built-in filter that mimics the look of film makes them even more attractive to the ‘hipsters’ among us.

But when today’s cameras get into the hands of pro photographers, it’s important that they not only look good, but perform like a dream as well…

ProPhoto goes on to say:  You wouldn’t want an ugly camera now would you? If anything you would be more inclined to pick up a camera that makes you reminisce the first camera you ever laid your eyes on and know that the photographs you take are instant.  In the professional photo industry it may question the professionalism of said photographer if he or she turned up to a wedding with a toy-like camera, but the market is changing. Cameras are getting smaller and more attractive, but better in specifications at the same time. You’ve only got to look at the Leica and its ongoing heritage to see that it’s all in the eye of the beholder.  (Read full article on

My 2 Cents

The proliferation of retro style cameras is no surprise to me.  As technology advances and the world of photography is changing, there will always be those among us who are resistant to that change.  It’s easy for someone to get comfortable in a certain environment or with a certain piece of equipment, so when they recognize that they may have to make a change to adapt to the advances that they might not completely understand at first, it’s only natural that they would be drawn towards something that’s familiar to them.  I guess this is the same reason why so many people collect and restore classic cars.

Couple the familiarity with ‘cool factor’ of shooting with a classic styled camera and it’s easy to recognize why they’re so popular.  But the best part is that these are some of the best performing cameras around too, and that’s what takes them out of pure cult status and into the upper echelon of imaging machines.

What’s YOUR favorite Retro-Styled camera?

…leave a comment below!

Check out some top retro styled cameras, including the Olympus OM-D E-M5, the Fuji X-Pro1 and Fuji X-E1, the Leica M9 and the Pentax Q Here


PhotoLynch says:

I’m really enjoying seeing all the old style cameras come out. The Fuji’s and OM-D are very good “lookin” 😀

You know what would be cool to see come out… a new digital Rollie TLR…. (and not that little p&s thing they released, but an actual large sensor camera)…

Hmm… so there is one feature I’m really looking forward to coming back out though.. The new digital advanced lever which you must cock with your thumb between every shot…. 😀 …jk

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