The 50 Greatest Cameras of All Time?

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Hasselblad 500EL

Photo by Neil Armstrong

No. 26 Hasselblad 500EL
The first camera used on the moon. How’s that for an accolade?

100 Responses to The 50 Greatest Cameras of All Time?

  1. Alexander Petrov February 14, 2012 at 10:16 am #

    Yeah, but like the master had said, “The best camera is the one that is with you.”

  2. Alex Cruceru February 14, 2012 at 10:19 am #

    The best camera is the one that is in your hands and works as you want it to work and not the way around.I mean you have to own your camera not let it own you.

  3. G Allard February 14, 2012 at 10:20 am #

    Glad to see my Holga 120N on the list. Still one of my favorite (and quirky) cameras — gaff tape, light leaks and all.

  4. ZeroSonico February 14, 2012 at 10:21 am #

    I like that by “greatest” they meant milestones in photo history, and not just “the best cameras”.

    My Canon KissX5 will always be in my heart as my first dslr.

  5. alezayas February 14, 2012 at 10:22 am #

    I’ve just purchased a Nikon D7000 (arriving tomorrow) I just expect it to be a great change as I’m currently using a D80..

  6. Anonymous February 14, 2012 at 10:22 am #

    whats with the numeration? I see only 13 pages

    • erik February 14, 2012 at 10:25 am #

      This is just a selection of the list. Follow the link to the original article for the full list.

      • Anonymous February 14, 2012 at 10:29 am #

        Thanks! I didn’t realise it’s a link.

  7. Nik February 14, 2012 at 10:26 am #

    If the D3S is number two, and I have a D4 on pre-order, does that mean I am allowed to be extremely excited about its arrival? Yes, yes it does.
    Cool list, lots of interesting ones on there.

  8. Erin February 14, 2012 at 10:30 am #

    My favorite camera of all time was the first SLR I ever got, my Pentax ME Super.

    • Stan February 15, 2012 at 4:28 pm #

      OMG so was mine! I got it with an amazing 1.2 50mm lens

  9. John Cornicello February 14, 2012 at 10:36 am #

    I don’t see my old Deardoff 8×10 on the list! I’d even settle for a Cambo 8×10.

  10. Jesse February 14, 2012 at 10:45 am #

    Of all time is a huge call! Great list but oh so recent. Nicéphore Niépce’s camera obscura at Le Gras, anyone?!

  11. Brett February 14, 2012 at 10:52 am #

    Some that were on the full list, which I’m surprised didn’t make it to this one are the K1000 (if you had an interest in photography in the late 80’s or early 90’s you either owned or wanted this camera, Its hard to know how many professionals who are working today got their start with the K1000), Hasselblad 500CM (the EL and the 503CW would never existed without the success of the CM), Nikon D1 (first DSLR that had the combination of quality and low enough cost to become mainstream in newsrooms around the world, this camera changed the face of how breaking news and sporting events were covered, this is the first DSLR I ever used heavily, and while it had its flaws its impact can’t be denied), Canon D30 (this was the game changer for DSLRs, the quality was amazing for its time, and the cost made it affordable for most photographers, both pro and prosumer to get their feet wet with digital, this camera caused me to switch from Nikon to Canon, it is also the first DSLR I ever owned so I’m a little biased).

    I’m also surprised neither the Nikon F3 or the F5 nor the Canon EOS 1-(n,v,hs) made it into this list either.

  12. Luis Murillo February 14, 2012 at 11:07 am #

    Love the Mamiya RZ67 Pro II…

  13. R. J. Kern February 14, 2012 at 11:49 am #

    While the iPhone wasn’t mentioned, I’m sure it would rank Top 5 on “The Most Important Cameras of Our Time.”

  14. Dallas k February 14, 2012 at 12:22 pm #

    I didn’t see the Olympus trip 35. Built in the mid sixties, small enough to fit in your pocket, an f2.8 lens and it never needs a battery because of the solar light meter. Still using mine

  15. Stephan Bollinger February 14, 2012 at 3:10 pm #

    How do you define “The Best Camera”, by specs, by experience, by heart? It’s much easier to call it my “most favourite Camera”. And for me, this would be the Nikon FM. It’s not the “best” ever, but it was my first ever, a very very long time ago, and the memories that come with it are priceless. Since then I have touched, smelled and worked with many better cameras, but never felt as special or as adventurous as with my very first camera. Now, the Nikon FM has it’s place in my photo studio, nicely placed next to a Voigtländer from 1902.

  16. EddieBaba February 14, 2012 at 4:16 pm #

    I’m surprised the iPhone’s not there. This list brings back old memories, as I have my grandfathers Kodak Brownie, my dads Rolleiflex TLR & Retina IIIC and my original SX-70. When I was very young, I lusted after the Rollei 35 and I like the Minox at No. 4 :) This LIST can really stir-up a debate among seasoned photogs!

  17. Dr.Nick February 14, 2012 at 11:46 pm #

    That’s one of the worst greatest of all times lists I have ever seen. The Pen Ep-1 and Panasonic GF-1 are more significant cameras than the Rolleiflex? The GF-1 is the #11 camera of all time? The Nikon D90 is on there? What’s significant about the D90? Where is the original EOS1? Where is Minolta’s first AF SLR? Why is the Contax RTS-3 the #5 camera of all time?

  18. Donovan Fannon February 15, 2012 at 12:18 am #

    I’m glad the original Olympus Pen is on there… I have a Pen-F I found at a flea market for 3 dollars that works like a champ. Just when I washed my hands of film (so I thought)… finding that Pen-F was magical.

  19. rick February 15, 2012 at 12:42 am #

    I would have added the Canon A-1 (first good camera with multiple exposure priority modes), the old Konica 35mm SLR’s for their durability and price, the Koni-Omega cameras (that the Mamiya 7 was based on) for rapid shooting of medium format. oh, and in digital: the Coolpix 900/950 for realizing a camera didn’t need to be a box.

  20. Chimps47 February 15, 2012 at 2:50 am #

    My true love was the NIKON FE2. Like my Nikon D7000 now, but why all those obsolete options, as Live View, Movie Mode, Scene mode, HDR. Why no aperture ring on the lenses?

  21. Ron Rosenzweig February 15, 2012 at 6:30 am #

    They looked right over a real game changing camera that introduced millions of people to an SLR camera for the first time, the Canon AE-1 This camera is definitely more significant in the history of cameras than say the Pentax K20 – no disrespect to Pentax enthusiasts ( I owned and used Pentax cameras including the 6X7).
    Best Regards, Ron

  22. Chirag February 15, 2012 at 6:41 am #

    I wonder why Nikon F3 or FE2 is not in list.

  23. Will Austin February 15, 2012 at 11:43 am #

    Nice to see the Contax RTS on there, I love my Contax/Zeiss gear!

    • chase jarvis February 15, 2012 at 10:37 pm #

      remember the T3 !? awesome

  24. Joel Heffner February 15, 2012 at 12:40 pm #

    The best cameras are the ones that are actually made by hand…pinhole cameras.

  25. eric February 15, 2012 at 6:09 pm #

    camera is important up to certain point but photographer takes the great picture, not his camera.

  26. DanielKphoto February 16, 2012 at 1:04 pm #

    Of course the number one should be “The one that’s with you”, but certainly, what camera your using can influence the shot and make it better or worse. I think you put together a nice little list Eric! I have to say I like your choice!


  27. elvis castillo February 16, 2012 at 3:37 pm #

    Kinda bummed that my little black box (Contax G2) isn’t on the list :(

  28. Tarik AKA THE VIDEO FREAK February 16, 2012 at 10:11 pm #

    Canon 7D is the 2nd. 5D MK2 was the first to do HD VIDEO….

  29. Alex Stafford February 17, 2012 at 9:01 am #

    I always loved my fuji 6×7 rangefinder. Dead simple; all mechanical.

  30. Dominique February 17, 2012 at 6:42 pm #

    I think the Speed Graphic is missing from this list. This is the camera which defined an era of news photography.

  31. kim hansen February 18, 2012 at 4:35 am #

    Lets just agree on the list presented, is not completely accurate.

  32. Adam February 19, 2012 at 7:06 am #

    My personal fav has to be the D90, my first DSLR and the most trust worthy little camera I’ve used. Its still shooting today after going through some bumps.

  33. Bob Redd February 21, 2012 at 2:35 pm #

    What! Hasselblad H3D with back or H4D with back not mentioned?

  34. Dave Persaud February 21, 2012 at 8:25 pm #

    I’m quite pleased to see my D90 in the list.. I shoot parties with it every weekend and havent let me down once..

  35. drew February 22, 2012 at 8:57 am #

    I think Diane Arbus used Mamiya TLRs. Not sure that Rolleiflex is correct for her.

  36. photographer February 29, 2012 at 11:04 pm #

    I live in China. I was walking around the other day and I counted 24 children. Out of the 24 kids, only three were girls! That is a sex ratio of 8 boys to 1 girl! I once taught a class of 33 students where only 3 were girls! Now I know the official rate is 5 boys to 4 girls, but this is ridiculous. Who are these beloved sons going to marry in 20 years?

    I am aware that China has a one child policy, has a preference for sons as a replacement for a lack of a social security plan, and is backwards and undeveloped, but aborting females for males is beyond cruel. Estimates say that there will be a surplus of 60 million males in ten years.

    Chinese parents can have another child if they have a girl, but not if they have a boy. Chinese, however, often ignore the law, abort the girl, and have two sons. I am also told that China will import women from Russia, Thailand, Japan, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, and the Philippines to make up for the lack of wives in China. However, these countries do not have an extra 60 million women and India, Pakistan, Nepal, Vietnam, South Korea, and Taiwan also have a severe shortage of women. An imbalanced sex ratio is a serious problem and could lead to social instability and even war.

    If you ever go to China, count the first 20 kids you see yourself. I bet you won’t find the sex ratio is better than two boys to one girl. If you are concerned about this problem, try to raise awareness by discussing this issue with others and ask them if they want to live in a world where everyone has an unmarried son.

  37. The Shades of Grey | Elal March 2, 2012 at 1:15 am #

    I’ll wait for D4s and see if she also tops this list :)

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  39. Jak March 5, 2012 at 2:42 pm #

    I noticed the Rolleiflex TLR entry was written in past-tense, even though it is still for sale at BH Photo. After more than 80 years, I think it deserves a higher ranking than #29. It’s a magical camera.

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  45. EmceeGrady July 30, 2012 at 3:39 pm #

    I think like a bunch of those EL hasselblads are still on the moon

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    My first camera was awesome… Olympus Trip 35 :)

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  1. 50 Greatest Cameras of All Time? | Chase Jarvis Blog | | Shall we Focus on You?Shall we Focus on You? - February 15, 2012

    […] Greatest Cameras of All Time? | Chase Jarvis Blog Posted on February 15, 2012 by tomcampbell 50 Greatest Cameras of All Time? | Chase Jarvis Blog. What is your favourite Camera? This entry was posted in Photography. Bookmark the permalink. […]

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