If I tell you I have a nice camera made in China you will say ‘so what’. Yes, now everything is made in the Unpopular Republic of China by workers paid peanuts while factories keep closing in the West. For the powers that be it’s win-win. For 99.9999% people in this wretched world, it’s a disaster of biblical proportion. Before 2000 the made in China label carried an aura of exoticism, as it was almost unknown here in the West. Back in the day, made in China was so freakin cool.
Medium format SLRs for non-specialised use are a totally different breed than 35mm cameras. The current shape of the 35mm SLRs were defined between the 1930s and the early ‘50s, and the most critically influential design is, without the shadow of a doubt, the Kine Exakta. What we identify as an SLR today is, almost without exception, a scion of the Exakta. The other is the Contax S, which ported the concept of the Kine Exakta into the Contax rangefinder body, which was inherently superior, plus, they added the pentaprism, without which most of us don’t understand an SLR. For medium format cameras, designers followed different strategies.
The main influencer in medium format SLR design is the Hassy. The original Hasselblad is allegedly based on a German aerial camera. Should we trust their founding myth, and you know what do I think about founding myths, it is a military tool adapted for everyday use, which is creepy enough.
Sniff, sniff, something’s rotten in filmland, people. The last few years have seen an acute decrease in price of used medium format camera gear, specially pro medium format stuff. The only MF cameras that still fetch a big moolah tag are those specifically intended for amateur use, and even those are pretty cheap compared with what they used to be. Digital has finally killed 120 film in the pro area. Not only digital backs for medium format systems are cheaper and better, but there are also non modular cameras with ENORMOUS image sensors like the Leica S series, capable of taking huge images. Also, smaller full frame digital sensors are becoming better and better. Pro photogs are not like us, boys and girls, but mostly boys, errr… Ok, from the beginning. I was saying that, unlike amateurs, who like shiny and chrome and complicated, pros like matte black and easy.