25 cameras that changed the world

Sinar Norma

The Norma, like other cameras made by Swiss firm Sinar, is a tool for professionals. It’s modular, highly adaptable – every part is interchangeable – and uses large format film, making it popular with architectural photographers and artists. A camera user’s camera.

[Image courtesy of Flickr user Karl Zeissky]


Appearing in 1888, the first model in Kodak’s range was simply named after the company – and it kick-started the idea that an amateur could own and use a camera. It took circular photos of just 2.5 inches in diameter, used a fixed focus lens and took a 100-exposure roll of film.

More after the break...

Yashica T4

A compact 35mm film camera with a 28-70mm zoom lens, the T4 (also sometimes badged as the Kyocera Slim T) was pocketably tiny, but its Carl Zeiss lens helped it achieve excellent results. In fact, during the 1990s there were few fashion and lifestyle photographers that didn’t have a T4 somewhere in their bag. One of the best point-and-shoots ever made.

Zeiss Ikon Contax S

Manufactured in post-war East Germany, the Contax S was the first SLR camera to offer an eyelevel viewfinder, which it achieved by using a pentaprism – a five-sided glass element that reflects light at 90 degrees. It’s a setup used by every DSLR on the market today.

Canon EOS 300D

Launched in 2003, the 300D was the world’s first truly affordable DSLR – the first to be sold for under US$1,000 when newly introduced. Boasting a 6.3MP sensor and compatibility with company’s range of EF and EF-S lenses, it allowed users of Canon 35mm film SLRs an easy avenue into digital.

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