1990's Leica

Leica Mini II

Leica Mini II

The Leica Mini II was the second camera in the Leica mini film camera series. First introduced in 1993, the camera was a fully automatic 35mm camera with a fixed Leica Elmar 35mm f/3.5 lens.

It came with the same incredible features as its predecessor, the Leica mini, but also featured new features and improvements that its predecessor didn’t have.

Keep reading to learn what these features are.

Features of the Camera

One of the best features of the Leica mini II is the improvements made to the autofocus system.

Unlike other point and shoot cameras that focus on objects at a specific distance, the Leica mini II came with autofocus to infinity. With this feature, you can photograph a landscape while in the car. Your camera won’t focus on the car window, but the terrain in the distance.

And that’s not all!

This camera also comes with a really effective and quiet pre-focusing mechanism making the camera a true point and shoot camera.

It doesn’t end there!

Thanks to the exposure override setting (+2EV), you can easily take photos even with a bright object in the background. So, if there’s a sunset or sunrise in your shot, you can still take amazing pictures with this camera.

Another compelling feature is that the camera comes fitted with center-weighted metering with exposure memory. With this feature, you can be sure that none of your images will be over or underexposed.

Like its predecessor, the Leica Mini, the Leica Mini II came with a built-in flash with a fast recycling time. The camera also came with a pre-flash option for red-eye reduction. 

What about the lens?

This camera comes equipped with a Leica Elmar f/3.5/35 mm lens.

And here’s the best part!

This lens comes with a built-in zoom option preprogrammed for 19 different photography settings.

Like the Leica mini, the Leica mini II came with a moderately sized but bright viewfinder.

It also comes with a continuous shutter release with a speed of 1.5 frames per second.

Design and Physical Appearance

One of the most noticeable features of cameras in the mini series is their compact nature. The Leica mini II wasn’t any different.

It can comfortably fit in your pocket, making it ideal for street photography and casual family events.

Like its predecessor, this camera is made from plastic, which is a major shortcoming considering it’s a Leica. The camera lens is designed to extend and retract but doesn’t come with a lid.

Shortcomings of the Camera

One of the most significant shortcomings of this camera is its build. The camera feels cheap to hold. Unlike other Leica’s that have been described as tanks, the Leica mini doesn’t inspire much confidence. 

Another flaw with the Mini II is that it doesn’t remember the flash mode once switched off. Thanks to this, you should change the mode every time you switch since the camera will always revert to “flash on” mode.

Final Thoughts

The Leica mini II is a great budget Leica to own.

Despite the plasticky feel, the camera boasts impressive Leica optics, an improved autofocus and flash system, portability, and silent shooting.

Just the perfect camera to carry on your next family event or vacation.

1990's Leica

Leica Mini

Leica Mini

First introduced in 1991, the Leica Mini was a fully automatic compact point and shoot 35mm rangefinder. Although Leica didn’t build it (manufacturing was outsourced to either Panasonic or Minolta), the Leica Mini was and is still an incredible camera deserving of the iconic red Leica dot.

The 1990s weren’t the best period for Leica.

After several failed flagship projects, Leica went into partnership with Japanese camera makers, including Minolta and Panasonic. From these partnerships, Leica launched several cameras. One of these was the Leica Mini.

Features of the Camera

One of the best features of this camera is that it can fit anywhere. Thanks to its compact nature, you can carry the Leica mini anywhere.

It’s also light and doesn’t come with added accessories; therefore, making it the perfect camera for vacations or family events.

Other than its compact nature, the Leica mini also comes with a bright and clear viewfinder.

And unlike other compact cameras at the time, it doesn’t feel like you’re looking through a keyhole. Although it’s not massive, the Leica mini viewfinder isn’t too small either. It’s just the right size.

Another great feature about the Leica mini is the fact that it’s a fully autofocus camera. Thanks to the infrared autofocus system, your work as a photographer is made easier.

Another feature that makes your work easier as a photographer is integrating the simple but effective center-weighted metering. With this metering, you don’t have to worry about exposure. All photos taken with this camera are perfectly exposed.

Thanks to the autofocus system and center-weighted metering, the Leica mini is the perfect street camera. All you need to do is point and shoot.

And that’s not all!

With the Leica mini, you don’t have to worry about the quality of your photos. The camera comes equipped with a fixed Leica Elmar 35mm f/3.5 lens. With this lens, you can be sure that 90% of the photos you take will be sharp and of excellent quality. 

The Flash

The Leica mini also comes with a built-in flash system. With this camera, you have the choice of three flash modes.

  • On
  • Off
  • Auto

When talking about the Leica mini flash system, it’s also essential to speak of the green LED in the viewfinder. This LED can signify several things, depending on the flash mode chosen.

  • Flash Auto Mode: When set in auto, the LED lights up to signify that flash is ready.
  • Flash Off: When the flash is set off, the green LED lights up to indicate that focus and exposure have been recorded, and the camera is ready to shoot. If the LED doesn’t light up, it means that there isn’t enough light.
  • In some instances, the green LED flashes rapidly, indicating that flash is not ready (auto mode), or the subject is too close to the camera (85 cm). If the LED flashes when the flash is set to off, it signifies that the shutter speed will be less than 1/30 sec.

Design and Physical Build

The Leica mini wasn’t a Leitz manufactured camera. At first glance, the camera looks like either a Minolta Freedom Escort or Panasonic 625AF.

Despite not being manufactured by Leica, the camera is impeccably designed. In true Leica minimalist fashion, the camera didn’t come with tons of controls and buttons.

All buttons are ergonomically placed and easy to locate. And unlike other point and shoot cameras at the time, the lens is located far enough from the right hand to avoid interference when shooting.

Shortcomings of the Camera

One of the biggest shortcomings with this camera is that it doesn’t feel as well built. The Leica mini feels plasticky and creaks when you squeeze it.

For a Leica, this shouldn’t be the case.

The camera also lacks the red LED light in the viewfinder. Although the green LED indicates multiple things, it doesn’t indicate whether flash will or won’t fire when the camera is set on auto mode.

Another flaw with the Leica mini is that the camera doesn’t remember your flash preference when switched off. Coupled with the fact that it automatically switches off after five minutes, the Leica mini can be quite stressful to use, especially in situations when you don’t need the flash.

Final Thoughts

I’ll be honest.

The Leica mini wasn’t the best compact 35mm camera at its time. However, it was an excellent camera.  

It came with some unique features, isn’t complicated to use, and can fit almost anywhere. It also comes with an excellent viewfinder, superb optics, and is a great street camera.

1990's Leica

Leica R8

Leica R8

For twenty years, Leica hadn’t designed their own SLR. Thanks to Leitz and Minolta’s partnership, all Leica SLRs made between 1976 and 1996 (Leica R3 to R7) came with a Minolta built chassis. Then came the Leica R8.

The first Leica SLR to be entirely designed by Leica without the help of Minolta. A camera that aimed to differentiate itself from SLRs at the time.

And it did just that. Not only was the R8 the most advanced Leica SLR ever, but it also came with some unique features that made it a worthy competitor to professional-grade cameras from Nikon and Canon.

But what are these features?

Keep reading to learn more.

Features of the Camera

One of the first features you’ll notice when you lay your eyes on the Leica R8 is the unique body. Compared to previous Leica SLRs, Leica rethought everything about the camera.

The body was large and rounded, and controls were redesigned to be more ergonomic.

To some people, the redesigned body made the camera ugly and bulky. However, if you plan to use telephoto or zoom lenses with this camera, then you’ll love the redesigned body. The added weight allows easy handling of the camera when using these lenses.

The second most noticeable feature of the R8 is its big and bright viewfinder. With a 93% coverage and a 0.75X magnification, the R8 viewfinder is a joy to look through.

Like previous Leica R cameras, the R8 viewfinder was fixed and couldn’t be interchanged. However, the camera came with five interchangeable viewscreens, namely:

  • The standard viewscreen that had a course-central micro prism area with a central split-image focusing aid.
  • The Plain ground glass screen for long focal length cameras and extreme close-ups
  • Micro prism screen
  • The Full-field ground glass screen for architecture photography.
  • The bright glass focusing screen for astrophotography and other scientific photography.

The R8 also came with several features that made shooting with it a joy.

One of these features was the introduction of three metering modes. Unlike previous Leica SLRs that came with two metering modes, the R8 came with three modes, namely:

  • Center-weighted metering
  • Spot metering
  • Matrix metering

These three metering modes work perfectly with any exposure mode. With the R8, you get the choice of five exposure modes. These are:

  • Aperture priority
  • Shutter priority
  • Manual
  • Pre-flash exposure metering
  • Automatic program mode

Other Features

When designing the camera, Leica improved the shutter.

The R8 came with an electronically timed vertical traveling metal plate shutter that could achieve a maximum speed of 1/8000 sec. This was a speed unheard of in any Leica camera before the R8.

This improved shutter speed made the R8 an excellent camera for sport and action photography. 

There’s more!

The Leica R8 also came with a fully automated TTL flash control with a sync time of 1/250 sec.

Shooting the R8 was also made better by the vast collection of impressive R-mount lenses available for the camera.

The R8 also came with a feature never seen in any other 35mm SLR.  When designing the Leica R9, Leica introduced a digital module on the back of the camera. Although it wasn’t created for the R8, the module could fit perfectly on the R8.

With this module, the R8 transformed into a 10-megapixel digital camera. However, the module isn’t cheap as it costs approximately $4,200.

Design and Physical Build

The R8 isn’t the best looking camera. While trying to come up with a new look for SLRs, Leica created a weird-looking camera.

A camera with a rounded body and dropping shoulders.

However, despite the odd-looking body, the R8 was a joy to hold. It fit perfectly in the palm.

One of the best parts about the R8 design was the large shutter speed dial located on the top plate. With just a flick of the finger, a photographer can effortlessly change the shutter speed.

Shortcomings of the Camera

One of the first issues you’ll hear people complaining about the R8 Is its weight.  At 890g, the R8 was the heaviest of the Leica SLRs. Carrying this camera all day is bound to result in neck crumps. 

Earlier versions of the R8 also came with faulty electronics, which Leica later repaired.

Final Thoughts

It’s no doubt.

The R8 is a unique camera. It doesn’t look like other SLRs, it’s the only 35mm SLR that can turn into a digital camera and is an incredible shooter.

Despite its odd-looking body, the R8 is an incredible camera worthy of your vintage classic camera collection.

1990's Leica

Leica R7

Leica R7

Several years after launching a camera that deviated from the general SLR development curve, Leica launched one of their most advanced SLRs ever. First sold in 1992, the Leica R7 was Leica’s last camera of the Leitz-Minolta partnership. Unlike its predecessor, the R7 came fitted with multiple electronic features that made it a worthy competitor to SLRs at the time. 

But what are these features?

Keep reading to learn more

Features of the R7

To most, the Leica R7 came to replace the R5 and R-E. Although the R6 came after the R5, it was a fully mechanical camera, and can’t be compared to the R5 or R7.

One of the features that made the R7 a worthy competitor to other cameras was the introduction of a fully automated TTL flash control.

All Leica SLRs produced before the R5 didn’t have TTL flash control. The R5 came with manual TTL flash control. The R7 was the first Leica SLR to come with an automatic TTL flash control.

Thanks to this feature, you don’t have to worry about setting the correct flash output to avoid overexposure.

The Viewfinder

The R7 viewfinder also came with a few added features.

For starters, the finder came with a digital shutter speed display with backlighting. No more struggling to see the small LED bars.

Like its predecessors, the eye-level viewfinder came with a non-interchangeable prism but had the choice of five viewscreens. These are:

  • The standard viewscreen that had a course-central micro prism area with a central split-image focusing aid.
  • The Plain ground glass screen for long focal length cameras and extreme close-ups
  • Micro prism screen
  • The Full-field ground glass screen for architecture photography.
  • The bright glass focusing screen for astrophotography and other scientific photography.

As if that’s not enough!

The R7 viewfinder was bright and clear and could achieve a magnification of .90X.

It doesn’t end there!


Thanks to the reintroduction of automatic electronic exposure, a photographer had the choice of four exposure mode, namely:

  • Aperture priority with automatic exposure
  • Aperture priority with manual exposure
  • Program mode
  • Shutter Priority mode

And that’s not all!

The R7 also came with an electronically timed horizontal travel metal shutter that could achieve a maximum speed of 1/2000 sec, and 1/100 sec. on Flash sync.


The R7 came with two metering modes; spot and center-weighted metering. Switching between the two metering modes is made easy thanks to the dial located under the shutter release button.

The R7 also came with an eyepiece shutter that helped prevent light from entering the viewfinder and interfering with metering.


Like it’s predecessors, the R7 came with the Leica R-bayonet mount. With this camera, you had the choice of the full range of Leica R-lenses.

Design and Physical Build

The R7 had a body similar to the R4, R5, and R6.

However, the R7 was a bit bigger and heavier than its predecessors. The inclusion of more electronic parts resulted in the R7 having an extended base.

Compared to the R5, the R7 is also 45g. heavier.

Despite being heavier than its predecessors, the R7 is a joy to hold. It fits and grips perfectly in the palm. The controls are also ideally placed and are just the right size to allow easy use.

Despite having a plastic exterior, the R7 core is entirely metal, giving the camera a solid feel.

Shortcomings of the Camera

Previous Leica electronic SLRs came with some faulty parts. The R7 didn’t have this problem.

The camera, however, used more batteries than its predecessors. The R7 shutter release and metering system required 6V batteries to function. To achieve this, the camera used four silver oxide button cells—Previous Leica SLRs used two silver oxide button cells.

The R7 was also quite heavy. If you plan to carry the camera all day, you’re bound to suffer from neck cramps at the end of the day.

Final Thoughts

The R7 is a fantastic camera.

Despite being bulky and clanky, it came with features never seen in previous Leica SLRs.

Thanks to its sturdy built and extensive lens selection, you can shoot this camera in all situations and still achieve impeccable results.

So if you’re looking for an advanced Leica SLR to add to your collection, the R7 is the classic vintage camera to get.

1990's Olympus

Olympus OM-2000

Olympus OM-2000

I’ll start with a disclaimer about the Olympus OM-2000.

If you’re an Olympus purist who strictly believes in Olympus built cameras, this post is not for you.

In this post, we’ll review the last camera in the OM series, the Olympus OM-2000. Produced between 1997-2000, the OM-2000 was and is still an excellent camera for students, learners, and young professionals.

Despite it not being a full blood Olympus camera—Cosina built the body and specified it to Olympus’s needs, the OM-2000 features some top of the line features that make it a worthy addition to your classic vintage camera collection.

Features of the Camera

One of the most prominent features of the OM-2000 is Spot metering—a feature not common in entry-level cameras

The camera is fitted with a switch which allows you to select spot or centre weighted metering. With spot metering, you can reduce the impact of a backlight, or other bright light from influencing exposure.

With this camera, you can take great photos, even with a bright background behind the subject.

Another great feature of the OM-2000 is the multiple exposure system, a function that wasn’t in other OM cameras.

With this feature, a photographer can take more creative shots. With the OM-2000 can take mirror and ghost images—something that’s impossible with single exposure cameras.

And that’s not all…

The OM-2000 also comes with a mirror lock-up feature which allows you to take vibration-free shots.

Speaking of shots, how’s the image quality?

Like other Olympus camera, the lens is sharp and easy to use.

The OM-2000 comes with two lenses, a 35-70mm f/3.5-4.8, and a 210 mm f/4.5-5.6. Like the body, the lenses were made by Cosina.

Other than its two lenses, the OM-2000 can also use other OM lenses. If you have other OMs in your collection, you won’t need to buy lenses.

What about Usability? Is it an everyday camera?

Unlike its predecessors, the OM-101 and OM-707, the OM-2000 is also relatively light—the body weighs 430 grams, with the 35-70mm lens, it weighs 615 grams.

This light weight makes it feel very nice at hand and easy to use.

It doesn’t end there…

The OM-2000 gives you back control of the ISO—something that wasn’t there in the OM-707. You also get a top shutter speed of 1/2000 sec.

Design and Physical Layout

Now here’s where the OM-2000 differs from other OM.

One of the most noticeable changes in design was the lack of a shutter speed dial at the bayonet mount. The OM-2000 shutter speed dial was located on the top plate.

Other than the self-timer, the face did not contain any other buttons.

Most of the functionality is on the top plate. On the top left is the Film Rewind Crank. Next to it, you have the spot metering/centre weighted metering switch.

The shutter speed dial and ISO dial are located on the right side of the top plate. Here you also have the shutter release button, film advance crank, the multiple exposure lever, and the Frame counter.

Shortcomings of the Camera

As mentioned above, the OM-2000 was not a pure breed Olympus camera. If you’re an Olympus purist, this camera is not for you.

The OM-2000 is also not compatible with other OM accessories other than the lenses. You can’t use motor drives, finder screen and data checks from other OM devices.

Final thoughts

Despite having a Cosina built body, the OM-2000 was and remains to be an incredible camera as per OM standards.

It’s light, has spot metering, and features a multiple exposure system. It’s also an economical entry-level camera making it great for students.

It can also make a great addition to your collection—the different design brings diversity to your OM collection.

1990's Nikon

Nikon F5

Nikon F5

Touted as the precursor of the Nikon DSLR, the Nikon F5 was Nikon’s fifth camera in its professional line.

First introduced in 1996, the Nikon F5 was a beast of a camera with tons of unique and improved features. At the time, the F5 was a technological breakthrough that instantly gained popularity among sports photographers, photojournalists, and action photographers.

But what made this camera so popular?

Camera Features

The Nikon F5 wasn’t your average SLR. It was a feature-rich camera that gave photographers a chance to be creative without the need for added accessories.

One of its most notable features was the fast autofocus. Unlike the F4, which had a slow and unreliable autofocus system (AF didn’t work in low light), the F5 came with a fast and near-perfect AF system.

Thanks to the powerful autofocus motor, the F5 achieved a record shooting speed of 8 frames per second (fastest at the time).

The AF system used five sensors to track rapidly moving targets. This fast AF feature made the Nikon F5 a favorite among many sport and action photographers.

Another feature that made the F5 a favorite among most photographers was its innovative color 3D matrix metering system.

This metering system considered several factors when calculating the best exposure. Some of these factors included scene contrast and brightness, as well as subject positioning.

The 3D color matrix made this camera ideal for landscape photographers. If you’re looking for an SLR that’ll give you spectacular landscape photos, this is the camera for you.

It’s however important to note that the 3D matrix metering only works with D-type viewfinders. When using other viewfinders, you’ll have to use either centered weighted or spot metering.

Speaking of viewfinders, what choice do you have?

Like other Nikon professional cameras, the F5 comes with an interchangeable viewfinder.

With this camera, you get the choice of four finders. These are:

  • Standard DP-30 which has a 100% coverage and a 0.75X magnification
  • DA-30 Action finder, which has a bigger eyepiece. (Excellent for people who wear glasses)
  • DW-30 Waist level finder
  • DW-31 6x magnifying finder

And that’s not all

The F5 was also the first camera to come with a self-diagnosing and self-adjusting shutter, which meant a more reliable performance.

The F5 shutter was also extraordinarily fast, with speeds ranging from 30 sec to 1/8000 sec.

What about optics?

The Nikon F5 is compatible with all Nikon AF lenses made since 1977. 3D metering however works with AF lenses made after 1993 but doesn’t work with pre-1993 AF lenses.

It also works with the more modern G type, and VR lenses.

Unlike its predecessor, the Nikon F5 doesn’t work with lenses made between 1959-1976. If you want to use these early lenses, add an aperture coupling system to your F5 to allow you to mount these legacy lenses.  

Physical Appearance and Build

Like other cameras in the F series, the Nikon F5 was designed by Italian car designer Giorgetto Giugiaro. Meaning it was a well-built camera.

One of the first things you’ll notice with this camera is its large size. The Nikon F5 was made out of a solid block of steel, making it sturdy and bulletproof. 

Despite the beastly exterior, the F5 is comfortable to handle.

The rubber exterior is grippy and smooth, which makes the camera feel natural on the hand.  The F5 will fit perfectly on your palm and will feel like an extension of your arm.

The steel body and rubber coating make the F5 both rain and dust resistant.

The F5 was the first Nikon camera to lack knobs and dials. This camera came with buttons that are located at the tips of your fingers.

Shortcomings of the Camera

The Nikon F5 is the heaviest camera in the Nikon F series. It’s not a camera you’d carry on vacation or for day shooting.

Another disadvantage with this camera is its battery use. To use this camera, you need 8 AA batteries. And these may not be enough as it drains batteries extremely fast.

Another shortcoming with this camera, especially if you love matrix metering, is that you can only use center-weighted or spot metering when using manual lenses.

Final Thoughts

The Nikon F5 is an incredible camera.

Shooting with this camera is a fun and smooth experience. Not only is it a great conversation starter (people are always attracted to well-made film cameras), it’s also a smooth and quiet shooter.

With this camera, you’ll enjoy every bit of your shooting experience.

And that’s not all:

The camera is also readily available and quite affordable. If you couldn’t afford it when it came out, now’s the time to get it.

1990's Canon

Canon T60

Canon T60
Release Year1990
Release PriceNot for sale in Japan
Lens MountFD Mount

The Canon T60 was the last manual focus FD-mount 35 mm single-lens reflex (SLR) camera sold by Canon; it was introduced in 1990, three years after the introduction of Canon’s incompatible EOS system of autofocus SLRs and their EF lenses. It was the final camera in Canon’s T series.

The T60 was introduced solely as a cheap SLR system for export. It was never sold in Canon’s home Japanese market. In some foreign markets, the higher price of the EOS cameras was a problem, while in others, there was demand for a cheap, largely manual camera for photography students and the like.

The Canon T60 shared little with the other T-series models except for a superficial styling resemblance. Unlike them, it had only manual film loading, advance and rewind. Film speed and shutter speed were set with traditional dials.

The only auto-exposure mode supported was aperture priority AE. The camera would choose an appropriate shutter speed. Also supported, of course, was full manual exposure, aided by the camera’s built-in meter. Shutter speed range was 1/1000 second to 1 second, plus bulb.