Cameras in World War Two ? New cameras Sony RX?

Cameras that don't out date

» Posted by on Jan 20, 2016 in General | 0 comments

Cameras ?

Cameras ?

Thinking of new cameras SONY RX or Leicas ?

bernard author sony RX1 25mm

That’s me taking my own selfie now…by placing by camera, a Sony RX1 35mm with a hi contrast BW setting, manual focus to the support, an exercise rower, then placing the RX1 on it.

But…Journalists were issued Speed Graphics till after the Korean War.

Robert Capa used a HUGE camera, probably so, for his famous shots on Omaha Beach.


Journalists used Speed Graphics till after the Korean War.

There were also a lot of Graflex Speed and Crown Graphics cameras used by military photographers, you can imagine carrying one of those heavy beasts into the war zone) but they took (and still take) very nice sharp pictures.

I can see that they were using Speed Graphics were commonly used for newspaper reporter during that time.

Produced by Graflex in Rochester, New York, the Speed Graphic is called the most famous press camera.

Although the first Speed Graphic cameras were produced in 1912, production of later versions continued until 1973!!!

It was standard equipment for many American press photographers until the mid-1960s.


Military photographers used Graflex Speed Graphics (“Combat Graphics”) or Super D Graflex SLRs — these are large format cameras! BULKY.

Add fine-grained film and you get stunning, sharp and detailed pictures with extreme resolution. Most $1300 digital cameras after 2013 available,  will beat such a large format negative in terms of details and “megapixels” — to say nothing of “bokeh”.

And of course the film wasn’t processed by the local one-hour photo minilab with a bored worker, but by dedicated professionals with decades of experience.



In Germany and Europe 35mm rangefinders were predominant. Robot cameras were used as gun cameras, and soldiers and civilians used any mix of 35mm and medium format folders, box cameras and probably even plate cameras.

Imagine, hand held or tripod…the picture is so sharp on the rocking boat of scared soldiers!!!



Many soldiers also kept cameras in their field packs and managed to snap explosive amateur photos. Though the Nazi regime conducted almost absolute surveillance, it encouraged its soldiers to take photos as a way of strengthening the connection between the soldiers’ homes and the front to improve morale. The Nazis couldn’t control all the photography, anyway.

German Fighter Ace Hans-Joachim Marseille, The Life Story Of The Star Of Africa - Franz Kurowski4

Most of the amateur photographers chose innocuous subjects for their snapshots — other soldiers in their unit, landscapes, memorials and even people in the areas they occupied. The photos taken by these armed tourists often made it look like their work had all the severity of a school field trip.

Leica camera used to capture some of the most iconic images of

Nevertheless, many of snap shooters felt a sort of magical draw to the horrors of the war of extermination in the Soviet Union.

Many captured the mass shootings of Jews or the hanging of members of the resistance on film — pictures that were strictly forbidden by Heinrich Himmler, the head of the SS.

Leica Cameras, Kriegsmarin Photographers


During a meeting of his cabinet in early 1933, Adolf Hitler told his government that the future of Germany dependend on rebuilding the Wehrmacht, the country’s once-powerful military.

As part of his efforts to re-arm the military, he also ordered photographers to begin preparing for the real thing.


Field Marshal Erwin Rommel carrying his Leica

In 1938, a year before the invasion of Poland, the Wehrmacht photographers for its propaganda campaigns, were volunteers who had approached the Nazis themselves, to avoid the fate of normal soldiers on the front.

As propaganda tool, “the camera has become a weapon”.
As propaganda photographers, they were not allowed to photo dead or wounded Germans, for example, it would be unpalatable for the relatives back home in Germany.

No photos of German soldiers or SS killing Jews or partisans. But many took photos and kept them after the war.

Because they were intended as propaganda photos, the ones taken by the German photographers were technically superior to photos taken by independent photographers.

Robert Capa, who later established the legendary photo agency Magnum, Margaret Bourke-White, and Eugene Smith, who worked for Life magazine delivered very few pictures of radiant heroes — instead they captured people who were suffering.

Capa, of course, is famous for the quote: “I hope to remain unemployed as a war photographer till the end of my life.”


Many such horror photos were taken out of the pockets of dead or captured German fighters by Red Army soldiers.

The photos then became evidence in the trials against German war criminals.
The same went for the photographic evidence of the Holocaust, and especially of the concentration camps.

I believe these pictures should be shown.

Photos of the emaciated prisoners, pictures of the mountains of corpses.

Walter Benjamin, a Berlin Jew who took his life in 1940 while fleeing the Nazis. “Doesn’t the photographer,” asked Benjamin long before the war, “have the obligation to expose the guilty with his photos?”


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