When was the first camera with dial(wheel) method to input settings introduced? Which model is it?

What is the method that is used before this?

  • I don't know what the first was, but the 1989 Canon EOS-1 had one: mir.com.my/rb/photography/hardwares/classics/eos/EOS-1/… – dpollitt Sep 11 '12 at 16:46
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    Do you mean electronic controls or mechanical? Some of the folding Kodak Brownie models from around 1905 had a dial that set the shutter behavior, and I'm sure there must have been others that came earlier. – Blrfl Sep 11 '12 at 17:16

The first camera to have essentially the same control types as on modern DSLRs (wheels for both aperture and shutter speed, etc.) was the Minolta Maxxum/Dynax 9000 professional 35mm autofocus SLR, released in 1985. The previously-introduced "prosumer" model, the Maxxum/Dynax 7000, as well as the follow-on entry-level Maxxum/Dynax 5000, used up/down buttons (which made it a real pain in the backside to use, even if focus happened automagically; I upgraded the moment the 9000 became available).

Prior to that, the standard layout would have been an aperture ring on the lens and a shutter speed dial on the camera body. (In the case of leaf shutters, the shutter speed control was/is usually a lever on the lens as well.)


I couldn't tell you specific models, but prior to electronically controlled aperture and shutter the aperture was a lever or ring on the lens itself (similar to how the focus ring operates on modern lenses) and the shutter speed was either a selector of some kind (lever, switch, etc) or was just bulb mode.

  • That was much more usable imo, since you had the number on the ring itself and easily can switch between 1/4 and 1/500, on the other hand my camera had 1 stop divisions, but I guess it was fine for film. – Paolo Sep 12 '12 at 13:25

My Nikon F has a dial for shutter speeds. I bought it in 1970, but the F's design goes back to the very early 60s or late 50s.

Many enthusiast cameras of this era, in rangefinder, twin lens reflex and SLR styles, used dials.

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