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The Camera Collection

February 8, 2009

A update is available here.

As of today, these are the cameras I own. Yes, this post is strictly self-congratulatory camera porn.

I only have a few rules of camera collecting:

  • They need to work. A camera that can’t shoot film is just a cool paperweight.
  • Since I actually like to take pictures, they must have some sort of good review from a source I trust.
  • They need to look cool. Why buy so many cameras if they don’t look cool? Who does that?

Let’s list them out by manufacturer first.

Olympus

  • Olympus Stylus Zoom 115
  • Olympus Stylus Epic DIX
  • Olympus OM-1 with Vivitar 28mm\2.8 lens
  • Olympus OM-1 (back-up body)
  • Olympus Trip 35

Kodak

  • Kodak Starmite Brownie
  • Kodak Brownie Six-20
  • Kodak No. 2 Brownie Model F
  • Kodak Instamatic 104
  • Kodak Brownie 127
  • Kodak Hawkeye Brownie

Canon

  • Canonet 28
  • Canonet QL17
  • Canonet QL17 (so nice I bought it twice)
  • Canon EOS Rebel K2 with Canon 28-90\4-5.6 lens
  • Canon S3

Holga

  • Holga 120S
  • Holga 120 CFN
  • Holga 135 (regular, not the Black Corner Edition)
  • Holga 35 AFX

Polaroid

  • Polaroid SX-70 with Sonar auto-focus
  • Polaroid SX-70 (no auto-focus attachment)

Yashica

  • Yashica FX-3 with Yashica 50mm\1.9 lens
  • Yashica Electro 35

Lomography

  • Lomography Fisheye 2
  • Lomography Diana +

Various

  • Cortina
  • Ricoh 500 G
  • Minolta Hi-Matic G
  • Toyocaflex TLR
  • Fuji Instax Mini 7
  • Ikimono 110 camera
  • Hanimex Compact A
  • Nikon D50 with Nikon 50mm\1.8 lens
  • Minox 35 EL
  • Vivitar Ultra Wide and Slim
  • The cardboard pinhole camera Paul gave me

That’s 37 cameras…40 if you count the 3 that I no longer have: my first digital Canon SD300, the Olympus 35-SP I’ve loaned out, and the Loomar pinhole kit…41 if you count my cell phone camera.

Let’s break out some stats on what I have right now:

By film

  • Digital cameras: 2
  • 35 mm cameras: 20
  • 120 cameras: 6
  • Instant: 3
  • 110 cameras: 1
  • Instamatic 126 cartridge cameras: 1
  • 127 cameras: 2
  • 620 cameras: 2 (620 was a twisted variant of 120 designed by Kodak to achieve vendor lock-in)

Lens

  • Pinhole: 1 (2 if you count the pinhole body-cap I made for the D50)
  • Plastic: 6
  • Glass: 30

Removable lens vs. built-in

  • Removable: 6
  • Built-in: 31

Cameras I have not yet run a single roll through

I need to do something about this. I suspect the box cameras will yield interesting results.

  • Kodak Starmite Brownie
  • Kodak Brownie Six-20
  • Kodak No. 2 Brownie Model F
  • Kodak Instamatic 104
  • Minox 35 EL
  • The cardboard pinhole camera Paul gave me

Are any of these statistics meaningful in any way? Of course not.

What is meaningful is the results that come out of the camera, and whether or not they all work.

Currently, the following cameras are sidelined:

  • Minox 35 EL : I didn’t even have a chance to load film. It was a total lemon from Henry’s Outlet Centre, which is usually reasonable (never really good, just reasonable).
  • Olympus Trip 35 : died half-way through the first roll. Something I need to fix, as I think this will be a very cool point-and-shooter.
  • Polaroid SX-70 : the one I found in my father’s care after he died has broken runners for the eyepiece. Even if Polaroid film is dead, I want this repaired, as I consider it a heirloom.
  • Kodak No. 2 Brownie Model F : I have to fix the rear film window, as it was cracked and in pieces when I found it. I have some transparent Rubylith paper that should do the trick. I also need to replace the mirrors in the viewfinders…I think polished aluminum would do the trick.
  • Lomography Fisheye 2 : left the batteries in the camera for too long, and the contacts rusted out. I’m trying to figure out a way how to clean electrical contacts properly, and see if this fixes the problem. If not, it was good while it lasted, but there’s a Holga model that has almost the same specs as the Fisheye 2, and I’ll probably buy that as a replacement.

The coolest of the bunch

The ones I personally consider treasures:

  • Canonet QL17: probably the greatest fixed-lens rangefinder I’ve used. The sweet 40mm f\1.7 lens is fast, sharp, and a joy to shoot with. Fully manual or shutter-priority, metering to ISO 800, and the meter is inside the filter thread to adjust for in-camera filtration. These go for as low as $40, which is a steal for a camera of this caliber.
  • Diana +: for all the dirt that Lomography has had heaped on it, the Diana + is a good camera. It gives great vignetting, has a good set of wide to portrait lenses, and even a 35mm back. The only real complaints: the spool-holders inside the camera are really loose; Lomography gave us a cheap shot when they released the flash model after the non-flash model; and it’s basically way over-priced for what you actually get.
  • Vivitar Ultra Wide and Slim: damn, this is a good, small camera with a super-wide 22mm plastic lens that gives amazing vignetting and distortion effects. The price on these is sky-rocketing thanks to a lot of blog buzz, but you can still order these new for around $40. They are worth every penny. There is almost no excuse to have one in your pocket at all times.
  • Holga 35 AFX: The only fully-automatic glass-lens Holga in existance, this camera gives you no control over anything and only meters through DMX coding at 2 speeds: 100 and 400. It even has auto-rewind. I bought this years ago from Freestyle and haven’t seen it for sale since. It is truly an awesome little camera that can give you really good results.

You’ll notice the camera I use the most often, the Nikon D50, isn’t on that list. I love my D50’s performance, but I have no special attachment to it beyond it being the best digital I have. What I’m really in love with is the 50mm\1.8 lens I bought for it, which is precise, fast, and sharp. That lens really helped me work through the basics of taking pictures, and I highly recommend a 50mm to anyone buying their first prime lens.

The wish list

Here are some cameras I’d really like to have (some are pricey or rare, so I expect I’ll have to wait a while for these).

  • Minolta ST-101: Annie Liebowitz’s first camera.
  • Fujipet: it just looks cool…there, I admitted it. Plus, the reviews I’ve read make it sound worth the money.
  • A true panorama camera: Something like the Horizon Perfekt. I haven’t yet found one in my price range, but I’m sure one will turn up eventually.
  • A pinhole blender: I think these take some of the coolest images I’ve seen. This, I can afford. It may be my next camera.
  • Olympus XA2: because it’s an awesome camera, and to round out my Olympus point-and-shoot collection.
  • Every freaking Holga I can get my hands on: I’m addicted. So sue.

So, I’m a bit of a nut when it comes to cameras. That’s my camera porn. What’s yours?

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