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The Camera Collection Goes Away

September 17, 2012

Over the last 6 months or so, I’ve shed a lot of cameras. I was creeping up to the 100 mark, and it was past ridiculous. There was so much duplication, in terms of feature sets, that there was no point in owning them. Many were broken in form or another, and many didn’t accept modern film sizes.

At a certain point, the act of collecting takes over. You’re no longer using what you buy. You’re just buying. At that point, it’s time to get out. You’re preventing other people from owning. And, generally, that means you’re preventing other people from using and enjoying. When it comes to cameras, you may be preventing art.

I’ve always prided myself on using what I own. I routinely shed computer books I no longer use. I purge fiction books I know I’ll never re-read. I even shed excess comics.

Right now, I’m down to 60 cameras from the 99 I previously owned. Of the 60, there are almost 10 duplicates, bringing the number down to around 52 distinct cameras.

Why duplicates? Well, the cost of repairing certain cameras exceed their worth (sometimes dramatically so). It’s actually easier to throw the damaged camera out and buy a new one. I own a few film cameras that I love to shoot with, but aren’t worth repairing. I generally like to have at least two working versions.

What do I have left? If you seen my previous two posts on my camera collection (here and here), you know I’ve owned quite a bit. Here’s what’s left:

  • Olympus (8) — XA1, XA, Stylus Zoom 115, Stylus Epic DIX, OM-1 (I own two), Trip 35, 35-SP
  • Kodak (4) — Brownie Flash Hawkeye, No. 2 Brownie Model F, Vest Pocket Autographic, Duaflex IV
  • Canon (4) — Canonet QL17 (I own two), EOS Rebel K2, Elph LT 260
  • Holga (4) — 120S, 120CFN, 135, 35 AFX
  • Polaroid (2) — SX-70 with Sonar auto-focus, SX-70
  • Yashica (3) — FX-3, Electro 35, T4 Super
  • Lomography (8) — Fisheye 2, Diana +, ActionSampler, Oktomat, La Sardina, Sprocket Rocket, Lomokino Super 35, DIY 135 Pinhole Camera
  • Ricoh — 500 G
  • Minolta — Hi-Matic G
  • Toyocaflex — Toyocaflex TLR
  • Fuji — Instax Mini 7
  • Ikimono — Ikimono 110 camera
  • Nikon — D50
  • Vivitar — Ultra Wide and Slim (I own 4)
  • Golden Half — Golden Half
  • Pentax — K-1000
  • Manufacturer unknown — Anny-44
  • Minox — 35 GT
  • Panasonic — DMC-FS6
  • Cardinal — Cardinal Camera
  • Ultronic — Ultronic Panorama (yellow)
  • Discovery — Discovery Kids Camcorder
  • Sharan — STD-35 Pinhole Camera
  • Diana — Diana Camera
  • Falcon — Falcon Camera
  • Hype — Chocolate Milk Box Camera
  • Suprema — Mini GTG (CBC 50th anniversary gift camera)
  • Image Fusion — Split-Cam
  • Lomo — Smena
  • 4M — Plastic Pinhole Camera

Cameras marked in bold above are potential candidates for removal from the collection. I’ll be talking a little more about that below.

These are the different types of films these cameras represent:

  • 35 (39)
  • 120 (6)
  • 620 (2)
  • 127 (4)
  • Digital (3)
  • Polaroid Instant (2)
  • Fuji Instant (1)
  • 110 cartridge (1)
  • APS (1)

Quite a few extinct formats here. The 127, 110, and APS formats need to be trimmed out.

And the different types of camera:

  • Rangefinder (10 35mm)
  • Compact (6: 4 35mm, 1 digital, 1 APS)
  • SLR (6: 5 35mm, 1 digital)
  • Box camera (2 120)
  • Folding Compact (1 127)
  • TLR (2)
  • Toy Camera (22 : 4 120, 1 110, 13 35mm, 3 127, 1 digital)
  • Instant (3: 2 Polaroid, 1 Fuji)
  • Multi-lens (3 35mm)
  • Pinhole (3 35mm)
  • Half-frame (1 35mm)

These categories are a bit vague…”Toy Camera” is a catch-all, and there’s at least 1 camera in there that could be considered panoramic.

So, what happens next?

Well, I have 60 cameras left, 52 if you count duplicates. I’d like to get that down to 40…maybe even 30.

The Kodak Vest Pocket camera was bought exclusively for the lens. You can’t buy film for it anymore, and it barely works. I plan to unscrew the lens and attach it to a body cap for my digital SLR. Most of my other 127 film cameras may similarly bite the dust.

I have Canon EOS, Nikon, Pentax, and Yashica SLR’s, but I only have multiple lenses for Nikon and Olympus, so the K-1000 and FX-3 are on the chopping block. Unfortunately, my LensBaby was bought with a Canon mount. That was an incredibly stupid decision, one of the few true regrets I have in buying gear.

The Minox and Electro cameras need batteries you can no longer purchase easily in North America, so they, too, need to go.

I dislike shooting with TLR’s. It’s not how I shoot, and they’re just not comfortable for me. Everyone is different. Both the Toyocaflex and Duaflex will probably get sold.

I only have 1 camera that shoots with APS, and I have 2 rolls left. Once they’re gone, so is it.

There are a few cameras, like the Smena and the CBC anniversary camera, that are truly ‘toy’ cameras, bought only for cachet value. I’ll probably drag a roll through them, and then let them go.

Multi-lens cameras sound cool, in theory, but they aren’t that interesting once you’ve shot a roll. I have 3, and could trim that to 1 very easily.

What do I want in the future?

Not to buy endless amounts of cameras. But I do want a few. One of the reasons for trimming this aggresively is to make room for a few types of cameras I’ve wanted for a long time.

A true panoramic camera

I think the most I can afford here is the Horizon Perfekt. At $500, it’s expensive, and will be on my wishlist for a long time.

I’d also love to have a Pinhole Blender. Anamorphic shots are cool, and this is one type of camera I’d love to play with.

A new Digital SLR

I’m sticking with Nikon, as I have 3 lenses. I’m just not sure what to get yet.

A GoPro

I’m kinda loving the GoPro, but I’m reluctant to drop $300 on one. I think the market for that type of camera is going to expand, though. It will be interesting to see if any competitors crop up.

Hey, Jeff! What do I do if I want one of the sweet cameras you said you were trimming out?

You leave a comment here! I check comments on the blog fairly regularly. Serious offers only. I don’t have a PayPal account, so it’s local TO residents only (apologies, but I don’t want the hassle of shipping and payment over the Interweb).

Fun comes in all shapes and sizes

I’m not going to pretend I didn’t have fun with a bunch of cameras I’m now trying to sell. I did. But I also have to admit to myself that I could have had 1 amazing camera for every 10 good cameras I bought. And I’m ready for amazing.

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