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Vintage Cameras

Started by benhutcherson, May 31, 2009, 07:53:44 PM

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I'm just curious as to how many others here are interested in vintage cameras. Photography is one of my other hobbies, and my newest "serious" camera was made in the 1980s.

To me, older cameras, with all of their quirks, are much more satisfying to use. Yes, you have to know what you're doing, but it's enormously satisfying when you get it right. Plus, most of the old, better cameras have a feeling of heft and precision that you just don't get today.

For 35mm, I use Canon's FD mount cameras, which was Canon's mainstay professional system from the '70s through the late '80s(and extending back to the earlier FL system from the '60s). I have 6 cameras and at one time had over 20 lenses, although I've paired this down a good bit. These aren't really collectible so much, they're just good quality, utilitarian cameras that work forever and are inexpensive to buy today(sort of the 500 series of the camera world  :) ).

I also am a big fan of Rollei twin lens reflex cameras. I have an older Rolleiflex Automat III with a 3.5 Xenar, and a couple of Rolleicords from the III up through a Va, all with either Xenars or Tessars.

Then, of course, I have the obligatory boxes full of old Kodak Brownies, Arguses, Polaroids, and the like. I've had, in the past, SLRs from Yashica, Petri, and a few others, although I've parted with those. Also have a Yashica Electro GSN, which is a great little camera although mine needs some work.

Finally, I have a decent sized stockpile of flashbulbs-mostly GE #5s/Sylvania P25s, but a few others. I have half a dozen that are about the size of a standard household lightbulb, and have a medium screw base. I don't know offhand the number, but they're potent. 

So, anyone else here into vintage cameras?


I'm not seriously into photography, but I do have a bunch of vintage cameras.  Nothing spectacular--most are standard consumer cameras that I like because of their design.

The only cameras I was passionate about were Polaroid roll film cameras.  I have a slew of those, and took carloads of pictures with them.  Then they stopped making Type 42 film and I was devastated.  It made sense for them to stop making it, of course, but that didn't make me feel any better about it.  I still have the cameras, but they're now nothing more than decorations.  :'(


I like the old Polaroid roll film cameras, too. I have a couple of model 100s, and one of the later ones(J66, I think).

The model 100s weigh a ton-they have to be one of the most nicely made consumer model Polaroids(next to the pack film 250, of course).

There have been some people who have figured out how to convert them to 120 format roll film, however it's pretty major surgery and not reversible. To do it well, you have to add film rails, and re-engineer the pressure plate since 120 film is considerably thinner than the Polaroid roll film. That's not to mention adding the necessary winding and counting hardware, and then getting everything light proof. When it's all said and done, you end up with an odd panoramic format, something like 6x10.

I also love the fact that the model 100 and the other early Polaroids work without a battery. All of the pack film cameras are dead without a battery(which, incidentally, is hard if not impossible to find).

The biggest negative about most of the roll film cameras is the separate viewfinder/rangefinder, a set up which I'm not too fond of. But, then, I guess that a lot of Polaroids don't even have a rangefinder, so that's something that I can overlook.


check out this camera and the price the guy paid. It's enough to make you puke...scroll down a bit.

The More People I meet, The More I Love, and MISS My Dog.  Dan Robinson


Wow-I wish that I could find the deals like that.

I love wooden view cameras-not only are they functional, but they're just pretty to look at. There are even still a few currently in production, like the Japanese-made Tachihara

Surprisingly enough, it's actually the least expensive field view camera on the market, and used ones(they've been made pretty much made unchanged since the '70s) can be had for much less.


I'm still new into photography, I just recently bought my DSLR, a Nikkon D40.

I have 3 vintage cameras in my collection, a Zenith ET, Canon  QL17 and Agfa Optima 200. I also have a Bell and Howell slide cube, I don't bought all of these, all are gifts from friends.
Come to think of it, there are lots of vintage cameras, video cameras and projectors coming out of the market, maybe I can collect also those, recently I just saw a Rollei twin lens reflex out there.


I was collecting vintage cameras for a long time before I started getting phones. I think of myself as a "user-collector" (same with phones), because I only got cameras that I wanted to use. I seem to use them less and less these days, though. Digital is just so much easier.

Anyway, I still have a lot of Exakta SLR stuff. These are fairly quirky, even for 1950s cameras. I have a Rolleiflex, too, and recently couldn't resist getting a Nikon F.

I also have an Olympus OM-1 and a small collection of their lenses. I never thought of them as "collectible," though, because they were current when I got them. In fact, the OM-1 (from the 1980s) was my "newest" camera until 2002.


I have three Kodak Brownie cameras, all from family and of course not used anymore.  I also have a Pentax K-1000 form my old photo class days, all the manual adjustments are fun to tinker with but it rarely gets used anymore.


I used that K-1000 Pentax for years, hated to give it up but digital won becausre of posting photos and time and cost  to develope film..

The More People I meet, The More I Love, and MISS My Dog.  Dan Robinson


Well, I just called today and ordered the 2 1/4x3 1/4 Graflex that I ran across down in Florida-it will hopefully be here sometime next week.

I also ordered both a 120 and a 220 back for a Mamiya RB67 from KEH photo, which, I'm told, will directly attach to the Graflock back on the Graflex. If not, I'll be stuck with two back I can't use, and will(unfortunately) have to buy an RB67 to use them.

I need to order some more 120 film, but I have at least two dozen rolls of 220 out in the freezer(mostly Velvia and Provia) that I don't, as of yet, have a camera to use them in. I'm also looking at a 50-roll lot of 220 Provia on Ebay, which should keep me well stocked for the next couple of years.

Freestyle and B&H both have several emulsions of B&W film in 2 1/4 x 3 1/4 that are surprisingly inexpensive(25 sheets of Efke 100 PL are $9.95 from B&H), so I'll probably eventually order one of those for the heck of it.


Thought I'd post a few photos of some of my better old cameras

First, my newest toy, my Crown Graphics 23. This is, of course, a fine made in the USA camera-probably the only decent camera ever made in the USA.

Next, my Rolleiflex, mounted on another classic, a Tiltall tripod. The Tiltall is a solid chunk of aluminum that one can still buy new for around $100. This particular one is from the '50s, and set me back about $60 with shipping-plus, it's made in the USA(as opposed to the newer Chinese ones).

The "little brother" to the Rolleiflex, the Rolleicord

And, finally, a really handy device-a Weston Master II light meter. This little gem is from before the War, and still works great and is accurate. Up until a couple of years ago, you could still buy a brand new Weston meter that was very similar to this one. This one's another made in the USA product.

These are what are called a selenium meter, which means that they don't require a battery or any other external power source to operate. The meter cell provides the voltage to the scale. This type of meter was often built into better cameras up through the '60s, although the one built into cameras are generally non-responsive, or at least non-linear(and thus unusable). Wesson meters were remarkably well sealed, and almost always still work.

These are about all of my older cameras of any note-like I said, I do have boxes of Kodaks, Arguses, and Polaroids, most of which I've never even bothered to load film into. All of the above pictured items actually get used, and used pretty frequently at that(it keeps the shutters free). I also have newer Japanese SLRs, which, while they're fine cameras, and all over 20 years old, they're not exactly collectible. Maybe one of these days.

I also have some good, solid darkroom equipment that gets pretty regular use. I'll have to pull it out and take pictures of it. Things like developing tanks and reels from the 50s and 60s are usually better than what you can buy new, and significantly more affordable.


Nice! maybe I should also start collecting to vintage cameras. Telephones, Typewriters, Cameras, its all gonna drain my savings ;D


That's a very cool collection of cameras.  Neat that the light meter still works, I used one in photo class back in high school and college but not since.  My high school photo class used, get this, Kodak Brownies.  We had a full dark room, developing room, the whole enchilada and it was way cool, but using early 20th century cameras in the early 1980's was sure weird. 


I never used a vintage camera, just regular Nikon 35mm equipment, but I did learn to develop photography in a darkroom, as did one of my sons in high school, and while I enjoyed and appreciated the discipline, precision and chemistry of it all, it took ages and was expensive, so when Photoshop came out, I was very happy to be able to do it all digitally and chemical free on a computer.


Hi All:

Actually, collecting cameras has also been a side hobby of mine... I am uploading a short document showing some of the cameras in my collection. I also collect film processing equipment.

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