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Friday, 02 November 2012


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I wish I could, but I think my reality would be right along yours.

Oh, god, what I would only give for that camera and it's film holders. I so hate being broke, especially having an idea of what that camera, even used, could go for.

I shoot 4x5 in a jury rigged field camera that started in life as a Crown Graphic and was trashed before I got it. I've pieced it together over time, put my 5x8 B&L f/6.3 Tessar from ~1912 (Polaroid shutter too) on it with modified front standard to give me something close to normal movements. It's all I could afford and it's taken me near enough to a decade to get this much together. Not as pretty as yours but functional. I've got a 127/4.7 Ektar, a 135/4.5 CZJ Tessar & an old Wollensak Triple convertible (that's pretty much too long) for it too.

Perhaps someday, I'll get a whole plate or a nice old 9x12cm plate camera, but no time soon, alas. Pardon me for being just a wee bit green-eyed at whomever is the lucky one to buy your Chamonix...

Mumble mumble grumble... Where's my Rollei? I better go burn film or I'll really get depressed ;)

I can understand not being a large-format man, I'm certainly not.

But getting rid of all my cameras would feel like hara-kiri.

Dibs on the M7 if you ever decide to part with that puppy.

Looks like a beauty, Mike, and I'm very tempted. But, you remember that poll you ran quite awhile ago asking "How many cameras do you own?" I was one of those that selected...waaay too many!!

That's a beautiful camera. My new (to me) Tachihara arrived just this afternoon or else I might have been much more tempted. I will see whether I am someone with the patience and skill set necessary for 4x5 joy. (Carl Weese is partly to blame for this side trip.)

I'm not much of a body language expert, Mike, but it seems to me that you are keeping it at arm's length very early.

What? You may be selling all of your cameras?

Sell ALL your cameras?
A good friend who has been collecting cameras
for eons, and is much older in years than you did this same thing about nine months ago. Sold everything including his new to him D700. Nary a film or digital camera remain in the house. Got about $25,000 cash sold to a foolish used camera retailer near him.

He spent his life/profession in industrial and related photography and now, is just glad to be rid of the mill wheel of possession. He does have an early iPhone which he notes is adequate for his current needs.

He also has a recent Macbook Air. So he is not entirely destitute

Oh Mike, I'm sure that's a tough pill to swallow, but I know exactly where you're coming from. I've had to face the same facts myself - different formats, different mediums albeit - but nonetheless, a difficult proposition.

I hope I was doing you a favor for posting a link to this post in the Large Format classifieds. Here's hoping that fine camera will find a good home soon!

Mike, are you really planning on getting rid of ALL your cameras!? Are you done shooting? Although you don't post much of your own photography, what you do post I often really enjoy.

Is your phone a camera? Are you getting rid of that too?

(In fact, I might be selling all of my cameras.)

Wow! If you actually manage to pull this off, please share with your readers how you did it, as this is a skill that I suspect very few of us have mastered.

Know what you mean. Wielding cameras for several decades, I always had trouble convincing myself to use a tripod even when it would have been best, let alone endure a bulky, intractable camera that could hardly be used without it.

My nature gravitates toward portability, cameras that can always be carried along. Not "point and shoot", insisting on manual control when I'd need it, and large enough images to get quality results.

In the film days it was 35mm. I loved the Pen FT, and later the OM series was the ticket. Nowadays, microFT occupies the small-but-not-too-small camera role.

And not a tiny bonus, it turns out with the blessing of 5-way IBIS, I really don't need that tripod after all.


"(In fact, I might be selling all of my cameras.)"

Please, do tell. Are you going to start a music blog?

How's the darkroom coming?

Sounds like there may be a new expensive purchase on the cards?"I may be selling all my cameras"

Care to enlighten us Mike ?


Getting rid of all your cameras and lenses could be a good thing! Or maybe just keep one of your M4/3 cameras and get a new Olympus Lens Cap 15mm f/8.0 lens. With f/8.0 as your only stop, all you will have to do is be there 8-) No annoying gear to deal with, nothing could be easier. But then what would you blog about?

Now that Leica came out with the monochrome camera, he has to get one. I give him six months before he's on to the next shiny object.

When you sell your gear on ebay, do you sell it under your name? When you do, do you get premium offers for an M.C. Johnston pre-owned camera?

In a re-run of Discovery's American Chopper featuring Billy Joel, Billy said that he buys bikes anonymously lest he be overcharged. But when he's selling, he's not averse to advertising the bike as his, and may even pose with the bike to promote it.

Perhaps it's time to try photography teaching again. It always seems like I have a use for my extra cameras in my classes.

Maybe you should have read this 2001 piece before you bought that view camera?

"View cameras aren’t the right tools for me personally."

I suspect that Mike is contemplating selling all his cameras... in order to purchase (or rationalize the purchase of) another, very expensive camera.

I suspect this because I, too, am considering the purchase of a very expensive camera myself, and am contemplating unloading almost everything else in order to rationalize its purchase. For me, that camera is the new Leica M-nothing. I wonder if Mike is thinking along the same lines...

"I suspect that Mike is contemplating selling all his cameras... in order to purchase (or rationalize the purchase of) another, very expensive camera. I suspect this because I, too, am considering the purchase of a very expensive camera myself, and am contemplating unloading almost everything else in order to rationalize its purchase. For me, that camera is the new Leica M-nothing. I wonder if Mike is thinking along the same lines..."

You guessed it. Different camera, though.


"I give him six months before he's on to the next shiny object."

Kinda falls under the heading of what I do for a living. Or hadn't you noticed?


Funny this topic came up today.
I've been getting emails from KEH Camera to clean out the closet and cash in.
My modest "collection" went out in a box to them this afternoon.
I now am awaiting their appraisal and offer,
and hoping it will partially offset the cost of a couple of SHG Olympus Zuikos I have recently acquired.

My Shen-Hao sold on eBay today.

The only reason I'm not in mourning is I remember going on a week's photo-holiday a year ago and never once needed to take it out of the car boot.

Otherwise I'd be interested :)

Too bad. I just bought myself a used Ebony. So, will let it pass.

If that purchase hadn't come through I would have stalked you like a crazed shopper.


Photoectomies are good for long-term buyers. I'm preparing for a fall photoectomy myself right now.

I've always wanted to give one of those monsters a go. But not enough to buy yours. ;->

One of the Fujis?

Sony NEX 7?

You know, you could make a contest out of this.


I'll be honest Mike, when you first wrote about the single use device, and the glories of whole plate contact prints, I was sorely tempted. That led to a year or so of going back through all kinds of threads on the Largeformatphotography forum. In the end, I realized that I'd be best suited for a 5x7 Graflex SLR*, shooting 5x5 square crops. (Though a whole plate SLR would also appeal...) I still might, someday, you know. But practicality intervened: darkroom time + film costs were too much. I still don't have the time, and the cash outlay would easily fund any number of cameras and lenses that are more flexible.

Still like the idea, though. Good luck on liquidating your camera collection. I predict you will find it quite liberating! I'm looking forward to shipping my stuff off to KEH shortly, though I suppose I ought to list the film on the LF forum classifieds.



"You guessed it. Different camera, though.


Since you're starting over, may I suggest this article to get off on the right foot...


That's not that bad an article, is it? I hardly ever go back and read my old stuff; in fact I hardly remember most of it.

(I guess that's why I can keep repeating myself sounding like I just thought it up. [g])


If I sold all my cameras, it's very likely that sooner or later I'd buy the same cameras again.

It happened in 1991. ALL my photo equipment went in a burglary, N8008, FE2, OM2SP and around 10 lenses. I got the payout and over the next couple of years, re-bought pretty much the same items (S/H) except for the FE2. Of course, in film days progress wasn't as fast.

If it happened again, my Contax G1 & G2, OM2SP, K-5, LX-5, PL-2 would be replaced by D600, Pana GH3, OM-D E5, maybe DP1-M. All of 'em, not just one!

I'm guessing Leica S2... Is there a pool?

So it's the Monochrom. Good choice, and consistent with many of your prior posts.

Hope you saved your filters. The recent blog post by Puts is interesting:



To your regular readers, the answer should be obvious.

You're selling everything to buy the Fuji X-Pro.

Or maybe the D800.

I bought a 4x5 last year to learn how to shoot large format. I shot some Fuji instants (which they don't make it anymore) but never got to shoot sheet films. Being clumsy, I am afraid I might scratch loading the films. That fear is stopping me to shoot 4x5. I need to overcome that.

Hope you enjoy your new purchase, Mike.

Fuji X-Pro1 kit is my guess, based on earlier posts.

I am sympathetic. That camera nearly caused me to sell everything to fund its purchase as well. I changed my mind and decided to keep the K5 and Limiteds, as they give similar pleasure.

Posted a link to this page on apug.org (Analog Photographers' User Group).

Good luck, Mike, selling the view camera and I hope you have great fun with your next new camera ! ( isn't that what's its all about ? )

"So it's the Monochrom."



"You're selling everything to buy the Fuji X-Pro."



"Or maybe the D800."



This is a good game. I'm guessing Pentax 645D..... although that doesn't really fit with Mike's self-confessed photographic modus operandi. Could be X Pro1, but would that require selling everything? On the other hand, as KT said, a clean sheet can be very refreshing.

Selling everything in a go is hard, but a clean cut. I got rid of all my analog Nikon equipment since it was only cluttering the shelves. Sometimes I regret not having kept this or that lens, but with what is available for mft, right now I have all I need with just three lenses. I am back to where I started: moderate wide, normal and moderate tele.

The one exeption is my beautiful Rollei 35S, I simply couldnt get rid of it and it doesnt take that much space anyway.

So let me get this straight. You're keeping the beard but getting rid of this? Only in America. Ai Ya!

Well, I notice the images in Crivello's camera store were taken on a Nikon D800.......

Responding constructively to self-awareness epiphanies is a sign of maturity. We change but often struggle to admit it. If you can accept who you've become now and act on it, life will advance and you will be happier. That's just how it works. I am a big time pack rat, but every time I do a purge, I end up smiling like crazy. I was a happy one camera, one lens guy for 25 years (Leica CL/40mm) but then the Internet and EBay came along and fueled the same disease that many of my fellow photographers have suffered through these past few years now. But unlike you, Mike, I've discovered a particular joy in each of the formats I've picked and consequently own and use one model of each - 4x5, 6x7, MFT, stereo 120, and iPhone. The one camera I rarely use is the Leica! But that's my lover, and she will be buried with me.

S2, Mike?
Now that is big and shiny!

Nice camera. I'm presently waiting for my Chamonix 4X5 to progress further along the EMS trail from its last sighting in Shanghai. My sole purpose in getting into LF is wet plate collodion, and have been busy lining up a lensboard to be machined for an old Darlot lens I picked up a while back and building a portable darkbox for my planned wet plate street project. Hopefully the subways will be running again by the time I have everything together. And I found a perfect old steel folding stool someone put out on the sidewalk after Sandy...

Yeah, but I couldn't see doing LF for film when I have my lovely Mamiya 6.

For me it's crystal clear... Sony RX1 here comes Mike!!!

Can't believe how much I feel like Mike and this column...

After 45 years in photography, and a struggle to try and keep employed, I have too much stuff, and all of it, I can use perfectly, so it's a big philosophical argument with yourself to try and pare back.

I have a nice 8X10 Deardorff, with a torn bellows that needs replacing, that I've kept "to use", solely because I spent most of my career using sheet film and would hate to give up the discipline, but it's a drag to take a few pics, even to work at it, and since I no longer have a studio, a drag to drag around. But every time I see someone who's done some nice stuff on 8X10, I think: "Hey, I could do that...". But I don't, 'cause it's too expensive and too difficult.

I spent a while looking back at all the photo work I really enjoyed doing, vs. what I had to do to make a living (this was spurred buy the article on Petapixel Called: "Why I quit professional photography"). I discovered that most of the work I really treasure, and that I enjoyed doing, was done on 120, either Hasselblad, or Mamiya RB. So in the new year, I'm getting rid of every thing but those cameras, and if I decide in the new year to get a "retirement" job of some sort, the digital stuff is going too.

I don't need any digital stuff around to take pictures for people who want something fast and cheap and didn't want to pay me any way...

Sell all of them today, buy back most tomorrow.

Before you unload the WP, please recall that you promised to use it to take my portrait. Or maybe you just promised to take my portrait with whatever the next shiny new thing is?

That camera is so beautiful that my inclination would be to display it in the living room as an art object. (As I have done with my Nikon F, F3 and OM-2n in my "study," wife has put the living room off limits to them.)

I say hold onto the Chamonix Whole Plate. It is a beautiful object. At the very least, you've got a cool camera obscura that will give you a 2-D view of the world that is flipped and reversed.

Sure, threaten to be a good example to all of us! Thanks heaps! ;)

Enjoy that RX1 and viewfinder, Mike!

On a purge myself, down to two cameras because I simply don't like owning stuff that I am not motivated to use frequently.

Would bet several pints of fine ale that Mike is saving up for a Leica M Monochrom and a couple of lenses.

Jim Simmons (featured comment) loves his Leica CL. And quite rightly. I don't want to get Jim into trouble, but he ought to try that 40mm Summicron-C on an M9 if he wants to experience temptation of the digital variety.

Ha ha, with my love for panoramic, I am now lugging 12+ lbs of Shenhao 617 camera with 3 lens up and down in the Eastern Sierra mountains.

I love the rise I can get that I cannot get with my XPan (or any non-view camera for that matter). Of course there's the thing about bigger negative is better.

I think I'd like the 6x8 format. Unfortunately, no budget right now...

Good luck.

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