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Monday, 17 December 2012


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I've thought of doing this with my film cameras, all of which came from either antique stores or my grandfather's collection. They rarely get used, but are beautiful and i hate to just keep them buried in a closet. Alas, i have little extra space in my house for non-book-storing furniture.

Great idea! Me too!
What cameras and why did you elect to purchase each one?
Can you use each camera and/or the collection to educate us?
Bright Flash

I had an economics professor in college confess to the class that although his hobby was photography, it was really collecting expensive lenses that he would pull out from a velvet-lined drawer and admire on occasion.

Now the interesting thing is what would you buy to put in it? In your very own camera museum? Or to put it another way, what's out there that you see as a particularly stellar bargain?

That's very coincidental, Mike. I found some Kodachrome II in a box in my closet on the weekend, then found some Kodachrome 25 Professional. Decided that I'd start a small collection, a homage to a now-distant era. Need some Type A Kodachrome (KPA) and some Kodachrome I.

Last time I looked, used Rolleiflexes were no bargain. Neither were used Leica M cameras. And as for Linhof Super Technikas, well ditto for those. So I'm curious what you find interesting and well priced in the vintage categories. Sure Nikon F100s were a bargain, but IMHO those are cameras for using, not collecting. Maybe a Nikon F6 would find a place in my collection, if I were making one, last of the great pro film 35s! Canon A1 too, most likely. I've already got a Nikon F, so that's covered.

I won't make fun - I have a near complete set of Nikon AF bodies, minus the F5 and F6, because, heck, they were so cheap. I even defended the collection by saying it was a study of the evolution of style language and other claptrap...I'm fighting the urge to get a complete set of the manual focus bodies, too....

I'd like to have kept cameras selectively to have a couple of shelves, at least, in a display cabinet. But most of the ones I used, I sold at a price I could make use of at the time, so I don't know if I'd have kept them even if I had the idea. (There are also some old things I'd like to buy just to display.)

I've had the same thoughts, Mike. Maybe for my Crown Graphic 4x5, the tiny pocket Kodak, and the hand-crocheted cover my late wife made for her Agfa Clack. But for very similar reason to you, I haven't done anything about it! But still, it's a nice idea.

Re: your little glass cabinet.....buy two, you're gonna need them. Space can be rationalized. Since no one comes to your house the only person possibly inconvenienced would be you. Define waste as pertaining to your money, therefore your determination.


"I really want to buy one of those glass display cases and create a small one-cabinet camera collection.

Oh, you should!

A couple of months ago my brother and I were in Kanab, Utah, and saw a relic: a full service camera shop with beautiful, old cameras on display in the front window. There is nothing nicer than an attractive display -- especially when the display is old cameras!

I was disappointed that the owner was out of town. Also disappointed I didn't have an easy way to cut out the reflections from the street so as to get some nicer images of the displays. A few snaps:






After reading the original article, I did wonder, "What's Mike buying/bought/considering now?" I was thinking more along the lines of lenses, after you selling (almost) all of your cameras...

I considered it, but it makes more sense to make a web photo gallery instead, with commentary on what makes each camera special. Of course that means I now need to buy a product photography tent to shoot the cameras, thus adding to photography-related clutter...

Mine cameras are displayed on portions of three shelves in our den. I kind of like them out in the open so that I can pick them up from time to time to remind myself what a real camera feels like. A little dusty. Hell yes, but that's why God invented Swifters.

I visit an excellent camera museum from time to time -- Campion, in Brussels, has five windows filled neat old cameras. Here's only a part of one window:


And in another window, it says that the actual prices are 50% of what is marked.


Yes, a display case sounds like a fantastic idea! I hope you procede to fill it with all sorts of interesting and awesome cameras. Heck, you could probably ask the readership for whatever you are looking for, in promise that it will go to a good home and have an in-depth article written about it...

Anyway, if you do choose to go ahead with this idea, you must have an F4s in your collection, it's too important of a camera not to include.

I've also thought about it, but I somehow hate glass display cases, or any "furniture" consisting primarily of glass. Besides, I always feel guilty when I look at a camera or a lens, which I do not use. So my little collection will rest buried in a closet. Maybe in 10 years my son will discover it, if only any BW film will be available.

Seeing that I already own around a dozen cameras I'd just need the display case, and space to put it. Yes, the feeling is familiar.

I have three broken cameras sitting on top of a cabinet: a Spotmatic, a Zenit 3M, and an Agfa Silette—total cost, about $50—with some other souvenirs and trinkets. Cafes, restaurants, and clothing stores seem to be using old cameras in displays a lot these days. I've even heard of a restaurant with decor made from VCR cassette tapes.

Don't know about putting vintage cameras on display just to gawk at...find a handful you really like and use 'em! I recently picked up a lovingly CLA'd Agfa Isolette III from Jurgen K (of certo6.com fame) and I've really been enjoying shooting with this folder. There's something to be said for the smell of that old leather case, the uncoupled rangefinder requiring the photog to manually set the focus cell, the little red window to see when the next frame is in place. GREAT FUN!!

I'm just sayin...

The old "because I want to" was my rationale for a long time. My wants started becoming realities after my wife died simply because there was nobody around to tell me no anymore...and I really needed that restriction!

I have a breakfront in my house that should have dishes in it, but it ended up as a rangefinder display case.

Go for it!

One bulletproof glass cabinet with stainless steel combination lock and automatic humidity control illuminated with bright LEDs.

That's what I always think of.

PS: Suitable for cameras, gold/silver woodwinds and of course guns.

Since when does art need a purpose?

Don't buy a display cabinet - make one!

Dreaming is Free although knowing tax collectors it could be in future taxed as a required service for survival.

One day my son all that which you have acquired shall have to be sold, for cash or?

Suggest disposal now, so you may enjoy some form of monetary rewards.

A very good friend passed over a year ago October last.
His basement walls are lined with literally 100's of HO gauge brass steam locomotives. All operational, all correctly painted and lettered and all with a small sticker noting when it was last used in an operating session on the large model layour remaining.

His wife has offered any locomotives to one of the five or six of us who operated his
model railway faithfully each Tuesday night.
I retrieved one small 0-6-0 pannier tank switcher of my own, and a Kadee single truck caboose.

That's all I wanted. I'll keep my memories,
what was then is passed and in the care of others.

Maybe you should contemplate the same???

Flog all the cameras not used, tae whatever monies recieved and complete the living room renovation or maybe your basement darkroom or perhaps clear your mortgage..Living mortgage free can be a wonderful exercise in monetary managment.

Warning, Mike: The number of cameras expands to fill the available display space. If you start with a small cabinet, you'll probably end up with another before long. Perhaps a modular design might future-proof this idea..

I am so with you on that – and I even have an excuse…

I've been wanting my students to know more about photography than disposable-digital-devices-designed-to-dazzle and have been fantasizing about somehow putting together a collection of some "historical" cameras. A press camera, an specialized view camera (maybe a banquet camera), a Minox, a rangefinder, a Nikon F, something like a Hasselblad, just enough to give them a sense of the continuity and amazing variety of the cameras that came before the digital wonders.

I also want an enlarger.

Of course, the space-saving way of doing this is getting the items, taking excellent pictures of all sides and details, and make your display cabinet virtual, here on your website...

You can then sell the item in question and proceed to the next one...

Be careful when buying that display case... If you find several that you like, you may end up collecting cases.

And then where would you put them?

I gave up on trying to collect cameras, too many options and no more space! Sold it all about five years ago, and amazed at how some of the most interesting things went for nothing on 'fleabay'. What I DO collect, after my fathers death, is four blade camp style pocket knives, which I found a nice little cigar-box museum of when I was cleaning up my Dad's stuff. I thought: "...keep in touch with my Dad, and not much space..."

What I found out is that it's impossible to get every variation, too many made! People collect just the Boy Scout ones, and I think no one has a complete collection because there are so many variations! Sigh, just another thing I'm doing that will never be "complete".

I'm going against the grain here: if I want to see examples of old artifacts (and I do) I visit museums. They have more than I could ever collect and display and their contents are for the world to see and not just me.

Not quite the same logic, but my wife and I are keen gardeners http://www.pbase.com/gerrywinterbourne/garden_intro We love to see well-tended lawns but go elsewhere to admine them.

I too was bitten with this bug. The compromise worked out with my wife is they had to have a family connection. In this way there is both photo history and family photo history combined. Even that limitation makes for a rather large collection; from a Kodak autographic, the first Polaroid, a Minox and a few assorted 35mm film cameras from my professional career and many more. We rotate the collection on an annual basis now.

Actually a couple of months ago I set up just such a cabinet. A neighbor handed over the fence a wonderful cabinet, nothing fancy. It has two glass doors and several shelves. I placed in it about 8 cameras, nothing in the Leica, Nikon, or Hasselblad class. The camera on the upper left is a Donald Duck camera that I found on eBay. I bought it because it was just like the one I had in grade school. I've got a Baby Brownie like the one I had in high school, a Kodak Pony like my dads, a Kodak Brownie 620, you get the idea. Nothing rare or pricy but they just bring back my beginnings. (how do I post a photo? I'm new here... thanks!)

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