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Tuesday, 15 December 2015


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I like cameras and own quite a few -- dozens, probably, beyond the few that I actually need to make a living. But my current obsession is acoustic guitars; my wife threatens to take my credit cards when we go to my favorite shop. Recently I went there to consign an old Taylor, to finally get rid of a guitar, and of course we walked out with a '94 Guild instead. (I justified it by noting that I had just sold a lens, so with the guitar trade it didn't really cost anything. Hah.)

I know this guy. We were on a workshop a few years ago in Havana and he was shooting with this small point-and-shoot. I think it was a Ricoh. I looked at him and asked him why he came all the way to Havana to shoot with such a small camera. "I have a few others" he replied "I was just curious about this one." "A way lot more than a few others" his wife added. She added that he had a room full of them. I was quite jealous since my wife limits me to 5 cameras. If I get a new one, I have to sell one of my others.

Well done Mike. Offence is the key to keeping things in hand. Whenever a comment is made concerning my wealth of photo equipment, I look the person squarely in the face and say: "It is my only vice."

It never fails to take the air out of any pompous ass questioning the rationale of owning more cameras than I need. :)

Or our lunacies!

With best regards,


I'm sure at least one of the Ten Commandments covers this....but as I have a lot of gear and possess selective self-forgiveness I not sure which.

Hmmmm, I don't see any boxes that could hold tripods or darkroom gear. I admire his restraint or canny efforts at concealment.

I have a nearby fortnightly auction and today was preview day. Lots are usually house clearance junk. Today the place was half full of model military vehicles including many tiny model tanks. I can only imagine the former owner had a passion for imagining the start of World War 3 in the sixties. As they would say in Yorkshire "There's nowt so queer as other folks' hobbies"

There are NO harmless addictions. I say this as being a former drunk, smoker and current sufferer of G.A.S. Fight Against Real Temptation.

From Thornton Wilder's The Matchmaker (later adapted as the musical Hello Dolly! — "Nurse one vice in your bosom. Give it the attention it deserves and let your virtues spring up modestly around it. Then you'll have the miser who's no liar; and the drunkard who's the benefactor of the whole city."

Ha! Camera collecting should be the least of our problems in this world.

I've also got a couple of vices on the workbench in the shop...but not enough to constitute a problem. That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

Heck, even smokes and booze kill *many* more people per year than old cameras!

When I was 15, I told my mom that if she quit smoking for a year, it could finance a Nikon F2 for me.

Sadly it didn't work. So I made a deal with El Diablo, that I would stay a virgin until I was 25 if I could only get the F2. I kept my part of the bargain, but he didn't keep his.

It does not strike me, the objective observer, at all obsessive that a former president of Pentax USA would have a lot of, well, cameras and camera stuff. In a way, it's kind of his job, isn't it? Like the president of Ford Motor having a lot of cars, or the president of Apple having a lot of electronic stuff.

That does it.

I won't be asking you about cameras or lens....or anything photographic for that matter. You'd be worse than a greased pole on my way down to bankruptcy. Hahaha

I"ll just try to stick to my own vice voice thank you very much. :)

I just start leaving copies of "Easyriders" and Harley catalogs laying around ;-)

Could you please add a link to Mr. Bunnell' blog post? A Google search couldn't find it; only a picture from October.

[http://nedbunnell.blogspot.com/ --Mike]

Addiction can have two connotations: the negative one as you point out and the positive one more as a devotion or penchant for said activity. The antonym would be indifference so don't call it an addiction, call it a passion!

So keep up the enabling Mike.

Excellent advice. I thought I was bad but having looked at that photo I realise that I really am a true amateur in all things photographic...sadly all my stuff could fit easily in one of those boxes. Except the camera bag collection, which could justify a whole 'nother post.....



It's like Jay Leno says when asked about his massive car collection: "Hey, I don't smoke, I don't drink and I don't fool around. I have to do something I like and I can afford it." What's more, cameras are a lot cheaper and easy to store than cars. I say it's your life. Live it, love it.

Thanks for the photo of the collection, Ned. That makes my "gear closet" look modest by comparison, and I will definitely share the photo with my wife when she asks why I "need" nine cameras and associated lenses and peripherals.

Of course, I'm not the ex-president of a camera company's US division. Kid meet candy store!

Yes, it is a matter of choice. I gave up cars (classic Alfas) and sold a lot of stuff to concentrate on pre-WWII Linhofs (and a few Leicas because my Dad left me an outfit...). I tell my wife that one is supposed to have some kind of brain exercising activity in retirement, and this is it. So far its working, but she might be getting suspicious because I'm so willing to take vacations to Germany (HER favorite)!

I'm not a hunter, not into knives, but happened to catch this ad a few nights ago and got a laugh out of it. It seems apropos to the number of cameras one needs.


I looked up Ned's blog and he has some very fine images there - great composition/content, and also great tonality and subtlety in processing and presentation. Wonderful work.

He _needs_ more of them boxes!

Yep, that's what I tell my wife (cos I have, like, 2 digital cameras and a couple of film cameras).

On another note, I miss Ned. I don't/didn't see any of the other US camera Co. bosses acting the way he did with us Pentax users. I once interviewed him cold at the PhotoPlus Expo and he was open and charming, and even wrote me to thank me after publishing the interview on my site.

Another time, when there was an issue with stained sensors on the recently released top-of-the-line Pentax DSLR, I wrote an article describing the issue, with examples, and giving advice on how to determine if you had the problem with your camera. Ned sent me further info and a statement from him, allowing me to post it on my article. Then he linked to my article from his blog, basically saying "find all the answers on Miserere's blog". Seriously, what other corporate type can you imagine doing this?

As far as I'm concerned, Ned's earned his right to camera hoarding :-)

What a scandal Mr.Bunnell is in here. I'd love to help him out by taking a 645d or 645z off his hands...

I'm with you, Mike. Life would be terrible If we took everything we were passionate about to be a problem. There certainly are problematic passions, but this simply doesn't fit the bill.

Back in 2000, I realized that digital would replace film photography and that I would no longer need the 30 or so Nikon camera and lenses that I had accumulated through the last 20 years, so I selected the 10 or so items that I "needed" and sold all the rest.

Then, as I had predicted, the price of film cameras had plummeted, and I bought all that stuff back at less than 30 cents on the dollar.

Go figure!

Well, I have just completed (nearly) the disposal of my Canon infrastructure since I was really only using my Fuji XT-1 and enjoying myself. Seemed logical. I kept track and netted $10K through my disposals (L Glass holds its value), though I must confess I was a little sad when the 5D3 left home. I'm still not convinced I made the right choice. My wife even challenged me on the sale of the 5D3 so there is a high probability I made a mistake.

I have my old 1980's Pentax SLR bodies and lenses in the basement. I should put them on display and honor Ned. Do you remember the first photograph you took that you were happy with? Mine was on a Pentax ME Super and still on the wall in my parent's home.


As far as I can tell from a Google search, Ned Bunnell's post about Leica was written in early 2009:


Going back to his blog site for that year yields no evidence of such a post. One can imagine it was suggested that he remove it, and he understandably complied.

You have an addiction, one not known by many. You have been a wonderful single father who has raised Alexander to be a proper young man. You also have a talent and addictions for animals and mechanical devices for photographic use. None of this is bad!
Please continue as before so many of us can indulge upon your writings and experiences.

When I moved to New England 47 Years ago, I carried my Leica M2 with me as I toured the region. I noticed every antique store had a few old cameras, mostly folding cameras, always for just a couple of bucks. I started buying them, noting most were Kodaks or from companies that Kodak eventually acquired. The nicest ones I displayed, others I stored away. A few would still work so I occasionally used them. After about 5 or 6 years, I had more than 100 of them. Then I moved to a smaller apartment and sold all but the nicest to a Boston collector. I realized that I was not a collector, but more of a acquirer, or perhaps a speculator
That realization helped me when I returned to racing vintage ALFAs - I ended owning over two dozen of them but never more than 3 at a time- one for the stret and two to race - all that would fit in my garage. But when we moved to CA, I had to get rid of over 3 tons of spare parts! Thats another big difference between cars and cameras.
Cameras are much easy to collect.
I know two famous car designers who have dozens of cars- both had to build homes to store them. And that's how lots of car museums get started. I think casino owner Bill Harrah had over 1400 when he died.

A couple of years ago, I decided that my collection of sixty film cameras was too many so I sold some and gave some away. Feeling pleased with myself, I counted up what was left. It was in excess of seventy!

I don't think Leica and Pentax are in competition.

People kid me about the number of cameras I have, nine I think, but to me they are things of beauty, objects of electro-mechanical perfection. It's no different to owning jewellery or watches, you choose one or more according to the occasion. Cameras and lenses are not hugely expensive, comparatively, and they give me great pleasure to own. The output they produce just adds to the pleasure. I don't smoke or gamble or drink excessively, or buy boats or cars.

I gave up in counting how many c.. I have.

That is after I try to cull ... and supposedly dump all my sony and old Nikons to a shop without even looking what the price and what is being sold!

Well, there seems still have a few sony around. Would try to sell them in due course. Where is that D810 comes from, btw?

But Mike, TOP has helped me be happy with the couple I have, what with "One Camera/Lens/Year" and all that.

Of course it also helps that I always have the latest gear here at work.

On the other hand, Jay Leno has a LOT of cars, but he really, really enjoys them, and gleefully shows them off, and DRIVES them, and other people's cars, too. Good for him.

I have a theory which, simply put, posits that everyone has a weakness for something, that it is an essential trait of human nature. And better camera equipment than alcohol, drugs, food, gambling, guns, and on and on.
And now to take another look at that XT1...

I am a recidivist, serial hobbyist (I cycle through hobbies, returning to some, but not many, repeatedly). This has resulted in quite a few collections of things -- guitars, cameras, pipes, bicycles, model trains, cigars, cribbage boards, shop tools, cars, wines, whiskeys, cufflinks, backpacking and climbing gear, pool cues, LPs, CDs, etc. Friends comfort my long-suffering wife by telling her that "[DCW]might be on his hundredth hobby, but he is still on his first wife." She likes the fact that my hobbies (except for playing in a rock band for much of my life) have kept me out of bars.

I like camera obscuras.

I agree with Mr. Camp, although in my case it is double basses and ukuleles - two of the first and three of the second. Plus guitars, of course. Now when it comes to camera bags, I do need help; way too many.

Thank you Dr. Johnston, you've made me realize I can deal with this obsession and I appreciate the encouraging words of others fighting this same affliction.

Looks like Ned has quite a collection! I'd love to see him walk through it, perhaps in a series of small videos?

I have to step lightly around this subject. I have an 8-drawer chest filled with cameras and lenses. But I do not consider myself a camera collector.

Which brings me to my point, I suspect that Ned's collection represents the evolution of camera design and photographic technology. Like most collectors he might always be on the lookout for a camera that fills a hole in his collection's narrative. The first 130 years of photography were filled with wonderful, clever, and short-lived experiments worthy of commemoration by collectors.

By contrast, while I have some wonderful film cameras, my own inventory is principally a consequence of digital photography's compressed evolutionary period (and my lack of enthusiasm for resales ). I have no desire for amassing a camera collection. I just end up with a Mark I when a Mark II arrives delivering substantial improvements. I suspect this inventory-not-collection phenomenon is pretty common today.

When you die, the one with the most toys wins.


Thank you for sharing that video! First, it was reassuring to see that Ansel Adam's camera bags didn't look all that different from mine. But more importantly, the video helps us reestablish the sense of wonder in our ability to make photographs in the first place. It was a pleasure watching his print come up in the developing tray...

Best regards,

"Gordon Lewis: "Just for the sake of argument, what is an acceptable/normal number of cameras? One? Two? Four? "

This has been discussed in similar form on a Classic & Vintage bicycle forum. The resulting formula is:


Exactly what's in those boxes, is what I want to know.

This addiction is exactly why I've had so much trouble committing to a OC/OL/OY excercise. No matter how much I idealize trimming down to a spartan 50mm and one camera, temptation is around every corner! I'll grab a 28mm or a 105mm for work, but then I just can't seem to put it away after. I get the same feeling seeing an unused camera or lens on the shelf as I get seeing a perfectly good meal thrown in the garbage. I know that the photography gears isn't about to expire, but I still get the urge to go take some pictures with it!
Last week, in the spirit of a compulsive shopper freezing their credit card in a block of ice, I boxed up everything except my D810 and 50mm f/1.8G and stored it all in my office. Maybe that'll stop me.
To be supportive of my photography gear problem, I'll just kindly ask that for the next year, you refrain from posting positive camera or lens reviews, deals on cameras or lenses, pictures of cameras or lenses, or thoughts on cameras or lenses that are not the camera/lens combination that I have restricted myself to. Thanks!

I am addicted to good Scotch whiskY (see how I corrected your spelling?) and it is not dangerous at all. Oh, I don't abuse my preference (at least exceedingly rarely) but it is my spirit of choice.

Being a Dunbar from Scotland generations back, no one is surprised. The (amber) blood is strong.

As for collecting OMs and various RFs, that I am trying to fight.

If your wife is a knitter ask her about her yarn project stash. My wife has 16, I have about a dozen cameras, and she has exclusive use of one of them.

Many knitters have hundreds of projects in their stash.

When I was working in the camera shop back in the 70's, two groups of "collectors" were rampant in our shop.
First, the Minox nuts who owned every Minox extant (including the gold Minox's) and every accessory available.
Then there were the Leica nuts who collected certain "strains" of Leica such as IIIf's or IIIg's some with snakeskin, some gold, and some standard.
The point is, I never quite got it because I could only shoot with one camera (my Canon F-1) so I always thought they were a bit off.
But MAN, they knew every number and nomnenclature from BOOWOO on.
Never caught the disease, but if I had the $$ these guys had, I would probably have succumbed.

Early one summer evening after work my wife called me wondering when I was coming home. I told her I was at a bar drinking with my young and gorgeous mistress. Without a beat she said "Yeah right, I wish! Don't give me that crap! You probably went up to the Marin Headlands to take photos with that "new" camera that came in the mail yesterday! Get your butt home, and now!". Sadly, she was right...

If you thought cameras were an expensive hobby you should try French horns. Easily up in Leica/medium format digital territory.

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