Ten Camera Collection

My response to a recent Flickr discussion post asking for a list of “your top ten must-have film cameras”

  1. 35mm SLR
  2. 35mm rangefinder
  3. 35mm toy camera
  4. 35mm nonstandard format (half frame, square, panoramic, etc.)
  5. 120 645 format
  6. 120 6×6 or 6×7 format
  7. 120 6×9 format
  8. 120 toy camera
  9. 4×5 view camera
  10. some kind of pinhole

This was partially tongue-in-cheek. Lists like this, especially on a place like Flickr, quickly become a list of expensive, name-brand, “legendary” cameras.* And the resulting discussion turns to one of fanboyism. The alternate approach is the (equally silly) collect-them all list. I tried to address both extremes by going generic.

*Leica M3, Hasselblad 503CM, Mamiya 7, Plaubel Makina 67, Nikon F/F4/F6, etc.

At the same time, this list is pretty close to what I am looking for.* While I’m not a collect all standard film formats type, I have found that I like having my choice of different interfaces. I find myself really liking the different methods of using eye-level viewfinders, rangefinders, and waist-level viewfinders.

*Full disclosure, I currently own and use nine film cameras (plus two digitals)

So, in all honesty, my list of cameras to own really looks like this.

  1. 35mm SLR
  2. 35mm rangefinder
  3. 35mm toy camera
  4. 35mm nonstandard format (half frame, square, panoramic, etc.)
  5. 120 waist-level viewfinder
  6. 120 rangefinder
  7. 120 toy camera

I’m currently covered with #1 (Nikomat FTn), #2 (Kodak Retina IIa), #3 (Kodak Pony 135 Model C), #5 (YashicaMat 124G), and #7 (Kodak Brownie Hawkeye Flash). Since I refuse to invest in multiple camera systems and I’m already heavily invested in the Nikon F mount, anything else I get is going to have to be a fixed-lens camera.

Yes, I wouldn’t mind upgrading all of my non-toy cameras to newer/better versions. But that isn’t stopping me from shooting what I’ve got.

Author: Nick Vossbrink

Blogging about Photography, Museums, Printing, and Baseball Cards from both Princeton New Jersey and the San Francisco Bay Area. On Twitter as @vossbrink, WordPress at njwv.wordpress.com, and the web at vossbrink.net

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