Thursday, August 9, 2012

Thrifting, Gifting and Ebay. The story of my camera collection

I get questions about how many cameras I own… which are followed by questions about how I afford purchasing of 40 or so cameras.  I’m here to tell you the story behind all my cameras and how I got them.  This has the potential to be a long post, so I’ve inserted a post break after the first few photos, so… Be sure to click READ MORE
I started shooting film when I was about 14 years old.  Snapshots of friends, which morphed into portraits of friends.  I fell in love with black and white CN film.  I continued to love photography in college.  I had a couple higher-end point and shoot cameras over the years. 
Eventually, digital became a thing and for my 20th birthday, my mom dropped $300 on my first digital camera (a 3 megapixel Kodak, still point and shoot.  Digital was still pretty new and my mom still has this camera at her house when I want it back).
Toward the end of my senior year of college, I took a film photography class that used traditional black and white film and SLRs.  I borrowed a Pentax 35mm SLR from a friend for the class and fell in love with developing my own film.  By the end of the class, I had spent about $100 or so on eBay obtaining my first film SLR – A Canon AE-1 Program with a couple lenses.
Flash forward a few years, and I now have everything ranging from $1 thrift store finds to this, my Canon 50D.  Picked it up at Best Buy for only $1200… and that was before I bought lenses for it.  I love it and always look at it as a true indicator of my dedication to photography.  When you spend that much on a camera body, it’s gettin' serious.
After I graduated with my BA, I still went back to the local CC, College of the Siskiyous to take film photography classes and play in the darkroom.  I can't remember where I first heard about the Holga and all it's Lo-Fi goodness, but I was intrigued and had to have one.  Once I had purchased my first Holga, I fell in love.  I got it from Freestyle Photo for $30.  I’ve since painted it pink, taken it apart, modified it and a bunch of other scary things, but I loved the toy camera and all it’s toy-camera-ness.
I also loved using 120 film.  Nothing like an enormous negative to play with in the darkroom.  I needed a vintage TLR in my life and grabbed this Yashica on eBay for $30.  If you haven’t noticed by now… I keep getting EXTREMELY lucky with the prices of my eBay and thrift store finds.
This little gem is what I use on a daily basis.  It’s a Canon 10D – a waterproof, freezeproof, impact resistant digital camera.  It’s basically the best of the Canon Powershots wrapped in a bad-ass case.  I knew I would never want a point and shoot digital unless it could go everywhere.  This thing goes everywhere.  I bought a float strap for it, and I take it to the lake, the ski park… plus, I can throw it in my purse.  Best $300 I’ve ever spent.
The wall of toy cameras…
I have a wall where I’ve hung my toy cameras as functional art.
Recesky DIY TLR.  Got the kit for Christmas from Photojojo, about $20 and you get to assemble it yourself.
Polaroid Joycam – I have had this since highschool.  I can’t find film for it.  I used to have a Polaroid i-Zone, which took smaller photos.  It was stolen out of the glove compartment of my Mustang in my driveway.  Jerks.  This was its replacement.
Anscoflex II, 620 TLR.  I borrowed this from a friend and forgot to give it back.  I love it too much.
Lomography Fisheye One.  $49 minus some fun discounts I had earned by writing articles for the site.  I maybe paid $25.
Diana F+, Mr. Pink edition.  Won it on eBay this year for $40.  Picked up at 35mm back from Lomography for $49 (for fabulous discounts, Lomography doles out coupons and points you can use as cash for having a LomoHome and writing articles for them.  My typical Lomography purchase is about half off the retail price.)  Now it’s 2 cameras in one.
This Star Action Cam takes 2 photos sequentially on 35mm.  $8 on eBay.
Polaroid Impulse.  Takes 600 series film.  Found it at the local thrift store for $2, but an 8 exposure pack of film costs $23 from the Impossible Project!  I was able to purchase 2 packs of this (and other goodies) by winning a contest from Photojojo.  Thanks Photojojo!
Gretchen Bleiler Holga 135BC from Freestyle Photo.  $40.  This is pretty much my go to 35mm for black and white film.  It's the "Bend Corner" edition, which means it's extra vignette-y.  I love it.
Random 110 Camera.  This was gifted to me by a classmate.
Diana Mini.  I picked this up at Urban Outfitters in Santa Barbara for around $40.
Holga Micro 110 Camera.  I got this on eBay for $2.45.  Now that Lomography sells it’s own 110 film, these have gone from display item to functional camera.
Camman 135 DIY camera.  This is another one you assemble.  $13 on eBay.
My Holga GTLR.  I highly recommend searching eBay for new toy cameras.  International sellers have these WAY before they are listed in the US.  I got this years ago for $60, and the lens is glass.
Vivitar CV35.  $1 thrift store find.  It has a see-through body to see the flash electronics and everything.
Polaroid Sun 600.  $2 at the thrift store, but again the film is rather expensive.  I won a contest from Photojojo for $100 gift card and bought 2 packs of Impossible Project film.  I miss Polaroid and had a blast playing with these again.  Thanks (again) Photojojo!
Ansco Pix Panorama.  $1 at the thrift store.
Diana F+ with Instant back and flash.  $150 for the whole kit from Urban Outfitters.
Focus Free 35mm, a gift from a friend in the art community.  I painted it with nail polish.
Holga 120CFN.  $12 on eBay because the flash is broken.  I attempted to repair it and electrocuted myself a little bit.
Aquapix camera with a Hello Kitty sticker (my own addition).  $13 on eBay.
P-Sharan DIY Pinhole camera.  Sorry for the blurry photo… This is another one of my purchases from Photojojo’s contest winnings.  It’s $25 for a kit, which includes a pack of cyanotype paper.  This would be a good time to note that you CANNOT use cyanotype paper in a pinhole camera.
Another 35mm Focus Free, which I took apart and modified to do multiple exposures.  $5
Box of pinhole cameras.  I didn’t want to get into how many of these I have, since I built all of them.  There are cameras made from paint cans, match boxes and tins galore.
Brownie Target Six-16.  $10 from a local thrift store.
Brownie Hawkeye, gifted to me by a friend from Texas.
Box Pinhole Camera.  This takes 4x5 film negatives.  I found it on eBay for $24.
Canon EOS 300 – film SLR.  Picked it up with no lenses on eBay for $19.  I use all the lenses for my DSLRs on it.
My first DSLR, a Rebel XT.  I spent about $300 on it used.  I hang onto it and use it in my photobooth.
Two more Canon AE-1 Programs and a Canon AE-1 with lenses.  I got these off a Craigslist ad for $50 with a few extra lenses.  You can never have too many of the same SLR.
Pentax 35mm.  This is a sorta fancy point and shoot gifted to me by a friend.
Canon point and shoot.  Completely broken, but it was my grandma’s and I’d like to fix it someday.
Wow, that was a lot.  If anyone wants to add those up for me and post a total in the comments, I’d be curious to see how much I’ve spent over the last 7 years.  I just can’t bring myself to look right now.  Enjoy your cameras and check your local thrift stores.  You’d be surprised what you can stumble across.

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