Does anyone else still have their first camera ?

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by anthony_brookes|5, May 6, 2014.

  1. I have looked after my first camera - mainly checking the bellows having treated them many years ago with a
    leather food - since 1953. Now that I can scan negatives I have dug it out and am putting a film through it this
    month. In those days I had no meter or rangefinder and used the exposure guide in the Selo film box for the
    shutter speed and aperture to use. Distances I guessed in relation to a cricket pitch and usually got it right,
    by using the right aperture to cover the distance,
    You really had to think about the picture in those days and action photography was out of the question. My camera
    was a Zeiss Ikon Ikonta with 4,5 Tessar in a Compur shutter to 1/250th. As a schoolboy, photography had just been
    introduced as an after hours hobby and only four or five boys were interested. The one rule our master gave us,
    and illustrated by us all testing the theory, was never to take a handheld photograph below 1/100th of a second.
  2. A proud "No!" - I seem different vintage. - The first picture I was allowed to take was with my mother's (higher end) Agfa pocket, which probably still exists but doesn't tempt me at all. In 1983 I made the worst mistake ever: to get a Kodak Disc 2000. I don't bash the lack of IQ, but the shutter lag was even beyond horrible. - I am happy I traded it in for a ridiculous price later just to get rid of it.
    Mistakes aside: I still own my first SLR and also the first real camera I was given (when fed up with the Disc) a Super Isolette a great granduncle must have bought some 15+x years before my birth. Both are in working condition, although the brassing Pentax' base plate is too bend to take the motor drive anymore.
    Side note: I envy the older folks who picked up photography when even the worst cameras were worth collecting / keeping.
  3. Not really that old, my Nikon FM10 bought in 2000. I have many cameras now, but this one still works very well. It was despised for not being a real Nikon. But I have used it for 14 years in the snow and in the heat and it never let me down. I still have a roll in it and used it last weekend. Actually, my best 35mm shots were taken with it. A camera is a faithful companion.
  4. My Mamiya/Sekor 1000 DTL, bought in Long Bien Plantation PX in 1969. Played with it for three years untill children intered my life. I put it away for thirty years untill first grandchild arrived. Digital proved to be easier and faster, so back in the closet for the DTL. Last year I discovered old film cameras were rediculously cheap. Finding four of five film cameras at yard sales and getting them operating lit the fire. I had to clean the aperture blades, and the DTL shoots good! Old cameras are a fun,cheap hobby for me. I must say, finding local and on-line camera friends has been a pleasant surprise! Thank you, all.

  5. Yes, I think I have both my first two! The very first one was a box brownie bought at a village fete, which took 620 film I think. The second was a Lubitel TLR. I must have got both in the early 70s: I used to make (terrible!) contact prints from them. Neither are in very good order I expect. I probably don't have films I took, which might be a good thing.
  6. My first SLR camera was a Praktica Super TL, and 3 lenses. The 50mm Zeiss, 21mm Zeiss, and 135mm Zeiss. Then, the Nikon F, two and three, and so on, most of the models, all the way to the F5. Still owning all the cameras, to many, to day, and using them time to time. The favorite is the FA but mostly used, the FM-2 and the FE-2s. The real beauty is the FM3a.
  7. My first camera was a brownie bullet camera. That is long gone. I still have my first "real" camera, the venerable Argus C3. It still works. I had no light meter but it had a convenient code as the numbers we color coded for the correct film. Some of the Kodachrome slides I took with it look like they were taken yesterday. My Nikormat EL went away for a motorcycle in the 70's but I have my F2AS that took my first published shot.
  8. Rick - Like you I am amazed at the Kodachromes I took in the late '50s. I still have some that I took when I worked for the Ford Motor Company at Dagenham. By then I had a Contaflex, still with a Tessar, but that was my first 35mm camera, after which I bought a Corfield Periflex - nice little camera but a poor lens. Can someone explain why those Kodachromes have lasted so long with minimal deterioration?
  9. No, but I replaced them with other copies of them on eBay. :(
  10. I think I do somewhere have my first camera, which was a blue Beau Brownie that had belonged to my father, but I have not seen it recently. My second, an Imperial plastic thing that came free with the opening of a bank account, I still have somewhere too, though not handy. My first really good camera, a Sawyer's Mark IV small-format TLR, was, alas, stolen in about 1967.
    Somewhere not too long ago I found some of the first pictures I took with the Brownie, of the arrival of the Mayflower II at Plymouth, MA, which the whole family went to see. They came out, but were not very sharp.
  11. My first camera was an Ansco Readyflash, given to me in the early '50s by an aunt, when I was 8 years old. It's long gone, but I purchased an identical camera a few years ago which proudly sits on one of my fireplace mantels.
  12. I have the Canon FT QL with original box purchased from Hero camera co. in Tokyo.
  13. Nope. My first cameras as a kid in the 1960s were a hand-me-down Brownie and a new GAF box camera with much better lens and viewfinder. Long since gone.
    Like Rick, my first "serious" camera, a Miranda Sensorex, ended up being traded in the 1970s for a motorcycle that was equally quirky, fun and unreliable - a Bultaco dirt track bike that was loud, fast and remarkable mainly for not cracking my skull open.
    I enjoy classic cameras as works of practical art, but try not to get too attached. I didn't even keep any of my grandparents' cameras, although I did keep all of their family photos and 126 Kodachromes. And I kept a couple of my granddad's old pens.
    The only camera I've owned that I really regret parting with was a Rolleiflex 2.8C TLR. And I probably won't voluntarily part with my Agfa Isolette, mostly because I worked so hard restoring it.
  14. [​IMG]Yes. But I don't use it. :)
  15. I still have my first 35mm SLR which is an Edixa Prismaflex which I got in 1982. It still works.
    My first camera was an Agfa Isolette. I don't have it but I do have one similar.
  16. Yes, but define "first." :)

    I think, but I'm not sure, that I have the 126 Instamatic I used to take my first snapshots in second grade, circa spring 1968. I believe it was from Montgomery Ward. I definitely still have the Sears/Tower 127, which was close to a clone of Brad's Brownie Starmite above. I have the Roamer 63, a 120/620 folder with a 6.3 lens that was my first "serious" camera with adjustable f-stop and shutter speeds. All of these were my father's. I have my first 35mm SLR, a Russian-made Kalimar with a cloth focal plane shutter so flimsy it had to be replaced at least twice while still under warranty. Also my first Nikon F2, circa 1976. Saved my pennies for that one and bought it in high school before I bought my first car (and it cost more than my first car!). Haven't used it in a dozen years or more but it's still fully functional (except for a busted tripod socket because I was dumb enough to mount the camera to the tripod instead of the lens when using it with a heavy 300).
  17. Since only Brad actually posted a picture here, I thought this sounded like a good "CMC Someday" post topic. So I shamelessly ride on top of Anthony's horse ( ).
    Sorry, Anthony, but I had been trying to figure out where to go next with that occasional series. Need knows no shame.
  18. Yes, and no!

    Yes, I still have the first camera I purchased at age 20: Leica IIIc with Summitar lens. My budget at the time allowed for either the cheapest new SLR (Zenit) or least expensive used Leica. I will always hang onto this one, even if I never shoot 35mm film again.
    No, the first camera I used was my mothers Kodak box camera. This one was lost many years ago. The first camera given to me, was an East German Beirette. It only lasted 5 years, good triplet lens but horrible shutter and film advance. Both disintegrated, rendering the thing useless.
  19. My first camera was a Kodak X-15 Instamatic. That had to suffice in place of the camera I really wanted which was my Dad's Kodak Retinette IA, which looked to me at the time like the most sophisticated photographic tool a person could ever dream of! My sister also had an X-15 but her's was the advanced model; it had actual frame-lines in the viewfinder! Talk about extra features! I think those frame-lines actually made her camera feel nicer to use. I took the Instamatic to Europe on our family vacation in the 70s when I was a young teen and captured some of the most memorable pictures that I've ever taken. I still have most of them, but the color has faded on a lot of them. Back then, a couple of cartridges of 126 film seemed like more than enough to last for a month-long vacation! I don't have the actual original camera because as a teen and then young adult, I didn't have the same fondness (or respect) for cameras that I do now, and that one certainly wasn't a high-tech camera like the disc camera I was looking at in the early 80s! I bought one of those too and regretted doing so after getting the first roll (disc) of film developed. What a horrible camera! Much later into adulthood, I found another Instamatic just like mine and bought it along with the flashcubes, and it has a place of honor on my shelf. I still have a couple of 126 cartridges to use with it, so one day I'll re-live the Instamatic experience again.
  20. My very first own camera, got it (already well used) for my 10th birthday, is still with me after 30+x years.
    Can't find the images I've shot with it back in the early 1980 years, favorite subjects were my bicycle and too far away birds.
    Here is the Reflecta II:
    Reflekta II, shot with Nikon FM2
    and here's a shot taken with the Reflekta II:
    Fomapan 100 in Rodinal
  21. My first camera was a Windsor plastic 120 camera (looked like a Diana) that I got for 65 cents and three Popsicle coupons. It took 16 photos on a roll of 120. It fell apart after a few years. I next got a Sears 127 flashcube camera (same as Imperial Cubex) which I still have. A Kodak Instamatic 124 in 1969 and a Pocket Instamatic 40 in 1972. Still have those around the house somewhere. My first 35mm camera (which I still have) is a Konica Auto S2 that I bought from stock at my family's camera shop in the fall of 1974.
  22. Mine's not that old either but I still have the first Nikon FM2n I owned, the first camera I bought new. It needs parts that are no longer available, and I'm not shooting much film. But it's a wonderful piece of machinery.
  23. Mine started in the digital age and in my late 40's. It is a Canon 300D from about 2004, and it is still in fine working condition. Not many seemed to have survived well. At least when you peruse the dead examples listed an ebay. The best thing I did was bolt on a F 2.8 24-70 after owning the camera for a year. Added a 10D a few years later that is converted to IR.

    I also have my dad's 1953 Rolleiflex. But curiosity got the best of me so I now own the first Rolleiflex and Rollicord cameras all serviced to working condition.

  24. A Walzflex TLR - from my parents on my 12th birthday in 1962. I haven't run a roll of film through it in decades, but it certainly still seems to function when I press the shutter. It reminds me of why I got into this somewhat obsessive hobby every time I see it.
  25. I used mom's Kodak box camera for awhile then received a Kodak holiday 127 for Christmas 1956. Both cameras are lost somewhere in this old house. David Cavan said it well, it is an obsessive hobby. My wife kindly (sometimes) reminds me that 3 chest of drawers are full of cameras. I've been addicted for years. They are old friends of mine.
    The first camera I bought is Minolta X-570 that I still take with me to Europe and all over the US. Everyone needs a X-570. Bought mine in 1983. No trouble yet. I have two, just in case. David, I have a Walzflex tlr and think yours takes wonderfull pictures. I'll try mine this year. Good luck to everyone.
  26. My first camera was a 127 box type of unknown brand. It was given to me as gift as I left on a trip to Washington,DC in 1964 at age 10. My second camera was an Instamatic 104. My first real camera was a Petri FT (w/ 55F1.8) bought at a dept store for $129 in 1970. I still have it and it still works fine except the merc batts are no longer available. Stopped down the lens is quite good. In fact slides taken with this camera and my next camera (Nikkormat FTN w/50F2) were basically indistinguishable.
  27. No, not the very first, which was a Koday 616 box camera, but I have my first "real" camera, a Ciro-Flex model F that I inherited when my father passed away. I still drag it out and use it from time to time, but since I have lost the touch for winding 120 film on stainless reels in the dark, it's an adventure to use it.
  28. My photographic cherry was a hand me down Kodak Instamatic 100 and I really loved it! Camera is long gone, but like JDM, I have replaced it from Ebay. My first "real" camera was a Praktica FX3, then a Pentax Spotmatic...also replaced on Ebay :)
  29. No, but I have pictures from that first Rosewood 9x12 Gaumont & Cie folder with its coated 15cm Steinheil Unifokal lens in Press Compur.
  30. Though my first camera was a Kodak Brownie in the mid fifties, and I did have briefly a Dacoramatic with 4 focus pushbuttons, my first "real" camera was a Nikon F which I purchased brand new in July 1967 (after graduation from high school). Still have it, still a beautiful camera, still remember the day the package came and taking the Nikon out of its gold box for the first time.....and the overwhelming feeling a seventeen year old could have - WOW!
  31. My first camera was a Kodak Cartridge Hawkeye, a cardboard box camera which takes 120 roll film, with only portrait
    format from the viewfinder on top. My paternal grandmother died and it had been hers. I think it was made in the 1920's. I
    still have it somewhere, but have put no film through it since around 1965. Lazy.
  32. Yes but just a replacement for the original Argus C3, I saw one for bargain price and my will power was low. after that was a Werra 1, Petriflex 5, Leica 3c with nikkor lens, Zorki 1, then Leica M3,2,1 , then Leicaflex original which had the brightest view, then a large plethora of cameras, just couldn't decide. The Argus was simple, worked nicely but I had to devise system to remember if I had advanced film to next frame. Is there a group for us camera-holics?
  33. The first camera I owned, was Brownie Hawkeye flash model.
    I also have Kodak 620 box camera that belonged to our late father.
    I also have a Browne Holiday camera with flash.
    The first 35 mm camera I owned that had interchangeable lenses, was Pentax screwmount.
    Our late younger brother asked to borrow it, and I never saw it again.

  34. I do, and therein lies a tale.
    I became facinated by photography several years before I was able to purchase my first camera. Fortunately, during that time, I was able to borrow one camera or another from friends or relatives. During that period I studied every photo magazine I could find, to help me decide how to spend the dollars I was saving for my own first camera. I came to two conclusions. To get the best bang for the buck I should look in the 'previously owned' market. Second, in the 35mm format the best quality was found in German cameras and lenses; this in spite of the fact that we were, at the time, still at war with that country.
    On a family trip to visit relatives in New York City I took my savings (paper route, lawn mowing) which, to the best of my recollection, amounted to about $20 - $25, and set out to make my purchase. The year was 1943. I headed straight to Willoughby's Camera Store whose ad's I had studied thousands of times in various magazines. I can still recollect how kindly I was treated by the salesman, and how patiently he explained the pros and cons of literally dozens of choices. Eventually he suggested one camera whose quality was much better than one would expect in my price range, but with a singular disadvantage that brought the price down. I would have to load my own film. The Agfa Karat uses a different cassette system with one-way travel from the unexposed film to the takeup cassette. Film in this format was no longer sold in this country. Fortunately he provided several empty cassettes with the camera. When I learned that 35mm film could be purchased in bulk at a substantial savings, lemons became lemonade.
    This then was my first and only camera for the next ten years. In 1953 I blew a few months of Army pay on a Contax IIa at the PX in Korea. I still use that camera, but the Agfa has long since been retired to the display case.
    The requisite camera porn, followed by a photo of my dad and one of me.
  35. OK, still haven't mastered loading more than one photo at a time.
  36. Agfa Karat from the top:
  37. My dad with sister's new bike.
    I was gradually learning to develop the film to get decent contrast
  38. And a MUCH younger me (ca. 1948). 1/300 sec. does work.
  39. I should add: The negatives from the Karat were stored (and not under exactly archival conditions) for at least 50 years before they were scanned. Thank goodness for dust and scratch removal tools.
  40. Unfortunately not. My first camera was a Kodak Instamatic which i gave to my grandfather's in return for his Agfa Silette
    Rapid. No idea what happened with my Kodak after that :-(
  41. Nice story Mike. I had to save up for my Ikonta with rewards for errands and birthday money. You always appreciate things you have saved for rather than things you have been given.
  42. Pentax K1000, bought it new when I was a Freshman in High School in 1982. Still have it, still shoot it. It is still my go to camera.
  43. I wish I did still have my first camera. It was a Pentax (Honeywell) Spotmatic F with, if I remember correctly, a 50mm f/1.4 Takumar lens. I remember that lens as being a really sharp one. The camera was given to me by a friend back around 1980. I was about sixteen years old.
  44. Yes! In 1956 I was the happy 6 year old recipient of a new Imperial 620 film plastic box camera. Still have some of the pictures that I took with it then. When I was in 5th grade, my dad passed his Kodak 35 rangefinder along to me when he bought a new Contaflex. It took me some time to understand why my 35mm pictures often were not as good as my 620 pictures were. Then I got an early Polaroid camera and later a Rollop 120 TLR. I liked them both better than 35.
  45. No my first camera was stolen upon my return to the US after a six month sojourn in Europe. My story begins just like
    Steve Levine. My cousins lent me an old 620 or 127 for a field trip to .... Washington DC. My brother got an 104
    Instamtic for his Bday a year or so later and I of course had access to this too. My baptism into real photography came
    ten years later with one time use of a Tower 55 /Rippa Yamato that my father let me use. What eventually launched me
    was my own Yashica FX2 SLR that was stolen It had the great 1.7 Planar lens that was especially good. I marvel at the
    photos still done back then!
  46. My first was an Imperial 127, which I don't have but, as others, got one on eBay. ($1 plus shipping.) Second was a Yashica TLR which my parents might still have (my parents took my baby pictures with it). The next year, my dad bought a Canon Pellix and I started using his Canon Rangefinder, which I used until I bought my own FM (not long after they came out).
    I started developing my own film starting with the TLR when I was 9 years old. The next year, I inherited some darkroom equipment and cameras from my grandfather. I also got a Kodak folding 1A from my grandfather in 1968, put one roll through it, then another roll in 1976.
    I still have that one, and put a roll through it last year. (For my son's college graduation.)

    I still have the FM, and also the Canon rangefinder, and have used them in the last year. I have negatives from my 5th grade class, more from 7th and 8th grade, when I did school yearbook photography.
  47. Yes, I do. Back in early 1961 while on our honeymoon I dropped and broke my wife's Box Brownie.
    I knew nothing about photography at that time but also knew I had to replace it quickly! I walked into a local camera store to get advice and walked out with a mint 1958 Voigtlander Prominent with an Ultron 50mm f2 lens, a Turnit and a Gossen Sixon light meter.
    Three weeks later at a Victoria Police auction of unclaimed stolen goods I bought a 100mm Dynaron lens. I was told that it had spent two weeks in a bag at the bottom of a creek.
    From 1961 until 1992 the Prominent was my only camera and with it I took thousands of slides and prints recording my growing family. I then bought into the Canon EOS system and the Prominent was stored away.
    In 2009 Gabor Szabo had a thread showing photos taken with his Prominent and a Skoparon 35mm f3.5. That sparked my interest again and I bought a Skoparon.
    Every few months I run a roll or two of film through the Prominent. It is still in mint condition. I don't know whether it is sentimentality on my part and/or the obvious quality of the camera, but I get far greater pleasure using it than using any of my digital slrs.
  48. David,
    I have to did that 100mm Dynaron lens work out for you after having spent two weeks at the bottom of the creek?
    Oh and I have an announcement. Because of this thread, I got to really missing my first camera, the Pentax, Honeywell Spotmatic F that I mentioned earlier. So much in fact that I blew money on eBay on what looks to be a nice, minty example of the camera. Now, of course, I'll have to find a nice example of the 50mm f/1.4 Super Takumar lens that I had. Ugh....why do I do these things to myself?
  49. Answering the initial question: My fist camera was a inexpensive box tipe, made in Brazil e no longer known. After this I had a folding one for a short time, which was known as Penguin, but I don't know what it realy was. Then a spared some money of my salary to buy the veritable first camera, a 35mm Neoca, made in Japan. Time goes was about 50 years ago.
  50. Let me add the main answer: I do not have none of them.
  51. James G. Dainis

    James G. Dainis Moderator

    I have used all sorts of cameras from 8x10 view cameras to Speed Graphics to 35mm and still have all of them. Alas, I no longer have my very first camera. It was a Wonderflex that I had when I was about 8 years old. I would get some girls to pose for a photo and then when I pressed the shutter this rubber mouse would pop out and they would all go running around waving their hands in the air and going "Eek! Eek! Eek!"

    I loved that camera.
  52. rdm


    Oh yes, I do.
  53. To BW,
    The Dynaron 100 has a mark on its body near where it fits onto the camera. It looks as though somebody did not know how to detach the lens from the camera and used a pair of pliers.
    Fortunately, the lens did not suffer at all from being in the water. It was still in its waterlogged leather case when found. It is a slow lens but used in daylight it makes a wonderful portrait lens. If I remember correctly, in early 1961 Kodak colour reversal film was rated at 25 ASA and later in that year the ASA was bumped up to 64.
  54. "Does anyone else still have their first camera ?"​
    Yes and No!
    I still have the first camera I ever used -- my Father's Kodak Bullet.
    I got rid of the first camera that I owned -- a Kodak Brownie.
    I still have and use my first rangefinder -- a 35mm Argus C3.
    I got rid of my first 35mm SLR -- a Miranda Sensorex, because it was not reliable.
    I still have my first digital camera -- a broken 2.1MP Vivitar Vivicam 3615.
  55. Yes, I still have it - a Voigtländer Vito CLR bought duty free in Hamburg back in 1964, when an Italian Navy cadet onboard the sailing training ship "Amerigo Vespucci". And no, unfortunately it no longer works after I foolishly let it out my backpack during a winter mountain bivouac at -20C in around 1970.
  56. I still have my first camera. It is a Kodak Signet 35. It currently is sitting on the shelf waiting for me to clean the shutter again. It has a nice little lens, but the shutter is the Achilles Heel. I still have a film in it with a buggered frame or two.
  57. What a great idea for a thread. My first camera was a Kodak Instamatic 304 that captured a lot of memories as a newly married college student. During a business trip to London in the early 1970's I learned that the exposure meter could be manipulated by just leaving a used flash cube in the turret. The result was some decent late afternoon shots of Big Ben.
    That 126 cartridge camera is long gone. However it got me started on a long love of amateur photography with a Pentax KX and other cameras.
  58. I didn't own the first camera i used. So no.<br>I do still own the first camera that was mine. And Instamatic also, type 25.

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