Please recommend 50 Vintage Cameras I should Collect

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by johnfantastic, Dec 17, 2020.

  1. I second the idea that this all makes more sense as a collection if there is some kind of 'theme' tying the cameras together.

    I have personally and actually, got every East German camera listed in a DDR advertising brochure o_O
    I have also collected 1st and 2nd generation auto-focus cameras.
    I even got very early digital cameras...

    What topics about old cameras are you interested in?

    I even got a bunch of cameras that I thought were particularly beautiful.

    Go figure.....
    johnfantastic likes this.
  2. Contax G2
    Rolleiflex GX/f2.8
    Rolleiflex SL66SE
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  3. I have no desire to add to my collection of paperweights, a Pentax K1000 and a Pentax ME Super. The Zenit I had was traded for the Praktica MTL3 the Praktica for a Pentax. I know it adds little to the theme but I felt the need to share;)
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  4. Add 43 Nikon F2s, and your collection will be complete!
  5. I like odd designs and early designs. Look into Ihagee Exacta Vx. Then there's the Mercury II with its unique rotary pie shutter. Have to have an Argus C3 and its relatives. Nothing's better than a good Retina IIIc in good condition. You need a good Mamiya C series TLR to show you how bad 35mm film really is. In the bad old days, no pro used 35mm unless he had to.
  6. Obviously I find my opinions endlessly fascinating so here are some more random thoughts you should ignore.
    I've often thought a great little collection would be Zeiss cameras from the 1950's, surely a Contax 111a, interchangeable lens, an Ikon Contina 11, fixed lens, an Ikon Contaflex, TLR, an Ikon Nettar, folder, would give you a varied taste of classic gear without breaking the bank. 1950's Zeiss equipment is over-engineered if anything and the finish is likely to be pristine.
    I like the idea of owning a camera from my own country, I use an Ensign Selfix 820 which gives beautiful 6x9 photos from the Ross Xpres lens. Surely an American has to have a Graflex Speed Graphic and an Argus C3 brick, German Kodaks not included! I know cameras from Spain and The Netherlands and many from France, I wonder how long is the list of countries who made photographic gear?
    One of the semi secret joys of camera collecting is a love of folders. They are so evocative of period and not expensive. Here in my library I have a Kodak 3a and my Thornton-Pickard displayed as art pieces. To my shame they are the only cameras I never use although they are in full working order, not bad for 100 years old. The best way to see if you like using folders is to buy a non rf Agfa Isolette 11, a London dealer has a beauty for £15.
    One final point, I promise, for some of us the hunt is as satisfying as the kill. If I get the urge to acquire a camera or lens I enjoy the search, the research, and then if I am being sensible I fail to buy, but at least I have increased my knowledge a bit so it has been worthwhile. All the best, Charles.
    johnfantastic likes this.
  7. So many things be propsoed to consider.. I think once you get started.. some themes may develop that you can riff on for a while. Many of the themse mention govern me/my collection. In fact I was in deniual the first twenty years as it was happenstance.. now it seems a lie to deny I collect cameras with circa 50. Did anyone reply your question "first pentaprism" I believe the concept might pre-date the pplication, but I believe Zeiss or Albada made one for an Exakta. The first "fixed" pentaprim was the East GErman Zeiss Ikon 1978 Contax S. The first Autoexposure gets complicated as there were "trap needle" selenium cameras made before the battery operated versions became dirigeur, . The plethora of models using coupled and non-coupled selenium meters are "assist" but not auot. I'm guessing Yashica or other asian models, The Contax Contaflex Super B is a desirable early auto exposure model. Loom Ma no battery.. but more reliable is the successor model Super BC with mercury battery.
    Camera collecting is rarely a thoughout process as many here have tried to explain.. it'S like drug addiction ..well kind of.. you experiment to find alternative feelings answers resolutions to your yourself, or art and these lead you down different paths. You just want to get a WA lens for your Nikon, then you need a fster prime,, but the earlier rangefinder looks so beautiful it would compliment the Nikormat and before you know it... you have 50+ cameras...and still hungry for more!

    I need to seek professiuonal help :)
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  8. An Obvious Typo among others is the first fixed prism; here should read 1948 not 1978. Also , I think JDM, a widely reciognized contributor here, would likely argue the Asian Ashiflex was earlier.. but besides the the many patent infringements after the war, the "fixed prentaprism was not in contention. I'm sure JD and I can agree to disagree !
    It's only a memory of something I read in reference to Exakta and the finder as the first "pentaprism", but the "reflex" concept had been known of over a century if not longer, it just comes down to practical (Praktica?) or commercial application.

    Here's a link that describes the development in detail.. lots of examples without making a lot of conclusions

    Exakta Prism
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  9. A complete collection of Leica classic cameras maybe quite expensive, I dont kno if I can afford it, but I will try adding a few leicas in my list. :)
  10. Charles, thank you for a wonderful advice, Yes I have never attempted doing a camera collection, over the years I have come across many people who wanted to sell retro cameras in good condition and I always said no, thinking what will I do with?

    But people's attitude change, I use to look at practicality of things that I buy, But now that I am getting older and nearing retirement age, my mindset is changing, I am starting to appreciate the beauty of things retro specially cameras.

    And yes I totally agree with you, I think it will be a lot of fun, researching, adding cameras to my list, crossing out cameras that i added and replacing it with other camera's, I think it will be fun trying to make up my mind whats should be in my list. :)
  11. Hello JDMvW, I find winding the film lever, clicking the shutter and fiddling the buttons and dials a big enjoyment for me. I also am very much in love with the looks of the camera of the 60', 70's and the 80's aside from that I don't really know what I want to do. :)
  12. Robert mentioned Topcon. Topcon Unirex had a leaf shutter on the body, not the lens, high speed flash sync and looks lovely with the 50mm f/2 lens.
    robert_bowring and johnfantastic like this.
  13. SCL


    Without more detail the collection idea seems to be random or unfocused. As others mentioned, narrow down the characteristics you seek to incorporate in your collection. I began mine with the first rangefinder camera I bought with my own funds = a Ricoh 500 with the triggermatic winder back in the 1950s; my original died on me and the company supplied me with a newer version, but I liked the styling of the old version, so I sought another one, and a few spares in case things went sidewise over the years...still use it. A friend turned me onto Leicas in 1967 and I still have a few after trying a variety of models over the years. I've been down the TLR road as well as the Bronicas, Canons, Nikons, Olympus, early Pentaxes, Yashicas and Contaxes plus a few subminiatures. In the end I only kept cameras I could and would use along with a range of lenses for each which fit my shooting style for that particular body. It's been complicated, but a lot of fun...acquiring and learning about each, trying them out and making decisions about which to keep, which to acquire, and which to sell. Good luck in your quest.
    johnfantastic likes this.
  14. I agree, I have been trying to wrack my brains trying to look for a theme for my collection. I am very excited to start looking for vintage cameras. I also planted my feet in in solid ground knowing that I don't have an unlimited budget for my collection. So I have to scratch out themes like " Lieca's through the ages" knowing that It will cost me a fortune to collect them and not much more additional joy than collecting other Japanese cameras. But I am very excited to start looking for my cameras for my collection. :)

    Would a Theme like " Cameras that made an impact on Society during the 1960's, 1970's, 1980's " make any sense? :)

    Anyway now that I am starting to look for my first camera to purchase, I saw this very fine condition Nikomat EL being sold for US$60 without lense. I haven't check on the actual condition but the seller said everything works. :)




  15. Well, that would be a first - Nikon's first auto-exposure SLR. AFAIK, Nikomat indicates that it was a camera for the Japanese market; everywhere else it would have been labeled Nikkormat. The ELW followed and then the Nikon EL2 (when Nikon finally dropped the Nikkormat/Nikomat naming). The lineage then continues with the Nikon FE/FE2 and ultimately ended with the FM3A.
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  16. Thank you Mr. Fantastic. As someone who loves books even more than photography may I recommend some reading that has helped me.
    Canon Manual Focus SLRs, A Collectors' Guide by Eric Skopec. As you said the A1 was at the top of your list this is an excellent guide to FD equipment but also it contains great chapters on themes and the reasons for collecting, evaluating condition and how to maintain and display your collection.
    Collecting and Using Classic Cameras by Ivor Matanle, plus by the same author, Collecting and Using Classic SLRs. These are books I go back to over and over. I must admit I have followed some buying recommendations and I have found the summing up on each camera to reflect the truth. Again there are chapters on building a collection.
    Recently I have been enjoying the three volume series On Camera Collecting by Jason Scneider. Another expert with forthright opinions.
    To finish with some words by Dr. Skopec, knowledge of cameras and photography is the foundation of camera collecting, knowing about cameras and photography helps you to define your collection and select individual pieces that fit in.
    Ivor Matanle was a user/ collector, put a roll of film through that first classic and see how you feel when you open the packet of prints. All the best, Charles.
  17. Hello charles, Thank you very much for the advice. Yes I too love the read books something that my kids seems to have lost along the way. May I ask if the books are available in Amazon? or if they are not, where can i order them online? I prefer hardcopy books rather than softcopies. :)
  18. Thank you Dieter. I will be purchasing the camera on Tuesday. :)
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  19. iPhone 1-6s+ :)
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  20. Hehehehehehe Ludmilla. I think it will be our next generation who will consider collecting this masterpieces. The impact of the smartphones on the lives of the people in the world is actually way way more than the impact of vintage cameras. :)

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