Too many cameras

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by joe_hodge, Aug 25, 2017.

  1. To keep this brief, I have had for years two cameras: Canon 40D with a handful of lenses covering 20 - 300mm, and an AE-1 with a 50/1.4 (Prior to the 40D I had a Rebel XT, but it was destroyed by immersion in apple juice) Most of my shooting has been digital, but i'll shoot/develop/scan a few rolls of Tri-X per year when I get the itch.

    I've inherited two more classic SLRs: an OM-2 with a 50/1.4 and a 200/4, and a Nikkormat FTn with a 50/1.4. Both in very good shape with working meters (within 1/2 stop of the 40D). The OM2 has the degrading foam issue, but cleaning that and replacing the prism will only cost me $25 and a few hours; actual operation is unaffected.

    The problem is that all three systems overlap, and I don't want/need it all! My first thought is to keep the OM-2 and my 40D, and sell the AE1 and the Nikkormat, but the Nikkormat has an all-mechanical metal shutter. The AE1 has an emotional attachment as it's what I learned on. None of the classic stuff has any real market value.

    What I'd really like is to have just the Nikkormat with fast 24/50/135 primes, but I don't see any way from here to there that doesn't involve a lot of money.

    Or, I could buy an EOS film body and get down to one system, but I must admit that I like the way a classic SLR goes with the 'film' mood :)

    There was supposed to help a question here, but I think I just need advice.
  2. Four cameras too many? Phew, I'd hate to think how many I've got.
    beegeedee and MarcelRomviel like this.
  3. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Moderator Staff Member

    I have had the Nikkormat for decades it was a workhorse and it still functions well. 50 1.4 and 135mm 2.8 lenses for it are not particularly expensive, the 24 2.8 a bit pricier.. Check Roberts Camera Used, or B&H or Adorama. You might be able to get a decent part of the cash selling the other stuff on line.
  4. The OM-2n is a wonderful camera--so light, great lenses (which work nicely on my Fuji digital).
  5. Yeah, OK, 'too many' is an exaggeration with only four (although it's actually five - I have an EOS M also that I forgot). I think it's that the three classic SLRs are all so similar that it seems silly to have one body and essentially the same lens for three different systems. (yes, I do have the second lens for the OM2)

    Real question: is there any sense to picking up an EOS film body and deferring the question of what to do about the others to a future date? Clearly the answer to having 'too many cameras' is another camera, right? :) I had an EOS 5 at one point, but I didn't much like the viewfinder or trying to manually focus the EOS lenses. Does anyone have experience with a split-prism screen in one of the pro models that will take one?
  6. AJG


    Unless you get a pro level EOS film body, don't expect the viewfinder to be that useful for manual focusing. The amateur level autofocus film bodies from all manufacturers usually had pentamirror finders, not pentaprisms which made the cameras smaller, lighter and cheaper, but harder to focus manually. Since most users depended on autofocus, they didn't care doubt the loss of contrast and brightness, but if manual focusing is important to you you should bear this in mind. Any of the three systems you have made good lenses--size and weight might be a consideration, and also what kind of photography you are interested in doing.
  7. The EOS isn't fun. Buy some lenses for the Nikkormat and since it's an FTn and not the newest FT3 it takes Pre AI lenses and those are cheaper than the AI and AI-s lenses.
  8. Thanks -- I'm well aware of the viewfinders on the non-pro EOS bodies; I had the 5 (A2E), which had a pentaprism viewfinder, but nowhere near as good as either the AE1 or OM2. Even my 40D is much better, although the crop factor helps in terms of magnification if not coverage.

    My photography is an on-and-off hobby (family events aside), mostly walking around Washington DC and shooting whatever catches my eye. I enjoy the process as much or more than the product, so film works well for me when I don't need to deliver the Christmas pictures for Facebook ASAP :) I've been developing at home and scanning, but I'm going back to a wet darkroom refresher class next month and brushing up my technique in advance.

    As I see it:

    AE1 - I learned on it, so it's the most familiar and 'gets out of my way'. Prone to problems long term from the shutter and electronics, although the battery is common. Lens availability seems limited/expensive. Viewfinder is nice, and has a split-prism.

    Nikkormat FTN - it's probably indestructible, and is compatible with a wide range of lenses I don't actually own, but could. The build quality of the 50/1.4 I do have is exceptional. Viewfinder is noticeably worse (dimmer/less coverage) than the OM2 or AE1, but nicer than the EOS5 I owned years ago. Wants a mercury cell for the meter, but zinc/air cells are available and an adaptor for silver oxide cells is $40, so not a real obstacle.

    OM2 - nicest viewfinder of all, and I already have a 200/4 to go with the 50/1.4 Needs a new prism, but those are easily salvaged from Ebay junk, and I can do the work, so no big deal.

    EOS - I have 20/2.8, 50/1.4, and 100/2 primes as well as 24-85/3.5-4.5, 28-135/3.5-5.6 IS, and 70-300/4.5-5.6 IS zooms, so I'm pretty well covered for glass. Too bad that between the lens design and viewfinders, it hasn't been fun to use in a MF/film mode. The 24-85 is my basic walking-around lens. If I go this route, it looks like an older 630 is a decent bet, or a newer 1n or 3, but not much else in between.

    Going back to the darkroom probably just has me overthinking this. I have everything I need, and more, but it's hard for me to not want to rationalize this down to either 1 film and 1 digital or even just one system altogether. What do other who shoot both film & digital do?
  9. Actually if you need the meter the Nikkormat FTn biggest drawback is the battery. It's expensive and doesn't last very long either.
  10. Well, I can relate to having too many cameras, and I've bought two more in the last 10 days. :)

    I don't intend to keep either one of them though. There's quite a few people that will unload their old film stuff on craigslist and I may get a camera because I'm interested in the lens or something else. Sometimes they go for so cheap that I know after a little TLC (which I enjoy doing), the cameras can be sold for much more. But I'm seriously considering selling all of my film cameras except for one SLR, one medium format camera and maybe I'll keep the rangefinder.

    I have mostly Canons, but any Olympus OM-x series camera is very tempting since they're so compact. Compact enough that maybe I could do without the rangefinder.

    I don't have any specific recommendations Joe, but there is one reason to keep more than one film camera if you're not shooting film constantly. There's nothing worse than wanting to shoot film somewhere and have your one camera halfway through a roll of something completely unsuitable.
  11. HA!
    I have around 200 old cameras. YOU should worry?
  12. If you want to shoot film and digital with one system, and since you have a large collection of EOS glass, it would make sense to acquire an EOS 3 at a very modest cost. Adding a used FF digital like a 5D II or 6D I would complete your system for a reasonable cost. If you absolutely want to manually (a) advance film, (b) focus, and (c) set exposure, the Nikkormat or OM-2 would be ideal. I have used and really like both cameras with the OM having the advantage of lighter weight and the Nikon advantage would be larger availability of lenses. As discussed above, the only high cost item in your classic camera wish list would be a fast 24mm.
  13. After reading this thread I've been thinking more and more about getting rid of a few cameras and settling on an Olympus OM-x, but my hesitation is almost the opposite of Joe's. It seems like there's lots of fairly inexpensive FD (Canon) lenses available and it's the Olympus lenses that have slimmer pickings and higher prices. Am I missing something? I've already got a couple of nice FD primes and some so-so zooms.

    I'd sell the AE1-P, the lenses, a Canonet QL17, and maybe the Elan IIe which isn't worth much anyway, but I do have one nice lens for it.
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2017
  14. Check eBay international - some of that classic stuff has real value. Olympus OMx cameras don't go cheap (or I have a lot of bad luck searching). The Nikkormat is undervalued on the second-hand market, but not really low value.
    That said, if you don't need the money, I wouldn't sell any of it - especially not those that have some sentimental value. Rotate between them, and enjoy them all for what they are: sturdy, great, reliable cameras.

  15. At least around me, there is a lot of Olympus OM equipment on Craigslist, which I like for lenses over Ebay, since I can handle them before paying. I see very little Canon FD (other that a 50 along with a body).

    For me at least, this thread has helped. I'm running few rolls through each body, but I've figured out that my real issue is not 'too many cameras', its 'too many systems', so that nothing is interchangeable. I'll probably listen to Wouter's advice and not sell any of it, but I will focus on rounding out one system - probably the Nikon - and store the others carefully controlled conditions for when/if I change my mind.
  16. PapaTango

    PapaTango Itinerant Philosopher

    Write back in a few years and let us (presuming most are still living) know how that is coming along... :p

    I have done just that. Socked away a number of Canon FD bodies and kit; stored away various Yashica, Mamiya, and Minolta TLR treasures; Bagged up most of the Mamiya RB catalog of accessories; got a bunch of press, view, and other systems 'boxed' in various states of disassembly awaiting the magical day of resurrection in a future life to come. Don't get me started on the boxed darkroom stuff.

    None of it is likely to happen--and without intervention all of it would have simply aged in place awaiting an estate sale. My epiphany was to figure out what I really wanted out of photography when I grew up. This occurred a couple weeks ago, and I am 60... :eek: I am now busily selling off all of it and concentrating on my strengths--instead of halcyon fantasies of youthful want and unmet plans.

    Advice is good sense that for whatever reason we decide to give away instead of using in a positive way for ourselves. So I will not give you any advice--rather a suggestion that may ultimately make you a better photographer, strengthen your interest, and uncomplicate your life a bit. Plus, it will make your family's life simpler should you suddenly become dead... :confused:

    Pare down to what you want to really do and will actually utilize. Get rid of the rest--and use the proceeds to flesh out a solid, yeoman's kit. Use it. Be happy. :cool:
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2017
  17. Joe I have arrived at the solution. Keep the Canon and Olympus gear but send that Nikkormat directly to me. It is an evil thing and will ruin every facet of your life beginning with photography. It is haunted and possessed. I will dispose of this item at no cost to you if you will ship it at your expense directly to me. Hurry, act today!!! The life you save could be your own!! Seriously though, everything you describe will do the job, just pick out what you like and keep it. This is not a bad problem to have. I keep saying that this is the best time to be a photographer.

    Rick H.
  18. Actually, at least in the one respect, it is the "best time" to be a FILM photographer --

    Although I have a full complement of digital cameras and completely automatic lenses, I now own and shoot almost all of the film cameras I ever wanted to have.

    The film itself is another problem however - it's either do-it-yourself on developing or developing patience to wait out the mails...

    My Precious
    PapaTango likes this.
  19. PapaTango, - good advice, er... I mean suggestion !

    My wife's mother was a pack rat. Every nook and cranny of her house was filled with stuff, - much of it never used. My wife was an only child and had to deal with all of it when her mother passed. It was overwhelming for her. She ended up throwing out so much of it just because it was too difficult and too time consuming even to decide if it was worth selling, giving away, or keeping.

    Personally I'm someone who can attach sentimental value to things, but helping my wife through that experience has changed my perspective. I've picked up a lot of cheap cameras that belonged to somebody's parent and sat taking up space for decades. Some of it still in the box, - brand new. Your kids and your spouse might feel bad about giving away or throwing out your stuff, but eventually they will! There is no reason to keep it. Make it easy for your family and enjoy the proceeds while you're alive to enjoy them.

    Though I'd been thinking about it for awhile, this thread has also prompted me to do a purge on my cameras and equipment. Over the last year, I've gotten a pretty good handle on what I'll actually use and what I won't. If I'm not gonna use it, I'm not gonna keep it.
    PapaTango likes this.
  20. PapaTango

    PapaTango Itinerant Philosopher

    Tom, I do understand 'hoarders', having intimately known several of them and cleaning up after one. Then there was the debacle of paring down the life accumulations of my 96YO mother-in-law when we closed down her house and moved her in with us. o_O

    I don't classify myself as a hoarder, but given my past hobby avocations I have certainly acquired a LOT of stuff. Most of it is good, and a lot of it is still worth quite a bit of money. At some point in life I took each of my pursuits--amateur radio, film photography, woodworking, amateur astronomy--and catapulted them to the very best assemblies of equipment and space that I could afford. It took years for most of it, swapping, upgrading, custom building--so on and so forth until I was relatively happy with a respectable kit for each.

    Oddly, much like the boat many always dreamed of having and then actually bought--then taken the excursions for a year or so--the fun ran out of it. Perhaps there is something about realizing certain kinds of fantasy developments that when the experience is fully enjoyed--it's 'been there, done that' time and interest wanes with upkeep. The ham radio stuff was a beast, as it being mostly older vacuum tube gear weighed out at at least 30 pounds for each thing... Next on the bucket list... :p

    All of the Mamiya gear is now gone out the door, The TLR's are quickly following, and 35mm is being cleaned and packaged into "kits" featuring an assortment of lenses and accessories for each. I may keep one of the A-1s, but this seems a bit more of the 'sentimental' thing you spoke of. Rather, I have a couple Argus C3 bricks that are torn apart in order to create one, perfectly flawless example in either copper green or dusky red library binding leather. Then acquire the optical accessories that were once available for it. This brick was my first 35mm camera back in the late 60s--and it is indeed fun to shoot "just because."

    Concurrently on the agenda is the darkroom stuff. The CPP-2 went flying out the door so fast it made my head spin. Two Beseler 45MX beasts, and so much stuff including an 8' plumbed and temperature controlled darkroom sink. I will keep a safelight, Patterson tank, and enough stuff to process whatever film I may shoot with the Argus. One year we may actually be able to move with only one semi trailer of crap... :rolleyes:

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