Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by Jeffrey L.T. von Glück, Feb 10, 2021.

  1. My first camera was a Kodak X-15 Instamatic. I took it on our family vacation to Europe and packed a total of three 126 cartridges for the trip which, at the time, seemed like more film than anyone could possibly use in one trip--72 shots!! I still have many of the pictures. My first serious camera was a Pentax ME Super that a very good friend 'loaned' me back in 1989 but said that I didn't need to give it back anytime soon. He just asked me a couple of months ago if I still had it (I do!) and said that he still didn't need it back.
  2. My very first camera was a "Beau Brownie" box camera my father had had. For the time it was a pretty advanced box camera, with as I recall, a doublet lens, three waterhouse stops, and a carry case. It was all done in art deco blue. For all that it did not make very sharp pictures. The next was a plastic Imperial flash 127 job. My sister and I both got these, which were free premiums my parents got for opening bank accounts. A terrible little thing, it actually took tolerably sharp pictures and its built-in flash worked.

    My first serious camera I got when I was 12, about to go to a Boy Scout Jamboree in Colorado: a Sawyer's Mark IV TLR. A relabeled Topcon, it used 127 film, had a really nice 2.8 Topcor lens, and took quite good pictures. The viewfinder, with a flip-up magnifier, was decently sharp too. It was stolen a few years later. But it was a pretty nice machine while it lasted. The square 127 "super slides" fit in a regular slide projector, which was a nice bonus. I couldn't afford as much film as I'd have liked, but for a few years, Christmas and birthday presents were taken care of. It was LP records and Ektachrome ...and flash bulbs. It had a neat flash that attached to a bayoneted bracket on a lens, and it made amazingly good exposures. I still have a lot of slides, but alas, old Ektachrome does not age very well. Here's a link to that camera. It really was beautifully made:

    The Sawyer’s Mark IV – A Miniature Rolleiflex 2.8 - Casual Photophile
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  3. Kodak Instamatic 25. First "real" camera Zenit B and 58mm Helios
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  4. The very first camera I used (once) was my aunt's,4,5x6 folder. I still remember it in my hands at 7-8, but not the brand
    or model.
    My first camera immediately afterwards (around 1954-55) was a Bencini Comet 3. Unfortunately I no longer have it, although I do have my brother's Comet 2.
    The first camera I purchased (1965) was a Vöigtlander Vito CLR. I still have it, but it no longer works.
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  5. My first camera was a Kodak Instamatic 104 that I got in 1966 not long after getting married and starting college. It documented plenty of family events, trips and good times together. Those flash cubes sure seemed expensive. Sometime I either figured out or was told that leaving an expended flash cube in would slow the shutter speed enough to improve exposure on back-lit pictures. I suspect that was what triggered an interest in photography that carried forward. My second camera was a Pentax KX acquired in Japan during a visit with my brother-in-law in 1976. I so enjoyed the pictures and slides he created with a Pentax K2 that I took a step up from that Instamatic.
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2021
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  6. At age 8 I was given my father's Kodak 35 rangefinder with a GE meter. Not the easiest camera ever, but I loved it.
  7. Kodak Hawkeye Instamatic II mail ordered with cereal box tops.
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  8. Not quite 8, and not given, but I borrowed my father's Canon rangefinder from when I was about 10.

    I have pictures from my 5th grade class, and used it for yearbook photography 7th and 8th grade.
    I even have pictures from 8th grade PE class, which seems to be a place where I might not have
    thought about taking a fancy camera. (I did have the case, though.)

    I used it for some years in college, until I bought a Nikon FM and AI 35/2.0 at the end of 3rd year.

    Then I borrowed the Canon again, so I could get some black and white pictures, with Ektachrome
    in the FM. I had a 50 foot roll of Tri-X, and the last 36 exposure roll from that, then stayed
    in the camera for 30 years. (More than half its life at that point.)

    Since my father has now gone digital and isn't interested in film, I now have the Canon again.


    My high school, the day after the last day of school, on Anscochrome 200 bought for half price,
    processing included, and taken with above mentioned Canon rangefinder.

    My father bought it new when I was one, so it is the first camera I ever knew, taking all of our
    family pictures until he bought a Canon Pellix.
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  9. My first was Halina 1000 which my granny bought me from the local chemists. I still have it somewhere.

    The first camera I bought myself was a secondhand Pentax MV-1 with a 50mm f2. In some ways no more glamorous than the Halina in 1987, as Canon’s space age Eos range arrived. It was sold long ago, but I recently bought one and plan to shoot my next roll of film with it - Green for Go!
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  10. My first camera was an Ensign Ful-Vue presented to me by my parents on my 11th birthday, My father was a keen amateur photographer who compiled an album featuring the early years of each of his three children, which each of us still have. He used a Certo Super Sport Dolly, a mid-range folding 120 roll film camera popular in the 1940's, though his dream was to acquire a new-fangled Braun Paxette. Sadly he passed away before the dream was realised, and I came to inherit the camera at the age of thirteen. So, the Certo was really my first "proper camera", and it's still in my possession, showing signs of wear from it's use through my teenage years.I have no photographs from that period, but I'll post a photograph from the camera copied from "my" album showing the photographer as a young man, accompanied by his mother, along with a pic of the camera.

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  11. 44C4837A-8067-4021-84C3-D6D5E8B9BB4E.jpeg
    Got this for my 6th birthday - still have it.
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  12. I took it on our family vacation to Europe and packed a total of three 126 cartridges for the trip

    I took perhaps 7-10 rolls of 126 film for my Instamatic 25 when I went on a cruise aged 11. I remember it cost 70 pounds to develop the film with all the prints. This was a lot of money in 1972 . My dad was very nice about it. I still have the photos, but alas not the negatives. It really stirred my interest in photography.
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  13. The Certo Dolly that I have uses 127 film, but it seems that they made them both ways.

    I thought I would be able to tell from the picture, but I don't think I can.
    The 120 version seems to be called "Super Sport Dolly".

    In any case, they are nice, and the bellows on mine seem to be good.
    As in the picture, the word "Dolly" is only visible with the light in just the
    right angle.
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  14. [​IMG]

    I received it for Christmas when I was about 10 years old.
  15. My mother had an Instamatic 104, so I have one in my camera collection.
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  16. As I am a few years younger than many posters here and I didn't buy my first camera until I was a few years out of college, My first camera was this Nikon F65 that came bundled with the kit 28-80 and 70-300 zooms. Purchased from B&H on February 4th, 2005, according to the receipt I kept. I still have them, and they all still work, despite having left the camera out in the rain all night after a night of drunken revelry about 15 years ago.


    Here is an image from what I believe is the very first roll I ever shot with it, a 12 exposure roll of Fujicolor 100.

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  17. That little 104 was a Christmas gift from my Dad to Mom way back. Probably documented our Family during the growing up years more than any other camera. I remember borrowing it before I bought my first 35 mm to take down the Eleven Point River. Posted before, this is the single best photo I ever took with it....

    11 Pt..jpg
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2021
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  18. Here's my Kodak Instamatic X-15 world-conquering outfit...the original camera and bag from 1975, and some flashcubes and film that I bought several years ago. There is a cartridge in the camera, so that makes the three cartridges that I carried with me on our trip to Europe. Later in 1981 I took the same outfit on a trip to South America and once again took some amazing pics. There are still places online that sell 126 cartridges and develop the film as well, so it's still possible to use these cameras!

    Andy 013a.jpg
  19. That film cartridge concept was brilliant in that it allowed anyone to easily load, advance, count, unload, and protect every roll.
    I think it was a perfect concept that led millions to incorporate simple photography into their family routine.
    One of the most successful for Kodak as well.
  20. The most succesfull Kodak product.
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