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Thread: The Path Not Taken

  1. #1
    Drew Bedo's Avatar
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    The Path Not Taken

    The Path Not Taken . . .

    Back in the mid 1990s I belonged to a local camera club. I was relatively new to LF photography and slowly feeling my way around on a boot-strapped shoe-string budget. One club meeting took place at a member's home where he showed us his newly completed showroom for all his cameras.

    Wow: This was a dedicated room, maybe 20x30, with built in glass display cases full of minty to pristine examples of notable cameras from Minox, through Leicas and Hassle lads . . .and every odd-ball model and format imaginable. Cabinet space below held seconds (and thirds) of the items under glass.

    Displayed the center of the room were two huge ultra-large format studio cameras. Yards of bellows held up by intermediate adjustable frames. Everything was glowing wood and leather. Each had a ground glass measured in square feet. Well, this was twenty-five years ago . . .my best memory now is that they were just sooooo BIG. They dominated the center of the display room like the guns of Naverone.

    Weeks later I ran into him at a local camera show. I suggested that we could make a few pictures with one or both cameras. He hesitated. I told him that I was worrking at a major teaching hospital where I had access to X-ray film and MRI materials in large sizes. He was not enthusiastic. I told him that I could get the films developed in their appropriate chemistry in the dedicated automatic processing equipment at the hospital.

    His eyes began to scan left and right like he was reading something above my head, His blink rate went above 120/mion and he broke out in a cold sweat and blurted, "You mean take pictures?" Then turned his back and walked rapidly awau.

    Now THATS a collector. . . .Not that there is anything wrong with that.
    Drew Bedo
    http://www.artsyhome.com/author/drew-bedo




    There are only three types of mounting flanges; too big, too small and wrong thread!

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Dec 2011
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    8,193

    Re: The Path Not Taken

    Funny!

    I have been accused of being that guy.

    Collecting cameras is a harmless activity and perhaps aids the sport going forward.

    Everybody dies and their collection of dollar bills, homes, cars, prints and cameras are recycled.

    I am trying to move. LOL

    I do capture souls.

    Cheers!

  3. #3

    Join Date
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    Re: The Path Not Taken

    I remember going to camera shows years ago, and seeing tables covered with black velvet, with impressive collections of large brass lenses for sale (with LOW prices compared to now)... I was talking to a serious collector there, and mentioned that I would love to shoot any of them... He looked at me in horror, and said "you are a user!?!!!", and shut me off right there... :<O

    Steve K

  4. #4
    bob carnie's Avatar
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    Jan 2004
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    Toronto, Ontario,
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    Re: The Path Not Taken

    One of my main cameras is a 100 yr old Century camera , I ripped out the shutter use a lens cap to expose at f22 and I have to put a blackout cloth over the bellows to avoid light leaks.. It has a wicked 480mm lens , (probably worth 5 x the rest of the camera... Ugly setup, not perfect but I love using it.
    A collector would say its crap.

  5. #5
    Foamer
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    Oct 2010
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    South Dakota
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    Re: The Path Not Taken

    I amassed a pretty nice collection of folders (mostly 6x9) and box cameras--there's a soft spot in my heart (and head) for those! However, I came to realize that it's a lot of money tied up that could be put to better use. So, I decided to round up and sell anything I haven't used in the past year. (Unless it's just too cool.) I also realized I have about four more 6 in. Petzvals than I'll ever use. I love the old stuff, but in the end I love using it more than I do looking at it. I rarely buy things in new/mint condition because I know there's a chance I reduce the value by simply taking it out and shooting with it. Most of my stuff is in simply very good condition, not mint. After a 2 am trip to the hospital two weeks ago and a big scare, my inclination is to open my closet and cull the herd, keeping only the very best stuff and stuff I actually will use. It's a quality over quantity thing.


    Kent in SD
    Die Gedanken sind Frei

  6. #6
    (Shrek)
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    Montreal
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    Re: The Path Not Taken

    I once showed my beat-up old ROC Universal with mismatched wood repairs and taped bellows to one of those 'whole room is a glass showcase' guys. He was polite. I sell to him occasionally at the local camera show, he buys on average 1 camera a year from me. When I get a pristine odd-ball I show it to him first.

  7. #7
    Corran's Avatar
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    Re: The Path Not Taken

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Bedo View Post
    Not that there is anything wrong with that.
    Well.......maybe

    I have bought at least 3 lenses from people who preferred they went to me as a user, rather than a collector. I have little understanding for collecting tools of a trade or mass-produced items. That said, occasionally I can understand collecting items with serious heritage or stories attached to them, or sometimes exceedingly rare items / prototypes that never really made it in the market, such as the Canon lens I have which is the only Canon-made lens that natively fits a Nikon camera - a photographic oddity with an interesting relation to modern corporate rivalry.

    I'll never understand the folks who have hundreds if not thousands of cheap point and shoot cameras and the like.
    Bryan | Blog | YouTube | Instagram
    All comments and thoughtful critique welcome

  8. #8
    Mark Sawyer's Avatar
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    Re: The Path Not Taken

    I'm in a similar "camera collecting" club, but it's evolved over the years as more and more members have figured out it's fun to use the old cameras, even if it's just for casual snapshots. But twenty years ago, most of the members thought of photographs as "camera excrement"...
    "I love my Verito lens, but I always have to sharpen everything in Photoshop..."

  9. #9

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    Re: The Path Not Taken

    Not all collectors are like that. My friend Charlie Barringer had beautiful pristine pieces of equipment and badly worn ones. I recall a gigantic mirror lens with what looked like a bullet hole in the primary mirror. And he used what he had. Did crazy things with them. Once took a trip with only a Contax Aria and a bellows-mounted 100/6.3 Luminar, took a lot of pictures with that unlikely rig.

  10. #10

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    Re: The Path Not Taken

    Some are like that. I once had dinner with Sherry Krauter, who is one of the preeminent Leica repair people. She told me that she was invited to see a major private collection of Leica cameras. She was ushered into a darkened room, velvet curtains were pulled to the side, lights slowly came up revealing glass fronted cabinets on all 4 walls of the room. The owner very proudly asked her what she thought, and she replied "you're sick and need help". She did allow that there was some rare and fabulous stuff there, but the overall experience felt pretty weird.

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