I got a nice package yesterday from my uncle– a big box of vintage cameras! This is really nice, because I’ve been thinking a lot about photography lately, and looking at displays of all-too-expensive digital SLRs just wasn’t scratching that itch.
I spent some time yesterday looking each one up online, doing my best to not only identify the model, but to find some sort of documentation for each. I highly doubt I could have learned so much in such a short time without the net!
To me, the most exciting camera is the Yashica-Mat EM. I guess this may be the first camera I ever seriously examined that was entirely mechanical, which wasn’t so much surprising as it was intriguing. I believe this camera is intended to be help at the user’s waistline, as the finder is viewed from the top, looking down. This thing is a beast, but seems like a lot of fun so far!
The Yashica-Mat wasn’t the only all-mechanical camera in the bunch, as you can see– the next camera is a 1-A Autographic Kodak Junior. I’m not familiar with camera of this era at all, but I guess I’ve learned more about photography in the past couple years than I realized, because I’m not that daunted by it. I’m not at all certain I’ll be able to locate any sort of film for this thing, but cleaning it up will surely take me long enough to have time to find out.
There was also this Kodak Hawk-Eye Model B #2 camera. It seems superficially alike to the 1-A Autographic, but is a bit smaller. Getting the dust off of these is going to be a big job!
Here’s the last of the Kodaks– this one is a Kodak Retina I, which was apparently produced by a German Kodak manufacturer. It’s unlike any Kodak I’ve seen before, and is just plain different. It seems incredibly well-constructed, though, and looks like I should be able to just slap some film in and go out shooting!
I don’t know much about this one, but it doesn’t seem nearly-complicated enough for me to worry– it’s an Imperial Quad 27c. The maker of this camera made a lot of cute, colorful cameras in the 1960s. This is not one of the better-looking models, but seems like it might be a kick anyhow.
Oh! Here’s one that I’m also tremendously excited about– an Asahi/Pentax Honeywell Spotmatic. I guess they liked it so much, they named the thing four times, haha. When I was initially going through the package, I gravitated towards this camera first… maybe just because it looks most like cameras that I’m familiar with. Regardless, I had it sussed-out in a couple minutes, quickly figuring out the location of all the various adjustment knobs, etc. I know that’s probably not an amazing feat for experienced photographers, but I think it’s a big deal for me. I’ve always liked taking photos, but I never really owned anything but pocket cameras until relatively recently. Because of this, all the stuff I learned about apertures, f-stops, film speed, etc… was kinda abstract.
For now, my plan is to slowly work on cleaning these cameras, and getting them all in good working order without doing so much that I take away from the qualities they’ve absorbed over the years. After that, I’d like to find at least one roll of film for each, and make some interesting photographs! Like all my projects, I don’t have much of any money to throw at this, so it will probably be slow going. Wish me luck, and leave any helpful tips in the comments section!
BTW, I took all these photos this morning using my little Sony digital. I used the colored inserts for my daughter’s lamp shade as the backdrop. It’s the same trick I used in this post, but with a different color.