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  1. #1
    EASmithV's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Multi Format
    Blog Entries

    Your first camera (of each format you shoot if applicable)

    Well, I have seen these a lot for 35mm cameras, and sometimes for MF and LF, but I wanted to make one that combined them all. And to be perfectly honest, I love loking at other peoples gear. So, I you shoot enough of something to condiser yourself a shooter of that format, post up your first camera. Include pics if you have them. I will start;

    My first ever camera of my own was a little Vivitar APS camera. The first ever picture I took with it was a shot into my face by accident. I got it whan I was about 6, if memory serves.

    My first 35mm camera was technically a litle rangefinder (I beleive it is an Agfa Silette?) I ran one roll of film through it, my first roll of non APS film. The facet that I was arbitrariall;y setting the exposure settings and ended up with most of a roll is amazing. Even if it has a little motion blur. I was about 9 years old.

    My first film camera I took seriously was my Nikon F. For about 4 years it was the only camera I used, and Tri-x was the only thing it ate, as I had long forgotten about my little rangefinder. That Nikon went to many places in many undesirable enviromental conditions, and served, and continues to serve me faithfully. There is no question it is one of my favorites.

    My first large format camera was my Speed Graphic. Used for many uears hung upside down in my grandfather's darkroom as a copy camera and for making printed circut boards, it got very light use. When I recieved it, it was in excellent (near mint) condition. Since then it has recieved a few love dents, but that is fine with me. While I avoid dinging it as much as possible, I know the camera can and will take it, and these minor damages are the soul of the camera. Definately second only to my Nikon F (and it's a very close second). If there is one camera to define me, it is probably this one.

    Finally, the big guns. If I had never inherited the Speed Graphic from my grandfather I would never have gotten started in large format. I realize how luck I am, and every day I promote film and large format, to try and get others to discover it's wonders. After shooting for about 3 years with my Speed Graphic, I thought it might be fun to have a larger machine. So, I thought abiot 8x10.

    This camera has a little bit of history to it. It used to be used as a portrait camera at a Old Time Photo studio on the boardwalk in Ocean City, New Jersey. When I found it, it was just sitting there under a bunch of props, so I contacted the manager and bought the frame. Then I went on the long road of trying to get pieces for it. I bought a lens off of the auction site. It turned out that the lens, while possibly having proper coverage, was massive, weighing about 32 pounds, and it was probably an Aireal photography lens from a B-29 or something. Well, I laerned. My second lens was a Fujinon-W 300mm f5.6. I love this lens, probably one of the most satisfying buys I have ever made. Then there was the problem of making the back. The lens board was easily fabricated out of three sheets of mountig board, rubber cement, and gaffing tape, but the back was a different story. I bought some Ground glass in the glass holders off of that auction site. I had a friend who had a machine shop, so using (and greatly learning in the process) my slightly limited knowledge of machine shop tools, I fabricated a camera back. Needless to say, It took a dremel to get it quite right. I had to attach it using Gaffing tape (I love that stuff) and I had a working camera.

    I cristened it "Fluffy".
    Meet Fluffy;

    I will be shooting film for the rest of my life.
    Viva La Resistance!

    "The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera."— Dorothea Lange
    RIP Kodachrome

  2. #2
    Steve Smith's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Ryde, Isle of Wight
    Medium Format
    First ever camera - Agfa Isolette I 6x6 about 1974
    First 35mm - Halina 3000
    First 35mm SLR - Edixa Prismaflex about 1980 (still got it)
    First 5x4 - Home made non folding camera

    "People who say things won't work are a dime a dozen. People who figure out how to make things work are worth a fortune" - Dave Rat.

  3. #3
    DWThomas's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    SE Pennsylvania
    Multi Format
    I've been slowly assembling a set of pages on my motley collection in a corner of my PBase galleries.

    The first that was mine, all mine! was a Brownie Target Six-20, prior to that I used a couple of folders, one 127 (I think) and one 620 that were my parents' cameras from the late 1930s.


  4. #4
    Vaughn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Humboldt Co.
    8x10 Format
    First Camera (~1974) -- Rolleiflex 3.5 MX-EVS
    First small format (1975) -- Kodak Instamatic 304 (while attending university in New Zealand)
    First shots with 4x5 (1978) -- the university's monorails -- Linhof, Graphic View and Calumet
    My first 4x5 (1981) -- Raja, an Indian knock-off of a Deardorf Special -- with a massive light leak in the camera back
    Next 4x5 (1983) -- Gowland Pocket View
    First 5x7 (~1991) -- the above Raja with a Deardorf 5x7 back
    First 8x10 (1995) - Zone VI (bought with insurance money from stolen 5x7, Rolleiflex, etc)

    Last edited by Vaughn; 05-18-2009 at 03:28 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    At least with LF landscape, a bad day of photography can still be a good day of exercise.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Richmond, VA
    Large Format
    First Camera = Kodak Instamatic 126
    First 35mm = Konica TC, followed by Fujica Ax-3, then a few p&s, now Nikon FM3A
    First 4x5 = Crown Graphic, followed by a Cambo 4x5 SX, now a Zone VI 4x5
    First 8x10 = Wisner, followed by a Zone VI, now a Ritter 8x10 (with 5x7 reducing back)
    First 7x17 = Ritter

    I HOPE I'm done buying film cameras....
    John Bowen

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Live Free or Die
    Multi Format
    First camera, Brownie 127
    Then a Kodak Tourister
    First owned 35 Nikkormat
    First MF 2 1/4 3 1/4 Crown Graphic, followed by a Linhof baby Technica, Hasselblads, and some Rollei's, Graflex XL's and Koni-Omegas supplied by employers
    First 4x5 Calumet view
    First 5x7 Rochester Optical
    First 8x10 (borrowed) Calumet

    I've concluded it's not possible to stop buying film cameras, or else, they reproduce.

  7. #7
    Christopher Walrath's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    In a darkroom far, far away...
    Multi Format
    Blog Entries
    Wirelessly posted (BlackBerry9000/ Profile/MIDP-2.0 Configuration/CLDC-1.1 VendorID/102 UP.Link/

    Mini - had a Kodak disc camera back in '85
    35mm - XG-M in 97, shot my Mom's X370 for ten years before that
    MF - had an old box camera, maybe a Brownie, in 82
    LF - erie made an Alleta design view camera, I got it last year
    Thank you.

    "Wubba, wubba, wubba. Bing, bang, bong. Yuck, yuck, yuck and a fiddle-dee-dee." - The Yeti

  8. #8
    ic-racer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Midwest USA
    Multi Format
    First instamatic = Kodak Instamatic 100 (1968)
    First 127 = Anscoflex (1972)
    First 35mm SLR = Zenit-E (1973)
    First 620 = Kodak Model 1 (1973)
    First 16mm = Minolta-P (1974)
    First 6x6 = Yashica 124G (1975)
    First Rolleiflex = 2.8F (1985)
    First 8mm Cine = Bolex H8 (1991)
    First Minox = LX (2002)
    First 6x9 = Horseman VH-R (2006)
    First 4x5 = Horseman FA (2007)
    First 35mm Rangefinder = Zorki-4 (2008)
    First 8x10 = Century (2008)

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Los Angeles, CA
    Multi Format
    My childhood cameras were Instamatic 126s, and after they became pretty much obsolete, various 110 cameras.
    My first 35mm camera: Canon point and shoot (age 15)

    My first "actual" camera: Canon FTb/50mm f/1.4, received as a giveaway at age 23. I never shot the Canon shot it until age 26, when I had the time and money to go to school. I never had a real interest in the camera until I was forced to take a photo class as part of a journalism degree.

    Within half a year of that class, I had procured:

    My first 4x5: Graphic View II (now sold)
    My first medium format: Mamiya Super 23/100mm f/3.5
    My first 4x5 press camera: Pacemaker Speed Graphic/127mm Ektar

    My favorite cameras for 35mm are still the Canon FD system. My Mamiya M645 and RZ have become the favorites for medium format, and the Sinar for large format.
    Last edited by 2F/2F; 05-19-2009 at 01:00 AM. Click to view previous post history.

    "Truth and love are my law and worship. Form and conscience are my manifestation and guide. Nature and peace are my shelter and companions. Order is my attitude. Beauty and perfection are my attack."

    - Rob Tyner (1944 - 1991)

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Scottsdale, AZ
    Large Format
    1. Kodak 110
    2. Yashica 35G Rangefinder ?
    3. Minolta XG1 35mm SLR
    4. Omega 45D 4x5"
    5. Kodak 2D 8x10"
    6. custom hybrid Arca/Canham 11x14 back for my Arca 8x10"
    These are my "firsts". I now use Arca 4x5 Field, 8x10 F-metric and the 11x14 for film exclusively, except for a digital SLR.
    Photographs by Richard M. Coda
    my blog
    "Speak softly and carry an 8x10."

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