The Last Camera


I don’t have a huge collection of cameras compared to some-less than twenty. Still a lot compared to some, but also much much less than others. My aim has always been to have a collection that I also use regularly, so that nothing ever just sits and gathers dust, and also one that fairly represents my character and preferences. I’ve seen people with huge collections where all their photos just end up as photos of their cameras, so that’s not for me. This week, two years after I began buying analogue cameras in a serious way, I made a momentous decision-the time has come to stop, and to flog those I don’t need or particularly warm to.

In that time, I’ve come to gain a very good idea of what I like and don’t like, and this has accordingly shaped both my buying and selling decisions this week. I’ve developed a taste for SLRs which I once never remotely had, and I’ve purchased one token rangefinder (a Fed 2) which will probably last forever, and now can safely say I’ve no desire for any more of those. I’ve just sold a spare 1970s era Lubitel 2 which may have potential lens fungus (not worth the fix, and I already have an immaculate copy), and I’m selling the Zenit B on ebay. Despite trying, I just don’t like the older Zenit SLRs-they’re just too heavy and clunky, like tractors. I’m keeping the Zenit 12sd though, which will last forever I reckon, and has a much nicer viewfinder, but I now know I’m not going to become a Zenit collector. The East German M42 mount cameras are just so much better, in almost every way.

I’ve accordingly also made what I plan will be my last purchases, moving symbolically into the modern era of the bayonet mount-a Praktica BMS and Praktica BX2. These were amongst the last Prakticas ever released, and are in pretty minty condition, bought from original owners who also accumulated a nice set of lenses and filters (the BMS actually comes from a closed camera shop and is factory-fresh, never owned). They’re pretty advanced, being churned out just as the wall fell, though still not TOO advanced for my taste, and round out pretty much what I want in terms of cameras. Along with the rest of my collection, I aim for them to be lifetime cams from now on-any additional purchases from this date in will be either replacement bodies, if anything in the collection gives out, lenses, or more film-hopefully mainly film. Somehow it also feels deeply satisfying to feel that I’m ‘done’-I’ve accumulated all I’ll ever really want to have. The variety is there in a way that leaves no ‘itch’ I still want to scratch-from top class medium format to scratchy old box cameras. So much nicer to feel like that than to get to the stage of wanting a spare room just for your collection alone! Now if I can just get a bigger fridge/freezer for all the film ;-)

written by alex34 on 2012-06-19


  1. marcel2cv
    marcel2cv ·

    I understand your decision. Sopped myself buying new cams as well and thinking about selling some. It's too sad to see the dust on those you don't use often enough.

  2. neanderthalis
    neanderthalis ·

    Congratulations on your decision. My wife wants me to whittle down the film accumulated in the freezer. She wants at least one of her shelves back for leftovers.

  3. andyresag
    andyresag ·

    I recommend to buy a Praktica BX20, it's worth it. There are some nice Carl Zeiss Jena lenses available for the Praktica B-Series. I most often use the f1.4 / 50mm Zeiss Jena with my Bx20.