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Our Analogue Days: Giving Old Cameras a Second Chance at Life

Aside from getting our cameras fresh from the Lomography Online Shop/Gallery Stores, many of us also scour second-hand shops, thrift stores, flea markets, and even our own basements, attics, and storerooms at home for some old cameras, praying that we can still get them to work. Each day we bring home, uncover, and shoot with one, we give these cameras a second chance at life. From there, our analogue days begin or carry on.

Last year, I discovered my mom’s 110 film from the 80’s, a Minolta Pocket Autopak 450E, and found that it’s still perfectly working. Then, recently, I found some more of her old cameras: a Pentax PC-505, a Pentax Espio 115 (from my dad, but it was never used because I think he broke it), and a Canon Autoboy 2. Of course, I was ecstatic at my finds, but more importantly, I wanted to breathe life into them. I dusted them off and checked if they were still working; sadly, only the Pentax PC-505 whirred to life, but I think there’s still a chance for the other two to be repaired.

Perhaps, if I wasn’t so interested in film photography, I wouldn’t have picked them up. I would have simply left them to rot away in the dark and lonely confines of the storage box where I found them. But, I just didn’t have the heart to do that; aside from being an analogue-loving individual, I knew all of these cameras from my childhood. They were like old friends to me. Back then, I even wanted them for myself, even if I knew my parents thought I was too young to own and use a camera.

Beautiful cameras in a flea market, waiting to be picked up by new owners and be given a second chance at life. Photo by grazie

But, this story is not just mine — it’s yours too. Uncovering, finding, and rediscovering an old camera is a scenario that many of us share, and it’s something we all delight in doing every once in a while. I also believe that whenever we do pick up and shoot with an old camera, we are giving these nearly-forgotten beauties a second chance at life.

That, my friends, is just one of the things our analogue days are made of.

Do you think so too? Share your thoughts about this with a comment below, I’d love to hear your insights and maybe even your stories on finding and “rescuing” some old cameras!

written by plasticpopsicle

17 comments

  1. segata

    segata

    This is most Sundays for me, seek out what I can down the car boots and drag it home, see if it will function and if it doesn't out comes the repair kit.

    over 1 year ago · report as spam
  2. bsdunek

    bsdunek

    I love older cameras. 50's, 60's & 70's. That's all I have, and they all work fine.

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  3. andrewcc

    I prefer these old cameras to the new lomography camera's anyday cheaper and better. Why pay 60 dollars for a holga when you can get a brownie 127 camera for less than 5 dollars and get similar results
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  4. plasticpopsicle

    plasticpopsicle

    @segata Sounds like a fun Sunday activity to me! What analogue gems have you found so far? @bsdunek Not many of us get to find cameras that old in good working condition, lucky you! @andrewcc Some of us aren't so lucky to find cameras like that from our side of the world, so I guess the Holga or Diana is the next best thing. Thanks for your comments! :)

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  5. plasticpopsicle

    plasticpopsicle

    Also, here's a shout out to @grazie -- your photo is simply perfect for this article! :)

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  6. grazie

    grazie

    thank you!! I was just at the flea market last Sunday and saw a few old gems :)

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  7. segata

    segata

    I filled a sackful the other week so I will name just a few, in the second hand shops I've located a Fed 50, Zorki 4 and a Canon Snappy S, in the Charity shops I found a Konica Pop and a Minolta and Fuji whose names have left me at the moment and at the car boots I've found an Olympus OM 101, Zenit E Black olympic model, Halina 3000 and several 126 Cameras from varying makes.
    If you count ebay and freecycle I've found a Kodak EK160 EF (Currently working on a solution to the film problem), a Minolta X-300 set up, Olympus OM10 and a Lubitel 166 universal.

    @andrewcc How did you get around the 127 film problem?

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  8. segata

    segata

    S

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  9. segata

    segata

    Sorry for the accidental S, laptops being funny this morning, I made a mistake, the Minolta is a X370N not a X300

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  10. alexander_krolikowski

    alexander_krolikowski

    I test a simplest Kodak Star EF camera in the club - http://www.lomograph(…)elic-forces

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  11. cutebun

    cutebun

    I wanted to revive my grandpa's Canon AE1 but it was broken beyond repair. Fortunately both my mum and dad's cameras were still working fine. The cameras are as old as I am!

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  12. tinkerhell98

    tinkerhell98

    I am tempted to buy old cameras whenever I see them in chairty stores- maybe this is the motivation I need to get them!
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  13. segata

    segata

    @tinkerhell98 charity shops are often good for bargins but still check everything before you buy, the main issue I find with anything from charity shops thats electronic is old batteries left in the battery holder and they leak and corrode the contacts so you want to check for signs that the contacts are ok if you buy anything with electronic parts otherwise new contacts may require soldering in.

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  14. plasticpopsicle

    plasticpopsicle

    @tinkerhell98 I agree with @segata there, so before you buy check the battery compartment first for signs of corrosion from battery leak. Also, for some SLR and rangefinder cameras, I was advised by some friends to check other mechanisms such as the ISO/shutter speed dials, shutter curtains, etc. For those who are looking for Yashica Electro 35, the photographer who sold his Electro 35 to me said a good working unit should have a distinct "knocking" sound whenever you advance the frame. If you're not sure about making assessments, better take with you someone who knows what to check before you buy! :)

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  15. plasticpopsicle

    plasticpopsicle

    Also, @segata, awesome loot you've found so far! I used to find lots of point and shoot cameras in Japan surplus shops here on my side of the world, but these days, it seems even they don't come around that often anymore. I am yet to find a surplus shop/thrift shop/flea market/secondhand store here that sells SLR cameras and rangefinder cameras for cheap!

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  16. sallyvg

    sallyvg

    I love finding old cameras to experiment with - even better if they've still got a roll of unprocessed film in them! I got an old 120 Ensign in really good condition last week, can't wait to try it out.
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  17. blazie

    blazie

    About a year ago, I mentioned my interest in analogue photography to my grandparents. I couldn't be more pleased that I had, because they led me to a drawer overflowing with analogue goodies, many of which were still in their original boxes… some examples include a Kodak Instantic x-45 with the "revolutionary new dude flash" and some rolls of the strange film it uses;an Olympus XA1 with flash; and a rangefinder from the 60s, produced by a now unknown brand "Magnon". The Olympus and the Magnon caught my eye, but the Olympus was stored for decades with the flash connected, so it only works with it connected now. And the Magnon's shutter got jammed when I started examining it. I'm too scared totry to fix them myself, but if nothing else, they're beautiful ornaments.
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This is the original article written in: English. It is also available in: Spanish.