Alienmeatsack has been a member of the Lomo community for barely two years, but his collection of analogue gear has grown exponentially in a relatively short amount of time. In his LomoHome he quips, "I cannot turn back now. I am in this to the hilt and I want more more more." Read on to find out about Robn's extensive and impressive camera collection.
Please tell us about yourself, what you do, and what you are passionate about.
My name is Robn and I am camera and film addict. By day, I work as IT and Purchasing for my family’s business, I might also scour the internet for cameras and film during my business hours as well but don’t tell my boss. Shhh.
I am a lightly OCD/Addictive personality kind of person. I think I’ve been like that my whole life, but it’s only really become more obvious to me in the last 5 or so years. My Dad has lots and lots of “things” as well, so I may have gotten it from him. This personality quirk makes me dive head first into everything that I can find and I don’t come up for air until I have burnt out or learned enough that I can move to another subject. I also suffer from anxiety of all kinds and I find that when I am out shooting, all of that melts away. I can escape into the lens or viewfinder and forget the problems in my world. That makes photography magic to me.
How long have you been collecting film gear and how did it start?
I’ve been a camera person since I was a teen, but I didn’t really get obsessed until 2012. As a teenager in high school, I was given a nice gently used Miranda Sensorex with an assortments of lenses and filters in a goofy looking brown carry case by my Dad. At the time, we had a small darkroom in our house that was setup to make black and white prints, and I was also in a class in school that gave me access to 35mm film bulk rolling and developing. I learned how to do all the basics during this time, but never really truly understood everything in detail. I shot film with the Sensorex for a while and enjoyed it, but I found myself overwhelmed by teenaged things and photography took a sideline. Somewhere during this part of my life, I gave my Miranda Sensorex to my youngest brother who had taken an interest in photography as well.
I dabbled in some point and shoot stuff, developed by labs or shops in town after this but it was really not a focus point. Eventually as digital became affordable and I had access to cameras both at home and eventually at work, I did some digital photography here and there as well. But, it too was nothing really serious.
Ironically, my mobile phone was what sort of kickstarted my love of photography for the second time, many years after I had played with film and moved on. I found myself snapping the typical carefree candids and documenting the world around me with the phone camera, then slowly upgraded to better phones with better cameras and eventually went through an assortment of digital point and shoot cameras.
A few years ago, I was given a used Nikon D100 with an older Nikon zoom lens as a birthday gift. I did not realize it at the time but that was the spark that led me to where I am today. I used the camera off and on, not really understanding how things worked on it, and just kind of dabbled as I had previously with other forms of digital.
The D100 stopped working sometime in 2012 and I managed to arrange to get a D70s from my brother’s wife, along with a few lenses to add to my collection. It was about that time that I decided I needed to learn how to use the camera properly. I had been shooting a lot of more artistic photos with my phone since then, and I knew I loved photography enough that my devotion to learning how it all worked was my goal. So, I enrolled in a class at the local junior college in the evenings for a month. But, I soon realized that I already knew more then the instructor in that class. I still took detailed notes and tried to pick out any details about how to be a better photographer, and completed the class successfully. Ironically, the professor had asked us during the first class if any of us shot film cameras and no one raised their hands. Not even me. That would change quickly by years end. And would consume me and bring me happiness that I did not know existed. I took a second class, this time more advanced, and once again, I felt like I knew more then the professor teaching the class did. It was at that point that I decided to explore my options online. I looked around to see who was doing what with all the different kinds of digital cameras out there on sites like Flickr and others. And then I stumbled upon Lomography.com. I was immediately and utterly taken aback by the amazing variety of photos of all skill levels and styles that I found here and knew I had to try it myself.
I decided that I was going to see if one of my local shops had Lomography products and ended up coming home sometime in late 2012 with a Diana F+, flash, and some 120 film.
I really did not like the Diana at that point. It was so different then the DSLR’s I had used, it had so few things to adjust and set and yet, as simple as it seemed I could not seem to grasp it’s use in a way that made the same beautiful photographs I had seen in Lomography’s galleries of photos. I probably ruined 4-6 rolls of film with under exposed and blurry messes of photos. Most were so bad that I was embarrassed to upload them. But, I did get a few shots here and there that weren’t too bad, so I uploaded my first roll here. And over a year and somewhere around 7,000 photos later, I suddenly had a huge collection of cameras and films. I had received awards on the site, had feedback and comments, and my heart knew that I was in so deep that I didn’t want to turn back.
That Miranda Sensorex that started me out, well, it ended up back in my hands along with a few other freebies from my brother and his wife. It turned out the Miranda needed some repair, so I fixed it myself and it has become one of my favorite cameras. I think that is in part due to the sentimental value, but also because the lens on it just makes such lovely photos. It was destiny that it found it’s way back to me when it did. I had grown so much in those months and I was ready to learn how to use it properly.
Can you possibly itemize every camera, film roll, and accessory you own?
Honestly, I don’t know if I could. I think maybe I could make a list of all the cameras, but they number in the 30’s to 40’s now I think. The film however, there’s just so much of it, I don’t know if I’d want to break it down and itemize it all. It might shock me out of this amazing hazy photographic world I’ve been floating in for so long.
Nevertheless, alienmeatsack was able to make a long list:
Lomo and Lomography:
Lomography Holga 120N
Lomography Sprocket Rocket
Lomography Spinner 360
Lomography Super Sampler
Lomography Belair X 6-12 City Slicker
Lomography Diana F+
Lomography Holga 135PC
Lomo LC-A (x2)
Lomo Smena 8M (x2)
Lomo Lubitel 166U
Holga K205 “Meow”
Leica M3 DS
Leica Mini Zoom (x2)
Yashica Electro 35
Yashica Electro 35 GSN
Canon Canonet GL19
Minolta Hi-Matic E
Argus C-3 Standard
Zenza Bronica ETRS
Zeiss Ikon Contaflex
Kodak Brownie Hawkeye Flash
Kodak Brownie #2 Model F
Ziess Ikon Box Tengor Type 54/2
Pho-Tak Foldex 20
Voigtlander Perkeo II
Zenit Horizon 202
Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic
Kodak Land Camera Model 101
Kodak Land Camera Model 320
Kodak Land Camera Colorpack IV
Kodak One Step 600
Kodak Land Camera SX-70
Kodak Land Camera ProPack
GoPro Hero 35mm
Minolta Hi-Matic AF2
Canon Sure Shot WP-1
Yashica Samurai X3.0
ONDO 135 Pinhole
Generic Pinhole Kit Camera
Have you used every camera in your collection or do you just adore some of them from the camera shelf?
Absolutely. I consider myself a collector but I collect shooting cameras. I only want cameras that I can use, or that can be fixed so they can be used. I shoot everything I am given or buy, and then once I’ve run at least a few rolls through it I decide what I think of it and it goes into the collection. I like having choices, and I love being able to share gear with friends who want to try film photography. I tell people that they can try my cameras before they buy something so they can experience it first hand before spending their own money on a camera.
I would certainly like to adore some of them on a shelf, but I am in a state of working on my office (having said that for 8 or so years) and have no real shelf space. So my gear just kind of piles up everywhere like you see in those hoarder shows on the TV. Most of the cameras are all around me, on my desk, hanging from my desk, hanging from the one shelf next to the desk or on the shelves there which are limited in space. The rest are all behind me on the floor and in tubs, all within easy reach if I want to go shoot. All I have to do is spin around in my chair and I have a world of magic at my grasp.
Will you ever part with your collection?
I want to say no, not ever, never ever, and toss in a “Pry them from my cold dead fingers” for good measure. But, we all know that life is unpredictable and there’s always that chance something could happen that would require me to thin down the collection or have to give some or most of it up. My hope is that one day I can give a few to younger family members who take an interest, maybe to some friends kids when they are old enough. But beyond that, I want these cameras, and all of their history, to be part of my world until I am no longer capable of using them. Only then can I fathom finding them new homes and that is kind of a scary thought to me.
Do you think you’ll ever stop collecting? Why or why not?
If my long past of needing to own things, and my current list of cameras I still want are any indication, probably not. I have so many cameras yet to find, explore, use and add to my collection. I’ve not even begun to explore the larger format cameras, and there are many pieces of gear I want to procure.
Is there a camera you still don’t own and want to be part of your collection soon? What is this and why?
There are quite a few that fit the bill. Many are more expensive or harder to find, so they have to come into my hands when the universe is ready for me to own them, I win the lottery, or just luck into them. I would love to own a proper Hasselblad 500 kit with a few lenses, viewfinders and backs. I’d like to own a Leica M6 TTL, a Voigtlander Bessa-R, Rolleiflexes and Rolleicords, a Hasselblad XPan and some lenses, and honestly quite a few others. The problem is that I learn of new gear and add it to the list faster then I purchase the stuff on the list. In the early days, most of the cameras and lens were $20-50 USD a piece. Now, I’m looking at cameras, lenses and other assorted goodies that are usually $300-$3000 USD. Budget restraints make some of these difficult. But, I keep my mind on these cameras and I know if one comes available that is a good deal, I will find a way to make it part of the collection..
Fast Camera Collection Facts
Number of cameras?
51 and growing. This does not include the 5 or so that I’ve purchased and are on route to me from various parts of the USA and the world.
Number of accessories?
I couldn’t even begin to count. I’ve got at least 20 or filters in different sizes, lots of lenses for my different Leicas, Nikons and so forth. Assorted lenses and accessories for my Diana F+. At least 4 or 5 different flashes, some old and some new, different bags to fit different needs when I am out shooting, lens adapters to use lenses on other cameras and so many more things.
Number of films?
It would be easier to just say I have a freezer full, my fridge is slowly filling up and both of my “daily use” containers of film are full and overflowing. I am pretty sure my 35mm collection numbers in the high hundreds including the bulk rolls, and my 120 film smaller but still strong in numbers.
Number of months/years collecting?
If you count the Miranda Sensorex and all the assorted digital cameras that passed through my world over the years, I would say I’ve been collecting for 30 years or so. But my collection has only just really exploded in the last year and a half.
Biggest buy/most expensive items?
I’ve had a few of these. (And many to come.) I think my Voigtlander Bessa R4A and the assorted Leica and Voigtlander lenses I’ve purchased for it are one of my biggest investments at this point in singular items. I also purchased a Leica M3 and had it CLA’d which all total was expensive, but so worth it. If digital cameras count, my recently purchased Fujifilm XE-2 along with the XF 18mm lens were the most expensive. Filmwise, I bought a nice man on eBay’s entire stock of Kodak Portra 160NC 100’ rolls which was the most I’ve spent on film. It’s also one of my favorite film deals.
Sweetest steal/cheapest scored items?
I’ve had several nice working cameras given to me including a Polaroid Land Camera Colorpack IV and a Minolta HiMatic AF2. I love that moment when you are having a conversation with someone about film photography and they tell you they have some cameras and film you can have. Those are always wonderful moments. Cheapest paid items I’ve come across have included a nice working Yashica Electro 35 for $20 USD, and a few point and shoot cameras that I paid $5-10 each for.
Most prized possessions/favorite camera, film, and accessory from the collection?
I have several prized items in my collection. First would be my original Miranda Sensorex as mentioned already along with the Auto Miranda 50mm lens and all the filters that go with it. Second would be my Voigtlander Bessa R4A and Voigtlander 15mm Super Wide lens. The Bessa is my goto camera and the one I take with me on about 75% of all my outings. My favorite film that I consider to be most prized is the cans of wonderful Kodak Portra 160NC I have in the freezer. And my favorite accessories would be my close up lenses.
Favorite photo taken with your favorite gear?
There are just too many. I am particularly proud of some of the close up photos I took of a flowering bush in my backyard last year with the Miranda, and some foggy morning photos I took more recently with the Voigtlander Bessa R4A. All of these are on my LomoHome for others to see and enjoy as well.
Any last words?
When people ask me why I love film photography, why I bother with it and all the old cameras, I tell them this: Every old camera you pick up and look into its viewfinder, you are sharing a viewfinder with every person who owned that camera before you. Every wedding, funeral, birthday, weekend at the lake or any moment that was captured on film by a previous user becomes part of your world too and you, a part of theirs. That to me is really amazing. And I try to remember that every time I look at and purchase an old camera, as well as new ones, because I am the first of many who will enjoy it and capture new moments to be shared with friends, family and who knows else.
Thank you so much to alienmeatsack for inspiring us with his vast collection of analogue gear.
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