Herbert joined the community only in 2009, but he has been an analogue photography enthusiast perhaps longer than anyone else in the community. His collection is a treasure trove of cameras, lenses, and accessories. Read on to find out about one of the most respected members and camera collectors in the Lomography community, herbert-4, or simply Herbert.
Please tell us about yourself, what you do, and what you are passionate about.
I’m a 64 year-old bachelor, living in a studio flat in an old garden court in Tujunga, California. I’ve just retired after a 45 year career as a hospital nurse. All my life, I’ve made a bit of a hobby of photography, but I haven’t had access to a darkroom since I was in the US Navy. I’m a Viet Nam Veteran. The 1st photo I remember (vividly, for some reason) taking was in Summer 1957 at my Grandmother’s beauty shop in Hollywood, of her and a few of her friends with a huge box camera, “Corona Camara #115” with her shouting something like, “Hold it on your belly! Don’t shake! Look in the window and don’t chop off heads and feet! Now, push the little switch!!” The picture came out good, but it was lost to time. I was 7. The “camara” disappeared about 1958, after she died, and that might have been her last picture. I wish I had the picture.
How long have you been collecting film gear and how did it start?
When I was 13 (1963), I bought my 1st camera for $25, a Rolleiflex 3.5f at a garage sale. I had $20 Christmas, Birthday, and savings money, and my Dad kicked in $5, whispering to me that the seller had no idea what that thing was worth. I’ve been lucky at garage sales, 2nd hand stores, charity shops, estate sales, auctions, and swap meets ever since. I’ve been collecting for about 50 years. All of you can be lucky at this. Just be diligent, patient and alert. And always have about $100 in your pocket/purse.
Can you possibly itemize every camera, film roll, and accessory you own?
Rolleiflex 3.5f, close up set and filters, Beseler Topcon Super D with 58mm f/1.4, Topcon RE Super with 58mm f/1.8, 50mm f/1.4, 35mm f/2.8, 100mm f/3.5, 135mm f/3.5, 200mm f/5.6, 80-205mm f/4.5 zoom, 50mm f/3.5 macro uncoated fused quartz lens with #403 filter, several extension tubes, focusing screens, angle finder hot shoe, Minolta SR505 with 50mm F/1.4, 19mm f/3.8, 90mm f/2.4 macro, more filters, Vivitar SL/220 (M42) with 50mm f/1.8, 16mm f/2.8, 20mm f/3.5, 28mm f/2.8, 135mm f/2.8, 200mm f/4 macro, 300mm f/5.5, more filters and extension tubes, Miranda F and Miranda G, each with 50mm F1.8, and a 135 f/3.5, waist level viewfinder, flash bracket, extension tubes, more filters, Zenit KM Plus with Zenitar f/2, 16mm f/2.8, more filters and close up sets, FED 5, FED 5V, LOMO LC-a, FED 3 Type1a (rare), a green FED 2, a blue FED 2, a Fedka from 1950, Zorki 4, Kiev 2a with Jupiter 3 f/1.5 (rare), LOMO Electra 112, Kiev 4am with Helios F/1.8, Chaika 2, Iskra folder, Zeiss Tenax I, Yashica Electro 35 GSM, Yashica MG-1, Sawyer Mark IV (127), Fuji GW 690III, Fuji GS645 Pro, old Kodak box camera, Kodak Jiffy 620 folder, 4 flashes, small to large, a lot of special effects filters. Assorted B&W and color films, 4 rolls 800 ISO tungsten for UV photos, plus some Lomochrome Purple, and the last 6 rolls of Aerochrome III in the world in the freezer, 2 tripods, Gorillapod, a couple movie lights.
There are digitals, Ricoh Caplio G500 wide, Ricoh G700, Sigma SD1 Merrill, assorted lenses, more filters, another flash, 3 light meters, including a Luna Pro, and shopping bag full of plastic cameras, from serious to toy, assorted camera bags and tote bags, shopping bags, a few Lomobags.
Have you used every camera in your collection or do you just adore some of them from the camera shelf?
I am working through all the cameras that work and I can get film for at a reasonable price. I need some 127 and some 620 (Please, LSI). All but Jiffy and Kodak box work, and these 2, maybe.
Will you ever part with your collection?
I won’t sell the Rolleiflex 3.5f, the Topcon stuff, the Minolta stuff, Zeiss Tenax I, Kiev 2a, or Izkra, these are sort of heirlooms. The rest will be negotiable when I’m done with them, I think. I’ve got a lot of shooting to do 1st.
Do you think you’ll ever stop collecting? Why or why not?
If I see something I really covet, I might buy it, if I can reasonably afford it.
Is there a camera you still don’t own and want to be part of your collection soon? What is this and why?
I’d like to find a Leica M3 with a Summilux 50mm f/1.4, too expensive, though, but we’ll see what fortune brings. I got the Rolleiflex 3.5f for $25 at a garage sale when it was almost new. I lost a Rollei 35 and a Canon VT with a Zunow 50mm f/1.1 (the legendary lens) long ago by loaning them to someone, who moved away without returning them. The loanee said he’d return them when he moved back 4 years ago, but he died. His widow said she’d located them, but is slow to dig them out. I see what happens. I’m patient.
Fast Camera Collection Facts
Number of cameras? >3 dozen
Number of accessories? Too numerous to count.
Number of films? >3 dozen presently in refrigerator.
Number of months/years collecting? >50 years
Biggest buy/most expensive items? The UKA 50mm macro fused quartz uncoated lens with a UVA 320-380nm passing filter, ~$600, wanted it too badly, but I find I can at least double my money on eBay!
Sweetest steal/cheapest scored items? Rolleiflex 3.5f for $25!! The whole box of Topcon cameras, lenses, other gear, and assorted stuff for $300.
Most prized possessions/favorite camera, film, and accessory from the collection?
Rolleiflex 3.5f, Aerochrome III (will have use it up in ~3 more years), Gossen Luna Pro light meter
Favorite photo taken with your favorite gear?
The surviving Viet Nam photos, I think. I naively mailed the camera stuff and about 200 photos home from overseas in the same box, and the cameras made it and the photos didn’t. Paranoid thought, CIA, maybe??
Any last words? I just want to thank the Lomography community. I’ve gained Lomo Friends all about the world. You provide me with a much improved hobby and a better social networking site. I find things like Facebook, Twitter, and the like rather horrible. This is better. Thank you.