Secondhand Love Affair: Adding a Hand-Me-Down Camera to the Collection (Part 1)


Photography is still a fairly new hobby for me as it started only about a year ago. But ever since last August, I really dove in head on and when my family found out… well, my aunt decided to give me her old Canon AV-1 that she grew up using!

My aunt used to be pretty into photography while growing up. I believe she still is but has moved on to digital. She took photography classes back in the day and developed her own film — something I hope to learn how to do someday. This was her camera — The Canon AV-1 — and she gave it to me along with a Vivitar 2800 flash (which I haven’t used yet) for Christmas!

For those of you that don’t know, the Canon AV-1 was very similar to its predecessor the AE-1, however this camera has an aperture priority as opposed to the AE-1’s shutter speed priority. The AV-1 also has a built-in light meter (which allows it to automatically set the appropriate shutter speed), so all you have to do is set the aperture you want, focus, and snap the photo. This obviously comes with its pros and cons as you may want to be able to customize the shutter speed. But I love this camera because of how simple it makes things — like a point and shoot camera.

It took me a while to start snapping my first roll because the Canon AV-1 requires a battery in order to work. Not just any battery — a six volt camera battery, which isn’t the type of battery you’ll find at any convenience store. Long story short, I got the battery right in time for Chinese New Year and took the AV-1 to the parade in NYC.

Credits: jeffr

Not bad right? I even got some pretty good indoor shots at the Hong Kong Supermarket with the AV-1 (I always get nervous about underexposing indoor shots).

Credits: jeffr

All seemed well until I noticed these…

Credits: jeffr

Something was obstructing the film from exposing almost the entire right half of these photos. When I took the lens off the camera, I found the problem…

You can sort of see that the wall lining next to the mirror is peeling off. Now…I’ve diagnosed the problem but I haven’t actually gotten around to re-glueing it yet (as I want to use the right glue). But luckily, I still got a handful of great shots including a couple that I cropped the black mass out of. Check it out:

Credits: jeffr

I look forward to having more fun with my Canon AV-1 and maybe try using the Vivitar flash next time!

written by jeffr on 2012-03-05 #lifestyle #vintage #canon #aunt #lomography #canon-av-1 #analogue-lifestyle #secondhand-love-affair #hand-me-down


  1. vici
    vici ·

    I recently inherited my father's Minolta SRT 201.

  2. bridgetj
    bridgetj ·

    Family and friend hand-me-down cameras are my favourites. I have my father's Minolta X-370, and now my father-in-law's Autocord II. Buying a second-hand camera is fun, too, but with these ones, it's like I know them. They're family!

  3. jeffr
    jeffr ·

    @vici awesome, my girlfriend's got a minolta srt 101 - i love the minolta slrs!
    @bridgetj i agree! that's great that you inherited 2 cameras - i also inherited my grandfather's zeiss ikon super ikonta which i wrote about but has yet to be published. i'm excited to check out some of the photos you've taken with your hand-me-downs :)

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