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Photography DiscussionPost your "First Camera" story here

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Duck
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Post your "First Camera" story here

Post by Duck » Sat May 13, 2017 8:17 pm

Reading Didereaux's post about his recent acquisition of Nikon F2 and FM cameras brought out some nostalgia in our members. That got me thinking about my first camera and wondering what other 'firsts' our members had. Go ahead and post your story about your first time here.

My first camera was a Pentax K1000 with 50mm lens. I purchased it in 1981-ish with moneys earned from a newspaper route I owned. Thinking back I don't really remember why I bought it but I can posit a reason. At that time I used to love hiking through the woods and along a ravine that ran from a nearby reservoir, past our house and down to the local river. The wooded landscape was a magical place for me with its solitude and abundant little critters. I wanted to be able to capture that magic for posterity so the solution was to get a camera.

I shot hundreds of rolls of Tri-X film and was always disappointed in the results. Of course, back then, there were no such things as online tutorials, YouTube and such. I now know there was a local camera club but at that time I had no idea there was such thing. Not that I could have gotten involved anyway. So I was left to trial and error, and error, and error. Yep, I had that stupid little notebook tracking all my settings and shoot notes but making the connection about exposure was tough for me.

The best part of that whole experience was developing my own film. Developing black and white film is relatively easy and I did it in my bathroom without disrupting the entire family. Specially being a shared bathroom. Printing, on the other hand, was not practical for me so that got sent out. I still remember that feeling of exhilaration and anticipation when that freshly developed strip of amber colored plastic came out, dripping wet, from the developing tank. As I am writing this I can still remember that distinct smell of developing chemicals.

Unfortunately all those negatives are now lost to time. Between growing up, military, college, marriages and all the countless moves live takes us, they are gone the way of most non-essentials. Oh well, I prefer looking for the next image anyway.

So, that's my first camera. Share the story of your first camera in this post and keep the nostalgia going.
"If you didn't learn something new today, you wasted a day."
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Post by minniev » Sat May 13, 2017 9:41 pm

Great idea for sharing! I really consider my camera birthdays as two separate events, film and digital, with a lot of space in between. I got my first camera on my 7th birthday, sometime long ago in the 1950's. It was the usual Brownie that kids got back then. I adored it, then the next year lost it on the subway in New York. A child of the rural south, I didn't understand subways or New York so cried piteously in Grand Central Station begging my father retrieve it for me. My father was an excellent photographer, and we had the only darkroom in town so I learned early how to work in the darkroom. I edited the school newspaper and of course did lots of photography and developing then. But somehow, when I went off to college, I left photography behind altogether.

When I married we got a series little instamatics for trips and later for babies and t-ball and Disney, but I never used them, my husband always did those informal snaps. I thought about getting a better camera when my eldest starting playing pro baseball but there were always Getty people who did better than I could so I didn't ever do it. In 2004 my husband and youngest son and I went on a months journey through British Columbia and for the occasion I treated myself to a whopping 3 megapixel Nikon point and shoot. OMG. I was sold. The first time I snapped an image of my son and could SEE it, I was enamored. In 2008 I got my first DSLR and Lightroom 2, and the march has gone on since then. Photography quickly became more than a way to record family events. It became my avenue to seeing the world more clearly and in more detail. And it became my avenue to creating art. I never tire of learning new things, and I have never been bored a minute since I started this journey. Now that I'm retired, I still don't have enough hours in the day to do all that I want with it.
flight deck2 (1 of 1)-2.jpg
the wild boys who were standing around when I opened the gift that turned out to be a loaded Brownie
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Inside passage, BC, 2005 - digital and never looked back
"God gave me photography so that I could pray with my eyes" - Dewitt Jones

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Charles Haacker
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Post by Charles Haacker » Sun May 14, 2017 12:39 am

The first camera I can remember, in 1952, was this Argoflex 75, produced from 1949 to 1958 by the Argus Company (1936-1959) of Ann Arbor, Michigan. This is not the original that I owned. I found this one in a Montana curio shoppe. I recognized it instantly and paid $19 for it, in mint condition.
Argoflex 75.jpg
Argoflex 75.jpg (192.54 KiB) Viewed 1017 times
One source says this camera in 1952 was priced at $14.95. The year is significant because it was the year I was 10, and the year my dad died.

Charles Theodore Haacker, my dad, was a full time professional photographer right out of high school. He’d been a war correspondent in the European theater, working for Acme Newspictures (which was eventually folded into the AP). After the war he and four other fellows from Acme decided to fly on their own. They started a commercial studio in New York City they called Camera Associates. One of the other guys was named Simon Nathan. Some of you may recall that name. He became very well known as a photographer and writer. For many years he wrote the ''Simon Sez'' columns in several of the popular photography magazines that kept professionals and hobbyists up to date with the latest gear. He also authored a number of books, including Good Photography's 35mm Handbook, which was a must-have-in-the-bag book for enthusiasts.

Si and my dad were good friends. One of my earliest memories (I was maybe 6 or 7?) is standing on a stool in the Camera Associates darkroom, watching Si use a big horizontal enlarger to expose paper pinned to a wall. I was amazed at the projected negative image, then mesmerized watching the positive begin to come up in the developer under safelight. I inhaled the perfume (to me) of “hypo,” the acetic acid that both irritated and fascinated my nose. To this day I love that aroma (yeah I know most people hate it).

When Dad died in 1952 (Eastern Equine Encephalitis, outta nowhere, mosquito vectored virus nobody knew about) the guys at Camera Associates were all so solicitous of Mom and me. I remember the camera especially because Si and Mom and I were all riding the subway when Si Nathan gave me that camera. In 2017 dollars it would have cost Si $134.95. That was quite an extravagant gift for a 10-year-old kid in 1952.

The Argoflexes were simple 620 box cameras, fixed focus from 6’ to infinity, but the twin lens feature provided a huge, brilliant viewfinder image. This camera I bought still works perfectly. I just need some 620 roll film. And a place to process it. [*Sigh.*] Well, I didn't buy it to use it. I bought it to cherish it. :)
Si Nathan Weegee.jpg
Si Nathan (left) with Weegee (Arthur Fellig), famed news photographer who is said to have coined the term, "f/8 and be there." Undated picture by uncredited photographer.
Si Nathan Weegee.jpg (111.81 KiB) Viewed 1017 times
Friends call me Chuck. :photo: This link takes you to my Flickr albums. Please click on any album to scroll through it.
(I prefer to present pictures in albums because I can put them in specific order.)

All the great photographers use cameras! No, really. :|

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Ceropegia
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Post by Ceropegia » Mon May 15, 2017 3:27 am

I was exposed to photography very early in my life. My grandfather had been taking photographs since the early 1900s. Two of my aunts were also into photography, although one took mostly movies from the 30s onward, the other was into 3-D photography. She owned a Realist. I still have a couple of the 3-D slides she took of my sister and me in the mid-40s and several of my son when he was a baby in 1967. My grandparents ran a photo processing business from the late 30s until the late 50s. From a very young age, like Charles, I can remember being in the darkroom with my grandfather watching the magic of prints appearing as they developed and to this day I will never forget the smell of the darkroom. Being allowed in the darkroom was a real treat. Sometimes my grandfather would let me develop my own prints. I am not sure when I got my first camera. I know my older sister got hers in 1947, on her seventh birthday so I suspect I got one a year or two later. Her first camera was an Ansco Panda. which she is holding in the photo below (yes, that's me beside her, I was five). Mine may well have been the same kind. I remember it took 620 film and that it wasn't a brownie. I dropped it while on a trip in 1953, when I was eleven and knocked a chip off the corner. We taped it over with black tape to try to stop the light leak, but it was not completely light proof, which is quite evident from the photos I took on that trip. So my guess is that I got a new camera, my second one, on my birthday that year. I still have it. It is a Spartus Full-Vue shown below. It takes 120 film. After getting it out to take the photo, I sort of have an urge to find some film and see what it will do.
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Post by St3v3M » Tue Jan 02, 2018 12:00 am

I look at my camera life as three separate events. The first was in 1984 when the Olympics came to town. My mom was volunteering and thought it would be great to take pictures in between events so they went to a local camera store and seemed to have bought the lot, a Contax film camera and other assortments. Needless to say, my mom wanted but didn't have the passion for it so it became mine and I took it everywhere. Eventually, I found surfing and girls so the camera hit the shelf.

I don't remember how but I came into possession of a Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ4. I loved that camera and think it saved me. I took it everywhere and took a lot of risks with it, one too many as I dropped it while taking video of a ska band and it hasn't worked since.

I took the Lumix completely apart, but it's gone to a better place. The passion was there though so I ordered my first camera, a Canon EOS 7D. I tried a Nikon but it didn't feel good and a Canon T3i but it was too small in my hands so I got the 7D. What really sold me on it was a trip to Yosemite with my son. He read the manual on the way up and was working that thing!

I love my Canon 7D and here I am still learning! S-
"Take photographs, leave footprints, steal hearts"

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Post by rmalarz » Tue Jan 02, 2018 12:24 am

Mom worked at a Kodak retail sales store when I was born and for 7 years after. When I was about 5 someone traded this Leica in and purchased a Kodak Retina camera. My mom purchased the Leica from the store and mom and dad gave this to me for either my birthday or Christmas that year. I don't remember which of the two days it was.

Up until then, I'd share one of my dad's cameras whenever we'd go out photographing anything. Now, I had my own to use. Dad would coach me on shutter speed and f-stop, etc. Mom would take the film to the store and prints would come back.

This photograph was taken in June of 2015, some time after I had the camera rebuilt as the shutter had completely deteriorated. It's back and working like new again.

I've since acquired a Jupiter 8 - 50mm f/2.8 and awaiting the delivery of a Jupiter 12 - 35mm f/2.8.
--Bob
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