single frame: Dusky daisies


Dusky daisies
Kodak Retina IIc
Kodak Gold 200

update: Like a doof, I thought this was from my Spotmatic when it was from my Retina IIc. I fixed the description above but not the text below. The comments all refer to the Spotmatic so this is a right mess. Whatever. Good discussion.

Here’s one more photo from the Spotmatic F after yesterday’s review. I’m sure, however, that this won’t be the last photo from the SPF as it is a delightful camera and I’ll use it often.

I’ve reached a breaking point with my SLRs. I have more good ones than I can possibly shoot. Over at Casual Photophile recently, James Tocchio wrote about paring his collection down to one of each kind of camera, for simplicity sake and to improve his photography. Our experiences match: even though we enjoy trying new-to-us old cameras, if we used fewer cameras more often we’d become better photographers. I experienced that in 2014 when I shot a Nikon F2 almost exclusively all year. I left this comment:

I can see me having one TLR, one rangefinder, one P&S. Well, maybe two rangefinders: my Canonet QL17 and one of my Retinas. But I will not be able to get below seven or eight SLRs. Gosh, I love SLRs. I can’t imagine selling off my Nikons F2 and F3; my Nikon N90s; my Canon A2e; or my Pentaxes KM, ME, and Spotmatic F. I am likely to keep a Canon FD-mount body and a Minolta MC/MD-mount body because you never know when you’ll stumble upon an interesting lens for them cheap.

But even then, this will cause me to part with some cameras that I simply adore. My Konica Autoreflex T3. My Miranda Sensorex II. Oh, I could list a dozen more, but you get the point.

Given that camera reviews remain very popular on my blog, and given that I really enjoy the experience of trying a new-to-me old camera, I can’t see myself not buying more. If I don’t become 100% the photographer I could be because I didn’t pare down to one SLR, one TLR, etc., then so be it. The journey will have been worth it.

But I have at least implemented one rule: for every camera I buy, one camera has to go. Period.


22 responses to “single frame: Dusky daisies”

  1. dan james Avatar

    Delicious shot Jim, wouldn’t usually expect that kind of bokeh from a 35mm lens.

    I made a rule a few years back that I would only have a maximum of a dozen cameras. Things went a crazy and at one point I had something like 60, and nearly half of them I hadn’t put a single roll of film through.

    These days I feel back on track, maybe 15, though I still need to let a few more go.

    What really helped me (and we’ve talked about this before) is narrowing my choice of mounts to Pentax – M42 and K. And you can’t go far wrong with Pentax lenses or bodies, as you know!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I don’t know that I’ll set an upper limit to the number of cameras I own. I think instead I’ll limit myself this way: (a) the cameras that will be my regular users, (b) the cameras to which I have a genuine emotional attachment or were prized by someone I know but were entrusted to me, and (c) maybe a single body for each of a few compelling systems I won’t shoot regularly, but might encounter a delicious lens for, like Canon FD or Minolta MD. That’s still a lot of cameras, more than I can shoot, but still noticeably fewer than I have! I have five M42 bodies, for example; I need but one.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Oh yes! Through that post I followed Ned on Flickr and he followed me back!

  2. Naomi Avatar

    Ahh, Jim. I spent last night pushing this camera away from me and that one. For a road trip, the choices are difficult! I want digital, I want medium format, I want 35mm and a point and shoot. Down to Nikon V3 and OM-1n with 50mm and 35-70mm lenses. Trip 35 or Olympus XA4? The medium format one may need to stay home. Still haven’t decided on film . . . . one thing that made my decisions for me is the desire to travel light and small.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      It’s maddening, isn’t it, trying to figure out what to take along? I have decided that on my trips I need to limit myself to my favorite digital camera and one film camera. That makes my travel lighter but my decisions harder! My usual choices are Pentax ME, or Nikon N2000, or Olympus XA.

  3. bodegabayf2 Avatar

    I find that if I go back to a camera that I have set aside for some time and I feel a rush of excitement and a desire to shoot it again, it’s a keeper. I was preparing to list my Nikon F4 and decided I should load up some batteries and make sure she was still functioning as designed. Once the old girl came to life, I realized that the F4 is a magnificent, fun-to-use camera. I remembered, all over again, why I bought the camera in the first place. No sale.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Once I get settled in my new home I plan to revisit my old cameras, the ones I know now that won’t be part of my core “user” group. Any that don’t give me that spark, get sold or given away. Any that give me that spark get a roll of film put through them. Those that still give me that spark after I finish shooting them get to stay; the rest get sold or given away.

  4. Reinhold Graf Avatar

    You said it … “the journey will have been worth it”.
    I think it’s not the final goal which counts, it’s the way we go. As long as we can enjoy what we experience along the way and as long as we can enjoy learning each day something new and exiting, it’s worth it.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Yeah. Few of us will ever become rich or famous off our work, so we might as well follow our noses and do what pleases us.

  5. windswept007 Avatar

    I do try and sell or give away cameras, but I am so enamoured with the whole magic of photography that my collection is creeping up. Maybe at some point I will have to set a limit.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I didn’t start to wonder about limiting myself until I started to run out of storage space. I have cameras in plastic boxes under my bed and dresser, on the shelf in my coat closet, in a linen closet, in the drawers in the tables next to my couch, and on display on every spare shelf. There simply isn’t a place for one more camera!

      1. windswept007 Avatar

        Ok, you win….I can have a few more.

  6. preppypinkpiglet Avatar

    So pretty…love daisies :)

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Me too! Thanks for stopping by.

  7. tbm3fan Avatar

    Limiting one’s cameras is like me trying to limit my cars. My cameras must now hit over 200 from RF to TLR to SLR. Tried to stop and did for sometime but when I saw a Maxxum 9000 for $25, and in perfect working condition, I had to buy it to augment my large Minolta collection. I try to shoot them especially the 6×9 folders. Yet with old cars to work on plus an aircraft carrier and plane to restore ti is hard to find time away for a good walk.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I’ve owned that many cameras over the 40+ years I’ve collected, but at this point in my life I want to make photographs more than I want to collect. And I truly have run out of space!

  8. roykarlsvik Avatar

    The forever on-going issue in my own head as well, Jim. When to stop, and for what reason. OK, I got loads of space right now, but this will be a bit more limited some time next year it seems. And what then?
    I can easily keep the ones I got now, but I might get tempted to buy a few more if I know myself well, and what then?
    Anyway, it’s nice to see that you’re having these discussions over here from which I probably can learn a few things about what other people do to solve it.
    One thing’s for sure; I will still keep that goal of pushing a film or two through each camera each year to make sure they get at least a little bit of use.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      That’s part of my problem: I have so many cameras I couldn’t put a roll of film through them all in a year. Because this old gear does need to be used!

      1. roykarlsvik Avatar

        Absolutely! They need to be used, and that’s just not going to happen when you get too many of them. Two edged sword, sort of…

    2. tbm3fan Avatar

      While it is not possible to shoot film through all my cameras they are all exercised several times a year. Most are sealed away in baggies with desiccant inside in those plastic file cabinets you can get at Office Depot. Fourteen drawers in all and the cameras are taken out to focus, run through the shutter speeds several times, and power up the meter if equipped. These are the users while the 1900-1935 cameras are displayed in my office. That display has resulted in two dozen donations of great SLRs over the years to me.

      As far as collecting I mainly focused on acquiring all the Minolta rangefinders and film SLRs as my first real camera was a SrT-101. I did skip the XG-1 to XG-9 series. The other groups I focused on was Yashica until they changed their mount from M42 and Miranda as it was in close contest with the SrT-101 in 1970. I have only two Canons donated to me. Three of my six Pentax cameras were donated. Nikons/Nikkormats were acquired several years ago when the first opportunity to buy a nice working F2 with Photomic finder for $80 made me cave. Plus had a Nikkor 50mm f1.4 sitting in a drawer.

      With that I stopped until… a beautiful Topcon D-1 passed my eyes with the 58mm f 1.8 lens. A name now long forgotten in cameras but an absolutely beautiful piece of work. The lens is gorgeous. As typical a RE Super then also appeared which I had to buy and for way less than normal. With the Maxxum 7 due in soon I am done as the last three years have seen little to transfix me.

      1. Jim Grey Avatar

        I can always be charmed by a wayward camera that needs a home. But I’m at a very busy phase of life and, unfortunately, lack the time to truly care for my cameras in the way you describe. It’s part of why I need to thin the herd. If I can get down to 20-30 cameras, I can give them better care, and some of them regular use.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: