Thoughts on owning spare cameras.

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by TheGreatGasMaskMan, Dec 29, 2017.

  1. blockend

    blockend Member

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    I bought a second 35mm body when I began to be asked to do paid commercial work again. Early on I assisted a pro and shot some of his non-studio jobs, having access to all his kit. Walking around with a single camera body for my personal work was a delight in comparison. It was some years after leaving regular commercial photography that I was asked to shoot 35mm for money - I'd always done a little medium format work - and having back up is essential.

    Add to that a mistrust of plastic bodied cameras that were coming into vogue. Other than commercially I've never felt under gunned with a single camera and lens.
     
  2. Ces1um

    Ces1um Member

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    I've done my best to resist buying more and more cameras. I've failed time and time again. I also don't limit myself to old, inexpensive cameras. I buy new, very pricey ones too. I think I have a problem.
     
  3. faberryman

    faberryman Subscriber

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    I started out in photography with my father's Exakta VX. Later, I was given a Pentax SP500 for high school graduation. I put an M42 flange on the VX and used it as a second body for several years. It came in handy as it had a waist level finder. Sold both for an Olympus OM-1 in the 1970s. Went naked until I bought an OM-2. Kept the OM-1 as a second body. It's been my second body for 40+ years. According to some, that makes me a mere "hobbyist", "aping professional photojournalistic practice", instead of a "keen amateur" or "serious photographer", who, of course, only have one camera, because that more closely defines their imagined ideal. Pretty absurd, isn't it? Judging a photographer by whether he has one camera or two. It's a sign of the times, when some people seem to have a psychological need to shoehorn others into categories, rather than to treat them as individuals.
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2017
  4. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    I often shoot the same scene both ways and then enlarge the one I like better.
     
  5. Ko.Fe.

    Ko.Fe. Member

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    I don't like to borrow someone else equipment. Different culture and ethics to just call it no big deal.
    Wishing OP to learn well and use it on practice. With income, spare camera in not so big deal. Film or digital.
     
  6. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    I worked in retail camera stores in the late 1970s and early 1980s. I think at that time it was true - the vast majority of amateur photographers did own one camera. If they acquired a second, it was generally intended to replace the previous camera.
    It was at that time, of course, that interchangeable lens cameras changed from being rare and special to being "normal".
     
  7. Cholentpot

    Cholentpot Member

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    I started when prices were rock bottom a few years back. Picking up multiple cameras went without saying.
     
  8. Cholentpot

    Cholentpot Member

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    I always say, If not for digital I wouldn't be shooting film.
     
  9. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    If not for digital I would be shooting only one 35mm camera. Instead I shoot Hasselblad and 4"x5" as well as develop and print film.
     
  10. Cholentpot

    Cholentpot Member

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    I'd be shooting disposable cameras and maybe some 110 film. Instead I shoot 135, 120, develop both color and b&w, and have a fully equipped darkroom. I also have cameras I would have not even dreamed about let alone drooled over. Thank goodness for digital.
     
  11. mshchem

    mshchem Subscriber

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    First step is admitting you have a problem. Second step is to ignore the first step :whistling:
    At least this works for me
    Mike
     
  12. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    I found that after I had the cameras which I wanted, the urge to buy cameras is replaced by the urge to use them. Not a bad situation.
     
  13. guangong

    guangong Subscriber

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    While not exactly spares, I do have several different kinds of cameras to try out and experiment with. I bought my first Nikon to replace my Argus C3 in a special deal from Japan for, I believe, $180, including lens. If bought in a NYC store the cost would have been almost double. Looking at old ads younger people may think these cameras were relatively inexpensive, but these were pre-Jimmy Carter $. My tuition at Columbia was $15 a credit back then and is now around $500 a credit. Used equipment was equally expensive. Except for now rare items sought by collectors, most of the used stuff out there today is relatively cheap, including black Nikon prisms. My other camera was the completely unreliable Hasselblad 1000F with Kodak Ektar lense, also not cheap.
    Only the well heeled back then could afford owning the wide assortments of cameras that so many of us on APUG have accumulated. And spares are relatively cheap.
     
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  15. Ces1um

    Ces1um Member

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    this is one of those moments where people show true genius. Purely brilliant!
     
  16. DWThomas

    DWThomas Subscriber

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    Yes! When we look at those old magazine ads today, we need the inflation calculator handy. I bought my Argus C-3 new at the end of 1957 for about $40 -- they had been running more than that -- and the minimum wage was maybe $1.40 an hour or so. In the early 1960s when I paid somewhere on the order of $150 for a Konica FP SLR (which was close to the cheap off-brand end of the scale), electrical engineers just out of college were getting starting salaries around $10K. Of course, in 1966 I bought a Mustang with 4-speed and 289 V-8 for about $2600 delivered too. (Ah, the good ol' daze.)
     
  17. Vilk

    Vilk Member

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    It's not what you've got, it's how you use it. bandit: By all means, get a spare of the tool you use the most and like the best; I always had a pair of oxen in the yoke myself... Just don't shelve it away for that dark hour; rather, use it in even rotation or in parallel, one as often as the other, neither is "main," neither is "spare." Otherwise, a decade later all you pull out of that closet will be gummed up seals, corroded contacts, flat capacitors, cracked springs, withered shutter curtains and sticky leatherette.

    Another good strategy is buying new, with a limited amortization period in mind, and keeping headroom on the credit card should something go wrong. I do this now, after a quarter of a century of doing that. :laugh:

    PS. Two exceptions I can think of: you're a hoarder (i.e., knowing you have them makes you happy) or you're a tinkerer (i.e., the camera is just a container for spare parts). Nothing wrong with either (equipment-wise).
     
  18. mdarnton

    mdarnton Member

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    After 50 years or so of mucking around, my favorite film SLR has become the Nikon FG--compact, ergonomic, does what I want, and is CHEAP. I think I have six of them spotted around. When one breaks, I throw it in the junk pile and take a fresh one. For $50 each, they're not economical to fix. I thought I lost one once, and my wife was surprised I wasn't going to go back and look for it.
     
  19. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    Funniest thing I read all day!
     
  20. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    Agree about the professional grade cameras, generally. They can be found though, I got lucky with a very early F2 with a later Dp-11 prism, from an estate. The body is extremely clean, and turned out to have been to Sover Wong for an overhaul about 5 years ago. The second F2, a very late F2A with correct Dp-11 shows signs of pro use but is basically in fine shape; it was free so is well worth investing some sweat equity in. One of the Nikkormats an Ftn came from a local pro who used it during the 1980 Winter Olympics among other things - it shows lots of use, but not so much as a single ding and after an overhaul functions exactly as it should with a reliable meter. Another earlier- 65 or 66 Nikkormat Ft looks like new.
     
  21. gr82bart

    gr82bart Member

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    Hello, my name is Art. I am a GASaholic. It's been 5 days since I acquired photography gear. I struggle with the inner demons that speak to me. Torture me. When I clicked through online stores, I struggle with my sinful desire to buy things. Sinful things. Unspeakable gear that do nasty things.....
     
  22. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    Funny thing happened last night which illustrates why a spare might be needed. I was setting up to shoot a dog being petted on the floor (tabletop tripod with camera pointed down). Dog wandered off so I relaxed and was waiting for his return. Camera fell when the dogs’ owner put a plate on the table. (Note to self: Next time check center of gravity). The push pad on the cable release snapped clean off the release shaft. No other damage found and the dog wasn’t harmed (or even startled because he wasn’t there.) Only later did I see this shiny badge of courage. A little different hit might have smashed the viewfinder glass.
     
  23. wiltw

    wiltw Subscriber

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    With approaching 55 years in photography, although I have owned spare bodies since 1981, I have never NEEDED to use a spare, with the sole exception of being in the UK in 1981 and my OM-1MD froze up and would not advance and I did not own a spare. Miraculously, while in the UK, I bought my first 'spare', a brand new OM-1n body at the absurdly low net price of US$100 because of very favorable exchange rate against the GBP at that time, combined with VAT refund for tourists.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2018
  24. mooseontheloose

    mooseontheloose Subscriber

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    I do have multiples and spares of the same camera bodies, the ones I use the most (Nikon FE, Minolta Autocord, and Holga). In the first two cases, I got the second or third (or more) bodies because it was cheaper and faster than getting a repair done to the camera that was broken. Occasionally though, I would send out the camera for repair, only to be told that they no longer have the parts needed. As a result of that, I've just kept the cameras that are no longer working for whatever reason so that I may use them for parts, if and when needed, in the future. But I also have a working backup for each kind of camera. As for the Holga, well, I know it's cheap, but because of that they are all different, and once the plant shut down I got some extras just in case that was really it for the brand (it wasn't, but I didn't know that then).

    However, when it comes to shooting, I often travel with 2 or 3 cameras (usually the ones listed above - I might switch out the Autocord for a Rolleiflex, but still, a TLR). The cameras allow me to do different things (different film stocks/speeds and subjects) and also act as a backup in case something fails - which has happened on occasion. If I'm just shooting locally then one camera is fine, but like others have said, I would never travel somewhere with only one camera. Even if my primary camera fails, I know that I have others with me that can take over that role if needed. Some other poster mentioned the fact that it's hard to find camera stores where one could replace a lost or broken camera - I had that experience in Paris - my Nikon FE was out of the running, but I needed 35mm to shoot infrared. So I spent almost an entire day going to various camera shops in the city to find any (preferably) mechanical Nikon camera that I could use. I only found a couple, and they were sitting under two inches of dust in a very sunny window, so I took a pass. Here in Japan that wouldn't be problem though!
     
  25. BrendanD

    BrendanD Member

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    I think I've used at least two cameras since I was in my early 20s.
    An OM1 and an OM2n, B&W in one Colour slide in the other.
    Now I have several back ups that rotate round regular use. 2 OM4Ti, 1 OM3, 1 OM3Ti, 1 OM1, 1 OM2, 1 OM2n. I don't use more than two at any given time.
     
  26. Jim Andrada

    Jim Andrada Member

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    No spares here. I use all 50 of them - or was it 60?????

    Seriously, I find that cameras are like artists' brushes. Each one feels right for a different situation.
     
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