Last month, John and I went to Prescott Valley to visit his grandparents. They have always been so kind, welcoming and loving towards me! This trip took the cake though because Grandpa Keith gave me his old vintage camera collection!
He had kept everything. Manuals, lenses, bags, camera straps and more. When we arrived at their house, he had everything displayed in his office, ready to tell me the stories. I took notes with each camera so I knew when in his life he bought it and what kind of memories he captured with these cameras.
I am not going to share them all, but I am going to share the ones I found most special!
First is the Ansco Panda. This was the first camera he got in between his Sophomore and Junior year of high school. He got this camera before going off to boys camp and looking at it now, it is amazing to see how far the technology has come! Unfortunately, the film made to go with this camera is no longer made. However, if you watched my insta story last week, you know I found a little hack! This camera takes 620 film, which is the same size as 120 film. The only difference is the size of the camera spool.
So, I bought some 120 film, cut the plastic spool down and used a nail file to get it into a circle! And bam! It fit in the camera! After a test roll of film taking picture of Miss Baby Emmy, I got the negatives processed and was so thrilled to find that the camera works. Now I am working on a personal project using that camera and will share more of it once it is completed.
The next camera I want to tell you about is an original Canon AE-1. I am so excited to use this camera because it is my first 35mm film camera! Plus, he has so many lenses and accessories that go with it! Like that amazing light meter you will see in the photos below. What amazing vintage charm!
He got this AE-1 camera added to his collection sometime int he 1970’s. And with my love of the music of the 70’s I wish this camera could talk!
The Agfa Silette Pronto camera is probably the most sentimental one. He bought this camera while serving in the Army and living in Germany back in 1955. The reason I love this camera so much, and cannot wait to get into all the nitty gritty of it and see if it works, is because of the memories he has with it. During our trip to visit, Grandpa Keith went through an old photo album with us. It was a leather album that started off with a picture of him in uniform when he was just in his early 20’s.
The album was filled with images he took in Germany. Different small towns, landscape portraits, people he knew and all the memories he made. I so hope that I can get this camera working again because I know how much it means to him!
He also gave me his Olympus OM-1, which is a camera he bough back in 1978 when John’s parents got married!
There are a few more cameras he gave me! (I believe 7 in total)! It is so generous, kind and thoughtful of him to gift these to me. I do not take it for granted and am so thrilled he is passing them on to me. It is also mildly intimidating because it is a lot of gear that I don’t know how to use and want to take great care of. So I am breaking it down one by and one and cleaning off the dust and making sure the mechanics works for each one. The gear I use is a lot different, see?
As they come along, I will keep you all updated on Instagram! And once I have photos developed from these various cameras, I will definitely share those in a blog post! Until then, enjoy these photos of some of the amazing items he gave me! Including some photography books published decades before I was born! Oh, and the amazing vintage camera bags that I looooveee.
If you want to start learning the technical side of photography, you need to check this out. It breaks it all down from beginner basics up to the nity gritty in making beautiful photos!