At the risk of identifying myself as an old coot, I am going to tell you about the first real camera I ever used. Film camera. Rangefinder camera. Collapsible camera. How is that for old school?
While I really began taking pictures with a plastic, toy twin lens reflex that took 127 film, it essentially fell apart in my hands after only a few uses. The first “real” camera I owned was given to me by an uncle who had upgraded his own equipment and I became the proud owner of a 1955 Kodak Retina IIc. I immediately fell in love with it – not only was it the same age as me, but it had that highly polished, precision German feel as they were built in the Kodak owned, old Nagel-Werke factory in Stuttgart.
It had several quirks that I had to get used to, including a film advance lever on the bottom of the camera. The 50mm f/2.8 Schneider-Kreuznach lens collapsed into the body, making it a fairly compact camera to carry. I loved the quality of the images that came out of that camera and I ran a great deal of film through it while it was my primary camera.
Something I remember almost as much as the camera itself was the flash attachment that took flashbulbs. You really aren’t old school until you have licked the base of a flash bulb, shoved it into the flash socket and had it immediately go off in your fingers – the heat of the flash sticking the bulb to your skin…… Talk about the faith you need to repeat that performance and hope for different results. I still have that camera (and flash), and while I haven’t used either in years, they have a special place in a list of wonderful cameras I have used.
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your “first camera” stories with us!
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