Goin’ Hunting.

Today i developed 4 rolls of film, and one has some OK stuff on it…  its always like christmas, you might open the film up, develop it and get that rad sweater or you might get tube socks.

I went hunting today.  for antique cameras.  they were safe from purchase because i literally have 5 dollars in cash, nothing in my checking account, and only savings to fall back on.  but i went hunting anyway.  because i like antique stores.  i like the smell of them.  i like the pursuit.  i like going to the same stores i have been to tons of times, since i was a teenager, and looking for new stuff.  for instance i used to be into records alot.  now i dont even see them.  i see cameras, and old tools, and rows of books.  but i dont see vintage beer trays.  i dont see old military stuff.  all of that is stuff i used to sweat but now…  its different.  i consume hobbies…  anyway, bang, the hunt was on, the first booth had pile of old cameras.  i had never seen any of them before.  there were old canon and minolta mid range SLRs, very 1st year film student, boring and predictable and loud.  CLICK.  there was a kodak retina, which was the most complicated camera i have ever seen, levers and dials, and incremental this and millimeter that…

kodak retina

                                          kodak retina

There were two argus ‘brick’ range finders which weigh as much as say… your lap top, but are smaller than a brick.  they have external focusing gears that click together, very odd…  the viewfinder is about the size of an eraser head, maybe smaller, so looking into the camera was strange indeed, made stranger by the fact that the argus brick is a rangefinder, which means there are two images in the viewfinder, one of which is yellow and sort of floats in the center, and lines up with the other image when shit is in focus… hard to explain.  basically it means that if you are trying to take a picture in low light, you can, because you arnt trying to see if its in focus, you are trying to line stuff up, which is easier when its hard to see.  regardless, looking into a pencil eraser sized window to focus anything is hard at best.

argus brick

                                                       argus brick

I continued on, heartened by my initial sightings of some relatively interesting beasts.   i next encountered an 8 dollar cheap 35 mm camera from the 70s in its original wrapper.  cheap cameras give interesting distortions, so sometimes its worth the cash.  needless to say, i didnt even have that paltry sum, so i moved on.  there is a rash of cheap kodak brownie cameras out there, which take shitty pictures and are a pain to use, but from 1901-1960 they were dirt cheap or free, so there are piles of them, as they were basically ‘america’s camera’.  in the 1970s america’s new camera became the polaroid, which was also dirt cheap but the film was not…  there were scattered piles of cheap plastic polaroids, all whose film has been long discontinued, and so are good for nothing, not even good to look at, no metal bits, no german design, no japanese elegance… i passed these with a sneer and sniff…

You can usually tell who will have cameras.  they are the guy booths at the antique mall, the one with gadgets and beer paraphenalia, and oscilliscopes and fly fishing gear.  i found a yashica electro in one such booth: not a rare camera but a good one, a cheap japanese rangefinder with good optics and a big viewfinder.  it was 60 dollars.  i moved on, and quickly found a rash of yashica electros in leather cases, lens cap, etc.  cheaper!  also in the mix was a canon canonet, a strange camera in that it managed to look very sleek, but only because it hid all of the levers and dials on the bottom!  the canonet was a midpriced rangefinder, roughly equal to the yashica, but somehow more dated looking and less compelling…

yashica electro

yashica electro

canon canonet

canon canonet

I haunted the rest of the aisles but came up with only some cheap brandless box cameras of no worth, more brownies, and anouther argus brick with a mildewed viewfinder and stuck gears.

The hunt will continue anew.  when i get some fucking money.

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