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View Full Version : So, where do the unabashed collectors hang out?


harpofreely
10-05-2015, 12:31
My impression is that, though many of us like to have the most pristine Leica gear we can afford, the general tone on RFF (myself included) is to present ourselves as shooters first, collectors second, if at all. To that end, we bemoan the collectors who drive up prices on, say, the Hector 28mm f6.3, and we try to cast debates over the minutiae of Leica product variations in the light of effect on shooting & the final image.

So my question is, what is the online home of the dedicated Leica collectors? When can you go to crow with pride over having finally snagged a mint Hello Kitty M6? Where can I find a 150 post thread debating whether the Thambar is hopelessly common and pedestrian compared to the Mountain Elmar?

p.s. I know the Hello Kitty is fake... I'd take it over the Lenny Kravitz sandpaper job.

View Range
10-11-2015, 18:15
I don't know any really serious collectors and I don't like to generalize about people. My impressions are that collectors are self-actualized and aren't interested in on-line discussions from unknown writers on the topics on this forum, such as the relative merits of various lenses or how many M3 cameras remain or how much we hate KevinCameras.com. I would be surprised if they even spend much time on the Internet, probably running businesses for long hours to get the disposal income needed for serious collection. I would expect they know some other collectors that they talk to and know very well some specific dealers. I would also expect they work with a single camera repairman. I finally would expect that they would not want the specifics of their collection to be public knowledge.

I get the impression that when they are finished with interest in their collection, often through death, they donate the items to a museum. An example is the Charles Messer collection at Miami University. Also there is the Meade Kibbey Zeiss Ikon donation for the California Museum of Photography. But we do see that collections are sold over time, such as the Leica prototype collection that was in Thailand and is the subject of Lars Netopil's book.

In the end collectors, of any kind, are hunters / gatherers in the extreme. I know I spend way too much time in antique malls just because that one thing I don't even know I'm looking for might be in that mall.

JC Braconi and Luigi Bertolotti in the Leica Collector and Historica section of the Leica User Forum are perhaps the two collectors who are most active on the Internet.

And I don't understand the Thoreau quote.

FrankS
10-11-2015, 18:38
I'm both a low-end collector and shooter.

Greyscale
10-11-2015, 19:14
Try the Vintage Camera Collectors group on Facebook.

photomoof
10-11-2015, 20:44
I have it on good authority that collectors hang out with other collectors.

FrozenInTime
10-11-2015, 22:44
LHSA ?
http://www.lhsa.org

Mr_Flibble
10-12-2015, 00:24
Try the Vintage Camera Collectors group on Facebook.

Guilty! :p

jsrockit
10-12-2015, 05:26
There were more collectors here years ago...

Hsg
10-12-2015, 07:43
How many Leica bodies and lenses one must acquire to become a Leica collector?

FrankS
10-12-2015, 08:24
Three or four, but I can't find a citation for that number.

SolaresLarrave
10-12-2015, 08:50
I was going to recommend that Facebook group. It's a fairly nice bunch... and I don't say it because I'm in it! :)

CameraQuest
10-12-2015, 09:00
My impression is that, though many of us like to have the most pristine Leica gear we can afford, the general tone on RFF (myself included) is to present ourselves as shooters first, collectors second, if at all. To that end, we bemoan the collectors who drive up prices on, say, the Hector 28mm f6.3, and we try to cast debates over the minutiae of Leica product variations in the light of effect on shooting & the final image.

So my question is, what is the online home of the dedicated Leica collectors? When can you go to crow with pride over having finally snagged a mint Hello Kitty M6? Where can I find a 150 post thread debating whether the Thambar is hopelessly common and pedestrian compared to the Mountain Elmar?

p.s. I know the Hello Kitty is fake... I'd take it over the Lenny Kravitz sandpaper job.

there are plenty of collectors here.

Just start a thread on whatever collectible camera and see for yourself.

photomoof
10-12-2015, 09:02
And I don't understand the Thoreau quote.

"Our inventions are wont to be pretty toys, which distract our attention from serious things. They are but improved means to an unimproved end, an end which it was already but too easy to arrive at..."

Meaning -- Calling someone on a telephone, does not improve communication, or understanding, better than going to their home and talking face to face.

Or as an extension of the Fermi paradox, it is the nature of intelligent life to destroy itself.

Hsg
10-12-2015, 09:23
Three or four, but I can't find a citation for that number.

I think two film M bodies and three lenses (24mm, 35mm, 50mm) is a good beginner Leica collection.

FrankS
10-12-2015, 09:35
Harpofreely, here's my Leica collection:

M2, CL x2, llla, Hexar RF, Bessa L
CV21, 40,
Canon 28f3.5, 35f2, 50f1.8
Summicron 50f2 collapsible, Summicron 50f2 rigid, Elmar 50f3.5 collapsible, summar 50f2 collapsible,
Elmar 90f4, Hector 135f4.5
FED 50f3.5 collapsible
Zeiss 50f2 in J8 barrel

I like to think of it as a shooter's collection. :)

f16sunshine
10-12-2015, 09:52
So, where do the unabashed collectors hang out?

Are there "Dentists Bars" like there are Cop bars ? :p

photomoof
10-12-2015, 09:53
I think two film M bodies and three lenses (24mm, 35mm, 50mm) is a good beginner Leica collection.

Collection has to do with intent, not the number owned. Only you know if you are a collector.

mjc
10-12-2015, 10:03
Try the Vintage Camera Collectors group on Facebook.

Do you have a link? :)

Mackinaw
10-12-2015, 10:08
My problem is that people give me stuff.

About ten years back, a friend gave me a box of old 1920-era folding cameras. More recently, I was given a Pentax Spotmatic with a few lenses, an Olympus OM-1, a Canon AE-1, a Canon F-1N, and several K-mount Chinon and Ricoh 35mm SLRs. I gave away the Chinon and Ricohs’, but keep the rest. It’s too much of a hassle to sell a lot my stuff, so I keep it. Maybe someday I’ll just give it all away.

Jim B.

shadowfox
10-12-2015, 10:22
Collectors shouldn't be bashful talking about their collections.

I happen to use the only Leica M I have, but that doesn't mean it's not part of my collection of vintage cameras.

Hsg
10-12-2015, 10:24
Collection has to do with intent, not the number owned. Only you know if you are a collector.

The intent to simply possess.

I understand now.

FrankS
10-12-2015, 11:10
Collection has to do with intent, not the number owned. Only you know if you are a collector.

Just like being an artist then. :)

gb hill
10-12-2015, 11:12
To the collector out there who owns a "Ralph Gibson MP Limited Edition" that is sitting in your beautiful display case. I've always wanted one but couldn't afford it at the time, then they were gone.:( I would be ever so grateful that when you pass from this earth & I'm still living, could you kindly will the camera to me. Your relatives can fight over the rest of the money from your other collection they sell at the estate sell. I promise to use it for what it was intended...To Shoot. I'm serious. Thank you in advance. GB Hill:)

f16sunshine
10-12-2015, 11:24
To the collector out there who owns a "Ralph Gibson MP Limited Edition" that is sitting in your beautiful display case. I've always wanted one but couldn't afford it at the time, then they were gone.:( I would be ever so grateful that when you pass from this earth & I'm still living, could you kindly will the camera to me. Your relatives can fight over the rest of the money from your other collection they sell at the estate sell. I promise to use it for what it was intended...To Shoot. I'm serious. Thank you in advance. GB Hill:)

That Gibson set would be great! I see why you would like it.

Mine is the safari m set.
I Love olive cameras. The Bessa r2 is probably as close as I'll get.
Interesting about the safari set is that it's retail price is not actually a premium over the normal m.

Calzone
10-12-2015, 11:39
My small camera museum is kinda full. About the only camera I still want is a M-246, but that at this point would be a luxury as I am a very happy Monochrom shooter. I can't see downsizing or increasing the size of my herd.

I own more than a dozen, but less than 15 cameras that I all use. I'm a shooter who has a nice collection.

Some cameras are rare: black SL2-MOT; odd Wetzlar M6 with Wetzlar engravings on a Titanium top plate that pre-dates the titanium version by 5 years.

Some cameras are historical like my F3P that was a real "press" camera for the newspaper "Newsday" that was used in Operation Desert Storm.

Some cameras I bought because they were great deals (a like new F3HP for $150.00; a Rollie 3.5F "Whiteface" for $999.00).

Some cameras because they are interesting like a Plaubel 69W "Proshift" the only 120 camera with shifts (features a 21 Super Augulon FOV in 6x9).

Then it is just plain cool to have a big Fuji kit and a brace of lenses (GL690 and GM670: 65/8; 100/3.5; 100/35 AE; 150/5.6).

The best is to have 3 M-bodies so as to avoid lens changing, and then to own a IIIG just to have a LTM. I also shoot a R8 and love that is called the "Hunchback of Solms." LOL.

Cal

Roger Hicks
10-12-2015, 11:55
Over the decades I've known a few serious collectors in the millionaire league and quite a few more who were experts and had good collections. I met a lot of them when and after I sold my own modest collection acquired in the late 1960s and early 1970s (because they bought what I was selling). Some have been photographers: some not. Few want to bruit their names abroad.

The thing is that the signal-to-noise ratio on the Internet is so high that it's not really worth wasting time talking to people who think they know a lot more than they do. There are a few experts who generously share their knowledge, but a lot of them know or knew the others personally in pre-Internet days.

This will no doubt trigger accusations of elitism and so forth, but then, this is not my problem. Or of the people I [used to] know who are/were generous with knowledge and the loan of equipment; the latter often on condition of anonymity. Several helped me with my History of the 35mm Still Camera, The Focal Press 1984, http://www.amazon.co.uk/A-History-35mm-Still-Camera/dp/0240512332

Cheers,

R.

photomoof
10-12-2015, 13:05
The thing is that the signal-to-noise ratio on the Internet is so high that it's not really worth wasting time talking to people who think they know a lot more than they do.

That about covers it, no matter what information is shared, someone will always ruin it, so finally one just keeps the information among friends.

Doug
10-12-2015, 13:31
My small camera museum is kinda full. About the only camera I still want is a M-246, but that at this point would be a luxury as I am a very happy Monochrom shooter. I can't see downsizing or increasing the size of my herd.

I own more than a dozen, but less than 15 cameras that I all use. I'm a shooter who has a nice collection.

Some cameras are rare: black SL2-MOT; odd Wetzlar M6 with Wetzlar engravings on a Titanium top plate that pre-dates the titanium version by 5 years.

Some cameras are historical like my F3P that was a real "press" camera for the newspaper "Newsday" that was used in Operation Desert Storm.

Some cameras I bought because they were great deals (a like new F3HP for $150.00; a Rollie 3.5F "Whiteface" for $999.00).

Some cameras because they are interesting like a Plaubel 69W "Proshift" the only 120 camera with shifts (features a 21 Super Augulon FOV in 6x9).

Then it is just plain cool to have a big Fuji kit and a brace of lenses (GL690 and GM670: 65/8; 100/3.5; 100/35 AE; 150/5.6).

The best is to have 3 M-bodies so as to avoid lens changing, and then to own a IIIG just to have a LTM. I also shoot a R8 and love that is called the "Hunchback of Solms." LOL.

Cal
I will agree with Cal, well said! Collecting is accumulation with purpose. And, something made and marketed as a "collectible" item isn't really collectible, IMO.

Dralowid
10-12-2015, 13:55
And, something made and marketed as a "collectible" item isn't really collectible, IMO.

Agree 100%! I have a cupboard full of over 100 8mm movie cameras that will never be described as collectible but someone has to save the poor forgotten things from oblivion...

gdi
10-12-2015, 15:32
Over the decades I've known a few serious collectors in the millionaire league and quite a few more who were experts and had good collections. I met a lot of them when and after I sold my own modest collection acquired in the late 1960s and early 1970s (because they bought what I was selling). Some have been photographers: some not. Few want to bruit their names abroad.

The thing is that the signal-to-noise ratio on the Internet is so high that it's not really worth wasting time talking to people who think they know a lot more than they do. There are a few experts who generously share their knowledge, but a lot of them know or knew the others personally in pre-Internet days.

This will no doubt trigger accusations of elitism and so forth, but then, this is not my problem. Or of the people I know who are/were generous with knowledge and the loan of equipment; the latter often on condition of anonymity. Several helped me with my History of the 35mm Still Camera, The Focal Press 1984, http://www.amazon.co.uk/A-History-35mm-Still-Camera/dp/0240512332

Cheers,

R.

Good points. My definition of a collector includes not only acquiring some number of the particular items (cameras, motorcycles, cars, metal lunch boxes. etc.), but the knowledge to know which are the more desirable items to pursue (rare, historically significant/particular provenance, etc.). The people I consider the true collectors generally, pursue a fairly small subset of the class, know a lot about the area of interest, and are never afraid to "overpay" for the right items.

I have a bunch of old cameras, even a couple of Leicas, but I am not a collector - I just acquire a fair amount of junk...

Also, I think you mean "signal-to-noise ratio on the Internet is so [U]LOW..."

CameraQuest
10-12-2015, 15:46
Once upon a time as a working photographer I managed to snag a near Mint Nikon SP with 50/1.1 lens - for just the repair cost.

I was determined never to be a damned collector,
and traded it off for a Nice Leica M3 and 3 lenses.

But I missed that beautiful SP and even more beautiful 50/1.1. dammit

so now I have more cameras and lenses than I could ever need
but I'm not a collector, no, not a collector .. not ME

goamules
10-12-2015, 17:10
I'll admit I'm a collector of some photographic tools, because I find them important to history. And I like history. They are forgotten or unknown by 99.9% of people alive today. So I want to study, learn, and one day report on these items. But they're not Leicas, which are pretty well known, and mass produced.

That's what is meaningful to me, and drives me to collect. The thrill of the hunt, the chance to discover long lost information. The excitement of enjoying what was once the output one of the top scientific fields. The idea that entire generations of American workers designed, manufactured, and used these tools. They raised families and built towns on their wages. And it's all now forgotten.

uhoh7
10-12-2015, 18:28
there are plenty of collectors here.

Just start a thread on whatever collectible camera and see for yourself.

Absolutely right. :)

Same is true a few other places I like. A thread on long fast lenses and suddenly out come the 250mm F/2 lenses etc.

It would be hard to think of a lens or camera someone here does not own. :)

Failing some sort of stereoscopic nuclear bomb taking camera..... ;)

FrankS
10-12-2015, 18:46
Absolutely right. :)

Same is true a few other places I like. A thread on long fast lenses and suddenly out come the 250mm F/2 lenses etc.

It would be hard to think of a lens or camera someone here does not own. :)

Failing some sort of stereoscopic nuclear bomb taking camera..... ;)


We have one of those on rff, though not stereoscopic!

Roger Hicks
10-13-2015, 02:16
Good points. My definition of a collector includes not only acquiring some number of the particular items (cameras, motorcycles, cars, metal lunch boxes. etc.), but the knowledge to know which are the more desirable items to pursue (rare, historically significant/particular provenance, etc.). The people I consider the true collectors generally, pursue a fairly small subset of the class, know a lot about the area of interest, and are never afraid to "overpay" for the right items.

I have a bunch of old cameras, even a couple of Leicas, but I am not a collector - I just acquire a fair amount of junk...

Also, I think you mean "signal-to-noise ratio on the Internet is so LOW..."
You are of course absolutely right: I had meant to reverse it and write "noise to signal" but then went on autopilot. Very embarrassing.

I started collecting when my girlfriend and I bought a unique coupled fat-barrel Elmar together in about 1970: the serial number had both an a (attrape) and a star (re-used serial number) after it. She had a II conversion and we shared lenses.

In those days it was much easier to find rare stuff like the Elmar (Exeter, 11:10s) and a Stereoly and VOTRA viewer (Shrewsbury, 25 the pair). By the mid-70s I had a couple of thousand quid's worth of collectible Leica gear, and no money: so I sold the rare stuff, which was how I get to know some VERY rich collectors.

Cheers,

R.

Roger Hicks
10-13-2015, 02:24
. . . Some cameras because they are interesting like a Plaubel 69W "Proshift" the only 120 camera with shifts (features a 21 Super Augulon FOV in 6x9). . .
Dear Cal,

Hardly. Alpa 12 S/WA; Corfield WA67; "Baby" Linhof Super Technikas; Horseman ditto; and that's before you start on 6x9 monorails from Arca-Swiss, Linhof Technikardan, Cambo...

These are just the ones I can think of without any great effort.

Cheers,

R.

Red Robin
11-13-2015, 05:22
Just like being an artist then. :)

Frank. Not to stray, but, like declairing yourself to be "humble", a declaration of oneself as an "Artist" has little meaning. It's when, I beleave, others call or label someone as an artist does that term become true. .. ... but only to the labelor. Red Robin

ray*j*gun
11-13-2015, 05:30
Once upon a time as a working photographer I managed to snag a near Mint Nikon SP with 50/1.1 lens - for just the repair cost.

I was determined never to be a damned collector,
and traded it off for a Nice Leica M3 and 3 lenses.

But I missed that beautiful SP and even more beautiful 50/1.1. dammit

so now I have more cameras and lenses than I could ever need
but I'm not a collector, no, not a collector .. not ME

That is exactly how it happened to me. I never buy an item that I think I won't use but then.... oh well .... do they have vaccines for this?

Larry Cloetta
11-13-2015, 05:56
Collecting cameras is like collecting women, except it's legal, and cheaper. Yes, you can have too many, no, it doesn't make any sense to have 20 of them, but they're all different, and it's fun to take a different one out every day.

oftheherd
11-13-2015, 06:01
I will agree with Cal, well said! Collecting is accumulation with purpose. And, something made and marketed as a "collectible" item isn't really collectible, IMO.

Now that has to be some of the signal to noise Mr. Hicks was talking about. Why, all one has to do is peruse the used camera section of ebay to realize how many collectables there are for sale out there; including the rare ones. :p :D

I must admit I went through a collection phase. I would still be willing to accumulate some old classic cameras I suppose, but I have realized there are so many that I can't or don't want to use, so it isn't worth it to me any more. Well, except for Fujica gear. :D

FrankS
11-13-2015, 06:18
I have an interest in collecting and trying out the classics of the past. These are top end cameras that I had no hope of owning while they were current, but can now because they are used/old and "obsolete" due to the takeover of digital in the pro field.

4x5 speed graphic, Hasselblad, Rolleiflex, Leica, ...

rjstep3
11-13-2015, 06:24
"Collector" sounds like a collector of valuable art - but for cameras that is not really an option. The vast majority of cameras on the second hand market are film, which most people don't "collect" for the purpose of having some sort of asset that will be worth millions in a few years' time. I agree some cameras, a few, are "collectable" for their rarity and quality, but is a Pentax ME Super today a "collector's" item? I mean, it's not going to be worth half a million in a couple of years.

Does the OP mean "hoarder"?

For me, the rise of digital has meant that I am finally able to buy some of the cameras I used to lust after - my weapon of choice nowadays being a Contax G2, which I could NOT have afforded when it came out. The same goes for other cameras I used to get serious GAS for years ago, but could not afford.

Does that make me a "collector"? No - except in a very minor way. I am just curious to buy old film cameras really cheaply and to have the chance to experiment, which I could't do before.

rjstep3

Dralowid
11-13-2015, 06:56
This is a bit like Alcoholics Anonymous...

I am here.

I am a collector, or you may call me a hoarder if you wish.

I collect black Leica ltm factory conversions.

I also collect clockwork 8mm movie cameras.

I also take a few pictures.

I see nothing wrong in collecting things.

I do not see it as a sin nor do I see it as some sort of congenital weakness.

I refrain from having a go at people who actually use cameras to take pictures.

I think I am reasonably normal...maybe.

oftheherd
11-13-2015, 07:32
I have an interest in collecting and trying out the classics of the past. These are top end cameras that I had no hope of owning while they were current, but can now because they are used/old and "obsolete" due to the takeover of digital in the pro field.

4x5 speed graphic, Hasselblad, Rolleiflex, Leica, ...

But my problem is that I seldom get rid of them after I am done using them, if I even get around to using them. But I usually put at least one roll of film through them. I even develop the roll sometimes. :p

lxmike
11-13-2015, 07:36
Are there "Dentists Bars" like there are Cop bars ? :p

if there are l bet they rinse and not drink in them

Jack Conrad
11-13-2015, 08:00
I only collect cameras that pass the cat sniffing test:
https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5761/22595078289_3a8286c6e7_n.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/AqDFzk)Olympuss RC (https://flic.kr/p/AqDFzk)

rjstep3
11-13-2015, 08:27
This is a bit like Alcoholics Anonymous...

I am here.

I am a collector, or you may call me a hoarder if you wish.

"I am here.

I am not an alcoholic - I am a connoisseur."

rjstep3

shadowfox
11-19-2015, 05:01
Collector, hoarder, whatever.
We know who we are.

It is liberating to accept that collecting is part of out nature as a human being.

The most challenging part is moderation and self-control.
The rest is just fun and community and camaraderie.