View Full Version : Will YOUR camera out live you?

11-03-2007, 14:54
I was wasting time looking at some digital vs. film threads, and again and again i read the arguement that if a person invests in a good quality mechanical film camera, it may outlive the purchaser.

This got me thinking. How many of us have kept and still use the same camera for our entire lives? Why not have a poll?

Tell us about the camera you have owed the longest and still use.

PS - I restarted this poll/thread because I made a mistake in the poll.

11-03-2007, 15:06
My first serious camera is not going to outlive me - the Pentax SP500 that my parents bought for me in 1969 failed about 7 or 8 years ago with a jammed shutter.

The longest-serving camera in my current arsenal is my Bronica ETRSi, which I've had since 1991, and it's almost as good as new (but that's because I haven't used it much - it's just too big and heavy to take traveling with me).

Of the cameras that I use a lot, I think the one that is the most likely to outlive me is my Leica M6.

11-03-2007, 15:22
The poll is a little odd; for instance, I expect that my '36 Leica III will outlive me but I've only had it for a month. :)

11-03-2007, 15:26
My Nikon F's are still going strong with only a couple of CLA's to keep them going. If my Son continues his interest in film, I'm sure he'll take them over and they will last for many years.
My Canon G1, on the other hand, will probably not last that long, although, it is a pretty rugged camera for a modern digicam. :cool:

11-03-2007, 15:26
Wisner traditional field camera - it was my highschool graduation gift (back in 1994) - it's still in the top 3 of camera I use the most. I still have my Yashicamat from 1988 - the camera I learned on, but it mostly sits on a shelf since I bought a Rolleiflex a few years ago.

11-03-2007, 15:33
I have been dieting and exercising so I hope I am turning the tide against my cameras.

11-03-2007, 15:43
Thanks to all who respond. (I hope the 5 who responded in an earlier version will respond again). I guess the main point of this thread is to see how long we keep the gear we purchase and use. I am amazed about how may people still use a camera they have had for 30-40 years. And I am also interested in the stories. It is one thing to have an old camera, it is another thing to use the same camera into old age - sort of as a companion. Yes, I know camera's are tools, and yet we may still become attached to them.

11-03-2007, 15:50
The only camera that I own that I've had for any real length of time is an old Kodak instamatic that belonged to my father. Even if I could easily get film for it, I'm not sure how much I'd use it, given that it is barely more functional than a disposable camera. About a year or so ago, I sold off my Minolta gear, which I had been using for about 12-13 years.

11-03-2007, 15:56
I've had an OM-1 for 32 years now. Just had it CLA'd so it's good for another 30 years, even if I'm not.
Also have a Minox B and a Kodak retina I would have bought 40 years ago if I'd had the money. Somebody used them for 35-40 years, now I do.
As for my Bolex H-8, I've had it for over twenty five years. It still works, though now days the cost of double 8 film stock and processing is awe inspiring.

11-03-2007, 16:23
Being only 43 years old, it would be natural to say I have not owned a camera longer than that. I still use my Nikon FM I bought in 1980 and my Mamiya C220 I bought in 1985. I have just about every camera I have ever bought. I did lose my first camera I bought in 1976. But I have my grandparent's Box Brownie in the original box.

mike goldberg
11-03-2007, 18:13
I've had a 1965 Leica M2 for 35 years, and it as CLA'd once. Recently, I ran a test roll with a [modified] Jupiter 8, 50/2. Actually, the M2 came with a Summaron
35/2.8 which had a "degreasing" last year. All is well; I love this gear, and it could well outlast me ;-)

11-03-2007, 18:19
I have a Pentax SP500 that I bought in the early seventies second hand. It's survived being dropped a few times and amazingly survived a tinkering attack from my son when he was younger and curious to see how things worked. To it's credit it still works perectly which is more than I can say for the AE-1 Canon I still have that I bought a few years later when I wanted AE! It's had two CLA's in it's lifetime and currently is exhibiting the same intermittent shutter problem that has haunted it it's entire life! :rolleyes:

11-03-2007, 18:26
My 17 y.o. daughter is now using my 1977 Nikon F2A that I got when I was 18...

I also use two M3s (1955, 1959) and an M4 (1967)

Now that is a beautiful thing, re: your 17 year old daughter using your F2A. There may be hope for film yet. I hope so.

11-03-2007, 21:30
I don't have anyone to play with my gear after I go, so I guess they'll go down with me...

Just kidding... but some recent family news got me in a weird mood about surviving and outliving, people, things and whatever else is there.

BTW, if left to their own devices, they may last a good 20 or 30 years after I'm gone. Even the Nikon AF bodies... :)

11-03-2007, 21:58
I have been using my slr for 22 years with one cla and repair. My bro has our grandpa's 40's or 50's(?) Voigtlander 35mm. I think he's gonna get it fixed.

11-04-2007, 01:45

I use my dad's Olympus 35SP...
How long that counts? I use it ragulary for 2 years, but I used if for a film here and there before that.


Al Patterson
11-04-2007, 02:34
My AE-1 was used for over 20 years before I upgraded to an A-1, but that is an SLR. Most of my Rangefinders date from the 1970s, but I purchased all of them over the last 5 years or so. If there is anyone around to fix them when they need repairs, they may yet outlast me. Now were I to buy an MP...

11-04-2007, 03:15
I purchased my Fujica ST 901 in late 1974 or early 1975, I think the latter. No CLA's yet, but I haven't used it constantly in the last few years. I do still use it though. My Yashica TL Super I bought in 1972 in Vietnam. I doesn't work as well, needing new foam and whatever it takes to keep the mirror from sticking up (the foam maybe?). The Fujica ST 801 I bought about 7 years ago is still being used by my daughter. I have a Mamiya Super Press 23 I bought about 1976. It still works fine.

My Welti cameras were made in the 1930's for the most part and still work fine.

This isn't to win any contests, many in this forum use old cameras. Just to show many of those old cameras were built to a different standard. They may, due to cost, have been normally used by people who were more likely to take better care of them. That probably needs to be factored into the equation.

11-04-2007, 03:34
I purchased my Fujica ST 901 in late 1974 or early 1975, I think the latter. No CLA's yet, but I haven't used it constantly in the last few years. I do still use it though. My Yashica TL Super I bought in 1972 in Vietnam. I doesn't work as well, needing new foam and whatever it takes to keep the mirror from sticking up (the foam maybe?). The Fujica ST 801 I bought about 7 years ago is still being used by my daughter. I have a Mamiya Super Press 23 I bought about 1976. It still works fine.

My Welti cameras were made in the 1930's for the most part and still work fine.

This isn't to win any contests, many in this forum use old cameras. Just to show many of those old cameras were built to a different standard. They may, due to cost, have been normally used by people who were more likely to take better care of them. That probably needs to be factored into the equation.

My god ... fancy you having a Fujica that long! Who would have believed it? :eek: :p

11-04-2007, 03:43
The thread title and the poll question are sligtly (completely) different.

Many of my cameras will probably outlive me. Unless end of world suddenly happens and we all die, together with our cameras,:), i don't see why my 70 y old rolleiflex would not live 70 years more.

However the longest ownership for a camera i still use (once in a while) is only about 5 years.

11-04-2007, 03:48
I must add i am only 30 and also, my years before i was 15 were spent behind a certain curtain (not a shutter curtain, but similar functionality, and with a strongly jammed opening mechanism...lol) so practically the camera i own the longest is a stupid little smena 8m. I used it when i was a kid, my parents used it when they were young, it must have at least 30-35 years, and I think it still works, but no i don't use it anymore. I don't even know where it is.
And i don't have nostalgic feelings to that piece of [email protected] :)

11-04-2007, 04:45
My god ... fancy you having a Fujica that long! Who would have believed it? :eek: :p

Bite your tongue sir! :D :D :D

I'll see your bid and raise you a Fujica AZ-1 I recently purchased that is still chugging along.

11-04-2007, 05:38
My main, every day camera is a IIIf my father bought while in the army in the early '50's - it and a summitar for $80 plus an old scale focus camera in trade. The original GI orginal owner bought it in Germany, but lost his shirt playing cards, and my father had ready cash and a bad case of GAS.

Alas, my father 'borrowed' it back 3 weeks ago for a trip down to the Keys - it's been so cold and lonely....

11-04-2007, 05:48
All the cameras I currently use were purchased within the last 5-10 years. But some of them were purchased used--some are 20-40 years old. I have lenses that are even older. One of my lenses has already lived longer than I have.

David Goldfarb
11-04-2007, 06:25
The camera I've owned the longest and still use is a Canon New F-1 that I bought new around 1983 (with insurance money from the theft of an A-1 and a few other items) or so and still use. It's the only 35mm camera I own these days.

I own and use many cameras much older than that. My 11x14" American Optical camera is over 100 years old. I would expect most of my cameras to outlive me.

11-04-2007, 06:27
Alas, my father 'borrowed' it back 3 weeks ago for a trip down to the Keys - it's been so cold and lonely....
I'd love to see my father borrow any of my cameras...
He's pensioned and i'm desperately trying to rise his interest for ANYTHING in this world
he loved to go fishing and did it for tens of years, but even that seems boring to him now. i don't know what to do...
He stands in the kitchen window looking out through, and smoking a cigarette, more or less that's how his days are spent lately

11-04-2007, 06:29
He's pensioned and i'm desperately trying to rise his interest for ANYTHING in this world

How about a grandchild?

11-04-2007, 06:36
Finder :))
excellent idea
at least we thought so
so he has a grandchild now
but the complications are, that all of us three kids live abroad
his grandchild is at a long day travel distance by train
and he's SO difficult to decide to go over there... not that he'd have anything to keep him too busy from traveling...just the hassle, and he's not feeling that magnificent and young neither.
Maybe in a year or two, when my niece gets a bit bigger, they can go back hoe sometimes.
but this does not help the simple daily life getting more interesting...

11-04-2007, 09:49
I have been dieting and exercising so I hope I am turning the tide against my cameras.

I wish I could say the same. :o

Thi sounds like a fun poll, so I'm in.

My first "real" camera is a 1973/74 Argus/Cosina STL 1000. It's currently being used by a student in high school who couldn't afford a camera for her photography class. It might possibly out live me, if she's taking good care of it.

My Leica M6 TTL probably will out live me. And my Leica IIIf RD might also. Whatever the case, this poll has given me a renewed interest in getting back in shape. Now I just need to do something with that interest! :rolleyes:

11-04-2007, 21:53
I have owned three cameras in the last five years (or less) and used far more than that I do however know many film owners with 30+ year old cameras they still use and plan on keeping till they die I could see myself finding the perfect camera (hoping to get my hands on an M series from leica some day preferably M6 or M7) and holding on to it awhile

11-05-2007, 02:48
As a result of a quite drastic equipment purge, none of the cameras I currently own has been with me longer than 5 years. Doesn't mean they're less than 5 years old though, the M4 is from 1970..

Gabriel M.A.
11-09-2007, 11:21
Hard to tell: will I drop it? Will I smash it? Will it smash me?

Will I lose it?

Will I wrap it in plastic and put it in a display?

11-09-2007, 11:31
Well, my main 35mm camera is (gasp, horror etc) an SLR. I have had the Contax 139Q for more than a quarter of a century, and it was bought second-hand by trading in a Leica II. Not really sacrilege as it needed a lot of work on it and I was a student at the time.

There is nothing on the Contax which is not in the right place, or which works less than wonderfully - in fact it occurred to me recently that I should find a spare, so now I have three bodies and some light-seal & body-cover kits from Akihiro Asahi.

A couple of FSU rangefinder cameras have been with me for only a few years, but are older than I am. Strangely, that Leica II came back to haunt me in the shape of a very good condition Zorki...... :)

11-10-2007, 14:52
Greetings, Forum.

Interesting thread going here.

I would guess that one's age could be a big factor in this too. I am 60. My last NEW camera was an F2 I bought in 1975. It is still my favorite overall. I also use an F which I purchased before that, plus some other cameras I bought used since then. Those include a 1959 Leica M3, a 1930s Rolleiflex Standard, an early 50s Voigtlander Vito II, and a 1969 Kiev 4a. I use them all, and they all work properly. I replaced the ribbons in the Kiev several years ago with some guidance from Rick Oleson and some Arsenal ribbon from Oleg in Moscow. I hear that is about all that ever goes wrong with a good working sample.

I know for a fact that the M3 I use outlived its original owner, and it will probably outlive me too. It has only needed and received one CLA by Sherry Krauter since I bought it.

I am thinking about "adding" a digital capability, but have not chosen a body yet. I have no expectation that a modern, automation centric, plastic computer with a lens on front will have longevity anything like the laboratory grade imaging instruments of a generation ago. When the digi breaks I would probably want the next and improved computer with a lens mount anyway... same as with this old PC in front of me. The old one will go the way of the 5-1/4 inch floppy drive.

I suspect that when I and all of the current generation of digiwonders have passed from this earth, that my old M3 will still be recording images for some discerning young photographer. I hope so.

Happy day.


11-14-2007, 23:28
My M6 and MP will, in the short months I have owned my current M6 (And the only one I will ever own, it's so smooth and so quiet) I have been less then gentle with it, the previous owner never used it and I have quickly destroyed it's collectors value but it's built to last. It will be used and abused but last forever.
My MP is brand new but when you hold it you know it's a camera that will last forever.

Time will tell when it comes to the M8, but the other too should have no problem outliving me.

11-15-2007, 04:21
Still use a Canon FTb bought new in 1975. No longer have the Rolleicord which was over 20 years older -- but the Zorki I got a couple of years back was made in 1953 or 1954 and works flawlessly. My Canon A80 digicam and Olympus E-300 digital SLR will not out-live me.

12-02-2007, 15:19
I still use my Brownie Hawkeye about once a year- got it when I was in the second grade, a while ago shall we say? ;)

12-02-2007, 17:43
Only camera I've bought new is my digi point & shoot. It does what it does, and does it well.

All my real cameras are older than me, often by a factor of 2x, though some are lookng at 3x. FWIW, I'm 27.

12-02-2007, 18:17
I am the original owner of my Oly XA, which I purchased new at 47th St. Photo in NYC in the early 1980s. It's still going strong (w/ some chipped paint).

Regarding the question posed in this thread, I fully anticipate that my Canon P will be clicking away when I'm gone, although I've only had it since late 2005.

12-02-2007, 19:17
My M4-P is now back in the main rotation. It was the first Leica that I bought and have used it on and off starting in about 1983 or 4. My Nikkormat FTn is not used a lot (replaced by an F2, love that 100% finder and P screen) but it many come to that next month. I got her in early 1974.

I know the M4-P will out live me, that's for one son. My other gets the S3-2000. One grandfather had Leica (my father), the other Nikon (my wife's). One had a walking tour of Europe and picked up some stuff, the other stayed in and had a few years in Japan during the police action. Either way I expect they will have working cameras to hand down, now will there be film and processing?

B2 (;->

12-03-2007, 07:34
I´m still using my Miranda Sensomat RE I bought new in feb. 1970.
But my eldest cameras are a Voigtlánder Virtus of 1932 and a Contax II of 1937.

Surely all of them will outlive me.


12-19-2007, 12:00
Actually I don`t care if I have any camera that outlives me or not. If they don`t last there`s a ton of em out there real cheap on Ebay.
The real question is how long will film be available?

12-22-2007, 08:19
Nope, it didn't. The title is at least corrected on the original post.

By the way, there is interesting reading. Thanks for all who replied.

12-22-2007, 09:18
My first serious camera was a Retina 1a purchased in March 1968 for $50. I was a college freshman and wanted something more that a childhood Ansco Cadet. The man at the camera shop said it had just been CLAed at the Kodak facility. It was and still is a good little camera. I shoot a roll through it maybe three times a year just to keep it up and running. My second camera was an SRT101 purchased six years later to herald the birth of our first daughter. It was completely overhauled five years ago and it still gets frequent use. Over the years I have added a QL17, Zorki "S", a Retina 2a and several evil SLRs. Most of my shooting is now done with an M3 and a Retina 2a. The mechanical cameras will outlive me because I will never let them go. My Minolta X700 and XD11 don't have the soul of the purely mechanical RF cameras. Nor do they give the satification.

12-22-2007, 10:02
Those SRT101's are just amazing cameras. Has to be the best build quality of any Japanese non-pro body by a good long way. And the meters still work in every one I've seen. Many of my Photo 1 students come in with one of these- it was their parents camera and has been sitting unused for ten years, but always works like a charm.

12-27-2007, 01:26
I think so.

I only got started in photography 5 years ago, but I've managed to acquire quite the collection since. (and still growing, just bought a IIIf)
I only have one camera that is younger than myself, almost everything else is from the early sixties or before.

My M3 has at least another 48 years left in it, I hope film does too.

10-12-2011, 22:29
Good this thread aroused again. The ferrania ibis 6/6 (http://www.pbase.com/dct/image/134160794) is my oldest one. About the same age as me... I still use it from time to time. This camera has only a leaf shutter control for 1/40 and B. I'm shure this simple tool will outlive me for decades! Even the 40 year old Rollei B35 (http://www.pbase.com/dct/image/134144743) has good chances to do that some day.

10-13-2011, 02:48
The typo in the title will out live us all.

10-13-2011, 03:05
One of my Nikkormats goes back to the 60's and it wasn't brand new when I bought it. Its had one CLA at Essex Camera a few years ago and it still performs perfectly including the meter.

You can spend a fortune getting your first film rig but if you really just want to shoot a quality film camera, one can find a beautiful 'Mat and lens for less than $150. Its the toughest camera I have ever used and an old friend.

L. M. Tu
10-13-2011, 03:43
I got two motordriven F bodies in the early 1980s after they had already spent a lifetime as a newspaper photographer's tools. I gave them a CLA in 1984 and had their meters recalibrated in the late 90s, and I expect them to outlive me by many years. I've also got a Canon QL17, the earlier, larger model with a 45mm lens, which my dad bought new in 1965, but I have not shot anything with it yet because of the haze in the viewfinder.

10-13-2011, 04:01
I'm not really concerned with if my cameras will outlive me... why would I be? I won't need them anymore if I'm dead.

10-13-2011, 04:26
I am sure my M8 will out live me!! I only 34 and I am expect

10-13-2011, 04:35
i have a plain prismed Nikon f i bought used and beat up in 1978. Still works great. never done anything to it except run rolls of film thru it. I suspect itll still be around in 25 years which is my approximAte remaining shelf life.

10-13-2011, 04:46
I still have my first "real" camera, a Zeiss Contaflex I - no interchangeable lenses or Pro Tessars, but fixed to a toilet roll on a microscope I managed to complete a research thesis, and begin to really enjoy my photography. It is still in working order; I would like to think that I might out live it, but the odds are not in my favour!

Robert Lai
10-13-2011, 05:03
Nikon F3. I purchased it used in 1983. It's still my regular shooter. Last CLA in 2007. I still have the original meter readout LCD - the one that Nikon thought may have to be replaced in 7 years.

I have a few cameras from the 1950s which I purchased recently.
They have just come back from overhaul (Super Ikontas, Contessa, thread mount Leicas), so they should be good for another 60 years.

10-13-2011, 05:43
When I die, I intend for my spirit to insert itself into my Leica M3 body. I will haunt that M3 and cause mysterious problems for the future owner ... wonky shutter speeds, foggy VF, uneven frame spacing... ;)

10-13-2011, 05:43
My Welta Weltur 6x9 circa 1937 works great and will still outlive me.


10-13-2011, 06:07
Well, I'm 16 and should have quite a while left...

I started with an OM-1 I bought CLA'd on ebay, that was 3 years ago. It seems to date from 1978 (quick and dirty serial nº interpretation)
I don't shoot that much, and I even haven't needed to replace the battery.

But, on my family legacy, there's a Trip 35 my dad bought in 1975. It honored it's name and travelled with my dad for about 20 years.
Sadly it's got the usual unused trip 35 issues and a lens full of fungus. But it's still shootable. I plan someday to send it for a heavy overhaul. That'll be when I have the will of shooting much more.

If it lasted 35 years, it can last a few more at least.

10-13-2011, 06:20
I think some of my cameras will outlast me. Part of that is due to how often they are used. I have cameras I bought 25+ years ago, but I went through a period of years where I almost never used them. Hard to wear out mechanical parts if they aren't moving.

10-13-2011, 06:36
Longest owned - though sold to a friend and eventually bought back - is my Nikon FM2n from about 20 years ago. There's an F5 that gets more SLR play these days tho.

Oldest camera I own is a '51 vintage IIIf BD, though my eyesight/glasses don't make for a good mix with rangefinders in general. It usually sports a matching vintage Summitar, but occasionally my oldest piece of glass - a 73/1.9 Hektor from '31 or '32 that, near as I can tell, was drip-coated on at least the front element eons ago, but doesn't seem to have ever been CLA'd. There's dust or such in there older than me (and '30s air in those bubbles!), but it still makes great images.

10-13-2011, 10:27
My first real camera, a FED-2 I got in 1991 at the age of 12 just came back from Oleg this week.

Peter Wijninga
10-13-2011, 11:20
20-30 years...a Fuji it was. Alas, after if was submerged in the Strait of Malacca in 1989, for not more than 5 seconds, it acquired a new lease on life and it now functions as a book stand.

10-13-2011, 11:59
It's a Ricoh FF-9 35mm compact.

More pertinently, my Leica M2 is having its prisms split and recemented so it should last until the end of the world as we know it. There is 5-10 years' supply of b/w film in the freezer, too.

10-13-2011, 12:08
Bought all my camera gear in the last seven years. Most stuff I have is older than me and in that sense has already outlived me!

I own a 1943 Leica IIIc that Youxin serviced and it is so smooth and nice, I'm pretty sure it has another 68 years to go.

Then there's a 1955 M3, a 1962 M2, two late 1960s Nikkormats, a late 1960s Horseman 842 Convertible, and a 1980s Yashica Mat 124G.

The least likely candidate to outlive me is the 2011 Nikon D3100, actually...

10-13-2011, 12:32
Nikon F2 35yrs ( I think) The delicate shutter sound and feel is like therapy!

One CLA and once photomic head was repaired. (Maybe I did not use it enough?)

This body started my commitment to Nikon and my brand loyalty was contagioius. My son named his Dachshund : Nikon!

My life will be complete if I can get a Nikon Coolscan to digitise all those negs i took over these years.



Roberto V.
10-13-2011, 14:06
My M4 definitely will. I bought it like new last year. The shutter is acting up (the ribbon might have come off) so I'll have to send it for a CLA, but it's a very solid camera, so I'm sure it will last a long time. My Kodak 3A is almost 100 years old and still works great, so that one might outlive me too.

10-13-2011, 14:20
I'm sure my M4P would have out lived me, but it got stolen a couple weeks ago. Now I hope it breaks.

Roger Hicks
10-13-2011, 14:28
The oldest camera I own and have used this year is 100-120 years old (Gandolfi Universal 10x15). The camera I've had longest is my Leica IIIa, 1936, bought in 1969. In a sense, they've already outlived me. If they're still usable/reparable when I pop my clogs...



10-13-2011, 14:30
My Robot Royal III was bought 1960 by my grandpa. He, my father and I used it.
I still using it and I hope my son loves photography and use it too after me. :)

10-13-2011, 21:13
My Nikons will outlive me, the SP and the F's.