Types of Collecting

If you are collecting cameras you are, of course, free to collect what you want in whatever way you want. Many people do this and end up with thoroughly eclectic collections – and all joy to them. Other people prefer to collect with a theme and purpose. Personally, I collect cameras that are particularly interesting in some way – mostly cameras that were innovative in some way. Other people want a copy of every variation in a small group of cameras and are very happy with minor variations between models. Some people only collect Nikons or Canon, some only SLR, others only rangefinder.

Having a theme gives more purpose and, to many of us, more pleasure than just buying every camera we come across.

I keep my cameras in a display case. This allows me to display the cameras nicely but has a secondary effect – it is now full. If I want to buy another camera, I need to dispose of one I already have. This limits my collection to about fifty cameras and keeps me focused as to which cameras are earning their keep. My collection: top shelf, various SLRs; second shelf, rangefinders; third shelf, viewfinders; fourth shelf, 35mm folders; fifth shelf, medium format folders; sixth shelf, Pentax SLRs (yes, a whole shelf for Pentax – they were very innovative at one time).

Another aspect of collecting is condition. Many people want their cameras to be in ‘as new’ condition. I like my cameras to be well-used – much wear is an added interest to me. For some people, the cameras only sit on a shelf and are never used – and frequently the collector does not care if a camera works or not so long as it looks grand. All my cameras work – that is very important to me – and most of them get used as often as I can  – both time and expense limit how much use they get.


Author: John Margetts

I am a keen photographer who also collects cameras. I am retired with about 50 years photography experience.

2 thoughts on “Types of Collecting”

  1. Thanks John for your help in bringing to many the beauty of the early post WW2 cameras and the fantastic engineering of these wonderful tools we appreciate so much. Your posts are both informative and entertaining and very useful to those have caught the bug. Cheers Mark


  2. Sigh. I only have three shelves and they also hold the lens I actually use on my Fujifilm. I purchased a fair amount of older Nikon Nikkor which I really enjoy using. They also work well with a tilt/shift adapter. And then to the right is my collection of FED or other cameras made in Kiev and the surrounding area. I think I will limit myself to that for now. As far as I can tell, they all work including the pre-WWII (1940) FED-1. Need to get some film!



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