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.