Updated 12/02/10

The Casual Collector  

Return of the Casual Collector  


























     The Casual Collector web site has been stagnant since  2004. Life passes, things happen! At the end of 2004 I relocated from Vermont to Florida. The site was hosted by my local telephone company and when I cancelled my service, I no longer had access. Now, The Casual Collector has moved to Google Sites. I'll see how this works out.

      The collection of cameras and lenses has expanded greatly in the past few years. The rise of digital has flooded the market with elderly film cameras. As a result, I've accumulated several brands of camera I originally chose to ignore.
Canon F-1 and Hanimar
My primary camera for a good many years. The lens is a late and curious addition
     I've found one area of collecting to be especially enjoyable. The many online photography forums. Participate in a forum and you'll soon learn volumes. How to develop Tri-X in coffee? It's on the web. Which Contarex makes the best paperweight? You'll find the answer on a forum. Best of all, you'll meet a great bunch of people willing to share their knowledge on many subjects.

     The next victim of The Casual Collector's prose is going to be the venerable Nikon F. Dozens of books have been devoted to the subject through the years. I figure a few paragraphs from me won't do its reputation much harm!

DSCF0682.jpg After and Before

     The section on lenses will be growing in the near future. I've found some surprises and mysteries among the many distributor and store branded lenses of the 60s and 70s. You may also be shocked to find that a lens that bears the name of a prestigious camera maker originated somewhere else!

     I enjoy taking pictures with these old relics and like writing about them. I'll be the first to admit I'm no expert on the subject but I'm learning more all the time. I hope you'll take a look through the site and stop back occasionally.

    Send your comments and criticisms to:


After and before. What do you re-cover a ten dollar thrift store Yashica with? Faux leather from a two dollar thrift store purse, naturally!

From the original Casual Collector home page

      Hi! I'm Bill, a baby boomer, born...ohhh...195?. You get the idea! I never gave much thought to cameras or taking pictures until Labor Day weekend, 1965. I was at a neighborhood party and one of the attendees was explaining his very sophisticated looking camera to the men. I joined the circle,  very impressed by the buttons, levers, knobs, gizmos and thingamajigs.      The device, a Nikon F Photomic was, according to its' owner, very straightforward to operate. "Even a kid can do it", he claimed as he placed the strap around my neck. A few quick instructions later I was photographing my friends leaping from the diving board into the pool. Turn this, center that...the viewfinder was amazing. What a fascinating machine this camera was.

     The hook was really set that night when we developed the negatives. I had to do this!  A few weeks later a camera was donated to the cause. A Kodak Brownie 620. Not exactly a Nikon F, but it took pictures. Christmas brought an Ansco developing kit. Now I could do it at home, all by myself, with help and encouragement from Dad and my brother. Yeah, this could be a long story so I'll move on from here. 

     So, here we are in the 21st century. This didn't start out to be a collection. Somewhere in the intervening decades, the devices themselves became as interesting as the process. Cameras began accumulating. All kinds, at first, then came "focus"! The profiles in this site are dedicated to the dominant instrument of the "Baby Boomer" photographer, The Japanese 35mm Single Lens Reflex. Yes, there are several exceptions. Variety is good! Some of the cameras are mine, some are not. Most of them work, a few are paperweights! I've shot at least one roll of film with each of the working ones.

     It's been nearly 40 years since that Labor Day party. I still have the Kodak Brownie and I've finally acquired a Nikon F. We'll see how it compares with the memories of 1965. 

      As with most websites, this one is a work in progress so please stop back periodically. Thanks for taking a look.

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