Over the years I've collected a few cameras. This part of the website is dedicated to them. In some ways, this part of the website is a bit of a camera museum.
The first camera I used was an old bakelite Kodak Brownie 127 camera. It had a fixed-focus lens, and used paper backed, unperforated, medium format, 127 film (similar to the old Hasselblads). The fairly large negative size made up, to some degree, for the less than brilliant optics. I've still got it, but it's been battered about a bit too much by my nephew, using it as a toy, to take any photos again without filling in the holes that let light leak into it.
After that camera I got an almost completely no-frills Kodak 76X Instamatic camera. It did let you put a flash cube into it, but that was all; there was no focus or exposure controls, just the trigger and the film advance winder. I lost it during one school holidays, and was never particularly bothered about that happening. It was okay for snapshots, and that's about it. It had about the same resolution as the old Brownie camera, though it took square-shaped pictures (I never really liked that).
I think my Dad lost his camera around the same time (on a trip to England) when he took the strap off. (We still have the strap! As well as the filters and the metal lens hood.) I seem to recall that his was a Leica, and looking around the internet, the Leica M3 seems to be the closest match to what I remember of it. Or it could have been a Lordomat, I believe they made a similar looking camera, and I have a couple of Lordomat filters that Dad used with his camera. It had a range finder with two or three windows above the lens where only one of them was transparent, a very small lens, quite a few manual adjustments (the usual focus, aperture, exposure, at least), no internal light meter, and the shutter trigger was a peculiar little lever near the lens, and it wasn't short and wide like the much older Leica camera pictures I found through Google. It was always in a leather protector, so I don't know what all of the camera looks like, and it was a long time ago (in the 1980s) when I last saw it. I think he would have been bought the camera before, or during, the 1960s.
Years later, as a teenager, I got a Ricoh 35 EFL compact 35 mm camera. It had a built-in flash, manual focus, a too-simple window-over-the-lens viewfinder, manual exposure, and a rather awful exposure meter (a hard-to-see green light when it was right, but no over- or under-exposure indication). It actually took quite good pictures, despite the odd shaped iris, and I eventually got so used to it that I didn't usually need to use the light meter.
After that I bought a Chinon CE-4 camera, second hand, because I wanted something with changeable lenses—a proper SLR camera. Out of my own still cameras, my favourite would be the Chinon, as it's got the best features, still works as a fully manual camera, and takes the best looking pictures (I seem to have been lucky, and got lenses with good optics). Interestingly, it has a feature that lets you do multiple exposures (it partially disengages the film winder, letting you not advance the film, while you wind the mechanism and cock the shutter).
Later on, I inherited my Dad's old Praktica MTL3, an all-manual camera, and it's a handy thing to have if you want to do very long exposures, or you're taking photos without carrying a lot of accessories (it only uses battery power for its light meter, and you don't have to use it). Unfortunately, it's quite heavy, needed a bit of repair work done to fix light leak around the door hinge, and is really difficult to thread.
The first digital camera that I bought is a Polaroid PDC1320. I bought it to try out digital photography, but I find it rather disappointing (the shots aren't great, and I don't like automatic cameras). It's reasonably okay for outdoors snapshots, under average lighting conditions, but that's about the only time it takes good pictures.
The next digital camera I bought is a Canon PowerShot A520. I bought it wanting something much better than the Polaroid, and while it's not as good a digital as I'd like to get, it's much better than the Polaroid, in a multitude of ways (resolution, the flash is better, it exposes better, and so on). It does allow you almost full manual control, but you've got to fiddle through menus.
It's not just still cameras that I'm interested in, I also work in video production, and have collected quite a few of them over the years. Although there's not much in the way of pictures from them that I could show you, or be worth showing to you, I can show you pictures of them.
The first video camera I bought, second-hand, was a National WV-85EA portable single tube, monochrome, video camera from the 1970s that runs from 12 Volts DC. I bought this one while I was studying electronics, it gave me a video source to use for experimenting with, but it wasn't much good for anything else. This particular model made a hell of a 15 kHz racket while it was operating that's probably responsible for my hearing problems (hearing that pitch, all day, every day).
Not long after that, I bought another second-hand camera, a National WV-341N single tube, monochrome, industrial studio camera from the 1970s. This one required mains power to run. It was actually quite a decent resolution camera (500 lines), and still not too bad. Just recently I used this camera for an experiment I'd always wanted to try—making a pinhole video camera—and it actually worked.
Before I got into video production as a business, I bought a couple of second-hand three-tube professional colour television cameras from the 1970s or 1980s. I think these cameras justify being called “television” cameras rather than just “video” cameras, they're clearly designed for that purpose. They were originally identified to me as being Philips LDK2 cameras, but the stickers underneath have LDH 0001 written on them (one has serial number 000757, the other's too hard to get at for the moment). They're originally from Kilkenny TAFE, South Australia. They weigh about the same as me, even two people will find it a struggle to mount the camera onto a tripod, they need a lot of light to produce a good looking picture, but they did make a very nice looking picture when they were in its prime (and adjusted well). I have two of these, but only one tripod for them. They can run self contained, or be adjusted from a camera control unit (just the electronic controls, not remote lens and tripod control). I have the bits for operating them in either mode.
While still in the throws of getting set up, I bought another couple of second-hand three-tube professional colour video cameras, this time ones from the mid to late 1980s, JVC KY-2000B cameras. These are around the size and weight of the Betacams that many people will have seen being used by television news crews. But they're just cameras, they don't have a recorder built into them, as well. These also require quite a lot of light to get decent pictures, but they're a bit more sensitive than the LDK, though not as good in picture quality.
The point I went into business, properly, was when I bought a Panasonic F250 camera professional three-CCD colour video camera, with a docked AG7450 S-VHS recorder on the back. This camera is from the 1990s, and still gives current cameras a good run for their money. Of course the quality of the docked video recorder has it's shortcomings, but its vastly longer tape length is much more useful than the various DV recorders of today.
For those of you familiar with film cameras, but not video, the “tubes” referred to above are the vacuum-tube image sensing devices inside the video camera, not an extension tube between the lens and the camera body (as used for doing tricks with the lens). Tube versus CCD camera arguments are somewhat akin to the tubes versus transistor stereo amplifier debates. It's highly debatable which is “better,” although tube-based broadcast cameras tended to have their camera tubes optimised for the particular colours they were viewing (i.e. the red tube wasn't just a tube behind a red filter, the whole thing was optimised for red light pickup), whereas that optimisation wasn't done for CCDs, so the colours from tube cameras often looked nicer. But neither of them really gives you a truly “natural” image (i.e. the same as what your eyes see).