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Contessa-Nettel Yashica A TLR Six-16 Brownie

Created 13 August 2000 ... Updated 23 September 2005

How the collection started

When I was 10 years of age I got my first camera: a 1950's Agfa Click. This camera took 120 roll film which gave nice 6x6 negatives. After the camera's shutter gave up I didn't have any camera until I was 20 years old and decided to buy myself a small black box with a big red button on top, a very simple Minolta point-and-shoot. Since I took so many pictures with it in Australia I wanted to get a better quality camera, not a simple blurry lens but something much sharper. Going around the shops while in Adelaide, Australia I decided to get a Canon EOS 500. The pictures taken with that camera were so much sharper and I got hooked on photography.

It's nice to have one good camera but what happens when you got of roll of Black and White film in your camera and want to shoot colour? That's asking for a second camera so I got a second hand Canon EOS 650 in 1999. While in the shop in Munich, Germany I also had a look at an 100-300 USM lens and it looked so much sharper than the standard 35-80 zoom that came with the EOS 500 kit that it was too hard to resist so had to buy that one as well, spent quite some money that day but a few weeks later, I read a raving review on the 50mm/1.8 lens and since it was pretty cheap the 35-80 zoom was screwed of the camera and replaced with the very sharp 50mm lens.

Since the all-metal body of the 650 felt much better in my large hands, I decided to buy another 600 series: the newer Canon EOS 600, also second hand as they went out of production 10 years before.
(who said photography was an inexpensive hobby?)
Having three cameras and a traveling girlfriend who did not have a nice camera I gave her the EOS 500 as birthday present and was left with only two cameras...

... Until I discovered eBay and the Kodak Brownie box cameras. For the full story read my Kodak pages. So within weeks I got 2 working pre-1940 120 roll film cameras plus two more box cameras which take different film (620 and 616 roll film). After the first test shoot I was amazed by the large negatives you get with the 120 film format, it was like going back to the old days when my first camera gave large pictures like that, it's a big difference looking at a 35 mm stamp or at a 6 x 9 cm negative.

As box cameras with their fixed lens don't give you the sharpness of a 'real' camera I was looking for something better and came across nice bellow cameras and TLRs. As usual I wanted to go for the cheaper options and found that Agfa Isolettes seem to be good value for money but then again I didn't like the look of them. There are some nice bellows cameras out there but it seems that the good ones are expensive so I decided to try to get a cheap Twin Lens Reflex (TLR) camera. The Rolleiflex seems to be the camera to get but since it has that reputation of being great, prices are accordingly. Mamiyas with their interchangable lenses seem to be nice as well but their price tag was way over my budget and good, working lenses are also pretty hard to come by. The Yashica TLR series seemed to be both good value for money and a nice design so after a long wait on ebay I finally got two, a Yashica D and a Yashica A. Read all about them on my TLR pages.

The TLRs are great cameras but their problem is that they only have an 80mm fixed lens. Usually not a real problem but since I re-discovered wide angle photography when I bought a 28mm/2.8 lens for my Canons I wanted to play with another all manual camera. My sister Sonja owned a Praktica MTL5b camera for a few years already and just got herself an Canon EOS 650. For me it worked the other way around, got a Canon 650 (and a 600) and bought an MTL5b as a toy-camera. Something completely different. Check my Modern Classics for more info.

An old camera collection cannot be complete without at least one folding camera. When I came across an Agfa Billy Record on eBay I just couldn't let it go :o)

More than the cameras, the paperwork is showing more of the old times so that lead to buying a "few" old books about photo techniques, camera catalogues and old photographs. That lead to more old books, that lead to old furniture which lead to my apartment being nearly full, time to start looking for a small castle...

Growing growing growing, the collection is growing, the cameras presented on these pages are actually only a selection... :o)

All photos copyright of M. Koning 1997-2006