collecting and using classic cameras

Ivor’s 1986 book on classic cameras

Toronto. When I joined the newly formed PHSC back in 1975, I was looking for good used lenses and accessories for my Leica M4 which I bought a few years earlier. In the late 1970s, I ordered Dr Neill Wright’s Collector’s Checklist of Leica Cameras. That helpful document introduced me to Ivor Matanle, who sold, collected, and used many of the fine old cameras.

In 1986, Ivor published a book on collecting and using classic cameras. That year, I wrote Ivor for a personal copy of his book which he sent on October 31 from his store.

Unlike the traditional histories and detailed models/years/serial numbers lists, Ivor’s book gave a brief history of the “golden years“of what Ivor calls “classic cameras” – the 1930s when film overtook glass plates for professional work into the 1960s when electronics and plastics began to replace mechanical and metal technology to lower manufacturing costs. In his book, he uses the classic cameras to take then modern photos and offers advice on which models to use and which to avoid.

Today, the digital era has annihilated film cameras as practical devices for artistic and personal records. This has created a tiny, loyal niche society that favours the old film technology. Ivor’s book would certainly attract those folk if only to see what can be accomplished with classic cameras of the golden era in photography. N.B. if you want to try the film technology, drop by our fall fair, or auction and get some bodies and lenses and darkroom gear to start this adventure!

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