I've always naturally gone for Canons, probably because my mum (who is an amazing photographer) uses Canon. I started a while back with a Canon Powershot point and shoot, and once I started looking to take photography more seriously, shelled out on a Canon Rebel Ti1, a great DSLR for those just getting into it. I love digital photography, I love taking many many pictures and then picking out those that really captured the image I wanted, but I also have a passion for the imperfect, the tangible and the unexpected. Trawling eBay for vintage Canon SLRs one day last Autumn I randomly bid on an AE-1, and won it, with all accessories, and even in the original box from the factory.
I bought film (Kodak 400 Colour), popped it in, didn't change any settings except for the shutter speed and took a bunch of pictures around my Mum's old house in Mastic Beach. They came out great. A few weeks later I bought some of that Black & White film that can be developed in any drugstore, took a roll, they came out great. And then I took pictures of the first snow storm and they were ALL overexposed. THAT's when I learnt how to use the camera correctly, mess around with the aperture and the speed and the natural light... Knowing how to use the camera took away a certain element of surprise, but has made me understand and love my camera and the outcome so much more.
I recently came across another one on eBay and bid on it, and won it. This one came with a Vivitar 75mm-205mm f3.8 Close focusing zoom lens, which I am really excited to start using, and is completely black (the other one is black and silver, and now has a piece of blue tape on the battery door as it won't stay shut). They are like peas in a pod, brother and sister... And perfect, because now I don't need to choose between colour or black and white, as each one will have its own film specialty.
The only annoying thing about this camera (and there is only one, I can't think of anything else at all!) is that it takes a very special battery... 6V battery that I couldn't find in any drug stores or camera shops, after looking online I saw that the same battery is used in dog collars, so I called a PetsMart out of curiosity and they stock it. Keep in mind to always have a back up handy, as they last a long time, but the camera will NOT work without one.
These cameras are not rare, but they are a great buy - there are always quite a few going on eBay for a decent price. I am totally in love with both of mine...
Here are a few of my film albums for anyone interested:
Winter Beach Town
Orange & Yellow
Black & White - January 2011