My Grandfather’s Cameras

Part 6: Minolta SRT 101

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This is part 6 of an on-going series titled "My Grandfather's
Cameras." I never met my paternal grandfather, Robert
Diefenbach. He passed away in 1969.
His small collection of cameras sat in a basement for 45 years
until they were handed down to me in the spring of 2014,
still loaded with film. Read more in Part 1: Argus C4,
Part 2: Argus C3, Part 3: Kodak Retina, Part 4: Kodak Tourist,
and Part 5: Polaroid 150.

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My Grandfather’s Cameras

Part 5: Polaroid 150

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This is part 5 of an on-going series
titled "My Grandfather's Cameras."
I never met my paternal grandfather,
Robert Diefenbach.
He passed away in 1969.
His small collection of cameras sat
in a basement for 45 years until
they were handed down to me in the
spring of 2014, still loaded with film.
Read more in Part 1: Argus C4, Part 2: Argus C3,
Part 3: Kodak Retina, and Part 4: Kodak Tourist

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This is my grandfather’s 150. It is huge. It is both complicated and simple at the same time.

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My Grandfather’s Cameras

Part 4: Kodak Tourist

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Warner on a pier in Tomales Bay, Calif.

This is part 4 of an on-going series
titled "My Grandfather's Cameras."
I never met my paternal grandfather,
Robert Diefenbach.
He passed away in 1969.
His small collection of cameras sat
in a basement for 45 years until
they were handed down to me in the
spring of 2014, still loaded with film.
Read more in Part 1: Argus C4, Part 2: Argus C3
and Part 3: Kodak Retina

This Kodak Tourist is not one of my grandfather’s cameras. It is actually my grandfather-in-law’s camera. Walter LaMar handed it down to my wife’s late father, Daniel Stromska, then to her mother, then to me. I am very honored to be the current bearer of this early, post-war, simple machine.

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My Grandfather’s Cameras

Part 3: Kodak Retina

 

My father, Bill Diefenbach, son of Robert Diefenbach the previous owner of this Kodak Retina from the 1930's. My dad is lounging in one of our favorite places, Tamalas Bay in Northern California.

My father, Bill Diefenbach, son of Robert Diefenbach, the previous owner of the Kodak Retina. My dad is lounging in one of our favorite places, Tamalas Bay in Northern California.

This is part 3 of an on-going series
titled "My Grandfather's Cameras."
I never met my paternal grandfather,
Robert Diefenbach.
He passed away in 1969.
His small collection of cameras sat
in a basement for 45 years until
they were handed down to me in the
spring of 2014, still loaded with film.
Read more in Part 1: Argus C4 and Part 2: Argus C3
Robert Diefenbach's 1935 Kodak Retina

Robert Diefenbach’s 1935 Kodak Retina

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My Grandfather’s Cameras

Part 2: Argus C3

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Sarah making something delicious in our kitchen, photographed on my grandfather’s Argus C3 from the 1950’s. Although designed in the 1930’s, this particular model is about 15 years younger.

This is part 2 of an on-going series titled "My Grandfather's Cameras." I never met my paternal grandfather, Bob Diefenbach. He passed away in 1969. His small collection of cameras sat  in a basement for 45 years until they were handed down to me  in the spring of 2014, still loaded with film. Read more in   Part 1: Argus C4

The state in which my grandfather’s cameras were handed down to me is impressive. Granted, none of the cameras had been touched since 1969, but even then, it is clear that Bob Diefenbach took great care of his photography equipment. My grandfather treated these cameras like new, even though the Argus C3 was particularly obsolete even at the time he was using it.

The Argus C3 was made for nearly 20 years, which is incredible. It is hard to imagine any of today’s technology being relevant or sold for two decades.

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Based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Argus’ C3 was the most produced camera ever in its day with 2 million units sold.

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My Grandfather’s Cameras

Part 1: Argus C4

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Ocean Beach, San Francisco, shot on my grandfather’s Argus C4 rangefinder from the 1950’s.

You know that question people ask: “If you could meet anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?”

My answer would be my grandfather (on my father’s side). I never met my dad’s dad. He passed away when my father was only 19 years old, 16 years before I came along.

I don’t know a lot about Robert Diefenbach.  I do know he was a navigator for a B24 Liberator during World War 2, after which he worked for the telephone industry in the Midwest. I know he married my grandmother Jean, had my aunt Pat and then my dad, Bill. That, and a few other details, pretty much summed up my knowledge of my mysterious patriarch.

This past Fall, grandma Jean moved out of her home and into assisted living. In the process, her house in Michigan was cleaned out and many family treasures were handed down to various family members. Being the resident family photographer, I was asked if I’d like to have grandpa Bob’s cameras.

This is when I learned, Grandpa was a camera nerd.

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From left to right: Argus C3, Argus C4 (on top of bag), Kodak Retina (from 1935), Polaroid Land Camera 150, and my great-grandfather’s Cine-Kodak 16mm movie camera.

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