Pete's Short Bio
Pete's pics
Peter Kitchingman Another bearded camera collector

My first introduction to a Canon camera was in Durban, South Africa in 1967, when I purchased a Canon 518 Super 8 movie camera. I used it extensively during my backpacking trips through South Africa, Swaziland, Mozambique, Malawi, Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), and Botswana. This camera also travelled with me to New Zealand in 1969 and over the Kokoda Track in New Guinea in 1970–71, where it nearly drowned, but that is another story.

My introduction to still cameras was back in the mid-1950s, when I used a Kodak Box camera in the Scouts. I also frequently borrowed a Kodak Retina for taking surfing and motor racing photographs during the late 1950s and early 1960s, but it was my wife Julie who in 1971 re-introduced me to still photography.

My first Canon still camera was a Canon EXEE with a standard 50mm lens. It wasn’t until I bought a Canon FTBn with a number of lenses and filters in 1973, however, that I really started to take an interest in still photography. This hobby intensified when I became involved in motocross photography in 1974 and again after I moved to West Australia in 1977. To help my hobby grow, I began selling photographs to various competing riders. This hobby lasted for nearly 20 years, during which time I acquired a second FTBn and two new Canon AE-1 programs to cover senior and junior motocross, road racing, and BMX. When my enthusiasm waned in 1992, I abandoned this form of photography and joined the Workshop Camera Club, through which I entered my photographs into competitions.

My camera collecting began purely by chance, when a collector came into my optical dispensing practice and mentioned the old cameras on display in my shop window. He presumed that I was a camera collector, which at the time I was not. I attended my first West Australian camera collectors’ meeting in 1994 and was intrigued from the very beginning. At first, I collected any cameras that came my way, but within a year or so I realised that this hobby could easily get out of hand. My obsession meant either a bigger house or a divorce, and as I couldn’t afford either I decided to specialise in Canon cameras. I still had all my old Canon cameras, including the faithful 518 cine, and over the following two years I collected anything and everything Canon. As the result, I amassed quite a collection of Canon SLR gear even before purchasing a number of Canon Rangefinders from a collector in Queensland who was disposing of his entire collection.

In the mid-1990s I picked up a SERENAR 13.5cm /4 telephoto lens. When the chance arrived for me to purchase a similar lens, I decided to keep only the best sample in my collection and sell off the other one to help fund future purchases. As I compared the two lenses, however, I noticed that there were some subtle variations between them. I had been a philatelic collector for nearly 40 years, so to me variations meant keeping the item and finding out more about it. I was surprised to turn up no information on the lenses, and so I started my own database, adding notes every time I noticed variations from the 13.5cm-135mm f/4 lens.

One thing led to another and soon I began collecting and recording lens serial numbers. Using my small database, I quickly noticed variations among different lenses. My forthcoming book is the result of years of research. Eventually, it will be followed by two others concentrating on accessories and cameras, respectively.

Much of the information in these books is based on my educated guesses. It gets hypothetical at times, but I suppose one lives by the sword and dies by the sword. A quote from Peter Dechert’s book summarizes my thoughts perfectly: “If one waits for the revelation of absolute fact, true truth, one will wait forever.”



Peter Kitchingman

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