Hello all, new member here though I've been lurking for a bit. This is an edited re-post from another forum that some of the people here may browse on occasion; those of you that have seen most of this info before please bear with me. I figured I would introduce myself and then move on to some questions I have despite the extensive reading I have done here. Sorry if this is off-topic -- I DO have Sony DSLR-related questions in this post, and will start new threads in the appropriate places for those questions that don't have quick, easy answers or that do not get answered here.
I'm a 5th-generation Californian. I have had the photography bug from a very early age. The first camera I ever took a picture with was my dad's Zeiss-Ikon Contaflex 35mm that he bought new in the late 50's, and while I was completely baffled by the controls he set the camera in "snapshot mode" and I managed to take a couple of passable pictures. I was hooked immediately. Dad was VERY protective of his Zeiss, I basically couldn't use it unless he was standing right there so in short order I picked up a Kodak Instamatic 44 for $0.50 at a garage sale. I was in 4th grade at the time. Money was very tight for the whole family at the time, and I had to pay for film, processing, and flash cubes by mowing lawns and doing odd jobs.
I later picked up a pristine Brownie Hawkeye with flash and managed to take some pretty nice pictures with that as well. Over the years I picked up many different cameras at garage sales, some of which worked and some of which did not. They range from a few different Brownies, a Weltaflex MF TLR, A number of Polaroids including a Land Camera, to some very fine 8mm movie cameras, a Russian Zenit 35mm and recently the old Zeiss was handed down to me, still working, along with a Zeiss-Ikon 8x30 monocular that is designed to attach to the camera and serves as a 400mm tele. A few years back an Uncle's Zeiss Contarex was handed down, not working.
Breaking this into two posts due to character limit.