My parents bought a Chinon SLR camera a loooong time ago. I kinda sorta kept it and taught myself how to use it. When I left for Germany, I found out, after not using it for years, that the lens was broken. The aperture blades are stuck completely open. I wanted to have a nice camera but couldn't afford what I really wanted: the Canon Rebel. I also didn't like the overall quality from digital prints. Prints made from 35mm film have a different feel to them, so I decided I wanted another film camera.
I wanted either a Canon or a Nikon, and after researching the two, I found some older cameras that people rave about as tough and great to use. I am more of a Canon person so I gravitated towards the AE-1 Program from the early eighties. I did more and more research on the camera; looked at available accessories, checked prices on EBay, and read users' opinions on photography forums. I looked on EBay for the perfect camera and I found one at the perfect price. It came with the body, a few accessories, a bag, and a pretty good lens. When the camera finally came in (it took about two weeks since we were in Germany), I immediately started taking pictures of everything with it.
I took that camera with me everywhere! To all of our Euro-trips, friends places, dinner outings - EVERYWHERE! When we went to Spain I forgot it on the bus. The bus left to take another group of people to the beach when I realized that it was on the bus. There were many issues with the bus people, so many that I think they stole it. I had told them that I left it on the bus and they said there was nothing there. At the end of our Spain trip when we finally saw the bus again, they let me look before anybody got on. It was gone. I still had some undeveloped film from our last trip to Paris. That was the worst part of losing my camera. I also lost a couple hundred dollars in accessories and, of course, the camera itself. I was sad for months.
I finally decided to buy another one. Now that I knew more about the camera, I could look for a better one. I found one with four lenses, tons of accessories, and a bag. I ordered it and realized that this camera was not as well taken care of as my last one. All but one of the lenses were broken, one of the three is probably broken beyond repair. I have one good lens and two that will cost me $35 each to repair. The body was really dusty, but was in very good condition. For what I spent on it, I still got a great deal.
Since I last purchased my camera, I have purchased a power winder that automatically winds the film to the next frame after exposure. It's been great when taking pics of Izzy. I still miss all my lens filters that were stolen; I had a star burst that I used during Christmas, a polarized filter for outdoors, and a blue filter that I used for effect. I also miss the lens and my flash. The lens was a zoom lens that was perfect for general use. The lens that is badly broken is just like the lens that was stolen, but I can't use it due to it's current state.
In time I will slowly start building up my stuff again, and this time I will keep a record of serial numbers and information. The photography community can help me track stolen stuff down a lot easier if I have serial numbers. The first thing I want to buy are some filters, but my potography hobby is at the bottom of stuff to do right now.