Episode 69: Mike Butkus, King of Camera Manuals

In the 68 previous episodes of the Camerosity Podcast, we’ve had the pleasure of talking to a wide variety of fascinating guests.  We’ve had collectors, historians, former Kodak employees, camera repair technicians, and a variety of other bloggers and other assorted people in the industry.  Each of those people were fascinating guests, but each had a special niche where their skill and experience fit in and not every listener of this might would have known who they were.

In this episode however, our special guest is Mike Butkus, someone whose name should ring a bell to anyone who has ever picked up an old camera and searched for information on it online.  It is impossible to collect cameras and never have stumbled upon the massive collection of cameras manuals at Mike’s site.  His site has over 6000 high resolution scans of manuals for film and digital cameras, flashes, exposure meters, and much more, available for everyone to view and download for free.  Mike’s site is not only big, but it has been around for over a quarter of a century, making it one of the oldest still operating film and digital photography sites out there.

Be sure to check out Episode 69 where Anthony, Paul, Theo and Mike are joined by returning callers Ray Nason, Howard Sandler, and first time callers Brian Zeman and Jordan Berube.

In addition to hearing Mike’s origin story and getting a glimpse into what goes on behind the scenes at the world’s largest depot of camera manuals, we venture into a wide variety of other topics, such as tips and tricks to selling a large camera collection, what is everyone’s favorite 6 x 9 camera, and how heavy is a Koni-Omegaflex M TLR.

Theo shares a story about a camera he bought, then returned, and may one day buy again, Mike gets yelled at by a site reader for mistaking a 2¼ x 3¼ camera for a 6 x 9 camera, and Howard asks why old folding Kodaks aren’t valued by collectors.

Donate to Mike Butkus: For the past 25 years, Mike Butkus has run his camera manual website by himself.  He buys all of the manuals he scans with his own money, he pays the hosting and domain registration fees with his own money, and he does all the scanning in his free time.  All of this on a site with no ads.  If you have ever found any useful information on his site, we encourage you to send him a couple bucks through PayPal.


As always, the topics we discuss on the Camerosity Podcast are influenced by you! Please don’t feel like you have to be an expert on a specific type of camera, or have the level of knowledge on par with other people on the show. We LOVE people who are into shooting or collecting cameras, no matter how long you’ve been doing it, so please don’t consider your knowledge level to be a prerequisite for joining!

The guys and I rarely know where each episode is going to go until it happens, so if you’d like to join us on a future episode, be sure to look out for our show announcements on our Camerosity Podcast Facebook page, the Camerosity Discord server, and right here on mikeeckman.com. We usually record every other Monday and announcements, along with the Zoom link are typically shared 2-3 days in advance.

We had originally planned on doing a “Cameras of the 1970s” episode for number 69, but with the availability of Mike Butkus, we bumped it by one episode, so for Episode 70, we are definitely getting our disco balls out and putting our bell bottoms on and will be going over the best, the worst, and everything in between from everyone’s favorite film camera decade.

We will record Episode 70 on Monday, April 29th at 7pm Central Daylight Time (-5 UTC), 8pm Eastern Daylight Time (-4 UTC), and Tuesday at 10am Australian Eastern Standard Time (+10 UTC). We look forward to hearing from you!

In This Episode

  • 2024 is the Year of Solar Eclipses, New Jersey Earthquakes, 17 Year Cicadas, and a US Election / Mike Has a Yashica Dental-Eye
  • Mike Butkus’s Origin Story / First Scans Were Made in 1999 of Chinon K-Mount SLRs
  • The First Scans Were Done in Word Format Using OCR
  • Mike Uses Google Analytics to See Which Manuals are Searched for the Most / Mike Has Over 6000 Original Manuals
  • How Can We Help Mike? / Donate Manuals He Doesn’t Have
  • Camera Collectors are Lucky to Have Access to So Many Manuals / Preserving Mike’s Website Online / Money Donations
  • Mike Does Not Collect Cameras, He Has About 20 Cameras and That’s All
  • We Tried to Play “Stump Butkus” But Couldn’t Find Enough Cameras to Stump Him
  • Eckman’s Tip on Finding a Manual On Butkus’s Site
  • Jordan Loves the Mamiya 6 But Mike Doesn’t Have a Manual for the One He Has / There are Many Different Mamiya 6 Models
  • Wooden Leicas / Mike Bought a Leica IIIa From Ray and Had it CLA’d by Allen Wade
  • Butlus and Eckman are Both Verbs / Mike Butkus Also Has Flash and Light Meter Manuals Too
  • Mike Eckman Wants More Camera Catalogs / A Shout Out to Pacific Rim’s Reference Library
  • Collecting Magazines, National Geographic, Modern Photography, Popular Photography
  • Tips for Selling Off Large Collections of Cameras / The First Question is How Fast? / Dealers Selling to Other Dealers
  • Selling Things on eBay Not as Described / Theo Returns a Telka III
  • People Donating Cameras to Us as “The Camera Guy”
  • What is Everyone’s Favorite 6 x 9 Camera? / Century Graphic / Zeiss-Ikon Nettar / KMZ Moskva
  • Some 6 x 9 Cameras are Actually 2¼ x 3¼ / Kodak Medalist
  • Fujica GL690 “Texas Leica” / Fujica GSW690III / Zeiss-Ikon Super Ikonta / Voigtländer Bessa I / Plaubel Makina / Horseman Convertible
  • Theo Bought a Red Bellows AGFA Record III From Mike / Folding Kodak 2¼ x 3¼ Cameras
  • Mamiya Super 23 /  Kodak Monitor Six-20 / No. 1A Speed Kodak 116 Camera
  • The Koni-Omega Users Group / Simmons Omega 120 / Koni-Omegaflex M
  • They Shoot Kodak Hawkeye Brownies in the Amazon Show Fallout
  • What Are the Best Bargains People Have Collected?


The Camerosity Podcast is now on Discord! Join Anthony, Paul, Theo, and Mike on our very own Discord Server. Share your GAS and photography with other listeners in the Lounge or in our dedicated forums. If you have questions for myself or the other guys, we have an “Ask the Hosts” section as well where you can get your question answered on a future show! Check it out! https://discord.gg/PZVN2VBJvm.

If you would like to offer feedback or contact us with questions or ideas for future episodes, please contact us in the Comments Section below, our Camerosity Facebook Group, Instagram page, or Discord server.

The Official Camerosity Facebook Group – https://www.facebook.com/groups/camerositypodcast

Mike Butkus – https://butkus.org/chinon/index.html

Donate to Mike Butkus – https://www.paypal.com/paypalme/butkus

Camerosity Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/camerosity_podcast/

Theo Panagopoulos – https://www.photothinking.com/

Paul Rybolt – https://www.ebay.com/usr/paulkris and https://www.etsy.com/shop/Camerasandpictures

Anthony Rue – https://www.instagram.com/kino_pravda/ and https://www.facebook.com/VoltaGNV/

Camerosity can also be heard on the following services:

YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/@camerositypodcast

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Apple – https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/camerosity/id1583252688

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