A man steps in as a replacement photographer and receives an extremely expensive gift

Andreas Hofmarcher is actually a professional videographer, but because he took a photography job, he unexpectedly received a very valuable gift.  (Image: Maize Blue Video Phase One)

Andreas Hofmarcher is actually a professional videographer, but because he took a photography job, he unexpectedly received a very valuable gift. (Image: Maisblau Video / Phase One)

Have you ever received something as a gift because the item was just lying unused in a drawer? And did it turn out afterwards how valuable the gift really is?

This is exactly what happened to a German photographer. He was commissioned to photograph a child’s birthday party. The man left the event with a gift that was probably more valuable than any other that was unwrapped that day.

The high-end camera “was just lying around”

What happened? Andreas Hofmarcher is a videographer from Germany who occasionally takes on photo shoots. Recently on the Petapixel podcast, he shared the story of how he got a very expensive digital medium format camera without paying a cent for it.

How did that happen? Hofmarcher was invited by a former client to represent him at a children’s birthday party because the photographer he had originally hired had to cancel due to illness. At first he wanted to pass the job on to someone else, but then he decided on this one. Because he knew the customer and had the time and the necessary equipment ready anyway.

So he photographed the children’s birthday party, where the theme was the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. In addition to games, pancakes and a children’s disco, the most important thing was of course not missing: gifts.

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But Hofmarcher had no idea that it wasn’t just the birthday child who would end the evening with a gift.

As he was packing his things, Hofmarcher invited the birthday child’s grandfather into his office. The older gentleman still had an old camera lying around that he wanted to give to the photographer.

“It’s been lying around for 10 years and no one uses it”said Grandpa. Hofmarcher assumed that it must be an old SLR or compact camera.

When he entered the office, he already suspected that bigger things could await him: there was a tiger skin carpet on the floor, gold-framed pictures of politicians hung on the walls and an Atmos clock, worth several thousand euros, stood on a shelf cost.

He was then handed a large backpack and when he took a look inside, he knew straight away that it was something special: he read the words “Phase One”.

Hofmarcher didn’t want to accept the gift, but the older man insisted, so he took it.

What kind of camera is this?

This is what the gifted camera looks like.  (Image: Maisblau Video, Petapixel)

This is what the gifted camera looks like. (Image: Maisblau Video, Petapixel)

The contents of the backpack:

  • Phase One 645DF Camera Housing
  • Mamiya Aptus Leaf II 12 digital camera back with 80 megapixels
  • Three LS lenses from Schneider-Kreuznach
  • A digital light meter
  • A gray card for white balance
  • Three CF memory cards
  • Firewire-Kabel
  • operation manual

Phase One is a manufacturer of high-end cameras with medium format sensors. These are significantly larger than the full format used by many professional photographers.

A special feature of these many medium format cameras is not only the image quality, but also the modularity: you can not only change the lenses, but also other parts, such as the viewfinder or even the sensor.

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The Phase One 645DF appeared on the market in 2009 and cost 4,300 euros when it was released. The most expensive component of the camera is the Mamiya Aptus Leaf II 12 – the heart of the camera, which is connected to the back.

This camera back had the first image sensor with a resolution of 80 megapixels and cost 24,000 euros when it was released in 2010. The three lenses came onto the market with the camera and cost between 1,800 and 2,500 euros. The entire set had a new value of around 35,000 euros.

The happy videographer has already shared some photos he took with the new camera on his Instagram account, but he’s not sure yet whether he wants to keep it or sell it.

Today he wouldn’t even receive 3,000 euros for all the accessories – digital cameras lose value very quickly.

Maybe he’ll just keep her because she tells an interesting story and because, according to him, she’s already started a few conversations – and she still takes good pictures.

Have you ever experienced something similar and received something as a gift that turned out to be extremely valuable? Are you also an enthusiastic (hobby) photographer and can you empathize with the experiences described here? If so, which camera do you use – and why? In other words: How would you have behaved in Andreas Hofmarcher’s situation? Tell us your photography stories in the comments!

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