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Classic cameras

Narnian

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The worst part of this thread is seeing all the old cameras … and remembering when I saw them when they were new.

My biggest camera was only a 5x7 view. Missed a chance to meet Ansel Adams thanks to an injury and was in the Grand Canyon hospital.

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JeffS7444

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My latest completed repair: I only paid around 60 USD for the Hasselblad 500C camera body, and another 60 for the 120 mm Zeiss S-Planar lens because they were broken and basically sold to me as junk. Not a trivial job, I ended up almost completely disassembling it, and replacing a number of broken parts. At some point, I will also address the cosmetics: Shrunken leatherette body coverings, chipped and blistered chrome, etc. But for now, it's time to load it with a fresh roll of film and simply enjoy using it as a camera.
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Gorgonzola

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Folks, following is my camera history since my teenage years; (unless I've forgotten one or two along the way ...

Petri 1.9 all-manual, fixed less, meter-less, rangefinder...
View attachment 184941

Miranda SLR; note the Exacta-like external lens automation ...
View attachment 184942

Canon Pellix SLR; used a semi-reflecting prism instead of a flip-up mirror ...
View attachment 184944

Leica IIIf rangefinder; had it stolen from me ...

View attachment 184974


Leica M3 two-stroke, which I owned too briefly; the most nearly perfect mechanical thing I ever owned ...
View attachment 184945

Nikon F, of which little needs be said except that it was a large, heavy camera for a 35mm ...
View attachment 184947

Fujica ST705, (or similar model) compact SLR with TTL metering -- a truly crappy camera, especially ergonomically despite being a compact ...
View attachment 184953

Asahi Pentax Spotmatic SLR; much better than the Fuijca but still screw-mount, yuk ...
View attachment 185045

Olympus OM-1 compact SLR: by far the most enjoyable camera I'd owned to that point ...
View attachment 184954

Olympus OM-2; improved version of OM-1 with spot metering ...
View attachment 184970

Olympus OM-2Sprogram, yet nicer update to the OM-2 with full shutter & aperture exposure automation, supported proprietary TTL flash ...
View attachment 184955

Kodak DX 4530 5 megapixel; my first digital camera; had a surprisingly sharp lens ...
View attachment 184979

Olympus OM-10, briefly owned, contemporaneous with my OM-2Sprogram; briefly owned, not much used, broke down ...View attachment 184956

Canon SX digital long-zoom; crapping picture quality ...
View attachment 184965

Nikon Coolpix S600 compact digital; was a 40 years of service gift from my employer; not so great pic quality ...
View attachment 184967

Kiev 4a, rangefinder, Soviet Contax knock-off; just for fun, only took one roll of film, still own sitting a drawer ...
View attachment 184973

Voigtlander Bessa-R, Leica screw mount rangefinder; a late fling with film cameras; briefly owned and not much used ...
View attachment 184957

Fujifilm X-T10 mirrorless APS-C reflex -- my favorite camera 'till then and still using ...
View attachment 184960

Fujifilm X-T2, most usable and fun camera I've ever owned ...





View attachment 184961
Dang!! What the ... I knew was still forgetting at least one more.

I sold that Canon SX to buy a Canon G1X. I kept it only a couple of years before getting the Fujifilm X-T10. The G1X had a rather crappy optical view finder that I decided couldn't do the job for me.

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robwpdx

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Of course I went through several kid Kodak box cameras. OM-1, OM-4 + Vivitar Series 1 (the good ones) and have the family Argus but have not run film through it. I would like to adapt one of the round LED flashes like a Rotolight to the Argus.

The magic is the analog characteristic of the lenses. Today we have better glass options to make the lens, aspheric lenses, better coatings, and better lens design software.

For researching vintage lenses before buying you can look up Flickr pool and the same of the lens/lens series.

Sometimes you can find a fast classic lens with pleasing bokeh that can be adapted to your current mount and run manually. People search out TV camera lenses and scientific lenses and adapt them. There is a whole specialty of vintage movie lens adapting. And of course people seek out old and new plastic lens cameras for the visual equivalent of lo-fi.
 

JeffS7444

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Stuff that I de-acquired from 2020 to date, and I'm not done yet.
Cameras that I sold 2020-23.jpg
 

rdenney

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I need to de-acquire a bunch of cameras myself, but I'm not sure any of them are in good enough shape to be worth the trouble to sell them. I managed to avoid owning any cult classics sufficiently culty to be worth multiples of others of their type. My Rolleiflex is probably the least collectible of all of them; my Canon F-1 is no cult classic and it's too brassed to attract a collector anyway; my communist-production cameras are too flaky to sell with a good conscience; my Mamiya TLRs are worn out, and so on. No Leicas with just the right markings, no early Nikon rangefinders, no rare f/1.0 lenses. The stuff I have that is worth something, like the Pentax 67 kit, etc., still gets used.

Rick "too lazy to sell stuff" Denney
 

JeffS7444

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It's funny how life works out sometimes: The other year, I sold a very pretty Kiev 88CM, and this year, I scored a deal on it's predecessor, the Salyut-S. at a fraction of the price! Of course one does not generally get shiny, ready-to-use gear for a pittance: As is often the case, I needed to invest a substantial amount of time repairing/restoring it, but I thought the result was not too shabby. According to the translator app I used, the cyrillic nomenclature is in Ukrainian, not Russian.

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rdenney

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It's funny how life works out sometimes: The other year, I sold a very pretty Kiev 88CM, and this year, I scored a deal on it's predecessor, the Salyut-S. at a fraction of the price! Of course one does not generally get shiny, ready-to-use gear for a pittance: As is often the case, I needed to invest a substantial amount of time repairing/restoring it, but I thought the result was not too shabby. According to the translator app I used, the cyrillic nomenclature is in Ukrainian, not Russian.

View attachment 301433
I have a Kiev 88CM that was customized and overhauled by Arax in Kiev. Gevorg painted it black and covered it in leather. He also thinks he fixed all the little foibles, but actually he left a few. They are really silly cameras—not even Hasselblad could make the focal-plane shutter reliable when they were starting out, and Arsenal in its wildest dreams couldn’t touch Hasselblad’s attention to detail. But it was never a camera I used to make money. Those were Mamiya C-series TLRs. I bought into the system for the access to a 45mm rectilinear wide and the 30mm fisheye. I also had (have) three Kiev 60’s. Those are built like cheap alarm clocks.

But for serious roll film work it’s the Pentax 67 all the way for me now.

I still pay for the barely-breathing Kiev Report on Delphi Forums. It was the authoritative user group in the 90’s through about 2005. I keep it alive because people wander back from time to time to say hello.

I do still use some of those lenses on my Pentax 645z digital camera. In particular, the uniquely awesome Zeiss Jena 180/2.8 for the Pentacon Six, which (with a little fiddling) mounts on a Kiev 60.

Rick “lotsa junque in the camera room” Denney
 

JeffS7444

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I decided to prepare three more cameras for sale, and wouldn't you know it, but a Rolleicord III which has been in the family since the 1950s suddenly needs a CLA because the slow shutter speeds have gummed-up! It was one of the first cameras that my dad let me use, but if twin-lens reflex cameras have not "clicked" with me in all this time, there's a good chance they never will.

Also being prepped for sale is a Russian KMZ FT2 35 mm panoramic camera. I went through the trouble of chasing down a number of the special film cassettes it uses, and then ... nothing. Actually that's not entirely true: At the time, I still thought I might accomplish great things with the format, and purchased other panoramic cameras as well: Noblex E150, Horizon S3, even a Lomography Spinner. I finally had a selection of pivoting-lens panoramic cameras, but discovered that my occasional panoramic needs were better served by software which allowed me to merge multiple images into a panorama without the need for a specialized camera. I sold off the others long ago, and don't recall why I've held onto the FT2 for so long. There's a well-known Hollywood actor who specializes in wide-format photos taken with a Widelux camera, but I'm not him.

And lastly, a true boutique, small-batch camera, Alpa 11e. Part of me wants to keep it, but I can't muster much enthusiasm for shelling out the additional hundreds $$ required to complete the package with a lens or lens adapter. But no worries: if I change my mind, I got one more older Alpa camera body, currently sitting in my repair queue.

In preparing things for sale, there's inertia to overcome: It's so much easier to do nothing, and doing nothing can seem like the safest bet, because what if I suddenly discover the true wonders of the Rolleicord all these years? But experience to date has been that I regret maybe 2% of sales, if that. And then there's the joy of freed-up space and spending money!
 

Ron Texas

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I'm somewhat in shock over the impending death of the Nikon F mount which has been with us since the 1950's.
 

JeffS7444

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I have a Kiev 88CM that was customized and overhauled by Arax in Kiev. Gevorg painted it black and covered it in leather. He also thinks he fixed all the little foibles, but actually he left a few. They are really silly cameras—not even Hasselblad could make the focal-plane shutter reliable when they were starting out, and Arsenal in its wildest dreams couldn’t touch Hasselblad’s attention to detail. But it was never a camera I used to make money. Those were Mamiya C-series TLRs. I bought into the system for the access to a 45mm rectilinear wide and the 30mm fisheye. I also had (have) three Kiev 60’s. Those are built like cheap alarm clocks.

But for serious roll film work it’s the Pentax 67 all the way for me now.

I still pay for the barely-breathing Kiev Report on Delphi Forums. It was the authoritative user group in the 90’s through about 2005. I keep it alive because people wander back from time to time to say hello.

I do still use some of those lenses on my Pentax 645z digital camera. In particular, the uniquely awesome Zeiss Jena 180/2.8 for the Pentacon Six, which (with a little fiddling) mounts on a Kiev 60.

Rick “lotsa junque in the camera room” Denney
As delivered, my Kiev 88CM didn't work with a cable release, and on closer inspection, I discovered that the hole was drilled too small! The fix was easy enough , but I wondered how they could have overlooked a detail like that. Also thought some of the post-USSR details of the camera were kind of cheesy, like the fake quick-release plate on the bottom of the camera body. And while I liked the darkslide holder on the new-style film backs, I thought other changes liked the hinged door, and double-exposure lever, didn't really add value.

Time will tell how reliable my Salyut-S is. I modified it, incorporating Japanese, American and Swiss materials, plus a bit of Culturehustle's ultra black paint. I even created a couple of small new parts in FreeCAD and 3D printed them. Operation of the camera is buttery-smooth, which is not a description that I'd have used with my stock 88CM. The camera had probably originally been shelved after a shutter broke, but not before seeing a good deal of use. Am hoping that my mods have fixed the bits which were prone to breakage.

I've owned Kiev cameras with dull, grainy-looking chrome plating and crude engraving, and others with good overall level of finish. I make it a point to seek out the latter whenever possible. I speculate that factories had periods of feast and famine, and perhaps during lean times, they did whatever they needed to do in order to meet production quotas.

Hate to think that I may have tossed out early printed copies of Kiev Report, but I suppose they had served their purpose. Funny how information about Soviet cameras seemed so scarce in 1990s USA.
 

JeffS7444

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I'm somewhat in shock over the impending death of the Nikon F mount which has been with us since the 1950's.
Your situation reminds me a little bit of mine in the 1990s: I had been primarily using Apple computers since the 1980s, but there came a point where new products were either lagging behind the competition, weren't very good, and sometimes both. Fans made excuses, but IMO, products like the Apple Powerbook 5300-series were lousy. So I bought a new Thinkpad running Windows 95: Pretty much everything about it seemed wrong, but it worked, so I just lived with it. And at some point, I ceased being annoyed, and it became my new normal.

Looks-wise, most of today's mirrorless cameras strike me as a bit ungainly looking, save for those deliberately designed to mimic the look of older cameras, including film cameras. Today, whether due to functional needs or a desire to not impose too much design change too quickly, most mirrorless camera bodies have a central SLR-esque "pentaprism" bulge, but the proportions seem a bit off, and oddly thin to eyes accustomed to the look of an SLR.

Sometimes I think that if a person lives long enough, all new things begin to look like alien artifacts :D
 

Ron Texas

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@JeffS7444 the looks of mirrorless cameras don't bother me. The difference in the viewfinder experience does bother me. Being able to move the exit pupil closer to the sensor does give lens designers more to work with. The Z series 24-120 and 20mm are said to be a big improvement over the F mount versions.
 
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