The Classic Camera Project

Click the subpages for specific tested cameras, or other specific information.
Cameras and other things that also are for sale, can be found in the “Auction” section of the main menu.

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What is the Classic Camera Project ?

I created this new category because I felt a need to work with classic camera’s again,
and because of the irreplaceable quality of 35mm film.
It’s like the bug someone gets when driving old motorcycles or vintage cars.
The feeling that you get when buying an antique watch, or anything you can imagine and like,
that is from past days.
It can not be replaced by a plastic digital watch, or furniture from Ikea.
As the smell of self ground coffee can not be replaced by instant coffee.
It’s hard to explain, but I think you know what I mean.
There’s much to be found on the internet regarding analog photography.
Pro’s and cons – do’s and don’ts,
so I will leave the reasons and the convincing with other article’s.
One of the very best I have found is one from Ken Rockwell : “Why We Love film”
http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/why-we-love-film.htm

After reading this you would probably wonder why you ever should buy a digital camera !
I presume that if you got reading this far,
you are probably interested ! isn’t it ?

The Camera :
The next step is/was buying a classic camera.
I had already bought a few old camera’s like a Pentax ME, Bronica, etc…
The first thing I discovered is, that wherever you buy an old ( and probably used ) camera,
if its from e-bay, or a camera shop, garage sale, they always tell you that the camera is in good if not perfect condition.

Good condition – what does that mean ?

Well it means that it looks good – and that’s it.

Almost every metal built camera from let’s say the 60’/70’s has problems with light seals.
How good they may look from the outside ( even mint ) just open the back of the camera, and look for sticky substance
on the edges of the metal camera back.
Also the foam light seals that seal the mirror lockup, and seals around film windows and other, are 9 times out of 10 deteriorated.
And then there is a worn out shutter curtain, a weak shutter spring, failing electronics, obsolete battery’s, and so on and on ….
So there are many problems that can make a good looking camera just worthless for making pictures.
Second problem is the price, people who sell their old camera, and even some shops, want to sell their camera based on (standard) prices they find on internet,
regardless of the mechanical state of their camera.

For example:

Take a Canon FTb with 50mm f1.2 lens – a beautiful metal built camera from 1971,
and lets say you pay €50/60 for it.
Given the age, light seals are 9 times out of 10 deteriorated.
Second problem : the battery – original it uses a 1.35v type 625 Mercury battery, which is obsolete.
There are a few possible solutions for that problem, but if you don’t buy a camera where these problems are already solved,
then you get stuck with a beautiful, but camera technical worthless piece of junk.

Same example for another very wanted camera : the Yashica Electro 35 GSN – a beautiful rangefinder from 1973.
Someone wanted to sell me one in almost mint state for about €100 – saying it was the standard price for it.
True, but only in working state – this one had a broken shutter.
I would not pay more for a camera in this state then €10 – and then only because I might be able to repair it.
Just to give you an idea of what you are up against when you want to own a classic camera.

The Solution:

That gave me the solution for another problem : what to do with all the camera’s I’ll buy ?
Well, I repair them, renew light seals, adjust and lubricate, clean …
and then the most important : load with film and take pictures !
Afterwards I have a perfect working camera, and proof for that in the form of beautiful pictures and their negatives.

That makes these camera’s a good deal for anyone that wants to buy an old ( or not so old ) perfectly working camera.
And that solves my problem ( and my misses ) not to get stuck with a pile of camera’s.

Facts:

– an expensive camera does not make good pictures, it probably only gives more options
– the lens is the most important item of the camera ( a good prime lens attached to a throw away camera, makes pictures as good as the same lens on a Nikon F5 or other professional camera )
amaze yourselves and read the following article : http://www.instructables.com/id/Home-Made-35mm-Box-Camera/?ALLSTEPS
– many options on a camera are only as important as you consider them useful, in most cases you only need speed, aperture and sensitivity adjustment.
– Lomography ? why should you buy a plastic (toy) camera like a Diana F, with plastic lenses for about $100
when you can buy for little more then half that price a real camera with glass lenses. And you can use it in the same way and get better results.
Another thing to think about : what do you think your Diana F is worth if you want to sell it ? – I know for a fact that my camera’s have real collectors value.
– My idea for best replacement for a Diana Lomography camera: a Pentax Espio series, or a Canon Prima series, all built in the late 90’s.
Every brand had one, Nikon, Olympus and so on. You have 99% chance to find a perfect working model, even if you know nothing about it, and you can buy them for peanuts.

Further more, the camera’s are tested and rated on themselves, and not compared with other camera’s.
Every camera has its own pro’s and con’s, you should decide for yourselves what the best choice for you could be.

These cameras are whether or not for sale after a study period, at prices that barely covers the repair material, let alone working hours.
The material posted online is a form of guarantee for the camera, and offers potential buyer’s a reasonable assurance that these machines are 100% working
Regards,

Marc.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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