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Best vintage SLR?

Tom Cable , Feb 01, 2008; 12:41 a.m.

I'm looking for a good, vintage SLR on ebay. Anyone know of any that are moderately cheap?


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Sheldon Hambrick , Feb 01, 2008; 12:54 a.m.

Those are kinda wide open requirements! There are dozens of models. But you can't go wrong with a Nikon F and 50/1.4....although not the cheapest. For cheap, look for Minolta SRT 101, Nikkormat, Canon FT.

Tom Cable , Feb 01, 2008; 01:02 a.m.

Okay, maybe I'm just looking more for a good vintage manual camera, 35mm, maybe from 60s/70s. I'd like my photos to have that washed out look. Does that help? lol

D N , Feb 01, 2008; 01:14 a.m.

Well that narrows it down a bit. You'll not be looking for a good camera, then.

waite watson , Feb 01, 2008; 02:02 a.m.

I'm not sure what that "washed out look" is,but if you want a cheap all manual SLR try a Zenit if you want a cheap non SLR try an Argus C3.But be forewarned both a these cameras are very capable of taking Pro-quality pictures.Just because the camera cost less than lunch at McDonalds doesn't mean it's rubbish.If you just want rotten pictures....Er,I mean pictures with character,buy a Holga.

Mark Medin , Feb 01, 2008; 03:26 a.m.

The quality of most cameras you'll find will be far too high for your requirements. The only SLR which could possibly be of any use to you is one with an improvised lens stuck on front. Even something like a Kodak Duaflex or Pony 135 is too good for you. You can get something of a washed-out muted look (in color) by using an old pre-WWII camera with an uncoated lens, but even there it still may be too sharp. There are lots of plastic cameras with meniscus lenses that can give you what you want - the Holga itself can be expensive due to cult status, but there are others - you can often find cheap junk cameras in thrift stores for very little.

Colin Carron , Feb 01, 2008; 04:09 a.m.

You don't get 'that washed out look' from old cameras of the 60's and 70's. That effect is mostly fading of prints due to age. I think you might be disappointed to see how well the 1960's cameras could perform.

I agree with the prewar uncoated lens for 'the washed out look' but even then you might be surprised....

As a general recommendation I would go for Nikon F gear. The Nikkormat FTN is a lower priced camera from this range.

Peter Naylor , Feb 01, 2008; 04:37 a.m.

Hi, Tom Interesting post, mate. So you want a cheap but reliable SLR, that gives er "interesting" pictures of the washed-out variety. Like the other guys have said, that's a tall order because just about everything of the SLR kind gives sharp pics. Some may be a bit unreliable and/or eat batteries at a prodigious rate, but when they're working they'll surprise with the quality of the results.

On reflection, perhaps what you need is either an Exakta or Exa fitted with a Meyer Domiplan lens. The Exaktas are starting to get pricey if they're in nice condition, but their little ugly brother the EXA never seems to fetch very much. Soo my advice would be for an EXA fitted with a Domiplan. Shoot at max aperture or close to it and you should get your required low-contrast results. Come to think of it, the Ludwig Meritar lens that also came stock with some EXAs is a classic in mediocrity so bear that one in mind, too. (Pete In Perth)

Colin Carron , Feb 01, 2008; 04:46 a.m.

Pete, I have a couple of Exa's from my old Dad including one with the waist level finder rather than the swish new pentaprism jigger. Meritar fitted they still turn in sharpish shots with reasonable contrast (disappointed groan). Though as you say they are worth very little.

Maybe if you could get some 1960's Agfa 35mm film stock.....

Robert Budding , Feb 01, 2008; 05:59 a.m.

Perhaps you should buy a Holga:


You can even buy one that's been modified to accept 35mm film:


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