Bargains in the 35mm SLR world? (Least expensive SLRs?)

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by GarageBoy, Feb 28, 2013.

  1. GarageBoy

    GarageBoy Member

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    What would you guys recommend as bargain 35mm SLRs?

    I vote the Nikon FG/FG20- bodies are $20-50 all day long, nice, light, manual controls
    Also, the Minolta SRT101s, the Nikon N2000, the Pentax Spotmatics, Pentax ME Super, and the Yashica FX-D (poor man's Contax 139)
     
  2. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    Actually the lower end and newer AF cameras are much more of a bargain. Camera like N90, N80 from Nikon are very cheap these days.
     
  3. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    You know, all these are 35 to 50 years old. Be certain to factor in a CLA to the price.
    I like pre AI era Nikon bodies, there are no proprietary electronics to go bad and they are easily serviced. The same can be said of many 60s - 70s pro and advanced amateur grade SLRs, there have never been so many top quality bodies and lenses to choose from. IMO they're all bargains.
     
  4. I'd suggest the same thing. My N75 is my go-to "easy" film camera, and I scored the body off eBay a while back for under $20. Might be a little more now, but I think those N series are all good cameras for the money.
     
  5. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

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    Canon Rebles, Pentax Z30, Nikon N 50 or N60.
     
  6. pstake

    pstake Member

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    Yashica FX-3, FX-2 ... as Garageboy suggested, the FX-D is good, too, I've heard.

    How do you define bargain?

    The FX-3 can be had for $50 and it's a durable machine that requires littler or no maintenance; it sports a basic but consistently-good meter; it also accepts a range of great lenses. These things make it a bargain in my book.
     
  7. destroya

    destroya Subscriber

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    nikon N90 or N80. awesome cameras for under $50 on craigslist all the time.
     
  8. daleeman

    daleeman Member

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    How about a Nikon N80 with grip, on sale in the classified FS section.

    OK shamless plug I know. There are bargains out there with great qualities.
     
  9. brofkand

    brofkand Member

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    I see a Pentax PZ-1 on KEH for $39 in EX condition. That's a great deal I'd say, if you like K mount lenses. The PZ-1 (and successor PZ-1p) is an excellent camera, but kind of ugly. They have some as low as $9. That's a giveaway.

    Older manual focus SLRs command higher prices, mostly due to much better build quality. Spotmatics used to be the secret bargains (and indeed the cameras still are) but the lenses have crept up due to M43 and Canon video guys using them.
     
  10. elekm

    elekm Member

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    There also are a lot of 1970s cameras made by Vivitar, Chinon, Petri and others available for $20 or less.

    The Vivitar XC-3 is a very nice camera and usually needs only to have its seals replaced. There also is a module that slides into the hot shoe and plugs into a port near the lens mount that gives it autoexposure.

    I've bought several and never paid more than $12, and that includes the standard lens.
     
  11. ColdEye

    ColdEye Member

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    Om1 and OM2. Such amazing viewfinders. Plus the AF nikons and canons.
     
  12. Ap507b

    Ap507b Member

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    I have just picked up a Minolta Dynax 404si with a 35 to 80mm lens off of ebay for £9.99. The price included a lens hood. I can't see a mark on any of it. Looking at the spec of the camera, it was a steal.

    I won't be keeping it though. It is going to someone I work with to live in their golf bag.
     
  13. pbromaghin

    pbromaghin Subscriber

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    The Minolta X- series are wonderful cameras and dirt cheap. The Minolta lenses - oh gawd. I bought my first one 10 years ago and have been given 3 bodies since then. They can suffer the failure of a $10 capacitor that costs $75 to have a guy replace if you can't do it yourself. 1 of the 4 has this problem.
     
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  15. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    Some of the Canon FD cameras are not too bad. While not the cheapest, still a bargin.

    Jeff
     
  16. vpwphoto

    vpwphoto Subscriber

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    I agree a $75 N90s trumps a $10 Minolta, Pentax, Nikon, Canon AE 1980 era camera.
    I paid $900+ for an N90s (don't do for the 6006,7007,8008... they had shutter issues (for me).
     
  17. filmamigo

    filmamigo Member

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    Spotmatics. I see clean Spotmatic II's for $20 on a regular basis, most often with a nice Takumar lens attached.

    The Spotmatic F is essentially identical to the K1000 -- whose K-mount and cult status make it one of the most over-priced SLRs on the market. That's a hint to students needing a camera, who often overpay for the K1000 because it's recommended to them. Get a Spotmatic F with lens instead, and you get the same camera, for less.

    As much as these old cameras "should" have a CLA performed, I have yet to meet a Spotmatic with an inaccurate shutter. (I've owned or handled at least 15 examples and even the grungiest ones were reliable and accurate.) Pentax did a fine job on the Spotmatics. It's no wonder they were reluctant to "update" to a new lens mount, and no wonder they re-used as much as they could when creating the K-mount cameras.

    If you don't want an oldie mechanical, then I agree that the Nikon F75 is THE bargain in full-featured modern SLRs.
     
  18. elekm

    elekm Member

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    I agree -- the Spotmatics seem to have held up pretty well over the years.
     
  19. whlogan

    whlogan Member

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    Keep an eye on KEH Nikon auito focus bodies or manual focus bodies.... I just got a N90
    s with battery extender for $59.00! Looks like new and it was their BGN grade. Just keep watching. Also the N8008(S) GO FOR VERY LITTLE. gOOD OUTFIT; GOOD SERVICE AND GOOD HELP. Can't go wrong there.
    Logan
     
  20. Nick Merritt

    Nick Merritt Member

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    The Fujica SLRs have always been very undervalued, I think. And the Ricohs also. Funny how things play out -- those were two smalltime players back 40+ years ago, and now they're a couple of the few survivors.
     
  21. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser

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  22. Patrick Robert James

    Patrick Robert James Subscriber

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    You need to look at the price of lenses, not the bodies. Yashica bodies for example are cheap, but Zeiss lenses are not. Probably the best deal these days is with Minolta for manual focus cameras. Pentax used to be a good deal as well but now digital has driven up the price of the older manual focus lenses.
     
  23. Ricardo Miranda

    Ricardo Miranda Member

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    Much of the above is from an American perspective. Prices in the UK second hand market and on Ebay.co.uk are higher here.
    Recently, for a project I have of using cheap Nikon AF bodies, I have been monitoring Ebay and shop prices. While second hand camera shops prices seem to have stagnated over the last year and some tendency to lower prices, Ebay prices recently have gone up a bit.
    There used to be a stream of cheap Nikon F50, 55, 60, 65, 75 and the older F401, but now prices have gone up to £20-30 for F55, as an example. Even the older F401 prices seem to have gone up and can fetch £30+.

    Some have mentioned the F75. It is a very good camera. Bought one almost 2 years ago, but it came with a chip on the outer ring of the mode dial. Just a cosmetic flaw, fully functional. Paid £25 for the body. Added the MB-18 grip for £37. My other F75 came this year at about £35 and in excellent condition.

    Just a few titbits: although they were the bottom of the Nikon range at some point, some had nice features such as a MLU with the Time function. It is the case of the Nikon F50. Some could show you the automated DX ISO setting like the F60 and the F65 was the first Nikon to come with a wireless remote control.

    For the asking prices now, the Nikons F70 and F80 are probably the best deals. The F80 would be a better deal if it had exposure control in 1/3, like the F70 has, and the metering knob wasn't so fiddly. The F90X, being a semi-pro camera still can be had in the UK for very reasonable prices, although they have gone up in value recently.
     
  24. waynecrider

    waynecrider Member

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    Except for the meters. K1000's are just as bad.
     
  25. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    If you look at just body price vs features, I would suggest a Minolta Dynax/Maxxum 5. Every feature you could think of (motor drive, AF, wireless TTL flash, ultrasonic-focus support, matrix metering, all PASM modes, etc) but they're plasticky and don't have the fastest X-sync. Typical price is $10 to $20. If you want a tiny, light and full-featured SLR then it's an excellent option.

    The only drawback is they take Minolta lenses (which are excellent) and Sony has been so successful in selling DSLRs compared to Minolta that the best lenses are getting quite pricy compared to Canon/Nikon options. A 50/1.7 or consumer-grade f/3.5-4.5 zoom will still be very cheap though.

    The upside of that is that you can put brand new autofocus Zeiss glass (24/2, 85/1.4, 135/1.8, etc) on it, plus the 135 STF lens with bokeh-apodisation filter.
     
  26. flatulent1

    flatulent1 Subscriber

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    The most amazing deals I've seen in recent years, considering the quality and capability of the gear in question, has to be the Nikon N80 and Canon Elan IIE. I got some of each for around $25 apiece, in extremely nice condition. Why? People seem to have no regard for these bodies, for no reason I can think of. They're both fabulous cameras.