"Best" 120/620 camera under $30

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Hatchetman, Dec 18, 2012.

  1. Hatchetman

    Hatchetman Subscriber

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    I get a kick out of generating great (or pretty good at least) image quality with cheap cameras. What camera do you think can give you the best image for super cheap?

    OK, here are the rules.
    1. Must have ability to focus
    2. Must have a good probability of working properly "as is."
    3. Must have "fair value" of about $30 or less

    Any ideas?
     
  2. jsimoespedro

    jsimoespedro Member

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    Try to find something very cheap on ebay.
     
  3. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    How about a £3/$4.80 Zeiss Nettar with a coated Novar lens, that's what I picked up about 2 months ago, and then there's the Ross Ensign 420 with no lens for £3.33 (with no lens) that happens to match the £2 Ross Xpres lens & shutter I'd bought a few weeks befire. So two excellent cameras for und $10 :D

    Ian
     
  4. horacekenneth

    horacekenneth Member

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    A shiny new Holga
     
  5. Ric Trexell

    Ric Trexell Member

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    No such thing.

    I think you are looking at this wrong. Had you asked this 15 years ago, I would have said it was an interesting quest. However today things have changed radically. Film is not cheap for one and developing is hard to find and expensive. If you look down the lists of posts in the MF section, you will see I posted a thing about an ad I found on CL for a Mamiya 645 for $140, with 13 rolls of film. That to me is dirt cheap. At my local camera store I bought a roll of color unboxed film for my MF camera and it was $7+. After developing, I will have about $17.00 in that roll. If I'm taking a picture of anything worth taking, I want the best camera I can find. Otherwise just get a pinhole camera. For that $17.00 by the way, I can buy a memory chip for my digital camera and get 700 pictures. (The MF is still more funner even though it cost more.) Why bother with a cheap camera at todays prices. Unless you can get a RB67 or a Hassy 500 for $30, it is time to put those $30 cameras on the shelf and look at them.

    P.S. To those that say the word funner is not a real word, I say who says is aint?
    P.S. To those that say 'aint' isn't a real word, I say I know but it is more funner.
     
  6. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    You need to get out and about more, I regularly see boxes of 120 cameras at £20($32), £10 ($16), and £5 ($8) orless and most are in good working order, and there's no shortage either. Many will get bought and resold on ebay where prices tend to be much higher.

    Ian
     
  7. sr44

    sr44 Member

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    A Lubitel? You can find those for around $30 on ebay.

    Ric - While I do agree with you when it comes to color film with lab processing, I can still have a lot of fun for under $3 a roll including processing, with freestyle branded films and developing myself.
     
  8. nexus757

    nexus757 Member

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    You can probably find a used Holga or Diana that cheap. Or maybe an old Brownie Hawkeye or something similar. I've seen far better 120 cameras like Yashica TLR's go for under $100 on ebay though, which would be a far better investment.
     
  9. nexus757

    nexus757 Member

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    Then again, if you get to be known as the weird film camera collector guy around town like me, you'll soon have people just bringing you perfectly good old cameras for free. If they don't stop soon they'll end up having to put me on that TV show "Hoarders."
     
  10. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member

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    I have a flawless NIB K1000 with a 50mm that I paid $50 for. I have a user Nikon F2 that I paid $25 for, but I had to find lenses. The deals are there, the really screaming one are found locally from people who think film is dead and have no idea what they have.
     
  11. Whiteymorange

    Whiteymorange Subscriber

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    A Franka Rolfix

    They sometimes come up on the dollar table at the Photographica show. I picked one up and found the quality to be surprising good. It's not a Zeiss, but not bad at all. There are others in the same ballpark from the late 30's through the advent of coated lenses and common rangefinders. These were family cameras of the lower middle class (my family is a good example) and they were meant to be serviceable, not fancy. One of my own favorite "given away" cameras is a Kodak Monitor. A lot more expensive in its day, it has bells and whistles the Franka doesn't, but it's heavy, old fashioned and not immediately useable for most people (620 required). The Tourist or the venerable Six-20 can be found pretty cheaply at times as well. If you're looking for cheap, and you don't mind re-rolling film, 620 is the way to go.

    I've been spending a lot of time processing donations to PHSNE in preparation for shows and auctions, and I can tell you that there are a lot of cameras out there that will cost less than $30 but are worth shooting. You just have to look around a bit and try your luck with more than one source. Ebay is not your best bet these days. You may have to loosen up a shutter or clean up a grungy case, but you get that with "cheap."
     
  12. xya

    xya Member

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    get a nice old agfa or kodak folding. this could be found within your limits. they usually work fine, they are easy to carry and they are a lot of fun. and pass on to something more expensive if you really get into it.
     
  13. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    I find it odd taht we are constanly being told these items can't be found at bargain prices and instead get recommendations to buy inferior products.

    Jason's got it right look locally and there's a surpring amout of excellent cameras that go for very low prices. I know I can pretty much guarantee to be able to get good post WWII folders for under £20/$32 with reasonable coated lenses. I have friends who sell a lot of cameras and photo gear on ebay and they have to source their items, it takes a bit of looking but it's fun and easy.

    Recently I asked in an antique shop as I know they sell cameras as job lots and discovered they'd sold an M series Leica for £40 ($64) in good condition, they realised too late it was probably worth considerably more but they'd still made a profit as it had come froma house clearance.

    Ian
     
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  15. pdeeh

    pdeeh Member

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    I wish I could find antique shops like that that sell usable 120s ... my little old Adox Golf is a delight to use, but can anyone expect to get a £10 (or even £20) folder that doesn't need constant repairs to the pinholes that keep appearing in the bellows?
    (not everyone has repair/restoration skills like yours Ian!)
     
  16. xya

    xya Member

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    you don't find them in antique shops and rarely on ebay. it's flea markets, boot fairs, local ads, charity shops and even camera fairs.
     
  17. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    I see them quite frequently in antique shops, sometimes at ridiculously high prices but in a few at bargain prices, camera fairs are the best place though.

    Ian
     
  18. Mustafa Umut Sarac

    Mustafa Umut Sarac Member

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    I bought from APUG ,an Zeiss Ikon Nettar with Novar Anastigmat 75mm , for 20 Pounds , and you cant find any similar camera lens without investing to a used LTM lens , 6 times more expensive. I know it is confusing for an amateur to see holga and zeiss for 20 dollars. World is full of idiots and you can buy an used kia or mercedes to same price. Listen Ian and buy a Zeiss Ikon from APUG.
     
  19. Peltigera

    Peltigera Member

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    I will second the Zeiss Ikon Netter - Nettar 515/2 will give you eight pictures per roll (6cm x 9 cm) and a Nettar 515 will give you 16 pictures (4.5 cm x 6 cm). No reason why they should have any damage to the bellows, and the Nettar lens, if stopped down to f8, is superb.
     
  20. zsas

    zsas Member

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  21. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    Good luck!

    Jeff
     
  22. pbromaghin

    pbromaghin Subscriber

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    In a moment of lowered resistance to GAS I got a Voigtlander Baby Bessa 6x6 on eBay a few months ago for $10. It needs a clean up, lube, and maybe some electrician's tape on the bellows.
     
  23. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    Kodak Tourist
     
  24. Mustafa Umut Sarac

    Mustafa Umut Sarac Member

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    Mine is 6x6 and 517/16 -after ww2 to mid 50s production. Yes , you can buy lots of cheap cameras if you are near to big city centers. If not we advise you to buy from APUG for more money but a working camera investment.

    Kodak Tourist II camera have a f:12.5 lens , its hard to use at shadow , evening or may be winter.

    Zeiss Nettar have f:6.5 lens.

    Umut
     
  25. elekm

    elekm Member

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    There are a lot of older folding cameras for under $30. You probably can pick up a Kodak Reflex TLR, which should be one of the better cameras for $30 or under. And there probably are still some boot sale, flea market or yard sale deals where you get a Rolleiflex or Mamiya or something else for an incredible deal.

    Generally, however, you'll get a camera of modest specifications with a modest lens for $30 or less.
     
  26. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser

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    I'll third the Nettar. The standard post WWII low cost version has an f6.8 coated focusing triplet and a 1/25 - 1/200 shutter. You can also find them with 1-1/200 shutters and 4.5 lenses.

    The Agfa/Ansco Isolette is a similar camera but will have light leaks in the bellows. Certo6 sells Agfas with a strip and clean and new bellows: you will pay accordingly but his prices are very fair.

    How much you will pay depends on how hard you look. $30 or so is certainly do-able. You might even find an Ikonta in your price range.

    Though if it takes you 3 hours to save $15 then you are paying yourself $5/hour...