What 35MM cameras will still work in 2038?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by Oldtimer Jay, Dec 9, 2008.

  1. Oldtimer Jay

    Oldtimer Jay Member

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    Hi All,

    This is of course a highly speculative thought, but if I am lucky enough to make it for another 30 years and am still able to use a camera, which of those available now would most likely still be fully functional?
    Right now I mostly use a Canon T90 and Elan 7n but I have a variety of other brands and models as well. I am a light user, shooting approximately 30 rolls a year, but enjoy the process of shooting and developing my own film ( since 1966) so much that I well may do it as long as I live.
    The specific issues I wonder about are deterioration of the camera through aging alone ( I have seen shutters and LCD displays die on little used cameras) and battery availability. I am sure there a number of other issues that could be problematical, but these are two that come immediately to mind.
    I do want built in autoexposure and autofocus even though I currently can use manual focusing adequately well.
    I am confident some sort of B&W 35MM film will be available three decades from now, but I wonder how many cameras (other than fully mechanical ones that have been vacuum sealed for longevity) there will be around that will be able to use it.

    I look foward to your ideas on this,

    Jay L.
     
  2. BradS

    BradS Subscriber

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    oh, and I thought this was going to be a thread about the "year 2037" bug....
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 9, 2008
  3. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

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    An intresting question, I had have not thought that far in advance. In the all micro circuit auto focus camera world I would guess an F6 or F5 would hold up. I have Sigma SA 7 and a SA 9, both use lithum batteries, as new digital cameras are moving towards rechargable batteries I wounder how long these batteries will be avilable. On the other hand my Spots and Mirandas can be used without any modern batteries with a hand held meter, or just guessing.
     
  4. Colin Corneau

    Colin Corneau Subscriber

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    I've always found Nikon cameras are very durable, reliable and relatively trouble-free. (Note: I don't want to get into any Nikon-Canon wars...I'm merely stating my experience from the past 20 years)

    Nikon strikes me as a company that will be around for a while. And considering you can still get Nikon F's fixed (or buy them relatively easily) I think you're on solid ground with them. I would stay away from the pro-sumer bodies if you're thinking of the long haul...stick with cameras like the F5, F4s, F100 or F-90x. Weather-sealing, solid metal bodies and the like help increase your odds for longevity.
     
  5. jmcd

    jmcd Member

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    I think that my Canon F1 will be operating well in 2038. I hope it will be me using it!

    I think that a Nikon Fm2n will be working that long.
     
  6. Jeff Searust

    Jeff Searust Member

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    For every little add on that you want--- Auto-focus, Auto-Exposure, Auto-photographer, you have to add in a bit of failure possibility. With LESS electronics or mechanics, the possibility of the camera working right the first time and every time goes up.

    I shoot on a daily basis with two cameras, each over 65 years old. One has had an extensive CLA and the other has had a cursory air blow out every year or so. Neither has foam to deal with, neither has a very complex transport mechanism. While they are Medium format, I think that the idea is translatable. And yes, both cameras work right all the time and every time.

    I have used both for news stringer work, and within the last 2 months had a scanned image in the local paper of a body being pulled out of a lake. My pix scanned from chrome film were way beyond what the paper had, and I was able to get closer with a simple folding MF camera rather than lugging 30 pounds of digital camera and lenses and bags.

    Less technology ---> works longer and easier to maintain
    More technology ---> greater chance of failure and more difficult to maintain
     
  7. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    Then don't you need working autofocus lenses to? Don't some have motors in the lenses? :confused:

    Even a brandnew F6 would be 30 years old then. Would the meter cell still work?

    I think I'd trust my 30 year old Cosina 4000s. The meter hasn't worked in 15 years but the rest is perfectly happy. But then so is my 40 year old Spotmatic.
     
  8. jmcd

    jmcd Member

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    I think now is a good time to get that body serviced properly!
     
  9. Alexander Ghaffari

    Alexander Ghaffari Member

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    My Zeiss-Ikon from 1938 works perfectly, and supposedly everything on it is original, and I expect it to work the same in 2038; however, that is a 120 format camera. As for 35mm cameras, my Canon AT-1 from 1978 also works perfectly, although I did redo the foam mirror bumper and light seals, and I would hope that it lasts another 30 years.
     
  10. mabman

    mabman Member

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    Well, the world is supposed to end in 2012, so my guess would be "none" :tongue:
     
  11. Andy K

    Andy K Member

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    I think the simplest, least automated, manual cameras would still be working.
     
  12. DanielOB

    DanielOB Member

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    waga baga, you know, I mean, my papa is getting a new car. My girlfriend, I mean that new one, you know latest gasoline price affect my allowance, you know what I mean, my new 9550 CPU busted to 3 GHz fuf will get me in rocket way straight to 2050, but gimmy the way to get back,...
     
  13. Venchka

    Venchka Member

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    Limiting the discussion to my 35mm cameras...

    After I send my father's 1950 Konica I to Carol Miller for some of her TLC, I'm sure it will be good for another 60 years.

    No worries about my 1961 Canon VI-T.

    Both of my M5s (1971 & 1973) should be fine for several decades. Keep feeding the meters hearing aid batteries.

    My 1975 Canon EF will be ok. It hasn't been used enough to hurt it.

    Canon EOS-EF stuff from 1999? Who knows.

    I'm positive that all of my large format gear will outlive me.
     
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  15. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    Nikon Fm3a and its predecessors.. Fm2n etc.
     
  16. nickrapak

    nickrapak Member

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    Most "classic" Olympus OM cameras should be good for a while.
     
  17. nsurit

    nsurit Subscriber

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    Hmmm, well my Olympus OM 1 and 1n, both over 35 years old, are still going strong. I would imagine, with regular maintenance either would still be going strong after another 30 years. Both have been converted to modern batteries and will need periodic replacement of the light seals. I routinely use cameras made in the 30s, 40s, and 50s. Were I trying to select a camera that would serve me for the next 30 years, I'd probably do as others have suggested and pick one wiyh which I could be satisfied with today and that offered a manual mode of exposure and focusing. It is more likely that there will be folks around in 30 years with experience in working on Nikon and Canon film cameras than on my beloved Olympus cameras, however there will still be those who can service them. If not, I have a stockpile to draw on. Bill Barber
     
  18. johnnywalker

    johnnywalker Subscriber

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    If I had to gamble on the cameras I have, I'd pick the FM3A. The FM2 is already old, the F80 is in the hospital already, and the F65 will probably follow one day. I'd like to think the F100 might make it, but it too has a lot of computer stuff in it.
     
  19. Rol_Lei Nut

    Rol_Lei Nut Member

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    Most good, mechanical cameras should make it, with perhaps a CLA every couple of decades or so....

    My own older cameras; Exakta Varex IIa (1957?), Leicaflex SL (1968) & SL2 (1975), Nikon F (1968), Rolleiflex T (1960?), Leica M6 (1986) & Zorky 4 (1958) among others all work perfectly and should be good for the next 30 and many more years, with perhaps some foam replacement for those which need it.

    But I think very few of the electronic auto-everything cameras will still be working then.

    BTW: Cloth shutter curtains tend not to develop pinholes if kept away from light (lenscap!)
     
  20. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    Any Leica rangefinder camera would be a good candidate. If bought today at a favorable price it is the camera with the best chance of holding and increasing value in 2038.

    Beware of any cameras that could be described as babyboomers...everyone deserves a decent retirement.
     
  21. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    Most of my cameras will outlive me. I don't think I'll be around another 30 years(I hope I'm wrong though!).
    Jeff
     
  22. Paul Goutiere

    Paul Goutiere Subscriber

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    There is a 70 year old Super Ikonta here that can still make a pretty good frame or two. I suspect it'll be here for at least 30 more years.
    Early M series Leicas will get my vote as will my old Pentax Spotmatic.

    But, you know, in the scheme of things 30 years isn't really all that long. Why not ask what will be here in say....130 years. I'll bet some Leicas and
    old Spotmatics will still be around. Will film?
     
  23. Venchka

    Venchka Member

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    Film will be around if I can keep my freezer running that long.
     
  24. David Brown

    David Brown Subscriber

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    I don't think anyone's mentioned the venerable Minolta SRTs. Meter aside, as long as you don't drop them on the pavement, they go forever. Yes, I have empirical evidence of the pavement factor. :rolleyes:
     
  25. eddym

    eddym Member

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    2038... lessee, I'll be 88.
    My Leica M3DS will be 81.
    My Rollei TLR will be in its 60's.
    I'd bet on both of them instead of on myself.
     
  26. fmajor

    fmajor Member

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    I agree with the Minolta SRT series working for another 30 years - at least! I'm pretty sure my SRT102 and SRT202 cameras will be - they've had recent (within 2 years) CLA's and are smooth as..., well they are mechanical cameras after all! They are very reliable - nothing to short-out or burn up.

    I hope my Minolta XD-11s will still be working - i suspect they will. There isn't much to go wrong with them either except maybe the electronic shutter, but a CLA usually takes care of that and both my XD-11s have just had CLAs done on them (this past summer).