What camera (pleasantly) surprised you?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Equipment' started by Chrismat, Jun 6, 2013.

  1. Chrismat

    Chrismat Subscriber

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    What camera did you get not expecting much but you decided to check it out and were pleasantly surprised?

    For me, I have a couple of mentions:

    1. The Kodak Reflex II 620 tlr. Yes, the external focusing gears are kind of primitive, the screen is dim and you have to re-spool 120 on to 620 spools, but the lens is great. I even bought another one and using a post on Flickr that had instructions on dissembling and cleaning the shutter did my own cla.

    2. The Kodak 116 film folders from early 20th century. I bought a Kodak 1A Autographic Special from 1917 and No 1A Pocket Kodak from 1926-1932. It's easy to use 120 with them and they have taught me that plain glass lenses can take great shots if you're careful in regards to flare.
    The third image is from a No. 1A Kodak that I shot with slightly expired Velvia.

    Chris
     

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  2. jumbosilverette

    jumbosilverette Member

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    The Olympus XA2 I recently bought: sharper lens than expected and an automatic metering system which has yielded perfectly-printable negatives.
     
  3. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    I've always had a fondness for pre 1950 Kodak Tourist folders. I love the 6x9 format on 120 film and even though they take 620 film are easily modified to shoot 120. I've modified a couple of them and ended up selling them off. I still have one unmoded that I respool 120 for.
     

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  4. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    hi chris

    i hate to admit this but nearly every camera i use i am pleasantly surprised at the results :smile:
    mostly box cameras, some old ( 1930s?, ) some OLDER ( 1890s ? )
    such great simple cameras ... it makes making pictures simple because you don't have to think about anything
    but looking in the viewer ..
    i have lots of images in my gallery made by these beauties !
    john
     
  5. lbenac

    lbenac Member

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    Kodak Medallist. I had mine fully converted to 120 with a CLA (don't ask for how much).
    Minolta Autocord - very sharp lens. Too bad it is only 6x6 :smile:

    Cheers,

    Luc
     
  6. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    How about pre-1950 Mamiya 6 folder with Zuiko optics, sweet folder with uncoated optics and loads of bokeh.
     

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  7. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    Canon 310XL.

    Stalinist little beast: all the metering system ever communicated was "too dark to shoot" or "not too dark to shoot," focused with a tape measure (or by guess) 'cos the viewfinder showed an aerial image, single speed (18 fps or none), and very short zoom range (8.5 - 25.5 mm). I hated mine, all four of them. But within their limitations they took wonderful footage, much better than my Beaulieus could do with their very nice Schneider zooms (ZM-2, 6-66/1.8; 5008S-MS, 6-70/1.4). Really very useful cameras that shot nicely with the C-8 43 mm w/a attachment too.
     
  8. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

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    I've always liked the sharp images from my Olympus RC and it's little lens. Same reason why I like my canon Demi s, though the RC's neg is twice the size.

    The Nikon EM with the 50mm 1.8e series. One of my first cameras, the auto exposure was great and it was so small and light. Really really smooth wind on too.

    Om-pc/40 a double digit non professional model, the metering was great and it performed like a champ, and was what got me into mf Olympus slrs.
     
  9. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    My OM-20s (aka OM-Gs).

    And in the Canon world, my Rebel 2000s.

    They are so light!
     
  10. Sparky

    Sparky Member

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    Yeah - old stuff isn't anywhere NEAR as bad as people imagine it is...

    for myself i was surprised by the Yashica TLRs (my very first camera), Rollei 6000 equipment, my first Hasselblad and a few old (early 60s) plasmat 4x5 lenses (symmars and sironars) that I've used. With those older lenses (i.e convertible symmars etc) I'd say there is ZERO discernable difference between old and new in terms of normal practice...I think we've become a bit 'trained' by advertising to imagine that only new equipment is competent equipment...
     
  11. agnosticnikon

    agnosticnikon Member

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    This is probably not going to make some people happy, but I was pleasantly surprised by the Holga. I had a friend in the late 80s that took a portrait photo class that required the use of a medium format camera. She couldn't afford a decent camera, so she got a Holga, and used it. She kept telling me what fun it was, but I just couldn't see the value in using an all plastic camera. I decided to pick one up to try myself, and after shooting a couple rolls of color film, still didn't have much good to say about it. A few years later, I found it in a drawer, and loaded some B&W film in it. I was surprised that I kind of liked some of the results. Now I've got 5 different Holgas, and enjoy using them all. Once I decided that they were not going to give me sharp images, I started experimenting, playing with the flaws of the cameras and have enjoyed them way more than I figured I ever would. I have even sold some images I've taken with them. No, I'm not giving my Rolleis and Pentax 645, or other medium format cameras away, but the Holga has found a permanent place in my shooting stable. (for now anyway)
     
  12. Toffle

    Toffle Member

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    Nothing wrong with a Holga. Mine has a solid place in my kit... right beside my Rollei. This was one of my first Holga shots. I was pretty much hooked right away.
    caffenol-tofino-dawn.jpg

    And for light leaks, I can't beat my 1930-something Welta Weltix. Bottom of the barrell for the Welta line, and with a painfully confusing advance/cock/fire/release system that pretty much guarantees a few wasted frames on every film.
    pelee-grave.jpg
     
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  13. darkosaric

    darkosaric Subscriber

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    Olympus mju 1 f3.5 version. I have zoom version witch is not a big deal, but this one is awesome. Got it on flea market for couple of euros.
     
  14. Michael W

    Michael W Member

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    Diana F, the new one from Lomo. I thought it was a hipster novelty item but someone lent me one for a couple of weeks and it was a well thought out plastic camera with flash.
     
  15. baachitraka

    baachitraka Subscriber

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    Old tank EOS 650 with EF 50mm f/1.4. That camera is far better to hold than any new ones.
     
  16. Timestep

    Timestep Member

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    Rollei 35T.

    The best $125.00 ( 1975 ) I ever spent. as a back-up, casual travel, and most recently Street camera ( non-threatening, especially in a Tourist town.)
     
  17. mikebarger

    mikebarger Subscriber

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    I bought a Rolleiflex at a farm sale (off a junk tool wagon) for $42 and sent it off for a CLA. I'm really amazed at the prints it produces...I don't want to say it....but I think I like the prints better than from my Hassy.....one isn't sharper than athe other ...just has a different look.....don't know how else to say it....
     
  18. rorye

    rorye Subscriber

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    I bought a 5"X7" on fleebay that turned out to be a 3 1/4 x 4 1/4. At first I was not happy but I got used to it really quickly and now I just love it. It's an Agfa with a very hazy lens that I wouldn't have even considered had I seen it in person. The results are beautifully soft.
    A happy mistake indeed.
     
  19. BradleyK

    BradleyK Subscriber

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    My first Hasselblad 500 c/m. I bought the camera on the recommendation of several dyed-in-the-wool medium format shooters who sang the praises ad infinitum of the versatility of the system and the quality of the Zeiss glass. My first shoot was with the basic kit: the 500 c/m body, 80mm Planar and an A12 loaded with Velvia 50. Not sure what to expect - I metered everything with a seldom used (at the time) Gossen Luna Pro SBC - the sharpness and richness of the 2 1/4 transparencies far exceeded anything I could have hoped for. With the demise of Kodachrome, the "Blad," loaded with either E100G/VS, Velvia 100 or, more often these days, PanF Plus or FP4 Plus has become my weapon of choice for my landscape and nature photography.
     
  20. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    A thrift store Diana Camera (75 cents, pre-Lomo).

    Fun running some greatly expired Tech pan thru it.

    Area of Temporary Refuge
    North Jetty, Humboldt Bay, CA

    Scanned carbon print:
     

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  21. Truzi

    Truzi Subscriber

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    An old Zeiss Ikon Contessa 35mm - the folding one. I'm sure most here wouldn't be surprized at the quality of the photos it gives, but this thing is in sad shape, so I wasn't expecting much.
    It came to me last year from a distant cousin's musty kerosene-warmed farmhouse, where it had sat unused since the mid- to late- 60s. The leather is peeling and mottled, the meter doesn't work, it has a terrible musty smell, and a great deal of fungus on the lens. Testing it was also my first attempt Sunny 16.

    In strong sun the fungus diffused the light in certain areas, causing strangely blurred regions on the film (I checked, and it is the fungus, not lens flare). However, in moderate lighting the images were excellent.
     
  22. bobwysiwyg

    bobwysiwyg Subscriber

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    Ditto, XA as well. Slip into a pocket to go virtually anywhere anytime.
     
  23. BradleyK

    BradleyK Subscriber

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    Should have added the XA to the comment I made earlier: small enough to fit into a jacket pocket (without notice), great little lens and an accurate metering system (back in the day, I trusted the XA enough to run Kodachrome though it!).
     
  24. flatulent1

    flatulent1 Subscriber

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    Ditto. Mine was a 630. Turned my nose up at it for a long time, was simply not interested in the early EOS gear. One finally landed in my lap, I forget why (might have been that the shutter didn't depend on the battery to stay open for very long exposures, something I've never actually used it for). Felt sooooo good in the hand I ended up with three 630s and five RTs. I've since come to my senses and during a thinning of the herd disposed of all but three EOS RTs. What a great camera.

    Also the Elan IIe. Years ago I bought the original Elan when it was first introduced. Glanced at a photo magazine one day and saw the IIe with its chrome top plate and chrome face and thought "Yuck!" I picked one up last year, in my quest for something smaller and lighter than the EOS 1V, and was so impressed at its features and autofocus response that I bought three (two are actually EOS 55, all black for the Asian market). All were in EX+ condition, none cost me more than $26. At that price, why not have a few spares?

    I'm going to include the Nikon N80 here. Not that I had dismissed it earlier then had my eyes opened; not being a Nikon user I wasn't even aware of the N80 until I found one for $25, brought it home and fell in love. This is a seriously nice little camera. So nice that, several months later, I declined an opportunity to buy an F100 because it was too similar to the N80 and several times more expensive.
     
  25. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    A Werra camera which I bought because I liked the minimalist design, only to find that when that lens shade is screwed onto the lens it is the mother of all lens hoods for that 2.8 Tessar lens.