When Lousy Gear Turns Out Better Than You Expected

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by momus, Jan 8, 2014.

  1. momus

    momus Member

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    Years ago I upgraded my wife's 35mm P&S to a 35mm SLR. It was a cheap Canon Rebel XS w/ the kit EF 35 80 zoom lens, otherwise known as one of the worst lenses in photography. No kidding, people seemed to hate that thing. I figured it would work fine for my wife. It was small, the camera had auto focus...what could go wrong? A lot, apparently. She hated it. Said it was too big and heavy (my day rig was a Nikon F4 w/ an 80 200 2.8 lens hung on it, so I was mystified by this). It made it through one roll of film before I sold it to make her happy.

    Every now and then I look at the photos from it and think "that lens wasn't so bad". True, bokeh was nonexistent due to the zoom's slowness, but I thought the IQ was pretty good. These are prints that I made from that one excursion, and you can probably tell who had the winning horse that day :]

    Anyone else had crap gear that turned out to be pretty good?

    small 2 Mean Linda in B&W Ver5.jpg

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    small 2Trumpet in B&W.jpg
     
  2. summicron1

    summicron1 Subscriber

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    even crappy lenses made today are computer calculated and, usually, pretty good, although one wonders how well the cheap ones hold up -- plastic mounts may not keep elements aligned after a few bumps.

    I'm almost sorry to admit how many really good shots I get with Holgas.
     
  3. patrickth

    patrickth Member

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    I bought a Minolta Dimage A2 for under $100 for kicks and got so I liked to keep it in the car just in case I needed a backup.
     

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  4. elcabezagrande

    elcabezagrande Subscriber

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    Minolta Qtsi with the 35-80mm kit lens. About $25 for a decent enough intro to autofocus SLR cameras.
     
  5. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    A Nikon F401 with a cheap Nikon zoom (28-80?) bought as an "introduction to autofocus" (!) package way back in 1988 (?). Absolutely shockingly slow and hesitant AF performance. This camera garnered more criticism and derision than the squeaky chain and squealing brakes on my bike! But...the el cheapo lens did focus accurately (eventually), delivered reasonably sharp images (on Kodachrome 200) and satisfied, for a while, my need for a lightweight workable camera during my bicycle touring travels. I eventually got jack of it, giving it to my neighbour who was a student in secondary school art class at the time. I moved systems to the Canon T90 (with the very handy FD 35-105mm), and another era began (I still use Canon).
     
  6. mweintraub

    mweintraub Member

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    I bought a Kiev 60 because I wanted a "small" 6x6 and it seemed like a cool system. I wasn't familiar with any lenses, so i just found one on ebay with a lens. I've been pleasantly surprised by the Vega 90mm 2.8 that it came with. Love the colors it produces on Ektar.
     
  7. randyB

    randyB Member

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    A Yashica Minster D my wife bought at a yard sale ($1.00), meter works and the 45mm f/2.8 lens is very sharp. When I want to play "60's tourist" this is the camera I hang around my neck.
     
  8. mjs

    mjs Member

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    Hmm. A Nikon N2020 with Nikon's 35-70 zoom. Just superb, both of them! If I didn't already have a bag full of Minolta gear... There was the Yashica Electro from an estate auction for $3. Just an excellent camera and lens. But my favorite (at the moment) is the Petri E.Bn rangefinder from the bottom of a box of "stuff" my wife paid $1 for at an auction. Most fun since film started coming in rolls!

    Mike
     
  9. Shootar401

    Shootar401 Member

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    Eastar TLR. It feels like a toy, but that lens is sharp!
     
  10. patrickth

    patrickth Member

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    I love my Petri F 1.9
     
  11. dynachrome

    dynachrome Member

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    The Cosina made SLR sold under the Vivitar and other names are not half bad when they are working. Put on a nice 55/1.8 SMC Pentax lens and you are set. Even the 35-70 lenses sold with the cameras are OK to use in bright light. I have a number of Nikon N2020s. If I can remember all of them there are six with one needing repair. As AF cameras they leave a lot to be desired but as manual focus cameras with the focus confirmation they are very nice to use. By now the N90S/F90X model costs so little that I would get another one of those before getting another N2020. I did get my first N2000 a few months ago and it's nice to use too if you don't need interchangeable screens. I already had the 35-105/3.5 Canon New FD when I got a later f/3.5-4.5 model. To my surprise the slower lens is quite good too. It's just nore sensitive to flare in difficult light. I added another f/3.5-4.5 so I can keep it with another FD body. One of my collections is of Minolta Celtic lenses. The last 35/2.8 is more compact and I first got it for that reason. Then I found the same lens with the Rokkor marking. They are both gems. Now I have several of the Celtics and one or two of the Rokkors. The last oddball item I will share is the 135/2.8 which is marked Promaster and Star D (and who knows what else). The focusing ring rotates almost 360 degrees and stops at a marked 1:5 magification. I have the Star D in Konca AR mount and two Promasters in Pentax mount. I use the Promasters mostly on a Pentax K-x DSLR. They are sharp and have the field of view of a 200 (approx.) wi the f/2.8 speed. They also get close.
     
  12. Silvertooth

    Silvertooth Member

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    By chance, is the trumpet just off the Strand?
     
  13. David Lyga

    David Lyga Subscriber

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    But PLEASE, not in the glove compartment. - David Lyga
     
  14. patrickth

    patrickth Member

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    I have a Subaru wagon. Its in the "tool bin" in the back. Very handy.
     
  15. spacer

    spacer Subscriber

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    My first slr was a Rebel X (no flash) with the kit lens, and while I did have feelings of inadequacy when out shooting popular subjects and surrounded by far superior (and more expensive) hardware, the images weren't bad at all. I knew nothing of bokeh at the time, so that didn't concern me.

    I was invited to bring it to a friend's wedding to do candid shots, and while my images were nothing like the pro's Bronnie, they did bring a lot of enjoyment later. I was the guy who got the bride's expression after the pro photographer told them they could relax... priceless.
    :smile:

    I still have the old Rebel, and as my daughter was expressing an interest in film photography (she's seven, and the kite wielder in one of my gallery shots), I'm considering letting her give it a go.
     
  16. GarageBoy

    GarageBoy Member

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    Nikon N2000 - bottom of the totem pole, but handles nicely, and I like the light up LED shutter speed indicator
    Hate how mine refuses to click (occasionally the motor thinks its the end of the roll and refuses to advance)
     
  17. MattKrull

    MattKrull Subscriber

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    My favourite 35mm SLR is my OM-40. I picked up a pair of OM10s with manual adapters and a fist full of lenses for $40. All are fantastic imo. The single digit OMs get a lot of love, but the double digits don't.

    I've got a plastic-bodied Ricoh 50mm f2 (nearly pancake) that is just plain nice to use.

    There are plenty of nice consumer-grade gear out there that is considered worthless because the old high end stuff is so cheap now.

    Four rolls of Ektar plus developing cost more than I paid for my OM40 sporting the kit lens.
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  18. spacer

    spacer Subscriber

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    Very nice. I knew a gal who swore by her OM10, I couldn't even get her to try my "modern" Rebel X. Can't argue with her results, though. Many of her photos were pretty awesome.
     
  19. Hatchetman

    Hatchetman Subscriber

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    I had this exact set up in the early 90s. Took a lot of great photos with it on vacations, holidays, etc. At f8, the lens is pretty much the same as every other. :laugh:
     
  20. Paugon

    Paugon Member

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    I had a Minolta XG-1 my father handed me down 8 years ago with a 45mm f2 blew away my xti & kit at the time. Then I got a Minolta 35-70mm f3.5 for $20 the one shared with leica I was wondering why that lens was so good colors sharpness was excellent.
     
  21. bob01721

    bob01721 Member

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    Those Rokkor lenses are killer!