Mechanical bodies can almost always be fixed. In the worst case, a good technician can always manufacture a part, not that machanical cameras often need new parts. It's electronic and "newer" cameras that need entire proprietary modules replaced (therefore being 100% dependant on original spares) when something goes wrong.
Problem is finding competent repairs for any type of camera. Techs "making" parts is a bit of a fantasy outside a handful of specialists catering to luxury brands. Supplies of purely mechanical cameras are obviously shrinking due to age. Battery-dependent 35mm SLRs are thick on the ground now and usually cheap--so cheap that busted ones get pitched and replaced with another.
I would look at KEH's bargain bin; aka "as-is". I got a Nikon FE2 and a Nikon FM2n for $40 each. Keep checking back. The stuff in the as-is section changes daily. I would recommend KEH "as-is" as being miles ahead of eBay in accuracy of description and value for money, which is to say "forget eBay".
Oh I dunno,
Most levers can be fabricated pretty easily. Wouldn't want to attempt gears though. Plastic bits can sometimes be repaired if all the fragments are there.
Wouldn't do it for $$$ but the stuff I use myself.
I'd buy a nikon over an ae1. The ae1 is prone to shutter problems if it goes unused for a long time. I've purchased four ae1s and they all had slow shutters, I give up trying to find a working one.
Nikon seems a lot more reliable. I've purchased over 20 used nikon slrs and the only issues I've ever encountered are meters being slightly off or lcds bleeding or fading.
Which is why I said my favourite viewfinder is a bit like an H screen "but better": A much finer grain and works perfectly with all lenses....
Originally Posted by CGW
Again, there's no accounting for taste. I have tried the Nikkor 45mm f/2.8: a pretty standard Tessar clone, good but nothing to get excited about. For my taste, it's also too long...
A 35mm Summicron on a Leicaflex SL or an M6... Now there is a thing of beauty!!!
(as far as the OP is concerned, not quite budget, though not as expensive as urban legends and the uninformed make them out to be).
Wow thanks for all the replies you have helped a LOT im looking at ffordes and a used camera shop i just found near me, with regards AF thats not what im looking for i just dont like AF even on my DSLR i very rarely have it set to AF i like to be able to control what i want in focus :)
I do want a nice lens so i am looking into cheaper cameras with nicer lenses, re: CLAing i am fairly confident in my own skills when repairing things while i have repaired only a few cameras i have a 100% success rate doing it :)
when arguing electronic over fully manual i am totally a manual lover with the exception of a lightmeter which i do like to save me having to carry my Ikonphoto light meter with me :)
thanks for all your help with any luck i shall be photoing a few days after pay day comes around :)
This has reminded me of a line by Humphrey Lyttelton on the BBC Radio Four programme, I'm Sorry, I haven't a clue.
Originally Posted by Selidor
Whilst introducing a contestant he remarked "he attracts girls like bees around a magnet".
I totally agree, the Pentax lenses are first rate. Another possiblity is the Nikon EM which allows the use of many Nikon lenses. I picked up one in mint condition for US $60 with a telephoto lens and camera bag.
Originally Posted by Ian Grant
I would avoid the Minolta SR/SRT series. These cameras use a fragile thread to connect the aperture ring to the cameras built in meter. The thread passes over several pulleys. Should it break the camera is useless and repair costs more than the camera. I was given one and was shocked by this poor design.
I'm not a fan of the SRT's either, but to be fair. the technology at the time still used discrete components for the meter. I've never seen a broken string where something hasn't been forced.
Originally Posted by Gerald C Koch
FWIW the Canon AE-1 used a tungsten wire to connect elements on one side of the camera to the other. People have even broken those and they are tough.
Olympus used thread in either the OM-1 or OM-2 as a mechanical connection to the meter.
A am not a repairer, as a layman I suppose a thread-pulley mechanism is very common wherever there is a following needle. The aperture ring, the shutter knob and the ASA knob each operate a pulley and move the following needle. If the groove of the pulley is deep enough I guess it is very, very difficult to dislodge the thread from a pulley. The thread has no workload and so it should not break easily, the design is probably sturdier than it looks, unless the thread is a rubber one, which could fail with time. If the thread is an ordinary silk or nylon thread, I would deem the entire mechanism quite dependable, as it needs no lubrication. The only thing that could make it fail is a knock so hard to dislodge a pulley, but that knock would dislodge pretty much anything, I suppose.