Storyteller, your little post has caused me to pull out some of my poor little orphaned 6x9 folders again and put them to use. Thank you.
I bought a very nice Rolleicord V for £35 which didn't require any work. A fully working 6x9 camera could easily be bought for under $40.
Obviously there is a bit of a gamble with Ebay and equally you could spend that much on something which doesn't work but that doesn't mean it can't be done.
just scored a promaster tripod + monopod combo for a dollar, plus 22 shipping, so 150-200 worth of support gear for under 25 bucks... keeping my eye open for a folder, tlr or speed graphic or other press camera. my local camera store said they have a baby press with roll back for about 125 complete... I think that might be the way Im heading. I can buy gift cards in any amount and save up for a few bucks at a time.
I just this morning found an Ansco Viking for $25 + $13 shipping. I guess it's a gamble if the scale focus ring is stuck, but I might have a use for the shutter in another project if the camera can't be cleaned up and and used. Either way I'll have fun seeing if I can get it to work...:)
Im kinda getting to that point, what can I get out of the camera.
The camera my folks got me is a Century, with the 103mm Trioptar. It has a rollfilm "23" on it, so no ground glass. No rangefinder either, so its definitely 'entry level' Stil, its one of the most basic MF 'system' I can get and I am sure will be miles above my 35mm. I am expecting it in a few weeks, when they drive up to visit, also bringing me a little gift from a very nice person here. :)
Im excited about it and what I can do with it, Im sure its a project that will keep me busy until I can afford a 4x5 view camera.
If it has a lens, somewhere for film and a space between them in the form of a box to keep the darkness in, you can use it to make pictures. Extra features are nice and can help you get to the taking stage but at the time you press the shutter, all that matters is the lens and the film.
I think the important thing is to just get something and start to use it - even if it's not exactly what you want (assuming you know what that is at this stage).