A folding Ikonta or a folding Zeiss Nettar is an excellent place to start. If you look on the big auction the Nettars seem to be a little more abundant. I've had Tessar(Ikonta) and Novar(Nettars) lenses both and you can't go wrong with either. If you want cheap, but good look for the Nettar with the 75mm f6.3 Novar lens. I have two Nettars, one with the 75mm f6.3 and the other with a 75mm f4.5, both Novar lenses. If you stop down to f8 you won't know the difference between the Tessar or Novar. Actually the plus to the Novar is the fact that if you have a f4.5 or f3.5 version you have a sweet portrait shutter wide open. You can find coated or none coated versions of each lens. I have a nice uncoated Tessar in my Ikonta and for some shots it is just what the doctor ordered, but my favorite all-a-rounder is the Nettar 521/16 with a coated 75mm f4.5 Novar. These are KISS cameras and won't where your brain out trying to take pictures. I'd say buy something like I just suggested to get your feet wet and if you like roll film shooting, which I'm sure you will, then jump in with both feet and upgrade. I thing the cheapest your going to be able to buy with interchangeable lenses is something in the Mamiya twin lens field. A good C33, C330 or C220 are really great cameras at a very fair price. Another cheap one is the Koni Omega Rapid series. 6x7 format with some of the very best lenses I have ever used. If you are looking at a nicer, more expensive outfit then do what was suggested above and that's go to KEH's web site. Oh, and don't be afraid of something marked "BGN" on KEH's site, because most of the time it would be considered the same as excellent off eBay. If you get things narrowed down you can just post another question. Something like "Which one of these should I get"? I'm sure you'll get a bunch of help on that one also. Good luck! JohnW
Originally Posted by elekm
Thank you all very much.
When I say I am on a budget I mean I don't wish to spend more than $200-300 at this moment. I've already stretched my hobby budget by getting some lenses for my Canon F-1 and some darkroom equipment.
I like the idea of getting a TLR, probably some Yashica. I still need to read about other makes and models you recommended. I am not a big fan of getting a Pentax - they look to me like some over-sized 35mm cameras and I would prefer waist-level finder.
Also the square format of 6x6 appeals to me for some unexplainable subjective reason.
Since you said you would like interchangeable lenses then you are the perfect candidate form a Mamiya C33 or C330. I have used these cameras in the past and they are great. The C330 I had even allowed 1:1 close-up macro work with parallax correction to boot. These were/are truly professional cameras. I don't have one anymore, but it's not because they aren't any good that's for sure. I have my deceased brother-in-laws like new Yashica 124G and while it's a nice camera and excellent in the optics department it can't hold a candle to a nice C330. The nice thing about the Mamiya cameras is that they fit your budget. Do look into them very closely. Have fun! JohnW
Originally Posted by Sepia Hawk
Dittos on everything John Wiegerink said. I have an Ikonta 521/16 with the Novar and it is really fun and easy to use, just fold it up and slip it into a pocket. Recently CLA'd, the shutter speeds are spot on. I also have the C33 with the 80, 105, 135 and 180 lenses. Image quality is outstanding with all of them. It's a bit heavy to carry around, but not something you can't get used to.
All paths are the same: they lead nowhere. Choose the one that has heart.
My thought entirely.
Originally Posted by pbromaghin
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My suggestion to OP is to first decide the fundamental body type, which can take interchangeable lenses...
Single lens reflex
Twin lens reflex
In all three types there are mechanically timed shutter mechanisms
In the SLR there are electronically timed shutters in newer models in addition to mechanically timed shutters in older models.
The suggestions so far are all over the map, because the OP has not sufficient bounded the search parameters.
'Inexpensive' is not necessarily confined to much older cameras...You can get into a fairly modern SLR like the Bronica ETRS for about $300 with lens(es), about 10% of the new price 15 years ago.
I feel a bit overwhelmed. Having read all your suggestions and advice I think I will try to limit my preferences:
-I prefer either 6x6 or 645, with more preference for the square format of 6x6. My enlarger came with a 6x6 negative carrier and a 75mm lens, so I am ready.
-interchangeable lenses would be nice, but it is not that important, I think I will eventually get two medium format cameras - one with a fixed lens and another one with interchangeable lenses.
- my preferred style would be either TLR or a SLR with a waist level finder at the moment. Some rangefinders look lovely, but I want to depart from my 35mm/DSLR habits.
-I would prefer a model that is relatively easy and cheap to fix by a specialist. My own mechanical skills are limited and although I'd like to learn a bit about cleaning and fixing cameras, I am not gonna do it now.
-I have a Gossen Luna Pro light meter, so the camera does not have to have its own meter.
If you are lucky you may get Rolleicord V(x) for less than Euro 100. Good luck.
OM-1n: Do I need to own a Leica?
Rolleicord Va: Humble.
Holga 120GFN: Amazingly simple yet it produces outstanding negatives to print.
... then seriously consider the reccomendations for Rollei Va or Vb. That was my "starter MF camera" in 1982 and I used it until a couple of years ago when I got the uncontrollable urge for a Hasselblad. I tried a Yashica along the way and didn't like it as much as the Rolleicord. Plus, Rollei accessories are easily available so i fyou want to expand your capabilities you can do that... except you'll be restricted to a single lens, which did not turn out to be too much of a limitation for me.
Low cost + interchangeable lenses screams "Mamiya TLR" to me. See Mamiya C33, C220, C330 variants. I have some examples in my gallery of C330 with 80mm lens. I have some other lenses but to be honest I almost never take the 80mm off.
Though I must say, I occasionally see a Mamiya RB67 SLR with lens for under $200 on Craigslist. I don't own one (yet) but I imagine them to be a bit heavier than the C330. I could be wrong on that. As TLR's go I think the C330 is on the heavy side because it's a lot more complex than a Rollei or Yashica with non-removable lens.