I have a 1956 Autocord that came to me in what I would consider "UG" cosmetic condition - specifically the leatherette was old, cracked and peeling/breaking off. Otherwise, the lenses are perfect, no metal/paint scratches worth mentioning and the focus lever is intact (though it's slow focus belies it's need for a CLA - which I don't currently have the $ for).
For $26 US, iirc, I bought a GripTac 'leatherette' from cameraleather (dot) com. I've used my Autocord a bit, not as much as I should, but the results have been pleasing given that they incorporated my 1st ever self-developed b&w films. My Autocord is a "Seikosha MX" variant and does not have a built-in light-meter. Further, I believe someone along the ownership chain had the light seals replaced b/c my is tight as a drum.
I'd snap up the "UG" condition one at KEH - especially for the low asking price - buy a new leatherette for it then send it off for a CLA. It's an amazing little camera and a bunch 'o fun to use.
While not specific to your question, I can tell you my experience with my Mat 124G. I picked up a nice looking example locally from Craigslist for $120 then had it overhauled by Mark Hama for $165 plus return shipping ($190-ish total), putting it in the $300-350 range that non-overhauled Mats seem to go for on that auction site. It is much more compact and much much lighter than my Rapid Omega. The Autocords from KEH seem to track the Yashica's price pretty closely, so I would budget ~$350 and hope to be pleasantly surprised. You will miss the 6x7 negatives.
When talking about [most] Rolleiflex/Rolleicord, TLR, imitations/copies, the selling price never seems
Any idea of what price to pay for one?
to truly coincide with the quality of the camera body, lens quality, or the quality of the images produced.
Autocords and Diacords were, until recently, $25-$50 cameras.
Both have quirks, such as the Autocord's stuck or broken focus lever, and both have limited or stubborn
shutter speeds, often questionable or inoperative flash sync, and non-coated or single coated lenses.
Also, don't count-on any light meters to function accurately in any of these cameras, even if you use a 'zink air' battery.
If you're looking for say, a $100 or less TLR, I think your better bet would be a Yashica.
Not the 124-G, but something earlier.
The 124-G's have been hyped-up in price, just because they were the latest/last model produced.
The Autocord's and Diacord's have also, been hyped-up in price, because people found out a $25-$50 camera
could produce acceptable, or fairly good images. People talked about them...the prices went up.
I like the ability to use interchangeable lenses, so I'm a big fan of the Mamiya 'C' series cameras, but...that's another story.
Are they bulkier and heavier? Yes, but they have better build quality and better lenses.
With patience, you can get a body and maybe two (2) lens sets for around $250.
Oh, I'm not going to disagree that certain camera's are over-valued for what they are, but second hand gear is always going to be as the market dictates. I am sure you would have paid a lot less for a 57 Chev in 1970 then you would have in 1980.
The Mamiya C is not what I am after - I really don't want to buy into a system (unless the price is 100% right).
But tell me more about Yashica's! There are certainly more plentiful on the evil auction site and with a variety of prices.
The Yashica Mats were blatant copies of Rolleiflexes with pretty much the same control layout. The non-Mats (A-D) lacked the automatic transport and had lesser taking lenses (triplets, as I recall.) The better lenses are the Tessar derived Yashinons. As far as I know, the Mat series were the Mat (meterless, and presumably 120 only), Mat 12 (120 only), Mat 24 (220 only), Mat 124 (120/220) and Mat 124G (Mat 124 with gold electrical contacts and black finish.) It is said that some of the tooling had worn out by the time of the 124G so that the 124 has a more robust transport mechanism. They are nice little cameras capable of fine performance. Originally designed for mercury cells, they can be calibrated for modern batteries. I bought my first 124G while in high school in the early '70s ($110) and used the hell out of it (to nice effect) for years. As with the Rolleis, the simple built-in meter is better than it's reputation would suggest. There are a couple of quirks that one should be aware of. First, one should never use the self-timer in M-sync as shutter damage will result (not helped by the fact that it is much too easy to change the sync setting, unlike the Rollei.) Second, it should not be dry-fired with a spool in the take-up position (it is said to confuse the frame spacing.) Mark Hama is the guy in the western hemisphere for service. If I could afford a Rolleiflex F I would happily toss my 124G into a swamp (or ebay :P ) but I can't, so I won't.
Last edited by Jim Rice; 06-20-2013 at 12:00 AM. Click to view previous post history.
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The Mamiya C220 was first manufactured in April 1968, so it would be close to your criteria.
Originally Posted by hoffy
They are lighter than the more complex C3/C33/C330 series.
They are larger than an Autocord.
They are excellent, reliable cameras. With an 80mm f/2.8 lens of that or later vintage, one could give you years of excellent service.
“Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”
Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2