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  1. #1

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    $30-80 vintage MF camera?

    My family drew names and I ended up with my brother-in-law's name for Christmas. The guy has everything. Except a MF camera. And he thinks my Yashicamat is cool. My limit is supposed to be $30, but I could go over if I have to by drawing in funds for his birthday next year [which is supposed to be $50 or less].

    I'm looking for something that produces really solid photos. Any ideas on what the cheapest, best vintage MF might be [that also is obtainable by moi]?

    Thanks
    Pamela

  2. #2
    reellis67's Avatar
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    Yahsicas can be had for $50, but if you want something with a guarantee, it'll likely cost more than your budget will allow. I sold a Yahsica D not too long ago for $50 that worked well or I would have something to offer you that had been tested out. If you go with a TLR, Minolta Autocords are good, as are the various Yahsica models and they should all fall in your price range.

    Various models of folding cameras are supposed to be nice, but I don't have a lot of experience with them so I can't help you there.

    - Randy

  3. #3
    reellis67's Avatar
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    One more thing - check the classifieds here. Mike Kennedy has a nice looking folder listed right now. It's a bit more than your budget, but it's a good deal for the price considering that it has been tested by someone you can trust.

    - Randy

  4. #4
    Robert Hall's Avatar
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    Look on ebay for a beautyflex. I have seen them for $15. I have one that has been used in the family for over 50 years. Still looks and works as new. It was a Japanese knock off. Really a nice camera and one can't beat the price. It is a 6x6cm format (square image)
    Robert Hall
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  5. #5
    eric's Avatar
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    Agfa Isola? I have one as well as a Clack.
    Or how about a few Holgas. You need a couple.

  6. #6

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    My first (and so far only) MF camera is a Lubitel 2. I got it on eBay for $21 plus shipping, but I don't recall what the shipping was. (The seller was in the USA, as am I, so I doubt if the total went far over $30.) It's a very basic camera, and in many ways it's klunky, but it does work and it takes decent photos. Most Lubitels on eBay are sold by Eastern European sellers, which will increase shipping time to Oregon and probably increase shipping cost, so pay attention to shipping fees if you go looking for one.

  7. #7
    sionnac's Avatar
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    Have you considered a box camera? Or would he want more options as to aperture & shutter speed etc....

  8. #8

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    My vote for "cheapest, best vintage MF" would be some of the old folders, with a early Yashica TLR a very close second. Of course it depends on what you mean by "really solid photos". I'll assume you mean more than a box camera or Holga.

    Agfa Isolettes (http://www.rolandandcaroline.co.uk/i...isolettei.html) are under $30 and even old Zeiss-Ikon 6x6 folders with Novar lenses can be found close to $30. The problem is finding one that is known to be working. Big issues are bellows (cracked and leaking light), shutters, and (on the Agfa) stuck focusing rings. But all of these can be reasonable home repairs except for bellows that are truly shredded and there is "how-to" info on the web.

    You can often find these very cheap on eBay, but it's a bit of a crapshoot as to condition and the shipping can cost you more than the camera. Rarely have they been tested, so my view is that you need to buy 2 or 3 to get or assemble 1 that works. There are sellers who has tested them or restored them - but then you're likely to be well over your $30 limit).

    I recently bought a cheap Agfa Isolette and spent about an hour cleaning and unsticking the lens. Shutter seems OK - will know when I develop film tonight. End result is over $30 if I place any value at all on my time - but it was more fun than cleaning the basement.

    Here's something to consider that I saw a bit ago: http://www.nwcollectorcamera.com/zeiss/ikonta_b.htm
    I've never dealt with them, but it provides a reference point.

    A TLR can avoid some of these issues. But with these simple folders a crude lens cleaning is within reach of the typical user - not necessarily so with the TLR.

    Anyway, that's my 2 cents.

  9. #9
    Dave Parker's Avatar
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    I over the years have owned quite a few Ciroflex TLR's and most of them were pretty darn good cameras with decent lenses, they were also marketed under the name Graflex 22 after the company was aquired by the graphic corp. I don't think I ever paid over $30 for one

  10. #10
    Bromo33333's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Parker View Post
    I over the years have owned quite a few Ciroflex TLR's and most of them were pretty darn good cameras with decent lenses, they were also marketed under the name Graflex 22 after the company was aquired by the graphic corp. I don't think I ever paid over $30 for one
    I just got a Graflex 22 - nice camera. Very manual, but takes decent pictures!

    The price is about right, even on eBay.

    Also Zeiss Ikoflex will be a bit more, but along the same lines.

    non-Yashica, non-Rollei TLR's are a good way to get something decent without spending too much.
    B & D
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