You need to look at the price of lenses, not the bodies. Yashica bodies for example are cheap, but Zeiss lenses are not. Probably the best deal these days is with Minolta for manual focus cameras. Pentax used to be a good deal as well but now digital has driven up the price of the older manual focus lenses.
Much of the above is from an American perspective. Prices in the UK second hand market and on Ebay.co.uk are higher here.
Recently, for a project I have of using cheap Nikon AF bodies, I have been monitoring Ebay and shop prices. While second hand camera shops prices seem to have stagnated over the last year and some tendency to lower prices, Ebay prices recently have gone up a bit.
There used to be a stream of cheap Nikon F50, 55, 60, 65, 75 and the older F401, but now prices have gone up to £20-30 for F55, as an example. Even the older F401 prices seem to have gone up and can fetch £30+.
Some have mentioned the F75. It is a very good camera. Bought one almost 2 years ago, but it came with a chip on the outer ring of the mode dial. Just a cosmetic flaw, fully functional. Paid £25 for the body. Added the MB-18 grip for £37. My other F75 came this year at about £35 and in excellent condition.
Just a few titbits: although they were the bottom of the Nikon range at some point, some had nice features such as a MLU with the Time function. It is the case of the Nikon F50. Some could show you the automated DX ISO setting like the F60 and the F65 was the first Nikon to come with a wireless remote control.
For the asking prices now, the Nikons F70 and F80 are probably the best deals. The F80 would be a better deal if it had exposure control in 1/3, like the F70 has, and the metering knob wasn't so fiddly. The F90X, being a semi-pro camera still can be had in the UK for very reasonable prices, although they have gone up in value recently.
Fed 2, 4, 5
Zenit 11, 12XP
Olympus OM-1 MD, OM-1N, OM-2N, OM-2SP, OM10
A bunch of Nikons
Except for the meters. K1000's are just as bad.
Originally Posted by elekm
If you look at just body price vs features, I would suggest a Minolta Dynax/Maxxum 5. Every feature you could think of (motor drive, AF, wireless TTL flash, ultrasonic-focus support, matrix metering, all PASM modes, etc) but they're plasticky and don't have the fastest X-sync. Typical price is $10 to $20. If you want a tiny, light and full-featured SLR then it's an excellent option.
The only drawback is they take Minolta lenses (which are excellent) and Sony has been so successful in selling DSLRs compared to Minolta that the best lenses are getting quite pricy compared to Canon/Nikon options. A 50/1.7 or consumer-grade f/3.5-4.5 zoom will still be very cheap though.
The upside of that is that you can put brand new autofocus Zeiss glass (24/2, 85/1.4, 135/1.8, etc) on it, plus the 135 STF lens with bokeh-apodisation filter.
The most amazing deals I've seen in recent years, considering the quality and capability of the gear in question, has to be the Nikon N80 and Canon Elan IIE. I got some of each for around $25 apiece, in extremely nice condition. Why? People seem to have no regard for these bodies, for no reason I can think of. They're both fabulous cameras.
Right now in Spain they're holding the Running of the Bulls,
followed by the Soiling of the Pants, and the Burying of the Idiots.
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I've had good luck with the Pentax cameras, except for the ME. Only had one good one so far.
Originally Posted by waynecrider
I like the Minolta XD-11, anld two were bad out of the (postal) box, and all had really bad body covering. Sweet cameras, when they are working correctly.
I once picked up a used EX condition Canon EOS Rebel XSn for $17 (plus shipping) from KEH. There are other variants of the Rebel that go for similar prices, and a basic 35-80mm zoom lens can be had for as little as ~$25 if you aren't picky. I tell my students to get one of these instead of a digital SLR, and use the savings to buy and process film.
“Art is what we call... the thing an artist does." Seth Godin
There are still lots of inexpensive SLR options. In Minolta manual focus I have picked up SRT201 models for $25 to $40 with lens, usually the 45/2. Excellent deals to be had but prices are going up just a little bit.
Minolta Autofocus Maxxum 5, have bought four for no more than $15 each and ended up with three good ones. Lenses are also inexpensive, especially the slower kit zooms. If you are patient you can frequently get camera and lens together at a very nice price. I buy these and give them to the grandkids with expired color film and they use the daylights out of them. They look cheap but they are actually pretty tough. Focus is slow but if you can live with that these are great cameras. Excellent exposure systems.
The Pentax P3 camera series are still very inexpensive. My latest example cost me $20 two months ago. If you can live with the 50/2 lenses, which are absolutely great, then you can expect this combo to be in the $40 range.
I've gotten several Canon EOS Rebel bodies with low end lenses for $0-$30. I've been pretty happy with the value from them.
Any of the double digit om bodies, really cheap, and the great 50mm 1.8 is usually on them as a package. the om-40 or the om pc is the latest and probably the best choice.