I learned that hard lesson a very long time ago.
Originally Posted by Alan Gales
I recently bought a Kiev 4a, made in 1959. I'd decided I wanted a high quality rangefinder with interchangeable lenses, and had become interested in the FSU stuff. Along the way, I lucked into a cosmetically beautiful Canon IIb body and needed a cheap lens - so I got a mid 70s Jupiter 8. Bingo!! A nice little coated version of the f:2 Sonnar I had years ago on a Contax II. An FSU lens that works!! Who'd a thunk it?
Months go by, and I get more and more intrigued with the Kievs. I finally buy one... it comes in the mail... I open the box... and it's just like having my Contax back. It has none of the problems I read about on the internet - frame spacing is even; no lightleaks; rangefinder is spot-on; the lens is great (albeit neither of my J-8s behave like a modern lens until somewhere around f:5.6-f:8... they aren't modern lenses though being designed in 1931 when the option was darkness); the camera feels works and sounds like a Contax. Just about everything I read was rubbish, I'd got to the point that I realized that the only way I would actually know was by having one in my hands.
It seems that some very common wisdom is "buy one, try it, if it's not for you, sell it". Whatever happened to doing one's homework? I don't mean reading some ignorant bloviation on a computer screen - I mean actually researching and thinking. I bought my first, only, and last 4x5 in 1987. Still have it and use it. An 8x10 came along in '89, ditto.
Possibly the only disappointing camera I've ever had was an OM-4 - which was a gift. It ate batteries and was a nice paperweight without electricity - I sold it and got a Nikon F which I still have and use.
Last edited by E. von Hoegh; 08-21-2014 at 03:45 PM. Click to view previous post history.
You may not believe this but in 62 years that I've owned cameras I can't say that I have ever owned one that I have been disappointed with, but having said that I'm not an compulsive camera buyer, in all the time I've been interested in photography have probably not owned a total of more that 18 cameras in all that time ( 8 of which I still own ). I don't buy cameras from auction sites or anywhere else I haven't had in my hands and tested them first.
Last edited by benjiboy; 08-21-2014 at 04:31 PM. Click to view previous post history.
I love my F5 but am disappointed that I will have to sell it. It is just to heavy for my sore joints these days.
As am I. You'll never really know until you use one; as I pointed out anent the Kiev. But, do some due diligence first!
Originally Posted by Alan Gales
So long as you buy one at a realistic price, it's like free tuition. When I got my 8x10 - a Deardorff - I had no opportunity to see or handle one but I did have access to a 4x5 Special which led me to believe the V8 was for me. It was and is.
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The pile of broken Nikon N2000s I got off ebay- Something with a Nikon mount, with full manual controls, small (unlike the later AF Nikons), has a real focusing screen- what more could I want? Took me 3 dead ones to get to a working one... Also, the N2020's AF is a novelty "it can focus by itself, coool! Okay, lets get back to work..." ::turns AF off::
Also, the dead N8008 I got (I just can't win...)
I agree with the comments about Rolleiflex SLR products (SL66 stories)
My dad picked up a pair of SL35Es NOS in the 90s - both DOA
SL35s eat their winding system
SLXs are just unreliable
But their lenses are soooooo nice
Olympus OM. I had a OM1. Yes it is small, light, looks cool and I like the shutter ring. I had a 50/1.8 which was sharp but bland, a 135/3.5 that was sharp but just as bland in rendering, a 35/2 that was unusable wide open and a 28/2 that flared real bad and wasn't even sharp (probably was a dud). The only lens I actually liked was a 35/2.8. But the dark standard focus screen didn't make it nice to use. I also had a OM-4Ti. Never felt right.
So I swapped both for a FM2n. Which I then sold for a EOS 3. Which looks, weight an sounds like a pig but is actually really ergonomic and fast to use. Doesn't look as cool as FM2n with a Zeiss 50 though.
Some surprising responses here - such as the M3 and F4, which are two of my favorites. I held off on getting an F4 for so long (because it was an AF camera and all my cameras were MF). Then, on a total lark, I discovered how much fun a Rebel G was. So, that changed everything. I love the controls on the F4: the last Nikon pro body to have all of its settings done entirely by manual knobs and switches. Until the Df, it was also the body best capable of using all the lens types, from NAI to the latest AF-S and G (with some caveats).
None of what I have has been a disappointment. But, before my first serious camera, I came across a ... I hate calling it a camera... I came across a *thing*. I absolutely hate and loathe it. If you were to give me one, I'd throw it in a dumpster - a dumpster far from my house because I don't want it near me. What is it? It's a horrible, monstrous, concoction called...
Argus C-3 <shudder>.
It feels worse than a brick, it's physically painful to focus, and its "viewfinder" is an insult to photographers.
Nikon: F, F2 x3, F2S x2, F3/T x2, F4S x2, FM, FM3a, D700
Canon: AE-1P, RebelG x2, Elan 7NE, QL17GIII, Canonet 28
Leica: M3 x2, M6 x2
Exakta: VX x3
Hasselblad: 500C/M, 501C, SWC, 553ELX
Mamiya: RB67 Pro S x2
Fuji: GW690III, X-Pro1
Polaroid: SX-70, SLR 690, Image 1200
Other: Pentax SP500, Ricoh GR1, Voigtländer Bessamatic, Minolta Maxxum 7, Graflex Pacemaker 4x5
Lenses: way too many to list
No matter what the camera someone doesn't like it and conversely just about all cameras have their fans.
I don't know anyone into Argus C-3's though.
This is going to be surprising like Theo's post but... my answer is the Nikon F3. All this hype and everything. Used it for a while. Then I got a "new" one and suddenly the shutter started to have issues at 1/2000 of a second... right where I'm shooting O_o. Nearly destroyed a wedding. Thankfully I was shooting a few other cameras that day.
I've since sworn off the Nikon F3 and am looking to sell them! (I have 2). The Nikon F4 has been a tank but it's mainly a back-up for now.