I know you nor anyone on this forum can do anything about my displeasures. I'm glad you guys are telling like it is, though, because then I won't have any big surprises upon receiving a camera. Why won't I be pleased? It seems as though I now know what I'll be getting into. It seems frustrating, but I know that once I get into it and play around with it for a month, it will be natural to me. It was the same thing with SLRs...a lot of stuff that was over my head but as I slowly learned the things and tested it out, now SLRs are very easy.
Originally Posted by tkamiya
My name isn't Virginia. Well, I didn't know that these cameras weren't built to last. I mean, they have superior construction to a modern dSLR, so I would have thought TLRs and other older MF would be in it for the long haul, much like manual 35mm SLRs. I mean, I guess they are, they just need maintenance. Now that I think about it, it's actually good to know that there is a person who specifically knows what they are doing when fixing up old TLRs, as that ensures that I can keep using it for a long time. I'm sure if there was a hiccup on my 35mm SLR, the repairs would not be considered "worth it" and I'd just have to buy a new one.
Originally Posted by BrianShaw
And excuse me, unless we have different ideas on what the "basics of photography" are, I think I have a good hold on the basics. Nothing in medium format, in my opinion, minus aperture, ISO, shutter speed, etc. would be considered the basics. If you mean the basics of medium format photography, then I agree. I haven't come across any books, but I'm far from done searching.
Also, I just opened those links, they look very helpful and shall be bookmarked. Thanks very much!
Originally Posted by h.v.
Well... I say that because I think you still have high expectations.
Let me give you my own examples.
I have a Mamiya 645 System. I originally bought a two lens kit with 645 Super from someone I know. The body eventually failed and I had to replace it with another one (I upgraded to Pro) for $200 or so. I bought an additional back from a dealer. It leaked light and I found out about it too late. I sold it as parts to someone here. I still have this kit and enjoy using it. (and yes, I am still friends with the seller)
I had a Rolleicord V that I purchased from here. Other than what I was told by the seller that didn't work, everything worked. It was a nice camera and well maintained. I sold it because it just wasn't my thing. If I wanted this "perfect," I would have to do a CLA because self-timer didn't work. That would have cost me few hundred bucks.
I was given a couple of folders. (folding medium format cameras). They range from 40 to 100+ years old. Yeah, they leak light all over the place! With some, I spent few rolls and foam to seal them up.
I bought an RB here on APUG. Secured a return privileged before buying. Upon testing, I found few things didn't work right. Seller gladly took it back as promised.
I bought an RZ Pro-II from a retailer. Cocking didn't work reliably. Sent it back for refund.
I bought an RB Pro-S from a retailer. Light leak detected. Back returned for refund.
I bought two more backs for the above RB. STILL LEAKS LIGHT! Returned everything for refund.
At every step, I used a roll or two of film, and chemical and time to do the testing. A week or two was necessary from purchasing to the refund. Then the next cycle continues.
I just want you to be aware, this may happen to you as well. As it's been said few times, in this thread, we are dealing with older equipment with things that can wear out. It isn't like buying later model 35mm gear. Remember I said $450? What would happen to you if you spent your $250, get a working camera, and have it fail in 6 months? Would you be able to take care of it? Often, repair will cost you more than just get another body, lens, etc.
Good luck to you.
And to contrast the above, I'm two for two with regards to bodies and lenses that worked like they were supposed to. It's half luck, and half preference. I'm fine with a beater - someone else may deem my camera in need of service.
Once again: Medium format cameras are generally built to the same standards as 35mm SLRs, if not better. You can have the same expectation out of a medium format camera as you do for your 35mm cameras.
I didn't mention this but there was an order for another MF gear that the seller switched the label and went missing. I'd be glad to trade places with you. I think I'm done buying for this year!
Hah! My bad luck has been on eBay this year. I won 3 great cameras for great prices...and then the sellers refused to ship, and relisted them hoping for a higher price :(
Originally Posted by tkamiya
I almost had a Fuji GX680...bit of a dream camera for me.
On top of that, I'm zero for two in terms of rangefinders...both needed (expensive) calibration. You win some, you lose some, right? :)
We need to start a GAS anonymous forum on APUG with a secret hand-shake for good purchases and group hug for ones that went badly. I admit, I like equipment as much as photographing with them.
You make your own luck buying used gear, largely through homework, patience, and pickiness. Get impulsive, impatient, and indiscriminate and you're asking for it. My strategy is get the newest, cleanest, lowest rollage you can afford. Don't sucker for attributes, e.g., "workhorse," "bullet-proof," "can be used to pound nails," etc. They're just machines and they fail with age and working hours, whatever you hear on APUG or elsewhere. Don't buy a holy relic and expect a miracle. Pick a format, features and budget and start shopping. Don't be afraid to take some time and to build up a camera from bits. This can work for you if you're short on scratch. Get a clean body, wait for lens or a film back or WLF. Buy what you need. Always works for me.
You seem to consistently be missing the point. The "build quality" on TLRs varies, just as it does (did) for manual SLRs. Some are better than others. The more expensive and "better name" generally means better build quality. But they aren't like Timex watchs. Remember them --"takes a lickin' and still keeps ticken'"? They require periodic maintenance under normal conditions, and repair under harsher conditions. As an example, I bought a Rollei about 25 years ago. It was essentially NIB but it was still 15 - 20 years old. The shutter ran, but indicated that it needed its lubricants refreshed. $100 (1980's dollars!) later I had a NIB Rollei that was performing to factory specs. I used it for 20 years, then retired it -- not because it was broken, or anything else -- but because I needed interchangable lenses so a MF SLR met my needs better.
Originally Posted by h.v.
Re: 35mm SLR... call me foolish, but I had my 1981 Nikon F3 overhauled a couple of years ago "just because" and I'll bet it will run another 20 years if I don't abuse it. The cost for that overhaul was probably twice the price of a "new one" on ebay, but I know it is performing to factory specs and can be counted on to get the job done. That ebay one -- who knows?
I'm glad you enjoyed the links.
p.s. "the fundamentals of photography" includes how to use of hand-held meters. ;)
Note that buying from KEH at anything above a BGN rating shouldn't need service, and if it does they have a fantastic refund policy. Factor in $30-40 for shipping to Canada.
Exactly. I paid $158 for my Yashica 124 but I knew I was taking a chance. If it didn't work out it was off to Mark Hama, which I could afford. It's been fine so I haven't sent it.
Buy a meter, buy a camera hoping it's good out of box but realizing it might need service and budgeting for that. Save up if needed. It may be more expensive than you hoped but it is NOT complicated. We can't do anything about the price.
Download a manual for the camera and meter and go shoot some film. You'll catch on quickly enough. It's ok to make mistakes. If you do some research and don't over pay you can sell without much loss if it doesn't suit you.