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What's with the exorbitant pricing for the Electro 35 GSN?
Old 04-04-2014   #1
m1ckDELTA
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What's with the exorbitant pricing for the Electro 35 GSN?

The GSN was the first camera I ever owned, saved up an entire summer to buy one from a family friend when I was thirteen. I've been wanting a film camera for a bit now and thought, "Why not a GSN? I thought it would be an inexpensive proposition what with all the, "I paid $25 for one in mint condition.", stories but man-o-man. Even the ones going for $40+ seem to be dirty and of questionable functionality. Many are going for $70 - $150; some claiming a complete CLA has been done, other as questionable as cheaper ones.

What is up with these prices?

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Old 04-04-2014   #2
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Sadly, it's all about perceived value, if it's "cool" looking, and that whole "I just checked on eBay and it says this here camera is worth $xx.xx USD".

There's also a growing number of people who want Electros for their shooting because the cameras are just way cool looking and many of those will start with an E35, realize they need a GSN for the faster ISOs, and then that's yet another person out there looking and buying them up.

You can find a nice working GSN for $50 or less. I know you can as I've done it three times. You just have to watch auctions, sales, ads, etc and leap on them and try and try until you find one that is what you want. For the 4-5 Electro's (and GSN versions) I've purchased, I've never never paid over $50. The last two GSNs were both $30 or less each.

I've yet to find a black one that is in that price range, and only one of the ones I got had a case, but still they are out there. You just have to want it enough and be saavy.

If you are in the US, goodwill's site almost always has some Electros and there's usually at least one GSN in there. I've had good luck there. Just make sure you have the battery (or adapter) on hand to test it when it arrives.

I think I've had a harder time finding certain Konica and Canonets then anything. But I'm sure someone somewhere on some hip site will mention a new must have old camera and then the others will be free for us to purchase. Who knows.

I'll be happy to keep an eye out for them. I pretty much buy any E35s I run across if they appear to be working but aren't tested and snag GSNs as well. So who knows.
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Old 04-04-2014   #3
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I paid $35 for mine a few years ago and think I overpaid by about $34.50. It might be the only camera I've ever owned that I just couldn't get along with, and mine was in pristine condition. Something about it, I don't know.

If you are looking at online auctions, that would explain the crazy prices. There are good deals sometimes, but usually not.

Then again, I don't see them around in the RFF classifieds too often, so I am not sure where to suggest looking for one.
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Old 04-04-2014   #4
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Never pay more than 50$ for an Electro, I've owned atleast 5 different electrons from the MG-1 (my fav.) To the GSN and GTN and CC.

Deals are out there, just be patient.

I made a good amount of coin when I decided to sell a few years back, but at these recent prices, I could have made a lot more!

My personal suggestion? Go for a Minolta Hi-Matic 7. There's not anything really special about the Yashicas, and just about every camera company made a compact RF with a fast 1.7-1.8-1.9-2.8 lens.
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Old 04-04-2014   #5
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Get a GX.
The daddy.
You want black or silver?
Could sell you either!
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Old 04-04-2014   #6
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The GSN has long been undervalued. A clean, good working GSN is going to be able to take some really nice photos. A GSN will do 90% of what a Leica will do, for much less than 90% of the price of a Leica. I have sold top condition GSN cameras for more than $100 on eBay, I wish I could find more.
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Old 04-04-2014   #7
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Plus Peter Parker used one in a recent movie.

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Old 04-04-2014   #8
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I really like the lens quality, but being fully auto only is a drawback when the meter fails. Which has happened on the last two that I have had.
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Old 04-04-2014   #9
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don't have the camera any more but do have the yashica mini tripod that came as an optional extra with the camera
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Old 04-04-2014   #10
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^ Not sure if fully auto is the term I'd use,as the GSN does require you to manually adjust the aperture . Regards,Peter
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Old 04-04-2014   #11
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Plus Peter Parker used one in a recent movie.

Cool gif by the way, did you find it on the WEB, Peter Parker ..............web, oh dear me time for bed as my puns are getting bad
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Old 04-04-2014   #12
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I just bought a GSN that needed the POD replaced and some other work, but now that that's done it's damn near perfect. Came with a full case, too. It's a nice camera, with what seems to be a very good lens, but I have to say that I haven't really connected with it. Maybe it's the size, maybe it's the aperture priority-only operation, or maybe it's something else, but I don't feel it's likely to stay around for all that long. In that context, I can't say I'm sad to hear that prices are unreasonably high right now.

I think the Electros served a particular market segment, and served it well. The camera is really easy to use - the lights and arrows in the VF make it very intuitive for almost anyone to use well. But today, with fixed lens film RFs being used primarily by a small group of skilled enthusiasts, the Electros have lost a lot of their initial appeal. For me, something like the Olympus 35 SP I just got or my old Canonet QL19 offer a lot more because of their fully manual capabilities, something the Electros don't have.
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Old 04-04-2014   #13
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bought one for $45, used for a year and gave it for free to a RFF member during Christmas giveaway..
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Old 04-04-2014   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frontman View Post
The GSN has long been undervalued. A clean, good working GSN is going to be able to take some really nice photos. A GSN will do 90% of what a Leica will do, for much less than 90% of the price of a Leica. I have sold top condition GSN cameras for more than $100 on eBay, I wish I could find more.
....because it's underquality. A clean [insert any rangefinder from Japan, Germany, or the Soviet Union] any camera is going to be able to take some really nice photos and do 90% of what a Leica can do (which is take pictures and focus by rangefinding). It's a fad, hype, or posts like this if the prices are going up. They're cheap and everywhere, I passed 2 in a antique store this afternoon. Used one a while, they're big and klunky and cheap looking. I'll keep passing, and let the hipsters buy them.
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Old 04-04-2014   #15
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....because it's underquality. A clean [insert any rangefinder from Japan, Germany, or the Soviet Union] any camera is going to be able to take some really nice photos and do 90% of what a Leica can do (which is take pictures and focus by rangefinding). It's a fad, hype, or posts like this if the prices are going up. They're cheap and everywhere, I passed 2 in a antique store this afternoon. Used one a while, they're big and klunky and cheap looking. I'll keep passing, and let the hipsters buy them.
Having worked on these cameras inside and out (as well as far more expensive cameras)they were built with a surprisingly high level of quality. The heart of a camera is it's lens, and the Yashica lenses are remarkable performers. Every once in awhile I bump up the "GSN photos from China" thread. Photos like the ones posted in that thread are good enough reason to push up the prices of these cameras.
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Old 04-04-2014   #16
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Having worked on these cameras inside and out (as well as far more expensive cameras)they were built with a surprisingly high level of quality. The heart of a camera is it's lens, and the Yashica lenses are remarkable performers. Every once in awhile I bump up the "GSN photos from China" thread. Photos like the ones posted in that thread are good enough reason to push up the prices of these cameras.
Is the surprising quality the cheezy top made of thin stamped metal? Or the goofy logos? Or the cheap imitation vulcanite body?

How is the Yashica lens remarkable? Because it's a lens? I'm sorry, but you could say the same things about an Argus C-3 brick or a Petri 7S. They where cheap cameras with a surprising level of quality and a remarkable lens. But that doesn't mean they're half as good as a Canon P, A Voigtlander Vitessa, Nicca 5L, or any Leica. Those have quality and great lenses. The Yashica has an OK lens and OK quality. So their prices are just OK.
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Old 04-04-2014   #17
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GSN isn't bad for what it is, but people quickly move on to other cameras - either smaller or with more exposure controls.
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Old 04-04-2014   #18
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I don't get it either. $25 would be all I would pay. Owned a few of them over the years. The lens is sharp but very flare prone, the cameras are big and heavy, and you have no idea what shutter speed the camera has selected, nor any way to override the auto feature other than play w/ the aperture. Meaning, no exposure lock. You would have to fiddle w/ the ISO setting to get any sort of exposure compensation. Try doing that on the fly! Really, a properly working Konica C35 or one of its many clones is a lot better camera (and smaller by far), and if you need a fast lens the Hi-Matic mentioned or a Konica S2 will be better choices for less money. My vote goes for the S2 because it's built better than the C35. It's a bit big and heavy also, but has exposure lock and a pretty flare proof sharp lens. Fun cameras!
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Old 04-05-2014   #19
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The price for Electro 35s goes up and down rapidly, and it's a bit silly at the moment. Sure, it's a great camera, but...

The same thing is happening with Olympus 35SPs, so I'm tempted to sell the 'spare'.
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Old 04-05-2014   #20
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Really, a properly working Konica C35 or one of its many clones is a lot better camera (and smaller by far), and if you need a fast lens the Hi-Matic mentioned or a Konica S2 will be better choices for less money. My vote goes for the S2 because it's built better than the C35. It's a bit big and heavy also, but has exposure lock and a pretty flare proof sharp lens. Fun cameras!
And here starts the journey C35 is even more automatic than Electro, but much smaller. KAS2 has manual controls but release travel is long and stiff like on most of AE-assisted FL RF's, yet DOF scale is very small and placed in a weird way not allowing to read it without raising camera lens up.

In this sense I like Lynx series and pre-Auto series Konicas better.
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Old 04-05-2014   #21
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Is the surprising quality the cheezy top made of thin stamped metal? Or the goofy logos? Or the cheap imitation vulcanite body?

How is the Yashica lens remarkable? Because it's a lens? I'm sorry, but you could say the same things about an Argus C-3 brick or a Petri 7S. They where cheap cameras with a surprising level of quality and a remarkable lens. But that doesn't mean they're half as good as a Canon P, A Voigtlander Vitessa, Nicca 5L, or any Leica. Those have quality and great lenses. The Yashica has an OK lens and OK quality. So their prices are just OK.
The top and bottom covers of the Yashica are made from stamped brass, just like the Leica M, the body is cast from aluminum, again, just like Leica. What is "genuine" vulcanite? The funny smelling rubber type stuff which keeps chipping and falling off my Leica M and Barnack cameras? The "vulcanite" covering used on Yashicas is much more durable than the stuff which Leica uses.

Other makers like Canon and Konica made similar cameras, but Yashica used better glass and coatings than Canon. About half the QL17 cameras I come across have lenses which are too deteriorated to save, this is almost unheard of with Yashica glass. The Canonet also frequently suffers from galvanic deterioration due to it's mix of materials and wide seals. The later Konica cameras were made of cheap stamped aluminum, and though the glass is very good, the metering system is not reliable.

There is a man here in Tokyo who modifies Yashinon 45/1.7 lenses into the Leica M mount. He is quite backlogged with orders, and his asking price for these lenses rivals later used 50mm Summicrons. I have one on order myself, and I am curious to see how well it will work with my M cameras.

The Cintar lens in the Argus cameras is mediocre at best, Yashica has never produced a lens as poor as the Cintar in any of it's models. I have come across several Petris (I have a box full of them), their build quality is not as good as the Yashicas. The Nicca 5L (I have one) uses Nikkor lenses, though ironcally enough, Nicca was taken over by Yashica, and the most advanced Nicca became the Yashca YF (which I also have) which was fitted with a Yashinon lens.

The Yashica Electro is one of the top selling rangefinder cameras of all time, so there must have been something not too bad about them. I am not a camera snob, though I have a lot of more expensive cameras, I have great fun shooting with Yashicas.
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Old 04-05-2014   #22
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I got gassed up over various old cameras a couple of years ago- mostly from net forums and other sources.

Save your money. I see them now as just old junk sitting around gathering dust.
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Old 04-05-2014   #23
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I got gassed up over various old cameras a couple of years ago- mostly from net forums and other sources.

Save your money. I see them now as just old junk sitting around gathering dust.
Are there any issues with those cameras or yourself not using them? I have many old cameras bought at 1-5€ on various flea markets - I love using them an they are very capable to produce quality photos.
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Old 04-05-2014   #24
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The lens on the Yashica is excellent, though.
$50 is a fair asking price for a working example.
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Old 04-05-2014   #25
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"…can do 90% of what a Leica can do…"

Huh? A Leica what? A body? The countless lenses, many of which are exemplary? I don't see the comparison. This sounds like the kind of thing Ken Rockwell says that winds up driving up prices for something that is commonplace and pedestrian. I don't mean to sound disrespectful--to each his own, of course; some people really like them--but, really, if this was such an incredible camera, you wouldn't find them in thrift shops and garage sales everywhere. I have an Electro 35 GSN in gorgeous cosmetic condition. I bought it for $25 on fleabay from a guy who had about a dozen others for sale roughly the same price. It's had one roll through it and now sits in a box. It's an unnecessarily huge point-and-shoot.
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Old 04-05-2014   #26
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It is a good beach camera that may get exposed to sand and salt water.
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Old 04-05-2014   #27
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It is a good beach camera that may get exposed to sand and salt water.
I have parts GSN with rough moving helicoid, probably it also were destined as a beach camera. Myself I'm hesitant to use my best cameras at beach. Air masses move sand particles (most of them invisible to naked eye) around, iven if no storm is blowing.
Cameras without moving lenses are great for beach, I have couple of several makes.
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Old 04-05-2014   #28
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It is a good beach camera that may get exposed to sand and salt water.
That's very true - I'd be hesitant to bring some of my others into a potentially harsh environment.

My thinking for my GSN, at least for the moment, is to use it as a party camera. When I have people over, put it out on the table and let folks fool around with it. Get some potentially interesting photos of the event from different perspectives, and if something happens to it, no big deal.
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Old 04-05-2014   #29
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I am having my GSN refurbished. It has no problem competing for my attention against my other cameras. In it's day I had great fun with handheld phototography at night, even in parking lots lit at LV 2 or 3.
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Old 04-05-2014   #30
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$150 for any camera that has had a quality CLA is worth it IMO.
What do you think a good tech should be paid? It's 2014 who will stay in the camera tech biz for $20 per hour.
Not to mention parts inventory, shop over head, etc....

If folks want to take a chance on a 40YO camera for $15 go for it. If you want a real tool overhauled by a pro... don't complain about exorbitant prices please \

As far as the Electro itself. It's a great camera and fun to use. Produces excellent results with a really beautiful render.

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Old 04-05-2014   #31
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$150 for any camera that has had a quality CLA is worth it IMO.
CLAed, that's another story. Couple of years ago people happily paid top $$ for dusty sub-f/2 fixed lens rangefinders like Minolta 7S II, Yashica CC and GX without any notice it even works, not even speaking about black models which raised real bid wars.

This days probably people got reasonable, I haven't watched auctions of this for a time.
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Old 04-05-2014   #32
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I actually like the GSN. For someone who wants an inexpensive fixed lens rangefinder with a nice lens (yes, it is a "good" lens) they're kind of fun.

Can be quirky but fun.
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Old 04-06-2014   #33
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Other makers like Canon and Konica made similar cameras, but Yashica used better glass and coatings than Canon. About half the QL17 cameras I come across have lenses which are too deteriorated to save, this is almost unheard of with Yashica glass.
I'll second that...

I have refurbed a couple of hundred (literally!) Electro's and I don't recall one with any sort of lens coating deterioration other than fungus, which could happen to any of them under the right conditions.

The reflective coating on the beam splitter in the Electro rangefinder is much stronger as well. I have attempted to clean other brands and had the coating come off with the slightest touch of a Q-Tip. I can rub the coating of an Electro beam splitter for 5 minutes without any loss whatsoever.

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Old 04-07-2014   #34
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Get a GX.
The daddy.
You want black or silver?
Could sell you either!
Agreed. I own both -- either of which cost me < $20. I got the ES-20 auto flash w/ the GX which was more like $80 though, and just yesterday the part that slides in the horseshoe broke. Going to try my luck w/ super glue but I'm sure it's screwed.

For the record, I like the GX better. I like 40mm better, has flash, and is smaller.

Quote:
....because it's underquality. A clean [insert any rangefinder from Japan, Germany, or the Soviet Union] any camera is going to be able to take some really nice photos and do 90% of what a Leica can do (which is take pictures and focus by rangefinding). It's a fad, hype, or posts like this if the prices are going up. They're cheap and everywhere, I passed 2 in a antique store this afternoon. Used one a while, they're big and klunky and cheap looking. I'll keep passing, and let the hipsters buy them.
Cheers for that. For hipsters or not, the lenses are excellent performers. An old timer at a local large format shop (which happens to be the only guy in town selling Rodinal) about peed in his pants when I showed him what I was shooting with. Told me the factory t was made in, who it was designed by, etc. Was all around excited (for me). At Burning Man 2013 I shot 90% of my photos with a GSN (B&W) & a GX (Color).

I'd love to see a list of < $50 cameras that have an excellent lens on them and has Aperture Priority mode. I've looked - there are few. The Ae is a must for me.















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Old 04-07-2014   #35
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If folks want to take a chance on a 40YO camera for $15 go for it. If you want a real tool overhauled by a pro... don't complain about exorbitant prices please
I've actually done that here w/ a few cameras, and usually come out on top. I have an Electro 35CC I got for $5, and it works just fine. Well, fine enough -- the LED light could be more accurate. It does expose right and the lens is great. I just have to think to myself "am I going to under/over expose here"? For $5, it's great for conditions I don't want to take a nice camera. The max shutter speed totally sucks though.

For what it's worth, I'd never, ever buy anything as-is in the US. Japan? Another story completely. Self-deprecating I know, but I'm basing that off of years of online experience.
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Old 04-12-2014   #36
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I had mine overhauled by non other than Msgt Russell Cisco and brought back to life my first camera! It was bought to me by dad in 1979 at the Miami International Airport for $120. I declined the Canon QL17 for some reason, that I can't remember, perhaps the Canon was more expensive.. It was an awesome present that accompanied me from middle school into my Masters Degree in 1989. You can do minor adjustments by turning the ASA dial to over expose or under expose. Dad and I even shot Ektachrome 64 with her to make one page calendars that we sold in our printingshop! I thoroughly recommend one!
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Old 04-15-2014   #37
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You can try it two ways:
1. Look for a $20 bargain. Good luck. I think all these need work.
2. For $100-$150 you can have an excellent camera that's been put into good working order by someone who knows. Probably work well for many years.

I've tried both ways. #1 always failed. #2 from B1BMsgt or Frontman have been fabulous cameras; they've done a lot of these. Ditto for Mark Hama.

(Oops, maybe there's an option 1a. Buy a $20 camera and fix it yourself. It's a good project and there are lots of notes on how to. Not for me. I'll do seals, but not much more.)
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Col. Sebastian Moran, ret. (not really)

In Classifieds Now: Nikon DX Fisheye, photos in this Flickr album.
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Named "Best heavy-game shooter in the Eastern Empire." Clubs: Anglo-Indian, Tankerville, and Bagatelle Card Club.
Sony E/FE, Nikon dSLR, and iPhone digital. Misc film.
Birds, portraits, events, family. Mindfulness, reflection, creativity, and stance.
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Old 04-16-2014   #38
mwoenv
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Just for some perspective, according to an old National Camera 1975 ad, a new GSN sold for $77.95 ($94.50 with a case, flash, and film). Using the Consumer Price Index, that's $342 in March 2014 dollars for the camera. So if you find one refurbished and near-mint (like new), it's not unreasonable if it costs a lot. If one is in very good condition for $100 or less, it's an excellent deal.

If you look at the cost of film in this way too, it is not really more expensive today, or not much more expensive, and today's films are better.
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Konica III; Konica Auto S2; Konica Autoreflex T2; Konica FS-1; Pentax 645; Yashica Mat 124; Minolta SRT201, X700, X370, XD-11, Minolta Hi-matic 7S; Olympus OM-1; Zeiss Ikon Contaflex Super BC; Nikon N80, N75
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Old 04-17-2014   #39
kanzlr
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mine was serviced by our micromoogman (black GT) and while it is a big, clunky thingy, the images that come out of it are of very good quality, the meter works well, the rangefinder is bright, big enough and contrasty, etc.

I bought the camera for € 75,-- and hat it serviced, which was cheaper than a 40/2 or any comparable lens for a Leica.
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Old 04-17-2014   #40
bobkatz
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DanP View Post
bought one for $45, used for a year and gave it for free to a RFF member during Christmas giveaway..
Oh..thanks so much Dan...still enjoying that nice Yashica!!
Much appreciatted....
Regards...
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