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Anything surprised you?
Old 4 Weeks Ago   #1
seany65
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Anything surprised you?

Has any bit of kit surprised you in any way, good or bad?

I ask because the charity shop I volunteer at recently received a "Prinzflex 500", (which I believe is a Zenit B that was re-badged for Dixons in the UK), and when I put my pentacon 50mm on it I was surprised at how bright the screen was and even more so by how easy it was to see when the lens was in focus.

a week or so later we got a Hanimex 135mm f2.8 lens in, which has a very slow acting Iris so it's no use for a camera that needs to close the lens down itself, so I tried it on the Prinzflex in the shop, which isn't very bright and was a dull day, and it was just as easy to focus.

I'd always had the impression that Zenit viewfinders were dark and dingy, and having seen so many slr viewfinders that have "plain screens" around the focusing aids and noticed that said "plain screens" were not a lot of use for focusing, had thought that zenits would be harder to focus than say a praktica or even my nikon f301, but I was wrong.


I nearly forgot to mention that my Praktica fx 2 also surprised me with how bright it's plain focusing screen is.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #2
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I recently got a 1928 QRS Kamra, a scarce early 35mm. Having read little about it, and seen only recovered images of the 1933 worlds fair, I was really surprised how easy it is to work. The images are on a par with any camera. Yes. Quite a surprise!
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #3
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The first "kit" that I remember playing with was a Kodak Box Camera in the 50s... I have shot with all kinds of equipment... we all have a story. The camera that I have the most fun with is the F3P & AIs 50 1.2

I was a bit surprised as I just fell into it by chance. I was shooting digital with a Canon 5DII and when I wanted to get back into film, the history of Nikon lenses had a certain appeal. I picked up an F3HP but it never felt right in the hands, it's now the backup... the F3P is a totally different story...

Another light bulb moment was getting the right diopter... what a difference with manual focus...
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #4
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+1 for the diopter. After hearing it mentioned last year I bought a -1 for my M8 and I was so amazed I bought one for M9. Now I have a couple “0” for some of my film NIKON F ‘s. What a difference in focusing ... you take it for granted with modern DSLR with built in adjustable diopter.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #5
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+2 for the diopter. Sometimes it's hard to notice as your eyes age, but I was just struggling more and more with nailing focus on my M6 TTL that I've had for twenty years. Was in Tamarkan Camera here in Chicago one day and Dan recommended trying a diopter. WOW!!! Suddenly I could see as clearly and as sharply as ever. What a relief. Now have diopters for all my old film cameras.

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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #6
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This may sound odd, but when I had gotten my M2 and M6 I thought I had the pinnacle of 35mm achievement (I still prefer them) but I ended up getting a Nikon F3 for a vacation camera that I could beat the hell out of and not worry. I honestly wasn’t expecting the build quality to be on par with the 8x more expensive leica, but to my surprise I enjoyed its ergonomics, handling, and build quality just as much as my leica! I prefer focusing on the leica which is really the only reason it gets a lot more use, but I would have no issue just using the F3 If need be.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #7
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Hated the Nikon F with a metered head. Very clunky. A Nikon F with a plain prism, however, handles like a totally different camera. And although I no longer own the system, I was always impressed with the non-ai lenses for B&W film work. Great values there.

Impressed with the build quality and optics of the current M mount Cosina Voigtlanger lenses I own. Not sure why they sometimes get a bad rap. Reaching back now 15 years, not at all impressed with the build quality of then current Leica M mount lenses, especially given the price point. In fact, the only three lenses to break on me over the last 25 years were two separated 60mm Elmarit R (coincidence?), and a 35mm Summicron Asph. In fixing the Summicron, Sherry Krauter said that modern Leica optics has too much plastic. The build quality of their optics from the 50's, 60's and early 70's -- absolute tanks. Apparently not any more.

Just my experiences of course. Others may differ.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #8
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I was surprised how good the Helios 103 is. I got mine straight from eastern Europe, a little decentered, possibly from a plane flight or being moved from place to place for 30 years, but otherwise it was brand new. I tore it down, decentered all the glass an it turned out to be the nail in the coffin for Leica, for me. I did a side-by-side test against a new 50mm Summilux and the $12 FSU lens delivered amazing results in comparison. Only wide open was it at a deficit to the lux but from f/2.8 on, it was fantastic.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seany65 View Post
Has any bit of kit surprised you in any way, good or bad?
When I bought a MJU II for $20 at an estate sale and couldn't tell if my pictures where taken with the $20 MJU II or my $2,000 Summicron
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #10
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I was given a Ricoh 500 last year (1950s) from a friend of mine whose photographer husband passed away. Now this camera is probably worth about $45 at best and you probably wouldn’t give it a second look, but boy what a nice camera it is. Focus is beautiful and that little bottom-mounted trigger wind is super-sweet.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #11
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Well, a couple of years ago a cow-orker phoned me from a thrift shop and said they had an "A-Shy Pentax" there and thought I might be interested. When I realized it was a BLACK MX (YES!) it was "Don't let it out of yer hand!" run to the parking lot, Vrrroooommmmm **SCREEEEECH!**.

(Well, almost.)
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #12
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I am so jealous of your Ashy Pentax MX!
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #13
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Pentax story reminds me of when I bought a SMC Takumar 85mm 1.8 with a skylight filter for like 50$ or something because the owner read “Hoya sky filter” and had it listed as such. Nice score as it was MINT and is one of my all time favorite portrait lenses
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #14
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A wartime LTM Sonnar 5cm f/2. It came in a non collapsible quite DIY looking aluminium mount. The filter thread was 41mm not 40.5mm though - that was the first surprise. The serial number put it at 1937 but it had been coated later on.

The real surprise was that from wide open - aperture for aperture it beat the best of three collapsible Summicron lenses, none of which had haze or excessive scratches. Especially in the corners.

I always thought of the f/2 type as the "weaker" lens and generally believed that Sonnar lens designs due to field curvature would have weaker corners. Well...
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #15
zuiko85
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Years ago a little Kodak 110 camera with a plastic 3 element 22mm lens. The lens could be scale focused and I was really impressed with how much resolution was recorded on the negatives.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #16
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I have two old and cheap cameras I often play with, which never fail to surprise (and amaze) me at the quality of the results.

Two years ago I put in an Ebay bid and won a Rolleicord Vb for A$95. I then blew another A$40 for a 16 exposure kit, some filters and a lens hood I found by chance in a 'leftovers' box at a Melbourne antique market.

Results from this Rolleicord, even with outdated film, are fantastic.

Ditto a Retina IIIb I picked up cheaply, also from Ebay. I think I paid A$40 for it. A little cleaning and some fiddling with the speeds and while this camera is far from what I consider to be a reliable shooter, on sunny days my results with B&W film are also incredibly good.

I almost never print larger than 5x7" and usually make work prints as 4x5". Am not sure about the Retina as it's 35mm, but the 'cord negatives would, I reckon, easily print to 8x10" and even bigger.

Old cameras if handled with care and a little intelligence, can produce exceptional results. One just has to remember their limitations and work accordingly.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil_F_NM View Post
I am so jealous of your Ashy Pentax MX!
Phil Forrest
That was an amazing find!

The Pentax that I actually use the most now is kind of the oddball, a yard sale find, MG, which I am becoming more and more fond of whenever I use it.

It seems to be very rare, and has an aperture-priority autoexposure which seems to work quite well, even using the new Ektachrome.

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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #18
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Something else that surprised me, in a good way, was the optical quality of uncoated pre-war Zeiss lenses. When I owned a pre-war Contax II, I was also surprised that it had some distinctive benefits over a Leica M -- the longer rangefinder base, the huge and contrasty rangefinder patch -- and these benefits were noticeable in use. Of course it didn't make it a better camera then an M3/M2, for example, but in a few ways it was so. I was also surprised that the collapsible Sonnars were not a bother, but in fact, I actually liked that they collapsed.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #19
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My Epson R-D1 -announced by Epson in March 2004, and discontinued in 2007, is considered an antique digital rangefinder. It continues to produce great pictures to this day.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #20
David Hughes
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My Contax Tix but it was APS and you can't get the film but it was a great camera to carry around all the time and gave excellent results and true 3:2 prints at 5 x 7...


Regards, David


PS and it had a built in (sort of) lens hood: something that's very rare on ultra compacts.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #21
seany65
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Quote:
Originally Posted by giganova View Post
When I bought a MJU II for $20 at an estate sale and couldn't tell if my pictures where taken with the $20 MJU II or my $2,000 Summicron

I'm willing to bet that I also, could make a $2,000 lens look like a $20.00 lens.


When I wrote the Original post I had no idea that I was going to buy the Prinzflex 500 and Hanimex 135mm lens, but I have.

I've got nowhere to put it, so for now it's sitting on top of my Laney GC30 guitar amp, next to my Praktica PLC3.

I'm really trying to stop myself buying a Helios 44-2 lens that's in a shop near me, as I was just going to shove 1 film through the Prinzflex and 135mm, just to see what results I could get.

I probably won't be able to stop myself though.

I could just use the Pentacon electric 50mm lens on the 'flex, but I want to keep that lens for my Prakticas,, an FX2 and PLC3.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #22
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I was surprised at how badly Nikon missed with the DF. Meant to be a film camera with digital back, but instead it was a big fat thing with poor AF, plasticky hollow feeling dials and a terrible manual focus screen.

And yeah, the Helios 103 is a korker. Best thing about my black Kiev 4a.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #23
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I'm surprised again and again by what a great value early autofocus SLRs are these days.

Yesterday, I picked up a Nikon N80 for $10 because the rubber had gotten overly tacky.

Several weeks ago, I got an N90s for $21 because the rubber on the back had degraded and gotten tacky. I remember selling these for $1,000 in about 1995.

Nikon F4's are going for around $200, which is high by the above standards, but it was a $2,000 camera in 1988 and people snapped them up. It is still the standard for lens compatibility in the Nikon F mount.

I got a Canon Rebel G with 28-90 USM f/4-5.6 and a nice bag for $10. At that same thrift store, I picked up Sigma 28-80 aspherical f/4-5.6 and 100-300 f/4.5-6.3 (ultra slow) for $20.

Canon EOS 630 was $20 shipped from ebay.

I prefer the manual focus, manual advance and rewind cameras, but for one of those, I pay 10X what I would pay for a more capable camera. For example, my FE2 was $142. Nice FMs go for around $80. FM2Ns are a staggering $250 and FM3As are $600+.

By comparison, rangefinders are not good values and not rugged. I like the fixed lens rangefinders from the 70s, but they are hardly ever 100%, like the SLRs often are. Foam seals are often an issue on the metal cameras, but on the Fantastic-Plastic cameras, they don't even need foam seals on the film door. The mirror dampers seem to hold up better, too. (had they switched to a better foam?)
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #24
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Huss, from what you say it seems that I'm lucky that I could never afford a Df, although I always tell myself the reason I don't want one is because of how overly-fussy they look because of all the dials and buttons and how difficult it seemed to be to get it set up as if it were a digital-back FM. Isn't there an after-market manual focusing screen that can be fitted?

Smaug, what do you do about the tacky rubber problem?
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #25
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Didn't think I'd enjoy using the Pilot 6 so much when I got it. Thought it'd sit on the shelf with the box cameras after a couple rolls. But it's still one of my favorite cameras.


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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seany65 View Post
Huss, from what you say it seems that I'm lucky that I could never afford a Df, although I always tell myself the reason I don't want one is because of how overly-fussy they look because of all the dials and buttons and how difficult it seemed to be to get it set up as if it were a digital-back FM. Isn't there an after-market manual focusing screen that can be fitted?

Smaug, what do you do about the tacky rubber problem?
There are after market screens I've heard, not sure how easy it is to fit one.
The DF is bascially a D600 with D4 sensor, no video, and fancy plasticketal shell.

Answering for Smaug, I removed the stickiness by wiping it with isopropyl alcohol.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #27
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Huss, would isopropyl alcohol work on sticky tripod quick release heads?
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #28
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Huss, would isopropyl alcohol work on sticky tripod quick release heads?
It could do, I have never tried. Are they the same material/texture as on camera bodies? All sticky camera bodies I have tried have cleaned up by rubbing them w isopropyl alcohol. It replaces a sticky surface with a smooth one.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #29
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Quote:
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It could do, I have never tried. Are they the same material/texture as on camera bodies? All sticky camera bodies I have tried have cleaned up by rubbing them w isopropyl alcohol. It replaces a sticky surface with a smooth one.
Hmmm. I've no idea. I could try the isopropyl alcohol, I've not got that much to lose, I suppose.
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