Recent camera acquisitions

20 comments on Recent camera acquisitions
2 minutes

I’ve been trolling eBay, looking at film-camera listings ending soon. You sometimes pick up bargains that way. It’s led to a few camera purchases, which will in time lead to reviews here. I was hoping to find some point-and-shoot 35mm cameras that others haven’t already reviewed, and I did find one, but primarily bought other kinds of cameras.

The first camera is this Nikon One Touch 200, from 1991. Unfortunately, its auto winder doesn’t work, making the camera useless. The seller refunded my money and told me to just throw the camera away, which I’ll do now that I’ve photographed it for this post.

The next camera is a 35mm SLR: the Mamiya/Sekor 500 DTL. This is a basic match-needle SLR with a 1/500 sec. shutter. I owned one 15 years ago or so, but it broken in more than one way and I eventually got rid of it without putting film through it. This one is clean, with hardly a mark or scratch. The only cosmetic flaw I find is the flaking lettering on the pentaprism. Unfortunately, I found a corroded battery inside. I’ll clean out the corrosion and hope that the meter still works. But I’m going to shoot and review this camera even if the meter is dead, because the camera is all mechanical otherwise.

Next I found this Kodak Duaflex, a pseudo-TLR for 620 film. I’ve had any number of opportunities to buy one of these but have never opened my wallet because I’ve owned two Duaflex IIs (review here), which are just a later version of the same camera, albeit with a pop-up hood over the viewfinder. But this original Duaflex had something I’ve never seen before: a cover for the viewfinder and lenses. It hooks on below the taking lens, and snaps on in the corners behind the viewfinder. It also came in its original box.

Next I found this oddball 35mm camera, the Sears Tower 41. Mamiya made it for Sears. It features a 43mm f/2.8 lens and, as you can see, a prominent reflector dish for an AG-1 flashbulb. This is a rangefinder camera with shutter-priority autoexposure. Mike Eckman reviewed one; see it here.

Finally, I did end up buying one point and shoot. This Vivitar 500PZ is said to be the same camera under the skin as the Leica Mini Zoom, although both cameras were manufactured in Japan by Matsushita (Panasonic). This mid-90s 35mm auto-everything camera features an f/4-7.6 35-70mm zoom lens.

I’ll put film through these cameras in the months to come.

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20 responses to “Recent camera acquisitions”

  1. bodegabayf2 Avatar

    Lots of good camera reviews to look forward to! I am especially interested in hearing how you get along with the 500DTL. I’ve had my finger on the eBay Buy It Now button at various times over the years but have always hesitated. I’ll let you scout the trail and see if I want to follow.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Happy to walk this path before you! :-)

  2. Andy Umbo Avatar
    Andy Umbo

    Lots of Mamiya 500 and 1000 DTL’s around in the early 70’s, I believe their main feature being a switchable internal light meter, that could be set for full screen average, or center spot. I had a buddy who bought one while in the service in Vietnam Nam, getting sold on the dual meter feature, but he said the price from the PX was the same as the Pentax Spotmatic. Side by side comparison will show that the Pentax is a far more “finished” feeling camera for fit, finish, and quality, so it’s weird that they were the same price. I believe in the U.S., the Mamiya was always cheaper than the Pentax.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Yes, I’d have a Spottie over a DTL any day. I’m interested to see how this one feels under use, of course.

  3. Marc Beebe Avatar

    I had all four models of Duaflex. Perfectly good if plain shooters. The Mamiya was an SLR I wanted way back when it was new. An inexpensive model then, but still too much money for my limited budget of the time. Various forms of Tower were in my possession too, but none were what you would call ‘performers’. Most were just plain lousy in fact.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      The Duaflex II I had in the 80s was a reasonably capable camera. Images were soft in the corners but sharp otherwise. I look forward to what this original Duaflex can do.

  4. sonny rosenberg Avatar

    Nice haul! I’m looking forward to reading more about these.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Thanks! I didn’t review as many cameras last year as usual and I’m trying to remedy that this year.

  5. tbm3fan Avatar

    Hopefully the Mamiya is completely functional and the shutter speeds are on and it doesn’t cap. Their SLR’s are not the easiest ones to work on and repair especially when you hear Eugene Pate talk about how difficult they are. So if it came down to a 500 or 1000 DTL versus the Spotmatic then take the Spotmatic as even I can do a CLA on a Spotmatic.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Haven’t cleaned out that battery chamber yet to check the meter. Everything else about the camera sounds like it’s working, but of course it’s hard to check for shutter capping and other faults without putting film through it.

      1. tbm3fan Avatar

        Come on easy to check shutter. Open the back, look at the back of the shutter, set aperture wide open, and then trip. If you see the whole aperture, no matter the speed, then the shutter is not capping. If it does cap you will only see part of the aperture plus you get to see the effect of speed changes. I just unjammed a Miranda and when I performed the above test quickly no capping but all the speeds above 1/30 were the same 1/250. Typical Miranda.

        1. Jim Grey Avatar

          Good point. I hadn’t thought about how I might do that.

  6. DougD Avatar

    My American Ebay program just got a boost since we have friends in South Bend we see occasionally. Ebay shipping to Canada is often the same price as the item, so it’s nice to take advantage of the low cost shipping within the US :)

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      A clever workaround!

  7. Christopher May Avatar
    Christopher May

    The 500 DTL was my first “real” camera (I had a super cheap Kodak Point and Shoot before it). It’s in need of a CLA again, so I need to find a tech willing to take on the challenge since they’re not the easiest to work on. Still it’s something I want to do because of the emotional value of the camera.

    Some of my thoughts on the camera made it into this post:

    I look forward to hearing your thoughts as you get to know yours!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      How nice that you have such good memories associated with your 500 DTL!

      We shall see how I get on with mine. It’s a big, heavy beast!

  8. Kodachromeguy Avatar

    It is a real shame how many 1960s and 1970s cameras were damaged by leaking mercury batteries. The instruction manuals clearly said to remove batteries if the camera was not going to be used for a long spell. I never had that problem, but I did not abandon any old cameras in damp garages or attics. Even high-end cameras like the Leicaflex often have a frozen battery cap, which means a corroded mess inside.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Frustratingly, the battery that leaked into the 500 DTL was silver oxide, meaning it was recent. I think I can clean out the corrosion from the chamber. I hope it didn’t damage any internal wires.

  9. J P Avatar

    Soooo, are we seeing the beginnings of Operation Thicken the Herd? :)

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      They come in, they go out. I just sold 5 on eBay.

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