The start of a new year always leads us to thinking about the year just past, and as a camera collector I automatically think in terms of the best cameras I’ve acquired over the last 12 months. Therefore I decided to write a post looking back at what I consider to be my top finds of last year.
I’ve wanted a medium format camera for a long time and in fact purchased a Pentacon Six which I hoped would give me an inexpensive medium format camera option. That turned out to be a false economy in the end, so in November I bought myself an early Christmas present and picked up a Bronica ETRsi medium format SLR.
In all I got a kit consisting of a body, waist level finder, metered prism finder, grip, 120 film back, 75mm standard lens and 40mm wide angle lens and subsequently added a couple of extra film backs.
At the start of the year I had no Nikon cameras in my collection at all and although I would like to own some of the classic manual cameras they are still quite expensive to buy. The autofocus single lens reflex models are starting to drop in price quite a bit however and in February I bought this F80 for about £35.
Although the lens is quite a cheap slow zoom, I was quite surprised by the quality of the pictures this camera produced. I goes to show what fantastic results are possible using what are now cheap cameras.
Ricoh GXR sensors
Not all my top camera finds in 2015 were film cameras. In May I discovered a seller in China who was selling the APS-C sensor units for my Ricoh GXR at knock down prices. I’ve always loved the GXR, but could never justify the price of buying the large sensor lens units. Once I found someone selling them at affordable prices I grabbed both the 50mm and 28mm units and then completed the set with a leica mount unit so I could use some of my favourite manual lenses on the GXR.
Following this purchase I’ve used the Ricoh more that any other digital camera.
As I said above I’ve wanted a medium format camera for a long time and in July I bought this faulty Pentacon Six TL in the hope that I could get it repaired. Initially I thought I’d be able to but in the end the unit was too broken to be economically fixed.
Although that was a shame, I still consider the project a success because I learnt a lot about how mechanical shutters and cameras work as I tried to repair it. It’s still a remote possibility that I might one day have the skill/patience to fix it.
Earlier in the year I was trying to find a good quality 35mm film camera which would use the same K mount lenses I use on my Pentax K5 DSLR and I bought a couple of the Pentax MZ series. At first I thought they would make an ideal film body to carry around when I was using the K5, but in the end found the whole series is just too un-reliable to be worthwhile.
So I shifted my attention to the series Pentax made before the MZ series, which was the Z-1 & Z-1P. I bought a Z-1 and then found a Z-1P only a few weeks later. This series of cameras really are a good addition for a Pentax digital shooter because they have good metering, good viewfinders and will work with any K mount manual or screw-thread driven autofocus lens .
My last top find for 2015 is a camera I haven’t yet written about on my site and only received a day or so ago. It’s an original spotmatic which I bought for £4 because the eBay seller described it as faulty. Fortunately for me I found it only needed a bit of lubrication and is in almost perfect condition. Although I have an SP1000, I’ve not before had an original spotmatic and I’m really pleased to add it to my collection as the last camera purchased in 2015.
Update: Spotmatic now added to the site.