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My top camera finds of 2015

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.

Bronica ETRsi

ETRsi with WLF, grip and 75mm lens

ETRsi with WLF, grip and 75mm lens

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.

Nikon F80

Nikon F80 with flash extended

Nikon F80 – Flash up

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

Ricoh GXR family showing body and several sensor units

Ricoh GXR family

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.

Pentacon six

Pentacon Six TL

Pentacon Six TL

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.


Pentax Z-1/Z-1P

Pentax Z-1P

Pentax Z-1P

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 .

Pentax Spotmatic

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.


I’m a software developer by profession but I’ve been taking pictures since I was about 8 years old. In that time I’ve owned cameras of all types and sizes from 120 roll film thro’ 35mm to my current Pentax K-5, Ricoh GXR + P10/S10/A12 28mm/A12 50mm, Canon S95 and recently acquired Sony NEX 6.

  1. Look forward to your thoughts on the Spotmatic ! I have an SP500 but have yet to use it. Very nice no-frills camera though.

  2. Martin Cooper says:

    I had a Spotmatic and Honeywell S1a from 1987 to 1997. Both died as a result of rubberised shutter and tensioning problems. Terry Nelmes in Ipswich who looked after my cameras told me replacement shutters assemblies would be as old as the originals so could not be garanteed to work for long. I sold then for the value of the lenses. I hope you have better luck.

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