Film camera that died in your hand


ch130176

Member
May 4, 2004
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Thomson Road
Am wondering if you had any film cameras that died in your possession, and perhaps repair is out of the question (no more parts, no technicians who know how locally...), could you share which model it was? A died camera can be especially painful for the owners of exotic models that command exorbitant price.

Because not all film cameras were created equal, some just don't last, not to mention how long the time has past since they rolled out of factory floor. I recently found (again) the joy of shooting in film. Hope to create a list that will raise the awareness for everyone so that we don't get blinded by "cult" status of some of them, only to find that they are just an overpriced antique good for show off.

In my own case, I recently bought a Mamiya 7. Put in a new battery, but the shutter won't activate. Hopefully there are still parts available to repair it...
 

snappychappy

New Member
Feb 15, 2015
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singapore
Indeed I had the same problem. Bought a 9/10 Contax T2 back in Jan. I think its had about 5 rolls of film through it. Some lovely results, indistinguishable from my Leica shots. Unfort the battery / power now has a problem, that isn't solved by cleaning the contacts - the camera is otherwise in great condition. Sending it to PPP to see if it can be fixed. Otherwise I have invested in an expensive brick
 

ch130176

Member
May 4, 2004
152
0
16
Thomson Road
@snappychappy That's what I heard about the model in a 2nd hand shop locally. Just found out PPP recently from someone who had his camera repaired. Hope he can do a wonder for you. Do share the outcome. :)
Sent in my camera for a repair locally. Keeping fingers crossed.
 

snappychappy

New Member
Feb 15, 2015
3
0
1
singapore
@snappychappy That's what I heard about the model in a 2nd hand shop locally. Just found out PPP recently from someone who had his camera repaired. Hope he can do a wonder for you. Do share the outcome. :)
Sent in my camera for a repair locally. Keeping fingers crossed.
Where did you send your Mamiya 7 in for repairs?
 

one eye jack

Senior Member
Jun 11, 2011
998
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Seriously playing with film cameras has costs concern like cost of buying film, film development and finally scanning into digital format not including prints but if this activity gives you joy and satisfaction hey no harm if you do it with the knowledge of what it's going to take.

Now the question of what or which camera will give you the least problems functionally I would say in general there are two main types which is those cameras that are fully mechanical except for the meter which has some electronic circuit and those that have electronic shutter control and metering.

Both types have pro and con but these cameras are complex mechanical and electrical systems.It seems the fully mechanical camera is less prone to fail but that's not true either as mechanical systems have wear and tear and the only spare parts are had by canibalising a same model. Not to mention calibrating the shutter speeds and other mechanical adjustsment that are impossible for a diyer without special tools and pc software by manufacturer.

Similarly for electronic controlled shutter cameras the electronic components age and most are over twenty years old or older but if you are knowledgeable you can diy repair if you can solder and read electronic schematics of repair manuals.

Apart from replacing the light seals of the back cover, mechanical cameras are a common sense choice and there are new production caneras like Lomo and some others that think there is a niche market.

Ok I'm sure you want to know which camera that you can try. For an electronic one there is the Yashica Electro 35 series but it is a fixed lens rangefinder.It is popular for film newbies and it is well documented from the refurbish and repair guides available online which can be DIYed.

Next from many who swear by them the Nikon professional F series but take your chances with those that are electronic controlled of the later models. Let's put it this way, whether you buy a used vintage film camera you already know the pros and cons so don't go splitting hairs if a camera died in your hairs..that's real life. :)
On a last note I would not recommend a photography newbie to start with a film camera..just too much hassle.

Granted the film cameras I mentioned are 35mm format but if you are going for medium format I think it should not be difficult as the implication is that you have the financial wherewithal to play?
 

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ch130176

Member
May 4, 2004
152
0
16
Thomson Road
Indeed I had the same problem. Bought a 9/10 Contax T2 back in Jan. I think its had about 5 rolls of film through it. Some lovely results, indistinguishable from my Leica shots. Unfort the battery / power now has a problem, that isn't solved by cleaning the contacts - the camera is otherwise in great condition. Sending it to PPP to see if it can be fixed. Otherwise I have invested in an expensive brick
Did you manage to get yours fixed?
 

ch130176

Member
May 4, 2004
152
0
16
Thomson Road
Seriously playing with film cameras has costs concern like cost of buying film, film development and finally scanning into digital format not including prints but if this activity gives you joy and satisfaction hey no harm if you do it with the knowledge of what it's going to take.
Absolutely true. Fortunately I haven't developed any "spray-and-pray" skill with digital camera yet, so it still takes even a month for me to use up my 120 roll... The byproduct is that the anticipation also pays off when I receive the scanned results. There is more deliberation in the process, and manual focus helps to slow things down even further...

Ok I'm sure you want to know which camera that you can try. For an electronic one there is the Yashica Electro 35 series but it is a fixed lens rangefinder.It is popular for film newbies and it is well documented from the refurbish and repair guides available online which can be DIYed.

Next from many who swear by them the Nikon professional F series but take your chances with those that are electronic controlled of the later models. Let's put it this way, whether you buy a used vintage film camera you already know the pros and cons so don't go splitting hairs if a camera died in your hairs..that's real life. :)
I used my father's Yashica Electro 35 GSN since young until I could afford my own digital camera. Somehow I had that inferiority complex when using it cos it was not an SLR and close focus was only 0.8m (back to square one now with Mamiya's 80mm lens with 1m close focus distance).

Along the way I picked up a Nikon F801 for $20. I don't expect it to live for another 10 years. The point is some expectation on the usable lifespan compared to how much is paid. If you know it will not last for 10 years, then just don't pay a ridiculous amount for it. Perhaps that's something quite easily overlooked when hunting for a vintage camera, full mechanical or otherwise.

Granted the film cameras I mentioned are 35mm format but if you are going for medium format I think it should not be difficult as the implication is that you have the financial wherewithal to play?
Fortunately medium format is more affordable in general now compared to its heyday. ;)