Jump to content
Dallas

Show Off Your Retro Gear Thread

Recommended Posts

Yesterday I decided to list some old camera gear I have had for years on a Facebook group for sale. I had an Olympus OM2n with a couple of lenses, plus an Olympus Trip 35 and a Canon A-1 with a bunch of lenses, including a Canon 19mm f/3.5 FL. The Olympus gear sold on the same day and I had a bunch of guys clambering for my Canon stuff, but making some pretty lowball offers. 

 

I decided to check out what info I could find on the Canon 19mm lens and I kind of did a double take when I discovered that this is one seriously rare lens! There's one for sale on eBay at the moment for close on $1000, and it doesn't have all the bits, which mine does have, including the original case and finder. I nearly sold mine together with the other 4 lenses and the A-1 body for under $150! 

 

I also had these Canon A and Canon B adapters, which it turns out lets you mount Canon FD lenses to a Leica screw mount range finder and vice-versa. It dawned on me that I could mount it onto this old FED-2 that I have had for ages. Check it out: 

 

FED-2.jpeg

 

FED-2.1.jpeg

 

The FED-2 has been sitting on a shelf in my living room gathering dust for over a decade. It also seems to have gotten rather grubby looking. I tried to polish it up a bit but so far my efforts have only left me with a cramped hand. What would be an effective way of trying to restore the aluminium body? 

 

Anyway, handling all this old stuff again has re-kindled my love for old retro equipment, so I'd love to see what treasures you guys might have lurking in your gear cabinets. Show 'em off here! 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Unfortunately my oldest bit of gear dates from January 2016. :huh:


Mike Gorman

 

Nikon Z7 - Nikkor Z 14-30, 24-70, 35, 50, 85, FTZ adapter 

GX8 - Panasonic 20, 25

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And here's me buying up old stuff to use on my Sigma sdQ-H.... :crazy:

 

I thought I'd left that behind when I sold all my Nikon AI-s lenses, but I have to admit the pro medium format Eastern Bloc lenses I've bought have reminded me just how fantastically well made some of the lenses from the 1950's to '80's were. My favourite at the moment is the as-new (seriously, I don't think it was ever fitted to a camera, there's not a mark on it) 50mm f/4 Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon, dating from around 1980. For once I appear to have got in at the first floor, because the prices for these things are rising steadily, and the good ones are already becoming rarer. The Flektogon cost about a tenth of what a new Zeiss 4/50 medium format lens would cost.

 

Tn0oPns.jpg

 

Not so much in demand (given that the lenses don't have a focusing helicoid and thus cannot be easily adapted to other cameras) is my Mamiya RZ/RB 67 outfit, which I'd love to sell but they're simply not worth the effort for the return I'd get (again, the lenses were all new in their unopened boxes when I got the gear from KEH  in 2010). I don't like using these 6x7 cameras anyway (they're just way too big and cumbersome), and now with three Pentacon P6 lenses in my possession I am trying to get a decent Kiev-60 or Pentacon Six camera body at a reasonable price for occasional use of film, always having preferred the 6x6 format after years of working with Hasselblads.

I won't disturb them by taking them out of their backpack, but I guess they qualify as "retro":

 

XUPywIx.jpg

 

I have also recently bought an old Praktica 35mm SLR ($20) which can use some of the M42 Russian lenses I also bought to use with the Sigma and intend for student use when I get around to offering a B&W film use and darkroom course in a few months' time - I'll add a photo of all that stuff later.

 

Other than that, I've always traded in or sold equipment I wasn't using. As I use this stuff for business and not a hobby, I never got the collecting bug for old photographic gear, and definitely never saw the need to deliberately hang onto stuff I wasn't using for sentimental value. If I had I would have a couple of cases of Hasselblad gear....

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ah, I'd still love to get my paws on those Mamiyas, Alan. Actually, one of the fellows who was interested in my Canon FD kit proposed a swap for his Mamiya C33 TLR, which is apparently 6x6. 

 

Interestingly a lot of the cameras I collected in the first decade of the millenium I never used, including the FED-2 shown here. For me the thrill was finding them and acquiring them at bargain prices, then selling them on to similarly afflicted individuals. :) I did use all of the Nikons I had though. And the Leicas. 

 

I have this romantic idea of driving a kitted out Land Rover Defender from home all along the coast of SA and up through Namibia making landscapes with a nice medium format rig. Some day... 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

25580804292_8c44c10e83_o.jpg

 

Nikon F4 sees but rarely use although i think the lock on the battery compartment is broken by now, happened on the F100 as well.

Edited by Fons Baerken
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, DFZ said:

Ah, I'd still love to get my paws on those Mamiyas, Alan. Actually, one of the fellows who was interested in my Canon FD kit proposed a swap for his Mamiya C33 TLR, which is apparently 6x6. 

 

Interestingly a lot of the cameras I collected in the first decade of the millenium I never used, including the FED-2 shown here. For me the thrill was finding them and acquiring them at bargain prices, then selling them on to similarly afflicted individuals. :) I did use all of the Nikons I had though. And the Leicas. 

 

I have this romantic idea of driving a kitted out Land Rover Defender from home all along the coast of SA and up through Namibia making landscapes with a nice medium format rig. Some day... 

 

A C33 Mamiya will be a bit long in the tooth by now - anyhow you'd be better served by the later C330 if you did go for an ILC TLR. The C220 was the budget model, but still very serviceable and uses the same lenses. Correct, they are 6x6. There are more practical (and cheaper) 6x6 SLR cameras to be had, however. Perhaps an underrated 6x6 SLR is the Zenza Bronica (several models, all 6x6) which used Nikkor/Nippon Kogaku lenses. For some reason they're not so well regarded by the collector market, which means they can be bought relatively cheaply (around the same or a bit more than RB/RZ gear).

 

I'm only chasing a Kiev-60 6x6 because I have three lenses that will fit it without needing any adapter, otherwise the Bronica would be my choice, given that Hasselblads these days are escalating faster than property prices. If you're willing to chance Communist build quality, the Kiev-60/Pentacon Six cameras are still the cheapest medium format, although both them and the lenses are escalating in price, particularly the later MC Zeiss Jena versions.

 

I'm not so sure if RB/RZ gear is the best choice for that fancied trip of yours, either - it's gear that's really meant for a studio environment and there is zero attention given in design/build against dust or rain - although I will add that my RB's ran faultlessly for the decade or so that I used them for weddings (although the majority of those were in late spring, summer and early autumn, of course, so the weather was rarely a taxing consideration). They are also bloody big and awkward in handling - while you can hand-hold shoot with them, it's very much a hit-or-miss thing as to the results when used that way. They really belong on a sturdy tripod. RZ needs a battery to work, RB is purely mechanical (which is why I have both, although the RB only has one compatible lens, all three lenses will work with the RZ).

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, Fons Baerken said:

 

Nikon F4 sees but rarely use although i think the lock on the battery compartment is broken by now, happened on the F100 as well.

 

 

I gave mine away last year to someone who could use it - the battery lock was dodgy on that as well. I hadn't used it for over a decade but it still worked just fine.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Funny, a lot of people have been telling me to avoid the RB/RZ67 models for similar reasons, although the guy who bought my Olympus OM2n said that they have a tendency to fall apart. Not sure if he maybe had a bad experience? 

 

I'll definitely have a look at the Soviet options for MF. Interestingly I briefly owned a Bronica ETRs 645 with some lenses, metered prism, etc. The problem was this was nearly at the beginning of my camera journey and I literally had no idea how to use that thing. I recall sitting in my dark bedroom trying to figure out how to load the roll of 120 film with the paper back and being completely befuddled! I eventually traded that kit for a brand new Nikon F5, which was my pride and joy right up until my moment of digital madness with the Canon D30 caused me to trade in all my Nikon stuff for those plastic Canon things. :( 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The only time one of my RB 67s fell apart was when the Manfrotto hex plate didn't latch properly at the beginning of a wedding and before I even took the first shot the brand new camera tipped off the tripod and hit the floor, which was just unbacked carpet tiles on concrete. The camera exploded into four pieces (body, lens, viewfinder and magazine all separated), and a bit of the light baffle on the film magazine broke off. With no backup I reassembled the bits, forced the bent focusing rack to at least travel its length with some muscle behind it, patched the broken magazine piece with a bit of roll film foil wrapper and shot the wedding. If nothing else, photography in such situations definitely teaches you to improvise with equipment at times.

 

The camera, to its credit, went on to another four years of service without even being sent to the repair shop before I finally traded it in. Still a bit stiff in the focus, and an epoxy putty patch of the light baffle, didn't seem to affect the trade-in price at all, either.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's not the Bronica ETRS that I would contemplate, but one of the 6x6 SQ range. The SQ was more like a Japanese version of the Hasselblad which began originally as the Z, and matured considerably into the long-running S2 form before the SQ arrived. At uni in the early '70's the Mamiya C330 and Bronica S2 were popular student medium format cameras for those without the budget for a Hasselblad or Rollei SL66.

A couple had Kowa Six cameras, and for some unfathomable reason these bring an excessive amount of money on the used market these days. I always thought they were both ugly and uncomfortable to use.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My first medium format camera, in the early-mid 1970s, was a Bronica S2a.  I sold it after a couple of years but have since had a couple of others, and including several lenses and the bellows (with swings and tilts).  I adapted a view camera lens to work with the bellows.  A great system, and I still have a S2a with the 75mm and 200mm Nikkors.  In the early '90s I got into the SQ series and used various bodies and lenses for almost 15 years.  I only had problems once, with a SQAm that refused to advance the film, and that was corrected quickly with a trip to the service centre. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How do you guys who have MF shooting experience think that (say) 6x7 or 6x6 film compares to modern day small format digital capture? Would I see something spectacularly different if I was shooting medium format reversal film as opposed to a DSLR or mirrorless camera with about 20MP resolution? Is it just really when you get to enlargements that the difference is noticeable? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The difference won't be anything noticeable IQ-wise in general use probably, other than the different drawing of the lenses for a similar AOV. 45-65mm is wide, 75-90mm is the "normal" focal length, 120-180mm covers short tele, 250-500mm are standard to long tele. This does impart a different "look" to things, but to ber honest I think digital is well ahead now in the general image quality stakes. Some will argue that film is still better, but from a convenience and practical point of view, digital wins hands down.

 

I did post an article here with regards to B&W comparing 16MP Fuji X, 16MP Sigma and RZ67 side by side a while back:

but the current generation of sensors leaves those Fuji & Sigma Merrill Gen1 sensors for dead, so expect that the difference now would be better than the relatively close results I got in that comparo. Interesting that in my conclusion I stated that I would not be going back to film and darkroom but would be pursuing digital B&W in a quest for the best B&W.

Given my latest purchases and direction, I think it's fair to say that two years later I'm sticking rather well to that commitment... :D 

Edited by Alan7140
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Alan. Yes, I remember that article and I think I would probably be in the same camp of thinking. I suppose with me it would be a romantic thing, more than a sensible one, to do a landscapes project using medium format film. I don't really have the patience for that level of dedication to preparation (film choice, manual exposure, etc). Digital has made me a very lazy photographer! 

 

So, my Canon 19mm 3.5 FL lens will be going to a new owner this week in exchange for a new Canon 200D kit. What? I hear you all ask. Well, let's just say that as much as I love using the iPhone 7 Plus as a video tool, when it comes to low light that really small sensor definitely takes a big performance hit. The 200D has been out for a few months and all indications are that it's a very capable video camera that offers just about everything I would need to make the kinds of videos I want to make. One of the problems I had with the iPhone 7 Plus on safari was audio. With that Apple 3.5mm to Lightning port adapter there were a lot of issues with sound dropping out from the footage and also I was picking up some interference from the cellphone antenna because in the heat of the moment one forgets to switch it to airplane mode. The Canon 200D is small enough to not be a nuisance on trips and it's also got everything I would need for 1080p video, so, a baby DSLR from a brand I haven't used in over a decade is about to come back into my world. Who would have thought that would happen? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Acting completely against my own advice as to film vs digital, and hating - hating - using the RZ (bloody thing is too big for the hand, too heavy for comfort, and shifts balance too radically when focusing with its rack and pinion arrangement), but still wanting to have a crack at medium format 6cm format, I bought a Pentacon Six to go with the lenses I purchased to use with the Hartblei shift adapter and the Sigma sd Quattro-H. I was tempted to buy a Kiev 88CM Hasselblad copy to relive past years of using actual Hasselblads, but without the expense that would entail, but stories of the fragile and temperamental behaviour of the Russian camera along with its current inflated pricing turned me in the Pentacon direction. Now I know that the Pentacon isn't without its idiosyncrasies, but after three months of fruitless searching I landed on a "just-listed" example with a highly detailed description from a long-time seller with a 100% feedback rating at an extraordinarily good price, so I took a chance.

 

tpr1wvK.jpg

 

To say I have not been disappointed is an understatement - this thing is a joy to use, something that I intend to do at every opportunity. There's something about that 6x6 format that I find extremely comfortable, could be because that's what I spent most of my early career using.

 

The size difference between the Pentacon with 50mm lens and the Mamiya with 50mm lens isn't to be discounted, either; nor is the weight difference - 1.8kg vs 2.8kg.

bMUNybX.jpg

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, DFZ said:

It's hard for me to imagine a camera weighing almost 3kg! 

 

That's with the 50mm lens attached, of course. At 50mm and f/4.5 it's not the biggest hunk of glass in the medium format word, but it's no lightweight at 810gms. The CZJ 4/50 weighs in at 680gm, so 130gm lighter and a third of a stop faster. The Pentacon Six with its waist level finder is unexpectedly light when you first pick it up without a lens attached.

 

Back in the 1980's the RB67 was my main wedding camera (as with many photographers) and no doubt had a lot to do with the very static and posed shots common in that era. Use on a tripod was mandatory, and with a Metz 60CT1 attached and its separate lead acid battery slung from the tripod as well as a shoulder bag containing an extra camera body, two more lenses and extra film magazines the whole lot was a real handful when moving around (the belt pouch was for the exposed films).

 

Someone took a photo of me photographing a Jewish wedding in early 1984 which shows it off - really heavy and awkward and all not helped by the subject also carrying a lot more weight himself than he should have been! :D:D :

ehDb1cW.jpg

Edited by Alan7140
  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting images and stories Alan. Our generation has experienced quite a dramatic change in electronic equipment like cameras and audio. I used to record audio cassette tapes based on themes like mood and even instruments like saxophone in rock songs. The time, effort and money involved was substantial. The past is interesting but not necessarily "better".

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree, Luc, especially when it comes to audio. You will never convince my ears that vinyl sounds better than CD, yet there is an entire legion of hipsters happy to shell out 5x the cost of a CD for a new pressing of older albums suddenly re-released on vinyl. Daft in my mind. You would need to spend close to the amount of a small car on home audio gear to make a vinyl sound better than the average CD. 

 

Interestingly, ever since I watched 11.22.63 (based on the Stephen King book) I have been on the hunt for a cool looking R2R machine, but only for aesthetic purposes. I always preferred playing cassettes over vinyl. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Of course the joys (?) of using retro gear means improvisation - in this case I gave the remnants of my RRS Nikon D600 L bracket what must surely be its final makeover to provide an Arca plate to mount the Pentacon Six on my tripod's RRS BH-30 ball head. With a bit of selective paint removal and polishing it looks almost as if it was made for the camera (which in a way it was, I guess :) ). Including the D600, this is now the fifth camera the original L-Plate has been hacked and modified to fit (usually until RRS or iShoot came up with a camera-specific model).

lZxiAEB.jpg

Edited by Alan7140
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have my family's Kodiak Brownie that is older than I am.   And we have the wife's Canon A-1 in closet.  


Olympus OM-D EM-1 II, 60mm Macro, 7-14mm Pro, 12-40mm Pro, 40-150mm Pro, 300mm Pro

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By visiting this website you are agreeing to our Terms of Use, Privacy Policy & Guidelines.