Category Archives: Junk Camera Finds

Yashica T AF

This camera was a complete gamble. I know I usually buy cameras that are in junk bins and are a gamble, but usually they don’t cost much or I can test them a little in the shop to check them. But this for this one I could not test it at all and it was electronic so there could be things wrong that I could not fix. The price of the camera was $25, so it was more than I would usually spend on a broken electronic camera. I figured I could at least sell if for parts and get some of my money back if it didn’t work. At the end of the day it was a Yashica T and I probably would not be able to afford one in any other circumstance.

As you can see it was fairly clean with just a small crack on the lens cover. The flash did not stay retracted, but it still worked when I put in two AA batteries and slid the button. Also it seemed to want to load a film when you opened the back door. When I pressed the shutter the lens cover retracted and it seemed to take a photo. It activated 4 times then stopped completely. I opened the back once more, and again it tried to load a film, but then the shutter button would not do anything and the lens cover didn’t retract. So the shutter was stuck or sticky. Bugger. I did a search online and found this video.

That seemed to be exactly what my version did, maybe I could fix it too. I followed the video and did the same thing. Low and behold it worked. I pressed the shutter many times and fake loaded it many times, it carried on working. So now to test it with a film, but holy moly I was excited at the prospect. I liked how the lens cover retracted for each shot then returned to its original position. So there would be no forgetting the open it for shooting or closing it for protection. But that movement added to the electronics and might add to the issues. I also liked the slider which turned on the camera as it covered the shutter button when it was turned off. No bag shots with this camera. Plus the flash is off until you slide it on, so no random flashes

Here is the test roll, or half a roll as I had previously used it on another test camera.

I tried a few repeat shots, with and without the flash to see the difference and how the camera coped. For outdoor infinity shots, it seemed to cope very well and the exposure choices were great. For the closer shots, like the flowers, the focus is a bit off. So the minimum focal length can catch you out. I would suggest at least 2 meters to be sure.

Introduced in 1984 it was a top of the line point and shoot. The camera has a shutter speed range of 1/30 to 1/700 seconds, and has film choices of ISO 50 to 1000. Of course it has a Zeiss Tessar lens, but for me I have other cameras that performed better and I don’t think that has anything to do with the sticky shutter. For instance the Pentax PC35 AF which is turning into my favourite non-zoom point and shoot.

Keep or sell: It sold immediately.

Minolta Alpha 8700i (Minolta Dynax 8000i)

I got this body in a second hand shop in Japan. I was looking for a Minolta auto focus lens as I seemed to have given all mine away. I thought I might as well look for a cheap body that I hadn’t tried before to keep the lens safe. That turned out to be quite tricky as Minolta cameras are the most common ones to be found in junk shops in Japan. Not because they are bad, but because there are just a lot of them around. Well, I eventually found this one. The body was about $3 which was cheaper than an actual lens cover. It even had a working battery in it already. Bargain! But gosh it was heavy when combined with the lens I found, a Tamron 28-200mm. I wanted a 50mm, but I could only find zoom lenses in the junk section.

In fact, I was so worried about the weight and excess baggage on this trip that I tried the camera straight away to make sure it worked. I didn’t want to bother packing a body that didn’t work. I carried this camera as hand luggage around my neck, but I still had too much luggage and was charged $110 yikes.

The 8700i was produced from around 1990 and was one of their top models. It has the card slot for different programs, but I didn’t have any card. You can find more technical details here. There you will see that the top shutter speed is 1/8000th, wow. Remember this camera is 30 years old and not their top professional model. That is impressive. I have the Nikon F90x which also goes that high, so maybe I will have to compare them.

I used this camera on a day out in Yokohama, visiting my friend and her little boy. Here are the test shots.

I found the camera fairly quiet. So quiet that I told my friend I thought it wasn’t working, but I would finish the film anyway to be sure. The lens was very responsive to touch, quick to focus. I took a couple of shots on a train station platform to try out the zoom on the lens. It captured the boy at top zoom on his bike, though admittedly he wasn’t exactly mr speedy. But the quick focusing at that distance was impressive. The exposure choices are spot on, even in bright sun and shade. There was also a multi exposure feature which I had a play with. What a cracking not so little camera. I think I prefer the Nikon F90x, but this one was much cheaper and a great alternative. I think I might keep this…for a lens cover..plus I absolutely don’t care about it so it will be great to take places it might get damaged. I might not even remove the stickers for posterity.

Japan, Jetlag, and Cameras

So the all important question, did I buy any new cameras in Japan? Well, durh!! course I did. I went to a couple of my favourite shops around Tokyo.

GT Cameras has a great selection of good quality used cameras and a super junk section. From there I got these.

I bought the Konica for a friend, the topcon because it looked nice and shiny and the fuji because it was $1. The fuji has a built in battery but it is easily accessible and I should be able to swap it for a modern equivalent.

The next one I made a point to visit was Shinbashi Ichi Camera. This shop was on my walk from the Tsukuba Express Station to Ueno Park. I often wandered in. Though it has a nice range of cameras, they were usually out of my price range. But, the junk section sometimes had real bargains and it was always worth a quick look. This time was no exception. I bought one camera there. If it works it will be an absolute bargain.

A Yashica T AF for $25. Ok it might not work, but it might?? I thought it was worth the gamble. When I tried a battery it worked for a few shots, then quit. There is a possible fix online so fingers crossed.

Finally, I went to my old haunts of Wonderex and Hard-off. These are second hand resell shops, which sometimes have good quality film cameras, but always point and shoots for $3. I ended up getting a couple of toy cameras.

These types of shops also sell SLR bodies and cameras from $3. I went with an idea to get a minolta auto lens as no longer had one in my collection and it would come in handy to test any bodies I come across. Of course you need a body to attach it to, to keep the lens safe. So I got this combination for $8

And finally before I went I bought a new camera from Amazon because I saw this post and though Tokyo would be the best place to test it.

All the holiday wombling reminded me of another Canny Camera post about crap cameras. Will any of these turn out to be utter crap or have I wombled well? I guess the next few posts will tell…once I get over the jetlag that is.

Oh and I forgot this little camera…

This was a surprise buy for a number of reasons. Firstly I have owned a few of them and it was never my favourite camera. Secondly it is a half frame. Finally, I found it in an antique furniture shop while waiting to visit a mini pig cafe. I was early and saw it on a table with a label saying $10 so tested it and it seemed to work perfectly. As I had sold all my other versions I figured it was a good investment. I might even start to like it??

Praktica LTL

I tried this camera out before I left for my holiday in Japan. It is the last in my draft box, then I am up to date 🙂

This should have been a post about a very different camera. At the vintage fair I attended I was given my first ever Miranda camera to try, but unfortunately the battery compartment was welded shut by corroded batteries. Never mind, I could use the M42 lens on another camera so I bought a Praktica LTL body as they were very cheap. On went the lens…it was broken too, bugger. So now I had a body and no lens. 😦

Off I trotted to West Yorkshire Cameras in Leeds to buy a lens from their junk pile. I just wanted a light, cheap one. There was a 35mm or lots of 200mm. And here is the final version, nothing left from or like the original I started with. Not a Miranda, but a heavy tank like Praktica.

To top off all the issues I have had, the meter on this example doesn’t work either due to a little more corrosion. TAKE YOUR BATTERIES OUT PEOPLE!

Luckily this camera from the early 1970s works without batteries. You can find all the technical details you might like here or even here. This camera would normally use stop down metering, but without the meter working that is a moot point for this example. Interestingly the lens I bought has a stop down dial on the front. You set the aperture you want and then use that dial to open the aperture to focus, then move the dial back to the required one. Or that is what I used it for anyway. The viewfinder was incredibly dark when set at a small aperture, so opening it up and allowing more light in made focusing much easier. Even so I still found it tricky due to the microprism focusing screen, I much prefer a split screen. Another quirk of this camera is the placement of the shutter button, right on the front panel, not on the top. For me that meant I had to remove my finger from the shutter every time I wound on the film. It didn’t make for a quick process. Combine that with the focusing issue and I didn’t find using this camera pleasant. I put in some film and tried to get to like it, tried to get through the film which usually isn’t an issue for me

In the middle of it all I read this post about a Zenit and I remembered my very first camera, a Zenit 11. I bet that camera is still working, but for someone else. I started to look on eBay for a new to me Zenit 11 (I got one). Reminiscing made me gain a new appreciation for this camera. Yes it is boxy, yes it is heavy, but even with the age and damage it is still working. It is a work horse of the GDR. Really it is very similar to the Zenit 11 in terms of looks, size, weight, and lens choices. So on a rainy day I picked up the Praktica again and finished the film around my house. It wasn’t easy as the weather made the insides dark too and the only lens I had went down to a pathetic f3.5 and the film inside was a Fomapan 100 which I had not been pushing.

Here are the results.

Well, would you look at that. They actually have a nice feel to them. It seems the junk lens and damaged body worked well together. If you want a camera to take on holiday that would work under most conditions, didn’t need batteries and could act as a weapon in the face of danger this might be the perfect choice. It could save your life and still be ok to take photos after. Plus they are so damn cheap it wouldn’t matter if it dropped down a ravine in the process.

I am not quite sure what to do with this camera. I probably won’t use it ever again. Maybe I will try it with another lens if I get one sometime….oh, the one on the Zenit 11 that has just arrived.

Canon Prima Super 105 (Canon Sure Shot 105 Zoom/Autoboy Luna 105)

I had to really check whether I had tried this camera before. I found another Canon 105 among my collection of posts, but not this one. It is another one of those point and shoots with many names depending on the country it was released in. I got this one from a second hand market. The stall owner threw it in for one pound when I bought another camera that was also very, very cheap. To be fair, I didn’t really want it, but a quid?? Nothing to lose.

Well, everything seemed to work seamlessly. Powered up with a CR123 battery – check, zoomed in and out – check, shutter fired – check, flash worked – check. Well, nothing more to check then. Having a look over the camera I noticed the RT on the selector?? I could figure out the rest of the symbols and I was happy to see the ‘no flash’ choice, but what was RT. Checking the manual revealed it meant Real Time. Basically on this setting the camera would fire in 0.03 seconds instead of the usual lag. OOOHHHH, perfect for a cycle race.

So in I pop some HP5 and set off for the Tour De Yorkshire on a miserable, rainy day. This year I was a volunteer for this event on two of the four days. Last year the weather was in the 20+ temperatures, but I was in Japan. This year it was wet and cold, so much so I had to buy an extra jumper from the church jumble where we were based. Maybe not the best conditions to test a non waterproof camera from 1997. Also, I had to keep my eye on the race and spectators so I could not frame photos very efficiently. The camera had to be a literal point and shoot with no fancy or tricky operating features.

Here is my TDY day for stage one, and a tiny bit from stage 2.

Wow, I love this camera. It worked perfectly for me and the shots are perfectly exposed under difficult conditions. Oh and the chains are from a round swing that I laid on. I was early for my shift and went to the park. The swing was fun, but it made me very queasy and I almost threw up, I am getting old 😦

There are also a few shots that have a lot of ‘road’ in it. I got very excited when the main peloton went by, shot from the hip and tried to keep the camera lens out of the heavy rain. I managed that, but missed most of the bikes.

I am going to Japan in a couple of days for a short holiday, I think I will take this camera with me. I don’t want to carry a heavy film camera as well as my digital. Plus I have some there already and I could get more easily. But I want one to use before I pick up my ‘left luggage’. The super 105 is just the right size, just about pocketable with a built in lens cover. It also accepts film up to 3200asa, handy. Oh if only it had a slightly better bottom or top aperture instead of  f/3.8-9.9. You can’t have everything I suppose, but for a quid this camera was a bargain and a half.

Loreo MK II 3D Stereo Camera

What a funky looking camera! I bought this with my winnings from the 2019 Grand National. I had a couple of quid on Tiger Roll at 14/1 before it finally settled at 4/1, lucky me. As it was free money, I decided to get myself something superfluous. Free money refers to money you didn’t expect to have and so have not budgeted for anywhere. The Grand National is a somewhat controversial topic, but I have not been in the UK to see it for 20 years so I was quite excited on the day. But at the very first fence a couple of horses fell, one obviously heavily and that made me feel very emotional with mixed feelings about the whole thing. Even so, free money!!

Recently I have been watching a TV show about World War 1. It features stereo photos that have been digitally enhanced. They are freakily effective.

Also Brian May has been on TV promoting his book about Queen which contains the same style of photos. He is a complete nerd when it comes to stereoscopic photos 🙂

That was it, I wanted a stereo camera!!! Oh crap, they are expensive 😦 Hmm, what to do??

Solution, buy an untested one with a broken flash and hope for the best. When it arrived it seemed in pretty good condition, but looking closer the mirrors do seem to have a slight layer of haze. I wondered whether I should try taking it apart and cleaning them before using it. In the end I decided against it as it might not even work. So here is the Loreo Stereo camera from 1999, but it is still available.. It has twin 28mm lenses, a single shutter speed of 1/60th and an aperture of f18 or f11 if you have one with a working flash.

You may have noticed I am a little impatient at times (all my family will laugh at that statement). Having a love of film photography has had no effect on that trait. If I am excited about a camera I tend to use it straight away, even when the weather might mean waiting would be a better choice. This camera was a prime example. I needed a clear, bright day with good film. I chose a humid, cloudy day with old film 🙂

The inside of the camera suggests 200asa film. I had some expired 400asa film. Seeing as I didn’t know if the camera would work, I didn’t see the point in using fresh film. I decided to take the camera to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park as they had a few new pieces on display by Damien Hirst. Perfect for a stereo camera.

The way the camera works means you can take it to a regular shop for developing and scanning. Here are the results I got from that test.

Of course you can’t see the 3d effect but they came out….not in great condition, but they are there. There seems to be a light leak or a reflection of some sort. But, how to effectively view them. I tried the free viewing method and it made me a bit dizzy. I used to be able to see magic photos, but I think the fact I now wear glasses might have affected my ability. So I ordered a Google Cardboard device which has yet to arrive. In the meantime I decided to learn how to make wigglegrams using the free program Gimp.

This is a video heavy post, but what can you do if you decide to ‘wiggle’. Anyway, it didn’t take long to learn, but did take a long time to convert them all. It also made me a tiny bit queazy. So be warned, below are some of the wigglegrams I created. If they make you feel a bit weird, then don’t scroll down. I found the best ones have the subject closer to the camera. This style of photography is not mean for far off landscapes.

As for the camera, I did take it apart and cleaned the mirrors, it did make a difference. I also used some black tape on the film door which reduced the light leak. There also seems to be a reflection from somewhere, a ghost image on the negative. For the second test I used some street candy film. Here are some of the results after the cleaning.

And the second test.

Adox Golf 63 S

The name on this camera had worn off and it took me a while to play around with combinations of letters to find the name. Then I took it outside to take some photos and the names popped under the sunlight.

After a quick search for Adox Golf, this version came up. The linked site said the shutter was designed to run dry so it had no lubricants. That meant it was not prone to sticking. I found this to be true as the shutter on this 1955 example worked perfectly. The lens was also clear of any haze or fungus. So far so good… and after that the fun began.

My first attempt at using it had disappointing results. My bottle of ilfosol 3 was almost empty and when I mixed had a weird colour. In my head I thought, oh that is depleted I shouldn’t use it. Then I thought, what the hell…I wonder what would happen. When I had finished the processing I found a very, very, very light set of negatives. I didn’t think anything would scan from them but I tried anyway. I ended up with these very grainy shots.

I also mistook the white lines for developer issues as I had never encountered them before. So I loaded up another roll of film and took it out again.

As I had to go into Leeds to buy new chemicals I took the camera with me. This time the results were better to a degree, but there were still issues.

What are those weird light leaks? So if it wasn’t the processing, it must be the camera.

I have tried a few cameras with bellows and have never had an issue with them being damaged. Even with the Victorian camera, the bellows were ok. I guess I have been lucky and ended up forgetting about them. But it seemed that this camera did have an issue somewhere and I suspected the bellows, Occum’s razor. I did a little research on how to check the bellows.

I turned off my room light and shone a torch through the outside of the camera bellows.

Voila. These are only a few of the leaks, there were more on the other sides. Ok, so the lens seemed fine, the timer was working, the camera was in generally good condition and importantly, I liked using it. How can I fix these pin holes cheaply and easily. This camera is very cheap to buy so an expensive repair would not be worthwhile. I read a few places that a glue and paint mixture would work so I tried that first. It didn’t look great, but the light leaks were gone.

I shot another roll that I took at the beautiful Hardcastle Crags. Gosh, they would be nice if the light leaks were gone.

Also, as it was a lovely sunny day so I had some of this before developing…

Big mistake. Apparently I was drunker than I thought and when I poured out the used developer it looked like this…and the final film like this…

WTF??? Where are my beautiful photos from the Yorkshire countryside?? I checked the bottles again. OOOOOHHHH, apparently if you try to develop fomapan by using the stop bath first, then developer, then fixer…it comes out blue, like the gin.

Fourth film, really fourth?? I was determined to get a good roll from this camera. Weirdly, I still really liked it and hadn’t lost the plot with it yet. Why did I like it? It has no capacity for double or multiple exposures, it has no rangefinder, the lowest aperture choice was f6.3, and the fastest speed was 1/200th. I think my love started with the funky way you loaded or removed the film.

Look at that, what a cool, convenient thing. You pull it out and down and the film is then very easy to load. Then there is the button to open it, push and whop, it swishes open. And then, when it is closed it is nice and compact and fits into a large pocket. Plus it is so cheap you don’t mind whopping it and whapping it in a pocket. There is also a red indicator by the shutter and wind on wheel that lets you know if the camera is ready to be operated.

Before I loaded the fourth and I have to say final film, I decided to check the bellows again. There was still a small leak so this time I decided to use black nail varnish and no gin. (See comment section about this, nail varnish really doesn’t work well and is a quick fix only)

Here are the final test results.

The negatives still had a couple of tiny leaks evident, but except for the last shot they weren’t so bad. I used the film very quickly so the light didn’t have time to really spoil anything else. When using glue or varnish, you need to wait a long time for it to dry as the sticky consistency will do exactly that when the camera closes. It will stick together and the holes reappear when you open the camera again.

I will put another coat of nail varnish on the camera if I decide to use it again, but I doubt it as I have a few other medium format cameras without deteriorating bellows. As for recommendations, this camera can be found quite cheap so it would be a good buy. Just check the bellows before buying it or trying it with a film. Plus it looks nice on the shelf

Also, for a great article on breathing new life into old cameras, check out this link. You will find details of many kinds of repairs. Oh and I recommend the gin too 🙂