"BAD" cameras

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by mtk, Nov 17, 2004.

  1. mtk


    Here I go again! We all have our favorites of classic cameras, and
    realizing that we all have opinions...but do we have some ideas for
    real "dogs"..either cameras and or lenses..? Just curious...Mark
    PS most of us probably never met a camera we didn't like!
  2. At risk of being verbally crucified by the Kodak crowd, I'd say my two least favourite cameras are the Kodak Motormatic 35 and Kodak Automatic 35 F. I have two of each, thankfully acquired at yard sales for a small price, and none of them work. Matter of fact, I've never even heard of one that still works.Also Argus Autronic 35, big heavy beast, almost never found in working condition. If you simply mean "Dogs" as in poor photo producers, #1 on my hit parade is my Rondo Rondomatic. I've owned 110 cameras that made nicer shots.
  3. there were a FEW bad cameras made, i think, maybe. one that comes to mind is the Samoca 35... it had 3 or 4 marked shutter speeds but all gave the exact same speed (somewhere around 1/50 i think). I think it was Japan's little way of getting back at the American GIs after the war.

  4. I had a Motormatic 35 in perfect working condition.....

    you're not missing much.

  5. Argus Autronic 35... I have one of those. I would see if it works but it takes some obscure double thick mercury cell I think.

    As far as my personal collection... Zeiss 515/2, Ilford Sportsman 120, Zeiss vestpocket Ikonta with Vario shutter,... this is too depressing.
    The Sportsman was converted into a 120 pinhole camera. Takes great photos that way. The others just don't get used.

    tim in san jose
  6. I don't know whether these quite qualify as "bad" cameras but I've seen several that I wouldn't buy at any price. Mostly consumer grade fixed lens rangefinders from Minolta and Yashica. Before anyone blows a fuse I had a Minolta HiMatic G (tho' I don't think it quite qualified as a rangefinder - more a guessfocuser) and the first 35mm I cut my teeth on was a then-new Yashica Electro-something. Some of those are pretty good.

    But most of 'em haven't held up well, unlike the seemingly more durable similar cameras from other makers. Loose lenses, stuck shutters, dead electronics (making the entire camera effectively dead). And they don't look good enough to simply use for decorative pieces.

    I keep wanting to dislike most Argus models but there's something just slightly endearing about them, like an ugly but loyal and well behaved dog.

    It's hard for me to dislike any folder. At the very least they make good wall hangers and shelf decoration.
  7. Off hand, I can't think of any 'bad' cameras. Even the cheap and nasty Halina 35X had the supreme redeeming feature that it introduced a lot of people to 35mm photography.

    On the other hand, I've come across a number of disappointing cameras. At the top end, the original Leicaflex, infamous for its peculiar viewfinder, was fitted with an external meter at a time when every other manufacturer was introducing TTL, which has to qualify as a severe disappointment. Not much further down the scale is the Alpa 10d. Like the Leicaflex, a beautiful piece of engineering but with the ergonomics of a broken hammer handle.

    Then there are the West German Edixa cameras and their East German cousins the Prakticas. These had the opposite problem from the first two I mentioned. They were well designed and had lots of good features. The Prakticamat in particular has always been one of my favourite designs, when it works. The problem is that both Edixa and Praktica seem to have bought into planned obsolescence with a will and few cameras from these ranges will win any prizes for reliability.

    Then there's Canon's reworking of their superb F1. Here's a good idea: take one of the nicest designs ever, cover it with a horrible anodised chrome finish, do something odd to the viewfinder and make the shutter sound like a clockwork toy train. Good one Canon!
  8. ...the Kodak Zodiac which is a Diana. All the parts keep coming off in my hands while using it...
    You should see my Diana. The lens has come almost completely loose. I have to push it in its grooves every time I want to take a picture... The Agfa Isoly is something else. Sturdy, and cheaper too.
  9. I'll second Rick's nomination of the Samoca. It is the Hello Kitty of the camera world - irresistably cute and odd. I have the Samoca-35 Super. One suspects the designer had heard about cameras, but never actually seen one before. On the plus side, the Super has a coupled rangefinder, is extremely compact, and seems well crafted. The shutter speeds on mine - B, 10-200 - actually seem right on. And then there is the lens; mine appears faultless with a nice looking coating. I could not believe how bad the images were from the test roll; it looked like each color was focused to a different plane. One of these days I'll try another roll.
  10. The "Banner," another Diana clone.
  11. I generally like old cameras for their sheer oldness, but there's one I just couldn't take to - the Lubitel 2. This is a twin-lens reflex, a Russian copy of the pre-war Voigtlander Brilliant. It's made of Bakelite and there's a kind of weird chic about it, but it's probably one to look at, not to use. It has a Lomo T-22 75mm f4.5 taking lens, and the shutter goes from 1/15 to 1/250. On paper it's reasonably specified but nothing works properly. The controls are difficult to locate and use, and it's almost impossible to focus. The screen is dark and murky, and there is a ridiculous pop-up magnifier that looks like a christmas cracker novelty and just shows you a magnified image of your own nose (or maybe someone else's nose - who nose?). Anyway, it produces indifferent images and just doesn't seem worth the trouble.
  12. I won't nominate this as a bad camera, but has anyone ever tried to focus a Contax S with its original wide-angle lens, the 40/4.5 Tessar? The view is so dim you can hardly tell if the mirror is down, with the lens wide open; but you CAN'T focus wide open because there is no preset diaphragm on the lens! try focusing that little sucker at f/16!

  13. Truly Bad -- Spartus 35!!
  14. A personal thing but I just don't like SLR's. I recently bought Nikon EM at a yard sale and sold it after 1 roll of film. Too heavy, noisy and I like to be able to see what's just outside the frame.
  15. Interesting to compare results in this thread to one from August:


    and one from last year:

  16. lkv


  17. I recall the Mamily 500TL/DTL as being pretty unreliable.
  18. I neither liked my Seagul TLR nor Balda Rollbox, which was quite beautiful but adjusted to the "chemical focus" of blue and UV sensitive film, which means it was focused on somewhere beyond infinity.
  19. May I back date my two Kiev 60s to 1970?
  20. The Ansco Clipper gets my nomination.
  21. do not like my argus c4 - dont like the mamiya trl - dont like agfa, ilford and braun cameras in general
  22. Adox once sold a rebranded monstrosity that had a wonderful Xenon lens in a Compur Rapid shutter. I managed to make some acceptable pictures with it but I cursed its retractable lens and its undependable film advance so often I feared eternal damnation. Fortunately it was stolen and I prefer to believe the thief got the curse along with the camera.
  23. As far as I'm concerned the only bad camera is one that is no longer capable of making an image on film. Hey I guess that means digital cameras too! oh well.

    But really, for me if it works its a good camera, so I'll use it, get to know it, and try to take advantage of it's strengths.

  24. Oh, yeh, the Nikon EM. Most embarrassing excuse for a "camera" ever affixed with the name from an otherwise respectable major label.

    I wonder how many suckers bought this piece of crap just because it was a "Nikon". One thing I do know: I've never seen one that worked. I once had a fellow at a used camera shop go through every one of the 11 EM's on the shelf - not a single one worked.

    It was an okay idea for a simple, beginner's SLR. But in practice it paled in comparison to the Canon T50, a direct competitor that remained reliable much longer.

    To be fair I've also seen a couple of Canons I didn't like but they were so awful I've cauterized that part of my brain to protect my delicate psyche.
  25. Try the Petri Flex V. Had one from new, 1965. It went to the importer and back so many times in the first six months, I lost count. It was nice when it was working, with a good viewfinder for its day and nice controls. But the mirror didn't rise fast enough and cut off a chunk of the image; the diaphragm re-opened sluggishly; and...! Maybe I just had a bad one but the importer simply could not fix it nor did offer me a replacement.
  26. The Welmy with the terionar coated triplet made very nice pictures but it was a very cheaply built camera. Anyway after having four of them fall apart on me in less than a year I just stopped buying them.
  27. Prakticas take some beating for parts falling off and for all around unreliability and poor construction. The ugliest camera however must be the Kodak 35 with the atrocious external gears. What were they thinking? Compare one to a Voigtlander 35mm from about the same period. The Diana is probably the worst performing camera ever produced, so bad in fact that they are in demand for the unusual (artistic?) distortions they give in photos. I think they cost around $1 when new.
  28. This is easy - any camera that uses 110 film cartridges. What an awful format. The problem is that I now have boxes of 110 negatives that I just cleared out from my father's house. Now I need to scan them to see what can be used.
  29. gib


    try scanning a 110 kodachrome slide
  30. rdm


    I just purchased a bunch of Cannon T70's for my photo club at school and the seller threw in a Kodak Motormatic for me to play with and I was really excited, and couldn't wait to take pictures, until my roommate tried to click the shutter button without any film in it , and broke it. He said it snapped really easily and that he barley pressed it... It's some kinda cast metal so i cant weld it , and getting another one on eBay with the cost of shipping will end up costing me more than its worth. I hate being a poor college student again. Does anyone have any parts cameras or know how to fix this?
  31. The camera which says "Time" on it.

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