Ideas For A Fun Vintage Camera

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by michael_schirmer|1, Dec 16, 2005.

  1. Hey, I'm looking for some sort of a vintage camera. I was wanting
    something that takes really artistic photos. I am a beggining
    photographer and I just need some ideas on a nice cheap ($50) vintage
    camera that takes awsome photos. Not the cleanest or clearest photos
    but something that is just cool. Please Help!
  2. many older cameras use roll film which is not so easy to get D&P for on the High Street, so 35mm is where it is at look at FSU Feds and Zorkis, but as an alternative what about an Argus C3 - millions of them about - still a decent picture taker - simple to fix and you could buy 50 of them for your budget!!! Nick
  3. Many vintage cameras take much better pictures than people are willing to admit these days. The Zorki takes very sharp images, as does the Argus C3. If you are looking for artistic images, look for old cameras with foggy, scratched, or plastic lenses. Try a brownie for 35mm, or a Lubitel for 120 film. Look for cameras with small diameter lenses as the are usualy simpler lens designs which should produce softer focus images. Something with zone focusing or even fixed focus will also likely produce the types of images you are looking for.

    - Randy
  4. I think what you are looking for is the subject of the Alternative Camera Forum. Or seach the net for Holga, Diana or toy camera. And read about cross-processing. But I like my photos sharp and clear and have yet to find a classic camera (that works) and takes poor pictures. Even in times immemorial people (and camera manufacturer) wanted the best results.
    Okay, maybe that botched repair attempt with a long ago sold 6x9 folder camera with a Radionar three-element lens is what you want. I screwed off the fungus-afflicted front element, dropped it while cleaning it (resulting in a large crack) and probably screwed it back in the wrong way round. It wasn't possible to take sharp pictures anymore, but the bokeh (rendering of out-of-focus areas) was awesome.
  5. The Zenit, it's not a 'fun' camera though but a decent performer with some good quality optics. I have a few of them and I use them almost every day. They're fully mechanical. (No matrix-metering or 5623-point-focus-screen though but I'm sure you can live with that ;-).
  6. Michael:

    Since you are a beginning photographer, I'll tell you that no particular camera takes
    awesome photos. Only the photographer can. One can make masterpieces with the
    crappiest piece of plastic imaginable -- or even a camera without a lens (pinhole); one can
    shoot absolute crap with the latest digital SLR. Only your vision, combined with the ability
    to use any particular camera to its potential can make artistic photos. Now, if you kust
    want to take photos that have vignetting around the edges, blurry effects, etc. Go buy a
    Holga from Freestyle Camera or anyplace else that sells them. Get some color 400 speed
    120 roll film, and go shoot. You will at least have a start. The rest is up to you.
  7. jeg


    Artistic, awesome, cool pictures [for the simple-minded]? Easy!
    1: Buy one (1) roll of Kodak Ektachrome 100 Plus Professional (EPP).
    2: Shoot the film in a camera of your choice and expose it normally (at ISO 100).
    3: Drop it off at a pro lab to have it developed and tell them to "crossprocess it in C41 chemistry, pushed 1/3 stop".
    [3a: To get a first impression of your results, order also a contact sheet, but this is a bit expensive.]
    4: Have prints made of your negs and don't forget to tell them / write a note: "No color correction, please!"
    5: Profit?!
    You can thank me later for this.
  8. You didn't specify if it was to be a 35mm camera or not, but if you want fun, try checking in at My personal recomendations would be a Holga (brand new) or a Diana (or one of her clones). Both can be had for well under $50 and take "fun" pictures. They do take 120 film though...
  9. The best bet if you want to take artistic photos is a camera with a fairly sharp lens which takes a common filter size (49mm,52mm), you can then buy cheap filters to achieve atrtistic effects. With a clear UV or Skylight filter and a jar of vaseline you can achieve startling effects. You can also hold a piece of black netting in front of the lens to acheve softening effects. I agree with the previous poster no camera "takes awesome photos", its the photographer that does that.
  10. If you spot an interesting old beast get it even if it uses an odd type of film. Here is an example of 35mm film in a Kodak Brownie, $7 camera at a junk sale. If it doesn't post, the link is The 35mm can fit where the old roll would have been, and spanned the back to the takeup reel. Also don't forget to cover any film counter windows. Have fun!
  11. Sorry, not sure why site link in message body doesn't work but the image link does.
  12. get a box camera ,the older the better,the cheaper the better.
  13. Mark,

    Nice shot of the Water Tower.
  14. Mark -

    The link in the text has an extra period at the end of the URL.
  15. Is this artistic enough? taken with a Ricoh scratched front element it is a zone focus camera with a 45mm Ricon lens. Larry
  16. My three favorites in this catagory.....
    Holga is fun. I have a Diana/Windsor (which I'd be happy to sell), but the Holga is the right level of "toy camera" for me.
    The Agfa Clack is about as cool as a box camera gets. With a 6x9 negative, the pictures are decent and can be contact printed as alternative process prints (cyanotype, VanDyke, etc)
    Last, but not least is a FED 2. I have a good one, but I understand they are a bit hit or miss. Fantastic camera for street shooting and I really like the look of prints with the Industar lens.
    Ok, one more.....any 70's rangefinder. They also have the luxury of a lightmeter (-: .
  17. Kodak Signet 35 is a good bet. I have had one for thirty years, and it's still one of my best performers. You can get one on E-Bay for a song. The shutter is easy to clean, and the rangefinder is easy to adjust. There is a sliding exposure guide on the back, and its Ektar lens is a Tessar clone. Easy to use.
  18. You dont really give that much to go on really so i'm gonna play it safe and say that as a beginner you ought to go for a reasonably new camera. My advice would be a little 1970's rangefinder or a manual SLR, if you look on ebay you can get a Minolta (XG, X300, e.t.c) for a reasonable price with 50 mm lens.
    I'd be very cautious of these toy cameras, sure they can give good results but not on any consistant basis, it could be disheartening for a newbie to get their film back and find that all the pics are out of focus or under/ overexposed.

    For cheap cameras try any that are M42 screw mount (Mamiya or Fujica are some of the latest made and have good optics).

    Hope this helps - Mat
  19. Seriously, to find any fun vintage camera, just go find what you can. Any old 35mm camera, or 120 rollfilm camera, would provide decent "vintage" results. Of course, what a decent "vintage" result is can be widely debated. Just find an old camera, a Kodak 35, Kodak Pony, Agfa Clack, Kodak No.2 box camera, Canon Canonet, Konica Auto S or S2, Welta Welti, Argus C3, Argus C4, etc. etc. etc. Anything that still works would work good for what you are wanting. If you are simply wanting photos that show evident blurring, distortion, aberration, etc., stick with the cheaper cameras.

    Also, I don't see how the Kodak Ektar lens mounted on the Kodak Signet 35 can be a Tessar clone when the Tessar is a front element focusing lens, while the Ektar is a unit focusing lens. Just something to think about when stating that the Ektar is a copy of the Tessar.
  20. Danny Zahner wrote "Also, I don't see how the Kodak Ektar lens mounted on the Kodak Signet 35 can be a Tessar clone when the Tessar is a front element focusing lens, while the Ektar is a unit focusing lens. Just something to think about when stating that the Ektar is a copy of the Tessar."

    Um, Danny, I have a small pile of B&L-Zeiss tessars in barrel, also other tessar type lenses not made under license from Zeiss in barrel and in shutter. All are unit-focusing. Please reconsider your beliefs.

    Ektar is a Kodak trade name. It means "our best lens with this focal length, maximum aperture, and coverage" and contains many lens types. For more information about some of the designs that have been engraved "Ektar," see . Click on the Kodak Ektars link. FWIW, at the moment my kit contains one tessar type Ektar and one four element double Gauss type Ektar. In addition, I have a couple of Cine Ektars that aren't discussed on that site; one is a 7 element double Gauss and I'm not sure what the other is. And I've had a heliar type Ektar too.

    Sorry to have broken solidarity among Dans,
  21. Hey Dan Fromm,
    I noticed my mistake not long after my previous post. For instance, the Tessar in my Old Standard Rolleiflex is unit focusing, and the B&L Tessar for my Auto Graflex is also unit focusing. So you are absolutely correct, and I am absolutely wrong. However, I wasn't able to delete or correct my previous post. Thank you for correcting my statement though, so as not to spread false information.

Share This Page