Vintage Taron Camera- Worth it?

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by sawyer_lt, Nov 3, 2017.

  1. I found a vintage 45mm Taron camera at a local thrift store for $35. It wasn't with the other well working film cameras, and its tag didn't indicate that it works, so I'm wondering, is it worth spending $35 not knowing what could potentially be wrong with it? What could be the most expensive repair? Even if it were in perfect shape, is it a camera I would want to have?
    I know it's possible it's unrepairable, but I'm hoping for the best! Thanks in advance.

    Side note- There was also a vintage Kowa H 35mm in working condition for $54. Could that be a better option altogether?

    IMG_9494.jpg IMG_9495.jpg
  2. PapaTango

    PapaTango Itinerant Philosopher

    That's a Taron EE from the early 60s. Working it might be worth $10-20 bucks. The Kowa is another $10-20 camera. Thrift shops have a really inflated idea of what these things are worth anymore... :(

    Unless you are a collector trying to fill in a hole, or a trust fund hipster with nothing to lose--I would steer far clear of either and certainly not at those prices.
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2017
    sawyer_lt likes this.
  3. Since Papa Tango identified it, let's go through red flag specs:
    • Mercury batteries and their not really inexpensive replacement.
    • Auto mode and highest settable ISO 400
    • All the fun of potentially needed RF adjustments.
    I admittedly like rangefinders but would rather pick a fully manual one. Those cameras were intended to shoot Kodachrome by daylight and I was more into pushed B&W indoors. No clue about potential repair needs but $100 seem quickly spend if you have to hire others to work on your treasures.

    Worst about RFs: They tend to lead to a desire for Leica M.
  4. Yeah 35 USD is pricey for a fixed lens RF of unknown working condition. I'd agree (since this is not one of the more collectible or user/collectibles that 10 to 20 for a working one is fair. Unknown condition maybe 5 bucks.
  5. Too expensive, as said. Internet is better source.

    That being said, it is an largely unacknowledged truth that the "final" generation of these range-finder cameras (as SLRs were coming in) were almost all much better than you would have any reason to expect. I suspect that this is because their main use was for slow-speed color slide films, where fuzzy wouldn't do.
  6. The Taron cameras and the Kowa cameras are low end goods, intended for sale in discount stores. The optics were generally OK (most lenses were OK then) but the mechanicals were not notably reliable .

    If you seek a camera from that era, go for a brand such as Canon or Minolta - the thrift store won't have a clue as to the difference (read price difference) and you might get a camera that is actually useable.
  7. For the Taron:

    Taron: Taron Auto EE Price Guide: estimate a camera value

    says $10 to $20, with low confidence.

    A large number of older cameras are in that range, if they are working at all.

    I would buy a Canon or Nikon SLR for $20 (not so hard to find) instead.

    As noted above, many are supposed to use Hg batteries. Usually they work with alkaline batteries, though the meter might be a little off.
    Sometimes, a lot off. Usually close enough for black and white film.

    For the Kowa:

    Kowa: Kowa H Price Guide: estimate a camera value

    also the same range and same low confidence.

    There are some very good cameras in the $50 price range, such as the Canon P (maybe not including lens) that would be much better choices.
  8. PapaTango

    PapaTango Itinerant Philosopher

    eBay has fairly killed thrift and collectible shop bargain sales. Sellers consult the bay prices before tagging--and sometimes price above current trending prices. Still, there are many 'off' brands that pop up from time to time, including Yashica, Petri, Olympus, Konica, and sometimes Voigtlander. Some of the old Kodak 35mm folders still slip through.

    An old favorite and sure winner is the Argus C3. This brick, a cheap light meter and a couple boxes of FP4 will make a great day!

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