What camera did I learn on?

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by andrew_tefft, Sep 18, 2018.

  1. This may be a weird question here, or it may be more common than I thought, but here goes...

    In 5th grade, my science teacher had a darkroom and for those of us interested, we could borrow a 35mm SLR camera overnight and get all the free Tri-X (rolled off a big reel) and paper we wanted, developed and printed ourselves.It was a great intro to photography for me and now in the days of ebay I have found myself interested in getting one of those cameras again to re-live that part of my childhood.

    The problem is, I don't remember what camera that was. Until recently I would have said it was a Pentax K1000, but too much of its details do not match what I seem to remember. I've googled and googled and not found anything that quite fits, so I'm hoping someone here recognizes some of the more significant details that seem likely to me to be accurately remembered.

    First of all this would have been somewhere between 1977 and 1979, in the US (though it could have been an overseas model the teacher brought back). I wouldn't expect to loan 5th graders a particularly expensive or new camera.

    It was the classic silver and black design. Manual only, with a match-needle exposure meter. I seem to remember the needles being on the left (though this is a point I could be mis-remembering) of the viewfinder, with one straight (reflecting the light meter, that would move as the light changed) and one with a circle on the end (that would move as you adjusted the aperture). There were no numeric labels or LEDs in the viewfinder.

    I remember it had a metal shutter (I was worried I'd messed it up at one point). And that's about it for details.

    If anyone has any recollection of those specific features I'd appreciate some pointers - I can go look up manuals and see how familiar things look.
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2018
  2. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    The details that you recall apply to so many cameras, and are so general that I can't imagine anyone can help you. What you can do is go to any of the many sites that sell old 35mm film cameras and look at pictures till you find what you remember, or something very close. If you are not familiar with those kinds of sites, PM and I'll send you several good links. Best of luck, in any case.
  3. Dustin McAmera

    Dustin McAmera Yorkshire, mostly on film.

    What about a Praktica L-series;something like an LTL? About the right age, and they have the metal shutter, and they were cheap; but the meter needles are on the right, I think. Mike Butkus has a lot of Praktica manuals: Praktica camera instruction manuals
    Sandy Vongries likes this.
  4. Vincent Peri

    Vincent Peri Metairie, LA

    Way back around 1975 or so, I had a Canon Ftb that had a meter needle that you center on a circle. It was on the right side of the viewfinder. Of the many non professional cameras I've used over the years, the Ftb is the only one with a circle you center on the meter needle.



    Maybe this will jog your memory. Hope it helps.
  5. In all my searching, this is also the only one I've found with a circle and no numerical scale, which is why I was hoping it would be a somewhat identifiable feature that is just really hard to search for but someone who'se used one would know. I do know it wasn't a Canon.
  6. m42dave

    m42dave Dave E.

    This is interesting to try and figure out! Offhand, I can't remember all that many SLRs with the moving "lollipop"-style needle metering. The Leicaflex SL, Olympus FTL, and Miranda Sensorex come to mind, but the first two would have been unlikely student cameras (expensive/rare) and all have cloth shutters.

    Do you remember if the lens was a screw-mount type? Cosina, Vivitar, Chinon, and Ricoh all sold modestly-priced screw-mount manual SLRs with metal shutters, but with the standard +/- meter indicators. The Prakticas were more common in the UK than in the US. Petri also sold inexpensive SLRs with match-circle style metering like the Prakticas, but with cloth shutters.
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2018
  7. m42dave

    m42dave Dave E.

    Camerapedia is also a good site to browse through, with plenty of pictures. You can search by camera model or company (Mamiya, Yashica, Fujica, etc.).

    Last edited: Sep 18, 2018
  8. The Fujica ST-605 that I used at that time matches the description pretty well. It was an M42, match needle metered body that I shot with all the way through high school.

    Sadly, on my senior trip to Disney, the camera fell out of my camera bag and into a tidal pool display at Sea World. It was in the water for about five seconds but ruined in any case.
  9. Well I think the only logical path is to start picking out what reminds you of it from among well serviceable classics......
    Perhaps having them in your hand will jog your memory....;)
  10. There might be a lot like that, but not so many in those years.
  11. If I could remember the brand then it would be a much simpler exercise! Fujica seemed familar but the viewfinder views of every model I can find don't match up.

    The Ricoh KR-5 and CR-5 have the needles I remember - they're on the right, which could be correct. They have metal shutters. The KR-5 comes in the right color scheme, but I can't tell about the CR-5. I'm not sold though, since the KR-5 only came out in 1978 or 1979, so it would have been brand new. And in some way it seems that the battery was installed on the back near the viewfinder, not on the bottom.

    My other doubt is the lens mount. I seem to remember either a screw-down ring or screwing in the lens. When I got my Canon AL-1 a few years later I noticed how different the lens mounting was. But the mounting on the KR-5 seems to work the same way as the later Canon FD lenses, so it seems I shouldn't have felt it unfamiliar.
  12. m42dave

    m42dave Dave E.

    Yes, I remember now the Ricoh KR-5 also has the "lollipop" needle that moves with the shutter speed--still a good student camera.

    The Fujicas were notable for having the battery compartment by the viewfinder. One other like this is the Zenit TTL, which came out in 1977 and was sold in the US as the Cambron TTL. It's quite similar in size and shape to the Fujicas and took screw-mount lenses.
    ed_farmer likes this.
  13. Dustin McAmera

    Dustin McAmera Yorkshire, mostly on film.

    Camerapedia is almost abandoned since Wikia took it over. Most of the editors stopped working on it, and a few of them started Camera-wiki.org as a 'fork' site from the same database. Camera-wiki now has more than 8500 pages, to Camerapedia's 6000. There is also a Flickr group for CW ( CW pool ); a lot of the pictures aren't very well tagged, but you could try searching there as well as on the wiki.
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2018
  14. The Yashica FX3 has a metal shutter but has a traffic light meter. Look, does it have to be that special camera... while I can imagine for sentimental reasons you want that one...but memories are poor judges....any number of the cameras suggested will fulfill the basic premise of 1977 ..I recommend you get a tank (Paterson) and some chemicals .. ie D76 in either liquid or powder form and some fixer either liquid or powder. Most folks don't bother with Stop bath these days Shoot the film with virtually any match needle SLR and develop the film. Then scan the negs and post here at CMC. The enlarger, paper and accompanying chemicals are quite an effort. You will find the paper expensive the rest relatively cheap....but you will need a Darkroom. Apropos Darkroom.... for loading the film in the daylight tank I use a changing bag. It just takes a little bit of practice. By scanning the negs you bypass the darkroom,enlarger, paper,trays chemicals etc.
  15. The first camera I ever owned was an Imperial Delta:

    Imperial Camera: Delta Price Guide: estimate a camera value

    I got one on eBay for $1 plus low shipping, as noted, for sentimental reasons.
    (Supposedly I won it in a contest from a camera store, though I didn't enter
    any contest.)

    Also, when I was young my dad bought a Pellix. After that, I often got to
    use his Canon VI. Some years later, it was stolen from the trunk of the car
    while in the audience for Johnny Carson's Tonight show. Even though it
    was never my camera, I still had some sentiment for one, which I not so
    long ago got from a Goodwill auction. (And with some dust on the mirror.)

    The OP will find some characteristics like the position and shape of the
    shutter speed dial, and eventually remember which one it is.
    That is the way sentiment works.
  16. My first camera purchased in 1966 was a Yashica J7 35mm camera with a 50mm f1.7 lens.
  17. Could the camera have been a Ricoh Singlex TLS?
  18. My first camera was a Kodak Hawkeye instamatic I got through the mail some time around first grade for box tops off of Corn Flakes.
    My second camera was a Pentax ME I bought at KMart in HighSchool.
  19. First camera that I used was my fathers Voigtländer Vitoret, very basic camera. My first own camera was Praktica LLC but I came really interested I photography while studying when I purchased Rolleiflex 3.5 and Gossen light meter. I still have my trusty Rolleiflex and use it from time to time.

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