Favourite (Iconic?) Film Cameras?

As some of you may have realised from reading my various posts, I tend to use a lot of legacy and vintage lenses; therefore, restoration and repair is a big part of the hoby for me.

Up until recently, my efforts have mainly been a means to an end — repairing and maintanining as and when needed — but I’ve decided, just for fun, to take it a little further; I’ve decided to look around for cameras specifically with the intention of repairing and restoring them.

I’m currently on the lookout for some legacy film cameras, and so I wondered if anyone here would like to recomend any makes and models that would be worth the time and effort — any that I restore, I’ll be planning on using. Any iconic cameras to recommend? Any first-hand experience of a great camera? Any that are relatively inexpensive to cut my teeth on would be particularly useful.

I’ve only watched the first one. I think some might be quite rare.


Good shout, @TonyBarrett! Thanks! That’s going strait on my watchlist! :heart:

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On a personal note, I bought a black Minolta XD7 mainly because of the high quality black finish…

And this channel is good for classics


For me is a Yachicamat 124G. I have one but the frame is cracked causing the shutter to seize. Unfixable. But man i loved shooting that camera.


Honorable mention to the Pentax K1000, my first camera. I shot that thing for years with a 50mm prime a d never thought about a different body or lens.

Also the Canon QL17.


Mine is the Agfa Optima Sensor Electronic series of cameras. They’re tiny, they’re simple, they have huge, bright viewfinders, and they are still affordable.

There’s a number of cool touches, like the sealed pickup spool that prevents your roll from ruining, should you accidentally open the door prematurely. Or the combined wind/rewind lever that saves quite some space on the camera, without any major downsides.

The user interface is also delightfully simple. Zone focusing, with a little distance indicator in the viewfinder, an ISO dial in the lens barrel, and that’s it. I guess I wouldn’t mind an additional aperture dial, but you can’t have everything. There’s also a version with a rangefinder, but I don’t have that one.

But best of all, these camera are relatively unknown in the USA, but were sold in numbers in continental Europe, and thus they’re still available and affordable in the Old World.

And that leather case is just adorable!


Well if we’re doing film camera porn…


I have one too, but fungus in the lenses. Bought it 45+ years ago. Are you up to building one out of two?

Pentax ME Super. Never had a camera again that was so easy to hold and use, not even the X100. But the electronic rots.

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There’s one on eBay right now, going for a song as it’s in need of some TLC — could be just the ticket!

That thing is just BEAUTIFUL!

Fantastic choice! Definately putting that on my list!

Yet another great suggestion! Thanks! — Fortunately, electronics are my speciallity.

I am not lol. Every time I think about shooting some film, about once every six months, I go look at film prices and go “nope” then go cuddle my Z7ii.


That’s about how often I shoot a single frame

I loved mine. A friend had a regular ME but IIRC there was no manual mode on that model. It was nice and light, MUCH smaller than my friend’s Nikkormat. Came with an Asahi 50mm f/<something> (been too long :slight_smile: f/1.4 maybe?) I later bought a seriously cheap no-name* pigdog zoom but got rid of it. Probably threw it away rather than inflict it on anyone else.

It was operationally fine when I gave it to my sister a couple of decades ago, but she’s never used it so… then again if I had it back I’d probably still use my DSLR most of the time so whatever.

* Actually it did have a name: Focal. They were only off by one letter, IMO…

50mm 1:1.7 is my lens, was the “Standard” in the kit.

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My dad had a all mechanical camera that looked a lot like the Konica that Tony Shared. My dad also mentioned he had an old Browny Hawkeye when he was a kid. Dad was indeed an amature photog and took a lot of photos. :slight_smile:


Nice, I have one of these, and it’s a really great camera! Mine has a very precise meter, and I really like the clear viewfinder.

@martbetz, I think a Minolta SRT-101 could be a nice camera to repair and restore. It’s cheap, widely available, fully mechanical, has a simple design, and it’s a nice camera to use. Its insides are also widely documented (I used to have a technical manual for disassembly/reassembly, perhaps it is available online).

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Yep, it’s expensive alright. I’m planning on taking my old Polaroid camera down to a local event, but the film costs £18.99 — that works out at just over £2.37 per shot (there’s only eight shots in a pack). Well… at least I won’t have to worry about the price of getting it developed. :laughing: I’m taking the Polaroid for sentimental reasons; I’m taking my Fuji because seven out of eight of the Polaroid shots will likely be rubbish. :wink:


I have one each of a Pentax Z-10, Z-20 and MZ-5… The Z series is kind of interesting - very early 90s plasticky but reliable apparently. All three were bought as-is and all are fully functional. :slight_smile:

Although… the AF drive on the Z-10 makes a racket… the Z-20 is noisy but reasonable, while the MZ-5 is newer, smoother, and arguably the the pick of the bunch, except for the fact that they have a nasty habit of breaking a little plastic cog in the mirror mechanism. So I’m a bit wary of using it too much…
Apparently you can replace that cog with a metal version, which would be a nice solution, but I fear a bit beyond my skills and patience.

I think the Z series is probably the last ‘cheap Pentax film camera’ as all the older and prettier ones have galumphed skywards in price. :smile:

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