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Friday, 08 December 2017


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If he doesn't want it, I'll take it. :)

A camera dealer in London told me exactly the same thing about the low cost of monorail view cameras. Fool that I am, I might swing for one. Incidentally, here in the UK, Leica M3s have shot up in value recently.

Great suggestion about an educational program donation and here are a couple of other ones. 1...Duct tape your phone lens to the viewfinder to the camera with a telephoto lens. That creates an interesting visual with the focus screen in the center of the image. 2...Because it so cool to look at my Nikon F3, I keep it on a shelf in the living room (No Wife) and I use it for bait for "snatch and run" burglaries. 3...Finally once a year I shoot a roll of film for nostalgic moments. BTW, I use my legacy Nikon glass with my mirrorless Sony via an adapter so they are still being used today and two of them for over 50 years.

If you cannot find someone locally to give it to I would gladly take it off your hands. I shoot film and it would be a welcome addition to the cameras I use. I would pay for the shipping.

I have a theory about the Sinar vs. Deardorff conundrum. The Sinar has two strikes against it in today's market. First, it looks like it came from outer space. Second, and perhaps more importantly, the P2 was never seen in the field. The Deardorff, on the other hand, looks like the view cameras used by Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, and others who were profiled in Life Magazine, with their cameras. It's also closer in relationship to various format roll-film folding cameras that grandparents, great grandparents, and crazy uncles** used when we were growing up. The Deardorff is no more or less difficult to use than the Sinar, but it seems more user-friendly.

**One of which I've managed to become, according to my nieces and nephew.

My pair of Canon A2s served me as my main professional tools from 1995 to 2003, when I switched to digital. I tried selling them and couldn't even get $35 apiece, so I gave one to a friend and retired the other to an honored position on a bookshelf.

There is a small following of such cameras. Check out the F6 on forums such as the rangefinder forum.

Apparently the F5 actually WAS “Imported from the future” to 1996. The reason was that the future didn’t want them.

I think the great film rangefinders would be an exception - Leica M6/M7, Mamiya 6 Mamiya 7, some of the folding fixed lens Fuji 120 cameras. Very much "pro" in their day (and some "commercial") but quite handy now for film.

And I know a person who works with a Hassleblad. Maybe 'Blads and the like are still of use/demand?

Well, I suppose it never qualified as a “pro” camera, but I purchased a new Nikon F100 from B&H for $750 back in 2010 because I wanted to preserve the option to shoot a roll of film every now and then, and I figured a new body of that quality would certainly last as long as I did. It wasn’t an astute purchasing decision when considered as an investment, but somehow it is reassuring to know it’s there waiting for me when I get the occasional urge to crank a roll of Velvia through it.

And it certainly takes up a lot less space than the ancient 8-bit computer with the S-100 bus and dual 8-inch (sic) floppy disk drives sitting in my basement. Now that’s a real boat anchor.

I have two F90x bodes here (the F90x was sold as the N90s in the US) and they lie unused. The other day, I saw a used PlusTek 8200i scanner, dirt cheap and described as being in mint condition and for a few hours, entertained thoughts of putting rolls of film through them again and scanning. But no—I love the results but not the work needed to get them.

The Film Photography Project has an ongoing program for getting film cameras into the hands of schools. Here is the link to their page: https://filmphotographyproject.com/donate/


A nice side benefit of shooting film is that pro-level film equipment is priced within reach of us tight-wads. Pre-digital, the only camera I ever purchased new was the cheapest Olympus available (OM-G), and one lens (the 35mm/f2.8 I think). Now I can afford pro-level and near pro-level film gear. I'm considering a used Hasselblad, something I never would have even fantasized about back in pre-digital days.

Ha! Not to me. I was one of those obsessives who squinted through the back pages of Shutterbug to find the best deals on gear in the 80's and 90's. And the pro stuff was always out of my reach. I remember telling my sister in the late 80's that I had mentally already spent $10,000 on gear (and $10,000 bought a lot more then than it does now). She looked at me like a poor guy with a mental illness. Well, when the ground shifted beneath our feet and the heavens opened and offered us digital in all its instant glory, pro gear that I could have only dreamed of started showing up for prices that seemed reasonable in light of the prices they once commanded. And who was first in line at the fire sale? Yup. This pattern of behavior continued until approximately 2012, when I purchased a Mamiya RB 67 with three lenses for something like $250, all in. It sits on the shelf behind me and I haven't shot a single frame with that set up. Pick any format, there was something that found its way across my desk.

So the question is: would I make the same deal today? The Nikon F5 is a bad example, as I actually purchased one of those during the photo-downturn only to unload it six months later because I just never shot it. I was one of the few who liked the F4s better anyway (still have that one). I think the answer for me on a similar piece of gear is "yes, at the right price," depending on where in the hagiography of unmet photo desire the piece in question sat. A pristine Nikon F6? A Silvestri? A 47mm Schneider XL (or whatever they were called)? Yup. Funny thing is: I bought so much of that pro gear as it was coming up for sale that I have very few unfilled niches on the shelf.

Some of the stuff on the shelf like a Hassie 100 Macro Planar? You have to use it or spend money servicing it. Ditto anything in a Compur or Supermatic shutter. Ditto your Leica IIIa. This stuff was designed to be in use and lubricants get gummy and unforgiving with neglect.

So: the F5? Not for any price. It isn't worth the shelf space to me. But a Linhoff Technika of the right vintage with matching cams for the lenses? I think I could put that to good use. Someday. Sigh.

I love my F4 - it's a great manual focus, automated camera that has an AF option. But it is silly to use for most things when I have an F100. The big pro gear is answering problems usually answered better elsewhere for most current film shooter, like you say - but they are fun:) I know the crew at the Film Photography Podcast works with schools to get them film gear; hopefully they may come across this and be able to suggest a worthy program - that would be a heck of a 'halo' camera for students to be able to use.

I don't collect film cameras, I buy and use them, and sell them if they don't work for me. Nevertheless, it does mean that I do watch how the prices go up and down.

Certain cameras have consistent values. e.g. Leica M series are pretty much the same prices for the last decade. I bought my M7 (demo unit) for $1700 and any time in the last decade, I can sell it for around that price. Ditto with M6, M3 etc.

Certain cameras go cyclical. The Hasselblad SWC and the XPan are prime examples. Every other year or so, they become the "must have" film cameras, prices get driven up, until everyone sells them all again. So for example, a SWC/M has been going between $2100 to $2600 for the last decade or so.

Of course most film cameras get reduced to "any lower and it would be worth less than the materials", so a Nikon F5 at $300 is at that price.

Anyone who finds my list of "cameras owned" at the beginning of my blog will appreciate all of the different view cameras I've tried.... I always loved the classic Linhof and Sinar designs best of all, with their beautiful machining and hand fitting. So after proudly assembling the penultimate Swiss-made Sinar Norma kit I set it up next to a 3-lb Chamonix wood and carbon fiber camera (based on the original Dick Phillips design). Similar sized lenses and tripod mount... and the darn Chamoix was more stable and damp to vibrations. Nice build quality too. No contest for practical photography since the lighter Chamonix allowed me to use a proportionately lighter tripod... this cut the weight and bulk of field photography to 1/3 or less without compromise.

If someone was still doing precise studio still life work on film with large camera stands and static sets then a monorail may still have a place as they allow a greater range of movements but for all practical purposes they're overbuilt for whatever we'd want them for. Even if you wanted to use a digital back you'd soon find that they're geared coarsely for small sensors and you'll need a modern purpose built tech camera.

I'd love to shoot portraits with an F5, and as many quirky emulsions from The Film Photography Project as I can get my hands on. Color infrared!

I was a Nikon guy from 1968 until Micro 4/3 lured me away over the past couple years. I was a pro for a good part of that time. The only top-of-the-line pro Nikon SLR that I ever owned was the Nikon F that I bought in 1971. My primary camera for about 20 years was the Nikon FE. I just never needed the super features of the top cameras and never wanted to spend to money for features that I knew I'd never use. I still think the FE was the best film SLR ever made. It really hit the sweet spot of size, weight, features and ease of operation.

I have at least two Polaroid 45 backs. Sigh.

How high do I have to raise my hand for the teacher to pick me?
I'd most certainly use the ol'F5 and be delighted to receive it should I merit consideration!

I'd guess that the F5 is the most unloved of the Nikon pro bodies and it probably relates to the points you mentioned - the high frame rate is sort of an unneeded feature for the film renaissance and the user pays a heavy toll in size, weight and battery usage for said unneeded feature.

The F5 can't be "slimmed down" like the rest of it's F brethren, either. One is stuck with the built in vertical grip on that one. Everything that I hear about the film camera toting hipster crowd is that they are more interested in small/light camera bodies that look "retro." The huge, heavy and still fairly modern looking F5 is certainly not on their radar because of that.

The older connoisseur crowd is usually more interested in the older F cameras, as well. F2's especially seem to get piles of praise from those users. If they're interested in a newer F body, chances are that they'd go for the F6 or maybe an F100 instead.

As a result, the F5 is essentially forgotten or unwanted all around. Kind of sad for a camera that was pretty remarkable at the time.

About the view cameras... the big studio cameras like the Sinar p2 and other monorails are less desirable now because their market has changed. (Almost) no one uses them commercially now, and the amateurs and artists who shoot large format film (generally) work in the field, where a bulky, 14lb. camera is at a disadvantage. Thus the market today leans toward smaller, more portable cameras. And the Deardorff is a special case. The market treats them like classic Packards and Cadillacs; the nameplate (and the quality it infers) makes it more valuable. Me? I have both; a wooden field camera and a 1960s Sinar Norma 4x5.

I remember a few years ago when my Diana cameras were worth more than my Nikon FE. No longer true, but still....

I think that the answer for large format is that the big fancy, usually monorail, cameras were actually special-purpose studio cameras: they worked really well when they sat in a studio (in one studio -- they never moved more than a few yards) and were operated by a photographer with an assistant or two. Essentially nobody still doing LF works like that: what they (what I) want is something that can be operated, and carried, by a single person, usually outside. And that means a field camera, because they are not stupidly heavy. Apart from the weight considerations, in order to support some huge monorail system you need to be making enough money to pay for the studio to house it and the assistants to change & process the film: anyone in that world is using a big digital camera now.

Much the same is true for big professional SLRs: supporting them means you need to be a professional, and nobody using film is a professional in that sense now.

I would take that offer in a heartbeat. It would be used and never sold by me. I don't mind the expense of using film vs, digital and it makes me much more deliberate with exposing frames. I still have a bunch of film, although the couple of rolls of Kodachrome 64 are no longer of use. Now how fun would that be to run them an F5 and get them developed?

Coincidentally I was just browsing eBay for Canon film bodies and was amazed at how cheap F-1 bodies are going for. Often similar price to AE-1 bodies. Still a little more though; I wonder if the formula doesn't hold true quite as much for the manual focus era? Those pro bodies weren't nearly as much bigger than their advanced amateur brethren as the likes of the Nikon F5 above are.

The unwanted orphan competition conversation is reminding me of a snippet of dialog from the movie Adventureland. One character (a high school age kid) is asking an older coworker at the titular amusement park what he will be able to do with the dual major of Slavic Languages and Russian literature.

Sue O'Malley: Oh wow, that's pretty interesting. What career track is that?
Joel: Cabby, hot dog vendor, marijuana delivery guy. The world is my oyster.

So, THAT's where the Nikon and Canon DSLR's get their ugliness. Form may follow function, but when you slap on function (feature?) after function onto an initially essentially functional form, what results is a lumpy mess. Fortunately, I guess, I missed that last gasp of film photography, where feature pile-on resulted in Frankensteins.

In my home I can readily lay my hands on my old Argus C3, Canon AE-1, Olympus OM-10, and my wife's Nikon F2. All of them, whether rangefinder or SLR, are "bricks" in form. The Lumix GF1 was also a "brick," perhaps why I took to it so readily.

I sure wish I hadn't sold my wooden Kodak 8x10 field camera back when I thought I was moving away from photography to another all-consuming hobby.

I think old cameras are like old cars. Extra cost options when they were new are undesirable in the collector hobby car market. Four doors (unless it's a station wagon), automatic transmission, power everything, all make an old car less desirable. The less useful as transportation the more valuable (except for station wagons)
I think that people who are shooting film are interested in working slowly and want to do everything, if not "the hard way" at least in a way that they feel involved in the process. Shoot a 36 exposure roll in 6 seconds? I don't think there's a market for that anymore.

The last two film cameras I bought precisely because they are so bizarrely un-useful. One is one of those single shot leicas that uses 35mm sheet film, has interchangeable backs, ground glass focusing and an external shutter. The other one is very much crazier, and probably has more bad ideas in one camera than any other camera in history, but it's a present for someone who is reading this, so mum's the word.

The apotheosis of do everything workhorse profesional film cameras? Not for me.

Following on from a TOP topic earlier in the year about getting familiar with manual film cameras - I’ve just bought a Nikon FM2n & sent it off for CLA. It’ll work with the AIS lenses I bought some years back for my D600. Now all I need to do is buy & learn how to use the colour filters needed for B&W, & which films to use. Although I think I’ll steer clear of dark rooms :)

Worth? In $ or €? This is only a very small part of the equation. Sinar F was never intended to take photographs from tops of mountains for instance. For studio work digital offers much more pssibilities than analog, even if one really would want to use film, for whatever reason. But with a Deardorff or - as in my case - Zone VI you still can hike Alps and do yours negatives if it pleases you. I have a Sinar F, had to have it, just for the fun of it. But I can only use it up to 500m from the car, in flat terrain ;-) (Otherwise it is not fotogenic - was it Edward Waton?)
Buy yourself a solid camera Mike (You already did a couple of times) and go out. I it is very rewarding. The process of looking at the scenery and the act of taking a photo are in itself fulfilling and consummate, they heal one from GAS - which strikes usually when one sits too long in his warm house, maybe on an peaceful, lazy evening, looking into ebay - at least temporarily

In relative terms, yes. Pro cameras are rubbish because they are bulky and weigh a ton. Most film cameras are second or third choice for most users (a lot of kids have an AE-1 hanging off one shoulder while the smartphone takes the shot). In that scenario you really pick up a canon F-1 over and AE-1 for a day out when you are just having a bit of fun? So now good Black AE-1 Programs and A-1s are priced in line with the lower end of F-1s.

Part of that, though is down to the way that average prices of some popular mass market film SLRs (Canon AE-1, Olympus OM10 etc) continue creeping steadily upwards. At the same time Pentax and Minolta's don't seem as popular yet, in spite of being very comparable.

I'm actually starting to consider hoarding the likes of ME Supers as they seem awful cheap at the moment.

I think the film cameras that people find most desirable also double as nice display objects. I have a vintage camera seller near me who I chat to, and he can sell a nice TLR the same day he gets it, whereas any all-black SLR from the 90's will languish on the shelf. I have a Toyo 45c monorail and I often contemplate buying a field camera, but I always come back to the point that I'll be paying more money for something not as good. I use mine for portraits so I am not hiking miles through the countryside anyway. It's not something you'd put in a display case though and I do think that has an impact on its value.

Earl Dunbar said: I have at least two Polaroid 45 backs. Sigh.

Check-out http://www.new55.net They sell refurbished Polaroid 45 backs for use with their New Type 55 PN film and Ready Loaded 4x5 Sheet Film.

I live in a high-rent area of costal Orange County, CA. Until recently the late-lamented Used Camera Store, in Costa Mesa was selling F5s for $250.00. These were Xmas/birthday cameras for residents of Newport Beach—maybe 1 or 2 rolls of film a year. As grandpas die, the grandkids sell unwanted pro Nikons at give-away prices.

Recently I sold my low-milage Nikon F100, a Nikon SB27 flash and a Nikon AF 50mm f/1.8D for $125.00 total ...and was happy to get that much.

I cherish my F5, even though it only sees a roll or two per year same as the rest of my film bodies. Sometimes you just have to burn film for old time’s sake!

Reader John doesn't want to buy a film camera just for his daughter's class? Cripes man, you can get a serviceable 35mm SLR w/standard angle lens for coffee money! If the daughter does not want to continue using it after the course just donate it to the school.
Not typical but I have a Ricoh KR-5 (branded as a Sears KS-500) with it's standard 50 f2 that I picked up for $5, with working meter batteries no less. Typical prices are no more than $25~$35 for cameras of this type.

Also, if you give it to a school program and they end up selling it to raise funds, that's at least something advancing photography....

Jim Herrington Interview....Still shooting b/w film !!, his new/first book of portraits of 'Climbers'.... Gorgeous prints!...

charming chat...


I'm presently teaching at a college in Utica NY and we always appreciate cameras for the program. We also do precollege programs in the summer. Along with the obvious digital courses we find the students really enjoy the process of film photography, and I really like seeing their fasciation with the process. If you want to see a new generation working with this equipment please find a program like this and consider donating your unwanted film cameras

Hey, something I can write about! From direct experience, even!

Early on, I decided on a policy of never selling a camera. This, of course, does not preclude my cameras from being stolen or crushed under a power car seat (sniff).

The only exception to this, since 1975, was a Nikon F5 I bought in early 2009 and sold just over a year later. It was near-mint and sold for $600. I still have every other camera I've ever bought, even a useless Koni-Omega which, in retrospect, I believe I purchased as the worst possible way into shooting MF film. There may be people out there doing great art with a Koni-Omega, but their patience exceedith all knowing. Close to large format effort for MF results.

I bought the F5 because...well, why did I buy it? Most likely I saw it as a relatively inexpensive way to experience "the best" in a given category. I didn't have a mission for the headline features of the camera, no need to burn a roll in 3 seconds or survive a tumble down a rocky embankment. I also didn't own any Nikon FX lenses; I bought a 50 mm/f1.4 and borrowed others from friends.

The F5 was probably the best metered 35mm camera I've ever used; roll after roll of spot on exposures. I made a couple of favorite portraits with it, but carrying it around almost immediately started to feel (I can't think of a better word) silly. If you don't need those headline features, it's just a very heavy chunk of metal that gives you an outsized sense of personal importance for about two days. After that, it's more of a burden than a companion. The best tools, once learned, just get out of the way and I couldn't imagine I'd ever get to that point with the F5.

So why didn't it join the Koni-Omega and some others in my small collection of never-to-be-used-again cameras? When I decided to list it on Rangefinder Forum, I remember thinking that it was just a ridiculous thing for me to own and that it might not be for a different sort of photographer. Unlike every other camera I've had, I was absolutely certain I'd never regret selling it. Even the Koni-Omega came in handy once, when my kid's high school theater department needed a 1940s-looking press camera. I stuck a huge bulb flash I found in a thrift store on it and loaned it to them; I would not have cared one whit if they had dropped it into the orchestra pit.

Unfortunately, they returned it to me in perfect condition.

Hmm, all very interesting!
Presently my less than ten activations Nikon D610 is with a friend stateside and his eBay site for sale at US $1200.00. Nobody here in Canada is interested in said camera, at that price. He also has my much loved Nikon F100 which I have had since they first appeared on the market; for AA cells for power;what could be simpler, it too shall appear on eBay. Canadians are generally stingy, cheap (thrifty doesn't come close) and will be often pay as little as possible for anything photographic, including colour slides. Far bigger market stateside for everything.

So my current photo gear? A used Canon G15, because as one who has considerable problems walking, anywhere, the less mechanical (read camera) one has to carry, the more likely a photo may be produced.

And said friend above is flogging my massive colour slide collection of railways; when I die the dumpster may well be the final repository. Best make some money from my 50+ years of effort.

Digital to me is still not real, unlike film which you can physically feel in your hands anytime you wish. Oh and print using similar methods due to technology.

A friend's son wanted to stand out from the crowd at his photo school so he bought a 4x5 Sinar F and showed 20x24 prints. Blew everything else out of the water. As for the comparison between Deardorff vs Sinar -- good luck to those who do their tilts and swings by eye rather than using the Sinar method. Also, the Sinar F is very light weight and folds up (if you know how) to as small a size. As for the P/P2 -- I've mounted my DSLR on it -- does a great job converting film to digital. PS: I just saw a listing on ebay for 65mm, 90mm and 210 Rodenstocks for under $300 each (or best offer) -- remember when you couldn't give away vinyl Lps?

OK, I’ll bite. I bought an F5 this year and I think it’s great. It is the real hipster camera of the moment.

I have a bunch of G and VR Nikkors and want to shoot film, including my frozen HIE. My F3 died. What do I do?

I buy an F5 and enjoy myself. I have about 7 rolls through the F5 so far and the only disadvantages are 1) it is heavy and 2) it is a bit finicky in loading a cassette. But otherwise it is fabulous. Dragged it around DC for days on a wrist strap, took shots I’m happy with that already have the color filtration applied so I don’t spend forever on the channel mixer in PS. So freeing.

And the VF is a thing of beauty/joy forever. Huge and clear and bright. Beats the N80 for actual use hands down, because you can manually focus a wideangle on it.

No, I don’t need 8 fps but 4 is quite nice. And MLU to use with the new (excellent) micro-Nikkors!

I think people are insane for not snapping these up.

I still have, and use, two Nikon F3s, which were for sure professional cameras when I bought them.
The F5 wasn't attractive to me when it was new, or now. But I'm sure some school would love to have one.

Not desirable??? I for once I would desire it a lot. I still frequently use film, alongside digital, as many do, from what I can read (reading on the web, that is, because none of my physical friends shoot film). I see that there is a film resurgence but I reckon it is limited to “low-fi” equipment: grainy looks, absence of colour (yeah: black and white) and possibly light leaks. Not for me! I still shoot film because it yields GREAT results and so I normally use high tech Provia and high tech Canon Eos 1 series bodies. So yes, the F5 would be great and highly desirable to work alongside my FM2n. Do not worry I am sure many people still lust after those.

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