Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Thrifted: 35mm film cameras

Hey thrifty people and 'big hello' to all my new followers! :)
Recently I've started teaching an afterschool darkroom photography class here in London.
Of course we needed cameras and camera straps so away thrifting I went.
First, I stopped by ebay and picked up two cameras. A Yashica Quartz and a Praktica LLC.
Usually I would have hit the thrift stores first, but I was cutting it close on time. And one thing that we know about thrifting is that if you are searching for specific items it can take some time.

The scarcity of film cameras in the first thrift and vintage stores I went to kinda of surprised me.
Each vintage store that I went to said they hadn't carried them in about a year. After trying 3 stores I decided I should dig a little deeper, heading for more obscure thrift stores off the beaten path. It's actually kind of difficult to find those lesser-known thrift stores here in London. Mainly because I'm still pretty new here, and those stores tend to be stuffed between delis and tiny groceries in older small neighborhoods. That's where you find all the hidden treasures. Anyway... here are a few of my finds.

 I almost missed this adorably compact camera. It's a 1977-'84 Instamatic 77x camera (you know the cameras that kind of inspired instagram). It came in a plastic black box with a strap and "Kodak Made in England" engraved on top.

Nowadays it can be difficult to find and develop certain types of film, but I purchased this little camera anyway-- for my personal collection.

After, looking it over carefully I noticed that it still had a cartridge of 24 exposure color film in it.
Not sure if there is actually a roll of film in the cartridge but we shall see!

Also--I've found a few great videos on youtube that teach you how to convert your cameras to take any film you like. Youtube is super handy... you can find out how to rig just about anything you like.  Then of course there's Pinterest for that as well.

Here's a hilarious commercial of the Instamatic and cube in all its retro glory!

A few days later I rummaged through another neighborhood thrift store and found this gorgeous piece. The camera was inside of a nice leather case and only missing the long neck strap.

"Voigtlander" is enscribed on the outside in a cursive metallic script.

 I love opening up a camera back and seeing a clean film compartment and spool. I'm not sure why. The back should be's not really exposed or anything. Anyway I checked it out a different shutter speeds and it seemed to work!

The Voigtlander Vitoret is a 1960s West German camera. It's a camera I hadn't come across in the States, though I'm sure they are there.

 I love reading about all of the different brands and their histories. It's always interesting to me to see what cameras were distributed to which countries and how long they were in circulation. Anyway....

One of the specialty items on display in this thrift store was a 1950s Kodak Brownie 127 camera. Its a super basic plastic camera that kind of operates almost as simply as a pin hole camera.

 The Brownie has a thick plastic bakelite body and fixed shutter speed and aperture. As cute as it was, and though it can be rigged for 35mm film, I decided to pass it up for the £18 pounds and just go with the Voigtlander.

With just a day left to prepare my cameras for class I knew I needed to find or DIY some camera straps. I stopped by another thrift store near my house and completely foiled my DIY dreams; a kind lady pointed me to a basket of misplaced purse straps. There were some quality purse straps to choose from and I chose a couple of soft straps with sturdy swivel claws. One of the 3 straps I ended with had the tiny vintage swivel claws that most vintage purses have, the exact type that my vintage 35mm cameras take.

This week we will get into aperture and shutter speed a bit more. I have those 3 cameras for them to use, plus my own Pentax k1000 and I'm just waiting on my Mamiya Sekor back from the repair shop.
I'm excited! Wish us luck!

They made photograms already and that of course was pretty fun.
This is one of my favorites. :)

Are any of you guys camera or film collectors? What are you currently shooting with?

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