After a good morning picking over the cameras and other photographic paraphernalia at the Box Hill Camera Market yesterday morning, where I picked up a dirty but working Ricoh XR2-S for $5, I headed over to Greensborough. Smith’s still have their small photography shop in the Plaza, and I was keen to check if they still offer film processing. This they do, on an Agfa machine. They also have some new old stock film camera’s on offer at a bargain price.
Of interest were the brand new Nikon and Pentax film camera’s in the front window. They are Nikon F55 or F65, and Pentax MZ60 bodies with kit lenses. These are equivalent models in that they have motorised film advance and rewind, and manual override on the shutter and aperture settings. They have top-plate LCD screens.
Whilst these cameras didn’t set the world on fire in terms of ruggedness or longterm reliability, they served their purpose as more or less the end of the film era line. Having had both these models in the school’s camera stable, you can expect good exposure accuracy, and easy film loading and general handling. The view-finders are of reasonable brightness for a mirror rather than a pentaprism arrangement. Both have built-in flash with a 1/90s synch, and an electronically controlled shutter of 1/2000 to 30 seconds range. Manual override is slightly easier to achieve on the Nikon.
The Nikon kit lens, is well, what to be expected of kit lens, but OK for a beginner. The Pentax’s often came with Sigma lenses in Australia and these are good quality.
The best thing is probably the prices, that had been substantially reduced. They were not much more expensive than some of the used examples of the same models at the Camera Market. And the ones at Smith’s were new in boxes.
These cameras may not last a lifetime, but with a bit care you should get long enough use to decide if a film SLR is for you. They are probably better built than the Nikon FM10 that is actually a rebadged Cosina CT1. The CT1’s tend to strip gears easily on the winder mechanism.
Smith’s Kodak express is open during normal centre hours, and is on Level 1. Phone: (03) 9432-1237