A while back I was contacted by friend and neighbor who knows that I collect cameras. Apparently he was at a flea market somewhere and came across a bag of cameras that the vendor was giving away for free. My neighbor decided to take them in case I was interested.
I didn’t expect to find a null series Leica, or even a less rare classic camera. I did expect to find the kind of thing you find at most thrift stores: cheap, plastic point and shoot cameras and sure enough when I opened the bag that is what I found – specifically:
- A Ricoh TF-500. Seems to work. I’ve read that this camera has a reputation for having a very sharp lens, and being a very capable picture taker. I’ll definitely try this one.
- A Pentax IQ Zoom60. Also working. Also a decent camera. I’ll be trying this one too.
- A Canon Sure Shot Owl. Has one very unique characteristic: an exceptionally large viewfinder – larger than anything I’ve ever seen on a compact camera. At first I didn’t think this was working, but after a bit of fiddling around it now seems to work. Even had an old film in it. I’ll try this one too.
- Two Kodak Instamatic 104 cameras vintage 1965. One seems to work. One definitely doesn’t. Kodak made and sold millions of these things. They use 126 format film, which Kodak stopped making in 1999 and other manufacturers in 2008. It’s almost impossible to find nowadays so I don’t think I’ll be using either of these. However, the Instamatic is an important Kodak camera and I don’t have one in my collection. So I’ll keep the one that works and toss the other one.
- A Lavec-002. It’s a cheap plastic camera with virtually no functionality that’s been made to look like a more expensive single lens reflex (SLR) camera. It does seem to work though and it’s so terrible that I’m inclined to try it to see if it’s possible to get a decent picture from it.
- A Kalimar Spirit 35. Another cheap plastic limited functionality camera. Thankfully it seems to be broken (I can’t find a shutter release anywhere, but there’s an ominous looking hole on top where it probably once was) so I couldn’t’ use it even if I wanted to. If it wasn’t broken I probably still wouldn’t try it. It’s bright, fluorescent orange/red color would be enough to put me off.