Although the second-hand market for analogue cameras is large, some cameras are more popular and therefore have seen large increases in price, to the point that they are actually quite expensive.
That said, in this article I propose three analog cameras that are very powerful and not yet having made the leap to fame, can be found for a bargain. So, if you are considering getting into analogue photography, read on, and if you’re not, read the blog post we published a year ago…you might change your mind.
1. Nikon FE
It’s difficult to go wrong with the Nikon F, they are very reliable and well-built cameras with spectacular lenses that go for very cheap. This is mainly due to the fact that the brand never (well, almost never) changed the mount and therefore have a very large range to choose from.
So why the FE in particular? Well, this model, built between 1978 and 1984, was the alternative to Nikon’s professional cameras and was created in specifically an amateur yet very demanding audience. With the body based on the all-powerful Nikon FM and many of the automatic functions (aperture priority and shutter-speed priority) of the great F3, the FE combines the best of the two models: perfect agility and precision with dimensions that compete with the smallest mirrorless cameras found in today’s market.
The price? At the moment you can find it in good condition for about 100 euros, but beware, its price is rising, and quickly!
2. Olympus 35 SP
For those of you who have your heart set on a telemetric camera but don’t have deep enough pockets for a Leica M, this camera is for you.
On the market from 1969 to 1975, it is one of the few Olympus (or any other brand at the time) telemetric cameras that has a photometer with center weighted and spot metering something that, together with its small size and excellent lenses, makes this a beast when it comes to street photography.
The 35 SP mounts a fixed and non-interchangeable 42mm 1.7 lens that gives spectacular results. Its greatest advantage, however, is undoubtedly its viewfinder and rangefinder that rival even the Leica M in terms of clarity and ease of use. But wait there’s more, the 35SP also has semi-automatic modes with aperture and speed priority or “full auto” that, added to the accuracy of the photometer, makes life much easier when it comes to exposing your photographs correctly.
And here comes the best part of all, you can find it for about 150€. Like with the Nikon FE though, prices are rising quickly.
3. Yashica Mat 124-G
Speaking of medium format, even in the world of analog photography, is synonymous of expensive, but it is also synonymous with quality and that “je ne sais quoi” that can only be found in medium formats. So how do you get into it without having to take out a loan or skimp on a loved-one’s birthday present? The answer is twin lens reflex (TLR).
I particularly like the Yashica Mat 124-G for several reasons. First of all, its lens: an 80mm 3.5 that, translated into full frame would be like a 50mm, is very practical and versatile. Despite not having the highest luminosity, it is incredibly sharp in all its apertures and for being a medium format and losing depth of field, at 3.5 you still get the “bokeh” particular of this format.
Furthermore, something that I find interesting about the TLR is its focus speed. Designed for general use, the TLRs have a focusing wheel that is short and fast in comparison to other cameras like the Hasselblad: cameras designed specifically for portraits or very static situations such landscape or studio photography.
And finally, its ease of use. At first a medium format camera can seem intimidating, but the TLRs basically operate like any other camera, you open the back, load the film, close and shoot.
And its price? Being a fairly old camera prices vary more, but you can find one in good condition for about 150/200€ and yes, prices are likely to rise here too.
At the end of the day, analogue photography is on the rise, so if you’re thinking of getting into it, do not wait any longer and take the leap.
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