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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Online Shopping Craze - eBay - Vintage Film Rangefinder Cameras

I'm currently into vintage rangefinder film camera eBay shopping fever now. I just bought 5 rangefinders from eBay US and got it shipped over via Borderlinx, received these old treasures on 11 Oct 08. These oldies are hard to find in Singapore, and you do find one, it cost a much more. (supply/demand theory remember?)

Now a bit on Borderlinx, it is a collaboration between Citibank Credit Cards and DHL, you need to own a Citi card credit to use this service. Based on person experience, I'll say it is better the vPost. Although it is slightly more expensive for the 1st 1-2 kgs, but things start to even out and even cheaper as compared to vPost at higher weight. It offers free conceige, 1 month free holding for shipping consolidation as compared to 1 week for vPost(to save on shipping fees) and free insurance! The process is faze free and fast, just send your shopping trophies to the address given and you are done - no more emailing of invoice, blah blah and waiting time. DHL being DHL is great, realtime delivery tracking and quick shipping - it took around 4days for me upon payment. All in all, Borderlinx - highly recommended by me for all your US shopping.

All right back to the main stars of the show, Rangefinders are from the 60s-80s era, they have manual focus when you try to align 2 pictures to get the correct focusing distance. It is very fun and interesting, I will urge all those who are interested in photography to try out. Of the 5 rangefinder cameras I got:
  • 1 is a goner :(
  • 1 is in bad condition >.<
  • 2 in good condition :)
  • 1 in great condition :D
I sort of was prepared for this, that's why I got 5 at one go ;)

From Left, Konica Auto S2, Yashica Electro 35 GS, Yashica Lynx 5000E, Minolta Hi-Matic 11, Yashica Electro 35
Konica Auto S2 (lens 45mm f1.8) - Okie this is the goner one. The exterior looks good but the aperture is stuck. I am trying to process for a refund. The seller is an US rag-n-bone shop which do not know too much about camera but still list the item as "good condition" and "works great" >.< Yashica Lynx 5000E (lens 45mm f1.8) - This is one is bad condition, there are scratches on the lens and the viewfinder is dirty. But hey the seller is a very honest merchant, he is selling on behalf of someone, thus, do not know the real condition of the camera, gave a full refund and do not even need to return the camera! Will deal with this honest eBay seller again in the future if there is a chance, highly recommended :D

Minolta Hi-Matic 11 (lens 45mm f1.7) - I bid for this because I cannot afford the more expensive and versatile Hi-Matic 7s or 7sII or 9. It does not have a manual mode and runs only on the old-days Shutter Priority mode. But I am not camplaining this is the most value for money camera I got form this shopping craze. Just USD$12.20, includes shipping within US - CHEAP! And most importantly the condition is not bad, aperture - working, shutter - working, meter - working. Will need to run a roll of film through it to see its pictures.

Yashica Electro 35 (lens 45mm f1.7) - One of the more famous and popular Yashica rangefinder range due to its lens quality and low cost. Wrongly ordered this, though it was a GSN. But hey, it is in good condition but it uses some funny extinct battery for the meter (PX32), so need to have an adoptor either home-made or get one online. Ask K to help me test and run a film through it.

Yashica Electro 35 GS (lens 45mm f1.7) - Again I got it cause I thought it was a GSN, GS is a newer model of Electro 35 but 1 generation older then GSN. This is in very good condition the seller just got it CLA with new light seals. I got a battery adaptor online to run this, as I was to lazy to do a homemade one. I am currently going to play with this camera first, just loaded a roll of B&W (Black & White) film into it. Let's see how it goes.

Yashica Electro 35 GS again

I hope to post some photo from each camera when they are out. But since I am a newbie in rangefinders, all of them might be crap. But you know what they say - practice make perfect.

These cameras of the yester-years have one big disadvantage - they need to use extinct batteries which are no longer in production. So you will need to find workarounds for them with existing battery options. I will try to put up a post on what I had learn online and how I worked around on this.