I have been playing with the idea to enter Leica’s rabbit hole for a long time now, and the ideal entry point would be the ‘cheap’ Leica CL of course.
I owned one, with the mandatory 40 and 90mm lenses and a super clean Jupiter 8 on top, but had to sell them some time later. Wonderful camera and lenses they were, but certainly only the entry point for much more expensive Leica stuff.
Finally I’m happy I resisted and stayed with my faithful Olympus XA2 and the new Lomo LC-A+ (horribly overpriced low quality piece of sh…, but sooooo much fun!).
But for precise focusing, superb quality pictures I rely on my Canon FD stuff. I have a pristine A-1, 28 and 50mm lenses, with a 135 on the way.
And for everyone who wants good film stuff on the cheap I can recommend that obsolete Canon stuff. The lenses are top notch and dirt cheap. I never got one with nasty fungus or oil inside, and though they’re part plastic, they hold up perfectly. The cameras are very reliable, shutter tests show hardly any deviation from the correct values even after 25 or 30 years!
But to go really cheap you don’t need the A-1 or even an AE-1! Just close your eyes, yes, you really don’t want to look too closely at those, but you’ll have to get the T-series cameras from Canon!
I just ordered a T70 from Ffordes in Scotland, for 19£ in Ex++ condition, with 6 months warranty. You can even get them cheaper on fleaBay!
And it can even get better! I bought a T50 on fleaBay.
A very very basic all automatic SLR but with a big bright finder and amazing exposure meter just like I expected from Canon. This camera cost me 17€ ( about 13.5£). If that ain’t going cheap?
Slap on a nifty fifty FD 1.8 for pocket money and off you go. Or get an old favorite of mine, the Sigma Mini Wide 28 f:2,8. Superb lens and dirt cheap too.
Anyways you can’t go wrong with Canon FD prime lenses and some of their zooms are top notch too!
Those T-series cameras have always looked very ugly to me, and they are no beauties for sure. I wonder what the designers at Canon were sniffing in the eighties? But once I held the T50 in my hand, it felt right despite it’s looks! Everything is where it should be, the weight and balance are right…. What more do you want?
Anyways, for around 35 to 40€ you can get a perfectly mint set of camera and lens and head out to shoot. OK, granted, you have to add some AA batteries and a roll of film or two…
Now I’m excitedly waiting for my ‘new’ T70!
And by the way, I got a T90 in the mail yesterday – I call it the beast! Big as hell and twice as ugly. But such a wonderful camera. More about that in a later post!