When using old Cameras…

…you can get bitterly disappointed!

I made the experience just now. One of my three remaining ‘trusty’ cameras has just given up on me.

Bummer it’s the beautiful Spotmatic…IMG_0598

I was out and about with it in beautiful sunny winter weather (yes even winter can be beautiful) and thought I had some nice shots to bring home.LehneS400906754-08

Well, the shots might have been nice if the camera had not played up.

Anyways, I got some pretty surrealistic results, some passable ones and a lot of crap.

So much for using nice vintage film cameras 😉

The colours were gorgeous, but at faster speeds I had the second shutter curtain impeding on the frame. Add to that some light leaks and overlapping frames, things I never had before and the disaster is perfect.

At slower speeds I had no problem. So it must be the fast shutter speeds that are flawed.LehneS400906754-20

Now I’ll have to see if I can put that right… a professional repair does not make any sense with a 20€ camera, even a Spotmatic!LehneS400906754-17

Anyways, the two frames below have something special. Call it atmosphere. Call it crap… I find them strangely compelling!LehneS400906754-02

Hey, this one reminds me of Andreas Gursky’s Rhein II with a complementary special effect… might be more expensive than that one yet!LehneS400906754-01

Thanks for visiting…. and R.I.P. Spotmatic

43 thoughts on “When using old Cameras…

Add yours

  1. Andreas Gursky watch out, you never know. I have had a problem with my Oly OM2sp, the wind on is not working properly, I really like the camera so may get it repaired as secondhand prices are quite high now.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Frank, I like those shots a lot. Who needs a Holga? Sorry to hear the news. I have had Pentax fail even after expensive professional repair. I’ll bet your Leica will keep going though….

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m gonna challenge you a bit: if you like this Spotmatic, a good CLA is really worth it even if you only paid a pittance for the camera.

    I have a Pentax ME for which I paid $16. It’s been a lovely companion, but it developed some issues. I’d discarded two other MEs for issues but decided to draw the line on this one. I sent it off to Eric Hendrickson at pentaxs.com and for $65 he restored it to like new. I love that camera and this wasn’t that much of an investment, really, to have one that I can count on.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hmm, quite a challenge! Let me think that over a bit. Have to check shipping cost to the US and if there are no taxes when the camera is returned….


      1. That is the rub if you don’t live in the US.

        I just got into a queue to have my Nikon F2A overhauled. The best F2 repairman lives in England. I’m absolutely going to pay the shipping costs – I want this lovely camera to work beautifully again!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Why is doesn’t a professional repair for a spotmatic make sense?
    Someone fixed my curtain problem for 50euro.
    Totally worth it.
    What does the actual price of the camera have to do with it?
    Absolutely don’t get it.


    1. You might be right! I’m considering a repair…

      Only thing is that a 65$ repair plus shipping (Eric Hendrickson’s standard pricing) seems disproportionate… but I might be very wrong here!


      1. Yes.
        I am a lucky man, having someone for my cameras in walking distance.
        Actually just realizing now how lucky I am.

        Liked by 3 people

  5. I share your despair. Maybe it makes it easier for you if you knew that bad things did not happen to you only?

    I was today out to test my new camera and it slipped out of my hands and bumped only slightly against my other camera on the car seat. But it was enough to dent the almost new looking lens filter ring.

    I would recommend you to let somebody fix the camera if you can afford it because there are limited number of cameras and if we do not keep them then we simply run out of them and also the people who are willing to fix them. Or if you decide to get new one, keep this one for the spare parts.

    I believe that there are people who are still fixing cameras in EU, just google around and perhaps do not restrict yourself only to the surrounding countries.

    There are good news too. I finally got the lens I wanted and I now have Pentax 67ii with the SMC 105mm F/2.4 lens. Can you already move around with 2.5 kg on your neck?

    I have also another project going – comparing different available medium format slide films. For this I acquired the Mamiya 645 camera with 6 film backs. This is waiting the time when appropriate weather and my free time align themselves. But this camera is available for testing too if you happen to be interested. It is the Pro model and has both waist level and prism finders. I is quite light – about the same as a serious DSLR.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Frank, I’ll take it off your hands lenses and all for the cost of postage. That’ll be one less camera, less g.a.s., and you can put the money you save on a service into buying or upgrading that digital camera you’re probably thinking to get 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  7. 😢 not sure how hard to find Spotmatics are over there but there’s nothing shy of an abundance here, maybe you could find another one for the cost of a repair. Maybe thats not the best option but might be worth a check on eBay and your local buy and sells. Sorry to hear Frank!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Just to follow on from what Chris is saying – I’m quite sure you can get a replacement Spotty for less than the cost of a service, but you have to bear in mind that sooner or later they are at the age when both the body and also most likely the lens will need a service and professional clean anyway to get them to perform as well as they were when they were new and last you a lifetime. Analog is an investment. You can be lucky, and invariably it is the working and serviced ones that get blogged about. But then this pushes up the prices of an increasingly short supply of quality used equipment. But what happens is people buy them cheap, they don’t have them serviced, then they get disappointed and give up film when they fail or don’t take pictures like they think they should. Then at the drop of a credit card they’ll spend twice as much or more on the latest digital camera and associated gear. Sadly, it’s the “throw away society” we’re living in. I’m just saying…

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Sorry to hear the news, Frank. It scares to think about the moment my Nikon F3 develops a serious issue. Living in Israel, I’m quite on a side road from the major repair locations. Heck, even buying from eBay is a problem because of the shipping costs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A real shame that there are no more good, affordable film cameras in production!

      If Kodak and Polaroid (Impossible) can bring back film émulsions why not a new camera from Nikon or Canon? They still have the capacities


      1. It’s an interesting question because usually we are used to technological “progress” whereas this is more about the reversal of that process.

        I guess making film is probably a lot simpler process and more profitable as a consumable product than making a 35mm camera which has a much longer lifecycle. I’m guess that while Nikon / Canon / Olympus etc may have the capacity in terms of finance to manufacture new analog cameras, I’m not so sure they have the capacity to take the risk. Once a corporation becomes too big and diversified it becomes less flexible and is not easily able to profitably re-tool for something so complex as a 35mm camera to supply a quaint niche market. Each corporate division has to make money rather than one division supporting a loss-making other. It would be interesting to know what happened to their manufacturing equipment, though. Maybe licensed 3D printing of plastic components and spares for an existing complex camera might be possible…

        Having said that a niche market could be supplied as long as the tooling up overheads are low. So manufacturing a new large format wooden camera, let’s say, requires comparatively little overhead than manufacturing the hundreds of component parts for a 35mm camera because its design is a lot simpler. So maybe large format and future-proofing by learning to make your own paper negatives could be the analog way to go, Frank.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. It’s more of a dead ender than a real point of discussion, imho. I’ve seen on the Internets some posts about why it’s not gonna happen and the baseline usually was money. I’m also not an expert in camera business, so I’m just glad we still have old cameras to use and new film to try.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Sure it’s about money. If there were profits to be made easily and without risk we would see lots of new film OlyCanNikons around. But it’s yet a small market so any change an only come from small new players, if ever.

        Leica are another game altogether. They keep producing (and selling) their film models at premium prices to a premium public… different business model here.

        And then there’s the millions of old, still working cameras around…. until they grow rarer we’ll not see any action from the big players.

        Hope film holds fast until then!

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Film is enjoying a resurgence. Kodak have resurrected T-Max P3200 out of the blue and are still working on ektachrome. Fuji are deserting film no such announcement as such from the likes of canon and Nikon. Ihagee, reflex and JCH are working on new film cameras. Solarcan has launched. Who knows whats next in the analogue world. We all need hope. Shooting film helps us wait patiently for the time being. Lets pass the time 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Sorry to hear about the Spottie Frank. You could look out for another that has had a recent service, it might be cheaper than getting yours serviced? But like others have said, if it’s otherwise ok, a service should mean you’ll get years of flawless use from it. If it’s your only SLR, that seems a worthwhile investment.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. My Spotmatic worked last time I tried it, but if I was returning more frequently to film photography and has sold all my film cameras, I would probably invest £100 or more in a camera that was tested and serviced, rather than the dice roll of eBay. I think once we get through our phase of buying up any film camera less than £20 (which I think you and I both had, and have moved beyond) we can see that having a very select few, and making sure those few are as reliable and usable as possible, makes a lot of sense.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. A service for the Spotmatic will be about 60€ plus shipping… still within your 100£ mark with the price I bought it…

        Result: hopefully perfect camera with one year of warranty…. might be worth it


      3. Even if it only lasted a year and you had to have it done again – which is highly unlikely – then £60 a year is still little over £1 a week. Next to nothing for the guarantee of having a fully working camera you love.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. I’m of a different opinion on buying used cameras. If you buy one that is claimed to have been “serviced” you’ll be paying a very high premium for the reason that the dealer will be (or should be) offering a proper “guarantee”. “Service” is also a bit of a loose term and often means just the seals and a dust blow because most cameras will work just fine for years. It’s the lenses that are more likely to need professional attention. As for me, I’d rather pick up a camera that is broken, see what’s wrong with it and pay to have what work needs to be done. At least then you know where you stand.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had the Spotmatic serviced! That post is right, just buying a new junker from ebay makes no sense when the cameras are fixable.

      The price is reasonable if you measure it against your love for the camera. But mostly it’s economical nonsense and emotional bliss.

      The real problem is that we don’t have affordable new cameras to buy…


      1. I know. I just wanted to add another data point.

        Yes, this the real problem and it shows in prices. Some used cameras are more expensive than they were when new. I not because they are collector items but because they are good cameras for taking pictures.

        Of course some blood sucking collectors can make things only worse.

        Liked by 1 person

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