Saturday, August 6, 2011

Acquisitions from a Thrift Store

The other day I stopped at the America's Thrift Store in Gardendale, which I do on occasion to scope out its meager-to-nonexistent camera stock. They've never had anything in which anyone would have any modicum of interest in ever owning again. But I go anyway. This time I shuffled through an array of Polaroids in varying stages of disrepair, only to com upon three little gems, each for $1.48.

Minolta Hi-Matic AF, c. 1979

I was most excited about acquiring the Minolta Hi-Matic AF. Being released in 1979, this camera was Minolta's first auto-focus camera. It has a Minolta Rokkor 38mm f/2.8 lens, which is purported to be very nice. The ASA dial goes from 25-400. The Hi-Matic AF is mostly plastic but feels solid enough, has a pop-up flash, and takes AA batteries.

Unfortunately, this is the camera I was to be most disappointed by. After putting the batteries in, I discovered that something appears to be wrong with the shutter mechanism. The shutter button will not depress, and the winding lever will not move. I was able to use the self-timer lever to fire the shutter a couple of times, then re-cock it, but even that function has since ceased. I may soon dissect to see if there are any visible problems, but barring any unlikely resolution, it will likely gather dust in the camera closet as the landmark relic that it is.

Vivitar PN2011 "Panoramic" Camera
In descending order of my general excitement, we are brought to the Vivitar PN2011. This is the less-sought-after brother to the Vivitar Ultra-Wide-and-Slim ("UWAS"), which bears a 22mm lens. The PN2011 has a 28mm lens, with a fixed aperture of f/8, and a single shutter speed of 1/125s. It has a sliding lens cover, which fortunately prevents you from taking a photo when it is in place. Unlike most "toy" cameras of its ilk, the PN2011 has a tripod socket; additionally, it does not require batteries to operate.

The PN2011 is most noted for its "panoramic" mode. When the slide on the back of the camera is pushed to P, a set of inserts descend that crop off the top and bottom portions of the frame, both on the film plane and in the viewfinder. Another perk of the camera is its bright and crisp viewfinder. There is quite a lot of information to be found about folks who have modified their PN2011's to accept filters, have a Bulb mode, and/or take multiple exposures.

The first photos from the PN2011 can be found here.

Ninoka nk-700
My final acquisition is the least well-known of the three, a Ninoka nk-700. This rangefinder is modeled as if it were an SLR. It has a 50mm "glass" lens, as indicated on the lens' nose. Although it only has one shutter speed 1/125s, it offers four aperture selections: f/6-8-11-16. The nk-700 does not require batteries.

Upon getting mine home, I realized that the rewind spool was partially broken, and will not take up the film like it should. This requires me to use a dark bag to retrieve the film after finishing a role, thus only one role can be used in the field per trip in this camera. That's a limiting factor that will likely cause this camera to sit on the shelf.


Over the next couple days I'll post the results of my first outing with the Vivitar and Ninoka.

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