First proper camera

Trevor121 Avatar
Trevor121 4 13 United Kingdom
23 Feb 2020 12:08AM
What was your first serious camera, what was it, did you buy it or was it a gift?

What were the good/bad points?

Would you recommend it, have you still got it? All just a bit of fun

I'll start you off.

I couldn't afford much, and camera's were very very expensive at the time, around 1977, the only viable options for a new SLR was either a Zenith, or the one I chose, a Praktica L2, I saved up for months, my wages were very meagre at the time and I couldn't afford my preferred choice, which was a Pentax MX.

Completely manual, no built in meter, just a basic camera, 1-1000 sec +B, it taught me everything I know about exposure and depth of field, a great learning tool.

It came with a Domiplan 50mm f2.8 lens, which everyone said was rubbish, but, perhaps it was because it was my first camera and lens, I found it to be fine, a good friend gave me a hand held meter, which was a great help, at first, I was using the info that they used to print on the film package.

It was built like a tank, possibly a bit weak on the inside, but it never let me down.

I would recommend a camera like this to anyone that wanted to learn about the workings of photography, you had to learn to get any half decent results.

I eventually traded it for the camera of my dreams (at the time) I got a Pentax MX, I wish I still had the both of them, but I'm a confirmed Nikon nut these days, over to you, keep it fun.
mervyntattoo Avatar
mervyntattoo 14 1.4k Wales
23 Feb 2020 9:36AM
Minolta SRT101, £30 second hand.
JJGEE Avatar
JJGEE 18 8.1k 18 England
23 Feb 2020 9:39AM
Olympus OM10 and I bought it.

No, I do not have it as I traded it in for an OM40, subsequently traded in for an OM4Ti, which I still have but not used since circa 2007.
Dave_Canon Avatar
Dave_Canon 17 2.2k United Kingdom
23 Feb 2020 10:05AM
I bought a second hand Praktica Nova but after 12 months the lens iris was sticking. I had learnt a lot in the 12 months so was then willing to invest in Canon Ftb. I recently gave all of my old cameras and lenses to my daughter to sell on e-bay.

altitude50 Avatar
altitude50 19 23.9k United Kingdom
23 Feb 2020 10:12AM
My first 'proper' camera was a Zeiss Ikonta folding camera, 16 exposures on 127 film which was processed at the local camera shop, possibly about £15. I still have some of the negatives. (Black & white only.) Example below.
Following that was a Voigtlander Vito B 35 mm camera. At about this time I started to take colour transparencies, first with Agfa film & later Kodak with a few Ferrania & Perutz. I was then developing my own b/w.
First 'proper' digital camera was a Nikon D3200 in about September 2013.
franken Avatar
franken Plus
21 5.8k 4 United Kingdom
23 Feb 2020 11:43AM
Mine was a Zenith B and it came with the more expensive 50 mm lens . It was an excellent learning tool and lasted for a couple of years before I slipped on a river bank and it ended up in the river. This was in the early 70' s. I then purchased a Zenith E which lasted until I went to Pentax and an Me super which was superb. I continued with Pentax into digital and only changed to micro four thirds when weight was a problem.

Ps, I meant the more expensive 58mm lens.
Tianshi_angie Avatar
23 Feb 2020 1:19PM
Mine was a Petri which came with 3 lenses and was a gift from my eldest daughter. It was stolen from my car some years after I was given it and I was totally bereft. I couldn't afford to replace it, by that time I was a single mother with 2 of my 4 children still at home. I then made a wedding dress and 4 bridesmaids dresses for a relation and as a 'thank you' they bought me a Minolta with a zoom lens. I still have it but have not used it since I bought the first digital camera which was a Fuji f401 - which I later gave to a granddaughter.
petebfrance Avatar
23 Feb 2020 5:07PM
I suppose my first 'proper' camera was a Praktica PLC2 which I bought 2nd hand.
It was a heavy old beast and tended under-expose, but other than that it was pretty good.

Unfortunately it broke, although it probably just needs a new screen under the prism, and I've no idea how that happened so I bought a Pentax P30n instead (by then the writing was on the wall for Praktica) but I still use the lenses.

Funny, really. Perhaps I jinx the manufacturer as Pentax aren't doing all that well now, so when I buy the next one I'll get start them bidding for me to not buy their gearWink
chavender Avatar
chavender Plus
12 578 2 France
23 Feb 2020 6:37PM
My first camera was an Agfa Isolette II, a folding, all manual 120 camera.
Exposure was estimated using the values packed with the film.
The film was developed at home and contact prints made with a Johnsons of hendon contact printer.
I still have some of the prints and negatives but alas the camera is long gone.
SlowSong Avatar
SlowSong Plus
15 11.1k 30 England
23 Feb 2020 6:45PM

Quote:My first camera was an Agfa Isolette II, a folding, all manual 120 camera.
Exposure was estimated using the values packed with the film.
The film was developed at home and contact prints made with a Johnsons of hendon contact printer.
I still have some of the prints and negatives but alas the camera is long gone.

Ah, my dad had one of these and when he died i took it in and tried it. Unfortunately the bellows had rotted and let in light badly, but i ran a roll of 120 off for posterity. He took some interesting photos with it. I, myself, started my 'proper' photography life with a simple Pentax P30T, which took me comfortably through my Lrps submission. Smile
Trevor121 Avatar
Trevor121 4 13 United Kingdom
23 Feb 2020 7:20PM
I think you can still get replacement bellows here,
dark_lord Avatar
dark_lord Plus
19 3.0k 836 England
24 Feb 2020 12:37PM
There's a comon theme here.
My first proper camera was a Praktica Super TL3 (a Christmas present). I doubt many have heard of that as it was exclisive to Dixons. We're talking 1979/1980. Shutter speeds from 1 second to only 1/500 which didn't impress but thinking about it I didn't go that high very often with 64 and 100 ISO film.

I didn't want a Zenit. A school friend also had a Praktica (a PLC3 if I recall correctly) and neither of us got on with the school's Zenit E.
A couple of years later I splashed out on a Pentax ME Super which lasted me quite a number of years.
pink Avatar
pink Plus
20 7.4k 11 England
24 Feb 2020 3:26PM
I started with a Practica L2, bought by my wife to be as an engagement present (partly funded by cigarette vouchers ) I bet she regrets getting me into this all consuming hobby now.
My second camera was a Minolta SRT101, followed by an X300 then a X700 which I still have.
Trevor121 Avatar
Trevor121 4 13 United Kingdom
24 Feb 2020 3:42PM
I part paid for mine with cigarette vouchers, Players No 6 if I remember correctly, my good friends contributed most of the vouchers, I think I also had to pay £40 which was more than 2 weeks wages back then, took me months to save that up
keith selmes Avatar
keith selmes 19 7.4k 1 United Kingdom
25 Feb 2020 10:44AM
In my childhood we had old box and folder cameras, they were proper I suppose, but they tended to be very basic and hard to use. Then I had an Instamatic, plastic, cartridge loading ,simple. My father was unimpressed, and I suppose now I understand why. It was easy to load and snap, but the quality was poor.

My first real proper camera came years later, a very well used Praktica LTL, from an LCE shop, with the standard Zeiss 50/2.8 lens. My choice had been either a simple 35mm point and shoot camera, or the complicated looking heavy metal Praktica, at about the same price. I'd been doing technology courses and saw the complicated knobs and dials as an interesting challenge that I should be able to handle.

Then I bought a book to learn how to use it, which cost nearly as much again, and then a flash unit, and I had already learned about the mushrooming costs of photography, without even taking a photo. Later I bought a 135mm lens as well, which again cost as much as the camera.

When I had learned the very basics of how to use the controls and the built in light meter, I was astonished how good the prints were. It helped that my father had told me the basics, when I was too young to really cope, so my new book was in some ways a refresher course, and thus made a lot more sense. And of course, even with the cheapest SLR, the controls and light meter were easier than the old folders and Sunny 16 guesswork. But the big f/2.8 lens, the fast shutter and the 35mm colour film, all made for better photos. A huge jump from, say, a Vest Pocket Kodak model B, and the old Gratispool paper negatives.

The camera was a heavy uncomfortable lump to carry round, so it didn't get used as much as it might have. It must also have been pretty worn out, because when the time came that I started doing more photography, it starting hanging up, so shots were missed and film wasted . But by then it was possible to save some money and get a new electronic gizmo, a Canon Eos model. It had motor wind, and an electronic readout in the viewinder, so it felt like a computer game that would also take photos. Several generations on, I still have the Praktica, but more for old times sake, I doubt I'll use it again.


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