Buying SLR checklist.


Link Posted 05/06/2013 - 19:17
Hi all, if you came across a film camera for sale, let's say in a charity shop, just what would/could you look for to check the working order of the camera? I know ultimately the test would be the film test. And perhaps different cameras might have different priorities, but is there a general tick list?



Link Posted 05/06/2013 - 19:38
Worn case and very good body would suggest amateur use and the opposite might indicate professional use. Take the lens off and carefully examine it from back and front in good light looking for fine lines of fungus. Check the iris opens and closes snappily and there are no traces of oil on the blades.

Open the back holding it up to the light and watch the shutter curtains, at the flash sync speed and slower you should be able to see the entire film gate.

Check the battery compartment for signs of corrosion
“We must avoid however, snapping away, shooting quickly and without thought, overloading ourselves with unnecessary images that clutter our memory and diminish the clarity of the whole.” - Henri Cartier-Bresson -


Link Posted 05/06/2013 - 20:06
Hi Ken, thanks for the input.

Where would oil on the blades come from? what type of oil?



Link Posted 05/06/2013 - 21:11
The advice from Ken is very good. I'd add that you should check the light selas and mirror buffer, though these are easy and cheap to replace, this adds to the cost of the camera. I'd also wind and fire the shutter a few times, though if it's an electronic shutter you'll need batteries. Again only if you have batteries, check the light meter works. Check that the battery compartment is not corroded.
Pentax hybrid user - Digital K3, film 645 and 35mm SLR and Pentax (&other) lenses adapted to Fuji X and Panasonic L digital
Fan of DA limited and old manual lenses


Link Posted 05/06/2013 - 21:44
Oil on the aperture blades is usually from the manufacturing stage.

Small amounts of grease are used in various parts of the lens body, these tend to find there way through to the blades.

It isn't a problem on Rangefinder lenses, but on a SLR lens it slows the action down causing over exposure.

The oil can be cleaned of by brave /competent tinkerers.

As for SLR cameras, I tend to avoid any fully electric bodies if they don't have working batteries installed.
Cheers, HG

K110+DA40, K200+DA35, K3 and a bag of lenses, bodies and other bits.

Mustn't forget the Zenits, or folders, or...

I've some gallerieshere CLICKY LINK! and my PPG entries.


Link Posted 06/06/2013 - 20:41
Thanks all.

This really came about because in the past I have seen an SLR film camera or two in charity shops but never checked them out. Next time I just might check them out and see what I find. Now I have a good idea of what to look for.

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