I am a user and collector of film cameras but why are you buying a film camera? they are now edging towards collectors only, the value has fallen out of all but the rarest/best cameras. Just the cost of the normal servicing these old cameras need is now more than the camera is worth. In some areas film is harder to find and processing can be limited to one shop and these will be closing in the not too distant future . This means you'll be back to the bad old days of doing it yourself or sending your film away to be developed. Think seriously if your not a film buff or collector, digital is now very cheap.... (but dont buy cheap digital rubbish!)
Were talking of old mechanical and mechanical/electronic cameras, these need servicing now and then. As above this costs more than most cameras are worth so find out if there is a receipt for work done. Find out if the foam light seals have been replaced, if not they need to be or light will stray into your film and overexpose the lot.
Does the light meter (if fited) work? no? you'll have to buy a hand held one, dont expect to be able to have this repaired, its possable but not probable.
Is there any fungus growing on the lens? if so the lens is probably junk, can be cleaned but why bother there are lots of old lense's about, buy someone else's. Is it a quality known brand? if not forget it buy the top of the line lens, why not? thay are not expensive anymore. Most older lens's do not fit digital cameras.
Is the battery new? receipt available? is it of the original type (probably originally a mercury battery) the older batterys are not available, some replacement batterys dont have the same charasterics of the old one changing your light meter settings. This is fixable but more cost, maybe restrict yourself to cameras where the original battery is available (probably cameras after 1978 ish but check yourself).
No battery? dont buy it.... its a good way of selling something you know doesnt work ,just say "sorry cant test as I have no battery" buyer beware.
Whats the shutter like? can you see light through it? if so its junk unless very rare.
I did hear you can no longer get the correct replacement material for Exakta camera shutters so a lot of them are now dust collectors! This is also true of some other brands, finding someone to replace shutters or even just fix old cameras is also getting difficult. If there is anything broken or not working look for a better one elsewhere, its not worth the hassle....... Canon A series (AE-1, A-1 etc) cameras have a thing called "shutter squeak", this requires about $120 to fix, most will have this, ask the seller if he'll guaranty there is no squeak, down side of this is most have no idea but its easy to hear. I love my A series Canon SLR's but I know what the issues are and I shop around that. Find out what your paricular brand has as "issues" then ask sellers if the particular camera has those.
Dont buy cheaper versions of cameras, why bother ? get the best film camera, they arnt worth much anyway. Aim for a top of the line camera thats had little use.
People advertising what were entry level film cameras at a price above what you can get a digital for need a good talking to as do people paying silly prices... search completed listings to get an idea of the real selling price.
THE MARKET IS FLOODED AND MOST ARE OF NO VALUE!!!!! now go buy your dream camera form 1978 but dont get ripped off! aim for new condition, there are lots to pick from...(it will still need seal foam replacement and a service, its the years that do it as well as the use)
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