It’s not my intention to write reviews about old cameras as it’s all been done a million times before, but the need to tell this story to people who care about cameras has overcome my intentions.  It’s not since I lived in Southeast London and picked up an old 1980’s BMW that I’ve had this feeling.  I’m sure we’ve old had it.  The feeling that everything is in place, things have aligned and you just happened to be in the right place at the right time.  I was driving home from work as usual as I passed by a house with table with a for sale sign with about 50 cameras on it.  I actually thought I was hallucinating (Long day of work, hot Sydney sun).  I stopped of course and to my surprise found a table of old rangefinders.  I actually thought for a second that it was going to be a table full of old Leica’s.  It was a table full of 60’s and 70’s japanese fixed lens rangefinders.  I spent the next hour searching through some beautiful old cameras.  They were all there but as old cameras go, they all had problems.  A konica auto S2 (fungus)  a fujica with the little bottom lever (lever stuck) a Yashica lynx 1000 (shutter stuck).  Finally, I stumbled upon a working Minolta AL which I bought for the princely sum of $2.50.  Got it home, cleaned it up, opened the back and got out a roll of tri-x.  This is when the old BMW came to mind.  That feeling of getting into a car where everything is well planned, well thought out, things in the right place.   This is one of the first cameras that did that for me.  Little things like a small film catch on the reel, the focus knob in exactly the right position, etc…  My BMW cost me the whopping sum of 300 quid and lasted me 3 years and 3 trips around Britain.  I still miss that car today, hopefully this rough little diamond will be the same.

A little Britain for you

Martin Parr