What was the cheapest camera you ever bought? Was it worth the buy? Read on about the story of the cheapest camera I ever bought.
I often come around Japanese surplus shops here in Manila, hunting cameras, toys, and all sort of stuffs. One of my cheapest find is this compact Pentax Espio 35-70mm af zoom camera, complete with leather case, and panoramic mask. At first the guy was selling it to me for 200 Pesos (4$) but lucky enough, we made a deal at 100 pesos (2$) since it wasn’t tested and there is a chance that it was not working. The camera is in very good physical condition, the lens is scratch-less as hell.
When I got home I immediately put a cr123a battery in the gear then it suddenly winded. I started testing the shutter, it was opening, then the flash, it fires. Though I don’t have any idea about this camera, there is only one thing left to do to really test the quality of this item, that is to load it with a roll of film.
Before I started clicking, I googled about the camera first. It seems that this camera has many other siblings like the much more famous Pentax Espio mini, I believe that mine was one of the first editions. There was a manual in the web, after reading, I learned a few quirks about the camera.
The camera is fully automatic, the gadget will be the one to choose the shutter speed and aperture to use in a certain situation. The ISO cannot also be changed, though you can cheat the DX coding of your film spool. It has a 35-70mm af zoom lens, and I was surprised that the viewfinder also zooms and focuses as close as 0.6m. There is a light indicator in the viewfinder if the flash needs to fire (red) and if the camera focuses (green, blinks if unsuccessful in focusing). And let’s not forget, a tripod thread.
Now about the quirks. It has a lot of settings, more than you expected. Flash, nighttime without flash, nighttime with flash, backlight compensation, Bulb mode, and Bulb mode without flash. There is a separate button for red eye reduction and for landscape setting. There is a button for timer too that will also enable other modes. It has 2 timer length to choose from, it also has a timer that will automatically shoot twice, continuous mode, multiple exposure, 3 second interval, and 60 second interval. OK, Enough of the technicalities, let’s start shooting!
I took it to the street, It has an almost perfect autofocus, let’s say 98% of the time it is correct.
The exposure is superb, I love the way it exposes even in low light situations.
One of my favorite quirks is the double exposure capabilities, just look at the photos.
I think this camera is suited for street photography, because it is quiet and fast.
All in all, this is worth every cent. So if ever you came across one with a good price, do not hesitate to grab it.