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May 30, 2006 7:31 PM   Subscribe

What to do with an old 35mm camera?

I have an old Minolta X-700 that I got as a high school graduation present years ago. We just moved and I dug it out of a box. It's in excellent condition, untouched for at least 10 years. I am not a photographer. Who can best use this relic?
posted by ldenneau to Grab Bag (22 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I used to be involved with a photo club in college. They are always on the lookout for loaner cameras, if you are looking to give it away.

Otherwise, you could try to sell it on one of the many sites out there.
posted by o0dano0o at 7:35 PM on May 30, 2006

Put it on eBay is the obvious answer? Better yet, any young children in the family? A niece or a nephew might actually dig getting a real camera and become a great photographer with time. List it on Craigslist for a local sale and I am sure it will sell quickly.
posted by randomthoughts at 7:43 PM on May 30, 2006

Relic? Hell, that's a great camera. You should at least run a couple of rolls of film through it, just for the heck of it.
After that...yeah...what o0dano0o said.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:44 PM on May 30, 2006

Maybe I wasn't clear above, but if you do end up just wanting to get rid of it, please let me know. I am still in touch with the club and could get the camera to them.
posted by o0dano0o at 7:47 PM on May 30, 2006

The value of cameras which use film has plummeted in the last three years as high quality digital cameras have come down in price. Fact is, CCDs are superior to film in nearly every way these days, and film is collapsing.

I have some bad news for you: your camera is worthless. I just recently tossed an Olympus OM-2 for exactly the same reason: no one wanted it.

Any lenses you have, on the other hand, may well still be worth something if they are compatible with a modern digital camera. It would depend on the mount.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 7:48 PM on May 30, 2006

your camera is worthless

Not to me. Or Thorzdad. Or o0dano0o. Film has its place.
posted by desuetude at 7:59 PM on May 30, 2006

Fact is, CCDs are superior to film in nearly every way these days, and film is collapsing.

That's a bit of a strech...
posted by delmoi at 8:00 PM on May 30, 2006

You tossed an OM-2!! That's tragic. They're beautiful cameras . . .

While the use of film has declined it's definitely still around. I shoot digital, but have a lot more fun shooting black and white film. It's easy to develop at home. You'll be in business with a few chemicals and a darkroom bag.

Perhaps there's a darkroom in your community you could use? Great satisfaction comes with printing your own photos - as someone who spends lots of time working in Photoshop, I find seeing a print emerge from a trey of chemicals almost magical.

If that's not your bag, I'm sure you won't have too much difficulty giving it away or selling it to an interested amateur.
posted by aladfar at 8:02 PM on May 30, 2006

your camera is worthless

According to ebay, it's worth about $36...
posted by delmoi at 8:02 PM on May 30, 2006

Actually, my OM-2 went to Goodwill, who probably will sell it for about $10.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 8:06 PM on May 30, 2006

I disagree Steven, film camera's aren't worthless. The value of something is, afterall, in the eye of the beholder and some of us still have a hankerin' to use ye old cameras and film.

You might also try the local high school and see if they have a photography department (might be a needy student or two there who would appreciate the gesture) or get in touch with the local camera club. If all else fails, you could send it my way ...
posted by squeak at 8:16 PM on May 30, 2006

Film cameras are only worth (to me) what my clients are willing to pay - which for the past 2 years has been nothing. I've got a large investment in film gear nobody pays me to use anymore... so from my perspective, digital is the only way to go and without the digital gear, I'd be unemployed.

Regardless, I think the OP should just donate the camera to a school which still teaches traditional methods and darkroom skills.
posted by blaneyphoto at 8:34 PM on May 30, 2006

The X-700 is nearly bulletproof -- I shot hundreds of rolls through one, and it's still going strong, although I have traded it for digital. Photography school donation, definitely.
posted by frogan at 9:07 PM on May 30, 2006

Even if you are not a "photographer," do you like to take pictures? If so, keep it! There are still some things film is great for. I keep three 35mm cameras on my shelf just in case.

For example, I just shot 4 rolls with my old Olympus IS-1. I got pictures my digital camera (Canon S50) would not have gotten: hand held, available light shots inside the Buffalo Bill dam powerplant, using 800 speed film. My Canon images are unreasonably noisy in low light with the ISO bumped up. I took the film to Costco, and they gave me a disk with 5 megapixel images. Best of both worlds.

Another idea: keep it in your car trunk for spontaneous pictures when you are out and about. Unlike most digitals, your batteries will last almost forever, and you will always have a camera ready to go just in case you see that UFO.

(Use digital 99% of the time... nice to have the film option tho.)
posted by The Deej at 9:09 PM on May 30, 2006

Thanks everyone for your answers. Just to clarify, duh I know it isn't "worth any money". I want to give it away, and not being a photographer, I have no idea if photo clubs or schools still want them (are darkroom techniques still tought?). Apparently the answer is yes. And much as I love photography, I don't have the time to take it up as a hobby.
posted by ldenneau at 9:47 PM on May 30, 2006

Readymade's last issue had a thing about how to turn an old camera into a wireless security camera. Pretty neat eh?
posted by radioamy at 10:17 PM on May 30, 2006

Astrophotographers often want manual, mechanical shutter cameras. Unfortunately, according to wikipedia, the x 700 is not so good for this.

Just an example of film cameras still being very useful.
posted by oneirodynia at 10:58 PM on May 30, 2006

Use it. Really, give it a try. You shouldn't give it away until you've at least given it a sendoff. And if you're still intent on being rid of it, find a local camera club or arts centre where they still mess around with chemicals and film

Fact is, CCDs are superior to film in nearly every way these days, and film is collapsing.

Also, superior to paint in every way. Hence the drop in the price of paintings.

My point: if anything, there's been a resurgence of interest in old-school photography -- pinholes, TLRs, classic 35mm -- thanks to the collapse in the consumer market, akin to the revolution in painting 150 years ago when photography arrived. You will find people who want to stick some FP4 in it.
posted by holgate at 3:12 AM on May 31, 2006

Fact is, CCDs are superior to film in nearly every way these days,
The rise of digital photography has a lot more to do with convenience than it has to do with any claim of quality. Fact is, you will have to spend thousands of dollars to get a digital kit that comes close to delivering the image quality that ldenneau's Minolta can deliver.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:49 AM on May 31, 2006

ldenneau writes "I have no idea if photo clubs or schools still want them (are darkroom techniques still tought?). Apparently the answer is yes."

Schools might not (they tend to want all students using the same equipment or for the students to bring their own kit). If you can't get a school to take it throw an ad on craig's or the local inequivalent. I'd offer it for free but require the person to show up with five rolls of film to lessen the chance you'll get some guy flipping it on eBay.

Still lots of advantages to 35mm over Digital. No brainer archival, noise free long exposures, more dynamic range, better out of range behaviour (especially on the high side), no need for a computer, easy manual control on cheap equipment, better manual focusing, pickup and go reliability.
posted by Mitheral at 6:20 AM on May 31, 2006

It is a bummer. I love my old 35's, I have a Nikon FE and an all manual Nikkormat FT3 which I love. OTOH I love the immediacy of my digital and the ubiquitousness of my camera phone. Maybe someday I'll be able to get a digital SLR and enjoy the same feeling that I got with the old cameras, or even use the old lenses.
posted by JamesMessick at 9:13 AM on May 31, 2006

That's my camera! I bought it when I was in college in the 80's, and after a couple decades' hiatus, am using it again. It's a great little camera. I'm sure your local photo club or alternative high school that has a photography program would be glad to have it.
posted by matildaben at 12:02 PM on May 31, 2006

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