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08-29-2023, 06:39 AM   #1
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Advice Needed: Buying Second-Hand Analog and Pentax Q Cameras in Tokyo

Hello fellow Pentax enthusiasts,


I'm heading to Tokyo next week and I'm eager to dive into the world of second-hand analog cameras, and also explore what's available in the Pentax Q range.
I've done some homework online, but firsthand insights from this knowledgeable community are unmatched.

My first question: Do shops in Tokyo generally ensure the cameras are serviced (light seals, CLA), or is it more hit and miss? Your expertise on this will be invaluable.

From my research, I've listed a few stores to visit:
  • Fujiya Camera
  • Map Camera Buying Center
  • Used Camera BOX
  • Lemon Inc Ginza Camera
Are there any other Pentax oriented shops in Tokyo I should be aware of?

For the analog side, I've set my sights on the Pentax ME Super, MX, KX, and potentially LX.
As for lenses, I'm looking for the standard 50 mm: SMC m f1.7 and f1.4.
If I chance upon them, I'd also consider the SMC M 28mm F3.5 and F2, SMC M 100mm F2.8, and SMC M 35-70mm F2.8-3.5.


To better manage my budget, here are the price ranges I'm considering (in yen):
Cameras:
  • ME Super: 10-15K
  • MX and KX: 15-20K
  • LX: 30-40K
Lenses:
  • SMC M 50mm f1.7: 5K
  • SMC M 50mm 1.4: 10K
  • SMC M 100mm F2.8: 15K
  • SMC M 28mm F3.5: 9K
  • SMC M 28mm F2: 40K
  • SMC M 35-70mm F2.8-3.5: 10K
Lastly, while I'm there, I'm also interested in checking out the Pentax Q series. If anyone has pointers or recommendations related to that, I'd be all ears.


Thank you already for reading through.


Any advice, insights, or personal experiences related to my queries or anything I might've missed will be of great help.


Warm regards,
Fila

08-29-2023, 10:10 AM - 1 Like   #2
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The issue you probably will have is with the language barrier. You may find something you like in a store, but not be able to ask any questions about it. Also local customs when buying used items may be different than where you're from.

You may want to contact Bellamy from Japan Camera Hunters to assist in your search. You may be able to meet up with him or a team member, so a fee of course. Note he does not assist with digital cameras.

https://www.japancamerahunter.com/about/

Phil.
08-29-2023, 12:18 PM - 1 Like   #3
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Sounds like an exciting plan for a trip, I have purchased from MAP on the internet and have never been let down with the quality of their equipment, in store could be an interesting experience. With regards to the Q, I would recommend either the original Q which has excellent build quality or the Q-S1 which uses a slightly larger sensor . The QS-1 looks a little odd with the button as a grip, however when you pick it up, it really does feel comfortable to hold for such a small camera. Enjoy your trip.
08-29-2023, 05:24 PM - 1 Like   #4
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I went to Tokyo in 2016 and found a collection of maybe a dozen used camera shops from some sites online (one of those may have been Japan Camera Hunters). I want to say it was in Shinjuku.

I noticed there were three sorts of shops: shiny, big stores like BIC or MAP; camera "galleries" where I had to check the price and realize, "yes, that Nikon is $10,000 USD"; and basement or otherwise very compressed shops with rows upon rows of old film cameras.
Man, that was a great way to spend a morning...

I'll note that was before the recent price surges in film cameras, so things may have changed, but exploring was a lot of fun...

-Eric

08-29-2023, 11:04 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by gofour3 Quote
T
You may want to contact Bellamy from Japan Camera Hunters to assist in your search. You may be able to meet up with him or a team member, so a fee of course. Note he does not assist with digital cameras.

https://www.japancamerahunter.com/about/

Phil.
Thanks, I had a look, but I (or rather Pentax) do not qualify, quote from: https://www.japancamerahunter.com/services/find-me-a-camera-in-japan/

" ...

Please note there are some cameras I do not source:
...Lower end SLR cameras such as the Pentax and Olympus cameras. I get too many requests to be able to fulfill them and the quality of cameras has become questionable.
... "
08-30-2023, 03:40 AM - 1 Like   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Fila Quote
To better manage my budget, here are the price ranges I'm considering (in yen):
Cameras:
  • ME Super: 10-15K
  • MX and KX: 15-20K
  • LX: 30-40K
Lenses:
  • SMC M 50mm f1.7: 5K
  • SMC M 50mm 1.4: 10K
  • SMC M 100mm F2.8: 15K
  • SMC M 28mm F3.5: 9K
  • SMC M 28mm F2: 40K
  • SMC M 35-70mm F2.8-3.5: 10K
I always recommend people to avoid the ME Super as they have not aged well - dodgy electronics coupled with cheap, soft metal parts mean they fail very easily and are rarely worth spending money on. Don't get an LX unless it's been serviced as they require regular CLAs to keep them working and they're more expensive than CLAs on other film cameras. I also found that the LX was a big disappointment and was nothing special in the land of mechanical cameras.

Apart from the last two of the lenses in that list, these are all pretty common and easy to find/buy at reasonable prices, at least in Europe (and the US too I expect) so there's no reason to get them in Japan. They should be obtainable almost anywhere.

When I was in Japan (2017) I was with my wife so there was very little opportunity to look at camera shops. I popped into a couple of big ones to drool and buy some small stuff (such as Japan-exclusive film) and one small one with used gear, but that was over-priced compared to what I can get locally in Europe. If you have time to go to good used gear stores then you might well find more variety than I did and maybe better prices too, but I understand that a lot of them closed in the "dry years" of film photography before the resurgence brought back interest and raised demand and prices.

Check out "Japancamerastyle" on Instagram for info on good used camera gear shops in Tokyo - he really knows his way around. Just looking now there is apparently a used gear fair in Ginza from September 1st to 6th - that could be worth a visit.
08-30-2023, 05:41 AM   #7
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Thanks a lot


QuoteOriginally posted by Jonathan Mac Quote
Check out "Japancamerastyle" on Instagram for info on good used camera gear shops in Tokyo - he really knows his way around. Just looking now there is apparently a used gear fair in Ginza from September 1st to 6th - that could be worth a visit.
It seems I will have to finally create an Instagram account

QuoteOriginally posted by Jonathan Mac Quote
Just looking now there is apparently a used gear fair in Ginza from September 1st to 6th - that could be worth a visit.
Yes, I have seen it and I arrive in Tokyo on September 7h

08-30-2023, 06:47 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Fila Quote
Thanks, I had a look, but I (or rather Pentax) do not qualify
That's a shame.
I used Japan Camera Hunters to buy/ship a Pentax super telephoto lens for me, but I guess it's the Pentax cameras that are the issue.

Phil.
09-06-2023, 12:45 AM - 1 Like   #9
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Thanks everybody, I am arriving to Tokyo tomorrow and will be hitting the stores end of this week, any additional advice is highly appreciated.
I will report what I have found in two weeks when I am back.
09-06-2023, 07:17 AM   #10
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Let us know how you get on. We love a bit of gear p0rn and LBA-by-proxy
09-21-2023, 08:23 AM   #11
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Hi,

I am back, still hazy with the time difference after 15 hours flight, so excuse my eventual lack of focus.

I have reserved 1/2 day in Tokyo for camera hunting and
I started with Fujiya Camera. Kind of disappointing, quite some LX's (5-6) with prices from 40 to 80K yen, and few SP's, no MX or KX in sight.
Not discouraged yet I headed to Shinjuku: Used camera BOX and Map Camera Buying Center.
Alas, there was complete disappointment and discouragement, one of them had few LX's and other no Pentax SLRs at all.
Well, it seemed that all went in direction of Japan Camera Hunter, Pentax cameras are not interesting any longer.
It was full of Leica's thought.

If shops were closer I would still continue, but to travel an hour back and forth to find nothing did not seem appealing, so I concluded my camera hunt.

But then walking thru "main" Kyoto street I passed by Camera no Naniwa and I had to pop in.
Among few M and K series cameras (there were also unavoidable LX and SP ones),
I've checked out only MX and K1000, with finally getting:
MX for 22.5 K
SMC Pentax-M 50mm F1.7 for 7K
SMC Pentax-A 35-105mm F3.5 for 3.8 K

As it was towards the end of the trip, I still did not use up the film,
so I don't know yet the result of my purchase, but the camera is such joy to use,
if service is needed I will do it in Europe.

SMC Pentax-A 35-105mm F3.5 was not on my list, but the price looked good,
and when I checked the forums later it looked too good, so I tried it on my DSLR
and it works quite nicely, I think I will have a lot of fun with macro mode ...

So happy end

Thanks everybody
Fila
09-21-2023, 01:00 PM - 1 Like   #12
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Thanks for letting us know how you went on your hunt. I like to hunt as well and often times after spending hours walking around with the gun, not finding any game, I return home with nothing to show for my time. There are other days when I have success after 10 minutes. That is the joy of hunting, if you knew you would always find what you want, it wouldn't be a hunt. The three items you did find are quality items which will give you much pleasure every time you use it, because it will always have memories of your holiday to Japan.
09-22-2023, 07:08 AM - 1 Like   #13
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I'm glad you had some success and found some items you're happy with. I believe you need to track down smaller camera shops, the type that's loaded wall to wall and floor to ceiling with gear, rather than go to the big camera shops.
09-23-2023, 01:04 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by garywakeling Quote
.... if you knew you would always find what you want, it wouldn't be a hunt. The three items you did find are quality items which will give you much pleasure every time you use it, because it will always have memories of your holiday to Japan.
Completely agree, thank you.



QuoteOriginally posted by Jonathan Mac Quote
I'm glad you had some success and found some items you're happy with. I believe you need to track down smaller camera shops, the type that's loaded wall to wall and floor to ceiling with gear, rather than go to the big camera shops.
Thank you, I did realize that type of shops I was visiting would not bear fruit, and I thought that I've chosen some of the smaller camera shops, but apparently did not do it well enough.
Perhaps next time, as I liked Japan so much I will try to visit it gain ...
11-16-2023, 07:40 AM   #15
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I well remember in the 1970's and before, in Hong Kong, my dad bought all his old cameras from a real hole-in-the-wall shop that was loaded with shelves of everything under the sun and the Chinese guy perched on a stool in the middle with a small window to serve through. I still have some of that gear, and remember the shop owner well. For anyone who was on R&R from Vietnam at the time, it was in the lobby of the SSAFA building in Wanchai.
Sounds like the sort of place you'd want to find in Japan especially.
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