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02-03-2011, 11:23 PM   #1
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A pleasant surprise came in the mail today.

Over the weekend I bought a K mount camera that has a questionable reputation on eBay for the sum of $10.50 shipped. It was listed as coming with the lens, so I figured that either way I was getting a good deal. I picked it up from the post office, and when I first got my hands on it I knew I had made a good decision. Although there is a lot of plastic on this camera, it is metal where it counts. It has a timer that pre-fires the mirror, DOF preview, a PC cord socket, And a built in, super easy to use multiple exposure function. It also has nicely sculpted built in grips front and rear.

Give up? It's a Vivitar v3800N. Yep, that one. The one that gets one star in 50% of reviews. This one came with the 50mm f/1.7, which is mostly of metal construction, but unfortunately has a plastic aperture ring.

The other specs: 1/2000th - 1 second shutter speed (& bulb), 1/125th flash sync, ISO range of 25-3200. Takes a standard threaded cable release. Metal vertical travel shutter is fully mechanical, as is the rest of the camera, except for the meter.

As I understand it, the early runs of this camera had a very high meter failure rate. That's really a shame, because now this camera has a really bad reputation. The photo department at my school refuses to buy them due to the three they bought all dying within two months of purchase. Maybe I can use this one to change their mind!

As far as my transaction goes, it couldn't have been better. It was shipped in a medium flat rate box, which must have cost as much as I paid for the whole thing. It even came with a very nice Targus camera bag.

The best part of the whole deal is the nicely formatted note the seller put in the box:

"I would like to thank you so much for your purchase from me. I have enjoyed using this camera and it has taken some wonderful pictures. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did."

Thank you Amanda. I'm quite sure I will enjoy it greatly.


Last edited by Steve Beswick; 02-04-2011 at 07:31 PM.
02-03-2011, 11:58 PM   #2
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If I did not already have so many cameras, I would probably get me a Vivitar. They are inexpensive (even new) and a basically sound design. I may yet get the Nikon version just to get something in F mount


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02-04-2011, 09:58 AM   #3
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If the camera is know to have failing light meters then i'd feel safer to buy used than new! At least then someone would have "quality controlled" it.
02-04-2011, 10:44 AM   #4
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Congratulations on the new/used toy. But what is wrong with plastic? It lasts forever :-)

02-04-2011, 07:36 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Spare Tire Quote
If the camera is know to have failing light meters then i'd feel safer to buy used than new! At least then someone would have "quality controlled" it.
Well from what I have heard it was just the early examples, and the newer ones are fine.

QuoteOriginally posted by SpecialK Quote
Congratulations on the new/used toy. But what is wrong with plastic? It lasts forever :-)
For me its not an issue. To be honest, my favorite "design" for a camera is a plastic shell wrapped around a metal core, like this one or a P3n. Some people have a stigma against plastic on their cameras, which is why I mentioned it.
02-04-2011, 08:22 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Steve Beswick Quote
For me its not an issue. ...Some people have a stigma against plastic on their cameras, which is why I mentioned it.
Of course, it was a joke. I smile when someone complains that "it" (something made of plastic) "feels so plasticky".
02-04-2011, 10:35 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by SpecialK Quote
Of course, it was a joke. I smile when someone complains that "it" (something made of plastic) "feels so plasticky".
Whoops! I missed the smiley. I might be a bit too tired for posting!
02-04-2011, 10:58 PM   #8
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Those look like pretty good cameras. There's one in the case of the camera store I usually go to, maybe next time I'm in I'll handle it a little bit. I was looking at the 85mm Vivitar lens, so I'm interested to hear how the lens holds up.

02-05-2011, 12:39 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by PGillin Quote
Those look like pretty good cameras. There's one in the case of the camera store I usually go to, maybe next time I'm in I'll handle it a little bit. I was looking at the 85mm Vivitar lens, so I'm interested to hear how the lens holds up.
The one I have is the black version. Beware of the finish on the grey version - from what I have seen it chips very easily.
02-05-2011, 02:52 PM   #10
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There seems to be plenty of them for cheap on ebay that look fairly unused....some come with the same lens you got also I think, well its a 1.7.

Doesn't look like a bad camera, probably just had some production problems(Like many cameras still have today, nothing is ever perfect, especially when first released, I am looking at you K5 haha....)
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