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09-27-2013, 02:50 PM   #16

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I bought my first Pentax SLR, an S1a, new in 1968. It came with a case (nice, hard leather) and I had to buy a separate hand held light meter...a Sekonic for $ 9.95.

The camera, 55 mm F 2 lens and case cost me $ 159 and after my down payment, I paid $ 9 a month to the photography dept. at Gambles Dept. store.

It took a year to pay it off and boy was I happy to finish off this financial burden. I was about 19-20 years old and making about $ 275 CAD a month. So $ 159 was a lot of shekels for me at the time.

I also had rent, car (VW Beetle) payments, girlfriend to entertain, etc.

Don't know how I did all this on the pittance I was getting at the time.

I was told by the boss and publisher that I had to buy a good quality 35mm SLR for my job at a publishing company.

He told me either get a Pentax or a Nikon SLR and to check with the publishing house photography dept. to see which camera model would be appropriate and get them to teach me how to use it.

I did and when I checked out local camera stores....the basic Pentax was $ 159, the basic Nikon was $ 179. Twenty bucks was a lot of money, so I went Pentax and have remained there ever since.

My next Pentax was the ES 11, a relatively sophisticated early electronic, Spotmatic. Paid $ 364 CAD new, in '74 or '75. It came with a Takumar F 1.8.

Almost went Nikon at this time, with a Photomic F which would of cost $ 450 with a Nikkor F 2 lens. Found the Photomic F's viewfinder too dark and the meter rather primitive, in comparison with the ES 11.

I also have Leica, Mamiya, Olympus, Panasonic and Canon equipment,

09-27-2013, 06:23 PM   #17
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Fascinating stories everyone The sacrifices we make to buy that SLR!
09-28-2013, 08:03 AM   #18
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Not my first SLR, and not new

My first Pentax SLR was a used KX purchased in the late 1990's. IIRC I paid ~$125.

09-28-2013, 01:07 PM   #19
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My first SLR was (I still have it, too!) a Yashica FR-II with 50mm f1.7 and case; $239 at the Navy base exchange in
Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico. My ship had stopped in during training exercises; and being at sea for almost two months I had about $245 to I got the camera. A shipmate had tried to sell me on a Canon AE-1, but I was a bit short of that one; back then I didn't know about New York City wholesalers (like Cambridge Camera, which in their new costume several years ago sold me a "new" Yashica 109 film camera in which the batteries had not been removed from and had leaked badly, but that's another story).

My first Pentax was a ZX-L with 28-80mm lens for $239! A zoom lens, auto everything, light weight and pretty handy for less money (in real terms) than my FR-II in 1981. My DL was purchased a couple of months after this one.

Last edited by rt22306; 09-28-2013 at 01:08 PM. Reason: correction
10-01-2013, 08:34 PM   #20
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Back when I bought my first Ricoh Singlex TLS (1970) for about $120, I got it rather than a Spotmatic because the Ricoh was half the money. I think the U.S. minimum wage was about $1.25/hr.

Short answer...Yes, they have always been expensive. For most of us the cost of the body was enough to make ownership of additional lenses practically impossible.

10-07-2013, 08:26 AM   #21
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On another topic.... have you seen this article?
Blast from the Past: 1965 Pentax Spotmatic Review

Really instructive

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