Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
09-27-2013, 12:15 AM   #1
Veteran Member
iht's Avatar

Join Date: May 2009
Location: Sydney, Australia
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 482
Pentax SLR prices in the last 60 years?

Just a post to satisfy the curiosity of my young self (I'm in my early 30s).

Dad bought his first camera (SL) in 1969. He said as a new journo grad in those days he saved up 3 months' worth of wages to buy the SL with Super Takumar 50/1.4. Not sure how well he was paid compared to everyone else.

I assume SLR prices have become more affordable over the decades? I just wonder if there's a way to measure the affordability of say, the Asahiflex I in 1952, the Spotmatic in 1965, the K2 in 1975, the LX in 1980, the MZ-S in the 1990s, and the upcoming K-3?

I know there are many many factors, like the LX obviously was special in that it was the only Pentax "pro" model, and it depends on how you define wages and the region you're in, etc etc. But yeah, do share your thoughts

09-27-2013, 12:42 AM   #2
Site Supporter
p38arover's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Western Sydney, Australia
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 3,078
I bought my Spotmatic with 55mm f1.8 in 1968 for A$180 (= US$201 * at the time).

I was a newly graduated 20-yo radio technician with the Overseas Telecommunications Commission (Australia) aka OTC(A) so I was probably earning in the region of A$60 (US$67) per week. That was pretty good money at the time.

I was supporting a Jaguar Mark VII and Yamaha YDS-2 motorbike at the time - all whilst living 400 miles away from home. Fortunately, my employer paid a living away from home allowance which also enabled me to save enough ($25) to fly back home once a month to see my then girlfriend (now wife). I couldn't afford to fly back to work, I'd have to catch the train which was an all night trip in cold compartments.

*In 1968, A$1.00 = US$1.12

Last edited by p38arover; 09-27-2013 at 03:39 PM.
09-27-2013, 12:46 AM   #3
Pentaxian
Bob from Aus's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Australia
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,085
I got my spotmatic F with 1.7 lens for about $200 in 1974.
As general crap jobs went, $1 an hour was the going rate.
Today the going rate is a little above $13 -$15 an hour
A quick bit of maths and in todays money I would need to pay around $2600
Machined brass must have been expensive
09-27-2013, 05:58 AM   #4
Site Supporter




Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Texas
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,149
I bought my H1a in 1965 for $150 with 55 f2. Couldn't stretch for the H3v or Spotmatic. (Finally added both to my collection a few years ago.)

09-27-2013, 06:44 AM   #5
Loyal Site Supporter
monochrome's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Kirkwood (St. Louis) MO
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 20,430
My college graduation present in 1977 was a KX and K50/1.4. I don't know exactly but I've always thought that kit was about $450. That would be about $1,750 today. Of course K2 was the flagship and K50/1.2 was the flagship normal lens, so compare this to a K50 and 18~135 kit zoom.

From 1973 - 1977 I worked 10 hours a week while at college. My starting hourly was $2.10 and my ending hourly was $2.40. That money represented my entire dating and entertainment budget - $21 - $24 a week - less than $800 my final year at college.

Every summer I worked 10 weeks as a journeyman deckhand on the Mississippi River tow boats. I got on a boat, stayed there a month and got off. I worked First Watch - 5:30 am breakfast, 6:00am - noon, then lunch, shower/laundry and sleep. Dinner at 5:30 pm, work until midnight, then sleep. I was paid $10.50 / hour 40-hour-week equivalent, but also got paid during the month off, so it was really $21.00 I worked "swing" trips the middle two weeks, so I worked ten weeks at $21.00 / hour equivalent and earned $8,400, which was enough to pay tuition, books, room, board and travel almost exactly.

That camera cost my grandmother about 5% of a year at college.

Last edited by monochrome; 09-27-2013 at 08:37 AM.
09-27-2013, 06:59 AM   #6
Site Supporter
Moe49's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Santa Cruz Mtns. USA
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 492
There are a few Inflation Calculators on the web that can be used to help put older 'sticker prices' into perspective.

The Inflation Calculator

For instance, my GrandMother's $4.35 1930 Kodak Beau Brownie No.2 (Rose color), would have cost $59.01 last year (2012) !

New Perspective (like my CBA needs any more encouragement!):
The $130 bucks I paid three years ago for my K2 ($50 + $80 CLA), is a down right steal compared to what that camera cost new in 1976 (K2 chrome list price = $448.50). The $130 I paid today for the K2 is equal to $34.33 back when the camera was new

Last edited by Moe49; 10-11-2013 at 08:11 AM.
09-27-2013, 07:07 AM   #7
Site Supporter




Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Middle of Everywhere
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,169
Paid U$89.00 (shipping incl) for a 35mm Asahi SV-1 with STak 55/1.8 and STak 35/3.5 lenses in 1967. I ordered it off a magazine ad from Hero Camera Co, Tokyo. I could have bought a Spotmatic, but I did not trust the reliability of its electronics. Back then, everything was done by money order with nothing more than a promise to deliver by the seller and no enforceable warranty. International mail required special tissue thin envelopes. In my case, postage for my letter to Japan was U$1.00. The goods arrived at my central Texas home within a month. I still have them. Being mechanical and all manual, the kit still works great, today.

Using an inflation calculator...

DollarTimes.com | Inflation Calculator

... the 1967 buying power of my $89.00 is $621.11 in 2013 terms.

_______

As to wages... During my college years (1966-69), I worked every summer as a fire-fighter for the US Forest Service in the Lake Tahoe area of CA. I was paid $1.81/hour and cleared about $100/week. The hours were long and physically demanding, but I earned enough money to graduate debt free, plus a new car (VW Beetle).
_______

While all of this sounds like a good deal, trust me... things are a TON better now than, then.

Count your blessings...

Cheers... M

Last edited by Michaelina2; 09-27-2013 at 07:37 AM.
09-27-2013, 08:04 AM   #8
Veteran Member
titrisol's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: In the most populated state... state of denial
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 1,098
SLRs were not cheap, in the 70s my father bought his spotmatic and he treasured it because it costed the same as 3 months wages I guess.

there is this fflickr group where there are pictures of ads from the past with camera prices.

09-27-2013, 08:21 AM   #9
Site Supporter
gofour3's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Posts: 5,339
In late 1975 when I bough my K Series kit, I was living at home and working full time making $3.54 per hour.

I can’t find the original bill, but these are the Canadian dollar list prices from 1975 for my K Series kit that I bought new from a local camera store:

KX Body Chrome, Micro Prism = $349.95
KX, KM Soft Leather Case = $29.95
K2, KX, KM Neck Strap = $3.95
Shoulder Pad for Neck Strap = $1.50
K55/1.8 = $124.95
K28/3.5 = $165.95
K135/3.5 = $154.95
Total: $831.20

The CDN dollar was worth about $0.98 in USD in late 1975.

Phil.
09-27-2013, 10:28 AM   #10
Veteran Member
Nesster's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: NJ USA
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 13,047
Looking at some mail order prices:

1958 Sears sold the Tower 26 (AP) with f/2.4 lens for $165
1966 spotmatic w/1.4 lens was $290
1976 B&H sold the K2 w/1.4 for $379
1981 47th st photo wanted $440 for the LX body, in 1985 Adorama wanted $340 + $79 for a 1.4 lens
09-27-2013, 11:10 AM   #11
Senior Member
Reliant K1000's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: BC - On the 49th parallel
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 232
I bought my K1000 with the 50mm F2 and leatherette case in 1977 on sale for about CDN$320 from Kerrisdale Cameras. Took me all summer to save up with grass cutting money. And all I had was $290 so my dad made up the shortfall. Using an inflation calculator on the web, it says
QuoteQuote:
$320 of 1977 dollars would be worth: $1,235.52 in 2013
My K30 with auto-everything if I want it was a relative bargain.

The rest of my equipment I bought used.

Camera equipment has gone down in price, whereas houses have not. I remember a house across our street in 1977 sold for $69,900. Using that same calculator...

QuoteQuote:
$69,900 of 1977 dollars would be worth: $269,884.17 in 2013
That house around here now just sold for over $500,000.

Yeah, I know, not an apples to apples comparison. And there are other economic factors. But interesting, nonetheless.

Last edited by Reliant K1000; 09-27-2013 at 11:16 AM.
09-27-2013, 11:27 AM   #12
Site Supporter
boriscleto's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Liverpool, NY
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 12,870
A K1000 with an A 50/2 was $160 (B&H) in 1991. That's $274.75 in 2013 dollars.

A SF-1N with Tak F 28-80 was $400 or $687 in 2013 dollars.

Looking at their used selection, a Super Tak 50/1.4 was $89. $152 in 2013 dollars. You could buy a F 50/1.4 at the time for $125.

But B&H really wanted to sell you a medium format or video camera. There were 5 pages of video equipment before you got to the film cameras, and medium format was listed first. Two pages of medium format followed by a page of lighting equipment & used gear, and a page of books before you get to 35mm. Leica and Olympus P&S before you get to SLRs.

This is all from the December 1991 issue of Pop Photo. This issue had their "Top 35 Cameras for 1992". The Pentax' on the list were the not-yet-released PZ-1, the LX, the 645, & the 67.

The cheapest camera at the time came from the infamous Cambridge Camera Exchange. They were selling the Zenit TTL as the Cambron TTL along with the Helios 44m 58/2 for $99.95.

Last edited by boriscleto; 09-27-2013 at 11:43 AM.
09-27-2013, 11:28 AM   #13
Pentaxian
redrockcoulee's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Medicine Hat
Posts: 2,135
I think our first Spotmatic F with lens retailed for $279 in 1974 which was less than one month's salary. The next year I was working constructing so making big money at $4 hr. Not positive of what we actually paid for the cameras as the first one we got a discount as my wife worked at McBains and the second while she was still working there we bought directly from McQueen who was the distributor. DSLRs are certainly cheaper in comparision with wages now but when they first came out I do not think so. I also think film is no more expensive then it was when I first started shooting.
09-27-2013, 12:52 PM   #14
Loyal Site Supporter
monochrome's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Kirkwood (St. Louis) MO
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 20,430
QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
I don't know exactly but I've always thought that kit was about $450
This is what I though she would have paid at a B&M shop in St. Louis.
QuoteOriginally posted by Nesster Quote
1976 B&H sold the K2 w/1.4 for $379
Wow!! Was B&H a volume discounter (say, mail-order) back then?
09-27-2013, 01:03 PM   #15
Veteran Member
Nesster's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: NJ USA
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 13,047
QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
Wow!! Was B&H a volume discounter (say, mail-order) back then?
Oops, my error. It was 47th St photo
Reply

Bookmarks
  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
lx, pentax, prices, slr, wages
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
A Pentax SLR user for more than 45 years Barry Pearson Welcomes and Introductions 3 07-27-2013 11:36 AM
*PETITION* Lets put an end to the crazy online Pentax lens prices in the US! Adam Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 550 01-06-2013 09:10 PM
Photos of Old China taken by missionaries in the last years of imperial rule Unsinkable II Photographic Industry and Professionals 2 09-16-2012 10:29 PM
Misc Slideshow of my photos over the last few years tcom Post Your Photos! 12 02-28-2011 12:40 PM
47 Years of Pentax SLR Photo1960 Welcomes and Introductions 4 10-27-2010 01:01 PM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 06:14 AM. | See also: NikonForums.com, CanonForums.com part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
register
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]
Top