5 Medium Format Film Cameras You Can Buy Right Now For Under $250
The Kiev 60 is a medium format SLR, manufactured by the Kiev Arsenal in Ukraine during the 80s and 90s. Personally, I have a Kiev 88 (a bit pricier) and I LOVE it. As my Kiev 88 is considered a Soviet Copy of the Hasselblad, you’ll probably notice the Kiev 60 greatly resembles the Pentacon Six (listed below.)
The Kiev 60 makes a good entry-level medium format SLR because its format is similar to 35mm, which you can see by looking at it. Unlike most medium format SLR system cameras, the Kiev 60 doesn’t use film backs - making it much easier to load for anyone who doesn’t have medium format experience.
These uber-clunky cameras are anything but sleek and sexy - be prepared to build some biceps shooting with one - but they make absolutely beautiful photographs. A quick search on eBay yields quite a few options under $250, and even a few under $50 depending on the condition.
The Mamiya C3 is a professional grade TLR manufactured by Mamiya Japan in the early 1960s. It was followed by the C33, C22, C330 (I have one), and C220. Why is the older one cheaper? Who knows, but it is - significantly. One super cool benefit of a Mamiya C series TLR is that it features interchangeable lenses, which is not very common for TLRs. Plus the high quality mechanics and Mamiya Sekor lenses which put Mamiya on the map.
When hunting for one of these online, really take the time to look - you’ll find people selling them at a range of prices. Between $200 - $250 is an appropriate price for one in good condition.
In the world of photography, most beginners like to start with something basic and simple that can teach them a lot more than the now mainstream DSLRs do, and this is why SLRs are what most go for. These have a great vintage value and the manual nature appeals to most artists, but another great vintage option is the TLR. This goes even further back than the SLR. Except for a couple of brands, SLRs are not in production anymore. But if you’re planning to invest in a new camera, which one should you go for? I believe both are great fun, highly capable, have their own pros and cons, and would work great depending on your purpose. So here’s a little bit about both of these options to help you decide: