Mamiya Sekor DTL 1000 SLR camera, $5.

Sure, you're going to occasionally find the really valuable old cameras from time to time, most you find will be the more reasonably-priced workaday examples like this Mamiya Sekor. And whereas the valuable old cameras may be worth a bundle no matter what shape they're in, cheaper cameras like this one are not. That's why I'm always going on about how I normally won't bother with lower-priced cameras unless they're in outstanding physical shape.

The only reason I looked at this camera twice is because it was priced at only $5, and it came with extra lenses and the original carrying case.
If you haven't already done so, you should familiarize yourself with the profile of the 35mm SLR camera - because this type of 35mm film camera is not only very popular, but some sell for lots of money on eBay.

Before we go further, let’s clear up a couple of terms I used above. First of all, the term 35mm refers to the size of the piece of film - 'or negative' - that gets exposed each time the camera's shutter is clicked. In the case of the 35mm camera, this piece measures 35mm wide by 24mm high. 35mm is a great size for all around photography because it’s small enough to be carried around, yet big enough to offer outstanding picture quality.

The term SLR stands for single lens reflex, which refers to the fact that when you look through the camera’s viewfinder, you’re actually looking right through the lens of the camera. Your eye is literally seeing what will appear on the film. To explain the significance of this, we should discuss the three most common methods used in photography for the photographer to see his subject: viewfinder, rangefinder and single lens reflex (SLR.)

The viewfinder, or 'point and shoot' type of film camera is the most basic and cheapest, and is characterized by a single window up in the corner of the camera which you look through to get a rough idea of where you’re aiming the camera. And when you look at a viewfinder camera from the lens side, you can see the little viewfinder window up on the right corner of the camera. Except for a very few examples, these viewfinder cameras can be passed over at yard sales, because they don't cost much to buy new, and therefore don't usually draw much interest on eBay.

The rangefinder, or 'think before you shoot' camera, looks similar to the plain old point and shoot, but it’s substantially more sophisticated. This type of camera actually has two viewing windows, so that when you're looking at the lens end of the rangefinder camera, you see not only the little viewing window up in the corner, but a smaller window more toward the middle of the camera, usually right over the lens. These two windows allow for precise focusing of the lens on the subject. When the photographer looks through the viewing window, he actually sees two images - the main image, and an identical, but fainter, 'ghost' image. These two images overlap one another, and as the camera is manually brought into focus by the photographer, the images in the viewing window move together. When the two images merge into one, the lens is focused and the photographer can take his shot. Some popular examples of  rangefinder cameras you're likely to encounter are the Olympus 35 RC,  the Vivitar 35ES and the Yashica Electro 35 GSN you can find in other Gallery entries.

The single lens reflex (SLR) camera. As you look at the SLR camera, you’ll notice that there are no little windows on the front of the camera at all. They’re not necessary on the SLR, because the photographer views his subject right through the lens of the camera. A mirror and a prism arrangement inside the camera direct the light entering the lens right to the photographer's eye. When the shutter is snapped, the mirror moves out of the shutter's way for an instant, the shutter opens and closes, the film is expoased, and the mirror pops back down into position for the next shot. This through-the-lens capability is especially useful for close-up photography, long range telephoto shots and action shots where the photographer has but a split second to arrange his picture in the viewing window.

The SLR system used to be available only on very expensive, professional cameras, and it made the cameras much larger, heavier and more fragile than the popular viewfinder and rangefinder cameras of the day. But starting in the early 1970’s, SLR cameras started becoming smaller, lighter, more robust, more capable and cheaper. Nowadays, they pack more electronic features and automatic functions than most users will ever need.

Since the 35mm SLR camera replaced many rangefinder cameras on the consumer level, as well as many medium format cameras on the professional level, many millions of SLR cameras have been made - which naturally means that there are loads and loads of them out there for you to find. So, you should keep this camera’s "profile" in mind!

About the only thing I know about Mamiya Sekor is that a friend of mine who worked at his parents’ camera shop back in the 1970’s used to talk about Mamiya Sekor cameras and how expensive they were. But I couldn’t figure out why I never saw these cameras around, like I did the Canon, Nikon, Pentax and Olympus cameras that were all over the place back then. Apparently the Mamiya Sekor SLR cameras were great cameras but were never very good sellers, and Mamiya actually shut down their SLR camera operation back around 1984, although they still make high-end cameras for studio and portrait photographers today.

Understand that you really don't really have to know much of anything about this particular camera to know that someone on eBay would want to buy it. What you should know is that there are plenty of photography fanatics on eBay who still not only use these older 35mm SLR cameras, but they collect them and repair them, as well.

This Mamiya Sekor 1000 DTL camera sold on eBay for $51.

Photo of Mamiya / Sekor 1000 DTL 35mm slr film camera