Saturday, March 28, 2015

Thrift Store Adventures

Today I decided to visit the Saturday morning Kiwanis sale in Ann Arbor.  I haven't been there is a few years, and a photography contact told me about a couple of Miranda SLRs that were in the glass case there.  So, Adrienne and I went downtown and I immediately head up to the second floor with Tom, one of the volunteers that works with the cameras.  Sure, there were two Mirandas (a brand which I have not previously used), and I picked up the more recent one, a Sensorex II. I also picked up some other items very cheaply.  A cheap Argus 35mm outfit for $1 and the original K-mart sticker on the back listed it for $24.99!    A neck strap for $2, some 1 GB CF memory cards, and a Bogen quick-release plate for $2.  Over a decade ago, my daughter and I would occasionally visit the sale, and like any operation of this type, it changed from week to week.  I know I got some bargains back then, and with many people abandoning their film cameras or seeing little value in them, they end up in places like Kiwanis.  Today's visit at least made me more aware of what they have -- and depending on what one is looking for -- there is something for everyone.  Light meters, expired film, plastic cameras, vintage Kodaks, modern and vintage SLRs, lenses, lots of flashes, books, etc.  It's certainly worth stopping in from time to time to check it out.
Lots of stuff to look over.
 Because the Kiwanis folks have volunteers that look over the items, you are more likely to find that things actually work.  It's a good place to browse, but since it is only open on Saturday mornings, it can be quite packed and busy, too.

The Miranda Sensorex II I purchased is in great shape. I put in a battery and turned on the meter, and it sprang to life.  It all looks very clean, so I am going to shoot a roll of b&w this weekend, to see how it works.

Later on, we stopped at the Ann Arbor Recycle/Reuse center, which is open every day, and things can come and go very quickly.
Tom Nighswander, local photographer and Kiwanis volunteer
 I have purchased many books there over the years, as well as some camera gear.  It's all very spotty though, and things don't sit around too long unless they are really awful.  All I saw there was a Dacora-Matic 4D camera from 1960.  Dusty and probably with a non-working Selenium meter, I left it on the counter.  It was interesting to see, though.  An instance where the push-button craze just went too far!

The fun thing about thrift stores is the hunt -- and finding something that you think is a bargain, versus the wait and see atmosphere on ebay.  Browsing is serendipitous, which can also lead to some very interesting finds.

We all have stories about great thrift store finds.  What's yours?
in the glass case

The Miranda Sensorex II is a beauty.

Dacora-Matic 4D.  An odd one.


Jim Grey said...

I wish we had something like this here!

I just picked up a Miranda Sensorex II too, on that auction site. It feels like a fine instrument -- just so well made. Mine's in the queue to be shot. Looking forward to seeing the results from yours.

Unknown said...

A box of assorted flashbulbs. It ended up being a couple hundred bulbs, mostly #5 or M3s. I think I paid $10, maybe $15.

Anonymous said...

I love thrift stores, found a Canonet QL17 (2nd model) in great shape for $10 just a couple of weeks ago. That said, I've found many more old cameras at estate sales here in Texas.

Unknown said...

A veritable Aladdin's cave whish I had a charity shop near me (Cornwall UK) like that.I have some of the later Miranda's the Cosina built ones made for Dixons in the UK after they acquired the Miranda brand name
In the 80's

Victor Reynolds said...

From thrift stores I picked up a Kodak Brownie Hawkeye, Olympus Zoom 2000, Yashica Electro 35 GSN-which all work. And from a local antique store I nabbed a Polaroid Land 210, which works as well.

I'm no stranger to thrift/antique stores when it comes to film cameras!