The 34th Tokyo Used Camera Show: Leicas, Medium Format, And More

Jill Rahn's picture
Once upon a time a camera wasn’t just a consumer electronic mediocrity but a gem in a show window reflecting brilliant illumination from its matte chromium skin. Such were the products on display at the 34th annual Tokyo Used Camera Show, which ran in the exhibition hall of Matsuya department store late this winter. Unlike many department stores in the US, Japanese department stores are premium boutiques of selected goods, usually with a big exhibition space as a traffic generator.

Crowds jockeying for space, and first chance at gear. (The masks are for hay fever.)

With all the high-end merchandise, there are always booths for caps, rear caps, body caps, bellows, and whatnot. No returns on merchandise are accepted.

Folders and medium format. Note the “Peggy” (upper left, top shelf), a rarity at this show.

One of the largest segments of the crowd were Chinese buyers who were purchasing many Leica/Leitz lenses with a large maximum aperture. In fact, I heard from one of the attendees that a “big aperture frenzy” has captured the Chinese nouveaux riches. One commented, “Perhaps the Noctilux F0.95 50mm inspired this big aperture boom, but having a big aperture is not enough. It must be a Leitz/Leica lens because it is the only brand in the photographic world that spells luxury.” Sure, a Noctilux would be a nice lens to have, if I had 1,113,000 yen ($13,750) to spend. I asked, “Are there many who are buying Nocty in China?” He replied, “Sure, I sold over a dozen new Noctys and today I bought one Nocty in Like New+ condition at 60 percent of the list price for resale!”

Undoubtedly the major draw, and best prices, is Leica gear, and there were many models on display.

Twin-Lens Reflexes never die, and in Japan are quite fashionable among young ladies—for reasons unknown. One of them said, “It’s kawaii.” (Cute, pretty.)

Large and medium format are still going strong.

Collectible Classics
Price Quotations From The 34th Annual Tokyo Used Camera Show

Prices are quoted in US dollars based on an exchange rate of 80 yen to the dollar. All items quoted were in mint condition.

• Leica M3 body: $1500 to $2100
• Leica M4 body: $1700 to $2200
• Leica M4-2 body: $1250 to $1350
• Leica M4-P body: $1250 to $1350
• Leica M5 body: $1700 to $1900
• Leica M6 body: $1700 to $1800
• Leica M7 body: $2000 to $2500
• Leica IIIf body: $630 to $750
• Kodak Ektra with 50mm f/1.9: $2000 to $2500
• Contax IIa body: $870 to $1000
• Contax IIIa body: $870 to $1000
• Hasselblad 500C/M with 80mm f/2.8: $1380 to $1500
• Hasselblad 503CW with 80mm f/2.8: $4625 to $4900
• Rolleiflex 2.8 Planar: $2120 to $2625 (when Xenotar, less $100)
• Rolleicord Vb: $820 to $950
• Rollei 3x4: $475 to $525
• Rollei 35: $450 to $480 (made in Germany—Singapore model much lower)
• Super Ikonta V 6x9: $1125 to $1300
• Super Six V: $850 to $1000
• Ikonta 35 Tessar: $350 to $410
• Ikonta 35 Novar: $180 to $220
• Kodak Retina IIIc: $560 to $640
• Canon IVSb: $310 to $400
• Canon P: $200 to $250
• Nikon SP: $1800 to $2100
• Nikon F: $375 to $430 (chromium, eye-level finder)
• Mamiya 645 Pro-TL: $625 to $810 (with 80mm f/2.8, winder, AE finder)

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