eBay Camera Surprises

Yes, I find eBay camera bargains and some of them are a pleasant surprise.

Guilty eBay Sellers and Bonus Cameras

Recently I purchased a Sears TLS camera from an eBay seller (in the last 5 seconds as always).  Then I purchased a Chinon SLR that he was selling for $5.  Total was $15 dollars plus $10 shipping.  I expected to receive two SLR camera bodies for M42 lenses.

Mike, if you’re reading this, thanks for the surprise camera goodies.  All my readers should be lucky to buy cameras from you on eBay.

The eBay seller was tardy in making his shipment.  I kept saying the USPS seemed slow and finally he admitted in an email that he waited 7-10 days to ship the package.

He was feeling guilty so he included some extra camera items to make up for his tardiness.  I’m sure he wanted a good eBay review (and I gave him one).  So I paid for two SLR M42 bodies and received 3 SLR bodies, one light meter, and one 50mm lens.  And they all seem to work.

eBay Camera Surprises

Sears TLS Body

This is what drew me to this eBay auction.  The eBay ad said the Sears TLS body had new seals, shutter speeds seemed good, and the light meter worked.  My previous Sears TLS body from the Salvation Army had a shutter problem.  This Sears TLS body worked as advertised right out of the box.

I took this camera out today shooting parts of downtown Chicago.  I even took my funLentar light meter.

Chinon CS

The eBay seller had a Cosina CS for auction and after it expired I offered $5 for it.  I somehow liked it and tossed in a $5 offer for the camera which the owner accepted.

I received it and it too is in fine shape:  new seals, good shutter speeds, clear viewfinder.  Heavier than most rocks its size.  No lens included.

Read CE Nelson’s fine photos and writeup on his Chinon CS.

GAF L-ES my Bonus Camera

Quick, name any aperture preferred SLR that works with all m42 screw mount lenses.

The answer I have learned is the GAF L-ES camera.  This is the free camera the eBay seller gave me.  I really like it.


Last year I wanted a GAF identical to this but the antique dealer wanted about $50 for it.  No thanks.  So when this eBay shipment arrived, I ended up with a free GAF L-ES.

The GAF L-ES is really a re-badged Chinon CE-2 Memotron.  Cameraquest has a nice write-up on aperture priority screw mount cameras, kind of like an Olympus OM-1 for screw mount cameras from the same period.

I thought there was something wrong with my new-old GAF L-ES.  Without a battery the shutter speeds all were the same.  That was odd.  Many cameras work manually and only need the battery for metering.  Without a battery, this camera had the same shutter speed for all dialed speeds.  A visit to Mr. Butkus website said this camera had an “electronic shutter”.

The phrase electronic shutter stuck in my memory for half a day.

I found a battery lying around in my house that would work taken from a Canon AE-1.  Tossed the battery into the camera and amazingly all the speeds worked correctly.  The GAF L-ES needs a battery for light metering AND its shutter speeds.  Cool, it should work.  Again, it had new seals.

So the GAF L-ES is an aperture priority SLR body for all M42 lenses.  This should be a fun one to test.

Since my Mamiya/Sekor 1000 DTL doesn’t work too well, I took its 55mm 1.8 aperture lens and attached it to the GAF L-ES.  (This lens was used to photograph Muhammad Ali about 40 years ago.)

Lentar EE-201 Light Meter

The “guilty” eBay seller also included an unmarked 50mm m42 lens and some LR44 batteries.

But he also tossed in a Lentar light meter. It reminds me of a Christmas tree.  It has two red lights when your metering is off and a green light when the meter is set correctly for your ASA film speed.  In the photo below you can see the green light is lit.  Next, you just look at your shutter speed and aperture combinations to select what you want for your camera settings.

Lentar EE-201 Light Meter

In bright daylight the red and green lights are hard to see.  I am using it with my Sears TLS camera currently.

Sometimes when eBay Sellers are Guilty, You Get Lucky

So every now and then you might be lucky to get eBay camera surprises with your next eBay purchase.  Thanks for reading What is a Film Camera today.


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