Over the years, I've progressively inherited 4 different cameras from my father, the last one is a DSLR, so the three others are pretty much unused now.

I can't bring myself to throw them away, but I'm not sure that there's anything more useful to be done with them.

Any ideas?

For the curious, in order they are:

  • Miranda MS-1N
  • Chinon CE-4
  • Pentax MZ-6

And the DSLR is a Pentax *ist DS

  • 12
    whatever you do, please don't throw them away. Give them away (or sell them), if you don't want them. Even if they're broken, though, someone could find them useful (for parts, or as collectables, or something). If it were me, I'd either give/sell them, or just use them! There's still (to me) something neat about shooting film -- getting a tangible thing back as your master image. Even if you only shoot them every now and then, it's still an option.
    – lindes
    Dec 9, 2010 at 12:15
  • BTW, anyone happening on an MZ series in 2019 shouldn't be too disappointed if it is unserviceable... notoriously fragile mirrorbox mechanism. Repair is documented (but extremely complex, never attempted it) and parts seem to be some degree of available. Aug 13, 2019 at 1:53

7 Answers 7


Summary of Options (wiki)

  • Keep for posterity

    Personally, this is my favourite, because objects we think of as junk to be thrown away are really part of history. I put this into practice often. (My wife does not see things from quite such an historical perspective, however ;)

  • Keep using to take pictures

    Get some film and keep on using them. Enjoy the deep colors, high resolution, and all-round analogue awesomeness of a chemical camera!

  • Use lenses with a mirrorless body

  • Give to people who will use them

    This is probably the most constructive and generous idea so far. It's definitely the one to follow if you haven't got the space to keep them for posterity, you don't need to sell them for cash and you don't have a project to use them in.

  • Sell on eBay

    Like giving them away, but with a little bonus for you. :)

  • Salvage what you can for other projects

    This wouldn't be my choice, because I am a complete klutz, and totally incapable of projects like this! ;)


Well, if you can't part with them and you won't shoot film (you can share lenses between the *istD and the MZ-6, film isn't dead yet), then I guess you either box 'em up, put them on a shelf, or display them somewhere. However, one consideration for parting with them is there are often volunteer groups teaching poorer kids about photography that are grateful for any gear they can get, I've donated cameras and other equipment to such in the past.

Anyways, hopefully you're using the *istD, it still takes fine pictures.

  • 1
    Thanks, I admit I wasn't thinking of parting with the MZ-6 quite yet. Yes, I was aware of being able to share the lenses, though apparently there is something complicated (for me) about sensor size altering the effective f-number (or something like that). I am definitely using the *istDS, alternately with my trusty point-and-shoot.
    – Benjol
    Dec 8, 2010 at 13:08
  • 3
    +1 to the donation idea. Or if there's a Freecycle group in your area (freecycle.org), there's surely a poor college kid or starving artist who would appreciate your generosity.
    – mattdm
    Dec 8, 2010 at 13:51

Hack one of them together with a slave flash, some ground glass, and a film positive, and project subversive messages onto popular tourist photography subjects.


  • That is one cool idea :)
    – Benjol
    Dec 9, 2010 at 5:57
  • 2
    Oh my goodness, that's fantastic! I've actually been thinking about doing some projection-based art, but rigging up a camera with an optically-slaved flash to do it... This I had not thought of. Wow. I will totally have to play with this concept.
    – lindes
    Dec 10, 2010 at 16:35

Sell the cameras on your favorite auction site. These cameras may be useful for somebody else.

  • I took a quick look at what these things are going for. It's not very much -- to me, it wouldn't be worth the time and hassle.
    – mattdm
    Dec 8, 2010 at 15:11
  • @mattdm: valid point. Still, to the buyer, it might very well be a welcome thing. Benjol: If you want to get rid of them, but the hassle is too much, then see Joanne C's answer. (And if you don't want to get rid of them, then obviously this isn't your choice.)
    – lindes
    Dec 9, 2010 at 12:11

If you can find film for them, (35 mm or whatever) shoot your photos, take the film to WalMart and have it processed and converted to digital, then selectively do whatever you desire with the results. You can get the digitals on disk, put them on computer and work with them there.

  • Some stores no longer return negatives. Whether or not one would do anything useful with negatives other than scan them digitally, I was a bit bummed when I processed an old roll of film in a camera I hadn't used in a while and tested with an old roll of film and the results came out wonky. Examining the negatives might have offered clues as to whether the film had simply aged too much, or something was wrong with the camera, or what.
    – supercat
    Feb 10, 2017 at 15:46

Create a personal museum. I've done this. Whoever is visiting will receive a tour of Antique flash paper through electronic strobes with Every flashbulb in the middle.

Many films and film holders glass plate to sheet To 116 and 828. I have every type Accept my jewel I sold on eBay, LeErerours daguerreotype camera. It was Priceless but I let it go for 6K.


In case any of these actually isn't serviceable:

Take them to bits, practice macro photography on the bits. Also keep all the hardware as spares - screws, washers, ball bearings etc used in cameras and lenses are often similar, and the actual bayonet mounts can be useful in improvising adapters.

Speaking of adapters: Keep the lenses, or check what they are worth before selling them all too cheap - these are often still useful to mirrorless users, and some fetch unexpectedly high prices. Oh, and some of the lenses might fit the DSLR - just read up on the so called "Ricoh Pin" issue before experimenting!

Oh, and: Careful with that old flash. Establish what voltage it puts on the hotshoe before even attempting to couple it with a modern camera.

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