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Chor Bazaar. Рай для любителей винтажных фотокамер.


Shopping Paradise for Vintage Camera in Mumbai

I had spent 2 months in Mumbai (known as Bombay in the past) of India in Mar2001. It was actually a business trip, and sometimes I even needed to work on SAT and SUN. However, I still enjoyed my leisure time when I was not in the office.

One attraction was the surrounding environment for photo taking, the people, the Victorial architecture from colonial times. It was very easy to make me associate the mood of the 60's just by looking around the vehicles passing by.

Another major attraction is come from a special recommendation I find in the guide book from Lonely Planet. It is called 'Chor Bazaar'. In local language, 'Chor' means 'thieves'. 'Chor Bazaar' is 'Thieves' market'. There is a legend saying that, in the market thieves sell whatever they stole. Believe it or not. It was mentioned that Mutton Street in the Bazaar specialises in antiques, ingenious reproductions and miscellaneous junk.

In the first time, I had some difficulty in finding the place. There was language burden between the taxi driver and me. Eventually I could manage and reached the place. Following the map on the guide book, we walked along Mutton Street. The first glimpse was stalls after stalls, filled with machinery and tools, somehow looked like 'Ap Liu Street' in Sham Shui Po of Hong Kong. Walking further along the street, after the first block, I found some shops selling antiques, second-handed, or junks. I prefer to calling them junks, rather than antiques, while the latter sometimes make people think of luxurious jewelery, ceramic, etc in the museum showcase. At the first time I bought a gramophone, which is a manually operated turntable (no power required), playing 78 RPM LP records. Before leaving, I got a business card from the owner of this shop.

Since I had troubles in getting to the place in the first time, I got some local colleaque's assistance to translate the address in local language and write on the back of the card. 

Quite often, taxi driver might use strange pronounciation, and this address card helped me a lot.

Afterwards, I returned to there very frequently, and my interest gradually shifted from audio (e.g. valve radio, reel tape recorder) to vintage cameras, which included still cameras and 8mm movie cameras.

Heavy bargaining is the norm. Don't get annoyed, and try to take it easy, let it be part of the fun of your hunting. Apart from the shops, you should also pay attention to the street hawkers, while the latter sometimes provide some unbelievable offer (***).

Camera Model Quoted Price After Bargain Discount (%Off)
Kodak Brownie Flash III *** 300  200  33%
Quarz M 1000 700 30%
Agfa Movex 8 800 600 25%
Kodak Retina 1B 6000 3000 50%
Zeiss Ikon Box Tengor 600 400 33%
Canon Dial 35-2 2000 1300 35%
Zeiss Ikon Movikon 8 2000 1600 20%
Azomax Model 8A 600 480 33%

All prices are quoted in Rupees (INR). Approximate exchange rate as at May2001, 1 HKD = 6 INR. 

Kodak Brownie Flash III 

It includes camera body, instruction manual and leather case. All 3 are labelled with the manufacturing date 25Dec1957. The camera body is in excellent condition, except that the leather stripe is missing. It loads 620 film, and can attach with the external Brownie Flashholder (not included). There is a small red window located at the back for photographer to reveal the film number. Two viewfinders can be found, one for portrait and one for landscape compostion. There are 2 built-in slide filters. One is a yellow filter to darken the blue sky during sunny days, and the other is a zoom-type for taking close-up portrait or still-life.

Quarz M

It is an 8mm movie camera with spring-driven motor drive, made in USSR (Russia). It has a funny-looking detachable handle. It has 7 filters which are screwed deadly, and cannot be separated. The allowable f/stop range is 16 - 1.9. Through the viewfinder, you can see the exposure meter's needle and marker of the film speed control, while the later is will rotate with the ASA film speed control knob. Five type of ASA film speeds are supported, namely 22-25, 32-35, 45-50, 65-70, 90-100. The metering sensor is located in the front, without requiring battery for operation. When the camera is facing the object, you can adjust the f/stop to make the needle overlap with the film speed mark, in order to ensure a correct exposure.

Agfa Movex 8 

It is an 8mm movie camera with spring-driven motor drive. The f/stop settings are 16, 11, 8, 5.6, 4, 2.8. A double disc exposure table is shown on the body. The outer disc is fixed on the body, while the inner disc is smaller in size and fixed on the top on the outer disc by 2 screws. Under the inner disc, the surface of the outer disc are printed with different sets of f/stop setting in angular orientation, but only one set can be viewed through the window on the inner disc (say, 11, 8 , 5.6). I expect that the position of the inner disc can be rotated to different angular position to show up different f/stop readings under different conditions. As it is possible to fixed the inner disc in only one position by the screws, probably several inner discs are provided along with the camera originally. The table is very comprehensive, providing different types of information, like time (e.g. 10-12 am, 12-2 pm), lighting condition (e.g. sunny, overcast, dull), environment (e.g. on beach, in show, in open street), photo subject (landscape-near, landscape-distant, near window), DIN.

Kodak Retina 1B 

This has a folding camera body design, and loads 35mm film. The film advance stroke is located at bottom. It has a 50 mm / 1:2.8 lens, which supports focusing distance from 0.9 m to infinity. The shutter speeds are 1/500-1 sec & B. The f/stops are f/22-2.8. It uses Synchro-Compur shutter, which links f/stops to shutter speeds for easy reference. A shoe is provided to attaching external flash unit.

Zeiss Ikon Box Tengor

It loads 620 film, where a small red window located at the back for photographer to reveal the film number. Two viewfinders can be found, one for portrait and one for landscape compostion. There are 3 focusing ranges, at 3-6 ft / 6-20 ft / 20 ft-infinity, and 3 f/stop settings, at 9, 11, 16. A contact for connecting external flash is available.

Canon Dial 35-2

This is a half frame 35mm camera, where can take 72 exposures on a roll of film for 36 exposures. It has a 28 mm / 1:2.8 lens, and a spring-driven motor drive, which spring housing extended below the body also serves as a handle. It supports focusing distance from 2.6 ft to infinity. The most remarkable feature is the rotating ring around the lens to adjust the coverage of the built-in flash to match with different f/stop settings and ISO film speeds. A shoe is provided to attaching external flash unit. Some of this model was sold under 'Bell & Howell' label.


Zeiss Ikon Movikon 8

It is an 8mm movie camera with spring-driven motor drive. The body has a very perfect steamlined design, with all rounded corners, which make it look like a submarine. It can operate in movie mode (I Mode) and still shot mode (E Mode). Focusing range is 0.2 - infinity (No unit is marked for feet or meter). The shutter speed is fixed, and f/stop settings are 16, 11, 8, 5.6, 4, 2,8, 1.9. It provides shoe for external attached viewfounder and position for screw-type cable release.

Azomax Model 8A

It is an 8mm movie camera with spring-driven motor drive, made in Japan. The manufacturer is Sanyo Kogaku Kikai Co. Ltd. On the srew-mounted lens (changable ?), f/stop settings are 16, 11, 8, 5.6, 4, 2.8, 1.8. Outside the body, you can see a exposure table showing different combinations of ASA film speed, stop and lighting condition (sunny, cloudy, rainy).

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