Can This $30 Camera And Lens Rock Your World?!: Vivitar V3800n Review!

Good morning you awesome camera geeks! A couple of years ago I posted a video on YouTube called “Benefits Of A Cheap Camera.”

Now in that light hearted and cringe worthy video, which was filmed very badly on an old iPad, I went on to jokingly point out why using a cheap camera could be beneficial.

Before YouTube began hiding dislikes, I recalled that video get quite a fair number of dislikes although there were, fortunately, more likes than dislikes.

I chalked it up to people not “getting” my light hearted, comedic style of camera reviews. I truly think some of my best ad lib camera jokes are on that video! 😍😂

This video was one of the reasons why, for a long time, I viewed the audience on YouTube as “stiffs.” Meaning, I felt they couldn’t take a joke, they couldn’t read between the lines because if they did, they would see that I was actually offering some solid advice!

Seriously, in that review, I mentioned that the Vivitar V3800n (which was the featured camera), was a very affordable, all manual film camera that uses the very popular and iconic Pentax K mount which opened the doors to an abundance of great and affordable lenses.

The Vivitar V3800n and 50mm f/1.7 which I got as a combo for $30. Today, this outfit can still easily found for under $100 dollars.

All this started because a friend had asked about getting into film photography and was asking if he should get a Leica, Contax, or Nikon? Which led me to the thought…why does a film beginner need to spend a lot of bucks?!

Now I’m not here to tell anyone how to spend their money but having been down this path before I felt it wouldn’t hurt to try and help someone save some money!

Another factor is the real likelihood of someone like my friend, who has been shooting digital exclusively, will end up giving up on film and be stuck with a bunch of expensive gear that he’d have to try to eventually sell. And guess who he’d come to, to help him sell it? 😂

THE CHEAP CAMERA CHALLENGE

I’ve seen a bunch of “cheap camera challenges” and although entertaining, I never thought of doing a video on it until now.

Part of the reason is that, as someone who has admittedly been spoiled by using Leica, Contax, Nikon, etc, it was very hard for me to contemplate “wasting” a roll of film on a cheap camera. Now I know that sounds elitist but honestly with the rising prices of film these days, I really only want to use this precious commodity on something I’m interested in.

So with that kind of thinking, I realized I had lost my roots. I started photography with a Minolta X-700 and a cheap Vivitar point and shoot in the 1980s. I have documented this fact many times here.

So considering that I had only used the Vivitar V3800n once or twice in all the years that I’ve had it, I figured this would be a good time to use it again and document the results with you guys here and on YouTube!

So I put in a roll in early January and just finished the roll near the end of last month and here are the results.

SAMPLE PICS

All photos in this set were taken with the Vivitar V3800n, 50mm f/1.7 Vivitar lens and shot on Ilford HP5 Plus and developed in Xtol.

PRICE & AVAILABILITY

The Vivitar V3800n is cheap and still easily found on the used market. Prices can range anywhere from $10-40 USD for the body only and same for the Vivitar 50mm f/1.7 MC lens. Sometimes you might even be able to find them for free! 😍

If you can’t find the V3800n, any of the V series bodies will do for basic shooting.

The V3800n was made by Cosina and uses a Pentax K mount so lenses are plentiful and can be very cheap. You don’t need to use a Vivitar branded lens if you do not want to.

CONCLUSION

The Vivitar V3800n and 50mm f/1.7 Vivitar lens were the most fun I’ve had with a film slr in a while!

It’s not perfect, I’m not going to lie. It feels cheap and there are some issues that might be detrimental to beginners. I explain all that in the video.

But once you learn how to use the camera you will see that it’s capable of taking good pictures. And there’s just a “cheap thrill” (pun intended) to getting satisfying results on cheap equipment, like you got more than your money’s worth!

I’ll even go out of my way to say that it’s perfectly capable of taking pictures as good as any equivalent combo. By that I mean, for example, a Pentax K1000 with 50mm f/1.8 or Canon AE-1 with 50mm f/1.8 FD lens or Minolta X-700 with 50mm f/1.7 MD lens. These are just some examples but you could add your own and as long as you’re being fair, I can say the Vivitar will match up to it! No it will not beat a $5000 Leica or Zeiss 😀

In conclusion, my main point of doing this cheap camera challenge is to show, especially beginners, intermediates, or anyone wanting to get into film photography that it doesn’t have to be expensive. You can have a lot of fun with film photography without paying a lot!

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