Fujica M42 ST series
Just to be clear, these Fujica cameras have absolutely nothing to do with Taiyodo Koki or the Beauty Camera Company: they're just another make and model I have collected enthusiastically.
My interest in the ST series cameras goes back to my teens. I took up photography at the age of thirteen, when I invested £12 of my judiciously saved pocket money in upgrading the family's cheap, nasty, and woefully inadequate Ilford Instamatic to a Halina Paulette. Yuck - I hear you exclaim. Trust me - the Paulette was deluxe compared to the Ilford.
A few years later I moved-up to an SLR, bought new from our local camera shop, where tempting advertising leaflets for the Fujica ST901, 801, 701, and 601 had been cunningly inserted into my Zenit B box. Whilst I loved my new Russian brick, the Fujicas became, and remained, objects of great desire ... which were hopelessly out of reach for a kid whose income was a newspaper delivery round paying £1 per week.
I began collecting cameras many years later, in part fuelled by an unsated craving for those Fujicas.
I have refrained from writing copious technical specifications, because this information is already out there on the Internet. The pages here are more descriptive of the cameras, and the differences between models. It was not my intention to get into too much detail on Fujinon lenses, since these are now in short supply, and can be very pricy (expect to pay over £100, and anything up to around £800 for a non-standard EBC). I have however, included such a page, because I discovered significant omissions from information elsewhere on the Internet.
I bought my first Fujica camera in 2013. All of the cameras in my collection have been acquired via eBay, are in full working order, and I've fitted new light seals and mirror dampers to many of them. All of my lenses are clear, haze and fungus free, and also in full working order.
2013 may not seem very long ago, but the market has changed enormously in recent times. A few years ago, Fujica cameras were relatively abundant, and could be picked-up for next to nothing: I have scored some amazingly inexpensive purchases (see the side panel for details).
This isn't bragging: I simply want to show what can be accomplished if you patiently watch and wait. Many of my acquisitions have been bundled items, and I've put unwanted extras back on eBay to recoup expenditure. In my experience, folk don't (or didn't) seem to want to bid on lots that contain additional odds & ends.
Today, the opposite is true: there are fewer examples available, and sellers have higher price expectations. Bidder competition is far more intense. Fortunately, there isn't much that I want, apart from the odd missing lens, and I'm no longer bothering with the fuss of re-selling stuff.
The April 2005 edition of Amateur Photographer magazine featured a retrospective of the M42 Fujica ST series by the late Ivor Matanle. The pages must be viewed as separate images on the hosting web page (you may need to zoom-down your browser).
Date/item/price - resales
ST901 (chrome body)
£2.70 - £1.00 = £1.70
ST701(v1) + Fujinon f/1.8 55mm
£19.00 - £10.63 = £8.37.
ST801(v1) + Fujinon f/1.8 55mm
£17.05 - £10.50 = £6.55
£7.00 - £7.70 = -£0.70
Fujinon W f/3.5 35mm
ST701(v3) + Fujinon f/1.8 55mm
Fujinon EBC f/1.8 55mm
Fujinon 55mm f/2.2
I am appreciative of the following websites, from which information on Fujica ST series cameras has been obtained.
Fujifilm's "50 Years of Ayumi*", for their insights into the development of the ST701 and subsequent models,
Kim Coxon's "Fujica" website, for the data tables, instruction manuals and printed literature, plus
."Pacific Rim Camera's" for their on-line library of Fujica Dealer Notebooks.
* Ayumi is a Japanese word with the meanings "course" or "walking", but it's also a proper noun - a girl's name with the meanings "step" and "wonderful". Browser translators therefore do not translate Ayumi, in the same way that the English name "John" would not be turned into the French equivalent "Jean".