I bought one just like it for $3 at a flea market. Put a ball head on it, and the legs have served me splendidly for >10 years now :)
DPReview - all these look way overexposed. Is this the lens' fault? If you bother posting samples, at least run them through auto-levels so they don't look like something out of 2002 vintage Canon P&S
This is a neat idea. Blown highlights are a bigger problem than shadow noise because they are absolutely unrecoverable, while noisy shadows can be smoothed/binned post exposure. Or even during exposure! In such a hypothetic sensor, highlight pixels could reset multiple times during exposure to improve headroom, while at the same time shadow pixels could be binned to improve shadow S/N ratio (at the expense of resolution) all at once.