35mm SLR with meter and comfortable AE lock

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by andreios, Mar 11, 2014.

  1. andreios

    andreios Member

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    Hi all.
    Firstly, I don't have a vast knowledge of various cameras / brands.. I do appreciate fine old mechanical gear very much, but this time i am looking for something different. Some time ago I have sold practically all of my small format gear to help me fund the LF quest. That is now mostly achieved and very much enjoyed but I'd like to add something small and handy just to put over the shoulder when going out.
    My requirements are: reliable meter, so that I don't have to worry about that and comfortable in hand.

    I've recently got myself a Canon A-1, no doubt a fine camera, I am enjoying the simplicity of AE modes in either shutter or aperture priority but some things like the wheel on the front and especially the - for me- very uncomfortable AE-lock button close to the mount and on the "wrong" side" just do keep annoying me so I thought I'd look around for some other options.

    I'm looking for feedback from users of various makes and models - which of your SLRs is easiest to use with AE lock? I'd imagine single-hand operation, like index finger for the shutter and thumb for AE lock? is there such a thing?

    Thanks
     
  2. blockend

    blockend Member

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    The grip on a camera, and associated controls, depends on the user. Some cameras with excellent technical specs, have lousy ergonomics, and vice versa. Many late period AF SLRs had the AE lock in close proximity to the right thumb, which is probably the best place for it. Although I have smallish hands for a man, I don't usually get on with micro cameras and find them slippery, and expend a lot of effort in maintaining a firm hold.

    My current favourite compromise between size, grip, light weight and control ergonomics, is a Canon 3000 with 40mm pancake lens. An entry level camera, and probably the smallest, lightest EOS SLR Canon ever made, it's nevertheless well specc'ed and has a substantial grip even without neck or wrist straps. It's not a pretty camera by any means, but it's layout is completely logical and the handling as good as anything I've come across. I use it in preference to my pro SLRs most of the time and it fits in a jacket pocket ready to shoot.
     
  3. darkosaric

    darkosaric Subscriber

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    Canon T90 in partial or spot metering mode: just press shutter halfway and you have AE lock. Or am I wrong?
     
  4. andreios

    andreios Member

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    well, that's a thing that I'd like to know :smile: When I take a reading with the A1 in the shadows or whatever area and then move to recompose, the meter changes the values if I simply hold the shutter half pressed. That's when you need the AE lock.
     
  5. darkosaric

    darkosaric Subscriber

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    I will check when I get home on my T90 :smile:
     
  6. andreios

    andreios Member

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    Thanks :smile:

    Just to clarify, I am not set on FD mount. I don't have any additional lenses nor brand preference, so ideas from different makers aee fine as well.

    Sent from my i9300 using Tapatalk
     
  7. Kyle M.

    Kyle M. Member

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    I personally like the location of the AE lock on the Nikon F3, though you do have to keep it depressed. I can easily hold the shutter button halfway with my index finger, and hit the AE lock with my middle finger. BTW the F3 only has full manual, and aperture priority modes, and runs nearly forever on a pair of watch batteries. I picked mine up in EX condition from KEH for $180 and theres not a mark on it. The 50mm F1.4 was another $150.
     
  8. zanxion72

    zanxion72 Member

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    The best ones are those with match needle metering. No need for an AE lock, absolute freedom in exposure selection.

    Canon F-1 (new, old does not matter).
     
  9. momus

    momus Member

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    My T-90 has AE lock by simply pressing the shutter button half way. I agree w/ you on the awkwardness of the location on the lock on the Canon A-1. Very inconvenient. To my knowledge, an AE-1 has no AE lock feature. I would recommend the T-90, but it's a big camera and not for everyone. Not heavy, just big. The lenses though are superb. For a smaller camera w/ AE lock on the back w/ a convenient thumb location try a Nikon N8008s. Mine has a top shutter speed of 1/8000, spot, center, and matrix metering, and it was purchased for just $20. To my mind the best of the Nikon glass is not as good as the best of the Canon FD glass (although I prefer the Nikon cameras), but you can put a Leica R lens on the Nikon w/ a simple, inexpensive lens mount adapter, and shoot them in stop down mode. That levels the playing field nicely :}
     
  10. miha

    miha Member

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    Leica R cameras (R3-R7) lock exposure by pressing the shutter half way down when in spot mode (or M, but M is spot only). This doesn't work with the motor or winder attached and using the release on the dedicated grip.
     
  11. Nick Merritt

    Nick Merritt Member

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    You could do far worse than to get a Konica T3 -- pressing the shutter halfway "traps" the needle and thus locks exposure. Very positive action; you can see it in the viewfinder. This is shutter preferred AE, so you know. The Hexanon lenses are first class, and the camera is a real tank, with a Copal shutter that will never give you problems.
     
  12. elekm

    elekm Member

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    I was thinking that the Nikon FE does the half-press on the shutter release to lock the exposure. Now, I realize that it's been ages since I shot the FE, which used to be a real workhorse for me.
     
  13. miha

    miha Member

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    I don't particularly like automatic cameras that lock exposure when the shutter is pressed half way down as I always operate the camera with the shutter half way pressed to minimize the lag, but when this means the exposure is locked and the lightning conditions are not stable...
     
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  15. momus

    momus Member

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    On the Canon T-90 and Nikons w/ AE lock, there is no shutter lag. In fact, I don't think I've ever had a SLR that had shutter lag, just on little compact cameras. The Leica R cameras seemed to have shutter lag but Ithink it's just the mirror going through a lot of gyrations. Never got along w/ those cameras.

    To clarify, to my knowledge an AE-1 does not have AE-lock, the AE-1 Program does. But it's not half the camera a Nikon N8008s is, w/ only a top shutter speed of 1/1000, a cloth shutter, and no spot metering capability. And again, the AE-1 Program AE-lock is in an inconvenient location making you fumble around on the edge of the lens mount where you can't see it.
     
  16. miha

    miha Member

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    The lag I'm talking about is when you have to press the shutter button all the way down versus half way down. It has nothing to do with the Leica R cameras.
     
  17. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Shutter lag is formed by the time to close the aperture and swing up the mirror. This time should be added but more impotant related the reaction time of the photographer. I do not see any time related benefit in pressing a staggered release button halfway in advance.
     
  18. wiltw

    wiltw Subscriber

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    Just to make the point that other cameras (as well as Canon) resolved the awkward AE memory lock position found on the A-1, the Olympus OM-4 places it (lock/clear)conveniently as a lever next to the shutter button.
     
  19. mopar_guy

    mopar_guy Subscriber

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    Olympus OM-4T.

    Spot metering. Multi-Spot metering. Exposure memory lock. Aperture preferred Auto exposure or Manual exposure.
     
  20. miha

    miha Member

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    Well, I do. And I'm not talking about the shutter lag for which the R cameras are quite famous for.
     
  21. Ricardo Miranda

    Ricardo Miranda Member

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    No, it doesn't do it.

    Miha,
    I agree with that, although it might be useful for some photographers. Some later AF SLRs have the option of doing so.

    As a curiosity and for the benefit of the OP, here is a list of all Nikons that have Auto Exposure Lock, and those that don't.

    To start, the ones that don't have AEL:
    Nikon EM/FG/FG-20 series - Nikon here "copied" Pentax and didn't give those cameras an AEL. Considering that previous cameras had the AEL on the self-timer lever, my guess is that Nikon thought it might confuse beginners and that they might press the lever inadvertently.
    Nikon FA - Although it uses the chassis and some common components from the FE series, Nikon removed the AEL probably due to the introduction of AMP (matrix metering).
    AF cameras without AEL are only 2:
    Nikon F65 and the F55 - The F65 was introduced in 2000 as the successor to the F60 which had the AEL. Don't know why they removed it. On the other hand the F65 has DOF preview for the first time in a low priced Nikon.

    These are all the auto-exposure Nikon SLRs with AEL:
    Nikkormat EL/ELW and Nikon EL2 - The EL introduced AE and had the AEL as part of the self-timer lever. You push the lever towards the lens to lock exposure and pull away to activated the self-timer.
    Nikon FE/FE2 - They retain the same arrangement as the Nikkormats had.
    Nikon F3 - The AEL is a button on the front of the camera just bellow the DOF preview button.
    Nikon F301 - The AEL is a lever on the front side, on the right top side as you hold the camera to your eye-level.
    Nikon F501 - This one had the AEL as a button on the right top side. Bellow it is another button for the AF-Lock.
    Nikon F4 - It has much of the same arrangement as the F501, except the order is reversed: the top button is for AFL and the bottom one for AEL.
    Nikon F801/601 and F90 series - They have the AEL as a sliding lever on the back of the camera.
    Nikon F401 series - They have the AEL as a button on the front top.
    Nikon F50/60/70/75/80/100/5/6 and FM3A - They all have the AEL as a button on the back of the camera. In some cameras it also doubles as the AFL or it changes the meter mode to centre-weighted. The F50/60 and F70 have the button towards the right end of the camera. All the others have it towards the viewfinder.

    That's about it. Hope it makes it easier for future reference.
     
  22. Alex Muir

    Alex Muir Member

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    Nikon F80 has the button on the back near the finder. It can be customised to lock exposure only. There are several options. Although electronic, this camera takes a traditional cable release and has DoF preview. It is lightweight and inexpensive. It also has grid lines in the finder(switchable option) which can be very useful.
    Alex
     
  23. Mark_S

    Mark_S Member

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    Always a hard question to answer. Disclaimer: I have a strongly dominant left eye, so I often hold a camera differently than most people. Having said that, I believe that if you use any tool long enough, it becomes second nature, and even things that may seem awkward at first become easy to do. I have shot many thousands of rolls of film through the Minolta X-700. It may not be the finest camera ever made, but for me, the controls are easy and intuitive. I've used other cameras, and in the 35mm SLR family, nothing has seemed to be as nice at the manual focus Minoltas, although I suspect that with time, I could bond with an Olympus OM family camera. My first SLR was a Canon (FT), no AE, just match needle - and I really enjoyed that camera as well. It had the added benefit of providing exercise when you carried it on a hike :smile:.
     
  24. darkosaric

    darkosaric Subscriber

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    T90:

    center-weighted average metering: press shutter halfway and you do NOT have AE lock.
    partial area metering and spot metering: press shutter halfway and you have AE lock.
     
  25. andreios

    andreios Member

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    I've had an OM-4 for some time, it was a particularly nice camera, although in my relatively large/long hands a little bit awkward..

    Sent from my i9300 using Tapatalk
     
  26. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    If you find the AE lock uncomfortable on the Canon A1 you're probably not holding the camera correctly the camera base should be placed on the left palm to support the camera and the left thumb and index finger around the lens mount, if heald this way the AE lock should be easily pressed with the thumb.