35mm SLR's with 'Mirror Prefire'

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by yessammassey, Mar 20, 2017.

  1. yessammassey

    yessammassey Member

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    I have a few Minolta and Nikon cameras/lenses. I do about as much shooting at night and in low light as I do in daylight. Most recently I've been shooting with wide-normal to wide lenses.

    I have a Minolta SRT-101 that's used almost exclusively for night and low light shooting. I make liberal use of the MLU feature. I also have an FM that pre-fires the mirror when the self-timer is engaged. Both of these cameras produce much better results when MLU/prefire is engaged before using slower shutter speeds (1/30 to 2 sec). I also have an XD, and despite its reputation for excellent dampening, I find that the results I get from it at similar shutter speeds are noticeably softer. In total, these experiences have led me to greatly favor a method of operation which incorporates the capability for complete mirror flip-up at least two seconds prior to shutter release.

    I've been combing though lots of information online, and I think I have a pretty good handle on which cameras have MLU. By and large, cameras with MLU are older, less automated, and heavier (like my SRT). The few exceptions to this generalization (like the Pentax LX) are rarer, and definitely more expensive.

    So I'm broadening my search to include mirror prefire. I have concerns about vibration caused by self-timer gearing, but I've generally found the FM's to not have as adverse an effect as simultaneous mirror/shutter fire. A good tripod helps eliminate vibration from the timer, I think.

    But this seems to be a less well-documented feature. So I'm asking APUG: which cameras do you know have a mirror prefire feature similar to the FM's? Right now, I understand that the two-digit OM's (10, 20, etc.) have it. I also read that the Pentax MX has it, but I'm not sure if that's right.

    For a multitude of reasons that I won't go into here, I'm not really fully engaged by either the Nikon or Minolta systems. I'm probably most interested in m42 cameras, but really, I'm open to anything. I know what's out there in the Nikon system. My secret hope is that there is a newer Minolta SR(MD, MC)-mount model with prefire, but right now I don't think any of them have it.
     
  2. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    The OM-4 has it, when using the self-timer. Mine, however, chews up so many batteries in this mode that I always use mechanical cable releases with it.
     
  3. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Hasselblad is another one. TLRs do not have a need for prefiring.
     
  4. John_Nikon_F

    John_Nikon_F Subscriber

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    Nikon FA, FE, and FM series bodies have mirror prefire whenever the self-timer is set. On the Pentax bodies, if you practice flicking the shutter release quickly, you can cause the mirror to prefire. I've tried it on a couple Spotmatics and an old H3v that I owned. Use your thumb and rub it across the shutter release quickly with light pressure while moving your hand outward toward the strap lug. Once you've done that, don't touch the shutter release button again until you're ready to take your photo.

    -J
     
  5. jon koss

    jon koss Subscriber

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    I had a Yashica FX-3 and I believe the mirror pre-flips when using the self timer. I thought it was a robust little fellow in general.

    J
     
  6. Army35mm

    Army35mm Subscriber

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    I love the Nikon FE for this. I use a pretty cheap tripod, and it's quite flimsy, so the mirror flip up helps a lot.
     
  7. Brett Rogers

    Brett Rogers Member

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    The Yashica TL Electro X is an M42 camera that will pre-fire the mirror with the self timer. But as it is one of three M42 bodies to also have a mechanical mirror lock up in itself the ability to pre-fire the mirror is of little consequence.

    Some of the earlier M42 Prakticas will fire only the mirror if you are gentle with the release button. Eg FX; FX2/3; IV; V. Further pressure then fires the shutter alone. Same applies to the Praktina SLR though this will additionally release the mirror with the timer prior to the shutter tripping. As will the Zenit 3–M.

    There are a number of other SLRs which, despite not having a mirror lock up, will also release the mirror early via the timer. The Alpa 11 series and the earlier Alneas (as these use finger pressure to retract the mirror all you need to pre-fire it is to set the timer with a cable release in the socket: the cable to lift the mirror; the timer to delay the shutter). The earlier Alpa Reflex and Prismas will do the same thing, come to think of it.

    Then there are the various lens shutter SLRs. A surprising number of those pre-fire the reflex mirror via the timer, too. It's arguably of even more usefulness with those because except for those types for which the mirror serves both functions they will also retract their rear capping plate at the same time. Eg the Contaflexes and Voigtländer's Bessamatic. The East German Pentina too, actually. On the other hand, the Dresden Exakta SLR reflex mirrors remain steadfastly down until immediately before the shutter actuates, timer or not, as do the Zeiss Icarexes.

    Unless you can procure a rare Honeywell Spotmatic with MLU, the best M42 option is arguably the Electro X. Although it's stop down metering you can always see the illuminated arrows no matter how dim the finder is and the metering is quite sensitive. Its shutter is fully variable across a range of 1/1000 to around four seconds plus Bulb and it has a 1/90 flash sync. Meters are not always accurate when found today so either do not pay too much or secure return privileges as many will function but fewer are accurate. Worth persevering for a good one, though.
     
  8. Brett Rogers

    Brett Rogers Member

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    Hasselblad made a 35mm SLR? Please: do tell.
     
  9. Pioneer

    Pioneer Subscriber

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    Believe it or not, the Vivitar V3800n, has pre-fire activated by the timer. It is pretty inexpensive, uses Pentax K-mount glass, and is a nice mechanical camera using batteries only to activate the light meter.
     
  10. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    The XPAN. But the point was that the Hasselblad has a mirror lock up. Mirror lock ups are not restricted to 35mm slr cameras only.
     
  11. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    Yes FX-3, the mirror indeed goes up when using the self timer. Great fully mechanical, inexpensive camera that takes Zeiss lenses.
     
  12. etn

    etn Subscriber

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    Shhh... don't tell, but it is part of a larger plan to convert everyone to medium format... (which, in my opinion, everyone should have tried at least once in her/his life! but then, there's no turning back!)
     
  13. Brett Rogers

    Brett Rogers Member

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    If their X-Pan is a single lens reflex, this is news to me.

    Hasselblad did also make a 35mm back for the V series, but you have to first find one, and then be able to afford the typical purchase price, if you do. Even then, it would be a bit of a stretch to call one so equipped a 35mm SLR.

    The larger Hasselblads do not have mirror lock up. Their mirrors will descend on winding on the camera or after exposure (depending on the model and how it's configured in some cases). They can however be pre-fired or pre-released if you prefer to call it that. The "lock up" part of mirror lock up means just that—a cameras reflex mirror being mechanically retracted until such time as it is disengaged. Mostly fitted historically to earlier 35mm SLRs so that non-retrofocus wide angles could be installed without clashing with its mirror moving against their rears. Something a model with pre-fire ability will do when it is wound on—the point of this discussion, apparently, being to ascertain 35mm SLRs which have the latter?
     
  14. OP
    yessammassey

    yessammassey Member

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    Thanks, everyone.

    This is awesome info. Much appreciated.

    ... Can anyone confirm that the Minolta XE and X-700/570 do not prefire their mirrors with the self timer?
     
  15. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    All the Nikon F series from the F to F5 has MLU and the F6 has mirror prefire (it's MLU but you push once to lock the mirror and once more to release the shutter within 30 seconds)
     
  16. Les Sarile

    Les Sarile Member

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    No prefire on XE or X-700.
     
  17. Les Sarile

    Les Sarile Member

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    On the F, mirror lockup occurs on the next shutter release.
     
  18. paul ewins

    paul ewins Member

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    The Pentax KX also has MLU and can often be found quite cheaply since it doesn't have the name recognition of the K1000. The MX prefire is not really a feature, more of a trick that you can accomplish with a bit of practice. As noted above, you could get MLU added to your Spotmatic but it is pretty uncommon. The second meter switch on the opposite side of the lens out is the give away. I think some of the later Pentax AF cameras had a 2 second timer mode which would prefire the mirror. I'm fairly sure that most of the MZ/ZX series should have it and possibly the Z1/PZ1 and Z5.
     
  19. jimjm

    jimjm Subscriber

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    I have a Nikon F body that has been modified so pressing the shutter halfway flips up the mirror, then pressing fully trips the shutter. Very easy to do, even with a cable release, and it won't waste a frame. I contacted Uli Koch (Nikon F trilogy author) and he said he has run across similar non-factory modifications to the F. Apparently it's not too difficult to do. Works great for night photography and shooting on the tripod.

    For regular shooting it's sort of awkward, however, as I need to press the shutter quickly to minimize the mirror blackout before the shutter fires.
     
  20. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Subscriber

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    Alpa Si 2000 and equivalent version of Chinon the CE II. They also have a viewfinder blind to shutout out light from the viewfinder effecting the meter during long exposures.

    http://www.alpareflex.com/Cameras/Si2000.htm
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2017
  21. ekkybedmond

    ekkybedmond Member

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    Sorry if I missed if you have a preferred brand

    but all my (semi) professional EOS camera's (1N, 1V, 3) have a 2 stage MLU: 1) flip up, 2) exposure
    Hope this helps
     
  22. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    Thanks Les. My first Nikon was an F2. I thought that the salesman did try to push me to a demo F but I decided to go for the F2AS.
     
  23. guangong

    guangong Subscriber

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    Leicaflex sl and sl2 have a MLU that is achieved by lightly flicking the release button. Very useful when using long exposures.