A Street Nikon SLR?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by yeknom02, Jun 6, 2011.

  1. yeknom02

    yeknom02 Member

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    Hi guys,

    I've already shipped off an old autofocus lens to KEH to help pay for an upcoming switch to the Nikon camera system. I do have a rangefinder with a 45mm lens, and I wanted to get something that could switch lenses and be used mostly for street photography (24mm lens) and the occasional portrait work (maybe 85mm or 135mm lens - I'll defer the decision until a later date). So, being rather unsatisfied with the Canon FD lenses I had, I decided to try a Nikon system. After nitpicking the features left and right, I decided on an FE2. Chrome body, relatively light, a fast sync speed (for any portraits that use off-camera lighting), and a neato match-needle system that gives you a lot of info about the exposure.

    Now, just a day or two before the quote is going to be finalized, I find myself really wondering if I should get an F3 (HP) instead. It's sure to be less discreet, but I wonder if the extra heft will help steady my shots. Also, it is considered a "pro" camera, so perhaps I won't have to worry as much about the shutter failing? But, the meter isn't very informative and I hear the LCD is prone to failure. And also, that slow sync speed might prove to be a real hassle if I start adding some flash or other lighting.

    Basically, I'm wondering if the FE2 is the right choice given my intended applications. Any thoughts?

    -Dan

    P.S., I would have preferred an FM3a, but the lens I shipped out isn't worth that much.
     
  2. CGW

    CGW Member

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    Frankly, I'd skip the F3 and go for an FE or FE2 for manual focus Nikon bodies. They're very inexpensive and tough. I'd favor an FE simply because it can accept NAI lenses. Affordable F3s are getting hard to find in anything other than bonked-up condition--whatever you hear about their durability, they're not any less immune to heavy use/abuse.

    Another option is to go for an F90x/N90s. They're very inexpensive and work well for me as a fast handling street camera with manual lenses. The built-in winder is nice(no need to break off eye contact) and the viewfinder is bigger and brighter than the FE/FM variants. Just park it Aperture priority and shoot. Electronic focus confirmation is another plus. I use a 45/2.8 AiP on mine(all matrix flash/metering functions work, thanks to the built-in chip) and find it a near-perfect for fast candids.
     
  3. Jesper

    Jesper Subscriber

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    The FE2 is a nice camera and you will probably be happy with one of those.
    If you wear glasses you might prefer a F3HP.

    Don't switch because you think the Nikkor lenses are better than Canon. They are about the same on the whole (some focal lengths may be a bit better from on and some from the other so don't switch systems and expect magic)
     
  4. yeknom02

    yeknom02 Member

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    I do wear glasses, though I have looked through a Nikon FE2 finder and didn't see too much of a problem with it.

    Re: lens quality, I have handled both Canon lenses and Nikon lenses, and the Nikons feel slightly better, ergonomically speaking, to me. I have heard many claims that optically, the two systems are nearly identical, and I believe it.

    Remembering the decision-making process, I guess I misspoke above - really, I wanted to make the switch mostly due to the various different camera options that Nikon has. When looking to replace my AE-1, I didn't find any Canon bodies that I wanted.
     
  5. Jesper

    Jesper Subscriber

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    In that case you seem to be well prepared, and I think you will like either one.
    You might want to have a look at the FA. It is close to the FE2 in size and weight and it has the added option of matrix metering (the first actually).
    I have all three of them and am happy with them all. Perhaps I would recommend the FA above the FE2.
     
  6. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    I prefer the F3 for general photography but since you said street photography I would pick the FE2 because it's slightly smaller size and is available in chrome. Both of these factors makes it more discreet. I found that I actually can hold the smaller/lighter FM/FE more steadily than the F3.
     
  7. Colin Corneau

    Colin Corneau Subscriber

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    I agree with all of this. I'd only add that the F90x/N90s has an option, if you're using Nikon speedlights, of using shutter speeds above 1/200th (it's a manual setting and I can't recall what it's called but I did use it occasionally in daylight conditions)
     
  8. Les Sarile

    Les Sarile Member

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    If it matters to your style of shooting, a waist level finder can be used on the F3 so you won't have to lift the camera to your eye. Also, the action finder allows you to view the finder without pressing your eyes to it making it easier to follow the action.

    The other significant difference is the F3 has a none standard flash shoe. There are special flashes for it that cover a range of uses. Also, there are adapters to allow you to use standard shoe flashes on the F3. However, to use standard shoe TTL flashes on the F3, you need the special (expensive) AS-17 adapter.

    The F3 does outweigh the FE2 760g to 550g but the FE2 has been proven reliable through the years that the weight saving did not come at the cost of build quality.
     
  9. LyleB

    LyleB Member

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    I have a F3HP, FM, FM2, FE and FE2.

    My least favorite is the F3HP. I find the LCD exposure indicator difficult to see. I must concentrate on specifically looking at it while shooting.

    The lighted LED of the FM and FM2 is probably the easiest to use without needing to really pay attention to it. Good for getting some quick shots. May be best, in my opinion, for quick street shots.

    The FE and FE2 do give you the most information and are easy enough to use in daylight. Once it gets to dusk or dawn shooting, however, they are very difficult to see.

    Can't beat a N90s for a cheap, very well built automatic.
     
  10. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    The N90s is great, for the price they can be had at it is very, very tough to beat.
     
  11. ArtTwisted

    ArtTwisted Member

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    FE2 would be the perfect camera for street, while the FM2N is perfect for the long voyages away from home. The F3 is gorgeous but the slow sync and hard to read meter means the FE2 is more convenient and faster to use.
     
  12. fstop

    fstop Member

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    The FA has more features and capability than the FE2 and beats it in price too, people pay more for the FE2 not sure why.
     
  13. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    Two things come to mind. The noise of an SLR announces to everyone around you that you are taking picutres. Not really what you want if your intent is candid photoes. People who specialize in street photography prefer an all black camera since it is less conspicuous. I would suggest a black rangefinder such as the Voigtlander Bessa. It uses interchangeable lenses of very high quality.
     
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  15. Simplicius

    Simplicius Member

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    I use Nikon F80's, small and light and the shutter is quiet for an SLR. Fast Autofocus when needed, easy selection of options. Also they are cheap to buy second hand.
     
  16. yeknom02

    yeknom02 Member

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    I do realize that an SLR is not ideal for street photography, and so my rangefinder or TLR usually gets the job done. I'm just looking for something to perfectly compliment the rangefinder - maybe it isn't as quiet, but what you see is what you get as far as focusing or maybe even putting some filters on, and a nice wide lens gets me closer to the action. And when I want to change my application, all I have to do is switch lenses.

    I thought about going for a black camera, but I find that they can absorb more heat and be uncomfortable to hold. Also, there's less of a chance that someone will glance at it and think it's a digital SLR. Most people I've interacted with are turned off when I use my all-black, modern-looking Canon EOS A2, and I get more positive responses when using the chrome Konica Auto S2.
     
  17. travelingman

    travelingman Member

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    I agree with the N90s. I have one and it was my fathers before it was mine. Been in the family for over 15 years now and still works perfectly, its built like a tank. I would also look at the F100, seems very similar to the n90s but updates can be had for very little off of keh.
     
  18. perkeleellinen

    perkeleellinen Member

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    I used to have an F3hp and I liked it a lot, I especially liked that the prism could be removed and then the camera could be used at waist level (actually, more like chest level as the finder isn't that big). I didn't like the slow sync nor the meter read out which was difficult to read in low light. But then the FE2's meter needle is also difficult to read in low light and I don't suppose flash sync is of much concern. In practice, though, I doubt there'll be any major difference between the two cameras - better save your money and buy film.
     
  19. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

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    Yes for shooting street the smaller the body the better, if it has aperture priority even better! Ive shot a lot of my street work with an all black Nikon EM, its probably the tiniest slr that nikon made and super bare on features (no manual mode, sync at 1/90th, A only), but its tough and has gotten me good shots. I like the 24mm and the 50mm for street, but you better get adjusted to getting in close with those two. The faster you can get those lenses the better, as theres so much to shoot when it gets darker as well.

    Good luck and I hope you enjoy which ever camera you choose.
     
  20. canuhead

    canuhead Member

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    why not an FM2 ? Have an F3P and love it but the shutter isn't exactly the quietest and the viewfinder information is, well scant. Body built like a tank so heavier than an FM2 which you can use sans battery. Only thing it's manual compared to the aperture priority FE2.
     
  21. darkosaric

    darkosaric Subscriber

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    For street: FG20 with E series lens. It is smallest nikon SLR.
     
  22. LudditeJay

    LudditeJay Member

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    The recommendation of an EM is not bad if you want a very compact Nikon slr, but I never thought that excluding a shutter speed dial was a good idea. I think the EM was only offered in black and you expressed interest in a chrome camera. Have a look at an FG. It shares the same compact size as the EM, available in chrome, and has full manual control.

    For street-shooting I don't know if it is all that important to even bother with in-camera metering or use it as a major factor in the purchase of a camera for the purpose. I would probably just take an incident reading and use that to decide my exposure. I would take readings each time I felt that the light had changed enough to warrant it.

    I always get better and more consistent results when I use an incident light meter in comparison to in-camera meters so I would say ignore the camera's meter in your decision making.
     
  23. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    If I'm focusing manually, which is most of the time, the FM2 is my favorite choice.

    I actually prefer setting exposure manually too, so aperture priority isn't an option I really care about.

    In situations where fast film switching is important though, I'm back to the N90s.
     
  24. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    +1
     
  25. CGW

    CGW Member

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    "For street-shooting I don't know if it is all that important to even bother with in-camera metering or use it as a major factor in the purchase of a camera for the purpose. I would probably just take an incident reading and use that to decide my exposure. I would take readings each time I felt that the light had changed enough to warrant it."


    This might work if your subjects are mailboxes or fire plugs but not people moving in and out of widely varying light. That's the advantage of late 35 AF film bodies and their sophisticated matrix meters, not to mention built-in spot/flash metering capability. Incident metering for medium format, sure, but not 35mm when dorking around with incident readings is rarely practical or even possible.
     
  26. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    I typically meter once for the shadows and once for the bright stuff and adjust on the fly manually.

    This also gives creative control.

    It's not better or worse, just a different way of shooting.