Advice on Nikon

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by Mats_A, Apr 11, 2010.

  1. Mats_A

    Mats_A Member

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    As much as I love my Rolleicord I really do need to get myself an SLR for family shots and less serious stuff. Have been using Nikon as 135 all my life and see no reason to change now. I've given myself a budget around $500 and would like a good body, a wide, a normal and a zoom. Am in no hurry as money is still being saved, so to speak.

    On KEH I have my eyes on the following line-up

    Camera: Nikon FE2
    Wide: Nikkor 24 f2.8
    Normal: Nikkor 50 f1.8
    Zoom: Nikkor 80-200 f4

    I figured if I stay manual focus I can afford better lenses and I just plain like focusing. I'm weird that way. This would be about $550 including shipping.

    Anyone wiser than me having any comments on this. Is there a better bargain to be had with other body/lenses?

    Awaiting comments this gray, bleak April Sunday morning when the spring seem to have retreated back to the warmer places. It's 3 degrees C outside and I have taken all the pictures of snow I need for a long time. Would be nice to try some Velvia. But you need colors for that. Sigh!

    r

    Mats
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 11, 2010
  2. Carl V

    Carl V Member

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    The Nikon FE2 is an excellent camera, however you may find you'll need to replace the light seals unless they've already been changed, as this camera ceased production in about 1987. It will offer you aperture priority and manual control.

    You may like to consider the FM2n as well. This is manual only, and therefore fully mechanical and will operate without any batteries - apart from the meter. Nikon stopped production in about 2001, and replaced it with the FM3a. Any of these three models are very reliable indeed.

    I don't know if your lenses are Nikkor's or another manufacturer, although there are various decent independent lenses available from the likes of Tamron, Tokina or Sigma which will cost a little less than the Nikon equivalents.

    For me personally, I prefer prime lenses but other photographers may prefer to choose a wide angle zoom - something like a 24-50mm, however these don't generally have the maximum aperture of a fixed lens such as the one you're considering.

    Like yourself, I prefer manual equipment and you won't go wrong with the FE2 if this is the model you decide to buy.
     
  3. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    If you like manual and focusing, why not save some money and go for the FE or even the FM. I have both; great cameras. I don't know what benefit the FE2 would bring. Light seals seem to be an issue with all these cameras. The originals are getting soft and turn into goo. I had good success in cleaning it out with lighter fluid and just leave them out, but I undersand, they can be replaced.

    As far as lenses goes, that depends much on personal preference.

    Wide: Nikkor 24 f2.8 (good choice, I like mine a lot)
    Normal: Nikkor 50 f1.8 (go for the f/1.4, more money but still 52mm filter thread)
    Zoom: Nikkor 80-200 f4 (not my thing)

    I would add the Nikkor 85 f/2, a standard for beauty and portrait (other prefer the 105mm instead, and maybe a small zoom (you get the 35-70 for dirt and it is the lightest zoom I know, and great for travel).

    You should get this all for around $500, and if not, get a piece or two later. It's always fun to add something to the kit lare on. Getting it all at once concentrates the fun, getting it piece by piece, spreads it out and allows you to get more familiar with every single item.
     
  4. Mats_A

    Mats_A Member

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    The Nikkor 85 f2 sounds like a good lense. The 35-70 I would not care for so much. I don't like to carry/own overlapping lenses. Seems a bit wasteful.
    I was not aware of the light seal problem on these. Now I am.
    One advantage of FE2 is that it has TTL which FE does not. And I have 2 Nikon SB-26 speedlights that should fit it. But will look at the FE also.

    r

    Mats
     
  5. bobwysiwyg

    bobwysiwyg Subscriber

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    The FE does meter through the lens.
     
  6. Mats_A

    Mats_A Member

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    I meant TTL flash which I think FE does not have. I could be wrong though. It has happened before. In 1987 I was once wrong twice in a month. Not funny.

    r

    Mats
     
  7. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    TTL flash, I thought you were serious about staying manual? I must have misunderstood something. BTW, I did mean to double up on lenses, I meant to carry the zoom alone as an alternative when you need to stay light. Another alternative for that is to get a 35mm f/2, a street photographer's dream!

    One benefit of staying with prime lenses is that they have an impact on how we photograph. I see zoom photographers moving around much less than people with prime lenses. Perspective cannot be changed with focal length, one needs to change the viewpoint to change perspective. Zoom users seem to lose some of that.
     
  8. Mats_A

    Mats_A Member

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    As I said this camera is for non-seriuos work. Holidays and such. Then a TTL-flash is very handy. I like manual but I am not fanatic about it. And a TTL-flash can still be used in manual mode.

    A 35-70 zoom could be a good only lense on a holiday. I agree with you reg prime vs zoom lenses. I have found that when using a TLR, you tend to think about composition a lot more. You get lazier with zooms.

    r

    Mats
     
  9. Erik Petersson

    Erik Petersson Subscriber

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    Excellent choice, close to what I use. I tend to never use anything longer than 50mm though.

    If you want a low wheight kit, you can exchange the 50mm for the 50e series. I use it a lot and is very content, although it is said to be a little less sharp than the ordinary 50mm at some apertures. There are also lighter Nikon cameras, but less sturdy.

    I also have the F3, which is excellent for it versitality, but heavier.
     
  10. clayne

    clayne Member

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    Listen to what Ralph is saying. Zoom lenses make photographers lazy and produce shitty photography 95% of the time. Prime lenses force a modal style of seeing and approaching subjects/scenes which can be felt and seen in the final results.
     
  11. lns

    lns Member

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    I would buy everything on your list except the 80-200 lens. I would substitute a flash ; they are cheap, and can be useful, so why not?

    If you can stretch, I would add the 85mm f1.4 lens or the 105mm f2.5 in the future. These are wonderful lenses. I'm not sure you need a third lens right away anyway.

    -Laura
     
  12. Mick Fagan

    Mick Fagan Subscriber

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    The FE has one outstanding feature that the FE2 doesn't have, it can take virtually any Nikkor or Nikon lens, there are about 4 exceptions.

    The FE2 cannot take the older lenses that all of the F cameras from the F4 backwards can take. I don't know about the F5 and F6.

    The FE has a meter coupling lever on the camera lens mount which you swing up or down, this allows you to use lenses from 1959 onwards, there are some gems out there!

    I have F3's and an FE2, all bought new, all still working. If I lived in a cold climate like yours I would think very seriously in the FM or FM2.

    The FE2 camera in extreme cold (-20ºC or lower) in my own personal experience, isn't as good as the F3 camera. I put it down to the match needle meter taking a lot of power to run compared to the F3 with an LCD readout.

    Currently in my country the F3 bodies are cheaper than either an FE or an FE2. I believe the F3 body could be worth considering if the price is right.

    Mick.
     
  13. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    I'll buck the trend here.

    With your criteria I'd go for an N90s.

    Sure it's an AF camera but so what, you don't have to turn that on.

    Great meter, better ttl, easy/fast to load, has most modern features and costs less than an FE/FE2.
     
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  15. Uncle Bill

    Uncle Bill Subscriber

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    Pretty good kit my suggestion sub the 80-200 F4 lens with the 105 f2.5 and 200 f4 and you got the perfect SLR kit.
     
  16. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    If you stay with the 85 f/2, you can cover all your lenses on the list (except the zoom) with the same filter size.
     
  17. Nicole

    Nicole Member

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    I love Nikon and agree with Ralph Lambrecht. Prime lenses are fantastic. I can recommend the 50mm 1.4 and the 85mm 1.8.
     
  18. Erik Petersson

    Erik Petersson Subscriber

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    I have the 80-200 f4,5 zoom. It has the same filter size as my other lenses. And it is very good as far as I can judge - I use it seldom.
     
  19. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    I have a question may be a bit off topic. I have the 85mm f/2 lens and heard a lot of recommendation about the much more expensive 85mm f/1.4. I am wondering if the f/1.4 lens is better at say f/11, f/8, f/5.6 etc..? I never use my lens at f/2 or even 2.8 due to my preference for depth of field so do I benefit from the f/1.4 lens?
     
  20. dpurdy

    dpurdy Member

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    I have the F100, F and the FM and used to have an EM but far and away my favorite Nikon I have is the F100.
    It has auto focus and exposure but you don't have to use it. the meter is great, it has TTL flash metering and you can pick one up in new condition for around 250. My F meter kept going dead, the FM has been in the shop a number of times and every time the repairman pointed out that the repair costs more than buying another used one.
     
  21. rwboyer

    rwboyer Member

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    Shimoda,

    I have more Nikon bodies/lenses/acc from just about every "era" and just wanted to give you my 2 cents - even though I have a truck load I continually buy more of them when I see fantastic deals - Heck I give them to people that are interested in photography sometimes. I have a knack for picking up pristine examples for a song as I just did for one of my daughters (black paint FM that looks and operates as If it never had a roll of film through it)

    Here is a pic.

    http://photo.rwboyer.com/2010/04/03/check-this-nikon-out-seventy-bucks/

    I would suggest an FM or FM2 if you want that style body vs an FE/FE2, not that the FE are bad but because some of them develop issues in their electronics (more than some) - the FM and esp FM2 are in far greater demand and you can turn them around very quickly and has been mentioned they will work w/o battery.

    The only real advantage of the FM2/FE2 are that they are newer - have a higher top shutter speed - and a 1/250 flash sync speed but I would not buy these for on camera or for automatic flash control I would go for a new style camera instead if you are a heavy auto flash user.

    If you want small get the FM/FM2 - if you want aperture priority auto - get the F3 instead of the FE series - lots and lots focusing screen options/finders/etc. They are not that much bigger/heavier really.

    The other consideration is NON-AI lenses - of course you can have them "AI'd" but the FM/FE and F3 can all mount NON-AI lenses the FM2/FE2 cannot because the prior have a flip up AI interface the latter do not.

    All that being said if you are considering a "newer" modern style camera go for the F100 or even the F5 - the F100 is smaller (about the same size as the F90/N90). The N90 is plasticy the F100 is build like a brick - all metal and has most of the stuff the F5 has. Great flash control - Flip up AI prong - can mount ANY lens new or old - can use G lenses just like the D3 - the controls are just like the new pro digital bodies AND.... THEY GO FOR A SONG - less than the FM2 bodies. They are real machines but not retro looking.

    RB

    Ps. I have all this stuff and may be willing to part with any of them if it is mutually beneficial.
     
  22. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    Pick the body you like, but honestly, I'm a bit partial to the N90s/F90x. I've got an F2, an F3, a couple of Nikkormats, an FM2n, and an F100. The F100 is really nice sees a lot of use, but I don't think you can get one and stay within your budget. The N90s doesn't give up very much if you're using it with AI and AIs lenses. They're cheap to come by, and use the inexpensive and ubiquitous AA batteries.

    On lenses... The 24 f/2.8 and the 50 f/1.8 are both excellent lenses and will serve you well. I'm a little sketchy on the 80-200 zoom. I have a few zooms and none of them get much use at all. I find them to be, for the most part, wholly inferior to primes unless you opt for the very expensive f/2.8 versions. For me they work a bit better for making color images than for making B&W images.

    To fill out the longer end of the scale, the 85 f/2 is a hard one to beat and isn't too expensive. The faster versions of the 85 may be better, but they are spendy and you don't get all that much more bang for your buck. The 200 f/4 is another gem. It is small and light for a 200 mm lens and very sharp. But, as with all long lenses, a steady hand, a fast shutter speed, or a steady support is crucial.
     
  23. fotch

    fotch Member

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    Outfit choice looks fine. I have found over the years that I almost never use that zoom anymore, to big, to heavy. Depending on need, I use either the 105, 135, 200. Have fun!
     
  24. rwboyer

    rwboyer Member

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    I just picked up another "extra" F100 for $130 so...

    RB
     
  25. Rol_Lei Nut

    Rol_Lei Nut Member

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    I have the older 80-200 f/4.5 zoom. While its quality is practically equal to my Nikon non-zoom lenses, I hardly ever use it.
    I keep it for special situations (shooting from a canoe/kayak/boat - where I have little or no mobility).

    I second the advice to go for for the 105 f/2.5 and the 200 f/4.0 (AI or AIS) instead of the zoom. Both very nice lenses.

    I also have the 24mm, which is a good but not great lens.
    RE the 50mm... My own taste is to go for a 35mm instead: The Nikkor 35mm f/2.0 was my good standard for decades.

    Even better lenses *can* be found elsewhere (IMHO): Leica, Zeiss, but might not fit your camera reliability, availability or price needs, depending on the system...

    Regarding other posters suggesting an FE instead of an FE2, only do that if you are seriously low on funds and the FE is much cheaper... (1/4000 and a 1/250 flash sync can have their uses!). The FE2 also has brighter focusing screens (though I think they can also be used in the FE, with some exposure compensation jiggling).

    The AF cameras proposed will normally not focus manually very well. Manual focus screens can be installed, but a manual focus viewfinder system tends to be different form an AF one in any case.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 11, 2010
  26. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    For a lot cameras, what you say is true. I would even agree with you when it comes to the lower end Nikon autofocus film bodies. But even though the viewfinders of both the N90s and the F100 are a little lacking when compared to the viewfinders of the F2, and F3, they are still very good and better than the finders on some other manual focus only cameras. Focus confirmation works well under most conditions with these two bodies as well, so it's not a real problem.