Advice please for purchase of Nikon body to pair with 50mm f1.2 Nikon lens

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by Samuel Hotton, Oct 25, 2012.

  1. Samuel Hotton

    Samuel Hotton Member

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    I need advice as to the LIGHTEST weight, SMALLEST size, most COMPACT Nikon camera body that will accept a Nikon 50mm f1.2 lens and meter down to EV1 with a 400 ISO film.
    I am down to the "Black cat in the coal bin" conditions. No tripod, No flash allowed. What Nikon body do you recommend please?
    Sam H.
     
  2. waynecrider

    waynecrider Member

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    By light, are you referring to plastic or do you want the lightest metal body? I ask as the N80 was really light and basically small with features galore. Anyways, here's a link to a list that you can research. I'm sure you'll get many personal opinions too.

    http://www.mir.com.my/rb/photography/companies/nikon/htmls/models/htmls/slrmain8090.htm

    P.S. click on the different year links at the top.

    You can also go here and read camera reviews.
    http://www.nikonlinks.com/#

    You may want to pay particular attention to the better screens if your shooting in darkness.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 25, 2012
  3. BMbikerider

    BMbikerider Member

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    You don't say if it is AF or manual focussing. I would think with modern cameras, well as modern as you are likely to get for film use, the Nikon F80 would do if you are using auto-focusing. That is lightweight, compact and relatively small when compared against the F100/F90/F801/F601 and that the reason I use them when I am out on my motorcycle.

    For manual focus, perhaps a FE2/FM2or an FA or but I cannot say if they will meter at the levels you are asking for.
     
  4. waynecrider

    waynecrider Member

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    Oh yeah

    Make sure that you lens will meter on the body you choose. Some of the later bodies, N series in particular, would not meter with older lenses because they didn't have electronic contacts. The N80/F80 is one example. The previous generation 8008 series would from what I remember. I'm not sure about the later N90 or F100 but I believe they did.

    I wouldn't doubt that the FM3a would be a good fit.

    If your 50/F1.2 is the AI version it was pretty good wide open, better stopped down slightly, but not so good beyond F8. Here's a good site for evaluations which speaks to it.

    http://www.naturfotograf.com/lens_surv.html#top1
     
  5. one90guy

    one90guy Subscriber

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    As for as a light weight I use a FG and FM-10, the FM-10 was a gift about 14 years ago. Ive ran at least 150 rolls through it. The FG I have only run about 10 rolls. As far as your meter requirements the only low light I shoot I use a flash.
     
  6. Aja B

    Aja B Member

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    Add to that the capability of interchangeable focusing screens 'cuz if you don't have a proper screen to focus in darkness you ain't got Sweeeet FA!
     
  7. BMbikerider

    BMbikerider Member

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    Yep it will meter - but with centre weighted only, but it will meter!
     
  8. destroya

    destroya Subscriber

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    FA, FE2 would be my first guess. more modern, maybe the F100 but that could be to large for you. The F4 with the md-20 small battery pack would be the best if size and weight were not as big of an issue
     
  9. karl

    karl Subscriber

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    My 50/1.2 generally stays on my F3 HP. They seem well matched in terms of weight and handling.

    If it's that dark you're better off with a rangefinder as it will be really hard to focus with an SLR.
     
  10. drkhalsa

    drkhalsa Member

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    I vote for the Nikon FG or FM2 with split prism focusing screen.
     
  11. Timestep

    Timestep Member

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    I use my 50mm. F/1.2 AIS, almost permanently married to my F2 with plain prism.
    This, perhaps surprisingly, is a general use lens. ( and I also have a 55mm.F/2.8 Micro Nikkor AIS)
    Use a hand meter,Preferably incident, or switchable between incident and reflectance.
     
  12. LJSLATER

    LJSLATER Member

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    I also use an F2, but with a DP-2 prism; it meters in ridiculously low light--and I think the DP-12 prism is even better in this respect.

    The F3 might be a better choice for you because it's smaller and lighter. You have to hold one in your hands to appreciate how small it really is--pictures of the camera make it look huge. One of my problems with the F3 is the notorious backlit display button that is really hard to push and doesn't work that well anyway.

    Personally, I'd stay within the single-digit F series because their finders are larger and more accurate, and you have a nearly endless list of focusing screens to try.

    Shooting with the 50 1.2 wide open is DIFFICULT. When I first got my lens, I thought I got a bad sample because all my shots were soft. After a few weeks of practice I realized just how narrow the depth of field is at f/1.2--even at long distances. The lens is surprisingly sharp at 1.2 but you have to nail the focus PERFECTLY.
     
  13. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    About the only Nikon that can meter down to EV1 @ ISO400 is either F2S, F2SB or F2AS and neither is small and light. All other Nikon SLR's that I know of can only meter down to EV1@ISO100 with an f/1.4 lens. With the f/1.2 lens you get another half of a stop so it's down to EV0.5@ISO100 but that translates to EV2.5@ISO400.
     
  14. Stephanie Brim

    Stephanie Brim Member

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    The absolute best way to be able to do this is to get a split image focus screen. I've had two FE bodies, one with and one without. I MUCH preferred the former. The latter was harder to focus, and I was just using the 1.4.
     
  15. Colin Corneau

    Colin Corneau Subscriber

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    You'd almost want an external meter, or a spot meter, for something like this.

    But some of the modern cameras, such as an F/N90 or the ones mentioned earlier would do well -- light, sophisticated meter and IIRC some or all will have a rangefinder focusing confirmation in the viewfinder.

    One idea - perhaps take a short roll, shoot it at your reading and develop it as a test...that way you'll know how to handle the rest of the film you shoot. Best of luck!
     
  16. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

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    I'd vote for a FM2 or FM3a. I played with my 50mm 1.2 ais on the EM body before. It was quite comical to look at and handle, the balance wasnt too bad, but it was all loaded up on the lens with the body being so light. The EM doesnt offer manual modes, but the meter was good in AE mode, and you could fine tune it with the back light button, or playing with the ISO dial. But the EM and the FG would be the smallest Nikon has to offer.

    My 50mm 1.2 stays on one of my F3HP's with H2 or G2 focusing screen for low light.
     
  17. RidingWaves

    RidingWaves Member

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    +1 on an H2 screen, and my suggestion is F3, small prism, which has higher magnification and still really bright.
     
  18. rolleiman

    rolleiman Member

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    Low light means slow shutter speeds, which, together with a (comparatively) bulky lens like a 50mm 1.2 will not necessarily combine well with a "small, lght" body. The heavier, larger bodies like the F1,2 or 3 will be more stable units able to "soak up" any vibration issues when exposing at slow speeds.
     
  19. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    An FE or FM of any variety would be better suited to your conditions, if you're looking for light weight. Aside from that, I'll second the suggestion of an F3, without motor drive. It's probably the best compromise between modern metering, ruggedness/durability, and light(ish) weight. I know in theory you can find an F4 without the vertical grip, but have you ever seen one?
     
  20. Samuel Hotton

    Samuel Hotton Member

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    Thank you APUG friends. Your advice makes perfect sense. Today I have on loan a Nikon F2AS and a Nikon FM to try with my 50mm f1.2. I can see where the extra weight of the F2 nulls some of the camera shake and the meter will read in available darkness. I like the compactness of the FM and the fact it is mechanical. I shall give them both a test run and see what develops. Looking at the prices that the F3 brings, I find them to be affordable. I would like to try a F3hp along with these two cameras. The suggestion has been made to use the G3 and H2 screens to improve ease of focus. What about the Beattie Intenscreen with the 1.2 lens? I have one for a F3 camera, wish it would fit the F2. My 50mm F1.2 is a modern AI mechanical focus lens. I bought it because it has less flair and less veiling when shot at 1.2 than two 55mm f 1.2 lenses I had previously.
    Sam H.