AE (aperture priority) 35mm SLR?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by Eralen, Feb 19, 2012.

  1. Eralen

    Eralen Member

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    I have a fully manual SLR. long story short, I need some degree of automation for those shots that are gone in an instant. I can focus reasonably quickly, but metering and changing settings is not very quick. The light meter on my camera basically doesn't work unless the scene is bright, i.e. outdoors. Indoor situations, the meter is not sensitive enough to provide a reading (it is a needle-type meter). A good portion of my shots are available-light situations (actually, all of them are, I don't own a flash), a fast lens is a plus. Any recommendations for a AE + manual option camera? AF is not necessary. I'm not sure if that feature adds bulk, price, battery life, etc.

    The other features I'm looking for are mirror lock-up and double-exposure (the latter is less important, but would be a plus)

    Also, does anyone know of a list of cameras that has their main features? I don't feel like reading a whole wiki article about each camera I'm considering, this way I can quickly eliminate cameras which do not have the features I am looking for, and help myself, which I prefer to do anyway.
     
  2. clayne

    clayne Member

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    Nikon F3. All you need.
     
  3. msbarnes

    msbarnes Member

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    I went through a similar situation and I narrowed it down to Nikon, Canon FD, and Olympus because they are quality and the lenses are readily available.

    Some aperture priority cameras:
    -Canon A-1/F-1n
    -Nikon F3/FE/FE2
    -Olympus OM2n/OM4

    I decided to go with Olympus because the bodies are inexpensive, small, beautiful, and the viewfinders large/bright, but I think I would have been happy for any of them really. All of their lenses are generally good but the fast Canon FD primes are consistently lower priced than the rest.
     
  4. mopar_guy

    mopar_guy Subscriber

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    For Olympus, only the OM-1(N) has mirror lockup.
     
  5. msbarnes

    msbarnes Member

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    oops. Didn't read the mirror lockup requirement. I also found this:
    http://www.cameraguy.com/resources.html

    If you want mirror lockup + aperture priority + fast primes then I'd go with a Nikon F3. They meet all your requirements and not-so-expensive.
     
  6. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    You don't mention what brand of manual camera you now own, that might help to find same brand, different model. I shoot Olympus OM's, mainly OM-1 fully manual/mechanical shutter. I also have OM-2 and OM-4, the later has spot metering, use them very infrequently, prefer to be in control. I preset my speed and aperture and only concern myself with focus and framing, with practice you could do the same. All the controls on the OM system are on the lens and lens mount, very convenient for rapid adjustments. Shutter speeds are set on the lens mount while the aperture is set on the lens itself.
     
  7. Les Sarile

    Les Sarile Member

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    All manual cameras have a film release control to allow you to rewind the film and this can serve as a multi-exposure control too. Instead of rewinding the film, you can advance the shutter without advancing the frame. Of course there are cameras that have a special multi-exposure control.

    For a more sensitive/responsive built-in meter, you need to look for cameras with silicone photo diodes which were used in cameras starting in the mid 70's.

    AF cameras are bulkier because they also added built-in motors. They are completely dependent on batteries too. Generally their prices are very low today. Unfortunately, unassisted AF lenses will tend to hunt or not achieve focus in low light unless they are the more expensive variety. At least this is my experience with Canon EOS and third party lenses.

    There are few cameras that have on demand mirror lockup but there are some cameras that will MLU when using the timer. These include the Nikon FG, FE2, FA and FM3A, Chinon CE II and Olympus OM4T.

    Of all the cameras in my own toolbox, I would recommend you take a look at the Pentax K2 & LX and the Nikon F3.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 19, 2012
  8. sepiareverb

    sepiareverb Subscriber

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    Pentax LX can do all this and is pretty darn compact too.
     
  9. Eralen

    Eralen Member

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    msbarnes, thank you! I've been looking for something like this.

    Rick A: I own a Praktica LB2 (M42 mount) I got for my birthday, I don't think I'll be getting another camera of the same brand.

    Thanks everyone for the input, the F3 looks like the perfect camera for me, even has a WLF option ...
     
  10. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    You said AF isn't a requirement but with AF very few cameras with AF and mirror lock up. I only know the Nikon F4,F5 and F6. I think none of the Canon EOS has mirror lock up. With AF all cameras have AE. They are mostly bigger because almost all of the AF cameras have built in motor drive so they are bigger and eats batteries. As for price? many are very inexpensive.
     
  11. dehk

    dehk Member

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    Learn how to shoot without a meter. Its really easier than ones think for general shooting.

    Or, Get a Nikon FE!!!
     
  12. Les Sarile

    Les Sarile Member

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    BTW, the Chinon CE II is an aperture priority and full manual capable M42 body that may be able to use your lenses. Instead of dedicated MLU, the mirror goes up first when using the timer. I believe there were also Fujica bodies that are AE and M42 but I don't know if they have MLU or the same mirror functionality of the Chinon.
     
  13. LyleB

    LyleB Member

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    Nikon FE/FE2
     
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  15. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    I wonder how would you know that the OP doesn't know how to shoot without a meter? Wanting to have a camera with certain features doesn't mean that one can't use a camera without those features.
     
  16. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

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    Not many cameras with auto-exposure have mirror-lockup. certainly none of the mid-range cameras.. including the Olympus OM2, Nikon FE, etc.
    That leave only a handful of the top-end cameras. nikon F3, pentax LX, NO on the canon F1N, NO on the OM4.
     
  17. fotch

    fotch Member

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    The only camera you will ever need, Nikon F3.
     
  18. clayne

    clayne Member

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    Yep. Such a great camera.
     
  19. thicktheo

    thicktheo Subscriber

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    You could also look at the Minolta XD-11. A body design commissioned by Leica for their R4 SLR, very quiet mirror, compact, Manual mode, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, full Auto if you have the corresponding lenses... and a magnificent line-up of Rokkor glass. Quite cheap too, bought mine with a 50mm/f1.7 lens for 100€, then added a 28/2.8, a 50/1.4 and a 135/2.8 for less than an extra 100€.
     
  20. ath

    ath Member

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    While the XD7 (aka XD-11) is a great camera it sadly does not have MLU.
     
  21. ath

    ath Member

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    Wrong. The 1 and 3 series have and many other EOS (maybe most or even all) feature mirror prefire which is nearly as good.
     
  22. darkosaric

    darkosaric Subscriber

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    +1
     
  23. thicktheo

    thicktheo Subscriber

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    Ah. I have never used MLU in 35mm. If you have to shoot on a tripod, you might as well go for medium/large format. :whistling:
     
  24. Les Sarile

    Les Sarile Member

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    Relative sizes of the cameras that have all you are asking for AE + MLU. As I previously pointed out, all these cameras have "multi expose" capability but only the F3 and LX have special controls for it. With the LX you can even go back to the precise frame you want to multi expose as the frame counter works going forward and backward. The XK's meter is the least sensitive of the group while the LX's is the most sensitive of any camera to date including modern era. Of the group, the K2 does not have a changeable viewfinder or for that matter changeable screens. The F3 and LX have a world of viewfinders and screens. Only a handful of cameras provide 100% viewfinder coverage and the F3 is one of them. The F3 uses an LCD for shutter speed and exposure info and has available light when it gets too dark. I understand that the F3 was first to get an LCD display and initially Nikon said the LCD may be good for about 6 years. It seems that was a bit too conservative. On the LX, you can only use MLU or timer only due to the single control. Of the group, the LX has most shutter speeds available if the battery fails while all the others only offer one mechanical speed + bulb. The F3 and LX offer TTL flash metering while the LX offers off the film metering all the way around. Except for the K2, all of these have titanium shutters. Of the group, the LX is the most weather sealed. There are M42 to Pentax adapters if you want to use your existing lenses. There are probably M42 adapters for the Nikon and Minolta too but not sure.

    [​IMG]
    Link to larger version -> AE+MLU group
     
  25. clayne

    clayne Member

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    Nice comparative layout there Les.

    With F3s, it's been my experience not that the LCDs themselves die, but instead the backlight mechanism itself. Either the bulb dies or the little button gets finicky. Either way I barely use it because by the time one needs to even use the backlight to see the exposure, they're pretty much always 1/30,1/15,1,8 or 1/4 - which are reasonably determinable by experience.
     
  26. dugrant153

    dugrant153 Member

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    For me, it's a combination of a dead backlight system and the HP finder having a pretty low magnification (atleast to me eyes).

    If these aren't a big deal I'd definitely say go F3. However, my current other favorite is the Olympus OM1n... so an OM2n :smile: