Best 35mm camera design - or rather - which is your favorite?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by Andrew K, Feb 19, 2013.

  1. Andrew K

    Andrew K Subscriber

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    I know this is a old arguement, and one that divides rangefinder and SLR users...

    But what is YOUR favorite 35mm camera, and why?

    I'll start - and I have 2 different ones ....for very different reasons..

    Minolta SRT series.

    My first "real" camera was a SRT100X. After many years I picked one up again, and fell in love with it again.

    Yes, the viewfinder is dim, but the match needle works great, I can see all the viewifnder with glasses on, and all of the 5 or 6 different SR and SRT's models I own all work correctly. Plus I love the fact you can pick up lenses for them at bargain prices....

    The second one - from the standpoint of a working photographer who used them professionally for over 10 years - is the Canon New F1.

    Why?

    - build quality - you can use them to whack a tent peg in if you can't find a hammer. You can use them in pouring rain and they stay working. And if you drop them they tend to dent things..
    - they work with or without a battery. Sure, without a battery you only get 1/60th to 1/2000 & Bulb, but that covers most situations.
    - they have an easy to use match needle system, plus offer built in Aperture priority (you can use aperture priority with a standard prism, but you can only see what shutter speed you are getting with a AE Prism). And if you add a power winder or motor drive you get shutter priority too..
    - interchangable prisms, including the revolving speed finder. These are a bit odd to use - sort of like looking down a tunnel, but with glasses I could see the complete screen, with splenty to spare
    - interchangable screens. Want to change metering pattern - change the screen. Maybe not as convenient as on a F4 or T90, but how often do you really change metering methods? Much handier was the ability to change to a grid screen (for copy work - to make sure you had everything set up square to your subject), or one of the special screens for use with slow lenses..
    - Canon lenses. Yes - FD and New FD were breech mount, but once you got used to changing lenses you could easily do it one handed, and there were some great lenses. I was lucky enough to have owned a few of them ranging from a 14mm to a 500mm, and aside from the 500mm mirror and the 2 macro lenses they were all f2.8 or faster :smile:
    - built to last....I had some ex press bodies that looked like cr#p, lots of brass and dents, but they all worked as advertised...

    So there you have mine...I'm curious to see what others think
     
  2. Les Sarile

    Les Sarile Member

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    I haven't quite made up my mind but I know it isn't the Kodak Brownie or the Leica Luftwaffe . . . :whistling:

    [​IMG]
     
  3. Chrismat

    Chrismat Subscriber

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    The Spotmatics and the Spotmatic bodies of the K1000, KX. Feels great in the hands. Nikkormat FTN too. For rangefinders, any Yashica Lynx (1000, 5000, and 14(e).
     
  4. summicron1

    summicron1 Subscriber

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    leica M, bar none. Marty Forscher, formerly of professional camera repair in nyc, called it, the nikon f and the canon f "hocky puck" cameras and for good reason. I prefer the M for quiet, ease of use and holding and pure sex appeal.

    the leicaflex sl2 is another favorite -- like the F1 of Nikon and Canon fame, you can dent things with it but not the camera...quietest slr shutter going, supreme quality, a joy to use.
     
  5. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    i always like the Canon FD system.

    Jeff
     
  6. hdeyong

    hdeyong Member

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    Olympus OM-1. Light weight, bright viewfinder, excellent lenses which are also small and light, the best place to put the shutter speed dial, well damped mirror, etc.
     
  7. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    +1
     
  8. tony lockerbie

    tony lockerbie Subscriber

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    I have to go with the Spotmatics too, just so nice to use...everything feels just right. The best design is not necessarily the best camera though.
     
  9. dorff

    dorff Member

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    The Olympus OM-4 Ti must come close, although I never owned one. One of my friends did, and I seriously envied him. The multi-spot and flash systems were ahead of their time, and some of the lenses are great.

    The Nikon FM3A is perhaps another candidate. I don't own one. The FA and FM2n that I do own come close, though lacking full manual functioning combined with electronic shutter. That said, I haven't had a battery failure on them yet, and the FA is therefore very close to the perfect manual focus body for me personally, due to its excellent metering system.

    In terms of AF bodies, the F100 has very little that I do not want, and most of what I do want. Although I do not own one, the F6 looks like a great camera too. It adds little functionality over the F100, though, at a huge hike in price.

    The Leica M cameras I know next to nothing about, but they seem to evoke strong feelings in their owners. That must count for something.

    I have also used Nikon FM, FE2, F3 and a string of AF cameras. They were mostly great products for their time. Still have the F3 and FE2, but seldom use them nowadays. My F3 eventually lost the AE lock button, and the flash shoe is doubtful. Still have to see an F3 that hasn't been worked to near or actual death, and I certainly did the same to mine.
     
  10. BMbikerider

    BMbikerider Member

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    I have had a think about this one and come to the decision that any of the Pentax models from the S1a up to the last of the Spotmatics (and possibly the K1000-KX-KM) fit the bill. Of all the cameras I have used I had more success from them than I think I had collectively from all the others.

    I don't know about elsewhere but in UK at the time these were in vogue, the Pentax slogan in their advertising was 'Just hold a Pentax'. They were right.

    My basic setup was a 28mm, 55mm, and the 135mm lenses. A Pentax lenses. No frills, just straight forward lenses with no thought needed to get what I wanted
     
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  11. thegman

    thegman Member

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    Favourite 35mm camera is a Leica M3. The moment I held it in the shop, I knew I had to have it. The only reason I don't have it now is that I'm pretty much only shooting medium format now, and it was a lot of money to have in a camera I didn't use.
     
  12. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    There are two thread on this subject running at the moment.
     
  13. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Well, one is about best 35mm camera design, the other about best 35mm camera designer...
     
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  15. vpwphoto

    vpwphoto Member

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    You know, I think everyone who has ever been an productive photographer has answered this question for themselves. I know the answer for me and I forked over a few thousand for a 35mm system, then switched to another 35mm system when my needs changed (and useful technology advanced). The gravitas of the economics involved were huge for me, but my decision reaped profits and peace of mind in doing my job. I'll leave with this thought though: I met a women photographer (art world) that did wonderful, astounding personal work with a K1000 and 50mm f1.8 lens. In some respects her work put me in my place when it came to equipment envy. She didn't expose transparencies and need TTL flash, she didn't shoot long lens sports where a motor advance helped, she didn't photograph macro stuff, or elaborate 3 light set-ups as did I, but her black and white work is in my memory to this day, and she and I used the tool and invested in the tool that made sense for each of us at that time in our career.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 20, 2013
  16. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    My favorite? The Nikon F.
     
  17. vpwphoto

    vpwphoto Member

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    F3 was nice design... but it's electronics were yucky and flash sync speed slower of the lesser Nikons.
    Canon F1n is a camera I regret not having still to fondle... I think is was smoother than a Leica and very well made... IMO better made the the Nikon F3 or F4.
    Nikonos V was a nice design and solid feel and sounds. Canon P had it in spades, and does the M3. and M6 and MP and that Hermes thing with orange leather. Hasselblad had it all in utility and looks... ( why did I stoop to this level... oh.. waiting on Lightroom to finish a batch._process)
     
  18. narsuitus

    narsuitus Member

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  19. Mustafa Umut Sarac

    Mustafa Umut Sarac Member

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    Some lone living Japanese young people are the experts of Mangas and use them for their intellectual future. Some japanese families are crazy for to visit disney and take every donald duck costum wearing and burning in hot 45 celcius degrees poor peoples pictures with their childen..
    Their mission is to create a happy children , may be intellectual also ??? who knows ?

    I bought my sister an Leica IIIf when she was 8 and she was selected to be studied at Harvard by Fulbright. ! Get a lesson.
     
  20. crsantin

    crsantin Member

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    Nikon F100. Pretty much everything I'd ever want in an AF camera. MF probably a Leica M3 but I've never used one so I'll go with my Nikon FE.
     
  21. TheToadMen

    TheToadMen Subscriber

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    For now:
    Nikon F4s
    Leica M4-2
    and if this counts: My Bronica SQ-B (normaly 6x6) with a 35 mm magazine ;-)
     
  22. Pumalite

    Pumalite Subscriber

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    Best 35mm

    My favorites:
    Nikon F (own 3)
    Nikon F2AS (own 3; with Motors)
    Canon F1 (own 2)
    Canon New F-1 (own 3)
    Olympus OM-1 (own 2)
    Leica IIIf (own 2)
    Nikon F100 (own 2)
    All functioning and being used at the moment.
     
  23. pen s

    pen s Member

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    Another fan of the OM-1. There are many 35mm SLR's I like such as a plain prism Nikon F or the original (all mechanical) Canon F-1, but I value light weight and compactness more. My kit is usually 1 body and 6 lenses, 24 f2.8, 35 f2.8, 50 f1.8, 85 f2, 135 f3.5, and 200 f5 Zuikos. Not all in one bag.
     
  24. elekm

    elekm Member

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    I can't really say that I favor one over the other. I've found it easy to use most cameras, although I have specific thoughts about certain cameras:

    - Pentax MX: My second "real" camera, which I bought back in 1978. I sometimes think the body is almost too small. And the shutter speed dial is too tightly sprung.

    - Minolta XD-11: I really lusted after this camera in the 1970s, and bought one about two years ago. I must say that this is an excellent camera, and I love the light touch of the shutter release.

    - Leica M6: For me, the body was a bit too large, and the release point for the shutter was too deep. A "soft" release took care of that problem. Otherwise, a very well-made and solid camera. Deserving of its accolades.

    - Leica IIIf: Lovely svelte body with excellent workmanship. Too fiddly as a user. From loading the film to a shutter speed dial that spins and dual viewfinders.

    - Alpa 9e: Quirky from its backward film advance to the front mounted shutter release. But that Macro-Switar lens is unbelievably good.

    - Contax I: A box with great lenses. The earliest model is not enjoyable to use. A bit crude. The later Contax I models were much improved, thanks to Hubert Nerwin.

    - Tenax II: Man, love this camera. Square format. Trigger film advance. Excellent Sonnar lens.

    - Contax 139: Love the feel of the camera and its release. The shutter and mirror are a bit noisier than they should be.

    - Contaflex I: Great little fixed-lens camera that is often overlooked. It's old school: No instant mirror return and just one lens: A sharp f/2.8 45mm Tessar.

    - Exakta: I've tried this, but I just can't adapt to the ergonomics. I can never find a comfortable way to hold the camera.

    - Olympus OM-1: Despite a small body, feels good in the hands. You have to get used to the shutter speed dial at the base of the lens and the aperture dial at the very front.

    - Olympus Pen F: Olympus did a great job with this camera. A side-swinging mirror and a nicely designed body make this the best of the half-frame offerings.

    - Voigtlander Prominent: I really wanted to like this camera, but I can't. It's vastly overpriced. Focus by (a tightly sprung) knob, an eyepiece that is placed just precisely so you poke yourself in the eye when focusing. And an overly heavy body. I have the Ultron lens, which is a stellar performer. Oddly enough, the Vito III is a much better folding version of this Prominent, and for some reason is much easier to use. At least for me.

    And that's about it for now.
     
  25. Andrew K

    Andrew K Subscriber

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    If I'm allowed another one..or two...then I'd pick

    Minolta 7000 - it was the first "Real" AF slr, where everything came together in one package. Focus motor was in the body, so were the wind and rewind motors. AF worked well, even if it was a bit slow..

    EOS 630. One of Canon's first "pro" AF body, and really nice. I bought one a year ago for aorund $30, and fell in love with it. The AF is fast, it feels great in my hands. Plus it has a film in it!
    or
    I've never owned a OM 1 or OM 2, but appreciate them. Same goes for the Pentax K1000 and Spotmatic. The great thing now is that we can afford to buy a camera we've always wanted to play with because they are so affordable....so I just bought a Praktina outfit because I love the idea of an interchangable spring wind motor, and couldn't refuse if for the price....

    Actually - same goes for the Topcon I bought with motor drive and 2 lenses..the 50mm has fungus in it, but the motor drive works. I mean - for $55 what could I expect?
     
  26. flatulent1

    flatulent1 Subscriber

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    The Canon T90 is my favorite camera. It was a snap to learn and felt so good in the hand. If the shutter sticks (and they do after nearly 30 years) just whack it on the ground.

    Next up are the Contax RTS III and the Contax RX, both incredibly well-designed and sexy cameras. My favorite feature is the AE Lock switch which enables manual exposure control with the ease of auto exposure.

    Several EOS bodies come next, such as the RT, Elan 7NE and 1V. All great for different reasons.

    I also have a fondness for the rock-like solidness of the Canon F-1 series, and the incredibly smooth response I get from the XD-11.

    The Fuji Discovery 3000 is an odd duck, a P&S bridge camera made of plastic. Its quirky looks and excellent lens make it a favorite.