Camera Advice

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Equipment' started by zenrhino, Jan 14, 2005.

  1. zenrhino

    zenrhino Member

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    First off, let me say that I'm not trying to start a range war between SLR/Rangefinder or Canon/Nikon or 35mm/MF fans or anyone else for that matter.

    Having said that...

    I'm graduating this summer and am going to buy myself a nice camera as a reward.

    Here are the bodies on my list, and if you have any pros/cons on them, please speak up:

    Nikon F4
    Nikon F100
    Nikon N90s (caveat: I already have a 28-105 AF nikon zoom lens)
    Canon T90
    Canon EOS 1v
    Bessa R3A
    Fuji 645

    I already have a Nikon D70 I use for PJ work and essentially want something fairly rugged with great glass available for my own (mostly street) work.

    Thanks!
     
  2. modafoto

    modafoto Subscriber

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    You already have the (rather nice) D70 and buying a Nikon film SLR will give you the ability to buy lenses that will fit both the D70 and the film SLR (not all lenses will work on both, but a lot will).
    I would go with F100 or a used F5 (not F4, I don't like the way it handles)

    T90 is not great buy to me. I find the T-series to be half old and half new as it tries to be a modern SLR, but it has the FD mount and will only take older lenses and NOT all FD lenses will fit. If you want AF you have buy Canons rather big lenses with AF built-in...not a great choice.

    The EOS 1v is a GREAT BUY. The EF lens mount is great and there are lots of options when it comes to lenses. I am Canon EOS guy myself, and therefore I can only recommend EOS.

    The Bessa is great Leica-like range-finder which can be used with Leica glass. That gives you Leica-quality photos with a cheaper body. The Voigtländer glass is great, too! Great buy

    Fuji 645 is do not know much about, so I will shut up :tongue:
     
  3. David H. Bebbington

    David H. Bebbington Inactive

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    Big range here! Main question is - do you want something that is a film version of your D70 and does many of the same things, or do you want something different? And how much do you want to spend? The Fuji would be most different (bigger format, also more bulky and higher film costs). The Bessa offers the traditional Leica experience (not entirely the same build quality) for not too much money, the F4 is a superb system camera but huge and heavy, the T90 is getting long in the tooth, an EOS 1V is great but maybe unnecessary unless you want to buy into the whole Canon system, either Nikon would be the most cost-effective choice, as you have a Nikon lens already (although a fast prime lens, like 50 mm 1.4 or 1.2, would probably be better for street work).
     
  4. johnnywalker

    johnnywalker Subscriber

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    Nikon FM3A with a 50 mm 1.4 or 1.8 lens!! And there are so many other good, relatively inexpensive lenses available for this camera.
     
  5. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    There are very few FD lenses that won't fit a T-90, but even as a Canon FD user, I would say that if you're invested in the Nikon system, then you might as well continue on that path, if you purchase another 35mm SLR.

    That said, I've found it very eye opening to try different kinds of cameras and different formats. If you're shooting street, a rangefinder or maybe a TLR is the classic tool. They're quiet and stealthy, and there's some great rangefinder glass out there. I'd go for a MF rangefinder myself, if that were of interest to me, like the M7-II. If you want something a little more compact, I think there are some good deals to be had on the Bronica 645RF, since Bronica is moving away from MF cameras (though it's stated that it will support the rangefinder for longer than it will continue supporting the SLR's. I have an S2A, which has been unsupported for years, but there are people who work on them and have parts).
     
  6. rbarker

    rbarker Member

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    In general, my usual recommendation is to stay within the same product line for lens interchangeability and functional similarity - unless one is looking for specific features or capabilities a distinctly different camera provides. Thus, Nikon SLR + Leica M would work (it does for me at least), but Nikon + Canon would be a hair-ripper.

    I have the F4s (along with an F5 and a D-1). It's rugged and durable (metal body), and has been a real work horse. There was, however, a significant design shift between the F4 and the F5, and your D-70 is more similar to the F5. Thus, you might find the F4 design to be a little jarring. I'd suggest handling an F4 before making a decision between it and an F5.

    The Bessa R3A would be a nice (and relatively inexpensive) introduction to the RF world and M-mount lenses. It would be excellent for street work - perhaps better than the F4/F5 in many respects. A rangefinder imposes a completely different style of working, however, and some SLR users have a hard time adapting. One thing to bear in mind is that focus accuracy with an RF is largely a matter of the length of the RF base length (the distance between the viewfinder and the RF focusing patch). The Bessa has a shorter RF base length than the Leica Ms, for example. That's usually not a big issue, but it's something to be aware of with this type of camera - particularly at very wide apertures and with the longer RF lenses (75mm and above).
     
  7. Lee Shively

    Lee Shively Member

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    You've got a Nikon, so stick to Nikon. I'd go with the F100.
     
  8. zenrhino

    zenrhino Member

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    Well, I have a Yashica GSN, Kiev 4 and a Canonet QL G3 17 (could that camera have a longer name, please?), but on both of them, they're a total bear to get anyone to work on them and the rangefinders are getting dim in their old age. I was thinking about the Bessa as just an upgrade to a modern RF body.

    The only other SLR I have (other than the Kiev 60) is a Praktica from the late 50's. I find it kind of a bear to focus after working with RF's for the last year.

    The only worry I have about an F100 or F4/5 is that with my D70, the AF will grab inexactly, even in spot focus mode. I thought maybe with a RF or F3 (FM3A?) I'd have to slow down a notch, decide where I want to focus, and then shoot.

    I certainly don't mind spending $1000 on a great camera, or even $1000 on a great camera and feeding it 120 film for life in the case of a Fuji or other 645.

    I guess I'd just like a body that lets me spend more of the critical nanoseconds in composition and getting the shot rather than rassling an aged camera/lens into doing what I want.
     
  9. Helen B

    Helen B Member

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    Are there any unique lenses or other system things in the Canon / Nikon / Leica-Voigtlander-ZI-etc camps that would swing the decision for you? For example, I have a T-90 just because of the 24 mm f/1.4. The T-90 is a bit of an odd one out compared to my old Nikon and Leica junk but it was worth getting used to.

    The Bessa could be the start of a beautiful relationship with rangefinders.

    How much do you like using a zoom? How happy would you be if you used only prime lenses?

    (Oops, I've just seen your simultaneous post)

    Best,
    Helen
     
  10. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    Its essential to know what you want to use it for (just street?). What sort of photography flicks your switch or are you getting into? The problem is some camera are no good at all for certain things. (like and fuji 645 for sport)
     
  11. rbarker

    rbarker Member

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    Yeah, the auto-focus spots never seem to be in the right location, but that's even more of an issue with the RF patch. The Bessa would be a big upgrade from your current RF kit, though. Decisions, decisions. :wink:
     
  12. roteague

    roteague Member

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    The N80 is essentially the film version of the D70. You may want to consider it. The F4 and F100 are pretty big for street work; I wouldn't go to Cannon unless you want to replace lenses. Personally, I've had a N80 for about 4 years and it has been a good camera. My only complaint with it is that it is too small for my hands - although I have added the optional battery pack (which uses AA batteries) so it is more comfortable for me to carry.
     
  13. Craig

    Craig Subscriber

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    I guess one major point is do you want AF or not? I've used a Bessa, and I prefer it to an M body, simply because I find the rangefinder easier to focus than the Leica, but it can still use Leica glass.

    If you want a SLR, since you have Nikon already I'd stick with it, unless there is a good reason to change to Canon. I think Canon's AF is ahead of Nikons, but it depends upon if you like the feel of the body.

    I currently have an F4 and just got an F6. Completely different operating characteristics, the F6 is basically a digital body that uses film, in that there are 2 LCD panels, and you have to scroll through menus to change things. The AF is superb, and its fits well in my hand.

    The F4 is a dinosaur in comparison, the AF is noticably inferior, both in speed and accuracy. The F6 just latches on its in focus, right now. The F4 has to hunt a bit I really don't see much difference in metering accuracy, both are good.

    One problem I have with the F4 (and F5 as well) is their size and weight. They are big, heavy cameras, and after a while it gets tiresome on the shoulder. The F6 is somewhat smaller and lighter, but still not a lightweight.

    If you are considering an MF camera, take a look at the F3. It's a very tough camera, accurate metering, and always feels good in the hand. Without the motordrive its quite compact, light and quiet. With the motor its just as bulky and heavy as the F4, but a little faster than the F4. Using the Nicad pack, I could get 8 fps out of it, something that only an F6 with the booster can do. An advantage of the F3 is they are plentiful, and fairly cheap.

    Craig
     
  14. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    F4 is big, heavy & slow. Early autofocus from Nikon. Either the N90 or F100 would be a big improvement. N90 is a great basic camera, it didn't have a lot of bells & whistles but many wedding shooters prefered it to anything else Nikon made at that time. F100 is an upgrade to that camera. faster AF, more sophisticated meter & custom functions. Neither N90 or F100 give 100% viewfinder coverage so if a lot of macro is in your future you may think about a used F5. They're a lot easier to find on the used market than you may think & cost is around that of the F4.
     
  15. TPPhotog

    TPPhotog Member

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    At 35mm I'd say stick with your Nikon as you already have some lenses and again I'd recommend the F80(N80) with the SB-16 battery grip. Alternatively the F100. I've owned and used both giving them lots of abuse and they carried on working.
     
  16. MattCarey

    MattCarey Member

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    Keep in mind the -s versions of the camera. I.e. the F4s and the N90s have faster autofocus than their earlier brothers.

    The difference in price for these used cameras makes it sensible to get the -s versions.

    That said, I have an N90 (non -s) and love it. I put it away while I work on my other cameras. Everytime I come back I really enjoy using it.

    I think that keeping within the Nikons system makes a lot of sense. You can play to the strengths of the different camera. Long fast lenses (e.g. 80-200 f2.8 or 85mm f1.4) become really long for the D70 with it's small sensor. You get essentially get a 300mm (equivalent) f2.8 lens on the D70. You will eventually need more of a wide angle lens for the D70. If you stick to non-DX lenses, e.g. something like a 20-35 zoom, you will get something pretty darn wide for the film camera.

    Matt
     
  17. Akalai

    Akalai Member

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    OK well I am hoping that this doesn't come across in the wrong way but do you really need another camera?

    Why not take the money and go some where and chill out for a bit if your just finishing your studies...might be awhile before you get to have another holiday once you start working. Besides you have enough existing gear to take with you, maybe make your break a self assigned project of some sort or another???

    If you are still keen on getting yourself a camera as a reward check out what your current gear enables you to do and see if anything is missing as far as capability...to me it would seem bit of a double up to have both the D70 and say an F4. Yes I am aware of the film/digital pros and cons and why it might be handy to have both but perhaps heading off in another direction might be more rewarding, ie either a rangefinder like you already mentioned or perhaps even a nice old Rolleiflex 3.5F.

    Personally if you want a camera that is going to be a memento of your achievement, something you plan on keeping as well as something you might occassionally use to blow away the cobwebs when your feeling burnt out why not buy a nice old Leica M3 or M2 with a Dual Range 50mm Summicron. Get it overhauled by someone like DAG (www.dagcamera.com) and it will be like a brand new camera. Like someone else mentioned it will also give you a chance to use Leica M lenses, very dangerous as they can be addictive.... :wink: "Remember the first taste is free!"

    OK well have fun in whatever you decide to do, Cheers!

    AKALAI
     
  18. rduraoc

    rduraoc Member

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    I also think that you should stick to Nikon, as you have the D70. But if not, have you checked out the Minolta Dynax/Maxxum 7? Beautifull camera, in the F100 range, but with a much better quality/cost ratio. And Minolta glass is very good. I've just got a 7 to replace my Pentax MZ-50 (ZX-50 in USA?), and I can´t stop saying good things about it.
     
  19. MattCarey

    MattCarey Member

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    I had two Canonets, both with dim rangefinders. I took the top off, cleaned the mirror (gently) and windows inside with some alcohol and put the top back on. Brightened them up nicely.

    Of course, since I had two, I could try one and still have a good one if I messed it up.

    Some of my favorite images (including my absolute favorite) were taken with the Canonet. It is dead quiet, and no one seems to take it seriously, so you can get some good candids.

    Matt
     
  20. Soeren

    Soeren Member

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    As allready said. Since you have Nikon the sensible thing to do would be to stick with nikon. I have the F90X and I lowe it but I would still recomend the F100 since it is the most combatible camera in the range. It'l take the VR lenses which the older wont though it still takes AI(S) which the newer ones wont(well they will but without metering). If looking for something different I probably would go with a MF RF as the Bronica RF 645 or a Mamiya 6. MF for the size of the Neg and RF for the different handling though most MF's handle different than the average 35mm SLR. I can't comment on the Canons and the Bessa since I have never used any of them.
    Regards Søren