Choosing a new camera..

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by flajcsi, May 27, 2013.

  1. flajcsi

    flajcsi Member

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    Hi. I know it's an ugly question, but I need some experienced thoughts about my next purchase.
    Currently I own a Zenit TTL 35 mm camera with a Helios 44M lens.
    After a bit of researching, I ended up with this list:

    1. Fujica ST801
    2. Nikon FM3A
    3. Nikon FM2 T
    4. Nikon F2 AS
    5. Nikon F3
    6. Canon F1
    7. Canon AE-1
    8. Canon A 1
    9. Contax RTS III
    10. Contax G2
    11. Leica M3
    12. Pentax LX
    13. Pentax Spotmatic F

    What camera and what lens with that would you suggest?
    One of my thoughts would be the Pentax Spotmatic F with a 50mm F1.4 SMC.
    I'm on a buget of 300-400 USD but, in some motivated case I can go further.
    Mainly I shoot landscapes and portraits.
    Thank you for your time and patience.
     
  2. Tom1956

    Tom1956 Inactive

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    Nikon F2. It was Nikon's best camera and lenses are plentiful.
     
  3. Les Sarile

    Les Sarile Member

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    What a nice list. Depending on condition, the FM3A, FM2T, F2AS, G2 and M3 are not commonly available in your price range.
     
  4. pen s

    pen s Member

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    I'm an Olympus fan/user for many years, but with that said, from your list, I'd get one of the Nikons.

    Why.

    *They made a bunch of them and they are in good supply at reasonable prices.
    *Ditto for the Nikkor manual focus lenses, available, inexpensive, good quality.
    *Can still be serviced.

    If starting out I'd go for the F2 because of the interchangeable finders, and more importantly, interchangeable focusing screens.
     
  5. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    I have a Spotmatic F, they are great cameras but a touch noisy by later standards, I also have a Leica M3 and fouind I used it un prefeance.

    You need to think about size and weight, do you want an SLR or a rangefinder, an M3 in decent condition is going to be ouitside your budget range. You should be able to get a Spotmatic F + f1.4 lens for about $200.

    Ian
     
  6. Spicy

    Spicy Member

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    FM2 or FM2N would be fine, second the F2 but it's quite about larger/heavier and more robust.

    M3 would be great but you a) wouldn't want to use a $300-400 body without a $100-200 CLA (camera tuneup), or b) would need go over your budget at 650+ to find a user one, and that'll likely be ratty without a perfect viewfinder but mechanically ok.
     
  7. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    how about selling the zenit and adding whatever came of that sale
    to your camea-kitty and then .. add a few more dollars to it
    and get an m3, and use the lens you already have.
    i have a me super and k1000 ( grand and great grandchildren of the spotamatic f ) great
    cameras! but a greasy spoon compared the fine dining ( leica ) ..
    the frame lines may be a little off, but i think you can figure it out after the first roll .. :smile:

    have fun and good luck !
    john
     
  8. Les Sarile

    Les Sarile Member

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    Not to complicate things but I think you need to consider representation from Olympus and Minolta.
     
  9. flajcsi

    flajcsi Member

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    Thanks for the quick response. First of all a few dollars plus is ok. Also I have no problems with weight, but I want quality and IQ.
    F2 sound reasonable. Any other thoughts?
     
  10. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    I was never a Nikon fan in the 1970's I'd so I went down the Pentax route, but I did like the FM but I'd committed by then to a system.

    Looking from the perspective of starting new with a film camera system I think of all the cameras listed I'd go for the Nikon FM2 or FM3 or perhaps the Pentax LX simply becuase these lens mounts are sill in use although with added functionality. That means lens bought for these cameras could be used on DSLRs from the same manufacturer if you wanted.

    Ian
     
  11. Tom1956

    Tom1956 Inactive

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    What's a DSLR?:tongue:
     
  12. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    I think any from the list you quote would be great.
     
  13. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    flajcsi,

    Find each of the camera models and hold them. How does each on feel? Is this one too large for my hands? Is that one too small for my hands. How does it feel to make settings, focus, fire the shutter and advance the film. Those questions will tell you more about which camera is best for you than any posts on the internet. A camera is a very personal tool, so get personal with each model before you invest in one.

    This only comes from years selling cameras.

    Siriusly!
     
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  15. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    Canon F-1 is a good choice. Very durable and the FD lenses are reasonable. Check out KEH used cameras.

    Jeff
     
  16. Pioneer

    Pioneer Member

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    Any of the cameras you listed will work fine, assuming you can locate a good example in your price range. Most of the responses will be biased somewhat by brand loyalty and by what people have used off that list.

    I do think that the suggestion to find some examples and handle them before you make your choice is a good one. Nikon makes great cameras but I personally have never been able to warm to Nikon because I do not like them as well as Pentax when I work with them.

    After handling them the other thing you need to think about is lens selection. Every single one of the ones you listed make a good normal lens. But after that there will certainly be differences. What types of pictures do you like to take and what field of view do you like? Check the lens reviews for those you may be partial to and get some idea of how well they do their job, ergonomically as well as optically. By that time you will have narrowed things down to where you can probably make an informed choice that you won't regret later.
     
  17. brucemuir

    brucemuir Member

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    Nikon FM2n
     
  18. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Something not discussd here :wink:

    However some of us have to use them, and so I think it's perhaps relevant to think/choose to have cross compatibility. I wish I had but . . . . . . . . . .

    Ian
     
  19. whowantstoast

    whowantstoast Member

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    Weight and size not a problem you say? Then leave 35mm behind and go medium format. I bet you could put together a nice Bronica ETRS system in that price range.
     
  20. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    I've owned or still own seven of those in that list. They are all terrific, and throwing RF in with SLR in with high-end interchangeable RF AF like the G2, its just too wide a range of experiences and features to recommend one over the other easily. Heck I'd have a hard time choosing or recommend between the RTSIII amd the Nikons. That said if I asolutely had to get rid of them all and could keep only 1 body and 1 lens the Contax G2 with the 45 Planar would be it. If I could keep a whole system then the Nikon F2 with old 60's glass would be my choice.
     
  21. Les Sarile

    Les Sarile Member

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    How important are:
    1. Aperture priority auto exposure
    2. Battery dependance
    3. Viewfinder options
    4. Lens cost/selection
     
  22. Lowly

    Lowly Member

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    I second the medium format suggestion above for landscape and portrait work.
     
  23. Two23

    Two23 Member

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    The difference in quality between 35mm and a Bronica 645 is HUGE! And, they aren't all that much bigger. I used to shoot all my landscapes with an ETRSi, 40mm, 75mm, and 150mm. Excellent quality and they go cheap. This is easily your best value for both portraits and landscapes. A 35mm can't touch it for quality.


    Kent in SD
     
  24. flatulent1

    flatulent1 Subscriber

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    You really can't go wrong with any on your list, depending on your requirements of course. My quick suggestions would be the FM3A, F1 and AE-1, RTS III and G2, and/or the M3, with particular emphasis on the G2. But whowantstoast has a really good point about medium format. And while the Bronica are very nice, Mamiya 645 Pro is just as good and a bit less expensive. The chief drawbacks to medium format are that the film may not be readily available where you live, and 120 processing isn't done at your local drug stores.
     
  25. chip j

    chip j Subscriber

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    Nikon n75 w/28-105 D Nikkor.
     
  26. NDKodak

    NDKodak Member

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    Nikon,Canon,Pentax( remember the Spotmatic is a screw mount) are all going to work for you. The German stuff is pretty spendy and might not really be worth the extra dollars at this time. Medium format is definately worth considering. Only arguement against MF is you can not buy and roll your own film like you can with 35mm