Considering my first 35mm camera.

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by Pandysloo, Nov 16, 2012.

  1. Pandysloo

    Pandysloo Member

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    Right now I use a Bronica SQ-A system so I have a basic understanding of film in general; this is more in regards to equipment (though some more modern, automated features I am unfamiliar with).

    So far the best no-frills workhorse seems to be the Nikon FE, and they are nice and cheap as well. Right now the only manual lens I have is a Pentax SMC 50mm 1.4 which I use for video work. Looking at adapters, the only ones I found involved another glass element which begs the question: are K lenses not preferable for F mount work? Back when I adapted my Pentax to a 7D, the adapter was jut a thin metal ring. The K to F mount adapters seem like they do more of a "translation" than a simple thread adaptation.

    I love the split prism design of my Bronica. Is this available for 35mm SLRs? The few I have used in my life didn't have it, and I had a really hard time nailing focus quickly.

    One reason the Nikon seems inviting is because I can get a 100-300mm f5.6 for ~$100. Between a 50mm and a telephoto that goes up to 300mm, they will likely be the only two lenses I need for my style of shooting.

    Are there any other recommendations for a bare-bones workhorse? Something that can be used with a good bang/buck telephoto that goes to 300mm? I have heard good things about the Pentax Spotmatic, though I can't see any clear advantages or disadvantages of that over an FE. And of course, it needs to be black. :ninja:
     
  2. illumiquest

    illumiquest Member

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    Go with the Nikon, the pentax system is considerably older, less reliable with the cloth shutter and the metering on the FE is going to be one hell of a lot better.
     
  3. Peltigera

    Peltigera Member

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    I like my Canon EOS 50e - it is the only 'modern' 35 mm camera i do like (I like a lot of 35mm rangefinders from the late '50s and early '60s). The advantage is that it is fully compatible with Canon's current output and after 30+ years, there are a lot of second-hand lenses out there which brings the price right down.
     
  4. rthomas

    rthomas Member

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    The standard screen on the Nikon FE is a "type K" which has a split-image focus aid with a narrow microprism collar surrounding it. This is the same on most of Nikon's manual focus cameras from the late 70's and the 80's. Nikon also made plain matte screens ("B") and grid screens ("E") for these cameras. If you need any more specialized focus screens, you need an F-series camera like the F3. I am not sure what third-party manufacturers may have offered for focus screens. Also, I don't know how easy it is to change the screen on the FE (never owned one), but I know it is simple on the FE2 and the FM2, both of which are also wonderful workhorse cameras. And they do come in black. :smile:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 16, 2012
  5. Stephanie Brim

    Stephanie Brim Member

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    I've had 3 FEs. I'm kind of looking for another one. It's a good camera. The 50mm f/1.4 AI Nikkor is my favorite of the MF 50's. So...er...I may be biased.
     
  6. PentaxBronica

    PentaxBronica Member

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    Actually...

    Pentax dropped the cloth shutter. If you buy a K2 or anything later (aside from the MX) you get an electronically controlled metal shutter.

    The metering on my K2 is more than good enough for slide film. I don't really see how any other brand could be better. A light meter doesn't compensate for poor technique anyway, it's just a guide. Judging by the internet entries I've found the K2 is pretty equal in features with that FE, about the only things lacking are a motor drive (unless you find a K2 DMD and the matching winder) and the user changeable focusing screens. If those are desired then finding an LX will give you both, along with TTL flash, a 1/2000 top shutter speed, and interchangeable viewfinders.

    As for "older" they've kept the K mount since 1975. So you can pick anything between a 1975 K2 and a 2001 MZ-S and use any K lens with an aperture ring (all of them apart from the FA-J and DA series, the only other exception are the cheaper bodies with the "crippled" K mount which you probably won't want anyway). You can use the earlier screw mount lenses with a simple adapter, although you don't get open aperture metering that way.

    I'd look for the best condition K2 or K2 DMD (rarer but with a few useful additions over the normal K2) you can lay hands on then have it CLA'd. If you can spend a little more then doing the same with an LX will get you one of the best 35mm SLRs ever made.

    As for adapters, is the lens you have an SMC Takumar or an SMC Pentax? Optically they're pretty much identical, but the SMC Takumars were the last series of M42 screw mount lenses while the SMC Pentax were the first K mount.
     
  7. ArtO

    ArtO Member

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    Nikon F3 is a real workhorse of a camera. It's well built and there are plenty of good bargains to be had. Beyond that you have a wealth of lenses to choose from and you can change your focus screen whenever you want. Screens are reasonable priced. The big baddy with the F3 is flash. You need a special adapter for flash shoe.
     
  8. Pandysloo

    Pandysloo Member

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    It's an SMC Pentax, the non-Takumar one.
     
  9. EASmithV

    EASmithV Member

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    Get the Nikon.
     
  10. LarryP

    LarryP Member

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    sounds like you have the k mount pentax I'd buy a black k2 like the one at keh . Personal bias here but I'd say the k2 is every bit as good as the nikon you're looking at priced competively and pentax lens are just as good as nikons but priced better.I remember a thread on rff about an adapter for the 50 1.4 to leica m mount that got a lot of interest.
     
  11. Pandysloo

    Pandysloo Member

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    Forgot to add one important detail: price range. I'm looking at around $100 for a body. I also have no interest in flash so I'm not willing to pay more for those features.
     
  12. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    Early Olympus?
     
  13. Les Sarile

    Les Sarile Member

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    Split screen prisms are quite common among the manual focus cameras. A lot of them have interchangeable screens so you can pick the type you want. A few of these bodies - only one Pentax body and a handful of Nikons, even have interchangeable viewfinders that offer a world of flexibility.

    Because it seems you have a K Mount lens - bayonet instead of screw type, you cannot use it on a Spotmatic or any other body with the M42 screw mount so you will have to get a K mount body. The range of bodies you can use this with are on either Manual focus types to Auto focus types.

    Now if you buy the Nikon lens, you will need to get a Nikon body for it. Of course this will depend on the Nikon lens type.

    If you go with a manual focus body, the main thing to consider is that you have some warranties/guarantees since these are generally a few decades old and there can be no accounting for previous owner. If you are in the US, you might want to look at KEH as they offer money back guarantees and particularly great prices.
     
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  15. elekm

    elekm Member

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    You can go the cheapskate route and pick up a KX, K1000 or MX body for less than $100. Not sure about the price of a K2.
     
  16. Peter Simpson

    Peter Simpson Member

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    I love my Nikons. The F3 is a lot of camera, but it's a bit bigger than the FE and as someone already pointed out, it needs an adapter if you want to mount a flash (other than a SB- with the right type base).
    If you are sensitive to size, you may want an FE, but I love my F3. They usually go for around $120 but keep an eye on KEH -- price varies and BGN grade can be a great deal if you're not concerned with cosmetics.
     
  17. Kav

    Kav Member

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    I totally agree, the F3 is a bit larger then the FE line of cameras, but not by much if a motor drive is not installed. One other nice thing bout the F3 is you can use it with more Nikon lenses then most of the cheaper Nikons. This comes into play if you are looking at using older lenses.

    I have a FE2, F3, and a few F4 cameras. I am going to let the FE2 go to a new home because I like the ability to configure the F3 and F4 to what I need with different view screens among many other options.

    You say you are not going to be using flash. If at any point in time you even think you may want to play with a flash I would not get a F3. Not only does it have a non standard flash shoe, it has a slow sync speed compared to my FE2.
     
  18. Les Sarile

    Les Sarile Member

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    Actually there is not a significant size difference between Nikon's lineup but there is in their weight.

    [​IMG]
     
  19. PentaxBronica

    PentaxBronica Member

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    K2s in decent condition go for anywhere between £50 and £100+ here depending on a few factors:

    Colour - black is rarer and more desirable, I'm told it was a special order at the time so most just bought a chrome one

    Lens - mine was £50 because it only had an M 50mm f2 with it (since replaced with the K 50mm f1.4 like yours). The more unusual the lens the higher the price will be. I also had to straighten a bent top plate to get the hotshoe level again, give it a good clean and replace the light seals. A couple of hours work and I have a very presentable K2 which appears in full working order judging by test rolls.

    There was a dedicated ever-ready case for the K2 which doesn't fit anything else (and the cases for the KX/KM won't fit a K2 as the tripod socket they attach to is a few millimetres further over), if you see one then buy it quickly as they aren't common. The front part is a pain but can be unclipped and left at home, the back makes the camera easier to grip and protects it from minor knocks. I can post a photo of the case to help identify them, the design is pretty distinctive. If you see a K2 for sale with the ERC then snap it up - generally cameras which have always lived in one had a very easy life although a CLA may be needed to deal with a decade or two of inactivity.

    The K2 was launched as the professional model in the original K series lineup, with a price tag to match. There weren't many about to begin with, and people who have them don't tend to let them go (I'd only swap mine for an LX).

    The K2 DMD is a different beast, rarer and more expensive as a result. I nearly bought one for £80 with some brassing and a non-functional self timer, but decided that it wasn't worth it and bought a lens instead. Had the timer worked I'd have pounced on it. See here to read what upgrades it has over the normal K2 and decide if it'd be worth the effort and cost to find one. I'd still like one but I'm quite happy with my normal K2 in the meantime.

    You won't get an LX in working order for $100 or less, you pay roughly double that for a CLA for one here. You could probably get an MX but that puts you back on the cloth shutter - I seem to get decent exposures with mine and they've had no servicing beyond a cosmetic clean and new light seals. KXs tend to be a bit more expensive as they're rarer, but they do have MLU (as does the K2).
     
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  20. Pandysloo

    Pandysloo Member

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    Thanks for your input, everyone. I found a CLA'd Nikon FE for $85. I'm thinking about picking up a Nikkor 50mm 1.8 when the funds allow.

    df3e2ab8343c11e2a8a522000a1f9c9f_7.jpg

    Tis a thing of beauty.
     
  21. fotch

    fotch Member

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    Sounds like a good deal.
     
  22. marenmcgowan

    marenmcgowan Subscriber

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    Great deal...I have a Nikon FM2n and I love it. Small and light and dependable (and black:smile:). I think you will have the same experience with your "new" FE!
     
  23. Stephanie Brim

    Stephanie Brim Member

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    If you can find the f/1.4 at a decent price, either the AI or the AI-S, I highly suggest it over the f/1.8. Either lens is good, though.
     
  24. NZed

    NZed Member

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    I have an FE2. If you want some flash, i would go with FE2.

    FE apparently doesnt match up with Pre-AI lenses that well.
     
  25. Chris Lange

    Chris Lange Member

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    I'll recommend Nikon F3s to the end of the earth. They're my favorite all around 35mm SLRs. Other Nikons might do certain things better, but as far as a do-it-all no-bullshit camera, the F3 is damn near impossible to beat.
     
  26. Pandysloo

    Pandysloo Member

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    Why do you like the f1.4 more? From what I've read, the 1.8 is sharper, has less distortion, and cheaper.

    In what way does it not match up with pre-AI lenses? I'm not entirely familiar with Nikon's lens history. And I have zero interest in flash, in fact I'd put the FE2 under the category of having too many features I'll never need.