FM3a user and new to this forum, saying "hi." Hmm, new lenses, anyone?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by Colden, Aug 13, 2005.

  1. Colden

    Colden Member

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    Hi,

    New user saying "hello."

    Very happy with my FM3a. Are there many users of this system here? What do you like about yours in this age of [affordable] automatic SLRs? Do you ever wish it had a spot meter (or 100% VF, or mirror-lockup, or...) instead of the 60/40% meter?

    I'm new to 35mm and have just 2 lenses: 50mm f/1.2 AI-S and 28-70mm f/2.8 ED IF AF-S. The AF-S lens has a nice feel to its focus ring, but I really prefer the way the 50mm focuses, so not sure if I will be buying any more AF-S (or even AF) lenses. I'm mostly into portrait photography at this point, and find myself lacking a 85mm or 105mm (or even 135mm) lens. What do you recommend? Should I get the 80-200mm f/2.8 AF-S (used only at this point) to go with my 28-70mm (for future expansion to AF body) or do you suggest something else?

    Thanks!
     
  2. SuzanneR

    SuzanneR Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I much prefer prime lenses. I would get either an 85mm or a 105mm for portraits, and skip the 80-200mm. I have one zoom, and the negs just don't have the same sharpness, somehow. If money is an issue, try KEH.

    Welcome to APUG, and enjoy yoru time here.
     
  3. resummerfield

    resummerfield Subscriber

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    If you’re doing portraits, consider the 105/1.8 or 85/1.8 manual focus Nikkors. They’re only available used, but they can give great selective focus, and both are very sharp. Check that they are AI, or have been modified to AI.
     
  4. Paul Sorensen

    Paul Sorensen Member

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    Even the nicer AF lenses (which yours definately is) do not seem to focus manually as well as the MF lenses. I guess if compatability with AF is an issue, you may want to go with the AF lenses, but I would probably be looking MF and wait until I really want an AF body to go that route. I guess the issue might be, just how likely are you to buy an AF body soon? I also agree with Suzanne about primes, they are less convenient, but you get better speed, often much better, and lower cost.

    Paul.
     
  5. BradS

    BradS Subscriber

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    I have the FM3a and absolutley love it. For portraits I like the 105 / 2.5 AIS. It can still be had new at fairly reasonable prices and give fantastic results.

    ...welcome.
     
  6. gchpaco

    gchpaco Member

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    I actually find the 60/40 meter to be very accurate; competitive with my FA, and that has a matrix meter in it. For an FM3a, the AI lenses are fine things. I have the 85/1.8 AF-D, the 105/2.5 AI, and the 135/2.8 AIs. Of them probably my favorite is actually the 85 because of the speed, but the 105 is hard to beat. I don't use the 135 much any more because I have the shorter ones. I find I usually prefer prime lenses for portraiture, but that's probably because most of mine is done under available light conditions where the more light the better.
     
  7. gchpaco

    gchpaco Member

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    Oh, it occurs to me that there is something I'd like on the FM3a. I'd like the motor drive to work more like the MD-15, where it can power the body; I've flatlined the batteries on an FM3a before because the MD-12 will always insist that the body power the meter if it's on.
     
  8. BWGirl

    BWGirl Member

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    Welcome to APUG!! :smile:

    You'll find lots of good info here & undoubtably you will find many people who have similar kits!

    As for having only two lenses.... well... from what I have figured out... you can only use one at a time! :wink: :D

    Welcome!
     
  9. narsuitus

    narsuitus Member

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    With the exception of mirror lock-up, interchangeable viewfinders, and 100% viewfinder accuracy, the F3a has all the features I need (durability, reliability, interchangeable motor drives, interchangeable view screens, and battery independence).

    For portrait work, I suggest you consider the following Nikon lenses:

    105mm f/2.5
    105mm f/2.8 micro (macro)
    70-180mm f/4.5-5.6 ED AF micro zoom
    80-200mm f/2.8 AF-S zoom

    My personal preference is the 105mm micro.

    I did not recommend the 85mm prime lens because it is so close in focal length to what you already have.
     
  10. Colden

    Colden Member

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    Thank you so much for your messages and quick replies. I like the forum already!

    Speaking of the 80-200mm AF-S. This lens has undergone quite a number of changes in the recent years hasn't it?

    At some point it was a push-pull 80-200mm AF, then replaced by a two-touch 80-200mm AF and finally the 80-200mm AF-S that was discontinued just a year ago, correct? And now it's back to the two-touch 80-200mm AF. So, the loaded question: how have the optics changed from year to year through all these hardware/housing/motor changes? What model/generation would you recommend getting on the used market given the recent AF-S prices are above what the new/current AF version sells for?

    Thanks.
     
  11. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    It is much easier to give good advice when one knows what you are interested in photographing.

    So, what are you interested in photographing?
     
  12. Uncle Bill

    Uncle Bill Subscriber

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    As an owner of vintage Nikon gear (an early F and Nikkormat Ftn) I would definately suggest the 105 lens as part of the arsenal. I'm right now putting through its paces a a 60's vintage Nikkor-O35 f2 which is a really nice lens,nothing like vintage glass. As Claire said it all depends what you are shooting, that will determine your lens selection. The FM3 is a modern classic, enjoy in good health.

    Uncle Bill
     
  13. Colden

    Colden Member

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    Portraits. Sometimes full-length, often with severe cropping. All sorts of angles. 90% available light. 90% handheld. 50/50% indoor/outdoor. 90% B&W. Sometimes nudes. 98% without filters or strobes. Possibly looking intro reflectors. Is this still lens-relevant?

    Also, any insight into the 80-200mm commentary I posted 2 replies up?

    Thanks.
     
  14. narsuitus

    narsuitus Member

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    You may also want to consider a manual focus 80-200mm.
     
  15. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    Based on what you already have and your application I see no reason to buy any lens,
     
  16. rexp

    rexp Member

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    I can't speak on the 80-200 other than what I purchased last week. I ordered the "AF 80-200mm f/2.8D" from B&H. It is the "two ring" version, with the short beefy (better) tripod mount. One ring for zoom control, one for focusing. There is a slim ring between these two with a small button on it, you press the button and rotate a few degrees to switch between manual and auto focus. Works quite nicely, although the AF-S with internal motor are easier to override manually. I believe this one is still the old optics, with the AF-S version using updated optics. You should be able to verify this with a web search. Ken Rockwell did a nice writeup on this lens, and he has quite a few Nikon lenses reviewed on his site ( http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/80200.htm ).

    If you are doing any shooting outside, I suggest you pick up the lens hood (if I remember correctly it is the HB-7, but check first, or ask & I will look at mine when I get home). Nikon includes the honkin' lens case which I would rather not have had to pay for, but when it is included you don't have much of a choice. I wish they would sell the lens for a little less and include the hood instead.

    Nice lens, handles well, but I have yet to develop the film. As always, one doesn't know until you see the prints. But, I am hopeful.
     
  17. elekm

    elekm Member

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    I agree that the 105 is a really nice portrait lens. Other lenses might include a 28mm and if you really want something wide, consider the 20mm.

    You can do quite a bit with a three- or four-lens kit.
     
  18. gnashings

    gnashings Inactive

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    And its amazing how much of it you can do with a good fast 50mm - since so much of your shooting is hand held, available light, a longer lens may be quite limiting. I know that perspective-wise, a 50mm is not perfect for portraiture... but it may be better to have an image than not have one at all. And remember, its not just the apperture that will come into play here - the longer lens will get too long to be hand held a lot sooner than a 50mm or a 35mm. I know that for indoor, available light "shooting from the hip" I find almost everything above a 50mm to become too dark too soon.
     
  19. Ara Ghajanian

    Ara Ghajanian Member

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    I'll give another vote for the 105 f2.5 AIS. I've done a lot of portrait work with that lens and it never lets me down. It seems like the perfect focal length for closer portrait work.

    To comment on the above post by gnashings: I agree that you can do quite a lot with a good 50mm lens as far as portraits are concerned. It may distort the face a little bit, but in the case of low light situations, it is invaluable (especially since you have a 50mm f1.2).

    I think we have similar styles and I feel you're going in the right direction equipment-wise.
    Ara
     
  20. Marco Gilardetti

    Marco Gilardetti Member

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    Well, not exactly: Nikkormat FTn, FE2 and FM2; all lenses in a 1.5 ratio from 16mm to 300mm.

    Of course the fact that it does not behave and look as an affordable automatic SLR.

    Well, Nikkormats have it...

    About lenses: previous answers were very wise, considering what you already have. I can't hide that my favourite portrait lens in my setup is, however, the 85mm f/1.8 AI. Consider it in case you'll decide to switch to non-zoom lenses.
     
  21. skahde

    skahde Member

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    Me thinks your MD-12 is more of an MD-11 or not working properly. An MD-12 will automatically shut off even an FE's battery consumption after about 30s, something the camera can't do on its own. An external 2-pin release cord will drain the batteries of any camera used as long as the MD is switched on, though.

    best

    Stefan
     
  22. skahde

    skahde Member

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    The FM3a has Mirror-prefire together with the self-timer. Best thing since sliced bread if you ask me. The finder image comes back right after the exposure with no additional fiddling and engaging it is one push with your index-finger (you don't have to fully cock the self-timer btw.).

    best

    Stefan
     
  23. shadesofgrey

    shadesofgrey Member

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    I second that: And welcome to APUG. I have only three lenses now 35/f2 85/f2 105/f2 sold my AFS 08-200/2.8 as it was really just a little too cumbersome to cart around all day and the tripod mount was real MICKY MOUSE! Anyway, I prefer to travel light. If I were to buy another (I won't as for me prime lenses rule) I'd go for the older 2 rring model; less of a beast, cheaper and just as good optically.

    The FM3a has Mirror-prefire together with the self-timer. Best thing since sliced bread if you ask me. The finder image comes back right after the exposure with no additional fiddling and engaging it is one push with your index-finger (you don't have to fully cock the self-timer btw.).

    best

    Stefan
    ..........
    As stared above: The FM3a dose have mirror lock up (sure you know this) linked to the self timer, one very neat idea really. I don't miss the none inclusive spot meter as I use a hand held Sekonic set at 1-deg. Most in built spot meters alter slightly with lens angle, not a problem, just my idiom, and it helps me to slow down and concentrate rather than snap away. The FM3a is a real nice bit of kit and the AE lock button a dream for street photography. Can't think of a present day 35mm camera that comes close to it as a working tool; well, maybe my F5, but thats another story. Hope you enjoy your time on here and your FM3a.
    All the best.

    B.

    PS. Just a couple of pet dislikes really....setting/feel of the ASA/ISO dial is real naf and the chrome button is a little slippery, agian, just a small glitch in an otherwise wonderful camera.
     
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