Give Me Your List: 35mm SLR Great emi-Pro Bodies

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by SilverGlow, Dec 30, 2008.

  1. SilverGlow

    SilverGlow Member

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    What do you think is a great semi-pro AF 35mm SLR body/s that you think is the one to have, and why (no wrong answers, and give more then one if you want) and again, no pro bodies please:

    I'll start:

    Canon EOS-3, with battery/vertical grip.

    Why?:

    1. Eye control focus point selection. Minimizes re-composing.
    2. E-TTL flash logic that makes nearly any flashing job a no-brainer.
    3. Quiet rewind mode.
    4. 45 focus points to choose from. Minimizes re-composing.
    5. Up to 7 frames/second.
    6. Under $200 in excellent condition used.
    7. Separate light meters for body & flash.
    8. Uses one's existing EF mount lenses.
    9. Shutter life rated at 100,000 actuations.
    10. Dust/Moisture sealed.
    11. Compatible with over 60 EF lenses, several flashes, and dozens of EOS accessories.
    12. 18 Custom Functions
    13. 1/8,000s shutter speed

    Dislikes:

    1. Will fog IR film.
    2. Shutter is very loud.
    3. LCD prone to fading eventually.
    4. Unless one has the optional battery/vert grip (takes 8 AA bats), this camera will die once the 2CR5 battery is no longer made.
    5. It is a bit big and heavy.
    6. Flash synch just 1/200s.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 30, 2008
  2. ron110n

    ron110n Member

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    Nikon F5

    Why:
    1. As a mostly rangefinder shooter, the Nikon F5 with it's AF feature and strong motor, is my alternative for a faster camera than my Leica M7.
    2. My older AI-S primes from my Nikon F3HP is compatible, utilizing a Nikon Type L Focusing Screen.
    3. Convenient for a bifocal spectacle person like myself on lenses over 75mm, But truthfully over 50mm frame for my eyesight. :D
    4. There are tons of other features the F5 can offer that I can't utilize as a candid and night club shooter. I need to make a quick decision and capture the moment quick.

    Cons:
    1. Big and Bulky
    2. Like any SLR, it is very intrusive for candid shots.
    3. Flash, Tripod and Monopod dependent in low light.
    4. Too many wheels and buttons that I don't need. All I need is the AF and strong motor.
    5. I use the extra over head shutter at the bottom corner, only by pressing it by accident.
    6. Will release the shutter when camera is on unlike my F3HP that need to be cocked.

    I love my rangefinder hand held @ ISO400.
     
  3. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Canon EOS 3. They are the best bang for the buck. They sell for about $300, and often for under $200, yet they have the same exact auto focus performance as the 1V, plus ECF, which the 1V does not have. All things considered, this is the best all around AF camera that Canon has ever made, IMO.

    The HUGE drawback is that they will not accept manual focus lenses, which a Nikon will. Well, they will take other brands' lenses via an adapter, but you lose auto aperture and distance scale accuracy.
     
  4. mudman

    mudman Member

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    Nikon F100
    Pros
    Smaller and Lighter and batteries last longer then the F5
    Compatible with all of my AI'd and AI MF lenses
    Fast shutter speed 5fps with battery grip
    Quiet
    battery grip is cheap now
    can use any AF selection point with MF lenses sweet!
    Focus indicator tells you which way to go to get in focus
    Well priced now.


    Cons
    Wish I had the Eye control focus I used to with Canon
    Uses batteries
    LCD screen will fade eventually.
     
  5. SilverGlow

    SilverGlow Member

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    Ron, really cool picture of the drumer & bassist!
     
  6. SilverGlow

    SilverGlow Member

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    2F/2F, I didn't know that about the EOS-3 & manual focus lenses...I was thinking somkeday of buy manual focus fast 50mm prime for the 3...perhaps an adapter so I can use a zeiss lens someday...
     
  7. lgrabun

    lgrabun Member

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    Minolta Dynax/Maxxum 7.

    Cheap and great lenses, honeycomb display at the back with exposure values of the scene, neat AF point selection, small and lightweight can be still used by big handed boys when grip is attached.

    EDIT: Did I mention the function of storing the data of 8 last exposed rolls i.e. aperture, time and method of measuring the light?
     
  8. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    No EOS camera takes Canon manual focus lenses (except the T/S lenses, of course). This is Canon's largest drawback nowadays, IMO. I would lick their boots if they would manufacture a digital body that takes FD lenses. For the time being, I just mount my '60's Nikon glass on my 10D (and my 50 1.2L :D The only EF lens I have).

    As far as putting an expensive manual focus lens on your 3, my POV is that the Canon EF 50mm 1.4 is a better option, unless you NEED a decent depth of field scale. It is fine as far as optical quality, it is low in cost, and any decent AF lens is a MF lens if you want it to be.

    I have used all three currently available Canon 50mm lenses, and think they are all good. I have actually owned and used the 1.8 and the 1.2 extensively, and have borrowed the 1.4 several times from a friend. With the L, you pay for a metal body, a hood, and a half a stop...that's it physically, though I find images from the L do have a special something that I have only ever got from my FD 55mm f/1.2...something about the color and the way they render out of focus areas is really nice compared to the 1.4. The 1.4 is great, though. Everyone should have one on their EOS film body. The 1.8 is a piece of crap in every possible way...except for the images it forms, which are perfectly adequate. The only one of the three that has ever actually broken is the L. A $1,400 metal bodied lens, and they top it off with a plastic retaining ring.....idiots.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 31, 2008
  9. white.elephant

    white.elephant Member

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    I've never shot an EOS 3. How does the eye control work?
     
  10. Chazzy

    Chazzy Member

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    I've thought about picking up an EOS 3, but I'm worried about the unusual battery and what will happen when it is no longer available. Would the Elan 7ne be a better choice?
     
  11. flatulent1

    flatulent1 Subscriber

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    The required 2CR5 is pretty standard, I can find it in my local Walgreens. Otherwise you could get the power booster PB-E2 (takes eight AA cells) or the dual-power battery pack BP-E1 (my personal favorite, smaller and lighter, takes four AA cells AND/OR a 2CR5).

    My own pick for a good semi-pro SLR is an EOS RT. Five fps, non-moving mirror, pretty quiet, as close to a motor-driven rangefinder you're ever going to get. If I want to use C/FD lenses I use a T90 or F1N.
     
  12. SilverGlow

    SilverGlow Member

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    When you place your eye into the view finder, you move your eye around the finder and the focus point you look at when you press the shutter half way down, it lights up, and that is the focus point you use for the shot. This is great as it discourages photographers from the dreaded Lock-Focus-Recompose dance. It means evaluative metering is more accurate, and critical focus is more accurate, especially when shooting close to your subject and fast in aperture. The EOS-3 provdes a staggering 45 focus points to choose from. Now you don't have to use eye-control, and when you turn it off, focus point selection is the conventional way.
     
  13. c-mo

    c-mo Member

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    The N90s is head and shoulders above the rest in terms of bang for your buck. When I bought my setup from KEH recently, I got an EX+ N90s, LN- 50/1.8, and BGN battery grip for the price of an EX F100 or EOS 3 body. While it's not the "best" semi-pro SLR on the used market, I figure if it was good enough for scads of National Geographic photographers (Galen Rowell, Jodi Cobb...) as recently as a few years ago, then it's certainly good enough for the likes of me.

    I would even direct a beginning photographer towards the N90s over the old manual cameras. It's often as cheap or cheaper because it's not a collectible or nostalgia item. If you're like me (blind as a bat and hate wearing contacts), it becomes a no-brainer. I also have a Spotmatic on loan from my dad, but I hate using it because of the squinty finder that can scratch my glasses.
     
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  15. Chazzy

    Chazzy Member

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    And wearing glasses doesn't make a difference?
     
  16. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

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    Vintage: Nikkormat EL, even had a winder, less vintage FA/FE, Cannon T90, very vintage Mirdanda EE, Alpha, Spotmatic F.
     
  17. flatulent1

    flatulent1 Subscriber

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    Well... If you always wear glasses, do the calibration dance with glasses on. If you SOMETIMES wear glasses, I think you have a decision to make as I think it makes a difference to the camera's eyeball-rotation-sensing device.

    I wear glasses, and my right eye is useless (due to a brain injury a few years ago) so I shoot with my left eye. I had no difficulty calibrating my EOS 3 ECF for left eye with glasses, and it works fine. Not that I use it often, ECF is still a bit of a novelty for me.
     
  18. mudman

    mudman Member

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    For glasses wearers and the EOS 3 or Elan 7ne - program one of the ECF sets for glasses, and one for contacts. That's what I always did with my Elan before I went Nikon.
     
  19. SilverGlow

    SilverGlow Member

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    For many glasses wearers, the eye-control focus will work, but you need to calibrate it first.
     
  20. Paul Jenkin

    Paul Jenkin Member

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    I'm in the process of building a collection of cameras I owned, traded and regretted or couldn't afford in the first place! I already own one of my favourites - the Nikon F100. My most recent acquisition is one of my all-time favourites and recommends - the Olympus OM2n. Next on my list is any one from the following:

    * Canon F1 / F1n
    * Canon A1
    * Canon T90
    * Nikon F3HP
    * Nikon F/F2
    * Pentax LX

    They all seem very cheap these days (so long as you don't wanta mint / boxed example) so I can see my store cupboard becoming a bit of an Aladdin's cave over the next couple of years. Thank heavens for an understanding (nay, encouraging...) wife!
     
  21. white.elephant

    white.elephant Member

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    Wow, that just sounds amazing. I do the 'focus, recompose, shoot' dance all the time. I have an EOS-1n, and I like the camera (it seems to have many of the plusses and minuses of the EOS 3, not as many focus points), but it doesn't have the eye-control.

    I'm currently going through a phase where I'm evaluating exactly which film cameras I own and which I should own (lenses, too). With film camera prices so low, it seems like I can sell what I have an swap using ebay or something with little overall cost if I plan correctly.

    This thread has entered the EOS 3 into the equation. I have a suite of Canon auto focus lenses, (and a smaller selection of FD gear) and that feature is really very attractive. Thanks for this thread.
     
  22. james23p

    james23p Member

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    F100 with MB-15

    Rugged and fast the Cam 1300 is still one of the best AF systems around.
    Similar in feel and interface with my D200 so they interchange nicely.
    I can use all my old MF lens as well as the newer high tech AF-S VR lens thats over 35 years of compatability!!!!!!!
    Can be small without the MB-15 or large with the MB-15.
    Last it just feels right and the meter has never let me down when shooting Kodachrome!

    Jim
     
  23. Chaplain Jeff

    Chaplain Jeff Member

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    Hello,

    Why just AF bodies?

    I made more money with my Nikon FM2 / MD-12 and a Metz 45CL-1 shooting events in Dallas in the 80's and 90's than I ever made afterwards with my F4 and F5. Shooting the FM was how I paid the rent (and ate) for three years of grad school - and no one was obscessed with how "cool" my camera was if the pictures were great.

    Given your conditions though, I'd say for the semi-pro photographer should look at the Nikon F100.

    My personal favorite is still the F4e - shoots and matrix meters every Nikkor lens I own.
    If you're shooting anything but action sports, the AF is just fine - even if not as fast as the F5.

    The list would be very different if you lifted the restrictons:


    Leica M5 or M6 and Nikon F comes to mind as "decent" choices...
     
  24. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    The new Zeiss ZE mount lenses should work on any EOS body, for those who want high quality MF lenses for EOS. The first three available are the 85mm, 50mm, and 21mm, but eventually all the Zeiss SLR lenses will be available in ZE mount. I looked through the 85mm on a Canon body at Photoplus, and from that quick glance, it looks like a very nice lens--crisp in the sharp areas and super smooth in the soft areas.
     
  25. nsouto

    nsouto Subscriber

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    I'd have to go with the F100. Don't particularly like it over other Nikon bodies, but since you limited to semi-pro, that'd be my choice.

    Its meter is almost as good as the pro bodies, the AF is excellent, the ergonomics are quite good and it has one feature that I like a lot: it can record exposure details to download later with an MV100, so that proper EXIF info can be created for scanned images.

    The only serious downside I have with it is the inability to see the aperture setting on non-D, non AF older lenses. I suspect mine also has a slight focusing problem, but still have to prove it to myself.

    Having said all that, there are some Minolta bodies I'd love to try. They had what to me still is one of the best line-ups for film slrs and lenses. Unfortunately, I have too much invested in N glass to consider a switch at this stage.
     
  26. Shelley-Ann

    Shelley-Ann Member

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    I echo everything Jim said - except the Kodachrome part. Never used it.
    I also really liked the F4s.