Good 35mm SLR with metering (gift for friend)? Any suggestions?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by blankk, Apr 23, 2009.

  1. blankk

    blankk Member

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    Hey guys, I'm looking to buy my girlfriend a decent 35mm SLR with metering as a gift. I unfortunately don't know where to start - I got all tangled up looking for a medium format TLR or something but then realized she'd probably need metering. Any ideas? I want to spend about $120 on everything or less.
     
  2. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

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    Hard to suggest a camera as a gift. What do you think she would like?
    1. metal or plastic?
    2. AF or MF?
    3. compact or medium (cant expect too many women like oversized cameras)
    4. auto-everyhting exposure or semi-auto?
     
  3. drumsforlife15

    drumsforlife15 Member

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    If you want an MF, I suggest the Nikon FE, I love mine and they can be found for relatively cheap on eBay, craigslist, etc. with a 50mm lens (which is also great!). If you want a little step up in certain features, go for the FE2. Google the 2 cameras and check out the differences. But I would highly reccomend the FE. And I like Kodak T-Max 400 for my B&W film.
     
  4. Excalibur2

    Excalibur2 Member

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    Auto metering film cameras and all going cheap:-
    Nikon EM is a nice simple camera.
    Canon AE1 or AVI are nice..... Check for no "shutter squeek".
    Canon T70 (my favourite cheap camera)... auto wind on, and you can select the option of over-ride i.e. if you get the exposure wrong the camera will correct.
    I have all of these except AE1 in my collection, and get excellent results..of course with older cameras check seals around the camera door etc are ok.

    I Forgot, the OM20 is a nice cheap camera..don't get the OM10.

    The AV1, T70 and OM20 above (with lenses)........ I bought from £10-£20
     
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  5. flashgumby

    flashgumby Member

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    Buying someone a camera is a *very* difficult thing to do, unless you know exactly what they like and don't like in a camera. I can't think of a more difficult thing to do - it's a very personal choice and one that has to be right.

    Having said that, we need whatever info you can give us...

    What's her experience - a complete newbie? experienced and looking to upgrade?
    Does she want something light and easy to carry, or something more robust?
    What does the budget need to include - body and one lens? a couple of lenses and a flash?
    Does she know you're getting it for her? If so, you might want to get her thoughts before risking a wrong choice.

    My first thoughts would be something like:
    Minolta Dynax (Maxxum) 5 - a great small, light SLR, accurate metering, very good AF, should fit the budget easily.
    Minolta X-500 or similar - if she wants manual focus, you can get great lenses at reasonable prices.

    Good luck.
    Regards,
    Gordon
     
  6. Excalibur2

    Excalibur2 Member

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    ***Buying someone a camera is a *very* difficult thing to do, unless you know exactly what they like and don't like in a camera. I can't think of a more difficult thing to do - it's a very personal choice and one that has to be right.***

    True, but if something is so cheap e.g. MTL3 with meyer lens for £5, you can give it to a charity shop if you don't like a film SLR camera or prefer a film P&S or decide you would rather go digital.
    I'm picking up Canon and Nikon P&S (new about £180) for 50p and £1 at boot sales..now if I was him, would give his girlfriend a P&S Nikon L35AD (if he can get one dirt cheap) and if she likes film, then go from there.
     
  7. flashgumby

    flashgumby Member

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    And if she doesn't like film, there's plenty of other women :D :wink:

    Anyway, while I agree that if the price is right it would be good to pick up a cheap MTL3 or L35AD, if it's an unsuitable gift there might be 'relationship consequences' that sour the great bargain :surprised:

    Gordon
     
  8. mikeTO

    mikeTO Member

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    I would second the suggestion of the Nikon EM. They're cheaply found and the results are very satisfying. My girlfriend used it once and she really enjoyed the simplicity of it. Aperture priority is simple enough to use to get great results. Even with my "keep the needle above 60" instructions to her, her pictures turned out pretty good.
     
  9. Chaplain Jeff

    Chaplain Jeff Member

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    Hello,

    What do you shoot? And do you want her to have the same system?

    If you get her the same system she can use all your lenses and gear.
    That can be a good or a bad thing depending on you and your gear. ;-)

    If you go the Nikon route, I'd get her an FM. Totally manual with a great meter. Few parts or electronics to go out.

    Personally, I'd get her a Minolta XG-SE or a Minolta XG-1. For the budget you mention, you can get one AND the CLA that any of these vintage cameras are going to need to work properly.

    Good luck and let us know what you decide.
     
  10. Ektagraphic

    Ektagraphic Member

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    If you are looking to go new, I would say your only option is the Nikon FM10
     
  11. Excalibur2

    Excalibur2 Member

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    Well I suppose giving her an MTL3, she could say "is that all I'm worth"...LOL
     
  12. frank

    frank Subscriber

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    IMO, a great bargain these days is the Nikon 801/8008, as long as you don't mind buttons and wheels, in place of dials and levers as found on older cameras.
     
  13. waynecrider

    waynecrider Member

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    In Nikon camp the best deal as far as features is the N80. Very light, great screen and fast AF. I would say the Nikon 8008s would be a step behind. I'm unfamiliar with the late Canon AF models and I would probably steer her clear of the manual focus FD ones which are my choice. Not because their not good, they just usually need a CLA and are heavier but great picture takers. I have two Minolta's for sale for a friend with or without a lens and cheap; A 7000 and a 7000i. Their bigger bodies then the N80. Everyone else will chime in on their favorites.
     
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  15. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    While I dislike the FM10 for its "plasticy" feel and lack of a PC connector, I would say that this is a good option, and that buying new is perhaps the most sensible option in this case. They are reasonably priced, take great lenses, and you know will have a warranty if you run into any repair issues (which you likely will not).

    Also new, there is the Vivitar line of cameras, which are more crappy, but are cheaper, and also a very reasonable entry level camera that is available in a kit with the 50mm f/1.7. They take Pentax K-mount lenses, which are plentiful, good quality, and very reasonably priced on the used market.

    If you have a larger budget, I'd go for the Nikon. If not, I'd go for the Viv.

    While you could get a super sweet more professional body on the used market for just as much, in this situation, I think you are better off going for a brand new low-end camera as a starting point. If she wants to continue and finds the camera restrictive, she can move up to a nicer model.

    Here they are at Freestyle: http://www.freestylephoto.biz/c1802-Film-Cameras-and-Lenses-35mm-Camera-Kits. The Nikon comes with a zoom and the Viv comes with a 50.

    Please support this great shop if you can.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 23, 2009
  16. Smudger

    Smudger Member

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    I have to disagree with W.A.Crider over the relative merits of the N80 and 8008s viewfinders : the latter has a large bright v/f which is a joy to use with my manual focus lenses.
    But possibly a little heavy and bulky for (some) feminine mitts.
    The FE2 would be ideal.
     
  17. Markok765

    Markok765 Member

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    I personally disagree with this, for the price of the FM10 new, you could buy a used Nikon F3 and 50mm from KEH. A lot better quality camera with more features and a better feel.
     
  18. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

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    The OP has not given us any more to go on than a gift for his gf..

    I suggest we close this thread until he responds with more info. Otherwise he will likely get more answers than there are cameras.
     
  19. blankk

    blankk Member

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    Hey guys, sorry about the slow response. Thanks for all the quick answers! Basically I'm just looking for something reliable and decently priced. She doesn't have any experience with manual photography so that's why I think it at the very least needs a meter. I doubt she'd mind having a manual focus camera - she used both of my cameras and seemed to like them just fine.

    One thing I do want to get is something that's sort of "pretty". I originally wanted to get her a TLR because she liked mine, but I got out of that idea because of the meter problem... but I sort of mentioned the handheld meter and she didn't seem to mind that. So maybe I'll still go for something like that. Actually, I'm probably going to spend some time researching since she's going to visit her family out-of-state for a few weeks, so maybe I'll have something figured out by the time she's back.

    I think I might also like the idea of an M42-mount camera. I use all M42 lenses on my digital Pentax K10D, so I'm familiar with the lenses and such available.

    Chaplain Jeff: Unfortunately I use a Hasselblad 500C/M and don't have the money to get her one of those :sad:

    So basically what do you guys think would be a very decent beginner's camera with room to grow? Here are some guidelines:

    $150 or less for body + lens
    Preferably M42-mount
    Maybe metal rather than plastic
    In-camera metering

    I know it's not very specific but I guess I'll just end up having to pick out some of the names you've mentioned here and find one. :smile:
     
  20. glockman99

    glockman99 Member

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    The Nikon FE (FE2) and 50mm lens, or a Pentax ME Super & 50mm lens are both good choices. Since this is a camera for a woman, I think I'd opt for the little ME Super.
     
  21. spark

    spark Member

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    Older Yashica Electro-TL's and Fujicas (pre-X mount series) are pretty decent M42's. Bigger than an ME super or an EM but cheap enough for you to spring for a CLA and new seals and still fit the budget. Chinon also made some decent bodies but they're bigger and ones I've seen all have dead meters. Good Pentax M42's are getting pricy compared to the lesser cachet makes.
     
  22. dynachrome

    dynachrome Member

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    Good 35mm SLR

    I can't see buying a new Nikon FM10. It's the same Cosina made camera as the Vivitar V4000S. The Vivitars can be bought for $25 and are just as good. If you are worried about how long they might last, buy two of them. I 55/1.8 or 55/2 SMC Pentax lens will give results on par with what you will get from any version of the 50/1.8 manual focus Nikkor. The meter in the V4000S is sensitive and accurate and the viewfinder will be brighter than that of any old M42 mount camera with the exception of the Bessaflex. The Bessaflex is a really overpriced V4000S with an M42 mount. You can find some extra lenses with the K mount for not too much.

    I agree that a Nikon FE can be a good choice. They don't sell for very much so it's the condition you are looking for. I also use an old N2020. I say old but the N2020 is from 1986 while the FE is from 1978. I recently bought an N2020 for $10 and it works very well. It has rather rudimentary auto focusing but I use it as a manual focus camera with a built in winder. It also has a sensitive and accurate meter. The only problem with the N2020 is that pre-AI lenses will simply not fit becase the AI tab can't be flipped up. The FE will meter in stop down mode with pre-AI lenses as long as the AI tab is flipped up.

    An old mechanical Nikkormat like an FT2 or FT3 is nice too but these have been out of production for so long that most of them need the $100 (or more) overhaul. A Minolta X-370, X-570 or X-700 in good condition is also nice. These cameras will take either MC or MD mount lenses. The MC lenses just won't work in the Program mode with the X-700.
     
  23. Darkroom317

    Darkroom317 Member

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  24. waynecrider

    waynecrider Member

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    I say go to KEH and look under Pentax. Buy a screw mount adapter and whatever you want to spend on the camera and lens. If she doesn't like it return it and buy something else. She can use your lenses in between and figure out if film his for her. Beyond that it's a crap shoot. I wouldn't go nuts researching everything people suggest, I'd stay in the lens line you have and buy a body for her. The ME's as you probably know are small and will probably fit her hands better.
     
  25. Chaplain Jeff

    Chaplain Jeff Member

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  26. Mark Fisher

    Mark Fisher Subscriber

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    If your girlfriend has relatively small hands, I'd consider an Olympus OM2n in Bargain condition from KEH. OM2 cameras have great ergonomics for those with smaller hands (most women.....and me!) and they use modern batteries. OM1 is great too (my personal choice) but it uses a mercury battery unless converted.