Looking for a new film camera. Suggestions wanted!!!

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by joshua029, Dec 22, 2012.

  1. joshua029

    joshua029 Member

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    I have a K-1000 and loved it during my student years. But I plan on returning this to my father (former photographer himself) and am looking to upgrade. As a Nikon guy, I prefer a camera that will work with the FX lenses that I have / continue to purchase and the batteries are a concern. I've looked into a list of cameras from Nikon and have settled on a N90s with the MB-10 grip (allowing me to use AAs). I have looked into the N80 but people elsewhere talk about the difficulty to find the correct batteries for it, though I never really looked into the type required or how hard they were to find.

    After some reading on here, most people that talk about their N90 / N90s talk about their preference to their F3 or F4. Help me decide, good folks of APUG!
     
  2. chriscrawfordphoto

    chriscrawfordphoto Member

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    If you're used to Nikon's digital SLRs, the N80, F5, or F100 would be the best choices as they have the same basic control layout as the digital Nikons. If you prefer manual focus with traditional control layouts, the F3 or F4 are both good choices. The F4 has AF but it is not as good as the AF in the N80, F5, or F100. The N90 is popular because it has better AF than an F4 but is smaller, lighter, and a lot cheaper.
     
  3. Ricardo Miranda

    Ricardo Miranda Member

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    Go with the F90X (N90S for Americans). And you don't need the MB-10 as the camera already runs on 4 AAs with the regular MS-8. The MB-10 would allow you to have a vertical shutter release and to use CR123s on the optional MS-11 tray, if you find one. It normally comes with the MS-10 for the same 4 AAs as used by the regular camera.
    The F90X used to be sold in the UK bundled with the MB-10 in a so called "Professional" package. The F90X is a semi-professional camera with shutter speeds running up to 1/8000th, exposure compensation can be done in 1/3 and it has a fantastic metering system. Compare that with the F80 that was made for amateurs and so shutter speeds only go to 1/4000th, exposure compensation is only in 1/2 and a not so high flash sync. of only 1/125th, instead of the 1/250th of the F90X.
    And, to top it all, if you find or can make the correct cable, you can connect a F90X to the computer and adjust some functions from the PC, retrieve shooting data from the camera or even shot from the PC!
     
  4. joshua029

    joshua029 Member

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    Thanks for the replies! Auto focus means very little to me. I almost never use it.

    I'll look into comparisons between the F4 and N90s now. I guessing the cost will be the deciding factor between the two though. :tongue:
     
  5. bobwysiwyg

    bobwysiwyg Subscriber

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    I can vouch for the N90s also. Great battery life and being standard over-the-counter batts they are readily available. The N90s is one of four Nikons I own and with a developing cataract in my right eye, the auto-focus is very handy. Overall I find to be a very flexible system and more often than not, my go to camera for 35mm.
     
  6. chriscrawfordphoto

    chriscrawfordphoto Member

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    The N90 will be a lot less money. The F4 still goes for $200-$250, while a nice N90 is around $60. The F4 weighs a ton too, but I like the traditional shutter speed dial and other controls instead of the thumbwheels and LCDs of the N90. Lately I have been using my F3 more because it is smaller and lighter than my F4, but it doesn't have the 1/8000 top shutter speed or the 1/250 flash synch if those matter to you.
     
  7. Ricardo Miranda

    Ricardo Miranda Member

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    Sorry to hear about it! :sad:
    Yeap, that little camera keeps surprising me how good it is!

    Joshua
    As you can see on my signature, I do have 2 F4: a F4 with the small MB-20 grip for 4 AAs and the larger F4S which uses 6 AAs. Often batteries that are still good on the F90X, will be dead on the F4. It uses a lot of power!
    The AF on the F4 is slower, but there is little that the F4 can do that can't be done on the F90X.
    The main reason for the F4 is its system expandability. I mean, there are dozens of different screens made to it, the different grips and the many other accessories made for it, turns that camera into a Professional tool.
    The F4 is easier to operate in Manual for someone coming from the full manual K1000: you have a shutter speeds dial and the aperture is change with a ring on the lenses, but you have an 100% coverage viewfinder and a full readout of all parameters. The F90X uses a system of button plus a main dial to change values. The F4 has readouts on both the top and bottom of the screen, while the F90X puts everything on just one LCD on the bottom. Both shows you the number of frames taken, the exposure mode and a digital scale in Manual.
    Both cameras have a multi-function back available for them. The F4 uses the MF-23 and the F90X uses the MF-26. I own both and they are a bit fiddle to operate. The F90X one is slightly easier to work with as it uses the Main Dial to change values. Both allow a series of functions less often used.
    The one for the F4 is larger and has some very nice features like imprinting the shutter speeds/aperture value in-between the frames on film.
    Above all, the F4 in any configuration is heavier and larger than a F90X.
    About costs. I don't know the American market, but in the UK, you can often see a nice sample of a F90X with the MB-10 going for around £45-50 and the F4 goes for around £125-160 depending on condition.
    Finally, the F90X AF motor is said to be one of strongest in any Nikon camera and only the F5 surpasses it in that field.
    Have a nice holiday! :smile:
     
  8. joshua029

    joshua029 Member

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    Thanks for taking the time for that huge write up Ricardo! It sounds like I couldn't really go wrong with either choice but the F4 may the model for me. Maybe, if I can find the N90s for that cheap, I'll end up with both.

    bobwysiwyg, I'm sorry to hear of the condition!

    Thanks to everyone who replied!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 22, 2012
  9. fotch

    fotch Member

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    Nikon F3 is the newest one I own and has always done everything I ever needed in a 35mm SLR. I probably should try the N90 or F100 one of these days. Good Luck.
     
  10. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    Batteries should not be a concern because they can be found easily. Only very few Nikons used mercury batteries.
    You said FX lenses but if they are G type lenses than the older cameras won't work with them like F3 and even F4 not in all modes.
     
  11. wy2l

    wy2l Member

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    FM3A. A little pricy, but works like the proverbial Swiss watch. Also, decades newer than a F3.
     
  12. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    get a 5x7 portrait camera and shoot paper negatives.
    it will be much easier to shoot paper and film in sheets
    once rolls vanish, and you can get a 5x7 camera shipped for 100$
     
  13. joshua029

    joshua029 Member

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    Wow, that is a beauty! It also looks nearly exactly like my K1000! But I don't see me trading $700 for one of those anytime soon. :tongue:



    Chan Tran, yeah. The G lenses wont work due to their lack of aperture ring and DX lenses should also be avoided cause they can't cover. Good advice!!
     
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  15. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    Look up KEH for good prices.

    Jeff
     
  16. Wolfeye

    Wolfeye Subscriber

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    The absolute best value in Nikon AF film cameras today, for someone who owns only a DSLR, is the F100. Simple to use, great durability, and uses AA batteries, BUT, you can save yourself a ton of loot and just buy a battery pack to use AA batteries with the Nikon N80. I have 2 or 3 N80's and they're marvelous machines. Light, flexible, CHEAP, works with AF, G, VR lenses, etc. I don't see the point in going goofy on any "when I can't get film, or batteries" preventative strategies. Waste of time. Film's not going away. Neither are batteries. You'll likely experience mechanical or electronic failure before one of these doomsday events happens. So buy a 10 dollar backup from eBay and go on shooting.

    Now slide film, on the other hand...
     
  17. Oren Grad

    Oren Grad Subscriber

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    I have an N90. The focusing screen is optimized for AF and is far from ideal for manual focus. You can use the focus indicator dot, but I find it fiddly and not especially accurate. When I want to use manual-focus Nikon lenses I reach for an FM or an F2. The main reason I don't have an F3 is that I find the shape of the little built-in grip extremely uncomfortable, sometimes to the point of being painful. But if it fits your hand, it's an excellent camera.

    Also, which FX lenses do you have? If you're buying the latest G-type lenses without aperture rings, anything older than the latest AF bodies like the F100 will allow you only shutter-priority or program AE.
     
  18. rthomas

    rthomas Member

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    Another vote for the F100. I used to have one but use an F3 now. If I were going to buy another Nikon 35mm camera, it would be the F100, especially if I had a collection of G-series lenses. The F4 and N90 are wonderful cameras, but will only allow program and shutter-priority modes with these lenses.
     
  19. Les Sarile

    Les Sarile Member

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    If you used the K1000, then I would suggest you try the Pentax MX as it is not only the smallest manual 35mm but it also happens to have the largest viewfinder with 0.97 magnification and 95% coverage. Compare this to the FM3A's 0.83 and 93% or the F3's 0.75 and 100% viewfinder spec and you can understand why it can be much easier to get critical manual focus with even the fast f1.2 lenses.
     
  20. philbed

    philbed Subscriber

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    I use a Nikon EM. I bought it in 1979. You probably were not born. I still use it. It works, meter is still accurate, the viewer is bright enought and It's a very light camera. Even better, the Nikon EM has analog aperture-priority automation, which means that it makes long automated time exposures much longer than the one second Nikon specifies. I have had all the Nikon camera from the F to the F4. I have all sold them except the EM. I hope you will find a such good companion.
     
  21. Les Sarile

    Les Sarile Member

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    As an alternative to the aperture priority only EM, you might consider the FG which adds full manual and program modes. It also has the smaller viewfinder magnification of 0.84 and 93% coverage.
     
  22. waynecrider

    waynecrider Member

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    I believe the 90 series suffered from the dreaded sticky plastic problem like the 80's. You might want to watch out for that.

    The N80 while being a hell of a camera for the price won't meter with older non cpu lenses; The bs downfall of the series. That and being superseded in months by the 90 series. Thank you Nikon! I'm getting my older lenses serviced to even fit on the body (I also carry a FTN and shoot non ai's) as I like the 80 body for it's abilities and you can replace them for squat if they get damaged or stolen(?) HA. Btw they take the MB16 grip for AA's.

    If I had it to do all over again years ago, I might have stayed with Pentax after my Spotmatic F. I've tested only a handful of lenses, some Nikon, some Pentax, some FD Canon and a couple of odd's and ends, and the (older) Pentax had a signature that I liked and were plenty sharp with very gradual drop off's over the range. Maybe someone else can speak to this comparison (or others, Minolta, Canon etc) with greater insight and experience. The mid-range AF Nikon's I have or had, have just not impressed me all that much at the "new" price. An example would be the F1.8 50's in the N series being good, but I don't see that in the later D series and I haven't shot the 1.4's. Personally I don't see paying more for a 1.4 unless it freaking performs at 1.4. The best Nikon I had was the AF F2.8 80-200, with alot of weight at a big price. Basically you get what you pay for.

    Picking bodies come down to holding them in hand. If you have good Nikon lenses I believe your best bet is the F100 or F5. Then again Nikon has a habit of pissing off their followers over and over again so maybe you'll want to rethink your hitching you wagon to their star.
     
  23. PentaxBronica

    PentaxBronica Member

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    I'd say it comes down to why you want to shoot film.

    For me, the appeal is being able to use gorgeously made old cameras (and being able to replace them for pennies if needed). My favoured bodies won't use the latest Pentax lenses as they lack an aperture ring, so I also have a few '80s 35mm bodies as that way I can use an FA-J 18-35mm to get a non-fisheye 18mm lens.

    If being able to use your existing lenses is important then you will need to pick a body which can set the aperture. However, this won't handle like the K1000 and will probably feel much like using your DSLR.

    If you liked the K1000 then look at a KX or K2. The KX is basically a K1000 with a few upgrades - you get a self timer, shutter speed and aperture are displayed in the viewfinder, you also get mirror lockup and DOF preview.

    The K2 looks and feels similar but has an electronic metal shutter and Av mode. You don't get the viewfinder aperture display (unless you find a K2 DMD) but it'll meter and shoot exposures from 1/1000 to 8 seconds on auto or manual mode. Flash sync is 1/125 rather than the 1/60 of the KX/K1000 and the speeds from 1/1000 down to 1/125 and B will work without batteries.

    You could of course just buy an LX but those tend to cost a lot more!
     
  24. joshua029

    joshua029 Member

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    PentaxBronica: My life in film is the most fun part of my photography. I have spent countless hrs using my film for just basic processing but Bromoil, Solarization, Cyanotypes, etc.(and I'll more than likely add to this list as I age) are the way I love to go with film. I enjoy using the film a lot more than the digital counterpart and I had decided a long time ago to keep bw to just film and my color works to digital (easier to work with using a comp through Lightroom and Photoshop). As I do more freelance works, I know my digital side will have to improve but for now I want to get set up for the long haul in film. I take my film works more seriously and tend to be more adventurous than the digital side.

    The more I look into these cameras I believe that I will buy a whole lineup of lenses for the film camera. But I like knowing that I can use my digital lenses on the camera if the need be.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 23, 2012
  25. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    The N90s is a great camera. No ifs, ands, or buts.

    Find a nice one that is in good repair and enjoy it.

    The next step up is an F100 at 2 to 3 times the price.
     
  26. destroya

    destroya Subscriber

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    lots of great ideas already presented. for Me I have all the cameras mentioned and all of them would be a great fit. I love the F4, it would meet all your needs but I'm getting la little tired of the weight of it with the 4s battery pack (the 6AA one). If you can find one with the 4AA pack get it (the problem is that the battery pack sells for about the same price as the camera!). The N80 is the camera I am shooting the most with recently. The small size, light weight, great meter and full use of G lenses is the reason. forget the battery issue. Either get the $20 AA grip or do what i did and buy a 20 pack of the A123 for $20 and shoot over 600 rolls, almost $5000 worth of velvia at the going rates before you need to buy more batteries.. The more I use the N90 the less I like it. Its ergonomics are nothing like any nikon I have used or will use. just has a funky layout and operational way about it. It works for other of course but for me I find that I have to spend a little too much time thinking about operating the camera and not shooting and composing. But it does give great results!

    Get an N80. they are all over craigslist for under $50. then at least you can hold it and play with it before you buy it. it along with the F100 are the most like today's digital cameras. If you like the more manual style go with the the F4