Looking for a Nikon 35mm camera that will live in my bag ...

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by Jeff Bannow, Nov 29, 2010.

  1. Jeff Bannow

    Jeff Bannow Member

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    I was looking at the N90s, which can be had for under $30 now (I remember paying a lot more that for one new a decade ago). I am open to suggestions though. I tried a rangefinder, but just didn't fall in love with the ergonomics, and the only cheap options have fixed lenses. So, looking again at an SLR.

    The camera will stay in my bag, being used to take photos when I'm not carrying my main gear (Hasselblad system). I'm only planning on running B&W film through this.

    Requirements:
    Cheap
    Small
    Good lens compatibility
    AA batteries, decent battery life

    Any suggestions?
     
  2. Dave Swinnard

    Dave Swinnard Subscriber

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    If you're good with MF lenses then the Nikon FE (the AP auto thing can happen with these) or the FM (no auto-exp) (or their -2 versions) are great. Not AA batteries though, but the S76 sorts that are available widely. I happen to like the F3 as my walking-abut camera when I want 35mm.
     
  3. Jeff Bannow

    Jeff Bannow Member

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    A built in meter is a biggie for me.

    I could probably do with CR123 batteries if it would make the kit significantly lighter.
     
  4. Jeff Bannow

    Jeff Bannow Member

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    Hmm ... the FE looks interesting. Manual focus, built in meter, old school styling, and dirt cheap.
     
  5. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

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    The N80 would be a great choice for you. it is very light but has many exposure options. The AF is good but not as good as the F100. They take the CR123 batteries but are pretty good on battery life.
     
  6. KenFretz

    KenFretz Member

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    My Car Camera

    I keep a N90 in my car all the time. It usually has a 50mm F1.8 Series E lens on it with Ektar 100 loaded and a SB-20 flash. Great compact camera that outperforms my best digital. I can stop at any CVS/pharmacy and have scanned files on a CD in an hour. Best of all if something happens to it, I spend another $40 to replace it.

    Ken Fretz
     
  7. djacobox372

    djacobox372 Member

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    I'd suggest a nikon Fe or FM. They're far more durable then a newer plastic model.

    Both can be had for $75 or less online.
     
  8. Colin Corneau

    Colin Corneau Subscriber

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    The F/N90(s) is a fine choice...no regrets there.

    Smaller and lighter, with not quite as precise a meter, is the FM or FM2. Solid, built to last forever and small and light, too.

    I have the FM2 for just this reason. It works, it'll last forever.
     
  9. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

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    The F90/N90 series cameras are not particularly small or light but they are cheap and they are capable. They're also pretty tough.

    Play with one, and if you find the weight to be acceptable, use one.

    The F801/N8008-series cameras are slightly lighter and a hair smaller... inferior autofocus, but really good in many ways. The F801s/N8008s has a spot meter, the non-s does not.
     
  10. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    I have an N90 S that looks like it's been through The Great War. It still works, and works well with manual focus lenses. I say if you like the camera, use it. It's a great value these days.
     
  11. LyleB

    LyleB Member

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    I have an N75 for a very lightweight option. Full auto if you want it, relatively cheap. Did I say lightweight?

    Not as solid of build, but very light! Works great.

    I also have an FE, FE2, FM, FM2n, N90s, F100 and will be getting a F3HP tomorrow, but the N75 is, by far, the lightest of them all.

    Love/Hate how cheap these great cameras are today. Too easy to keep buying.
     
  12. paulfish4570

    paulfish4570 Member

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    An FE2 with E series 35/2.5 would yield a light, solid kit. don't scoff at the idea of the plastic bodied E35/2.5; it has good glass:
    [​IMG]
     
  13. bblhed

    bblhed Member

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    I see that a lot of people have recommended some of the most solid and dependable bricks, um, err, cameras Nikon makes, well except LyleB who recommended the N75. I will toss my support for the N(or F if you want a black body) 65, 75, and 80. You will have to do your homework on all three because they are all slightly different and have control layout issues that are unique to each, but if you want something light that can get the job done don't overlook these plastic Nikons.
     
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  15. Wolfeye

    Wolfeye Subscriber

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    I own lots of cameras. So do most of us. Some have specific tasks, like the Canon F-1 I keep in the car all Winter loaded with Tri-X, no battery, for spur of the moment shots. For me the N75 is my go-to lightweight camera. It's been with me every time I want a lightweight option that still has plenty of power. I don't think my N80 is quite as light but that'd be my second choice. Pair it with the plastic mount cheapo 35-80mm Nikkor and you pretty much have the ultimate in both lightweight and quality. Just don't drop the lens. It's not big on build quality but the optics are good.

    Oh, and you can buy a grip for the N75 or N80 to take AA batteries, but then you lose the smallness and light weight. You can have cheap, reliable, and lightweight - pick any two. :smile:
     
  16. Jeff Bannow

    Jeff Bannow Member

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    Thanks everyone for the advice - lots of good thoughts.

    Good news - I was gifted from my father-in-law a Nikon EM with a 50mm f/1.8 Series E lens. The camera was serviced in 1996 - probably due again, but I'll run a test roll. This should help me decide if I want to stick with a manual body, or move up to something newer.

    Any other small cheap lenses available? A 35mm f2.5 was mentioned - maybe even wider than that?
     
  17. mjs

    mjs Member

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    Please consider a Nikon N2020. Nikon's first successful autofocus model, it's very handy AND takes AAA batteries! Can AF or manual focus, has auto film advance but you have to rewind by hand, via the familiar crank on top of the knob. I have one with a period AF 35-70mm zoom; that zoom is superb and almost qualifies as a macro lens. It's an alternate "in car camera", sharing the space under my car's passenger seat with a Yashica Electro 35. The cameras are dirt cheap; I got mine at an estate auction with the lens for $10. Not flashy and of course doesn't have a built-in flash or plethora of "modes" but It Just Works.

    Mike
     
  18. CGW

    CGW Member

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    Same size but much more capable is the FG--the smallest SLR Nikon made. They sold well so they're common and very affordable now, often in very nice shape.
     
  19. Brian Legge

    Brian Legge Member

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    I've got an FG I've been meaning to sell. I picked it up from KEH earlier in the year but have been shooting rangefinders instead recently. I don't recall the condition it was in at KEH but the camera looks very nice. No problems with it, etc.
     
  20. perkeleellinen

    perkeleellinen Member

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    There's a 28mm Series E which you could look at. Try to find the second version as it's got better build quality - it's the one with a rubber focus ring.
     
  21. bblhed

    bblhed Member

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    I just happen to have here with me on my desk a Nikon FA (I know it's not what you are looking for), but I have a nice 28mm 2.8 D on it that I purchased for less than $100 and it does produce quite a nice photo.

    Pros: Sharp, auto focus, soothe manual focus, rubber focus ring for that no slip feeling.

    Cons: Plastic body that makes it light weight and I never broke it but some don't like that. Sometimes it can be a little too wide for my taste.
     
  22. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

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    The 28mm f2.8 AIS is a great lens but its price is overinflated right now due to the good reviews.

    If you stick with manual focus, the 28mm f2.8 Ai is also good and may be less expensive than the ais.
    The 35mm and 24mm nikkors are also great. You really cannot miss with the nikkors.
    The series E 28m may be dissapointing but the 100mm is decent from what I hear.

    I have both the N75 and the N80. The N80 is a hair heavier but still ultralight compared to most otheres. The N80 feels a bit more solid than the N75, but then I've dropped by N75 a couple of times with no ill effect. The controls are almost the same. I think the N75 actually has more exposure modes if you care. Both have Auto, Aperture priority, shutter priority, and program.

    Ive been surprised by good iq of the 28-80mm G lens. But I really like the 50mm f1.8 on these.
     
  23. Jeff Bannow

    Jeff Bannow Member

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    Well, this figures - the EM that I was gifted is broken. The needle on the internal meter doesn't move, despite inserting fresh batteries. The battery check light seems to come on, and the shutter operates. Doubt it's worth having this fixed.

    So, back in the market. The overall size and handling of the EM seems decent, so I think I'll look for a FE or FE2. They seem to run about $45-60.
     
  24. Denis P.

    Denis P. Member

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    I'll join the other recommendations for the FG. For a while I had an EM as the "car camera", but was always put off by its automation (although the photos were always well exposed). I wanted another light Nikon body, but with some degree of control - and found it in an FG. Added bonus and surprise: it has the brightest viewfinder of all my Nikons!
    Very light, very capable, you can use it in manual or automatic mode. Couple it with a 50/1.8 Series E and you have an extremely small, light and capable camera. It would also be a nice kit/camera for an outdoors person.
     
  25. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    I second the idea of N80. I have one along with F-100. It's light and plastic (and light....) Combined with 50mm f/1.8, it's a very nice second camera. Batteries seem to last quite a while but they aren't AAs.
     
  26. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

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    I would definately spring for an FE series body over a FG. The FE is only slightly larger but oh so much better built.