Looking to add 35mm my bag, but not sure which...

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by bibowj, Oct 20, 2011.

  1. bibowj

    bibowj Member

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    Hello All! Im currently a MF (Blad) and LF (press style) shooter, and I develope and process all my own work. Im somewhat interested in buying a 35mm film system that would allow me to be a little more portable, and be able to add some faster glass. Being that Im saving up for a Contax645 system, Im not wanting to spend a ton of money (really $400 or less) for a body and lens combo, but Im wanting something of reasonable high quality. I understand that this is asking alot, but I know at least in the MF side, there are several VERY nice rigs that can be easily found for less than $400. I dont have a pref for AF or AE, though both would be nice. My biggest preferance is very sharp and contrasty glass and if its non AF, then a clear bright viewfinder..

    Are there any systems out there that I should look for?

    Thanks for all your help! Ive just switched to all analog, and Ive learned so much from this site!
     
  2. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    You just opened yourself up to a barrage of peoples "my favorite" so I might as well toss my hat(suggestion)in. Olympus OM-1, 2, 3, or OM-4. Do not look at the double digit or letter versions, and especially run from an OM-2000. The single digit OMs are pro quality and durable as heck. The OM-1 and 3 models are totally mechanical and only utilise batteries for the meter. The even numbered OMs rely on batteries to operate everything. The OM-3 and 4 have what has to be the best built in spot meter of any brand, look for a T or Ti at the end of the model designation for the latest, and most reliable model. The best part is the smallish size of the bodies, and lenses with optics second to none.
     
  3. baachitraka

    baachitraka Subscriber

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    I will go with Mr. Rick recommendations, though OM-3(Ti) is rather rare and expensive you will find the rest of the line so beautiful and affordable. My personal favorite is OM-1n with 85mm or 100mm Zuiko glass. Since you are shooting with LF, I presume you own a very good spot meter already.

    So, all mechanical and good glass will do. My 2c...
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 20, 2011
  4. CGW

    CGW Member

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    The late model Nikon AF bodies are worth a look: N90s(cheap); F100(not much more). Bright viewfinders, MF/AF lens compatibility, spot/CW/matrix metering,AA battery-powered. Stick a 50/1.8 AFD lens on either and you're well under budget.

    Unless they're exceedingly low-mileage, I'd steer away from F3s or older--F and F2 bodies are really long in the tooth now and many won't live up to repeated claims of near-immortality. The point is owning a dependable working camera, not a semi-functional holy relic.
     
  5. darkosaric

    darkosaric Subscriber

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    True :smile: ... so here is another one:

    Nikon F3 + micro nikkor 55mm/f3.5

    cheers,
     
  6. SafetyBob

    SafetyBob Member

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    Rick is right about get ready for the flood of answers. I am sitting here though, actually giving this some great thought. First opinion......don't waste your time on 35mm, get your money into your 645 system and be done with it. You will probably come to be greatly dissappointed by the small little negative compared to what you are normally used to.

    Then, I was going to give you the standard Nikon FM, FE, or FA answer but even these cameras are certainly commanding good amount of money these days. So my recommendation really goes out there....N75, N80 or N90. That basically represents the cheapest consumer AF camera to slightly higher cost models. You would get AF and all the bells and whistles and the large choice of manual and AF lenses (don't use G type lenses though). I think I got a new in the box N75 about a year ago for $75. Get yourself a 50mm f1.8 or f1.4 (manual or AF) lens and you would have nice camera. The autofocus will spoil you though......well, maybe not, since you are not exactly doing "action" with your Hassy or you LF equipment, you won't care about it if you are taking pictures of your "normal" non moving objects, but the AF will certainly allow you to start playing around with areas you haven't probably played with....stuff like street photography and the like. Just be clear, 35mm is no substitute for MF or LF photography.

    Love to know what you decide to go with.

    Bob E.
     
  7. MDR

    MDR Member

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    One of the older Canon manual bodies cheap bodies superfast cheap lenses and some of them quiet small. As a Nikon Shooter I have to say get a Nikkormat ft3 or EL2 indestructable bodies and access to one of the largest lens selections. Canon's fast lenses are cheaper though and just as sharp as Nikon lenses.

    Dominik
     
  8. bibowj

    bibowj Member

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    Thanks everyone for your inputs so far!

    one quick note about the 645 referance. I have a Bronica ETRSI as well for the 634 side, in fact I have just about every format..minus 35mm. Just nothing really portable, and I cant afford a Mamiya 6/7 or anything like that.. so I was looking for something that would be great quality, and allow me fore than 12-15 frames.... and F1.2/ F 1.4 .. Now, if the quality is going to be just a huge let down compared to a 645... then I might need to rethink it...
     
  9. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    For $400 you should be able to assemble a 'dream' 35mm system.

    For about $175 I got this older long-lasting mechanical/manual focus stuff:
    2 Yashica FX3 bodies
    2 Yashica FX3 Super 2000 bodies
    2 Yashica 28mm f2.8 ML (7 and 8 element)
    1 Yashica 28-80 ML
    1 Yashica 24mm f2.8 ML
    1 Yashica 35mm f2.8 ML
    1 Yashica 50mm f1.4 ML
    1 Yashica 50mm f1.7 ML
    1 Yashica 50mm f2.0 ML

    In another buying spree for $400 I got all late/current electronic auto focus stuff like new:
    Nikon F100
    Nikon F75 & battery grip
    SB28 speedlight
    Nikkor 35mm f2.0 AF & hood
    Nikkor 50mm f1.8 AF & hood
    Nikkor 28-80 AF
     
  10. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    i was looking for the thread to link to / reference but i can't find it ...
    i believe it was vpwphoto who made a great suggestion in another thread a while ago ...
    ( maybe it was someone else sorry in advance if i misquote whoever it was )
    it had to do with buying a FSU body and leica glass ...
    whoever it was who suggested this, it was a great idea ...
     
  11. daveandiputra

    daveandiputra Member

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    I think I saw a thread about something like that at The FSU forum on RFF
     
  12. ooze

    ooze Member

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    As a user of Leica RF, Nikon SLR and Olympus OM SLR in 35mm, I would strongly recommend Olympus. They are compact, relatively cheap, and for me personally Zuiko glass is exceptional. I've heard they are called the Japanese Leica, and I can see why.
     
  13. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser Advertiser

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    You need to describe the types of photography you will be doing before any intelligent suggestions can be made: nature, street, portrait, journalism, night, macro, astro, micro, technical ...? Are size or weight important, do you need a 'system' camera, what about AF or VR, matrix metering, TTL flash, fast motor drive, extreme telephoto ...?

    So far you have mentioned f 1.2 lenses, but you haven't mentioned your use for an ultra-fast lens. Ultra-fast lenses will limit you to Nikon, Canon and Leica [although Minolta and others also made f 1.2's they aren't common]. Most f1.2 lenses aren't very good performers compared to a maker's f1.4. The exception being the Noctilux $5,000+ style lenses that are optimized for very little comma when shooting wide open and are made for taking nighttime pictures of city lights; but these lenses are only so-so compared to a standard f1.4/f1.8 lens when used for general shooting.
     
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  15. waynecrider

    waynecrider Member

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    Good fast glass will most often be more expensive then the body depending on what you choose. Your best bet is to go to KEH.com and shop your glass prices under any manufacturer. As an example, in 50mm lenses which are usually some of the best glass, prices in Nikon AF excellent condition used is around $286 and in AIS $235. Nikon will be higher priced and Canon FD less then 1/2 that.
    Bodies for me are all about features and ergonomics. I like DOF at least and mirror lockup if I can get it. I pay attention to VF readouts, longer shutter speeds and batteries. If I can get my hands on a body all to the better, cause that really tells the story.
    Having just been window shopping around in a few different brands I can say that sometimes it is best to frequent forums that center around one manufacturer such as Pentax, Minolta etc. They often have excellent reviews of bodies and glass in the brand. The two I mentioned have very in-depth sites.
    To me it's generally 90% about the glass. I appreciate good bokeh, high resolution, size and especially cost in this day and age. While I have seen phenomenal pictures across brands which tells you that it's about the photographer more then the equipment, good equipment goes a long way, especially if you work wet. While I have not researched or tested as much as I would like to, my general opinion is I generally prefer SMC Pentax over what little else I know, but bad & good glass comes in every brand and it's an Easter egg hunt to find good stuff at the right prices especially if quantities of manufacture were lower. Do not forget the accessories as most times they are over looked.
    Cla's as you may well know can be cheap or expensive, so really, if you can buy something with a short warranty your better off. Watch out for particular problems with specific bodies. They all have them. The Canon A1 has shutter squeak, but is a easily fixed problem. Canon rangefinders can have bad curtains and many brands have lcd's that go bad or body parts that break such as pop up flashes.
    Some top picks would include Canon EOS for the adapters that can utilize other manufacturers glass, Nikon for good manual bodies and contrasty glass, Pentax for bokeh, resolution and color, Minolta the generally ignored stepchild that delights their users.
    My 4 tops picks all with 50mm F1.4 lenses in the $400 to $500 range would be:
    1. Nikon manual focus. Pick the features you can afford. Quantities are large and everyone fixes them but you'll be a lemming.
    2. AF Maxxum 7. It's cool to be different. A real sleeper brand with forward thinking in many respects.
    3. Pentax manual focus K2 or KX. Again the glass. They should re-release some of it.
    4. Canon FD the low price leader. The 50mm F3.5 is a fantastic alternative. On a F model you can have it all. Crushes nuts you find on the trail and drives tent stakes.

    Happy shopping!
     
  16. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    I suggest a later Nikon SLR with a 50/1.4 D-af should be at or under $400. F4s/F100/N90/F5 if you shop well. A cheaper lens which is very versatile is an old 55/3.5 micro. The F4s is sort of a unique bridge between knobs and controls of old and LCDs and buttons of new. The pro bodies have the greatest backward compatibility with lenses.

    The Olympus system is also nice, but not nearly as many choices or technology as Nikon/Canon. If you want older small manual focus gear and compact size, it's a good system to be in and is much nicer to use than a pentax k1000.
     
  17. bibowj

    bibowj Member

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    mostly portraits/ weddings and candids. Almost all people related. I currently own a Etrsi, 500CM, Mamiya 67, and a Speed Graphic. I would like to be able to shoot a little quicker, and get a few more shots than the 12-15 per roll w/o sacrificing a ton of quality. Though being a MF and LF shooter, Im wonder if Ill find 35mm adequate .. Im not sure.
     
  18. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    It can be limiting, but it also allows some freedom. It is more portable and easier to use, with a compact package you can move around a crowd with ease. Use a medium wide lens or medium wide-short tele zoom lens, you have a one lens combo that frees you up to create. Add a handle mount flash(I abhor camera mount) flash and cut loose anywhere or anytime.
     
  19. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    Canon FD system. Look up KEH.

    Jeff
     
  20. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser Advertiser

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    For a shopping list of 35mm features I'd say:

    • Quiet motor drive - weddings & candids with the least disturbance and fast shooting speed
    • AF - again, ability to get the shot off as quickly as possible
    • VR - for shooting at slow shutter speeds where flash is verbotten
    • TTL flash w/ matrix/distance - subject to background distance can throw off a simpler flash setup; you will need ability to do TTL/matrix/distance with an off-camera bracket mounted flash and the capability for bounce flash and light modifiers.

    For lenses I'd pick either a set of fast moderate fl primes: 35mm f2.0, 50mm f1.4, 80mm f2.0 or a 28-70 f2.8 zoom. TTBOMK, you will be stuck with a zoom if you opt for VR - ironically, as zooms are slower you end up with lower shutter speeds and more need for VR.

    Wide aperture lenses let you throw the background out of focus and let the subject stand out - a must if you want the bride to stand out from her cousin in the background (the one with his finger jammed up his nose to the third knuckle).

    There is nothing of a practical nature to distinguish any reputable lens over any other when it comes to optical quality. Unless you are using a tripod and shooting a slow high-resolution film there isn't all that much difference in image quality between a good modern lens and a 1950's Argus Cintar. Heck, bad lenses are at a premium item these days among the large-format crowd - the supply is limited as they aren't made any more.

    I think the feature list above puts you in the Nikon or Canon camp.

    For candid weddings shot in B&W by available light an alternative is a Voigtlander or Leica rangefinder for the ultimate in quiet. For a lower cost alternative there are the 60's vintage rangefinders with f1.7-f1.4 lenses such as the Minolta Hi-Matic or Yashica Electro-x. With an RF camera you lose the automation that a good SLR system can bring to bear on getting a good shot in the least amount of time.

    Image quaility can be excellent with TMax-100 or one of the Porta color films as long as you don't make prints much larger than 5x7. At 8x10 and above the added quality of MF becomes very noticeable.

    For formal portraits I would stick to the MF and LF systems you already have.
     
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  21. MaximusM3

    MaximusM3 Member

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    Save for a good Leica M3 and new Leica lenses. You'll never need 645 unless your printing murals. :smile:
     
  22. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Have you tried a 35mm back for your Bronica? It might give you part of the answer to your question.
     
  23. CGW

    CGW Member

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    Again, the late model Nikon AF bodies were superb, especially for this type of shooting. Nikon's flash metering system always delivered. With a 50/1.8AFd, 85/1.8AFd, or one of the affordable sleeper zooms like the 28-70/3.5-4.5D or 28-105/3.5-4.5 and a SB24/25/26/28 speedlight, you'd have a very flexible kit that wouldn't bankrupt you. This remains "peak" film gear for Nikon shooters on a budget.
     
  24. Mark Fisher

    Mark Fisher Subscriber

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    A fuji 645 rangefinder is in the ballpark on price.....if you want 35mm, Olypmus is nice because it is really compact. Canon EOS is nice if part of what you want is speed of shooting. Honestly, there are no bad systems among the major makers particularly if you stick to prime lenses. The ergonomics of Canon EOS and Olympus OM work well for me.
     
  25. Markster

    Markster Member

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    Canon FD system, for sure. Good glass, good bodies... Get an AE-1P or an A-1. I think the A-1 has more options for automatic exposure, but if you're going manual shutter and manual aperture they are mostly the same. The AE-1P has a slightly better "feel" to the shutter dial so you can bracket or adjust on the flight with a mini-flick of the finger,

    All you really need is the body and a 50mm. I would suggest a 28mm or wide of some sort. Then also perhaps a zoom or telephoto depending on your tastes. The good news is you can probably get the camera in perfect condition, and 3 lenses plus more kit all under $400 (your budget).

    Compared to larger formats, 35mm is relatively cheap.

    EDIT: P.S. I find myself using my 35-70mm f/2.8 zoom more often lately. It's nice for framing shots better. I would recommend something like this unless you have a dislike for zooms in general.
     
  26. waynecrider

    waynecrider Member

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    You'll find it adequate up to 11x14 with good glass depending on film.

    If you need to do fast work the 35mm is the ticket. You know the MF excels in portraits and you can change out film loaded backs between color and B&W. CGW puts the finger on it with Nikon for flash but I'm sure Canon can be good; Maybe Minolta's got them both beat? The only thing I would do is steer clear of the Nikon 50 1.8 D and instead buy the older "N" model with better build and AFAIC better quality control.
    Truthfully Nikon lost my business when they pulled the old bs buy it now and buy it tomorrow up-grade game. Examples are the 8008, N80, N90 and F4 where they almost immediately succeeded each with the new "S" version or just super-seceded the model altogether, (N80), hop scotching to the newest/greatest with better matrix exposure and tanking the model for people that just bought it; I believe in the same year if I remember right? Then they used crappy plastic that can get sticky which has affected models F100 and down. Where's the beef in the line? Probably the F5, F6 and FM3A at a price. I have no knowledge of the F3 for flash and the F4 is suppose to be a brick.