My 35mm kit is too big!!

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by Chris Nielsen, Sep 2, 2010.

  1. Chris Nielsen

    Chris Nielsen Member

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    Or should I say, now I've got an RB67 for my 'serious' work and don't think I'll be doing airshows on 35mm in future, I don't feel I need big 35mm gear now. I guess that means the purpose of my 35mm gear has changed, so I'm hoping for suggestions for a much smaller, much lighter kit.

    I currently use a Nikon F5 and 20-35 f/2.8, 80-200 f/2.8 and a 300mm f/4

    All my gear is big and heavy. I want a smaller and lighter kit and am happy to go manual focus. I am considering everything from Nikon manual focus to Canon FD, Olympus OM, even Contax G2. I like the Nikon F3 but the Nikon MF lenses seem quite expensive. The FD and OM seem nice, and especially lenses like the 85 1.2L but that's not exactly small and light.

    I am a little worried about repairs, but I suppose if I stick to the mechanical bodies I should be ok, right?

    Any suggestions? I know I'm being vague, but about all I know is small and light is what I want...

    Thanks!
     
  2. blockend

    blockend Member

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    The problem may not be the brand but the model. All Pro Nikons are a hunk of metal, F5 included. There are smaller and lighter Nikon SLRs.
    A few months ago I bought the smallest camera bag that would hold one body, one spare lens and four rolls of film, because I was tired of carrying a full Billingham.

    I now carry a manual or auto camera (depending on mood and subject), a 50mm F1.4 and a 24mm or 28mm spare. If I need lighter a Nikon F60 with a zoom suffices on the shoulder and lighter still, a 35mm AF compact.
     
  3. Chris Nielsen

    Chris Nielsen Member

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    It's not just the body but the lenses that are huge. The Olympus 100mm f/2.8 for instance, only 48mm long, tiny little thing! That's what I'm talking about! I take my 80-200 somewhere and I stick out like a complete dork :smile:
     
  4. blockend

    blockend Member

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    Ah, gotcha. The only zoom I use with any regularity is the Nikon 28 - 80 because it's plastic (i.e. light), sharp (for a kit lens) and I can fit it in a pocket. The other five (or is it six?) lie in their bag awaiting their fate.
    Not a huge zoom fan myself, the small ones show a dim viewfinder, the bright ones need regular visits to an osteopath. Small prime lenses are the way to go. A Pentax MX/ME with a pancake 45mm (?) must be about as small as 35mm SLRs go.
     
  5. Carl V

    Carl V Member

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    If you've been happy with your Nikon, I'd get an FM2n. These are manual-only mechanical cameras and very reliable. Alternatively, you could go for an FM3a which will offer aperture priority & manual and can still be used in the event of battery failure (using it manually). Both these bodies are smaller and a little lighter than your F5. I've used FM2's for years and have never had any problems with them.

    As for Olympus, both the OM1 and OM2 are very highly regarded cameras which are both reliable and quite compact in size, and just like the two Nikons above, are manual focussing.

    With regards to lenses, well I shoot landscapes and architecture pretty much all the time and use prime lenses rather than zooms. I guess this will come down to personal choice, but I'd rather carry two or three prime wide-angles rather than a zoom lens. Both Nikon and Olympus Zuiko lenses are nice and compact if you do opt for prime lenses and I've never found the weight to be of a problem personally.
     
  6. Java

    Java Member

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    The FM series and the OM series are both as Carl points out about the same size and weight.

    However using both I do find the Nikon lens are a little heavier, then again an 85mm f1.4 is a big chunk of glass. The Olympus 85mm range is much more compact and a beautiful little performer.
     
  7. Rol_Lei Nut

    Rol_Lei Nut Member

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    Or go rangefinder....

    While they have their advantages and limits, lighter and especially smaller is what you get!
     
  8. nsurit

    nsurit Subscriber

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    I use the OM system and as others have said the 85mm f2 and 100mm f2.8 are relatively light and great lenses. That being said, there are times when I want something long and fast as was the case recently when I was using the Tamron SP 400mm f4. Sure it was on a tripod. Many of the shots were close at f4 and this is what was needed to produce the results desired. My point being that regardless of the body you are using the lens lens part of the equation is dictated by the desired results. Obviously something lighter would be called for if this were an all day hike, however on this project I was on a 2+ hour shoot at or near sunset and everything was within about 100 yards of my car. Bill Barber
     
  9. flatulent1

    flatulent1 Subscriber

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    Does it have to be all at once? If it was my kit, I would replace the huge F5 with a small, light N80 (got one two months ago for $25 in like-new condition, fabulous camera). Then look for smaller versions of the lenses you use with some regularity.

    Alternatively, Minolta made some really nice manual focus cameras, the XD-11 being among the best. The lenses are excellent, and small-ish, and cheap. Very cheap. Nobody-wants-them cheap.
     
  10. paulfish4570

    paulfish4570 Member

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    A good, smallish M42 body - Fujica ST605 or Pentax Spotmatic - will open the door to a whole world of inexpensive M42 mount lenses. I usually run a Pentax SP1000 with a Super Takumar 55/2 or Meyer-Optik Oreston 50/1.8 aboard. The Oreston cost me $20, and came with a camera attached. A good Pentax-brand M42 normal costs between $40 for a Tak 55/2 and $75-$125 for a 50/1.4. Lots o' options out there. Search "M42 lens" on ebay. A sound Spotmatic will cost $25-$40. A super-fine CLA with new light seals and mirror bumper will cost $73. You would then have an as-new mechanical camera for a little over $100 that should last, oh, 45 years or so before another CLA ...
     
  11. blockend

    blockend Member

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    Is that still true? My perusal of fleabay suggests quality screw thread lenses are close on the heels of bayonet mounts pricewise. At least, camera manufacturer's prime M42s in wide apertures never seem to go cheap when I'm watching.
     
  12. Warren T.

    Warren T. Member

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    You're used to AF with the F5. I agree with the other person who recommended easing out of it :smile:. N80 or F100 are relatively inexpensive these days, get one of those and then pick a smallish Nikkor AF prime (or two) in your choice of focal length. That should drastically reduce the size and heft of your 35mm kit already. And you can still use your big zooms if you need them for a particular project in the future. If you really want to go manual focus, then something in the FM series would be appropriate, but then you'd have to invest in some mf lenses as well. Good luck and have fun choosing :smile:.
     
  13. fotch

    fotch Member

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    If your use to Nikon, stick with Nikon, it will be much easier. Assuming your keeping the one you have now, then the lens compatibility is a plus. A Nikon FM or FE or reasonable small and light, and dependable.

    JMHO
     
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  15. Sim2

    Sim2 Member

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    Hi there,
    My take on this is that your Mamiya has taken over as your primary camera of choice. Assuming that you intend to use both systems at the same time, rather than "going out shooting with the Nikon only or the Mamiya only" then perhaps it might be a case of asking what do you want the Nikon to do that the Mamiya can't. e.g. using an affordable fisheye, or shooting indoors at 1.4, or shooting moving action with a telephoto, or shooting fast sequences with the motor drive.

    If there is a "thing" that you want the Nikon will do that the Mamiya won't, limit the Nikon gear to enable that "thing" - then it becomes a useful extension to the Mamiya set-up. Og get a Leica set-up, can't get smaller or lighter!

    Just my thoughts.
    Sim2.
     
  16. Chris Nielsen

    Chris Nielsen Member

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    Thanks guys for your suggestions, it's given me a lot to think about.

    I also think Sim2 is right, and I need to better define my purpose for the gear before I do anything

    Cheers!
     
  17. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    I'd sell the zooms (or at least the big one) and get fixed-length lenses. I'd keep your body and use AI glass on it. No sense in getting rid of a body that is likely mechanically perfect, and will be for quite some time, to get an old body that may give you repair issues. You couldn't get much for it anyhow. The body is not that heavy, but it is the zoom lenses that are a PITA, IMO. So, I'd keep the 300, get a telephoto or two in the 80 to 200 range, and for the wide...well, the zoom might not actually be all that heavy. I might keep it after all.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 2, 2010
  18. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    When I downsized from the F5 I got an F100, and I was very happy. I used to say that it was a shame Nikon didn't make a hedge trimming attachment for the F5, it certainly had the torque for the task. The F100 is svelte by comparison.

    Then I went one step further away from rapid shooting, simply because I lost interest in it and wasn't around sports so much. I lost my routine need for AF. So I got an fm2n and I adore it.

    So... if you want to stay in the Nikon F family, I would say F100, fm2n or similar, or consider an fm3a if you have the money.

    If you wish to go really small then I am afraid you will need to exit the Nikon F family and consider the olys or such.
     
  19. totalmotard

    totalmotard Member

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    I have 3 small and light kits:

    1. Nikon N80 with 50mm 1.8 AFD lens. when I want to do family candids. I need the autofocus for grandkids.
    2. Nikon FE with 50mm 1.8 Series E, for situations that require a tough camera. I bought it BGN grade and it functions perfect, it's just a little dinged and brassed. Toss it in the tank bag of the moto or hiking it's small and compact.
    3. Oly 35 SP rangefinder for street photography. Small, light, quiet and unobtrusive.
     
  20. Leigh Youdale

    Leigh Youdale Member

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    I'd support this. First I'd question whether the RB67 is manoeuvrable enough to do what you've been doing at airshows - particularly the air-to-air stuff. And whether you need AF.
    The next step might be to think about whether you can cope with a 35mm rangefinder, because you won't find much smaller or lighter. (The Bessa is lighter than the Leica but the same size, and CV glass is affordable).
    Whether or not you consider RF, you also need to think about what range of focal lengths you want to use. If you lean towards RF then you also have to consider the frame sizes that the various models have in their viewfinders. If you go to a small SLR that's not an issue.
     
  21. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

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    I think you will find that the Nikon glass is not as expensive as you may think.
    Olympus and Pentax glass (besides the basic 3) demand a premium that is often above Nikon because they are just not available.
    So my suggestion is this..

    if you want to keep autofocus:
    If you have large hands get a F100. Otherwise get a N80.
    Get a 50mm f1.8 AF and a kit zoom 28-80mm.
    Keep your other gear for a while.

    if you want to try something for a different feel:
    Get a nikon FE and AI or pre-AI lenses.
     
  22. John_Nikon_F

    John_Nikon_F Subscriber

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    Darin's onto something as is Sim2. My suggestion is to first find some of the Energizer lithiums. I suspect they're available in NZ. They aren't cheap, but they last a long time and make any motorized Nikon film body lighter. Then, go on a lens weight trimming regimen. To cover the wide range, replace the 20-35 with an 18-35. A bit slower, but wider zoom, and smaller size. Replace the 80-200 with an 85f1.8 AF and a 180f2.8 EDIF AF. Maybe also throw in either a 35f2 or a 50f1.4 into the mix. Keep the 300mm, since that focal length does come in handy from time to time. That allows you to keep the AF capabilities but lose some weight. If you don't mind using your F5 as a pro-grade FE2 with MD-12, get some lenses like the 20f3.5 Nikkor-UD (great piece of glass), 24f2.8 or 24f2 AI or AIS Nikkor, 35f2 Nikkor (either AI'd Nikkor-O/OC or AI/AIS), a 50f1.4 AI or AIS, 85f1.8 AI'd, and a 180f2.8 of some variety. Also get an L screen for the F5. Diagonal split-image which is nice.

    -J
     
  23. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    I have Nikon and Pentax, along with my old mostly retired Fujica ST801 and some other M42 cameras I've picked up along the way.
    The Pentax MX is really small and light, while my LX is about the size and weight of a Nikon FM/FE. The Pentax lenses are fairly compact.
    My Nikon F3 is larger and about 7 ounces heavier than the LX but still isn't really all that big or heavy compared to the other F series machines, especially the F5. I picked up an N8008s (F801s) really cheap and use it for the times I want fast film transport. It works great for that, as it's less bulky and lighter with the motor being integral.

    One thing to consider is how much you really need a long zoom. I have found for most things my zooms are used at only a couple spots in the range, so I'm going more and more back to single focal lengths, which often have other advantages as well. I might not save weight or bulk in the bag, but the camera/lens combo is definitely easier to handle. One thing to note: the Nikon and Pentax focusing and aperture rings turn in the same direction, making it very easy to use them interchangeably. Most M42's do also: the Pentaxes obviously, my EBC Fujinons, and most others. There were some though that turn differently, I think Ricoh being one.

    The OM series cameras are sweet, and many of the lenses are little gems. Another to seriously consider if you are looking for small and light.

    The exotic Olympus and Pentax glass, among others, is often more costly than the exotic Nikon and Canon FD glass, as it was sold in fewer numbers and often fewer variations. The more ordinary stuff is usually cheaper than Nikon, but all around, the FD lenses are amazing for price and selection.
     
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  24. andrewkirkby

    andrewkirkby Member

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    I avoid zoom lenses because of the weight. Sure, they offer convenience in that you don't need to carry multiple lenses but at the same time, they often have poor optical quality (especially wide open) and are a few stops slower. Not much good for shooting slow films - Kodachrome, Velvia or Ilford Pan F.

    Also, shooting with a fixed focal length - only taking one lens - forces me to think a certain way and i get locked in that mindset and as a result i create better composed images.

    Sometimes restriction is a good force behind creativity.
     
  25. Chris Nielsen

    Chris Nielsen Member

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    Wow, some good stuff to think about here! I'm getting closer to deciding what to do. I do know my zooms are going to be sold, probably also the F5, although I'm a bit sad to see it go in some ways. As I mentioned I don't use long focal lengths much any more so a kit of say 3 primes and a small body like the FM2N or OM2 would suit my absolutely down the the ground. Having said all that I am still interested in the Contax G2. Geez, some of us just can't decide :smile:

    P.S. When I said i won't be doing airshows on 35mm, I didn't mean I'll be doing them on medium format. nuff said.

    Thanks guys.
     
  26. Stan160

    Stan160 Member

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    If you decide to stick with Nikon, look at Series E lenses. They're generally smaller, lighter, and plastic, but I don't see any lower quality in my negatives compared to the equivalent focal length AI/AIS/AF lenses. I own a 50mm, used to have a 28mm but gave it away in a clearout, and to my knowledge there were also 100mm and 35mm focal lengths manufactured and possibly a zoom or two.