n00b needs advise on an old manual camera

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by firewireguy, Sep 2, 2008.

  1. firewireguy

    firewireguy Member

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    Hi there,

    I'm a film n00b, although not new to photography, I have been shooting digital for 3 years with a Nikon D50 and D2H. But having recently fallen in love with the prints I've gotten from cheap disposable cameras I want to pick up a proper film camera and try it out. But I don't know what camera to get so I need some advise.

    Now although I have a Nikon camera at the moment I have no lenses with an aperture ring and I plan to start with just a 50mm lens so I'm not tied at all to the F mount and am looking at alternatives.

    I want something with aperture priority and manual mode but don't really care for timers etc.

    I've heard good things about the Olympus OM-10 and I like the look of it even though it's only aperture priority without the adapter. I don't really want anything too modern as I like the look of these old cameras.

    Are there any other suggestions for a good starting point?


    Regards,

    Paul
     
  2. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    I would look into Pentax K1000 or Canon FTb which can be had used through KEH. There are other good choices also, Nikon etc.

    Jeff
     
  3. Mike Kennedy

    Mike Kennedy Member

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    Don't know much about the OM series but my local camera shop manager did tell me to stay away from the OM-10 (too electrical & too plastic).
    The K1000 is a wonderful camera.Lots of lenses to choose from.
     
  4. filmamigo

    filmamigo Member

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    I recommend a slightly newer Pentax than the K1000 (which has attained a cult status and is priced higher because of it.)

    For all-manual exposure, go for the KM, KX or the well-reguarded MX.

    Many people's favourite camera is the ME Super. It gives you Aperture Priority and Manual Exposure in a small, elegant body.

    For Program Auto, Aperture Priority and Manual, get a Program Plus or Super Program.

    All of these (except the MX) should be attainable in the $50-$100 range if you look around. Bought at a second-hand store or a garage sale, they will usually come with an EXCELLENT Pentax 50mm lens.
     
  5. ehparis

    ehparis Member

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    I'd say your description fits a Nikon F3HP or Nikon F100, both of which can be had in good used condition for $200. or less. Check out KEH (and I recommend you do so regardless of the camera you choose).
     
  6. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    There are a lot of options, and I'm sure you'll hear a lot of opinions on the matter. My own: First, I'm not too familiar with the Olympus line, but AFAIK it's no longer in production, and although it was popular it was never top-sales popular, so lenses might be harder to find than for some other brands. My impression (just that; I've not studied the statistics) is that the most popular lens mounts/brands are M42 screw mount, Pentax K-mount, Minolta, Nikon, and perhaps Canon. I'm not too familiar with the details of the last three lines; there may be differences between specific mounts for each that are important.

    M42 screw mount is a very old design that was used by many manufacturers, but there's little new production today. These lenses are less convenient to use than bayonet-mount lenses, since they take longer to change, and few M42 cameras have any form of automatic exposure. (I can't think of any off the top of my head, in fact.) There are two main variants: manual and automatic. The former type adjusts the aperture as you move the aperture ring. The latter adds a pin so that the aperture ring doesn't immediately stop down the aperture; the pin enables the camera to stop down the lens when you release the shutter. Automatic cameras can use manual lenses but not vice-versa. Some lenses have "A/M" switches so they can work either way.

    Pentax K-mount was used by Pentax and several less popular makes (Ricoh, Vivitar, Chinon, Cosina, etc.). Between them, and with the fact that the Pentax K1000 became a very popular student camera, there are lots of K-mount cameras and lenses on the market, and they're still being made new. There are a handful of variations of the K mount to add features such as camera control of aperture (for shutter-priority auto exposure and full-program exposure) and auto-focus. These features are mostly backward-compatible with older versions of the K-mount. I seem to recall hearing of some caveats in this regard, but I don't recall the details. (I stay away from autofocus, myself, so the basic K mount and variants to support auto exposure are plenty for me.)

    I agree with filmamigo that the K1000 is overpriced. It's also an all-manual camera, so it doesn't satisfy your requirement of having aperture-priority automatic exposure. Among cameras I own, the Chinon CE-4s, Pentax P30t, and Ricoh XR-X 3PF might meet your needs. The Chinon and Pentax are pretty similar overall, although the Chinon uses manual film speed setting whereas the Pentax uses DX codes (with no override possibility, which is a big minus if you bulk-roll your film or like to shoot at anything other than box speed). The Ricoh has a power winder and a wider range of exposure options (including aperture-priority, shutter-priority, and full-auto, although the last two only work with compatible lenses, which are fairly rare). Of these, I'd say the Chinon is probably my favorite -- or would be except that mine has a few sample-specific quirks. The Ricoh is certainly my most flexible camera, but that flexibility comes at the cost of confusing controls that are sluggish to use for certain things. (It takes about five seconds to switch from manual to automatic exposure mode, for instance.) Of course, these comments are specific to the particular models I've got; there are Pentaxes and Chinons with power windows and Ricohs without them, for instance.
     
  7. HerrBremerhaven

    HerrBremerhaven Member

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    Nikon F4S, F5, or F100, all of which would work with your current lenses. Of these, the F100 might be the best value for the money, and likely the ergonomics are similar to what you already use. The F4S is limited usage with some lenses, and slow autofocus on others. The F5 has everything, but is not as compact as an F100.

    Ciao!

    Gordon Moat Photography
     
  8. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    My fave? Cannon AE1 Program. Great camera- aperture or shutter priority, or program, or full manual, and lots of great lenses for cheap as the EOS cameras have a different mount.
     
  9. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    I have been shooting Olympus OMs for over 30 years, but I am totally unbiased :smile:.

    My sense is that there is good availability for OM stuff in the UK, because when I look on ebay for some of the more exotic accessories I'm often more successful at finding them from UK sellers.

    An OM1n would be a great fully manual choice. An OM2n adds excellent aperture preferred automatic. Both are system cameras, designed to take a fair amount of abuse.

    An OMG/OM20 is a good lighter duty option. It is an upgrade on the OM10, with built in manual settings.

    They sold a lot in their day.

    Matt
     
  10. elekm

    elekm Member

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    There are a good numbers of lenses for the OM system available on eBay. I was able to build a nice little system that includes an OM-1, two OM-2 bodies, the OM winder and several Zuiko lenses -- all for less than $200.

    The one thing that had to be done was replacement of the foam seals and a general cleaning.

    I had an OM-10 that I sold. My feeling about it was that it's a decent camera for an amateur, but I'd opt for an OM-2, if I wanted a camera with autoexposure. The camera is well built but uses too much plastic, for my taste. Also, the main control dial features an armature/brush that swipes across a printed circuit (PC) board.

    If I were a film newcomer, I'd go for something simple. A Pentax K1000 is a good camera (replace the foam seals ... applies to all Japanese cameras).

    Other decent choices: Canon FD-mount cameras, Minolta SRT series, Nikkormat and others.

    I wouldn't worry too much about brand. There's no law that prohibits you from owning more than one SLR system. And with prices as cheap as they are, it's no longer cost-prohibitive to have several systems.

    In SLRs, I currently have Pentax (42mm and K), Nikon, Olympus, Rolleiflex, Contaflex and Praktica.

    I recently sold off Minolta SRT, Exakta and plan to unload my Konica.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 2, 2008
  11. oldlugs

    oldlugs Member

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    I love my Nikomat/Nikkormat bodies for really tough, inexpensive mechanical bodies. For around $75, you can get a nice FT2 or FT3 model. If you need modern, I'd say get a clean F100 for under $200. They've got all the features you're likely to want. For around $125, and fewer features than the F100, but not as spartan as the Nikomat, the FE2 and FM2 are hard to beat. My 2¢.
     
  12. Paul Sorensen

    Paul Sorensen Member

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    If you want auto, I am partial to the Olympus OM2 or Nikon FE2 or F3. There are so many possibilities it is hard to go wrong. I would probably avoid the OM10 for the auto only issue and the lower quality of construction. I do advise that you try to play around with one, something will feel right. Also, I strongly recommend something that not only works in manual mode, but works easily in manual mode. Too many cameras from that vintage were designed for only auto use in mind.

    Prices are so low now, heck an F3 in bargain is $140 at KEH, that I would recommend getting something pretty solid.
     
  13. Andy38

    Andy38 Member

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    If you have a Nikon camera , why not an old Nikon ?
    A durable F3 HP with AI-AIS lenses ; this camera has a superb viewfinder , essential to easily manual focus , when coming from an autofocus system .
    Nikon AI-AIS lenses are optically good and not expensive ; and they can be used (manually) on many Nikon (D)SLR .
     
  14. Terrence Brennan

    Terrence Brennan Member

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    Manual camera

    FWIW, I would suggest an old Nikon F, the original of the F series cameras. I own four (two with motors), and you can't get much more manual than an old F!
     
  15. John Hermanson

    John Hermanson Member

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    Start with a good OM-1/1N. It's all mechanical, shutter works without batteries. The OM system has a great line of lenses, all widely available in the used market. I service the entire system if need be. John, www.zuiko.com
     
  16. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

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    Cheap and cheerful: Nikon FE.

    Small, convenient, reliable. Nikkor lenses are among the world's best and are readily available. Many are very inexpensive.

    You should be able to get one for well under $100 US (probably around 75 quid knowing how much more stuff costs there).

    I have a pair, one chrome, one black. You can add a motor drive (MD-12) if you want.