older Nikon bodies

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by steve simmons, Jan 3, 2006.

  1. steve simmons

    steve simmons Inactive

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    I am interested in picking up an older Nikon body (film). I have an F but it is something of a classic and I don't want to take it out into the field.

    I would like to be able to use flash up to 1/125

    auto focus/exposure is not necessarily important

    motor drive might be helpful

    I have the 50-135zoom that is a constant f3.5 that I would like to use on the body

    ttl might be helpful

    I am just looking for suggestions and thoughts.

    steve simmons
     
  2. Steve Hamley

    Steve Hamley Member

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    Steve,

    I'd recommend a Nikon F2A. Cheaper than the F2AS and available pretty much everywhere. You might browse KEH for a good user.

    Steve
     
  3. Sanjay Sen

    Sanjay Sen Member

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    Steve,

    I would recommend the FM2. I got one recently and I really like using it. The FM2n has a sync speed of 1/250, the FM2 syncs at 1/200. I got mine off eBay for $126, and it's in very good condition.


    Regards,
    Sanjay
     
  4. Mike Kennedy

    Mike Kennedy Member

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    Steve,
    I just picked up 2 Nikon bodies from fellow APUG members. A black bodied FE and a silver FE2. Great cameras and super deals. The FE2 has pretty much the same specs. as the FM2 but I much prefer the match needle metering system and the FE sensors are better for shooting under low light conditions {or so I have been told by my local Nikon guy}.
    In my opinion the folks on APUG are a better choice for used gear than ebay.

    Mike
     
  5. firecracker

    firecracker Member

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    Nikkormats/Nikomats are pretty good, and so are the FM series bodies. But once you buy them, it's going to be really hard to sell them again if the market is declining like this. So, be sure to pick the ones in good usable conditions that you will not regret afterwards.
     
  6. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    F3

    Dead accurate, cheap, full size image, indestructable, same screens as your F.

    Fun to use.
     
  7. r-brian

    r-brian Member

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    Steve

    Just make sure, if you want to use that 50-135 zoom, that it will be compatable with what ever body you do pick up. I'm assuming, because you're shooting a F, that the lens is a non-Ai. It may mount but may not function on all Nikon cameras or at best you will not be able to use any of the auto functions, like TTL. (It's been a few years since I worked at a camera store so I forget how compatable Nikon lenses/bodies are.)

    The FM's or F3's for a manual body would be a good choice. I happen to have a nice N90s for sale that is a great camera but, at best, be very limited with that lens. And I only live about 5 miles from you.

    You could go down to Kurt's Camera Corral or Camera and Darkroom down on Central and try out various bodies with your lens.

    Brian
     
  8. Joze

    Joze Member

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    I don't have wide experience of Nikons, but I have a Nikon FM2n. I mainly use the 50mm lens.

    I'm continually amazed at the quality you can get from such a reasonably priced camera (I bought mine new several years ago). Especially the 50mm lens with extension tubes for macro work. The money you pay all goes on the basics - which is all you need - nothing wasted on extras you may find unnecessary anyway. I like low-light work and don't have a problem with metering, but then again I'm in the habit of using a hand-held meter anyway.
     
  9. bobfowler

    bobfowler Subscriber

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    The 50-135 was only made as an AIS lens,and only for a few years. It's a fantastic piece of glass.

    My choice would probably be an FM2n. No TTL, but rugged and dependable. If you want something a little more "feature laden", the FM3a would be an excellent choice.
     
  10. Sanjay Sen

    Sanjay Sen Member

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  11. roteague

    roteague Member

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    If I was to buy an older Nikon, I would go with an F2. I've had really bad experiences with the F3, but always found the F2 solid as a rock.
     
  12. mikebarger

    mikebarger Subscriber

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    I picked a nice EL2 for my daughter several years ago and it has been a really nice camera for her.

    Mike
     
  13. Joze

    Joze Member

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    It does have (centreweighted) TTL metering - which I've had no problem with when I've used it. It doesn't do TTL flash, though.
     
  14. BradS

    BradS Subscriber

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    Hi Steve, The FM3a is, for me, about as close to the perfect 35mm body as can be imagined. It is something like a cross between the FE2 and the FM2n Like the FE2, it has the option to shoot aperature auto priority. Like the FM2N, it'll still work at all shutter speeds even with no batteries. It is supperior to both of them (in my opinion) because it has real match-needle light metering (instead of LED's).
     
  15. bohica

    bohica Member

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    I have a FM,FE, and an FM2n, You can't go wrong with any of them.
     
  16. Poptart

    Poptart Member

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    I have both the F3 and the EL2. I've recently aquired an EM and--despite the rep as an economy model--I really really dig it. It's small and light, but still mostly metal. The exposure system is good and the handling is better than any of my other Nikons. And it's pretty quiet. You can get a motor drive too.
     
  17. narsuitus

    narsuitus Member

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    If I were in your position, here is what I would consider. They all would work well with the lenses you have.

    1. If I already had a Nikon F, I would get a second one but in user condition. An add-on motor drive is available but it would not be interchangeable between bodies. The F, however, would not give me the 1/125 second flash sync that I need.

    2. A Nikon F2 because it would give me the interchangeable screens, interchangeable view finders, 100% view finder accuracy, and mirror lock-up that the F has. An add-on motor drive is available. It can use some of the Nikon F accessories (focusing screens, flash mounts, and some view finders). It would not, however, give me the 1/125 second flash sync that I need.

    3. Nikon F3 because it would give me the interchangeable screens, interchangeable view finders, 100% view finder accuracy, and mirror lock-up that the F and F2 have. An add-on motor drive is available. It would give me an auto exposure feature that the F and F2 do not have. However, it would not give me the battery independence that the F and F2 have. It would not give me the 1/125 second flash sync that I need.

    4. Nikon F4 because it would give me the interchangeable screens, interchangeable view finders, 100% view finder accuracy, and mirror lock-up that the F, F2, and F3 have. It has a built-in motor drive. It would give me more extensive metering and auto exposure features than the F, F2, and F3. Plus, it would give me an auto focus feature that I could use if I ever decided to get auto focus lenses. It would also give me the higher flash sync feature that I need. However, it would not give me the battery independence that the F and F2 have.

    5. A Nikon FM series camera because it would give me the battery independence that the F and F2 have. An add-on motor drive is available. It would give me the higher flash sync feature that I need. However, it would not give me interchangeable view finders, 100% view finder accuracy, and the true mirror lock-up that the F, F2, F3, and F4 have.

    All five are well made cameras that I would not hesitate to use or recommend. I have used all except the FM series. I am still using 2 of the 5 (the F2 and F4).
     
  18. George Collier

    George Collier Member

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    Nice summary by narsuitus. My opinion is to go with the F2, or F2A (different meter display). I have had one since the 70's, and picked up a 2nd in the early 90's. Never a problem. I shoot with multiple formats, so they are not everyday cameras, but they've had some use.
    Read closely what narsuitus says about the differences to see what you need.
     
  19. firecracker

    firecracker Member

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    The only reason I like Nikon FM is that it's capable of taking non-Ai lenses, which could really benefit Nikon users, and I am one of them.

    Many of the non-Ai lenses are well designed and inexpensive these days. And the total price you pay for stays relatively low, so it's really practical.

    Also, if you compare the size of the FM body with a small lens like the old Auto Nikkor H 50mm F2, attached to it, it's not that much bigger than a rangefinder camera with a normal lens.

    The shutter sound on the FM is pretty loud and ugly, but that's about all the problems I think there are. So, this is the camera I alway go back to. :smile:
     
  20. firecracker

    firecracker Member

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    I forgot to add, you know when you have an old chrome Nikon camera like FM and shoot in streets, people don't really get uptight about it. Maybe old Leica or Rolliei does better and has a better charm than the old Nikon, but still, you can present yourself 100 percent amateur, and that's good sometimes.
     
  21. Lee Shively

    Lee Shively Member

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    Use the Nikon F. These cameras were made to be used and used hard. If you don't use it, the lubrication will dry out and you won't be able to use it.

    The Nikon F2 was a more user-friendly camera than the F--and just as tough. That would be my first suggestion. I was not impressed with the F3 because many of the early models were unreliable. I hated the FM so much I never owned an FM2 or FM3. Nikkormats were good cameras and synched to 1/125, if I remember correctly.

    But I would still recommend you use the F that you have.
     
  22. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    I wore out several F's. They are great cameras but only sync at 1/60 if I remember rightly. I loved my F2 but in the end sold it and kept my Nikkormat FTN. Rock solid camera.
     
  23. T42

    T42 Member

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    I use and really like F and F2.. If I could keep only one, it would be the F2.

    The F2 is rock solid, fits the hands a little better than the F, which has German Contax inspired edges descended from the RF Nikons. F2 also has the 100% finder. Easier going with mirror lockup. Like the F, it has simple, direct controls, no battery dependency. Flexible. Lots of finders and accessories. The sync is a little faster on F2. The red mark is somplace between 60 and 125. Maybe an 80th? Some say that F2 was the pinnacle of Nikon's handfinished camera construction era. I think it may be true, but not by much. The F richly deserves its status as a classic.

    I have owned Nikomats. Honestly, they are rock solid battle tank Nikons through and through as far as I can tell. I just do not like the cropped viewfinder. About 86% or some such dismal number as best as I recall. As has been noted, their sync is 1/125 with the vertically traveling copal square shutter. Best of all, they mount available and affordable Nikkors same as F, F2, F3, etc.

    Henry Fisher