Older versus "modern" equipment dilemma

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by Edimilson, May 5, 2007.

  1. Edimilson

    Edimilson Member

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    Hello!

    I've just realized I find myself in a curious dilemma.
    I own an EOS 300V (known also as EOS Rebel Ti). This camera offers automatic film winding, automatic focus, if you want it, as well as automatic exposure.

    Problem is, I've been trying to really learn how to expose properly instead of letting my camera decide for me. In order to learn to expose properly, I thought it might be a good idea to buy a camera capable of spot metering - something that my Rebel Ti lacks.

    As a result I bought an Olympus OM 2000 with a Zuiko 50mm 1.4 lens on it some weeks ago. This camera, though perhaps not a great camera (?), at least offers spot metering. Now it's becoming clear that I've been getting more consistent negatives spot metering with the OM 2000 than I did when I relied on the Rebel's metering modes.

    My dilemma is: should I trust my instincts and let go of a "modern" camera like the Rebel Ti and stick to older equipment? I would lose fancy stuff like a continuous shooting mode, for instance. This thing with the continuous shooting mode really bothers me, silly as it may seem.

    Has anyone here ever been in a situation like this?
     
  2. Sparky

    Sparky Member

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    Can't you use them in manual mode? If you can, do so. There's no real reason to get older gear, except maybe 'snob appeal'. The need for spot metering is a little dubious, I'd say... es-PECIALLY when it comes to the in-camera kind. If you really feel that you MUST do spotmetering - buy a Pentax V spotmeter. But I think you'd be much better off with a quality handheld meter, like a lunasix or a sekonic (not as good, IMO) or something.
     
  3. Edimilson

    Edimilson Member

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    I can use the Rebel Ti in manual mode, but I don't seem to get consistent results using partial metering or centerweighted average metering. Needless to say that evaluative metering has been a disappointment too. And I've had this camera for nearly 3 years now!

    Now spot metering with the Olympus - that I've been using for less than a month - my results have been better.

    Anyway, I agree that having a handheld meter is the way to go. I intend to get one as soon as I can.
     
  4. David H. Bebbington

    David H. Bebbington Inactive

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    I find it is not just ancient versus modern but also one camera against another with the same metering principle. I find that the center-weighted metering of Nikon F3 and Bessa R2a works great, the same metering principle in Leica R3 is basically accurate but easily thrown by difficult subjects, particularly with large light areas. Experiences with matrix metering have been positive (Leicaa R8, Pentax MZ5-N), in almost all cases as good as I could achieve twith a separate meter, as long as you remember that the metering is only semi-intelligent and is optimized for landscape-oriented shots. In-camera spot metering has confused a lot of people, obviously it seesm to work well for you.
     
  5. Ryuji

    Ryuji Member

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    My starting camera (well, sort of) was the Japanese model of Rebel XS (called kiss). It wasn't a bad camera, tho I had a few complaints and got rid of it. In terms of the meter, more recent models like 7 (Elan 7E in US) or 3 is better. But I'm curious what kind of scene you are taking. I don't recall too many cases where my kiss's evaluative mode failed badly enough for negative films.

    I think the question is whether you should learn more metering techniques that you can use when you think camera meter fails. This is true of any camera and any meter you buy, but of course the more pieces of equipment you have, the greater the number of possible techniques will be.
     
  6. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    Like Ryuji said. It's about learning to understand when the meter might fail. Try looking at the screwed up exposures and figuring out why it failed.

    In todays market plenty of pro grade cameras that allow everything from full manual to full auto for not too much money. Nikons F4 isn't much more expensive then a similar age consumer grade camera.
     
  7. ath

    ath Member

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    My impression is, your problem is not old vs. new but spot meter or not. There are Canon AF cameras with spot meters, like the EOS5, the 3 and the 1 series. All are quite cheap nowadays.
    With "modern" cameras I find it important, that it is possible to switch off the automatics if I want it. I am the photographer, not the camera.
    The 3 digit Canons (like your 300V) are not the best for this. Take at least a 2 digit (e.g. EOS50 - my favourite for travel) or the 1 digit cameras.
    If you want to have full control over the exposure, the matrix metering is a nono.
     
  8. Edimilson

    Edimilson Member

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    Hello!

    Thank you for all your suggestions. You've helped me make up my mind. My dilemma is not about old versus new, as Ath mentioned, but it has to do with the degree of control I need. My Rebel Ti doesn't provide me with what I need and I don't think it would pay to adapt myself to its limitations.
    I agree, on the other hand, that it would be a good idea to learn how to deal with other metering modes, like centerweighted average metering, but I'd rather do that with another body. Canon EOS 3 and Nikon F4 are two possibilities I'll consider.

    Thanks again!
     
  9. jstraw

    jstraw Member

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    You might consider an EOS 650. It can use any lenses you have and it's light, can be used fully manually and has a partial metering mode with a 6.5 degree view. I'd recommend a 630 but it lacks that metering mode. I bought my 630 for studio work where small and manual were all I cared about.
     
  10. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

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    Lots of Nikons have spot meters. F601, F70, F801s, F90, F90x, F100, F4, F5, F6... none save the F6 are terribly expensive.

    The Nikon spot meters tend to have a finer spot than the Canon ones (1% versus 3% if memory serves, but please research it and don't trust me - I know the 1% is accurate but I'm not sure about the 3%). If you don't have a lot invested in your Canon and Olympus systems, the Nikon one might be worth a look. One thing I particularly like about it is that you can, to some degree, mix and match autofocus and manual focus gear so that you can have the best of both worlds, old and new. (I often use my AF-S 17-35/2.8D ED on my F3HP - it seems wrong but the results are so right! And my 105/2.5 AI is just as delicious on my F5 as it is on a manual body.)

    You should ultimately use what works for you. I take different pictures when I use my manual gear. Are they better? Sometimes, sometimes not. I really do find AF to be a boon when shooting moving subjects, or when speed of shooting is of the essence. If I don't shoot movement or find myself under duress, I definitely prefer to use manual gear, though. Even if I can use AF gear manually, I still shoot differently with actual manual equipment.
     
  11. laverdure

    laverdure Member

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    but if you are a snob- like me- those older cameras are just gorgeous. Appealing, even.

    The best way to learn how to meter, if you ask me, (which nobody did), is to get a camera with no meter at all. Even with a hand-held to complement an in-camera, I find I get lazy. I learned more about exposure in a few weeks that way than I did for years using a center-weighted. Now I find I don't even need a meter anymore for most outdoor situations. Which is pleasant.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2007
  12. Edimilson

    Edimilson Member

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    Switching from Canon to Nikon wouldn't be a problem. Besides a 50mm 1.8 Canon lens, I have mostly M42 lenses, including Takumars, that I mount on the EOS thanks to an adapter. Perhaps I'm mistaken, but from the little I know about Nikon cameras it's possible to use a wide range of "old" manual lenses on newer bodies. I have the impression this is not the case with Canon bodies (??), where your choices are fewer.This flexibility is drawing me towards a Nikon body. Being able to buy older manual lenses would be nice, considering my rather tight budget.
     
  13. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    You are correct that you can't mount old Canon manual focus lenses on the modern EOS system bodies - when Canon came out with an autofocus system, they decided to design their lens mount and lens system to be ideal for autofocus, and not keep any backward compatibility with their FD bayonet-mount system. This caused a major uproar in their ownership community at the time, but it paid off because their autofocus system proved to be superior - the big advantage for them is most obvious with the large telephoto lenses, because they have a drive motor in each lens that is properly sized for the lens, meaning the big 500mm F4 lenses will focus as fast as the 50mm F1.8 lens will, which until fairly recently was not true of the Nikon big glass.
     
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  15. Edimilson

    Edimilson Member

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    Laverdure,

    I totally love old cameras too! Whenever I stop by camera stores here in Rio de Janeiro I spend a lot of time drooling over old cameras. D***** bodies really don´t catch my fancy at all. Curiously, they look all the same to me. Old cameras, on the other hand, seem to have a personality of their own, so to speak.
    I also like the idea of being able to determine exposure without the help of a meter. I think I'll try to acquire this ability when I finally get my hands on a Bessa R. I intend to use one for street photography.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2007
  16. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

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    I use old cameras because I can spread out the pourchasing of equipment of months, years if need be. But I would use the older one alot to learn the ins and out of exposure. Maybe even pick up a prcieless book like Ansel Adams' 'The Negative'. A can't miss that should be in every photographer's library. In my humble opinion, that is.
     
  17. bjorke

    bjorke Member

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    Hold your open palm in front of the lens, out of focus, unshadowed, in the light you want to meter. Add one stop (e.g., if you got 1/60 at f/5.6, open it to f/4).

    There, you now have an incident light meter.

    If you have a zoom lens, you can also use that as a spot meter (most (all?) commercial standalone spot meters have zoom lenses these days). Zoom in, meter, zoom out.
     
  18. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    The human brain can make decisions a camera's processor can't. What is 'correct' exposure? You may want to grossly over- or under-expose on purpose to get a certain effect. That's when the spot meter comes in handy. That's real freedom.
    I love my old clunker cameras where I use a separate meter. I measure at the point where I want the exposure to reveal a certain tone, and then I let the light through to make the exposure. The autofocus function can never interpret creatively, it will always strive to make a perfect grayscale exposure, to capture detail from black to white. That's incredibly limiting.

    - Thomas
     
  19. copake_ham

    copake_ham Inactive

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    I have both older gear and modern too.

    My Nikon's "range" from a S2 to a F5. With various (many) lenses to fit the same.

    I even have a couple of CV R2S bodies which add a TTL-meter to a S3 type body.

    The point of all this? Not to brag - but to point out that there are no "absolutes".

    Shoot what makes you happy and - provided it's a film-based piece of gear - tell us all here about your adventures!
     
  20. film_guy

    film_guy Member

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    I agree with George, use the equipment which makes you happy as a shooter. With the digital boom, tons of people are getting rid of their perfectly good analog equipment ranging from old but reliable manual focus rangefinders to newer AF SLRs with so many custom functions you need to read the manual anytime you need something changed.

    My advice to you is buy the best equipment you can afford, instead of buying something cheap which you'll regret after.
     
  21. Robert Budding

    Robert Budding Member

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    I use old cameras and new cameras. Either way, I only meter when the light changes. Meter and pop the camer into manual mode and shoot away. I can do an entire shoot based on one meter reading. In variable light, (clouds drifting across the sun and then bright sun again) however, I'll use auto modes.
     
  22. roteague

    roteague Member

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    It is more a matter of personal preference. I prefer newer equipment for the simplicity they can provide. With 35mm, I use a Nikon F5 which I shoot almost exclusively in Aperture priority, Matrix metering mode - I've spent 30+ years with a 35mm, so I pretty well know how to handle the metering aspect. My first love, however, is my 4x5 - all manual, of course. I have no problem going from a fully automatic camera to a fully manual one.
     
  23. Thanasis

    Thanasis Member

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    ...how good is that 105/2.5 AI lens? Ive heard good things about the Gauss P.C. version. Is that the one you have?

    Er...sorry to derail the thread...yeah, um a camera with different metering available in manual mode will offer best flexibility.
     
  24. Lee Shively

    Lee Shively Member

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    As you've recognized, control is the key--not how up-to-date or ancient the equipment.

    It sounds to me as if you're having difficulty with control of the metering system in the Rebel. Instead of switching systems or buying into a new camera system, why not just buy a handheld exposure meter? You should be able to get a really nice used one for a reasonable price. Get it set up for the correct exposure and use it instead of the camera metering system.

    I'm not familiar with the Rebel Ti but I'm assuming it has manual mode operation. I have a Rebel 2000 which does offer manual operation but it is somewhat non-ergonomic is using in manual mode. The EOS bodies that have the rear control dial are much more user-friendly in operation, IMHO.

    Personally, I have found the Canon meters in evaluative metering mode to be as accurate as any system I've ever used--that includes many years use of in-camera centerweighted and various types of handheld meters. I still carry a handheld meter (and I do wonder why sometimes) but when I take a reading, I inevitably get the same reading as the Canon evaluative metering has shown.

    Concerning FD lenses on EOS bodies, I may be wrong on this but I think it is possible for the older FD Canon lenses to be used on EOS bodies with the loss of some functions. I know the Canon EOS mount is pretty huge and that allows the cameras to use quite a few other brands of lenses with proper adapters.
     
  25. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    Lee- you would lose ALL functions - the old FD bayonet mount is 100% incompatible with the EOS mount, on purpose. You MIGHT be able to get someone like SK Grimes to make you a custom-machined adapter that would force the FD mount lens into stop-down mode, and then you could work with the camera in a manual, aperture-preferred type exposure mode, but I don't know if the EOS body would function properly at that point. Also, any adapter mount would act like a short extension tube, so you'd lose infinity focus. Any lens, regardless of manufacturer, that mounts on an EOS body has an EOS lens mount. There are no Tamron Adaptall mounts for the EOS system. There is no purpose in trying to use FD lenses on an EOS body - just isn't going to happen. This is why a lot of folks left the Canon fold when they introduced the EOS system - it pissed off a lot of folks who had investments in FD glass. The upside for Canon was that they had a lensmount system optimized for autofocus.
     
  26. Edimilson

    Edimilson Member

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    Lee,

    Indeed it's true that I never really got used to my Rebel Ti's metering systems. But all I can do in this situation is consider my experience. What my experience tells me is that the use of spot metering with a Olympus 2000 gave me consistently better negatives than I was ever able to achieve with the Rebel. Maybe it has to do with the degree of control I want to have on exposure. What I decided to do is to replace my Rebel Ti with an EOS 3. The EOS 3 will provide me with spot metering and is a more solid camera anyway. I'll probably get my hands on the EOS 3 tomorrow! :smile:)