Relatively modern small 35mm SLR, manual exposure camera?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by ic-racer, Oct 13, 2008.

  1. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    I was given a beat-up Yashica FX3 and have come to really like it for its size and nice viewfinder. I was thinking of getting a newer or perhaps metal camera in the same style. So far I know of the following:

    Yashica FX2
    Nikon FM2
    Pentax K1000
    Contax S2
    Bessaflex
    Cosina CS1
    Vivitar V3800N

    I kind of think the Contax S2 will be just what I want but is there anything els out there in a reasonably modern (late 80's onward) small, metal, manual exposure SLR?



    BTW, Cameras I think are too old or too big or that I already have:

    Olympus OM-1n
    Nikon F2 and earlier
    Rolleiflex SL
    Canon (original) F1
    Fuji ST801
     
  2. johnnywalker

    johnnywalker Subscriber

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    Nikon FM3A, but it also has aperture priority exposure.
     
  3. ricksplace

    ricksplace Member

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    Pentax MEsuper. Smaller than any of the cameras you mentioned. Full manual or aperature priority, and all-metal.
     
  4. eddym

    eddym Member

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    I'd recommend the Nikon FM2.
     
  5. Stephen Prunier

    Stephen Prunier Subscriber

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    My choice would be the Nikon FM2n
     
  6. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    I agree. I had two that I found in thrift shops for dirt, and gave them away because I don't have any K lenses and I generally dislike cameras designed to be operated on idiot mode most of the time. They did feel very nice, though. Light, small, but decent...and you have the whole K lens lineup to use.
     
  7. eli griggs

    eli griggs Member

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    I know the old F1 is on your don't want list but I think you should look at the smaller Canon F1N AE. It is very versatile, perhaps the most so of any on your list, with three selections of meter pattering and screen layouts in the offing, the build quality is as good as it gets, FD and older FL glass is excellent, affordable and available as well, plus the Canon can use other makers glass with inexpensive adapters available on eBay so if you have, for example a favorite m42 pentax lens you just love, it'll still be usable. The F1N AE is very reliable and if the long lived battery dies you still have mechanical shutter speeds to use.

    Cheers, Eli
     
  8. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Well, in that case, let us suggest the T90 as well........
     
  9. eli griggs

    eli griggs Member

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    "Well, in that case, let us suggest the T90 as well..."

    Maybe, except it's plastic, has no PC outlet, is battery dependent and has old LED displays that may or may not be at the end of their useful life.

    Cheers. Eli
     
  10. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    I felt the same way until I tried one. They sure don't feel plastic, although they look it. Sure, I prefer my old F-1s and the new F-1, but if it is gizmos you want, it is a good choice, and is also cheap compared to a new F-1. IMO, the reasons you mentioned to go for the new F-1 are all extras that I never use, so I sort of lump the T-90 in there with it.

    The New F-1 is also battery dependent for all the whiz-bang features you mentioned. If it is battery independence one is after, there are many better options than cameras made in the mid '70s to the present.

    Neither the new F-1 nor the T-90 are good choices if you are worried about batteries (which the OP is not).

    I think the Pentax ME is the way to go, based on what the OP requested.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 13, 2008
  11. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    If you want a small camera with the same mount as the Yashica then consider a Contax Aria.
     
  12. mabman

    mabman Member

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    Depends if you're looking for something that requires batteries to function, or just uses batteries for the meter but will function without it.

    The K1000 and the Bessaflex in the original list (and I think the Vivitar as well) work at all shutter speeds without batteries, the batteries are only for the meter.

    I really like the ME Super (I have 3 of them), and it does have a manual mode, but it will only fire at 1/125 without batteries.

    Note that the Bessaflex is M42 screwmount, the K1000 and Vivitar (and ME Super) are K-mount - lenses are relatively plentiful for each, but I've found K-mount to be a bit more common in your average camera store.
     
  13. nsurit

    nsurit Subscriber

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    Olympus OM 3 or 3T. Relatively small, beautiful metering system and can be used in full manual mode. Oh, and there is the spectacular Zuiko glass. Bill Barber
     
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  15. Lee L

    Lee L Member

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    I'm with Bill on the OM-3. The Contax S2 is one I hadn't seen before, but looks right up my alley as well. One thing that would sell me on either of these systems is the availability of great lenses. I really like the way Zeiss and Olympus do optics.

    Lee
     
  16. BobbyR

    BobbyR Member

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    Pentax MX, .
    Fujica STX 2
    Fujica AX 1
     
  17. Paul Sorensen

    Paul Sorensen Member

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    Ditto the MX, and I will add, if you want REALLY small and light, and only manual, that it rises right to the top in my opinion. All mechanical, will work with no battery. Super easy to use. Totally metal construction. And, if you want the meter, it uses a modern battery unlike the OM1.

    Really, however, not a bad camera in the bunch here among the recommendations. You might look at the Contax to take advantage of the glass you already have.
     
  18. Frank Szabo

    Frank Szabo Member

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    If you already have a Yashica and perhaps a handful of lenses, check out Contax - the lenses will interchange and you can get Zeiss (Japan) branded glass that will fit both also.

    A Contax 159 is a small and will do almost anything you require of a 35mm film camera.
     
  19. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    Battery and LED display concerns on the Canon T90 are no more of a worry than the accuracy of very old match-needle metering systems and CdS meter cells. I would still lean to the Canon T90; it is still a very rugged and reliable body which set the design for the later EOS bodies (1, 1N, 1N RS et al). Specifications -> http://www.mir.com.my/rb/photography/hardwares/classics/canont90/htmls/spec.htm .

    Another gem that is neither too old nor too big is the Olympus OM 4 / OM4 Ti, still commanding respect amongst film pros 20+ years after it first made a statement. This is a beauty if you have small hands as the camera is immediately reassuring in its feel. The multi-spot metering and highlight/shadow control is a tour de force.

    I liked a couple of Contax bodies years ago. RTS??
     
  20. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    Yashica FX2
    Nikon FM2
    Pentax K1000
    Contax S2
    Bessaflex
    Cosina CS1
    Vivitar V3800N

    Adding Pentax MX and Fujica AX-1 to the list, two neat cameras that I was unaware of.
     
  21. fmajor

    fmajor Member

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    I'll recommend the Minolta SRT102 or 202 with some MC or MD Rokkor-X glass out front. The SRTs are similar to the Pentax K1000 you listed requiring a battery only for operating the meter.

    If like a more diminuitive size, silky smooth operation, "discrete" shutter, and you don't mind batteries, I'd HIGHLY recommend a Minolta XD-11 or even a XD-5. I have both the SRT and the XD series bodies and the XD-11's are a pleasure to use. Put some of the same MC or MD Rokkor-X glass out front and you will be amazed at what 35mm film can do.

    I learned on a Pentax K1000, used a Minolta X-700 and got hooked on the Minolta Rokkor glass - it is truly superb. Eventually i migrated to the SRT series then the XD-11's. The XD-11's are my favorite to use because they are very light and smooth, smooth, smooth!!!
     
  22. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    Here is another one I had never heard of, a Manual Focus (but auto exposure) Canon EOS! The Canon EFM. That would make a cool camera with the Rollei QBM adapter as I have quite a few of the Zeiss lenses in Rollei mount.
     
  23. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    After looking at all these cameras, that little FX-3 is probably as good as any of the cheaper ones. So I decided to fix it up. Realize someone just gave this camera to me and it was in bad shape. List of concerns:

    Foam on back, and mirror-stop is shot.
    ASA dial frozen
    vinyl covering rotten
    crack on plastic pentaprism cover
    missing screw alongside viewfinder
    Generally dirty

    Meter and all speeds work fine.

    Replaced all foam, unfroze ASA dial, re-did the covering, glued the pentaprism cover cracks with Loctite® Black Max®, replaced the screw by the viewfinder. Gave it a general cleaning, replaced the meter batteries (designed for 1.5V !).

    I did some real-life tests of some landscape scenes with the Yashica ML 50mm f2 l lens on f8, study tripod and mirror lockup using high acutance ISO 12 film. The results were very satisfying and it quelled my e-bay search for a Planar/Contax lens. BTW I was comparing the results to a Rollei Planar 1.4 50mm at f8.

    I think I'll just keep that f2 lens on the Yashica. It is smaller and lighter than a 1.4. I was just shooting yesterday with my somewhat large Rollei SL35M and the Zeiss f1.4 35mm lens and realized that a huge lens like would negate some of the advantages of a small, light camera.

    Compared to these two Rollei 35s the Yashica looks almost like that Pentax 110 SLR.
    [​IMG]
     
  24. elekm

    elekm Member

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    Most of the cooler all-manual film SLRs hail from the 1970s and 1980s, before the era of the autoeverything plastic pieces of junk.

    Olympus, as usual, started the trend toward smaller cameras with its OM-1 and other OM-series cameras.

    Other soon followed:

    -- Pentax MX, ME, MV, etc.

    -- Minolta XD-11, XG-7, etc. The XD-11 was one of the interesting cameras from that era, being the first to offer both aperture- and shutter-speed priority autoexposure. All other cameras before then were one or the other, but not both.

    -- Slightly larger SLRs came from Canon (A series) and Nikon (FE/FM series).

    -- The lower-tier makers, which included Yashica, Chinon, Ricoh and others also offered smaller SLRs. I believe Chinon and Ricoh were K-mount, while Yashica, of course, shared the Yashica/Contax mount, which later became Kyocera/Contax.

    Among these, I've had or used the Minolta XD-11, Nikon FE and FM, the Pentax MX and Olympus OM-1 and OM-2. All are quite capable cameras -- each having its own benefits, quirks and drawbacks.

    In general, any of these are fine choices.

    The Canon A series have a reputation for having problems with something in the mirror or shutter brake mechanism -- can't recall which. And I worked on a Minolta XG-7 that used a circuit board with armatures for the shutter speeds, which was a terrible idea because the printed circuits had worn away.

    Likewise, I wasn't impressed with the construction of the OM-10, a low-priced Olympus camera.

    All Japanese SLRs since the 1960s will need to have the foam seals replaced, which isn't a difficult job. But you should be aware of it.

    Certainly, a lot of choices for today's film photographer and often at bargain prices. Contax gear -- bodies, lens, accessories -- still commands high prices.
     
  25. fmajor

    fmajor Member

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    Though i am not very familiar with the brand, i am surpised that Leica cameras have not been mentioned or did i miss something....

    I am aware of the relationship between Minolta and Leica, but no one has brought Leica up and *i think* ;-) they made some nice equipment.
     
  26. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    Yes, the R6 Leica SLR!