Searching for a pro manual focus SLR

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by robscomputer, Jan 27, 2010.

  1. robscomputer

    robscomputer Member

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    Hello,

    For years I wanted a pro manual focus SLR, the camera I saw in high school but couldn't afford. Now that prices have dropped I'm considering either a Canon F-1N, or Nikon F3HP. Both cameras have very high ratings and know I will be happy either, but wonder about other details I might have missed?

    I currently have a few digital SLR's and a Canon AE-1, but thinking in terms of which has some unique features not availble on the other. This would be a fun camera but I do like to search KEH for used items, and if the pricing of lenses is too high this might affect my final choice.

    I'm leaning towards the Nikon system since it looks like there's a longer history and many more F3HP's than F1N's (could be wrong). There also appears to be more of a used market and slightly cheaper prices according to KEH?

    Any comments are welcome.
     
  2. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    Olympus OM-1 or OM-3. The OM-1 is the more basic, with a simple center weighted averaging meter. The OM-3 has the more sophisticated multi function metering system, with center weighted averaging, single spot meter, multi-spot metering, spot w/hi-lite bias, and spot w/shadow bias. Both are strictly mechanical shutter, with the batteries only powering the meter.
    Then if you want some auto exposure, there are the OM-2, and OM-4. The OM-2 offers the same basic metering as the OM-1, with the added feature of aperture priority auto exposure. You set the F-stop, camera sets shutter. The OM-4 is the most advanced, with the same metering as the OM-3, also auto expoure. All four models accept almost all accessories and full line of Zuiko lenses, which IMHO are some of the finest optics in the world. Then there is the size and weight of the OM series, they are compact, light weight, ane the ergonomics of the controls are spot on. These cameras are rugged, and definitly pro quality. But thats just this old mans opinion(and the opinion of just about everybody thats ever handled an OM).

    Rick
     
  3. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    I would suggest considering also the fm3a if you can afford it... and the fm2n if you can't.

    I don't have experience with the f3hp but the f3s are indeed held in very high regard as manual focus cameras.

    Investigate lens mounts if you want interchangeability with your current gear.

    I do have an OM-1 and like it as well.
     
  4. largely

    largely Member

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    I wanted an F1N for years.
    Finally gave up and bought a T90. It's excellent. Has all the features you could want (spot metering, 4.5 frame per second motor drive, flash synch at 1/250, exposure compensation, etc.) and the added advantage of using the same FD lenses as your AE-1. It's built like a tank, reliable as a cold chisel, and current prices are very reasonable.

    Larry
     
  5. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    I have two slrs I have regretted selling. A Canon F1 and an Olympus OM-1n. Both had quiet shutters and silky-smooth release. I acquired a Nikon F2 in between and loathed that machine more than any camera I have ever owned. Bulky; heavy; noisy; and I banged my thumb on that skimpy rewind knob every time it went past the prism. I have never handled an F3 so cannot comment. If I felt I needed another SLR in 35mm I would find a late-model Olympus. It's a matter of taste, said the old lady as she kissed her cow. At present I do not own a modern 35mm slr. I have a Kiev 19, a late model Spotty II, and a Canon AE-1 Program. I rarely use them.
     
  6. RMP-NikonPro

    RMP-NikonPro Member

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    Simple! no need to look any further!

    NIKON FM3a!!

    :munch:
     
  7. Moopheus

    Moopheus Subscriber

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    I've used Nikons for years and have been happy with them, and these days you can get older F-mount manual focus lenses for fairly low prices. But if I didn't already have a bunch of gear, and wanted an SLR, I'd definitely look at the Olympus OM-series cameras. They're good well-designed cameras, top-grade lenses to go with them, and the bodies can be had for practically nothing these days.
     
  8. robscomputer

    robscomputer Member

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    Thanks for the suggestions. My first SLR was an Olympus OM-10, but I think that is a lower model than the OM1. I did a quick search on KEH and they are much cheaper. I like the metal body SLR's where they feel very solid, I have an Canon A2E, which leaves a lot to be desired.
     
  9. 23mjm

    23mjm Member

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    I hear the F4 is the best manual focus camera ever made, but you will have to buy a split prism focusing screen.
     
  10. unclemack

    unclemack Member

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    I would guess that Nikon must have sold 50 F3's for every F1/F1n Canon ever managed to sell.
    F3P was the best camera of its generation but these were only meant to be sold to press smudgers so they've nearly all been hammered. F3HP was a very close second and you find some with only light amateur use.
    4's & 5's are good but the 3 is still my favourite 35mm.
    Until the EOS 1n hardly any professionals used Canon and with reason.
     
  11. elekm

    elekm Member

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    The Nikon F2A is a fairly awesome camera. The battery powers only the meter. The camera is very sturdy, and it's reliable as the sunrise.
     
  12. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    If you aren't concerned about traditional looks, I'll second the F4 suggestion. F4s to be exact. It handles all the MF lenses well and introduces AF, and it even works with AFS very well.

    The metering is second to none. Centerweighted, Matrix, and Spot. Nice ergonomics, rugged, vertical grip, 5fps, interchangable screens, manual or motorized rewind, manual or DX film speed selection, everything...

    I paid about $1700 back in '88-89 and it didn't even come with a strap or useful body cap. Now, you can't give them away for $250.
     
  13. Paul Goutiere

    Paul Goutiere Subscriber

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    The F4 is one heck of a nice camera. I think I'd consider a F4 if I were to use flash because of the high sync speed at 1/250 sec. As well the metering and auto-focus capabilities are pretty nifty. Used prices are good. I do not like the battery dependence and for this reason only, I do not own one.

    My camera is the F2. I don't care that the sync speed is a miserable 1/80 sec. I don't care that the top shutter speed is a measly 1/2000 sec. Nor do I care that both my cameras are almost 40 years old. ( they all work as new! )

    I like the fact that the meter is great and the shutter will work when the battery is dead.

    The F3HP is pretty nice too.
     
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  15. Rol_Lei Nut

    Rol_Lei Nut Member

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    Leicaflex SL or SL2...
    Best viewfinder ever made, fantastically dampened shutter & mirror, some of the best lenses ever.

    Or go with the crowd and get a Nikon F or F2...
     
  16. kivis

    kivis Subscriber

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    The crowd ain't so bad.
     
  17. whlogan

    whlogan Subscriber

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    Nikon F3HP... far and away

    Logan
     
  18. Greg Campbell

    Greg Campbell Member

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    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 28, 2010
  19. xtolsniffer

    xtolsniffer Member

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    F3HP is lovely, fantastic viewfinder, very smooth and fairly small for a pro camera. Flash sync is a bit slow and it takes wierd flashguns with no easy way of getting TTL flash from non-F3-specific guns. F4 is a bit of a beast, but high sync speed, compatibilty with all Nikon type TTL guns, can take a manual cable release, has matrix and spot metering with all lenses. Both have mirror lock-up and viewfinder 'curtains'. I have both and tend to gravitate to the F4 I have to say. I never use autofocus.
     
  20. Philippe-Georges

    Philippe-Georges Member

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    You might consider the Pentax LX too. The body, a very rugged, of a refined design and ahead for its time, could be a little expensive even used. But the lenses, really good glass, are so cheap and plenty to find on the used market, one should be stupid not to consider.
    I have three of them and enjoyed a lot shooting with. The LX is a surprisingly large developed 35 mm pro system camera and accessories, of any kind, are easy to find.
    When you buy one check for the „sticky mirror syndrome”, like all camera brands, the LX has a flaw too.
    Have a look : http://www.mir.com.my/rb/photography/hardwares/classics/pentaxlx/index.htm

    Philippe
     
  21. André E.C.

    André E.C. Member

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    As for Canon, the fantastic F-1n with no doubt, if a nikon it's a possibility, don't look further, the mighty F2.
     
  22. Rol_Lei Nut

    Rol_Lei Nut Member

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    Simple! no need to look any further!

    Leicaflex SL2!!!
    (Sorry, couldn't resist!)
     
  23. RMP-NikonPro

    RMP-NikonPro Member

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    As long as it's a

    NIKON

    You won't go Wrong!!​

    :munch:​
     
  24. fotch

    fotch Member

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    Ditto
     
  25. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser Advertiser

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    Nikon F2AS
     
  26. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    OP was looking for opinions on F3 & F1's not the kitchen sink.
    The Nikon F3 is totally battery dependent except for 1/90. It also has 100% viewfinder coverage. Metering is 80/20
    Canon f1N or new F1 has mechanical speeds above 1/90 in manual and requires different finders for different exposure modes.
    The original F1 and F1n are fully mechanical except for meter and have 12% metering area.
    Both will fill the need for your shooting pleasure. IMO the F3 is smoother & quieter than the F1's.