Totally manual 35mm camera recommendations needed

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by 3 Olives, Jul 20, 2010.

  1. 3 Olives

    3 Olives Member

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    My son has a Canon A1 and he loves it. In fact, I can honestly say it is the best purchase I ever made, as it has gotten a tremendous amount of use. However, he would like a totally manual camera. His birthday is in August and I may surprise him with a camera.
    I have done a lot of reading but admit I'm not that knowledgable about specific cameras. I'm figuring the Canon F1 is probably our best choice. However, I'd also be open to trying a Nikon as a change. He attends an Arts school and is a photography major so I'm willing to spend a bit more. I know we'll get our money out of it.
    Thanks!
     
  2. mathomas

    mathomas Member

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    Canon F1, Nikon F1, both nice classic choices. Also consider a Leica M2 or M3 (or Voigtlander Bessa, or Zeiss Ikon) in user shape. I picked up my M2 for $500 and you can get used lenses for $250-300.
     
  3. cfclark

    cfclark Member

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    I'd like to throw in the Olympus OM-1 as a possibility, nice fully manual camera and lightweight and quiet to boot.
     
  4. alexmacphee

    alexmacphee Member

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    If we're throwing alternatives in, then Yashica FX-3. Totally, utterly manual. Light in weight, thoroughly reliable. Put a Zeiss Planar on the front, and never look back.
     
  5. Sim2

    Sim2 Subscriber

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    The F1n is the obvious choice as you may well have more than one lens already for the A1 - I used to use F1n's and loved them - bullet proof. I cannot remember correctly but *think* that the totally mechanical shutter speeds (those available without batteries) were limited, might beworth checking out.

    For a "can work without batteries" camera the Nikon F2 would jump into the spotlight.

    However, what is wrong with using the A1? Good camera (was the first one that got me into the Canon system) if you don't mind using a battery to power the shutter/meter perhaps the investment could go on accesories rather than another camera.

    Leica - the ultimate battery-free 35mm.

    Have fun!

    *edit* Good call about the FX3. That was my first slr & still got it. Was in a cupboard for probably 15 years, found it over last winter - worked first time! Leatherette covering fell off but it might be wearing better than me!!!
     
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  6. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    Canon F1, nice choice! I wouldn't recommend having 2 cameras with different lens mounts.
     
  7. BradS

    BradS Subscriber

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    I'll throw out the obligatory recommendation for a Pentax K-1000, KX, KM or MX
     
  8. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    I have 2 Canon F1n

    I have 2 Canon f1n and they're built like tanks. My first one I've had for 20 years and it's still going strong. I bought a new one on Ebay recently. They have metal shutter curtains and will work without a battery. The shutter speed range is limited though.
     
  9. M.A.Longmore

    M.A.Longmore Member

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    The F1n, and The :

    Sekonic L-398A Studio Deluxe III
    "Classic" Analog Light Meter for Battery-Free Ambient Light Readings, Incident & Reflected !


    Ron

    From The Long Island Of New York, and the
    Long Island @ Large Format Group, right here on APUG
    .
     
  10. fotch

    fotch Member

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    If you already have several lens, staying with Canon may be your best bet. If not, or you don't care, Nikon has great lens/body compatibility. Depending on budget and availability, Nikon F2 or an FM would be great choices.

    For more money, a Leica M3 would be something to consider.

    Many choices.
     
  11. paulfish4570

    paulfish4570 Member

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    If your son would like to experiment with a variety of focal lengths without breaking the bank, I recommend an SLR in the M42 thread mount line. There are Spotmatics and their cousins galore all over e-bay, plus the Fujica ST605 and ST701 series, and any number of other stalwart M42 bodies; M42 lenses tend to run less in cost than most of the bayonet mounts. I bought a Pentax SP1000 for $28, then spent $73 for a complete CLA and seals. It should last another 50 years.
    As for rangefinders, there are bargains galore among fixed lens/leaf shutter rangefinders by Konica, Minolta, Yashica and others. For interchangeable all-mechanical mount cameras, there are the classic Leicas, the Bessa R, Zeiss Ikon, older classic Canons and Nikons.
    You could spend $800-$1,000 real quick on a used M3 and 50 Summicron. You could spend $800 on a CLA'd M42 body or two, 7-8 lenses, enlarger, developing tank, containers, film, chemicals, timer ...
     
  12. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    A Canon Ftb.
     
  13. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    I recommend the Canon F-1 since you already have a system started. My first choice, if you were starting from scratch would be an Olympus OM-1. Light weight solid quality and Zuiko lenses are some of the finest ever made.
     
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  15. zenrhino

    zenrhino Member

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    my $.02: Spotmatic. The bodies hold up really well, the glass is awesome. M42 lenses are still affordable and new ones are still being made. A Spotmatic IIP and a 50mm f/1.4 SMC Takumar, a 50 foot spool of Tri-X. What more could a person need?
     
  16. M.A.Longmore

    M.A.Longmore Member

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    Whatever the final decision may be.
    Please Remember To Include The :
    Sekonic L-398A Studio Deluxe III
    "Classic" Analog Light Meter for Battery-Free Ambient Light Readings, Incident & Reflected


    Ron

    From The Long Island Of New York, and the
    Long Island @ Large Format Group, right here on APUG
    .
     
  17. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Since he is already shooting Canon FD:

    Canon F-1 (one of the '70s models)
    Canon FTb
    Canon TX
    Canon TLb (same as TX, but no flash hot shoe)

    ...pretty much in order of decreasing "awesomeness" and decreasing price.

    My personal suggestion would be the FTb. It is the best value of the lot, i.e. the most full featured for the least money. The F-1 is the most full featured, is slightly preferable for a few reasons, and has the best build quality. However, don't let that make you think that any of the others are anything to sneeze at in terms of build quality. If you can get a nice, perfectly-working F-1 for $150 or under, I'd go for it, because that is a good deal. Otherwise, I'd suggest a sub-$100 (possibly sub-$50) FTb for now, and upgrading to an F-1 later if the need arises.

    Oh, yeah, and see this guy's statement:

    I thoroughly agree.

    P.S. The main real-world difference between these cameras, in most people's use, is simply the top shutter speed. It is '2000 on the F-1, '1000 on the FTb, and '500 on the other two. Yet another reason I like the F-1 and FTb better than the other two. My most commonly-used shutter speeds on 35mm cameras are '500 and '1000.
     
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  18. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    Go with the Canon F-1, a workhorse for sure.

    Jeff
     
  19. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser Advertiser

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    If he is going to be a professional photographer he will, eventually, need a current system where the same lenses can be used on film and digital bodies and are available in autofocus. The two professional 35mm systems are Canon EOS and Nikon. It may make sense to switch to one of these systems now and cut your loses rather than stay with the obsolete, though still functional, Canon breech-mount system. Canon's current EOS system is not compatible with their older lens system so there is only sentimental reason to stay with Canon. As Nikon has kept the same lens mount since 1957 there is a huge selection of compatible Nikon accessories available on the used market at very reasonable prices.

    Any good professional level body from Nikon or Canon can be used on full manual. Buying a manual-only camera would not be a wise choice as it will be restrictive in the long run when he will need the system to make a living and productivity will be the name of the game. Good film choices are the Canon EOS1 and the Nikon F5. The Nikon F4 is perfectly serviceable and quite cheap used, the F6 is still current and expensive. I am not as familiar with Canon and the various flavors of their professional bodies.

    All that said, 35mm is only a professional medium outside of photojournalism in its digital form. Commercial photography is still a medium format game.
     
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  20. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    How about learning photography before deciding whether or not to be a professional photographer?

    The Canon FD system will assist this education quite well, and will always be able to deliver professional-quality results on 35mm film.

    I understand the comments, but I don't buy into the idea that an orphaned system is not worth pursuing.

    There is no need to worry about what digital system you will eventually buy into. For now, just learn photography. If you get good at it, everything will sort itself out...but until you are good at it, you just need a good, simple, camera that is capable of excellent results, and that requires a lot from you. If I had started with Canon EOS instead of Canon FD, there is no way I would have learned as much, as well, as quickly, or as enjoyably. Now, I use FD and EOS, and both have been well worth the money invested.
     
  21. elcabezagrande

    elcabezagrande Subscriber

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    I will throw in my two cents and suggest a couple of classic fully manual workhorses, the Yashica TL Electro X and the Minolta SRT101. Both are extremely rugged, durable cameras, with TTL metering, full mirror lockup and depth of field preview. The SRT101 can be had for a song on ebay right now, and can use any Minolta MC and MD mount lenses, which are both plentiful and affordable, while the Yashica uses the venerable M42 screw mount lens.
     
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  22. HumidorCassa

    HumidorCassa Member

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    I'd say if he's shooting Canon right now, stick with Canon. It's nice to be able to swap lenses, and not have to sink money into 2 separate systems.

    But if that's no worry... I'd put in for a Konica T3... Built like a tank and legendary Hexanon glass you can't go wrong.
     
  23. Joe O'Brien

    Joe O'Brien Member

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    If you're not in too deep with the Canon then maybe go with minolta, an SRT-101. They've got a beautiful lens selection and I'vk got a few Rokkor-X's that have never dissapointed me in terms of sharpness. The entire system is incredibly easy to learn and I've done all my 35mm work as a film student thus far on an SRT-101. I don't plan on stopping now.

    There is something to be said for sticking with one system though. I recently purchased a Nikon FE so that I could use some of my digital lenses on a fully manual camera when I want to have the versatility of digital and film in a small package.

    But whatever, this is only the expirience of one photographer. Do whatever you think is best! :smile:

    Joe
     
  24. martinsmith99

    martinsmith99 Member

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    Pentax Spotmatic. They go on forever and use M42 mount lenses which are in plentiful supply.
     
  25. flatulent1

    flatulent1 Subscriber

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    Canon F-1n, F-1, FTb. Great cameras.

    Also consider the Canon AT-1. Fully manual camera, same body type as the A-1, match needle metering. Uses the same battery as the A-1. Lighter than the pro bodies.

    If he wants to try a different system, the Minolta SRT series are wonderful cameras, and the lenses are absolutely dirt cheap for the quality you get.
     
  26. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    I could recommend a long list of camera, but I recommend that if possible he get a camera that will use his lenses and is comfortable for him to handle and photograph. I college I sold cameras and the number one problem that people have is that they get a camera because everyone said to buy that one. If the camera is too small or too large for ones hands, it will not be as good an experience as the camera that fits and the controls are in the right place. The right camera for him is the one that he can become one with.

    Steve