what old SLR should i buy?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by nzeeman, Oct 15, 2005.

  1. nzeeman

    nzeeman Member

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    tomorrow ill go to a photo market and i want to buy some old slr. can u tell me what manufacturer or model is the best. i dont have a lot money to spend also. :sad:
    thanks in advance for ur answers
     
  2. Andy K

    Andy K Member

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    I can only speak from my own experience.
    My first SLR was a Zenit E. very capable, cheap and built like a tank! Next I got a Zenit TTL, similar to the Zenit E, same lens fitting etc.

    Then I was given a Praktica BX20 (I still use it now and then) it can be had relatively cheaply. Good quality and a good range of lenses.

    Then I got an Olympus OM-10 these also go very cheap. For a little more you might get an Olympus OM-1. Both use the same great range of lenses.

    Any of these are a good choice for a first SLR. Others may have other suggestions, but I would recommend an all manual control SLR so you learn the basics of photography as you use the camera.
     
  3. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    If I was you, on a limited budget I would look at the Minolta SR series of cameras built like a tank, inexpensive lenses that are really high quality, of course the Olympus OM series are great cameras as well, I find the older Canons and Nikons to be a little more expensive, but still built like tanks...I always reccomend the Minolta SR series because I have shot several of them over the years in my work and play and never once had one let me down.

    Dave
     
  4. Paul Sorensen

    Paul Sorensen Member

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    There are good products from all of the major manufacturers and other companies as well. I recommend getting something that was a very respected camera at the time and constructed with some durability. If you get an older totally consumer camera I think you are asking for more trouble. My personal experience is with Pentax, Olympus, and Nikon so I will stick with those. Others will be able to chime in about the good choices from Minolta and Canon.

    I think that the Pentax MX or K1000 are good choices. Both are manual exposure and there are a bunch of good lenses to choose from. The K1000 is more of a student camera and lacks some of the features of the MX and is also larger. The MX is very compact and is a full system camera with motor drives, backs and other accessories available. Both seem to be very reliable.

    As for Nikons, there are many choices, but I will mention the FM and FE series of cameras. These are excellent and were used as backups and even primary bodies by pros in their era. The FM and FM2 are manual and mechanical cameras. The FM2 has a newer shutter with faser sync speed and top speed. The FE and FE2 are aperture preferred auto cameras that require a battery for the shutter to operate, except that the FE2 has one speed at which the camera may be fired with no battery. The FE2 has the faster shutter and also adds TTL flash metering. The lenses for the Nikon are also incredible, of course. My experience is that they tend to be a but pricier than other brands, but in this day and age, they are definately affordable.

    The Olympus OM1 and OM2 cameras would also be good choices. They are very compact and have a wonderful line of compact lenses. The OM1 is mechanical and manual whereas the OM2 is electronic and has aperture preferred automatic exposure. I would suggest looking at the newer versions of these cameras, the OM1n and OM2n. I would probably suggest not looking at the OM2Sp, because it is a very different camera with more potential reliability problems.

    Have fun and good luck!
     
  5. Woolliscroft

    Woolliscroft Member

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    and eats batteries.

    David.
     
  6. big_ben_blue

    big_ben_blue Member

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    For a good and simple manual SLR (assuming, that's what the original poster has in mind), I would look at the Minolta SRT's (solid, cheap, good lenses [Rokkors] available everywhere), the Nikon FM's (solid, maybe not quite as cheap), and the Olympus OM series (again solid, a tad more expensive maybe). These are the ones I have had experience with; there are many more good camera makes and models out there (the Pentax K1000 is almost a cult) and there really isn't one which is "best". It all comes down to what the poster feels happy with and can afford. Now if you find a cheap Nikon F2 ... :D

    Cheers,
    Chris
     
  7. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    aweek or 2ago an apugger was selling a metal-body k1000 and lens for not too much $$. -pentax optics are nice and the k1000 lasts 4-eva ... i've had mine since 81 or so and never hada problem ...
     
  8. dschneller

    dschneller Member

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    I'll second the Pentax line, k1000 if you want a bayonet mount of the Spotmatics for the M42 screw mounts. They are built to last, won't eat up batteries and there are a large number of used lenses.

    Dave
     
  9. firecracker

    firecracker Member

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    nikkormat

    Nikkormats are cheap. FT2s and FT3s are newer than the original and are well built. With non-Ai lenses like inexpensive 50mm F2, you're set.
     
  10. waynecrider

    waynecrider Member

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    Gee there's so many ways to go that it will be mind boggleing; And then on top of it you'll have everyones own personal preferences that will confuse you even more. They all have merit; The problem is your going to a photo market, where all kinds of crap can show up in the form of cameras with problems. Not a good thing, cause getting some cameras repaired can cost more then what their worth. At least get a return policy. If they won't give one, go to the next table.

    By now you should have investigated somewhat the features of different cameras, or at least compared ones you've seen to others. Maybe a friend had a Nikon, Canon, Minolta Or Olympus you've handled and were somewhat taken with it. Go from there and research the camera online, and make a determination after checking Ebay as to what is available, lenses and accessories and check the backtalk as to what people have said about the camera in various forums. It will be in the forums where you will find the problems with any particular brand and model.

    Each brand has cameras that were good or bad in someway. Research is what it is all about. Don't make a mistake without arming yourself with knowledge; And don't be in a hurry. Ebay can be just as cheap as a photo fair.
     
  11. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    Well, I'm a Nikon bigot. But the truth is that there are so many brands of SLR camera because not one of them was enough better than the others to drive them out of the marketplace. They all have good lenses.

    I've shot, one time or another, a variety of "old" 35 mm SLRs. Various Nikons, Canons, Minoltas, Olympus, Yashicas. Some felt good in my hand and against my face, others didn't. When you're in the market, try out as many as you can to find out which fits your hand and face well enough. Example, my paws are too big for me to be comfortable with, say, a Pentax ME.

    Don't think you have to buy a camera at the show. Show vendors can be hard to track down, don't always give warranties. Use the show to learn what fits you, then to to KEH (www.keh.com) to buy. They grade conservatively, stand behind their wares. And their prices are pretty competitive, especially when you factor in the warranty.

    Don't forget the first law of flea markets: If you don't know the goods and prices, don't buy.

    Cameras to avoid? I began with a Nikkormat, have fond memories of it, but variable resistors for the meter are now unobtainable. Nikon Fs are very fine, but again the metered prisms can't always be repaired. If you're going to use a hand-held meter, no problem, otherwise not such a good idea. Anything but, in alphabetical order, Canon; Minolta; Nikon; Olympus OM; and Pentax, preferably K mount. Nothing else is remotely as well-supported. Don't even think about getting anything from the former USSR or either Germany.

    On the whole I like SatinSnow's suggestion. Minolta SRTs are solid, lenses to fit them are good. If I hadn't gone Nikon back when, I might have gone that way.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Dan
     
  12. mgb74

    mgb74 Subscriber

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    Also be aware that many older SLRs cameras were designed to use 1.35v mercury batteries that are no longer available. These include many fine SLRs including the Minolta SRT series, Pentax Spotmatics, and Nikormats (FT2 and earlier). There are effective workarounds, but you should be aware of, and comfortable with, what needs to be done.
     
  13. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    Among used gear, condition is at least as important as the brand, at least in terms of reliability and likelihood of encountering problems. I'd rather have a Zenit in perfect condition than a Nikon that's falling apart. If you're going to a camera show or used (real-world) marketplace, that means you can handle the cameras. Look for things like loose parts, sticky shutters, a bad "feel" to actions like advancing the film, or anything that doesn't work the way you expect it to work. Be sure you can return the camera, and run a roll of film through it ASAP. Test all shutter speeds and features in this roll.

    You should also decide on what features you want -- all-manual vs. auto-exposure, manual- vs. auto-focus, depth-of-field preview, power winder, shutter speed range, self-timer, etc. Despite my earlier comment, the camera brand can come into play here if you want a particular type of lens mount. The main reason you'd want a particular type of mount is because you've got existing lenses or you want to use a particular lens that's available in only one mount. M42 screw mounts are an exception, because they're harder to mount and unmount, but OTOH they're available used at bargain prices today, so an M42 camera can be a good way to build up a lens collection inexpensively. Lots of manufacturers made M42 cameras, but AFAIK nobody does any more (the Russian Zenit was the last holdout, but they recently stopped production of SLRs). Most bayonet mounts are unique to one manufacturer, with an occasional licensing deal or clone. Pentax's K-mount has been used by several manufacturers, though. It's probably best to stick with one of the more common mounts, such as Minolta, Nikon, Canon, K-mount, or M42. That'll increase your choice in lenses in the future. (New M42 production is limited, though.) Some of these come in several variants, some of which aren't entirely compatible, which can be confusing.
     
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  15. Konical

    Konical Subscriber

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    Good Evening, nzeeman,

    As you can tell from the responses you have received, there is no obvious single answer to your question. I'll just add my vote to those who have found the Olympus OM cameras excellent. There is only one real drawback: Once I encountered an individual who was a large person with correspondingly large hands; the compact size of the OM and the small size of of some of its controls, which I favor, he found difficult to work with.

    Konical
     
  16. Paul Sorensen

    Paul Sorensen Member

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    Actually, believe it or not, Cosina has come out with the Voigtlander Bessaflex which uses the M42 mount. Not too expensive at $289, either.
     
  17. Robert Budding

    Robert Budding Member

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    Take a look at KEH.com - they have a lot of very good used gear. And they guarantee that it works - you have 10 days to return for a full refund. I've purchased a lot of gear from them and I only had one problem - a Maiya back was balky so they swapped it out. THey are very good.

    Robert
     
  18. Lee L

    Lee L Member

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    Regardless of brand, one thing I always look for is a full information viewfinder and full manual control. If it's an automatic exposure body, I want aperture, shutter speed, and the recommended manual setting for whichever the camera normally sets automatically. E.g. for an aperture priority auto body, I want to see aperture, the recommended shutter setting, and the manually chosen shutter setting.

    Another (rare) feature I really like is a frame counter on the camera back (as opposed to the top). I often work with tripods at eye level, and seeing everything in the viewfinder or on the camera back without tilting it is something I really like, and it's faster handheld as well.

    As others have mentioned, look for a body that takes current batteries or reasonable currently available substitutes. And make sure that its functions and operation seem "right" to you personally, or that you feel that you can adapt well to the way the camera does function.

    Lee

    BTW, the new Bessaflex models mentioned by Paul Sorenson take a full line of current C-V accessories, including a trigger winder that fits their rangefinders. They were introduced by the owner of Cosina because he loves his old M42 cameras, like the Topcon D that one of the body versions is styled after.
     
  19. Changeling1

    Changeling1 Member

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    How about a Minolta SRT 102 with a couple of Rokkor lenses. Those old Rokkor lenses are exceptionally nice. An old timer once told me- "While the world was buying Nikons, the Japanese were buying Minoltas".
     
  20. nsurit

    nsurit Subscriber

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    As both a big person with big hands and a dedicated Olympus user/collector/nut I would just say I find the OMs to be easy to use. I originally started using them because I had a significant other with small hands. She is no longer in the picture, however the OMs remain. A wonderful 35mm system, which can be had at reasonable prices and should be on the radar screen for those who are looking for a "new" old 35mm system with which to get started. There is a very active users group for this camera system. The OM will not disappoint. Over the years I've owned and used a number of other 35mm cameras, including Nikon, Canon, Pentax and others and the Olympus is still the system I'd select if I were starting over today. Bill Barber
     
  21. Brac

    Brac Member

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    You've probably made your decision by now but in addition to all the excellent suggestions, one of the cheapest quality options is the Konica range of shutter priority SLR's. They seem to be under-valued so tend to go very cheaply, particularly on ebay. Also the Fuji range are well regarded and very cheap.
     
  22. MattCarey

    MattCarey Member

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    I would second (or third, fourth, fifth) a lot of the comments already made.

    1) The OM cameras are great. Well, I really only worked with the OM1, but I loved that little camera. One thing I have noticed when I looked at getting a new one is that the range of wide-angle glass was limited. I.e. it was hard to find a 24mm or shorter lens at KEH. (of course, KEH has five 24mm lenses right now! Nothing shorter, though)

    2) The Nikon FE/FM cameras. I have the FE. It is nice--also it is good that it takes the glass from my N90. The FE electronics are a bit flakey on mine. I might look into an FM type. However, for the price, you can't go too far wrong. You can get an FE in bargain condition from KEH for $70. OM1's start the same.

    Keep in mind with the OM-1 that you need to get the hotshoe if you plan to use a flash. It was designed to come off, and it is missing on a lot of cameras.

    Matt
     
  23. Woolliscroft

    Woolliscroft Member

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    I'll go along with the OM lovers. Avoid the 2 spot and the straight 4 as they eat batteries, but the 1n, 2n, 3 and 4Ti are all lovely and very robust and reliable, despite their compact build.

    David.
     
  24. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    An OMG (OM20) has a built in hotshoe, uses currently available batteries, and has both aperature preferred automatic and built in manual exposure capability. It also tends to sell for a reasonable price.

    It isn't quite as robust as an OM1 and doesn't offer as many system camera features (interchangeable screens etc.) nor does it have mirror lock up but it is a very functional camera that all the OM lenses fit.

    Matt (as well)
     
  25. C.Dawley

    C.Dawley Member

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    My first camera was a Zenit 122K (k-mount), I think you can get them new for $75, somewhere around there. It's really kind of a cheap plastic camera I think, but it worked well for me, probably wont fair so well if it gets dropped, but I don't the price can be beat as far as a new camera goes. I left it elsewhere and it was stolen, I've got a Pentax ME-Super now, and its quite nice for me, I like the size of it.

    One guy suggested checking out the Fujica ST605 or ST605N, as well as a Ricoh XR-2, and some type of Chinon, a CG-II or CG-3 I think, referred to them as 'overlooked stars.'
     
  26. Andy K

    Andy K Member

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    You can still get the Zenit 122 but with M42 mount, see here for examples.