Which Nikon SLR should I get?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by konsomod, May 18, 2012.

  1. konsomod

    konsomod Member

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    Hello,

    I have been shooting film for the past year and I am thinking it might be time to upgrade my gear once again. My budget is limited, and after considering a series of brands, I have decided I'll go for a Nikon body. I thought about Contax, but I wouldn't be able to afford Zeiss lenses, so would there be any point in getting a Contax body?

    So, what Nikon body would you reccomend? I have thought about the N90s, F801s. AF is not really a necessity but is always welcome. I need spot metering, and manual ISO setting.

    Thanks,
    - Miguel
     
  2. Terry Christian

    Terry Christian Subscriber

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    The F4 has spot metering and manual ISO override. Autofocus can be a bit slow, but you can always turn that off and focus manually instead.
     
  3. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    How inexpensive does it have to be?

    N80 is pretty inexpensive at around 50 to 60 dollars.
    F-100 can be had for 150 to 200 dollars.

    They are both excellent cameras. I have 3 F-100 and recently sold N80. They are both auto-focus modern body.
     
  4. Paul Goutiere

    Paul Goutiere Subscriber

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    Nikon F3!
    Or, failing that:
    F2,A,AS etc
    FE
    FM
    FM2
    FM2n
    FM3a
    F100
    F4
    etc.
     
  5. konsomod

    konsomod Member

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    I would like to keep it under 100 Euro, but if price/quality makes up for that, I'd go for it. Better expensive and good than cheap and bad... I'll check those out. thanks for the replies.
     
  6. Paul Goutiere

    Paul Goutiere Subscriber

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    Nikon FE
     
  7. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

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    You should set a budget for bodies/lenses/accessories first as everyone is going to throw out their favorites or current setups.

    Nikon can get expensive just as well, but its a better choice than contax slrs because not only are the lenses cheaper, the bodies are as well when it comes initial purchase price, repairs, and spare parts.
     
  8. konsomod

    konsomod Member

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    As I said I would like to keep it under 100 euro for the body, the lenses I will check out later, but I will probably get a 50mm to start out. I do tend to prefer manual cameras, but is it a better choice than a full featured automatic camera, when it comes to the price?

    I'm not a fan of motor winders, and I don't really use flashes.
     
  9. astroclimb

    astroclimb Subscriber

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    If you would like an inexpensive, rugged MF body that takes Nikon lenses from any era, I'd suggest a Nikkormat e.g. the FT2.

    I've had one since I was 12, still is fantastic (and that was like 4 decades ago) to use for a fully manual camera with spot metering. I picked one up recently for like $40.

    Cheers,

    Todd
     
  10. elcabezagrande

    elcabezagrande Subscriber

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    The Yashica ML lenses are quite good, and cheaper than Zeiss for the Contax. Another option would be to get a good Yashica body, like the FR-II or the FX-3, with ML lenses, which leaves you with the option to upgrade to Zeiss lenses later, if you must.

    That being said, I am a big fan of the Nikon FM2N. But even the cheaper Nikon bodies are still quite good, if you are an a budget, consider the FG with an E series 50/1.8, which will leave some money in your budget for film.

    Astroclimb, I just purchased a Nikomat FTN and I am loving everything about it.
     
  11. John Austin

    John Austin Member

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    I concur, and at the price of a VGC Nikkormat FT2 you can't go wrong even it you later refine your camera the Nikkormat will be an unfailing stand-by camera, provided you keep the battery terminals clean and remove the battery when not in use

    I acknowledge the Nikkormat does not have spot metering etc that you desire, so decide if spot metering is needed in practical use

    I got a free black FT2 that was "ruined", but following removal of dead battery crap from the battery compartment has worked perfectly ever since - Also, as a manual camera, if the battery is dead the camera still functions
     
  12. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    The N90s is a great choice for an inexpensive auto focus camera. Works great with nice older flashes too.
     
  13. j-dogg

    j-dogg Subscriber

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    how about my Nikkormat system, which will be for sale very soon now that I stepped into medium format (read: freefalling headfirst without a parachute or a bungee cord)
     
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  15. Chris Nielsen

    Chris Nielsen Member

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    I have an N90S and absolutely hate it. My last camera was an F5 and it feels horrible and clunky by comparison. Plus it is has the dumbest design I've ever seen - in some modes the aperture on the lens has to be locked at smallest aperture, but the rest of the time you have to unlock and move it, and because it's stupid and only has one control wheel it can't control the aperture from the body. What drugs were they smoking in Japan when they came up with that?
     
  16. LJSLATER

    LJSLATER Member

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    It was '92; what do you expect? I prefer the F4, but the N90S (F90X) is more advanced. Couple it with an AF 50mm f/1.8D and you're golden. Thom Hogan has a great review: http://bythom.com/N90.htm

    Mr. K. Rockwell has a pretty good review/user's guide to the N90S too, if you can filter out the BS.
     
  17. Rol_Lei Nut

    Rol_Lei Nut Member

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    Keep in mind that AF bodies don't do manual focusing very well.
    Even if you (can) install a MF-friendly focusing screen, in most cases it still won't be as easy to accurately focus as with a good camera having a viewfinder optimized for MF.

    IIRC, Nikon doesn't have any MF models offering spot metering.

    Other excellent alternatives certainly exist, but are more expensive.
     
  18. sandermarijn

    sandermarijn Member

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    Be wary of the sticky back problem on the F90x. Nikon somehow chose the wrong material. F80's can also go sticky, though not as easily.

    The F100 is a great camera and can be had for under 100 euros, but it has its own issues:
    - rewind fork was too weak in early batches (plastic),
    - in cold conditions transport locks up (use lithiums),
    - the metering mode selector on the side of the prism needs to be 'worked' in order to work properly.

    The F801(s) is a great camera, unless you desire AF with AF-S lenses.

    I personally like the F301 for having manual focus on a proper screen, and motorized transport at the same time. It's also cheap, small, light, reliable, and the mirror slap isn't too hefty. Mirror slap is what I dislike the older (F3, FE2, etc.) Nikons for.
     
  19. Chris Nielsen

    Chris Nielsen Member

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    What do I expect? Not a semi-pro body with such a ridiculously bad design.

    BTW, If you cut all the BS from KR's site, that leaves about half a paragraph

    My one also has a loud squeal from the autofocus. Not sure if it's a common problem but it drives me nuts.
     
  20. CGW

    CGW Member

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    Agree. Either the newer N90s/F90x or the slightly earlier 8008s/801s would fit the bill price-wise and feature-wise. Great viewfinders, AA-powered, no problem with manual lenses.

    I'd skip relics like Nikkormats. Later manual bodies are getting tough to find in good shape.
     
  21. Ricardo Miranda

    Ricardo Miranda Member

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    Chris
    The "ridiculously bad design" was the same as the 1988 F801 or the F4 concerning the need to lock the aperture ring at its minimum aperture and to use that ring for A or Manual modes. The first Nikon to have 2 dials to work the aperture and shutter was the F5 in 95.
    It wasn't a design fault: it was to make use of manual features and to allow manual AI/S lenses to work with the new AF bodies.
    IMHO, the F90X is one of the greatest cameras and its AF motor is very robust and fast, albeit loud and that's the loud squeal you hear. Only the F5 has a better AF motor.
    You can have a F90X these days for less than £60 including the MB-10 grip. One of the nice things about this camera is that it uses 4xAAs on the body or the same set on the grip and it was also the first Nikon to have a battery indicator on the top LCD and a very nice illuminator.
    Its "modus operandi" is basically the same as the F801/S and F601. As I have all 3 types, it makes it easy to switch from one camera to the other!
    I heartily recommend it and, yes, I have 4 of them! Together with the F4 they are the only Nikons I use these days.
    Miguel
    If you can find a F4 for less than your 100 Euro budget, than you'll have a camera for life! It is the best AF camera to work with manual lenses. Otherwise, the F90X will fit better on your budget.
    Good luck and good shooting!
     
  22. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

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    No one has mentioned it but these AF bodies have such LOUD rewind motors. Might be a distraction or a bad way to draw attention depending on application. Also though not sure some bodies I know can delay the motordrive wind on I think as a custom function which is cool.
     
  23. chuck94022

    chuck94022 Subscriber

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    +1 on the F4. I own one, it's bullet proof. I love my FM3a a bit more (at least I carry it around more) but it doesn't have spot metering and is out of your stated budget.
     
  24. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Well I have 4 and no squeal.

    As to lens needing to be locked at the smallest aperture, that's a requirement of Speed priority and full auto mode on all the later Nikons that I've seen.

    And yep, using later modle lenses, the ones with no aperture ring, takes away the ability to use aperture priority. So what, you gotta adjust the speed on occasion? This compromise is simply a product of the march of technology not flawed design, personally I happy as heck that it can control later lenses at all. And seriously, if that's a design flaw then we all need to trash our F's, FM's, Nikormat's, ...

    Sure, I do agree that the F5 and F100 have better controls and sure, they feel better in hand but they also cost considerably more. All 4 of my N90s's together cost less than what I could have gotten an F100 for, let alone an F5.

    Having multiple bodies gives me the advantage of being able to keep FP4 in one and Portra 160 in another and a spare body in the bag.
     
  25. i.candide

    i.candide Member

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    After readong all the advice above, one question comes to mind...What type of photography are you interested in that requires spot metering? It is a tall order to get an affordable manual camera that does not have either center-weighted or average metering.

    i.candide
    Dangerous to oneself
     
  26. chuck94022

    chuck94022 Subscriber

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    The F4 can be rewound manually. Mighty quiet that way.