I use 35mm for quick captures. And I break out my large format gear when I want to take total control of the process (short of making wet plates).
The features of the F6 etc. exist now, as they did when the camera was released. They certainly hold no appeal to me, but I get why people want that modernity, automation (when you want it), fast top shutter speeds etc.
I love the auto bracketing of the n80.Put it in continuous mode and get 3 shots with one touch of the release button-great for testing film.You can buy the n80 now for around $30 and they're all reasonably new.Since it's a "little brother" to the f 100 I wouldn't mind one of those either!
Thinking back to the 167MT vs RX dilemma, the RX, while not silent, is quieter than the 167. But they're all motor-driven SLRs in the end and will never be as quiet as a Rolleiflex. But if you like the Contax system, I highly recommend the RX. I had one for years, then offloaded it and my other Contax SLR gear to finish out a G2 and 21mm rangefinder outfit. Now I do find sometimes I need an SLR, so I added an RTS III when I found one at a price I couldn't resist.
There's one very specific situation which nobody has mentioned yet: Parties.
A dark-ish room really isn't the best place to use a manual camera, especially as people won't hold still while you get the settings right. Plus there's the cost of replacing kit - for a friend's 30th I used a Pentax SF7 which cost me £7 on ebay and a £10 50mm lens (which I cleaned a small mushroom farm out of). A bit less than the £50 or so it costs for a good KX or MX now (or even more for a K2). I'm not buying a cheap digital compact for this as the images from a roll of Ilford Delta 3200 in a decent camera will beat any comparably priced digicam, and I don't end up fighting with white balance, shutters which don't fire immediately, or AF hunting around with that stupid "face recognition" stuff. I just set the lens to f1.7, shutter to 1/60, then just focus and shoot when the light is on the subject. The noise really isn't audible over a PA system hammering out The Jam at 11.
The features of modern high end pro film cameras are great. Full automation does allow for more time to consider what is in the viewfinder and less time fiddling with controls. High speed motor drives, autofocus and image stabilization have allowed us to take fantastic pictures of birds in flight and kids playing.
I just don't care.
I like to use what 50 years of experience has given me with a camera, where I don't really need an exposure meter ( except where it inspires confidence ), I can focus fast enough on the things I actually want to focus on all by myself, I know how to hold a telephoto reasonably steady and I can set the film speed all by myself.
Anyone who has enjoyed posting on APUG for a few years will likely have these basic skills, so I contend that I'm not special.
I have an F4s, which I use occasionally when I want a motor drive, but overall I find I really like my ratty old Rolleiflex Automat best of all; it does exactly what I tell it to do, nothing more, nothing less.
Great discucssion everyone! Having recently acquired a hardly used F100 (and never having used an autofocus, motor drive and AE film camera previously), I find the experience refreshing. My normal machines are MF, (a 500c, a Fuji folder, an RB67 and a 645 Super among others) and the change to this kind of camera has helped my craft in street shooting as well as in still life. I'm not dropping my big mechanical monsters (or their outstanding image output for that matter) it's just that I love the craft of photography and the tremendous variety of tools that are available to the craftsman. Well, that's my 2 cents. Enjoy your new autofocus, auto exposure, etc....just keep shooting film!
It's great that you can buy those pro cameras for almost nothing this days. It's easier for people who started they adventure with photography from digital.
I use F80 and F90 only because I have nikon DSLR but will be buying soon mf as well. It's just a tool, and if one can buy cheaply pro tools, why not.
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