My most "modern" film camera is a Pentax PZ-1p, sporting autofocus, 5 fps, power rewind, etc. Pleasant enough, but the instruction manual is immense. 5fps is expensive. I had to consult the manual to rewind the first roll I shot. The camera's very programmability is a bit daunting, at least to one who came up through manual cameras.
I also have a Pentax 645n and several lenses. This camera is so intelligently laid out that the instruction manual is hardly needed. Proper dials, no drilling down through menues to change from spot to matrix metering, from automatic to manual exposure, etc.
By contrast with the PZ-1p my Pentax LX can be used without the manual, only a few features are not intuitive. The winder is 2fps, sufficient. As a system camera it accomodates screen and viewfinder changes, mirror lockup, etc.
The LX and Pentax ME-Super are my 35mm film users. They make me think more about what I'm doing than does my digital K-10 and K-5, both fine machines, but somehow lacking in soul. Somehow to me a camera should be metal, weighty, somewhat angular, unlike the rather curvaceous PL-1p and the digital SLRs. Getting old, I guess. Better than the alternative!
The best Pentax AF bodies (if you want handling like the manual ones) seem to be the MZ-5/MZ-5n and MZ-M. They have a proper shutter speed dial. The SF series are nice cameras but I do find the "hold this, then wiggle that" approach to settings annoying. I find I tend to shoot them in Av mode and use AE Lock to deal with exposure compensation as it's faster than cycling through shutter speeds with the jog wheel/slider.
My main reason for not buying an MZ-5n is the fact that they're something of a reliability time-bomb. That little drive cog cracks and you're left with a lengthy and complex repair job to replace the motor.
I took my K2 out today and TBH the only reason I'd take an AF body over this is if I was worried about damaging it (K2s are rather harder to find in working order than SF7s). It's much quieter, the shutter sounds very precise, and it has pretty much every control you could want. The shutter is a stepless design, so if the lighting is suitable you can put it in Auto and it isn't bound by the numbers on the dial.
My only complaint is the lack of an aperture display in the viewfinder like the KX and MX have, which was cured with the K2 DMD (on my wish list!)
High-end cameras often have several peculiarities and using one of them is reason enough even if you don't use the others.
My main reason to use my Minolta XM is the mirror lock-up with tripod work. Other will use it for its interchangeable viewfinder, or its interchangeable focusing screen, or its general ruggedness.
Other reasons for using high-end cameras could relate to general quality - features: seeing aperture and shutter speed in the viewfinder, seeing in the viewfinder the shutter speed selected by the camera and the one suggested by the camera, ergonomics of the camera, general quality of shutter and especially of viewfinder (brightness, magnification). Quality is never redundant.
I find general viewfinder quality very important, possibly the most important quality feature in a camera. That's probably why I love so much my Minolta X-700. Its other specifications are pretty normal, but the quality of its viewfinder is pretty impressive.
Still, the X-700 lacks mirror lock-up and that's the only reason why I bought the XM (besides GAS).
As cheap as 35mm cameras are nowadays, why not shoot the best?
If I was still shooting Contax, my choice would naturally be an RTS lll but as much as I love matrix metering on my Nikon D300 and a Pentax 645Nll that I used to own, I would most likely shoot a Contax Aria or late model Nikon with matrix metering. Matrix metering is fast and accurate in most situations.
Today, the only 35mm I shoot is my Stereo Realist. I mostly shoot large format, digital, and a little medium format and meter with a Pentax digital spotmeter for the film cameras, but of course that's me.
If you enjoy 35mm then why not shoot the best 35mm cameras?
ohhhh, I just sold the RTS III but it is indeed the most advanced manual focus camera I ever used. Awesome in every regard.
Originally Posted by Viggi
i think the answer was posted a long while ago ... why not ?
My experience is contrary, I found it's more difficult to change shutter speed with old style dial and I can go from 1 to 1/4000 quicker on my N90s than F2/F3.
Originally Posted by Chan Tran
I am curious. Exactly how do you change the shutter speed on the N90?
Originally Posted by MFstooges
using my thumb
Originally Posted by narsuitus
I have used my EOS1N in Av mode for decades; I don't use it on "full auto" mode because, being a high end professional camera, it doesn't have such a mode.
Many years ago an EOS 5 was used but still Av mode and occasional P for Professional mode (!) was used. It is the way I was trained: not to rely on automation but to the majority of thinking and analysis myself. And that has been my mainstay all the way, even now in medium format.