A couple of years ago I decided to get back in to film and got a pretty good deal on a EOS 1n and a EOS 5 with Eye control focus.
The 1n is awesome. Really heavy though. It feels like it's made of cast iron. The 5 is pretty good too. I have no complaints and they both work perfectly with my EF lenses. I'd happily recommend either of those.
If you wanted to go entirely manual/mechanical then you're probably looking at something older or a Nikon FM (I think?)
I do also have a Pentax KX from the dark ages and it's lovely to use but the light meter is stuffed so I have to use an external one which isn't really that practical sometimes. I only have one lens for that camera too which limits how creative I can be, more so than the Canons.
Sorry I wasn't specific enough. I never use automatic foucus, so that isn't needed. I want something that is rugged, won't break the bank, and can handle dark situations well. It doesn't need to be super high resolution becuase that was why I bought a t2i. I am interested about Pentax now that I know I could get an adapter for my lenses. Do these specs this change which camera or brand you recommend?
It's hard to say what is best. But since the OP is familiar with the EOS system, the EOS-1V is easy be the best for the OP and it's still available new I think.
I want something that is rugged, won't break the bank, and can handle dark situations well.
No camera will really hold up to heavy abuse. If one is careful most would be rugged enough.
Everyone has a different size bank. What one might think affordable another would see as expensive.
Dark situations, IMHO, has more to do with lens than camera body. Most maunufacturers made/make "fast" and more expensive lenses.
If you already have lenses which will work on a film body which offers manual settings, you would do well to buy a body and have a professional repair person do a CLA on it. Film bodies are cheap these days and you wouldn't be putting much at risk with this approach.
The best camera is the one you will use and learn to challenge its capabilities. Most of my cameras offer much more than I commonly use.
Oh, don't over-think this. You aren't buying a house or putting your life savings in the stock market.
I have an EOS 3, but rarely use it. Too much like digital. Go for something completely manual like a Pentax Spotmatic.
Handling dark situation well? If one is used to the DSLR then almost no film camera can handle dark situation well. Although it's easy to get fast lenses on these old camera but there is no high speed film as compared to the digital very ISO.
I don't want to tread to much into the the digital/analog but the OP EOS-T2i quality differences between ISO 100 and 1600 is much less than between a 100 speed film and a 1600 speed film. Because of that any film camera would have much harder time functioning in the dark than a DSLR.
Best 35mm Film Camera
As cheap as 35mm film cameras are, I have way too many. I stopped counting, but not stopped acquiring.
If you just want to dip your toe into the water, go with an EOS. As long as your lenses are EF and not EF-S, they will work. There is nothing to stop you from putting the camera in manual, and doing it old school.
My Canon EOS Elan 7e has eye control, works better without glasses, and is very handy for action images. The focus point follows where your eye is looking.
A screw mount adapter will let you use all the old M42 lenses. If you want to play with old glass. The FD adapters are junk. So old Canon glass is out. Unless you buy an old Canon.
Nikons are excellent choices. The glass can still be pricey, as it can still be used on the modern cams.
K-mount (Pentax, Ricoh, and others), glass is cheap, as are the cameras. Some are excellent, some are junk. Lots of low quality 3rd party zooms, etc. That being said, I really like my Ricoh XR-S, cams. The solar panels alone are conversation starters, and they are reliable.
I like my little Yashica GTS range finder, is basically an aperture priority range finder. Rock solid, and the photo cell is not on, or in the lens. Being in the body, and being a range finder, I can slap an IR filter on the lens, and shoot infra red, with IR film.
Lots of choices, lots of good viable choices. It just depends on what type of photography you want to do.
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And yet not specific enough. When you say dark situations, do you mean resorting to fast lenses with razor thin DOF with manual focus? Clearly a huge bright viewfinder would be much easier to use then the tiny VF in today's AF centric cameras.
Originally Posted by wrightguy
Minolta XK & Pentax LX sporting f1.2 lenses. Both of these are rugged and the superfast lenses with big bright viewfinders can handle "dark situations" very well. "Break the bank" of course is yet another relative term.
Or by "dark situations" do you mean "long exposure"? For instance, Canon took the position that the longest aperture priority auto exposure they will allow on all their AV capable bodies that I have tested is 30 seconds which is probably enough for some. Of course using an external meter in bulb mode can extend the usefulness of cameras so limited Other cameras like the Olympus OM2/4 extend this autoexposure time to 2 minutes. Clearly this is even better "dark situation" capability. The Pentax LX extend this autoexposure capability to as long as it takes and will vary exposure time depending on scene lighting changes.
This was conducted with the Pentax LX + Pentax M 28mm f2.8 taking about 40 minutes in aperture priority auto exposure. There are no other cameras - past or present, that have the Pentax LX's single unassisted metering range of EV -6.5 to EV 20, practically unlimited aperture priority auto exposure as well as realtime monitor of the scene lighting for changes. For that matter, I am not aware of any external meter that does. For my dark situation needs, the Pentax LX is best for this.
BTW, I owned a few Canon L lenses and those were some of the best lenses I ever used and I was therefore apprehensive using old - secondhand, manual focus lenses. However, after qualifying some of my acquisitions with Kodak Techpan processed in Technidol and evaluated under great optical magnification, I know that the primes I have tested will not be outresolved by any DSLR today.
Welcome to Apug!
Originally Posted by wrightguy
Be aware that Canon gave their cameras specific designations for the US market (and even others for their homemarket), not known to members from other parts of the world. And you even shortened the US designation.
Canon EOS Rebel T2 = Canon EOS 300X
Canon EOS Rebel K2 = Canon ?????
Best is a matter of preference.
The later, plastic-bodied SLRs had many automatic features that were the cameras difficult to use in full manual mode.