Nikon F (own 3)
Nikon F2AS (own 3; with Motors)
Canon F1 (own 2)
Canon New F-1 (own 3)
Olympus OM-1 (own 2)
Leica IIIf (own 2)
Nikon F100 (own 2)
All functioning and being used at the moment.
Another fan of the OM-1. There are many 35mm SLR's I like such as a plain prism Nikon F or the original (all mechanical) Canon F-1, but I value light weight and compactness more. My kit is usually 1 body and 6 lenses, 24 f2.8, 35 f2.8, 50 f1.8, 85 f2, 135 f3.5, and 200 f5 Zuikos. Not all in one bag.
I can't really say that I favor one over the other. I've found it easy to use most cameras, although I have specific thoughts about certain cameras:
- Pentax MX: My second "real" camera, which I bought back in 1978. I sometimes think the body is almost too small. And the shutter speed dial is too tightly sprung.
- Minolta XD-11: I really lusted after this camera in the 1970s, and bought one about two years ago. I must say that this is an excellent camera, and I love the light touch of the shutter release.
- Leica M6: For me, the body was a bit too large, and the release point for the shutter was too deep. A "soft" release took care of that problem. Otherwise, a very well-made and solid camera. Deserving of its accolades.
- Leica IIIf: Lovely svelte body with excellent workmanship. Too fiddly as a user. From loading the film to a shutter speed dial that spins and dual viewfinders.
- Alpa 9e: Quirky from its backward film advance to the front mounted shutter release. But that Macro-Switar lens is unbelievably good.
- Contax I: A box with great lenses. The earliest model is not enjoyable to use. A bit crude. The later Contax I models were much improved, thanks to Hubert Nerwin.
- Tenax II: Man, love this camera. Square format. Trigger film advance. Excellent Sonnar lens.
- Contax 139: Love the feel of the camera and its release. The shutter and mirror are a bit noisier than they should be.
- Contaflex I: Great little fixed-lens camera that is often overlooked. It's old school: No instant mirror return and just one lens: A sharp f/2.8 45mm Tessar.
- Exakta: I've tried this, but I just can't adapt to the ergonomics. I can never find a comfortable way to hold the camera.
- Olympus OM-1: Despite a small body, feels good in the hands. You have to get used to the shutter speed dial at the base of the lens and the aperture dial at the very front.
- Olympus Pen F: Olympus did a great job with this camera. A side-swinging mirror and a nicely designed body make this the best of the half-frame offerings.
- Voigtlander Prominent: I really wanted to like this camera, but I can't. It's vastly overpriced. Focus by (a tightly sprung) knob, an eyepiece that is placed just precisely so you poke yourself in the eye when focusing. And an overly heavy body. I have the Ultron lens, which is a stellar performer. Oddly enough, the Vito III is a much better folding version of this Prominent, and for some reason is much easier to use. At least for me.
And that's about it for now.
If I'm allowed another one..or two...then I'd pick
Minolta 7000 - it was the first "Real" AF slr, where everything came together in one package. Focus motor was in the body, so were the wind and rewind motors. AF worked well, even if it was a bit slow..
EOS 630. One of Canon's first "pro" AF body, and really nice. I bought one a year ago for aorund $30, and fell in love with it. The AF is fast, it feels great in my hands. Plus it has a film in it!
I've never owned a OM 1 or OM 2, but appreciate them. Same goes for the Pentax K1000 and Spotmatic. The great thing now is that we can afford to buy a camera we've always wanted to play with because they are so affordable....so I just bought a Praktina outfit because I love the idea of an interchangable spring wind motor, and couldn't refuse if for the price....
Actually - same goes for the Topcon I bought with motor drive and 2 lenses..the 50mm has fungus in it, but the motor drive works. I mean - for $55 what could I expect?
The Canon T90 is my favorite camera. It was a snap to learn and felt so good in the hand. If the shutter sticks (and they do after nearly 30 years) just whack it on the ground.
Next up are the Contax RTS III and the Contax RX, both incredibly well-designed and sexy cameras. My favorite feature is the AE Lock switch which enables manual exposure control with the ease of auto exposure.
Several EOS bodies come next, such as the RT, Elan 7NE and 1V. All great for different reasons.
I also have a fondness for the rock-like solidness of the Canon F-1 series, and the incredibly smooth response I get from the XD-11.
The Fuji Discovery 3000 is an odd duck, a P&S bridge camera made of plastic. Its quirky looks and excellent lens make it a favorite.
My favourite cameras are the Voigtlander Vito B series. In fact, the entirely manual Vito B is the best - manual everything: no meter, no rangefinder, almost no viewfinder - or if I am lazy, the Vitomatic II. I might get to feel this way about my Exa cameras in time but at the moment the controls do not fall under my fingers as I need them too.
I cannot be doing with large SLRs for daily use - too big for my pocket and too noticeable in use.
Yes, I've always considered the original screw-mount Pentax Spotmatic design from the mid-60's as the high point of camera design. It fits my hands perfectly, and operates so smoothly. Earlier Pentax SLR models were not as smooth to operate, and the later bayonet models didn't seem as elegant. It wasn't the most rugged design, but it was the most refined.
Originally Posted by tony lockerbie
Nikon F, Pentax MX, Kodak Retina Reflex III.
After about seven years on a buying/trying frenzy, and some 25 slr/rangefinder cameras later, I settled on the Canon 7E with the BP-300 battery pack. Everything I need for 35mm.
My likes . . .
Inexpensive, making it water and cliff friendly.
Knobs easy to read.
All the functions one could possibly need.
And it's a nice color.
I still haven't found a camera that does things better than my F3. Sure, one of the reasons is that I have gotten so used to it that anything else is "just not like F3", but that counts for something too, right?
There is only one other camera that felt perfect and didn't make me wish I was holding the F3 instead - Leicaflex SL - but its finder was so yellow that it was pretty much unusable. I would love to get my hands on another in good condition, but that would be costly as I have only two lenses for it (Angenieux 45-90/2.8 and Leitz Macro-Elmarit 60/2.8).
There is only one other camera that I would like to try before I stop looking around in interest and that is the Pentax LX.