Before jumping in and spending a lot of money on a new camera and lens, you should try someting on the less-expensive side. There are literally hundreds of kind of fixed-lens rangefinder cameras, and some are stellar performers. The Olympus SP, Canonet QL17 GIII, or a Yashica Electro will help you learn the basics, and are relatively cheap. FSU cameras are hit-and-miss, with the emphasis on miss. I have bought several, and not a single one has worked properly out of the box.
Leicas and Nikon rangefinders are nice, I have several of each, were you in Japan I could loan you one to try out. Nice as they are, they aren't going to outshoot your Nikon, which is built to a higher standard of sophistication and quality. Rangefinder lenses have an advantage over SLR retro-focus lenses, but 99.9% of people would never notice the difference.
The advantage rangefinders have over SLR cameras are a slightly smaller size, and a quieter shutter. I shoot either type regularly, and though I prefer rangefinders, there is nothing wrong with shooting an SLR.
I did attempt using a QL17 once, but I couldn't figure it out. I'm wasn't sure that it worked. A thrift store had it for $45, and I didn't know anything about fixed lens cameras at the time, but by the time I had done the research, it had sold the day prior to my returning. Sad day. I am hoping for a Leica M2 at some point.
I can't/won't speak ill of any other system, as for the most part I've not used them, but I will laud the merits of the Contax G system. I absolutely LOVE my G2 setup. The autofocus is fast, even if not as quiet as a Leica. There is no other interchangeable lens rangefinder system that has the combination of manual and automated systems that the G series does - various auto-exposure options, motor drive, auto focus or manual focus, parallax compensating viewfinder. The best reason for the system, though, is the lenses. I have all the lenses made for it except the zoom and the 16mm. The 35mm is the weak link, but only by relative comparison to the other lenses in the system. Compared to anyone else's 35mm f2 lens, it is outstanding, but outstanding is mere mediocrity in the Contax G series. I think my all-time favorite lens in the lineup is the 21mm, which I used a LOT when traveling. I've been able to pull off a 1-second exposure hand-held with that setup, and actually sold prints of that negative.
I'd love to play with a Contax G2/45 f2 setup one day.
you're always going to feel this way until you get a Leica. And when you finally do, it likely won't live up to your loftt expectations.
Originally Posted by Nathan Riehl
In my opinion, you should KEEP the FM2n, save up money for a Leica, and see if you're really okay with not having a 1/4000 top shutter speed, split-prism focusing screens, and really affordable and GOOD quality lenses. If you don't like you're Leica, you'll likely take very little, if any hit on reselling it. But the Nikon stuff will cost you a bit more to reacquire versus the prices you would sell them for.
I sold all of my Nikon primes, FE2 and FM2n for a Leica M3. I shouldn't have done that. I liked my leica, but it wasn't worth the money i put into it.
Looking back, I think Nikon FM2N + 40mm Ultron SLI + Nikkor 105mm f/2.5 is a great quality combination that would cost at least 3x more if you replicated this lens combination with a Leica M. And my pictures weren't 3x better with my CLA'd Leica M3 with 50mm Summarit f/1.5.
G2 is a good camera too. I got one to replace the Leica M3, when I thought I wanted a more automatic camera.
I do regret selling it! If I had my own darkroom, I would find 35mm perfectly acceptable. Since I don't, I think the convenience of 35mm is offset by how much work it takes to get a decent 35mm scan.
So I sold the G2, and moved to medium format.
But the medium format cameras I have owned are just too big to carry daily.
One day I'll find a camera I can afford and enjoy shooting!
Originally Posted by parkpy
Try a Rolleiflex.
Originally Posted by parkpy
Nathan, you first must determine whether you want to take photographs or be an equipment junky.
I understand both aspects.
If your primary interest is in photography, the SLR and Rangefinder (RF) both have limitations and strengths.
If you use long lenses, close up work and are not concerned about noise/mirror slap, then stick with your Fm2N, I come from a Nikon F background and now use a Fm3A with motor along with an Fm2 that I have for long lenses.
But i do a lot of work up close with people and that's the domain of the RF camera. I started with M3 but coming from an F background with FTN finder, the lack of internal metering led to an M6 and then two M7's with Motor M's which are the ultimate expression of RF analog photography.
Problem being, the M series of cameras and lenses is very expensive new and used is crap shoot.
If your used to TTL metering, you may not be happy with an M3.
If you find that your Fm2N can't do something that a RF can do better, than find an RF camera to try but if your Fm2N does everything you require, why an additional camera unless you just want another camera.-Dick
Nobody pointed out the Zeiss Ikon ZM. People only seem to know Leica M. I own two and I am very, very happy with them. It is a classic rangefinder comparable to the Leica M7, but it has a much better viewfinder. It is much brighter, more precise, which is essentiel for 85 mm, and shows you roughly a 25 mm view. If you are wearing classes, it is even much better than the Leica finder. AND it is much cheaper than Leica, but a bit more expensive than Bessa. ZM and Bessa's are made in the same factory by the way in Japan. If you do not need the autofocus the Contax G2 offers, go for the Zeiss Ikon ZM. The precise focus is fun to use. It also has the Leica M bajonet, so a lot of choice for lenses.
Best wishes, Peter