I would suggest contax g2 system with wide angle and normal lens, very sharp and reliable
Why not go F5? Solid and can use the all the lenses F3 can...and also all the newer ones.
Originally Posted by Mongo
If you can do without autofocus and autoexposure, how about an old Canon FTb. Fully manual, so a dead battery doesn't put you out of commission, and able to take an amazing beating without quitting.
Originally Posted by jdef
Depends upon what she wants to do in photojournalism. If it's for a newspaper - they've all switched to digital. If it's magazine work - some use digital (Sports Illustrated for example), while others use a mix of digital and film.
If she really wants a film camera, I'd get an auto-focus. You can always use the manual focus mode when required. I like the Nikons because their metering and flash systems are just better than Canon's.
I do some work for specialty magazines using a 12 year old N-90. I recently shot some work using Provia 400F under extremely difficult lighting conditions. Early morning shots of classic wooden boats on a foggy lake.
The sun would break through the fog every so often making pools of light that the boats would go in and out of. Then it would all close up and be 1/4 mile visibility with the water blending into the fog.
I used the camera's matrix metering, and the camera just kicked ass on exposures. The worst exposure was less than about 1/3 stop off - but fully usable. With fast moving subjects and changing conditions, you just don't have the luxury of manually metering - you need a camera with a really good automatic metering system. The good news? The new metering systems are even better than my N-90.
My only complaint about my N-90 is the autofocus system gets confused under really monochromatic or low light conditions; and the auto focus mechanism could be faster. Under conditions where focusing becomes iffy or I need to focus faster - I use manual focus. The good news? The F-100 corrects those problems.
I own two Nikon F's, a Nikon F2, and have worked with F-5's. I understand the concept of being able to hammer a nail with a camera body and only hurting the nail. I was really skeptical of the N-90 when it was recommended to me. It's proven to be robust, fairly easy on batteries, and fabulous with metering. I have a really hard time believing that a PJ student would use an F-100 hard enough to damage it.
Leicas? Nice camera - I own an M-6. PJ work? Please, that's a Cartier Bresson retro-fantasy. There may be an odd person (like 1 in 10,000) that could pull that off & actually make money doing PJ.
What to look for: auto focus, motor winder, best matrix metering system, best flash system, fast zoom lenses.
Personally, for a new camera I'd get an F-100. Used I'd get an F-100 or N-90s.
Lenses: 17-35 f/2.8; 35-70 f/2.8. You don't need long glass unless you're doing sports work. Most PJ is people up close and personal. If she needs long glass - she can always add the lens later.
Sports work is a whole different bag-o-worms. You need LONG GLASS. Even an 80-200 won't cut it.
I'd buy used from a reliable source.
F5 is overkill for 95% of the photographers out there & big bucks for the privilege of toting it. Only a couple of differences 'twixt F5 & F100. F5 has 100% viewfinder, faster motor, interchangable finder, mirror lockup, slightly more sophisticated meter, and there's something else lurking in my rapidly aging brain that I'll think of about 2am.
The F3 is a very robust camera but is also battery dependent, if your battery dies you lose meter & all shutter speeds except 1/90th sec.
I also agree with learning how to use a hand held light meter.
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Is this a college or highschool student? Is she planning to continue on this track or is it only a fill course. The answer to these questions is important to better recommend a camera. If it is a highschool student, you would have to be nuts recommending a Leica or an upper line Nikon. The best advice I gave students when I was working at a camera store was, Pentax K1000, 50 and 120 mm lens (or one of the better zoom lenses), bulk film loader and a 100' roll of tri X.
Originally Posted by jdef
If it is a college student the advice does not change much. They have to make sure they like it, will use it and will stick to it. Buying a Leica or a Nikon F? for a first time photographer IMO is a waste of money. Of course if money is no object, go for he F6, $2500, a Tamron zoom lens a bulk loader and 100' roll of tri X....
The only reason I'd recommend an F3 over an F5 for a new student is that I believe the value of the F3 has pretty much bottomed out. As long as the condition of the camera doesn't change too much and as long as 35mm film is still a viable option, the F3's probably not going to lose much value. You should still be able to sell it for what you paid for it in five years. I don't know if the same is true of the F5; none of us know that at this time.
Originally Posted by modafoto
For my nephew, the ability to use the Nikkor G-series lenses is a non-issue, as he's restricted to using prime lenses and manual focus only for his class work. (Or at least that's what they're told to do...I'm sure some students conveniently forget this at times.)
Film is cheap. Opportunities are priceless.
I again recomend the F5.. they are not that expensive and will last forever when only giant cockroaches are walking the earth.
With F5 not only you get the worlds best autofocus capabilities but also you get assistance during manual focusing. CAmera tells you which way you should turn the focus ring too and tell you when the picture is in focus in manual mode..
as i said it is heavy but if you go to www.nikonians.org and have a look at the F5 forum you'll understand why it is one of the best cameras in the world..
I did use a nikon F90X myself for a year and loved that camera.. did its job extremely well but now a little outdated to use with the latest Nikon lenses.
I use a sigma EX 70-200/2.8 HSM lens with my F5 and it focuses faster than i can blink.. and produces gorgeous photos.. and i still get metering with my very old manual nikon lenses..
If its a "special situation" and, from your description - she's really NOT going to use for PJ work - then tell her to get an Leica R8 or R9. She can shoot film OR digital, and will be able to choose from some of the finest lenses available.
From when I shot for a small-town newspaper, I would suggest an F3 + 50 1.4 + 180 2.8. There will be times when you can't (or shouldn't) use flash, so you'll want some speed, and that pair of lenses will cover most situations for the average newspaper. I've seen and handled an F5, and I'm sure it's nice to use, but it's almost the size of a Pentax 67, which makes it heavy to carry and painful when it bounces off your hip when you're running.
Less expensive, and just as convenient if she's not going to be using the camera professionally is the same pair of lenses with the manual Pentax K1000 body. Get two bodies for the price of the F3 so you always have a spare, or one lens per body and off you go.
Someone in these programs should insist that over 50% of the budget should be film, processing, prints, and presentation (whether mats and frames, portfolios, slide-shows, etc). Get something reliable and cheap enough you won't get upset damaging it in the pursuit of a shot, then go and shoot without thinking "this scene is costing me $.30 per frame".
My kit when working for that paper was a Spotmatic, with 50 1.8 and 105 2.8, and i covered everything from graduations to fish pictures.