take a look at the F80 and see if its more like what you want
heres some info
If you want a new camera with auto focus along with ISO, cable release and DOF it's going to have to be the N80/F80. A very good camera. If you want new and manual it's the FM10 or for (a lot) more money the FM3a. You can do better price wise by finding a good condition FE2 or FM2, depending on if you want exposure automation. Neither has autofocus, but both have fairly bright screens that make manual focus easy. They are both better cameras than any of the others with the exception of the FM3a, which is a basically a combination of the two. If you do get the '55 you can still change the film speed using exposure comp, if I remember correctly. Also, older Nikons in the autofocus range, like the N6006 or N8008s are good values, and you can find them in like new condition at low prices, especially the 6006. Very sturdy, and cheap to boot. You can get one for less than the '55. A lot of camera for the money.
[COLOR=Sienna][FONT=Arial]Some days are diamonds. Some days a tree crashes through your roof.[/FONT][/COLOR]
Here's another vote for a used F80 if you want one of the latest Nikon's. Sadly I sold off mine a few weeks ago for £200 mint condition, but there's plenty on the market at around that price. Get a black one though as the silver look does rub and looks tatty.
I too would recommend the F80. I have both the 55 and the 80 and use the 80 as my main shooter with the 55 in a backup role. Not being able to manually set the film speed is an irritant with the f55. You can overcome it to some degree with the +/- but it is still a bother. The f80 is a good solid camera that works just as well in manual as automatic. You can probably get a good one on ebay for little more than you're thiinking of paying for the f55.
I would recommend staying away from any odd-numbered 2-digit Nikon camera. The mid spec cameras always end in "0", like F80, F90, F100 -- you will do well with those. The F65, F75, etc. are the low end consumer rigs, with inferior build quality and reduced feature sets. Among the things you'll give up is the ability to set your own film speed (DX only), and you will be stuck with only "Idiot mode" exposure control such as Landscape, portrait, sports, etc.
Also, I would stay away from the 28-100, no matter what body you buy. It has a plastic lens mount, and the most recent edition of the Nikon Compendium rated it as perhaps the worst lens Nikon ever made. Now, I don't believe everything I read, but in my opinion, the information in that particular tome is accurate and fair. Suggest you look at an F80 and perhaps a later model 24-120 lens.
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Thanks for all the help and suggestions folks. I have decided to hangfire on the F55, wait til I have a bit more money set aside and then go for a better model. Possibly the F80 or F90.
That polycarb lens mount really does put me off from the F55, there may be no instances of them failing, but I really would prefer a proper metal lens mount.
Anáil nathrach, ortha bháis is beatha, do chéal déanaimh.
I'd recommend an FM2 for entry into Nikon, especially since it and the lenses are still quite common used. It's a beautiful and basic metal camera.
Is there anything donuts can't do.
A basic hybrid camera with all what you need and nothing too much.
Originally Posted by Andy K
FM3A with a 24mm or 28mm.
Go for it!
A camera for the next thirty years. :-)
Another rec. to stay away from the poly carb lens mount. I've seen several of them fail from careless handling. The 28-105 is an excellent all around lens with great close focus capability.
Body FM2n, FM3. Solid & dependable.
I have an FM10. I also have a Nikon 8008, Leica Z2x and a Sony 717 dc. The camera that gets the most use is the FM10. I got it new from B&H for $209 new then I took off the zoom lens it comes with and put on a new Nikkor 50mm f1.8, which is one of the sharpest lenses made by anyone and it cost only $110 at B&H new.
The advantages of the FM10 are it's fully manual. The only thing dependent on the battery is the light meter. It's also light and compact. It focuses easily with the split image viewfinder. It also has a metal lens mount. The pictures I get out of it are the equal of any I have ever taken.
The only thing missing is display of shutter speed, aperture, etc in the viewfinder. But after using it a while you get used to it. I usually leave it set at f5.6 (sharpest stop for the 50/1.8) with the shutter speed at 1/125 and the focus at infinity. If I have to open or close the aperture or move the speed up or down, it's quite easy to know where you are. Actually, having nothing in the viewfinder except what I'm shooting is a relief after all the clutter you see in a fully auto camera like the 8008.