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  1. #11
    Rol_Lei Nut's Avatar
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    For me, perhaps the most important thing, once all the basics are covered (accurate shutter, proper collimation, reliability, etc.), is an excellent viewfinder / focusing screen.
    That will allow you to easily and accurately focus even in difficult light conditions or with "difficult" lenses.
    For that, the Leicaflexes you mentioned are unbeatable (despite what Olympus OM-4 fans claim).

    Other good things: Lenses!!! Also, good ergonomics, spot metering, DOF preview, well-dampened shutter and mirror (at least for 35mm SLRs, a well-dampened mirror makes MLU unnecessary IMHO).

    Of the cameras you mentioned, my first choice would be one of the Leicaflexes, then the Contaxes for their Zeiss lenses (not really for the bodies), then all the rest, which are very good except... the Leica R3, which I would avoid (if you must get an electronic Leica R, find a working R4, R5 or R7. The R8 & R9 are wonderful cameras too).

    The Pentax 6x7 is a lovely camera, it just takes some guts and energy to carry it around... ;-)
    If you get one, make sure it has MLU (in that case, MLU can make a difference!), though its mirror slap isn't as bad as legend has it, since most of it is the second shutter curtain closing and the mirror returning.

    If you decide for one of the Leicaflexes, ask and I'd be glad to give the pros and cons of the SL vs. the SL2...
    M6, SL, SL2, R5, P6x7, SL3003, SL35-E, F, F2, FM, FE-2, Varex IIa

  2. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael R 1974 View Post
    Aside from being able to attach the best lenses available for my type of photography (obviously):

    -Bright viewfinder with 100% coverage
    -MLU !!!
    -Focusing screen(s) that makes focusing easier
    -Time/Bulb settings
    -Standard mechanical cable release socket
    -Intuitive, simple controls

    Personally I've always found DOF preview next to useless. But it is always available on cameras with the above functionality anyway in case you need it.
    100% coverage? That would narrow the field considerably....
    Contax RTSiii and a handful of others, but they are all far too complicated for my liking.
    Don't know of any vintage (pre 1980) slr's with 100% coverage.

  3. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by russkat View Post
    100% coverage? That would narrow the field considerably....
    Contax RTSiii and a handful of others, but they are all far too complicated for my liking.
    Don't know of any vintage (pre 1980) slr's with 100% coverage.
    Nikon F, a pre 1980 SLR with a 100% viewfinder. Pre 1960, in fact.

  4. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rol_Lei Nut View Post
    For me, perhaps the most important thing, once all the basics are covered (accurate shutter, proper collimation, reliability, etc.), is an excellent viewfinder / focusing screen.
    That will allow you to easily and accurately focus even in difficult light conditions or with "difficult" lenses.
    For that, the Leicaflexes you mentioned are unbeatable (despite what Olympus OM-4 fans claim).

    Other good things: Lenses!!! Also, good ergonomics, spot metering, DOF preview, well-dampened shutter and mirror (at least for 35mm SLRs, a well-dampened mirror makes MLU unnecessary IMHO).

    Of the cameras you mentioned, my first choice would be one of the Leicaflexes, then the Contaxes for their Zeiss lenses (not really for the bodies), then all the rest, which are very good except... the Leica R3, which I would avoid (if you must get an electronic Leica R, find a working R4, R5 or R7. The R8 & R9 are wonderful cameras too).

    The Pentax 6x7 is a lovely camera, it just takes some guts and energy to carry it around... ;-)
    If you get one, make sure it has MLU (in that case, MLU can make a difference!), though its mirror slap isn't as bad as legend has it, since most of it is the second shutter curtain closing and the mirror returning.

    If you decide for one of the Leicaflexes, ask and I'd be glad to give the pros and cons of the SL vs. the SL2...
    PM sent regarding LeicaFlex SL vs SL2

  5. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by russkat View Post
    I'd like your varied opinions on what features you consider essential on a manual focus slr so I can make an informed decision on a camera purchase.
    You should soul-search and determine what YOU need and/or want.

  6. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrianShaw View Post
    You should soul-search and determine what YOU need and/or want.
    In the process of that now... it may be just a matter of trying a few cameras with different features and based upon my style of shooting/results determine what's essential or non-essential to me.

    Thanks for the great point !!!

  7. #17

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    p.s. In addition to all of the above mentioned camera features... fast flash synch speed.

  8. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by russkat View Post
    ... it may be just a matter of trying a few cameras with different features and based upon my style of shooting/results determine what's essential or non-essential to me.
    "Buy and try, and buy again" is not my personal style. I tend to be more analytic and develop my requirements before buying anything. As a result I have a small collection of cameras and each is the first of its type I ever bought. Your requirements may change over time (as did mine) and all that means is that another camera needs to be bought. But realistic thoguht about PROBABLE actual usage should get you into the ballpark fast.

    Don't forget one criteria, though -- unexplainable and unjustifiable desire.

  9. #19

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    What…not a single Nikon on your list?

    Poll-like questions such as these don’t seem to be nearly as helpful as compared to, ‘here’s my criteria…what do you suggest?’ Kinda’ like the tail wagging the dog. What the gallery may deem essential may be superfluous and dead-weight in your hands.

    Rather than ID’ing what I feel to be essential features I’ll point you toward some bodies worth considering so you can deduce appropriateness as it relates to your shooting. From the Nikon line: FM2n, FM3a, FE2, F2AS, F3HP. I shoot each of these bodies. Conditions and subject matter determine which body is called to duty. Nikon also offers a few (dozen) nice lenses, many of which are available for a song and no dance.

  10. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aja B View Post
    What…not a single Nikon on your list?

    Poll-like questions such as these don’t seem to be nearly as helpful as compared to, ‘here’s my criteria…what do you suggest?’ Kinda’ like the tail wagging the dog. What the gallery may deem essential may be superfluous and dead-weight in your hands.

    Rather than ID’ing what I feel to be essential features I’ll point you toward some bodies worth considering so you can deduce appropriateness as it relates to your shooting. From the Nikon line: FM2n, FM3a, FE2, F2AS, F3HP. I shoot each of these bodies. Conditions and subject matter determine which body is called to duty. Nikon also offers a few (dozen) nice lenses, many of which are available for a song and no dance.
    Did not intend for this to be a poll...
    Shot nikons back in the 80's. Used an FM2, an FA, and an F4s.
    Have to rule out something, so I ruled out Nikons and Canons for a start.
    Plenty of others to choose from and I've always wanted to try Leica or Zeiss glass, so I'm leaning in that direction.

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