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  1. #1
    Pandysloo's Avatar
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    Considering my first 35mm camera.

    Right now I use a Bronica SQ-A system so I have a basic understanding of film in general; this is more in regards to equipment (though some more modern, automated features I am unfamiliar with).

    So far the best no-frills workhorse seems to be the Nikon FE, and they are nice and cheap as well. Right now the only manual lens I have is a Pentax SMC 50mm 1.4 which I use for video work. Looking at adapters, the only ones I found involved another glass element which begs the question: are K lenses not preferable for F mount work? Back when I adapted my Pentax to a 7D, the adapter was jut a thin metal ring. The K to F mount adapters seem like they do more of a "translation" than a simple thread adaptation.

    I love the split prism design of my Bronica. Is this available for 35mm SLRs? The few I have used in my life didn't have it, and I had a really hard time nailing focus quickly.

    One reason the Nikon seems inviting is because I can get a 100-300mm f5.6 for ~$100. Between a 50mm and a telephoto that goes up to 300mm, they will likely be the only two lenses I need for my style of shooting.

    Are there any other recommendations for a bare-bones workhorse? Something that can be used with a good bang/buck telephoto that goes to 300mm? I have heard good things about the Pentax Spotmatic, though I can't see any clear advantages or disadvantages of that over an FE. And of course, it needs to be black.

  2. #2

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    Go with the Nikon, the pentax system is considerably older, less reliable with the cloth shutter and the metering on the FE is going to be one hell of a lot better.

  3. #3
    Peltigera's Avatar
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    I like my Canon EOS 50e - it is the only 'modern' 35 mm camera i do like (I like a lot of 35mm rangefinders from the late '50s and early '60s). The advantage is that it is fully compatible with Canon's current output and after 30+ years, there are a lot of second-hand lenses out there which brings the price right down.

  4. #4
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    The standard screen on the Nikon FE is a "type K" which has a split-image focus aid with a narrow microprism collar surrounding it. This is the same on most of Nikon's manual focus cameras from the late 70's and the 80's. Nikon also made plain matte screens ("B") and grid screens ("E") for these cameras. If you need any more specialized focus screens, you need an F-series camera like the F3. I am not sure what third-party manufacturers may have offered for focus screens. Also, I don't know how easy it is to change the screen on the FE (never owned one), but I know it is simple on the FE2 and the FM2, both of which are also wonderful workhorse cameras. And they do come in black.
    Last edited by rthomas; 11-16-2012 at 03:47 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: More info

  5. #5
    Stephanie Brim's Avatar
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    I've had 3 FEs. I'm kind of looking for another one. It's a good camera. The 50mm f/1.4 AI Nikkor is my favorite of the MF 50's. So...er...I may be biased.
    No idea what's going to happen next, but I'm hoping it involves being wrist deep in chemicals come the weekend.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by illumiquest View Post
    Go with the Nikon, the pentax system is considerably older, less reliable with the cloth shutter and the metering on the FE is going to be one hell of a lot better.
    Actually...

    Pentax dropped the cloth shutter. If you buy a K2 or anything later (aside from the MX) you get an electronically controlled metal shutter.

    The metering on my K2 is more than good enough for slide film. I don't really see how any other brand could be better. A light meter doesn't compensate for poor technique anyway, it's just a guide. Judging by the internet entries I've found the K2 is pretty equal in features with that FE, about the only things lacking are a motor drive (unless you find a K2 DMD and the matching winder) and the user changeable focusing screens. If those are desired then finding an LX will give you both, along with TTL flash, a 1/2000 top shutter speed, and interchangeable viewfinders.

    As for "older" they've kept the K mount since 1975. So you can pick anything between a 1975 K2 and a 2001 MZ-S and use any K lens with an aperture ring (all of them apart from the FA-J and DA series, the only other exception are the cheaper bodies with the "crippled" K mount which you probably won't want anyway). You can use the earlier screw mount lenses with a simple adapter, although you don't get open aperture metering that way.

    I'd look for the best condition K2 or K2 DMD (rarer but with a few useful additions over the normal K2) you can lay hands on then have it CLA'd. If you can spend a little more then doing the same with an LX will get you one of the best 35mm SLRs ever made.

    As for adapters, is the lens you have an SMC Takumar or an SMC Pentax? Optically they're pretty much identical, but the SMC Takumars were the last series of M42 screw mount lenses while the SMC Pentax were the first K mount.
    Matt

  7. #7
    ArtO's Avatar
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    Nikon F3 is a real workhorse of a camera. It's well built and there are plenty of good bargains to be had. Beyond that you have a wealth of lenses to choose from and you can change your focus screen whenever you want. Screens are reasonable priced. The big baddy with the F3 is flash. You need a special adapter for flash shoe.
    ------------------------------------------------------------
    Art

  8. #8
    Pandysloo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PentaxBronica View Post
    As for adapters, is the lens you have an SMC Takumar or an SMC Pentax? Optically they're pretty much identical, but the SMC Takumars were the last series of M42 screw mount lenses while the SMC Pentax were the first K mount.
    It's an SMC Pentax, the non-Takumar one.

  9. #9
    EASmithV's Avatar
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    Get the Nikon.
    www.EASmithV.com

    "The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera."— Dorothea Lange
    http://www.flickr.com/easmithv/
    RIP Kodachrome

  10. #10

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    sounds like you have the k mount pentax I'd buy a black k2 like the one at keh . Personal bias here but I'd say the k2 is every bit as good as the nikon you're looking at priced competively and pentax lens are just as good as nikons but priced better.I remember a thread on rff about an adapter for the 50 1.4 to leica m mount that got a lot of interest.

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