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  1. #11

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    Hold on a sec. Don't rule out the cheap Nikon FT2! You should be able to get one with a 50mm lens pretty cheap. Durable body, does all you want, and it is DURABLE. You can use it to open walnuts with....
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  2. #12

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    You could get one used much cheaper. Otherwise, I have had a 30 year love affair with the Olympus OM1.

    David.

  3. #13

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    The other option is Bessaflex new for under $300 with a very lots of options for 42mm screw mount lens, many at dirt cheap prices. Stop down metering, no winder, but new.

  4. #14
    Paul Sorensen's Avatar
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    Damn, now I want a Bessaflex. Will it never end? That is a seriously cool camera.

  5. #15
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    I love the look of the Bessaflex, especially in silver, but beware that there's no flash shoe on either the black or silver cameras. If there was, I'd probably already own a silver Bessaflex. As it it, I'm considering an old Spotmatic for a cheap-lens camera.

    On the Nikon side, the FM2 has most of the features of the FM3a, and can be had for a whole lot less money. The shutter is fully manual, so the battery's only needed for the meter. The FE2 needs the battery for almost everything, limiting you to one speed (1/90th?) if your battery dies. If you go for the previous generation of Nikons (FE/FM rather than FE2/FM2), you get a slower shutter and no flash automation, but you gain the ability to use the pre-AI lenses. Pre-AI Nikon lenses tend to be very cheap. You might want to look into a used FM and some pre-AI lenses...you might be pleasantly surprised at how inexpensive a flexible setup can be. The same can be said of the old Nikkormat cameras, depending on what sort of metering options you need. All of the cameras I noted that can take the pre-AI lenses can also use the AI and AI-s lenses as well. (If flash is important to you, then the FE2 is hard to beat.)

    One other note regarding the FE2: I mentioned that the camera's virtually useless without batteries. The batteries are, however, very small and it's easy to carry a spare set with you. Plus they last a very long time. I've had an FE2 since they first hit the market, and I've never actually had the batteries die on me. I always replace them after a year regardless of what state they're in (I hate the though of batteries leaking in a camera), and I've never had a set die on me. So the battery issue isn't too important with the FE2.

    Best of luck with your decision.
    Film is cheap. Opportunities are priceless.

  6. #16
    Monophoto's Avatar
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    I remember going through this same thinking process. My old camera had died, and I put together a specification of what I wanted in a replacement, and then built a matrix comparing that specification with the specifications of available 35mm SLR's.

    I chose the Nikon FM2. Yes it was expensive, but it was worth the difference over lower priced alternatives. I just returned this morning from a trip to California in which I shot about 10 rolls of 35mm film in that camera - that brings my total through it to something well in excess of 1000 rolls. And it continues to work just as well as the day I bought it - 25 years ago.

  7. #17

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    I have an X-700, although I mostly shoot Nikon nowadays. It's a nice camera but note that the manual exposure mode is hard to use because the body won't tell you what shutter speed you have set. But other than that, it's a very good camera.

  8. #18

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    Hey guys... thanks for all of your responses.

    What do you think of the Nikon FM10?

  9. #19
    Paul Sorensen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mjames
    Hey guys... thanks for all of your responses.

    What do you think of the Nikon FM10?
    It is not made by Nikon (Cosina? Someone else will know for sure) and it is a whole lot less robust than the FM3A. It is basically for beginners who want to learn on a manual focus camera. It comes with the lens which is basically a manual focus version of one of the cheapie plastic zoom kit lenses for consumer cameras. Also, if it matters to you, there is no motor for it.

    On the plus side, it will do what you need, it will take great Nikon glass and if you want to upgrade someday, you will be able to take your lenses with you to a higher end body.

  10. #20
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    Considering the small difference in price between the FM10 and the FM3a and the big difference in quality and durability, I would definitely go for the FM3a.

    As a lover of manual/mechanical cameras, I was seriously considering the FM3a as a replacement for my three aging F2 bodies (I have been using one since 1971). However, I changed my mind when I discovered that film bodies have dropped so low in price that I could purchase a used F4 body in excellent condition for a little over $300 compared to the price of $500 for a new FM3a,

    I don’t know if the automatic/electronic F4 will last me 30 plus years like my manual/mechanical F2 but I am willing to bet that the FM3a will last you that long.

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