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  1. #1

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    Fully-Manual Camera ala Nikon FM3

    Hey guys, I'm new here - I really enjoy this website.

    I'm new to photography, and I've been doing quite a bit of research lately. I found my dream camera, the Nikon FM3A. After drooling over it for several days, I've about decided I can't afford it. I'm hoping some of you could reccommend a different one. I've looked into buying used, but I've decided that isn't the route I want to take. The main criterion is that it needs to be fully-manual, with no auto-focus or flash, etc.

    Anyone have any ideas? I would greatly appreciate it!

    Thanks,

    Mark

  2. #2
    Paul Sorensen's Avatar
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    I know that you want to avoid used, but the cameras you are looking for are almost exclusively available used at this point. I don't know of another camera, except for used, that has the features you want for less money than the FM3A. One option to consider would be to look at KEH.com at a used FM2 or FE2. The FM2 is all manual exposure and the FE2 is aperture preferred auto or manual and they are both manual focus. The FM3A is roughly a combination of these two cameras. KEH sells these cameras in excellent condition (meaning almost new) for around $300 for the body and it would include a 14 day return and 60 day warranty. KEH has a great reputation around here, you can find out more about them by doing a search of the archives.

    The only other thing I can think of is the FM10 from Nikon and it sells for about $220 with a zoom lens. It is a lot cheaper and flimsier than the FM3A and does not have the advanced features, but it is manual focus.

  3. #3
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    Does it have to be Nikon? You can pick up a manual-everything Minolta set-up from www.keh.com (Minolta X700 and 50mm f/1.4) for $100 in Bargain condition (which has always been closer to mint than bargain for me), go up to ~$225 total and you can also get a wide angle and a telephoto.

    The X700 gives you the option of full auto-exposure, aperture priority, or full manual everything. Why does it have to be a new camera? Go back a generation to the manual focus cameras from any of the companies (Nikon, Canon, Pentax, Minolta) and you'll find what you are looking for.
    Let's see what I've got in the magic trash can for Mateo!

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  4. #4
    Paul Sorensen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeremy Moore
    Does it have to be Nikon? You can pick up a manual-everything Minolta set-up from www.keh.com (Minolta X700 and 50mm f/1.4) for $100 in Bargain condition (which has always been closer to mint than bargain for me), go up to ~$225 total and you can also get a wide angle and a telephoto.

    The X700 gives you the option of full auto-exposure, aperture priority, or full manual everything. Why does it have to be a new camera? Go back a generation to the manual focus cameras from any of the companies (Nikon, Canon, Pentax, Minolta) and you'll find what you are looking for.
    Good point, the Nikons' prices are kind of inflated. I just chose them because Mark was looking at the Nikon new, so I didn't even think to look at other brands. The X700 is a very nice camera and I always here good things about Minolta glass.

  5. #5

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    There is the Nikon EM with aperture priority. A nice camera which was under appreciated when it was released. There are the Minolta SRT's which take fine photos. The Pentax K-1000.

  6. #6
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    Nikon FE or FE2 would fullfill what you want at a lower price.

    Also keep an eye for a Pentax K-1000, or a ME. Minolta SRT or X-G are also very good, but the lenses offer is more limited than for Nikons.
    Mama took my APX away.....

  7. #7

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    Thank you for your suggestions.

    I'm still debating the FM3, it's in my price range, but I don't really want to pay that much... crazy, right? I looked at some used F2s, but they didn't "click" (if that makes sense). I'm sure I'll end up going with the FM3.

    I like that it's completely manual, with no auto-options. Plus, it looks really great (in chrome). I also like the metal body - it seems like it would hold up better and feel better than a plastic one.

    Again, thanks for all your feedback, I appreciate it

    Mark

  8. #8
    BradS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mjames
    Thank you for your suggestions.

    I'm still debating the FM3, it's in my price range, but I don't really want to pay that much... crazy, right? I looked at some used F2s, but they didn't "click" (if that makes sense). I'm sure I'll end up going with the FM3.

    I like that it's completely manual, with no auto-options. Plus, it looks really great (in chrome). I also like the metal body - it seems like it would hold up better and feel better than a plastic one.

    Again, thanks for all your feedback, I appreciate it

    Mark
    Mark,

    I went through the exact same decision process when it came time to replace my tired old Pentax KX. I wanted a new, manual focus 35mm SLR. I had purchased my Pentax new some 25 years prior and also owned several used (lots really) 35mm slrs in the intervening period. I wanted new. I searched and searched. At the time, the only real choices were the Minolta X-370N and the Nikon FM3a. Sadly, the Minolta X-700 was no longer available. There were a handful of others too but I dismissed them all as either too expensive (Nikon F3, Contax RTS-III, Olympus OM-4ti, etc...) or just not to my taste (mostly plastic junk).

    I chose the FM3a and I'm very glad I did. I'm sure the F3 would have been just as pleasurable- if not more - but, it was going for around $1000 more than the FM3a at the time. I think your only choice today is the FM3a. The FM-10 may still be available new too - not sure but even if it is, it is Nikon in name only.

    Today we also have the Bessa-flex - an interesting camera but, for the money, I think the FM3a is still a better choice. I really wish Minolta would bring back the X-700. That was a fine camera for the money and they made some pretty decent glass too.....oh well.

    You really can't go wrong with a new FM3a. It is a great camera. You'll never regret making the purchase. I have never once had even a second of buyer's remorse. If the cost seems like a lot, keep in mind that it'll probably last 25 years...then the cost doesn't seem so daunting. Go for it!
    Last edited by BradS; 08-19-2005 at 04:17 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  9. #9
    Paul Sorensen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mjames
    Thank you for your suggestions.

    I'm still debating the FM3, it's in my price range, but I don't really want to pay that much... crazy, right? I looked at some used F2s, but they didn't "click" (if that makes sense). I'm sure I'll end up going with the FM3.

    I like that it's completely manual, with no auto-options. Plus, it looks really great (in chrome). I also like the metal body - it seems like it would hold up better and feel better than a plastic one.

    Again, thanks for all your feedback, I appreciate it

    Mark
    The FM3 has aperture preferred auto exposure but it also has a system that alllows the shutter to work without batteries. It also supports TTL metering for flash. I think that's why everyone was recommending AE manual focus cameras. Nikon has all the info on their web site. The F2 is a beast, an incredible camera that is kind of old nowadays and very heavy. The FM and FE series look just like the FM3A and have metal bodies as well. The FM is manual everything and the FE has aperture preferred AE. The FM3A is a great camera and you will surely enjoy it should you go that way.

    Have fun!

  10. #10

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    Thanks guys... FM3a it is!

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