Originally Posted by hanaa
IMHO - I would highly recommend the Nikon F100 for starters. It's just a great camera and you can shoot in auto or manual.
The Rebel series, despite being the low-end of the Canon range have all the features you could want: fully programmed OR aperture priority OR shutter priority OR fully manual modes... You can set the ISO manually (it does not insist on using the film can's DX coding). It also has +/- exposure adjustment. They are arguably the best bang per buck cameras around. The battery lasts a reasonable time. It is not usable without the battery so always have a spare. It is 100% plastic so light, but not as robust as the heavier metal chassis Pro models.
One odd thing about them is that when you load the film it immediately winds on all the way to the LAST position. As you take the pictures, it winds itself back to the beginning. This does mean that your 1st image is at position 36, the second at position 35, etc... They also use an infrared sprocket counter that can cause problems if you use infrared film: typically 1 to 3 mm of the edge of the film is fogged by the sprocket counter. This does not effect normal film - only IR. Many other cameras use the same method, so if it is important, check first.
Problem #1 is that although you can always switch the lens to manual focus, the viewfinder does not have a split-image area to help with manual focussing, and the finder is not changeable. Some high end Canon models do have interchangeable finders I believe.
For portrait work you are probably looking for something in the 90mm range so a 70-200mm zoom would suit, although a 28-80mm or similar will probably come with the camera. I wouldn't recommend the 28-200mm zooms (like I'm some kind of expert!) - the more the zoom covers, the lower the overall quality as the more compromises are made in its construction.
Hope this helps rather than adds to the confusion....
In the $200 range you're going to be getting a consumer-grade camera and lens sold together as a kit (assuming you want to purchase new equipment). Most manufacturers have a starter set like this (Nikon N55 with a 28-80mm lens, Canon EOS Rebel K2 with a 28-90mm lens, Konica-Minolta Maxxum 50 QD with 28-100mm lens, etc.). With every autofocus lens I'm aware of, you can turn off the autofocus and manually focus the lens. These are not the most robust cameras in the world, but with proper care they should provide years of service.
You should be aware that the viewfinders on newer consumer-grade cameras are not the best for manual focusing. With the introduction of autofocus lenses, the manufacturers have saved money by simplifying the viewfinder because most people just use the autofocus...no need to spend more money on a high quality viewfinder if the camera is focusing for you. So your husband will be able to manually focus the camera, but it won't be the easiest thing in the world. It may take some practice, and it will add some frustration to the learning process, but if your husband's seriously interested then he'll learn how to do it (or he'll just rely on autofocus).
As others have stated, any Canon EF lens can be used on any Canon EOS body, including all Canon cameras with the name "Rebel". (EF-S lenses cannot be used on Canon film cameras.)
Which brand of camera you buy at this time isn't all that important. I would recommend that you buy either Canon or Nikon because they are healthy companies, they make lots of different camera accessories, and chances are good that you'll be able to buy anything you need in the future to build the camera into a full system capable of any type of photography that your husband might become interested in. This is not to say that other brands are not good (many are excellent), but (this is just my opinion!) I'm fairly certain that both Canon and Nikon will still be making lenses and accessories in 10 years time that share some level of compatibility with the cameras they sell today.
If you can convince your husband that an old manual focus camera is a better way to learn (personally I think it is, but I won't argue if people tell me I'm wrong...I'm tired of having that particular argument), then you can get him a camera that's compatible with your equipment. You'll both automatically have a backup camera available, and instead of buying him a "starter" lens you can share lenses and buy a more interesting lens when you buy "his" camera. Minolta made a lot of excellent cameras over the years (my girlfriend has an SRT-201 that I'm sure will outlive me) and they made many excellent lenses.
Best of luck with your decision, and I hope that your husband enjoys photography. (It's always nice to have a shared avocation.)
Film is cheap. Opportunities are priceless.
Actually there are two manual focus mounts that are interchangeable and the A mount for the auto focus cameras, so in essence there are two mounts for the Minolta cameras, the A mount will not interchange with the two manual focus mounts and the two manual focus mounts will interchange and the only difference is some of the metering modes, but they do work together.
Originally Posted by mrcallow
The F100 is indeed a great camera and would be the one I would buy if I did not have so much invested in Minolta equipment, but it is far above the $200.00 budget she said she had.
Originally Posted by djkloss
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In the $200 range I would recommend a Sigma SA 7, good value for the money, after my F3 was stolden from my checked baggage at 9/11 I dither from a couple of years then on impusle I bought a SA 7 with 2 lens. I use mine in manual focus without any issues, has lots of feature. The one draw back is that you can only use Sigma lens, but I liked the SA 7 so much I bought the SA 9 body. Having said all of that if you afford an entry level Nikon or Canon I would highly recommend a camera that you build a system around.
I would buy a Pentax.
Just about any Pentax - since they are all compatible with all older lenses. Even the latest d*g*t*l Pentax can use any Pentax lens all the way back to the beginning!
I have an Mz-5n (which is called something different in the US), which I use with autofocus and manual lenses. The AF can be switched off, or even switched on with non-AF lenses. In that case you can hold the shutter down and twiddle the focus ring and the camera will take the picture when it thinks it's in focus.
I was seriously considering switching to C/N a few years back, then I discovered the total compatibility of Pentax cameras and lenses. That made my choise easy.
-- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
One other thing about manually focusing Af lenses is that the cheaper lenses that are made, the ones that you will get with a kit in your price range, have extremely small focus rings and are tough to use for that reason. Unless AF is a priority, and it sure doesn't sound that way from your description, I would consider a good used manual focus camera. If simplicity of use is an issue, than I would probably recommend the Nikon FE2, FG, or FA, they all have auto exposure capabilities. I don't know the Minoltas as well, but I would certainly trust the opinions of those around here who do. Of course, one advantage there would be sharing lenses with each other. (Unless part of the idea is to keep him from your lenses. )
Why autofocus ?
If you both want to go to MF why not give him one right now. He could also borrow your 35mm or you could buy one more body for your system so you could share lenses.
MF cameras like the Minolta Autocord, Yashica Mat (pick a number) or the Rolleicord shouldn't break the bank. You may also want to look at the Mamiya TLR's
if 35mm is just a transitional step to MF for you I would build up the system you have and buy another Minolta for him, preferably another X700 or the XD11 (XD7 in Europe) Dave mentionend. Add to that a 100mm 2.5 MD lens and a winder and you can get away for under 200$. For portraits in 35mm things hardly get any better than that.
Here is an example as an MC-lens which shouldn't be used in P-mode, otherwise ist is just as good as the MD. This one seems to have some coating defects, though: http://cgi.ebay.de/Minolta-100mm-f2-...QQcmdZViewItem
I'd ask the seller and if he says it is ok. I'd grab it. They don't show up to often.