I think there is a lot of good advice here - but I would chime in with this:
Buy used, and you will have more camera for your money. I use the FD mount (manual) Canon gear - but am not one of the brand nazis - you will be happy with any reputable camera, I also own Nikon and have no complains about that either. I am more familiar with Canon though, so my two cents will centre on that. I would strongly suggest looking to a older Elan II, or a newer Elan 7. I think that in that particular price/market segment, these two Canons offer a little more per dollar than eqivalent Nikon models (the mirror lock up as one example). Apparently the Nikons have their adventages - no doubts there - but feature per dollar, I think the Elans are realy stand outs.
But is he really that set on AF? It would really be great if he could get a camera that the two of you could share lenses for. And also, I suspect he can get more camera for the $200 that way.
And just as an aside - those canons are apparently able to be retrofitted with the T90 focusing screen, which is split view with a misroprism ring. I know this has been done, but I understand its quite involved and would require a professional with the right tools and know how (or so I am told - please correct me if I am wrong). The T90 was the last manual focus Canon - basically a prototype of their new line with the old manual lens mount - hence the screen, and the ability to fit one to a new camera.
Best of luck with whatever choice you make,
if he wants MF with an AF body his choices are limited to Pentax (complete retrofit) to limited with Nikon. Some of the newer bodies can't be set as the aperture control is on camera vs on lens.
To create one's own world in any of the arts takes courage.
My vote is for giving your husband your 35mm SLR to practice and learn. Use the $200 to buy a previously owned medium format camera. Prices have dropped so low recently that you should be able to find a good one that fits within your budget.
Originally Posted by hanaa
Thank you so much everyone for your input. I'm still deciding exactly what i will do... but the AF canon is definetly out of the running. i'm going to try and just buy a medium format if i stumble on one with a reasonable price i can afford. You all had great ideas, and i looked into everyone of them. thank you again.
I rarely buy new anymore. The prices of MF have plummeted so much that in my mind there are few reasons to buy new. Now, if you're going MF, you have to decide which size. 6x4.5, 6x6, 6x7...
Searching my way to perplexion
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I'll bet that this will not be the last time you say that!!!
Originally Posted by hanaa
Originally Posted by joeyk49
Yep! If I had a penny for every time I did...
I would second Minolta manual-focus reflex cameras too; with the exception of one or two models due to collectors interest, pretty much all of them are very fine machines, and the lenses are, in my opinion, at least the equal of "brand N", often superior, especially in the bokeh department, and more affordable on the pre-owned market. While the mechanical-shuttered series (SR-7 and SR T models) require the bothersome 625 mercury batteries (there are several work-rounds) they are very finely designed and engineered. The electronics series are very fine too, the XD and XG series often have the issues of a pair of capacitors failing but they can be replaced. Only the XD and X-700 require lenses with MD coupling to achieve full functionality (aperture prioriity and programmed exposure automation respectively) and the most abundant MC lenses, regarded of age, will work on all models ever made.
In terms of Australian prices: recently I paid A$30 for a superb first series MC 35/2.8, and awaiting a MC 58/1.4 from the same period to arrive for which I paid $19 (along with a third party 28/2.8 and 2X teleconverter which I have to dispose of); think A$1 as three quarters of a US$. These prices are not at all unusual, and it goes on to show that Minolta manual focus cameras are good bargains today, and of course, sustainable for many years to come.
A couple of things to keep in mind with the autofocus cameras:
1) These cameras were built with autofocus intended and manual focus as an option. The screens offer no assistance, such as split-image focusing aids, although some do offer focus-confirmation lights.
2) Many of the lenses -- particularly the "kit" lenses, are simply not the right tool for manual focus. Often, you are using a very narrow plastic ring at the front of the lens to manually focus the camera. It's can be quite a horrible experience.
3) Many of the "kit" lenses are of mediocre quality. Most people will tell you that they aren't that bad. Conversely, it also means they aren't that good, either.
I agree with the others that you could get a great older kit for several hundreds dollars that will include a body + three quality lenses.
I think your husband will have a great time with this.
I'm in the camp that the best thing you could do for your husband in this case is to get him a solid manual focus camera and guide him through the learning process. I'm personally partial to Canon FD systems, especially the F1. Yesterday, I picked up a wonderful F-1 and a 50mm 1.4 lens for US$220 -- a not unheard of deal. I'll bet you could get an FTb or TX and a 1.8 50mm lens for under US$100 if you look hard enough.
Here's a couple of links I found that discuss the problems with autofocus, the good points of manual focus, and why even an autofocus camera set on manual could be considered inferior to a manual focus camera.
If your husband wants to branch out to medium format, there's only a few cases where the camera will be autofocus (maybe only one? I'm not sure). He's more than likely to be using manual focus, so the better foundation of focus skills he has, the better, IMO.