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  1. #1
    Michel Hardy-Vallée's Avatar
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    Spotmatic to FM2n dilemma

    I've been using my spottie for a while at work to cover our events and take formal portraits for our members' profiles. I use it of course for my own personal work, and also at non-work related events. Last night I was taking pictures at a political event, and my big flash got me access to the front stage to take pictures of the elected people (yay!).

    At some point, I was changing lenses, and my 28mm Takumar just dropped to the floor, and that was it. The focus ring is now jammed forever, and I don't think there's a point in repairing it. I was sad to see the 28mm go, but then I haven't depended upon it. Later on I met an old acquaintance who was turning his vest for the political party involved, and he was wondering if I was freelancing. No, I wasn't, but then I thought: why not? I already have a job, and don't have problem to find it, but I like doing the occasional photo job. If the pics sell, great; if not, whatever.

    That's when I suddenly realized that my equipment was perhaps slightly out of the loop should I need parts, repairs, or a new lens quick. I also realized that I use my 50mm f1.4 most of the time, a 35mm some time to take group pictures, and a 135mm periodically for taking portraits. The last one annoys me because it's always a little too long. A few other of my M42 lenses are not used very often either.

    So here's what I was starting to consider: sell progressively or at once my Pentax stuff, including what I'm not using often and a few other bits, to limit myself to a Nikon FM2n, with a 35/50/105 setup from KEH. I would gain:

    * Bayonet mount, slightly faster lenses (35 and 105)
    * 1/250 flash sync => ability to do fill flash
    * Reliability, ease of repair, available parts
    * Motor drive option
    * Less gear on my shelf

    I'm not entirely decided, but given that all my Pentax lenses are SMC Takumars with caps, cases, and hoods all in good condition, I was thinking that I have a chance at selling them reasonably (on APUG of course!).

    Any thoughts? Suggestions?
    Using film since before it was hip.


    "One of the most singular characters of the hyposulphites, is the property their solutions possess of dissolving muriate of silver and retaining it in considerable quantity in permanent solution" — Sir John Frederick William Herschel, "On the Hyposulphurous Acid and its Compounds." The Edinburgh Philosophical Journal, Vol. 1 (8 Jan. 1819): 8-29. p. 11

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  2. #2

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    Why not get a F4s? The MF lenses will work fully. If you need/want autofocus,ttl flash or any of the other F4s features you can get them. Prices for F4s aren't exactly high.

    If you don't need speed then the 35mm-70mm F/2.8 would be a good option to. Even if you need the speed of the 50mm the zoom could be used when you can manage with the F/2.8

  3. #3

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    Im using a setup like Nick recommends, only with an n90s (though if I were doing production work, I'd definitely go to a pro body) with autofocus lenses. I dont use autofocus, but it's nice to have if I need it. Are the AF lenses as silky smooth in focusing? No, but I can wheel right around and use the lenses on my d1g1t@l if I need.

  4. #4

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    I agree with Nick's suggestion of ttl flash, I don't know if the FM2n supports it or not. IMO bayonet mount lenses are much easer to handle than the Pentax screw mount lenses.
    I also agree with Nick about considering a zoom instead of the 50, unless you need the speed. I have a 35 - 105 which is what is on the camera most of the time. My 50 is probably the least used of my lenses. The 35-105 is slower than the 35-70 (f3.5), but either would be very useful, especially for events where you might not have a lot of flexibility for moving around.
    Besides, if you're using flash, then you might not need the speed.
    my $0.02

  5. #5

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    For all of the reasons you are intrested in a new system I recommend a N 90 or N 80 which can be used with auto focus as well as manual focus lens. Built in winder.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by bdial View Post
    I agree with Nick's suggestion of ttl flash, I don't know if the FM2n supports it or not. IMO bayonet mount lenses are much easer to handle than the Pentax screw mount lenses.
    I also agree with Nick about considering a zoom instead of the 50, unless you need the speed. I have a 35 - 105 which is what is on the camera most of the time. My 50 is probably the least used of my lenses. The 35-105 is slower than the 35-70 (f3.5), but either would be very useful, especially for events where you might not have a lot of flexibility for moving around.
    Besides, if you're using flash, then you might not need the speed.
    my $0.02
    Almost 100% sure the FM2n doesn't do ttl flash, but I'm also almost 100% sure the FE2 which is a very similar camera does. It definitly shares the 1/250th sync speed.

  7. #7
    jbj
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    Or FM3a which has TTL-flash capabilities and completely manual with aperture priority mode and a few other hybrid functions of the FE2

  8. #8

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    Go for it. I love my Nikon FM2. Small and lightweight.

    I gave up my Spotmatic II to make the Nikon switch three decades ago and never looked back.

    Yes TTL is nice, but you can live without it, especially if you only use flash from time to time.
    When I grow up, I want to be a photographer.

    http://www.walterpcalahan.com/Photography/index.html

  9. #9

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    Truth is that if you're really planning to do this occasionally for money, then the answer lies not in a film capture, but rather (dare I say it here) with electronic capture. It need not be a super high end DSLR to make images good enough for moderate enlargements and for print and/or electronic media publication.

    OK, I felt compelled to point that out, and it's out of the way.

    I own both an FM2n and an N90s. Here's a quick rundown. I have only a passing familiarity with the other cameras previously mentioned, so I'll confine my comments to these two cameras.

    The FM2n does not support TTL flash. It will mount any AI or AIS lens, but not unmodified older non-AI lenses. Likewise it will mount and meter with any autofocus lens with an AI mount. Lenses without an aperture ring are not suitable for use with this camera. A non-dedicated automatic thyristor controlled flash like the Vivtar 285 or 283 works well for fill flash. Plenty of power, and inexpensive even new. Flash sync is up to 1/250 sec. Don't be shy of the "E Series" lenses. The 50mm f/1.8 and 100 mm f/2.8 are astonishingly good and very inexpensive on the used market. I am not so convinced about the E series wide angle lenses, but the 35mm f/2, 28mm f/2.8 and 24mm f/2.8 AI or AIS lenses are very good. The 105 f/2.5 AI lens is legendary. I have an older version of this lens and it is very, very good. I do find it to be a bit long for portraits though, and prefer the 85mm f/2 (another outstanding performer) for that application. It's a solid, if a bit noisy, little machine that will take a lot of abuse and will serve you well. No batteries, except to power the meter, required .

    The N90s will support TTL flash in any mode if used with auto focus lenses and a Nikon dedicated flash unit from any manufacturer who makes one. With manual focus lenses, flash functions are pretty much the same as you'd get with the FM2n with one exception. Flash units that support rear curtain sync can be used in that fashion even with manual focus lenses. Metering with auto focus lenses is center weighted average, spot, or matrix. Of course, full program auto exposure is also supported with these lenses. With manual focus lenses, metering is limited to spot and center weighted average. Auto exposure is limited to aperture priority. There is a handy little electronic focus indicator built into the viewfinder. Flash sync is, once again, up to 1 /250 sec. Needs 4 AA batteries to run. Alkaline cells can last an impressively long time if you don't use auto focus lenses.

    For a more complete rundown of Nikon camera bodies and their capabilities, start here: http://www.mir.com.my/rb/photography...dels/index.htm
    Last edited by fschifano; 09-18-2007 at 06:16 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  10. #10
    Michel Hardy-Vallée's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the answers everyone. I am of course absolutely in love with the FM3a, but until used bodies fall below 400$ I can't even consider them.

    I know that anybody being serious about freelance will end up with a digicam of some sort, and that's something I might consider should I get some spare cash. Having a common system between film and digi would be beneficial, and that's why I have Nikon in mind. For some reason, I just don't click with the Canon gestalt, so that's that.

    For now, I'm trying to capitalize on the value-added aesthetics of film. Real press work couldn't give a rat's ass, but small, lower-pressure assignments (band photos, performance, etc) sure benefit from it.

    I also thought about the MF v. AF question, and think that in the end if I really need AF, then it's going to be in a situation I would need digi as well. I like simple mechanical cameras because they help me keep my stress level low. I know I waste a few seconds here and there because of manual settings, but again, the stakes are not that high.

    A zoom is indeed a good idea. I like primes because of the image quality, but putting a few bucks on a decent, relatively modern zoom can save the day every once in a while.

    Well, I guess I have to start making a price list...
    Using film since before it was hip.


    "One of the most singular characters of the hyposulphites, is the property their solutions possess of dissolving muriate of silver and retaining it in considerable quantity in permanent solution" — Sir John Frederick William Herschel, "On the Hyposulphurous Acid and its Compounds." The Edinburgh Philosophical Journal, Vol. 1 (8 Jan. 1819): 8-29. p. 11

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