35mm body for landscape work
Can anybody recommend a 35mm body for landscape work. It will have to absorb the scrapes and weather but not be too heavy.
A Nikon FM perhaps? It's all mechanical, compact and light compared to the F series cameras and has a good reputation for sturdiness.
The Nikon F5!
Manual focus? F2, F3, F4 or FM2n.
Perhaps the Canon F-1.
I have had good luck with Canon, Nikon, Pentax, and Minolta SLRs from the '60s through the present day. I had an Olympus for a short while that was nice as well. My personal preference overall is for Canon FD, as they are very user friendly and the lenses are extremely nice coated glass that can be had relatively cheaply. I also love Nikon F and Pentax M42 cameras. When it comes to weight, the Pentax K and Minolta SRTs *seem* the lightest. I have never actually measured, however.
I think your quest should start by looking at lens systems. Pick a lens system that has the glass you want that will fall within your budget, then take a look at bodies, which are quite secondary and much more disposable IMO. I would pick a brand that offers the best bang for the buck over all. M42 Pentaxes and Minoltas are likely tops in the bang for the buck category. Both of these brands have lenses and bodies are DIRT cheap on the used market.
I have two Canon F-1s, two FTbs, and a Nikon F, and don't have a bad thing to say about any of them. I got rid of everything else that came my way (Pentaxes, Minoltas, Fujica, Olympus) in fairly short order so I could concentrate on the two brands that offer the greatest full systems. While I love my FD stuff, I have also been enjoying the non-coated Nikon glass for the F as well. It has a different character than the FD glass to my eye.
"Truth and love are my law and worship. Form and conscience are my manifestation and guide. Nature and peace are my shelter and companions. Order is my attitude. Beauty and perfection are my attack."
- Rob Tyner (1944 - 1991)
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The Nikon F5.
Acknowleding the criteria you laid out for us, i also concur with 2F/2F that the complete lens/accessory system that must be a foundational consideration in every camera body selection.
Any of the 5 "mainstream" brands listed above (Canon, Minolta, Nikon, Olympus, Pentax) present excellent offerings. I'd be remiss if i didn't mention the commonly acknowlegded "upscale" brands as well - Contax, Leica, Minox, Zeiss, et al. if you are so inclined. There are also several "less-mainstream" brands such as Fujica, Praktica, Ricoh, Yashica, and Zenit that also offer excellent cameras and lenses. However, it is the entire system that is of most significant interest.
Incidently, i don't subscribe to the ideology that a person's chosen system must have the absolute broadest offerings; Rather the BEST offering for your currrent desired style of photography, but also one which has the capacity to grow with you.
Like you, i also like to photograph outdoors so i needed a system that can operate in cold temps. Since all camera systems have this capacity if the user is careful, i began my selection process by whittling away at the "look" of images the different manufacturers - each manufacturer seemed to have a different approach/goal to their lens making. Since i was already familiar with the Minolta system via the X-700 (for me, NOT a good outdoor camera body), i was advised to check out the more rugged Minolta SRT series bodies (all manual except the light meter which requires a battery) which has turned out to be a perfect fit for my outdoor criteria.
Providentially, I had also developed a deep appreciation for the look of Minolta Rokkor optics so it has been a good fit for me as i have meandered further into photography. I now use Minolta XD-11s (with the same lovely Rokkor glass) almost exclusively except when on "cold" trips or my dSLR is needed for speed.
I can buy some truly magnificent Rokkor lenses for usually well under $200 and frequently under $50. Also, the Rokkor lens line-up is broad enough to accomodate anything i will likely ever want to do.
I'd pick the lenses first. If you have a brand preference start there.
Mark Barendt, Beaverton, OR
"We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin
OK, so here is a short answer to your question:
1) buy a Minolta SRT102 - get it CLA'ed, some new light seals, and have the camera fitted to accept modern alkaline batteries.
2) buy a MD Rokkor-X 24mm f2.8 lens (55mm diameter lens if you can find one - though it doesn't make too much difference), a circular polarizer, your favorite film, and enjoy your new-found love!
Nikon F100, especially since you mentioned weight.
I had an F5 and traded for the lighter and equally capable F100, which has an optional vertical grip. With the grip off it is very light. Heck, with the grip on it is very light too. Anyway who needs 8 fps for landscape anyway.
I was just klettering around some cliffs yesterday with my F100 and it can take anything. Hard knocks, moisture, whatever.
But Mark is right, think of lenses first. I'd say consider the Nikon-mount ZFs.
Another good option would be an fm3a.