F100 with MB-15
Rugged and fast the Cam 1300 is still one of the best AF systems around.
Similar in feel and interface with my D200 so they interchange nicely.
I can use all my old MF lens as well as the newer high tech AF-S VR lens thats over 35 years of compatability!!!!!!!
Can be small without the MB-15 or large with the MB-15.
Last it just feels right and the meter has never let me down when shooting Kodachrome!
Why just AF bodies?
I made more money with my Nikon FM2 / MD-12 and a Metz 45CL-1 shooting events in Dallas in the 80's and 90's than I ever made afterwards with my F4 and F5. Shooting the FM was how I paid the rent (and ate) for three years of grad school - and no one was obscessed with how "cool" my camera was if the pictures were great.
Given your conditions though, I'd say for the semi-pro photographer should look at the Nikon F100.
My personal favorite is still the F4e - shoots and matrix meters every Nikkor lens I own.
If you're shooting anything but action sports, the AF is just fine - even if not as fast as the F5.
The list would be very different if you lifted the restrictons:
Leica M5 or M6 and Nikon F comes to mind as "decent" choices...
M3, M5, CLE, Minolta XE7, Minolta Maxxum 9, Minolta Maxxum 9000, Nikon F3HP, etc., etc.
The new Zeiss ZE mount lenses should work on any EOS body, for those who want high quality MF lenses for EOS. The first three available are the 85mm, 50mm, and 21mm, but eventually all the Zeiss SLR lenses will be available in ZE mount. I looked through the 85mm on a Canon body at Photoplus, and from that quick glance, it looks like a very nice lens--crisp in the sharp areas and super smooth in the soft areas.
I'd have to go with the F100. Don't particularly like it over other Nikon bodies, but since you limited to semi-pro, that'd be my choice.
Its meter is almost as good as the pro bodies, the AF is excellent, the ergonomics are quite good and it has one feature that I like a lot: it can record exposure details to download later with an MV100, so that proper EXIF info can be created for scanned images.
The only serious downside I have with it is the inability to see the aperture setting on non-D, non AF older lenses. I suspect mine also has a slight focusing problem, but still have to prove it to myself.
Having said all that, there are some Minolta bodies I'd love to try. They had what to me still is one of the best line-ups for film slrs and lenses. Unfortunately, I have too much invested in N glass to consider a switch at this stage.
Originally Posted by james23p
I echo everything Jim said - except the Kodachrome part. Never used it.
I also really liked the F4s.
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Originally Posted by nsouto
I dont really delve into AF much, but I bought my son a Minolta 650si with battery pack, which I can say is one hell of a camera, semi pro, cheaply bought, nice lenses available, as fully auto or manual as you like, but with dials and switches instead of buttons. So you get one dial for F stops one for film speed, one for metering type, one for exposure bracketing. Seems a little more solid than some of the Canon EOS bodies (I have a 300v somewhere gathering dust ), but imagine could be bit confusing for the first time user. A great semi-pro AF setup, which has a bit of a cult following.
Great thread BTW! Reading up on the EOS 3 now!
I picked up a Canon EOS 3 last summer and later added the motor drive unit to it and couldn't be happier. I still use a F1N and have collected a lot of lenses and accessories for the FD system. I have the Canon FD/EOS macro converter that lets me use all of the macro bellows and lenses on the EOS body. To bad there is no way to use the FD lenses directly on the EOS bodies
Someone had put the FD mount on a EOS 650 at one of the last camera shows I was at, the lenses would work in all of the different program modes and everything. Pretty cool frankenstein camera. No using the EF lenses though.
Perhaps the Minolta Maxxum 9? It is still available used. Its shutter will cover anything from 30 seconds to 1/12,000th of a second. Yes, we are getting into reciprocity failure/compensation here. It does accept the latest Sony/Zeiss lenses. With the VC-9 Vertical Grip you have the choice of three different battery types including AA cells, and you can use a different battery type than the one in the camera for a switchable backup power source. You have the choice of as much or as little automation as you might desire (anyone who has used a recent DSLR will feel right at home with this camera).
The only real criticism I have of this camera are its price at this time, and, unlike the old Minolta X-700 with the MD-1 Motor Drive, the Maxxum 9 is heavy and it does not really fit my hand. I was really surprised when I found that the ergonomics or human engineering of this camera is not equal to one of its predecessors. The shutter release button is not in the right place for my hand. I have large hands. It is accessible, but I need to make a deliberate effort to reach it. You try it and see how it fits you.
Ralph Javins, Latte Land, Washington
When they ask you; "How many Mega Pixels you got in your camera?"
just tell them; "I use activated silver bromide crystals tor my image storage media."
Second on the Maxxum 7 and the F100. Two of the nicest semi-pro bodies I have ever used. The eyestart on the M7 and the quick focus on the F100 make them both dream machines for me. The F100 uses all the Nikon glass I have and the Maxxum 7 uses that wonderful Minolta (now Sony) glass.
To create one's own world in any of the arts takes courage.