Searching for a pro manual focus SLR
For years I wanted a pro manual focus SLR, the camera I saw in high school but couldn't afford. Now that prices have dropped I'm considering either a Canon F-1N, or Nikon F3HP. Both cameras have very high ratings and know I will be happy either, but wonder about other details I might have missed?
I currently have a few digital SLR's and a Canon AE-1, but thinking in terms of which has some unique features not availble on the other. This would be a fun camera but I do like to search KEH for used items, and if the pricing of lenses is too high this might affect my final choice.
I'm leaning towards the Nikon system since it looks like there's a longer history and many more F3HP's than F1N's (could be wrong). There also appears to be more of a used market and slightly cheaper prices according to KEH?
Any comments are welcome.
Olympus OM-1 or OM-3. The OM-1 is the more basic, with a simple center weighted averaging meter. The OM-3 has the more sophisticated multi function metering system, with center weighted averaging, single spot meter, multi-spot metering, spot w/hi-lite bias, and spot w/shadow bias. Both are strictly mechanical shutter, with the batteries only powering the meter.
Then if you want some auto exposure, there are the OM-2, and OM-4. The OM-2 offers the same basic metering as the OM-1, with the added feature of aperture priority auto exposure. You set the F-stop, camera sets shutter. The OM-4 is the most advanced, with the same metering as the OM-3, also auto expoure. All four models accept almost all accessories and full line of Zuiko lenses, which IMHO are some of the finest optics in the world. Then there is the size and weight of the OM series, they are compact, light weight, ane the ergonomics of the controls are spot on. These cameras are rugged, and definitly pro quality. But thats just this old mans opinion(and the opinion of just about everybody thats ever handled an OM).
I would suggest considering also the fm3a if you can afford it... and the fm2n if you can't.
I don't have experience with the f3hp but the f3s are indeed held in very high regard as manual focus cameras.
Investigate lens mounts if you want interchangeability with your current gear.
I do have an OM-1 and like it as well.
I wanted an F1N for years.
Finally gave up and bought a T90. It's excellent. Has all the features you could want (spot metering, 4.5 frame per second motor drive, flash synch at 1/250, exposure compensation, etc.) and the added advantage of using the same FD lenses as your AE-1. It's built like a tank, reliable as a cold chisel, and current prices are very reasonable.
I have two slrs I have regretted selling. A Canon F1 and an Olympus OM-1n. Both had quiet shutters and silky-smooth release. I acquired a Nikon F2 in between and loathed that machine more than any camera I have ever owned. Bulky; heavy; noisy; and I banged my thumb on that skimpy rewind knob every time it went past the prism. I have never handled an F3 so cannot comment. If I felt I needed another SLR in 35mm I would find a late-model Olympus. It's a matter of taste, said the old lady as she kissed her cow. At present I do not own a modern 35mm slr. I have a Kiev 19, a late model Spotty II, and a Canon AE-1 Program. I rarely use them.
John, Mount Vernon, Virginia USA
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I've used Nikons for years and have been happy with them, and these days you can get older F-mount manual focus lenses for fairly low prices. But if I didn't already have a bunch of gear, and wanted an SLR, I'd definitely look at the Olympus OM-series cameras. They're good well-designed cameras, top-grade lenses to go with them, and the bodies can be had for practically nothing these days.
Thanks for the suggestions. My first SLR was an Olympus OM-10, but I think that is a lower model than the OM1. I did a quick search on KEH and they are much cheaper. I like the metal body SLR's where they feel very solid, I have an Canon A2E, which leaves a lot to be desired.
I hear the F4 is the best manual focus camera ever made, but you will have to buy a split prism focusing screen.
I would guess that Nikon must have sold 50 F3's for every F1/F1n Canon ever managed to sell.
F3P was the best camera of its generation but these were only meant to be sold to press smudgers so they've nearly all been hammered. F3HP was a very close second and you find some with only light amateur use.
4's & 5's are good but the 3 is still my favourite 35mm.
Until the EOS 1n hardly any professionals used Canon and with reason.