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  1. #1

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    Film Camera Recommendation

    Good day,

    Short story: I want a small film camera, with good wide angle lenses, built-in light meter available and must be easy to focus through the viewfinder.

    Long story: I have a project that I'm working on this year that will require me to do some street shooting in a few poorer communities here, and I wanted to use a film camera primarily because I think I would be more comfortable using an old film camera than my digital slr camera (I normally don't shoot any public street scenes, mainly portrait sessions at private locations). I might be paranoid, but when I visit certain areas with my DSLR, I feel like I have a huge bullseye painted on my back as pretty much any digital slr screams "I have money, please rob me" (which I don't!).

    I don't plan to stalk the streets, and will have the camera in plain view at all times, so its important that the camera meets the following requirements:

    - Ability to take wide angle lens (24mm - 28mm). This was one of the reasons I decided against rangefinders, as using external viewfinders isn't appealing (plus they tend to be expensive).
    - Is easy to focus!
    - Has a built-in, usable and fairly accurate (in common situations) light meter.
    - Fairly cheap used, with my budget being around 500 USD.
    - Doesn't look too professional/modern, but is still functional.

    I actually really wanted to shoot MF as I think a waist level finder (and large film size) is ideal for me, but the lack of metering, and the poor ergonomics and size when using a prism meter is a turnoff. Plus, I think most MF cameras (from videos I've seen online) aren't that easy to focus properly when not using a tripod (The Mamiya 7/Bronica RF look nice, but the wide angle situation, and the expense isn't ideal).

    Again, I might be paranoid, and using my DSLR would probably be 100% safe, but just having that thought lingering in the back of my head while shooting isn't going to help.

    * As a side note, none of my current lenses would work on any film camera.

    Thanks for the help!

  2. #2

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    I think that you could get a nice Nikon FM2N and a nice Nikkor wide angle and still have change left from that $500. Or a Yashica FX-3 with a Zeiss T* 28mm lens. Or one of many good compact AF cameras, see the current thread on them in this forum. http://www.apug.org/forums/forum52/9...arge-lens.html

    Have you considered a scale-focus camera? The Olympus XA4 will be as unobtrusive as anything you will find.

  3. #3
    CGW
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    My sense is that old school chrome SLRs attract very little attention. An iPhone, M43 or schmaltzy p&s, DSLR--different story. Anything MF with a WLF--just a weirdo not worth the trouble. Probably something like any of the Nikon FM/FE variants would work. Nikkor lenses in your focal lengths aren't very pricey. Makes for a small, lightweight kit that delivers function and optical quality. I'd shy away from old, compact 35mm rangefinders in favor of SLRs.

  4. #4

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    Thanks for replying! I have never used scale-focus before and I've only read a few things about it, but it doesn't seem like something that would work for me.

    The Yashica looks good (never heard of it before )! Compared to other SLR cameras of that era, Nikon and Canon seem rather expensive (4-5x as much)!!

    I read the other thread before I started my own, and the OP seems to want different things and the recommendations seem to focus heavily on compactness, which isn't my biggest issue.

    The Pentax K1000, Minolta XE-1, Minolta SRT101 (Minolta on the whole, camera and lenses, seem to be the cheapest used), Olympus OM1 and Yashica FX3 (probably not the Zeiss lens, which is pretty expensive on eBay) look like good options, but I can't find any information on how good the meters are and how easy it is to focus manually.

    Any ideas/other suggestions?

  5. #5
    fstop's Avatar
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    XD-5 are running as cheap as XG but offer more features,Rokkor 28mm MD lens.

  6. #6

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    You might look up Canon FD system.

    Jeff

  7. #7

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    Ditto the Yashica FX-3 Super 2000

    I have an FX-3 Super 2000 in excellent condition. Mine has a split prism focusing screen, which make MF a lot quicker. With a 50mm ML/c (compact) lens it weighs about 16 ounces, loaded. At smaller apertures, f/11+, focusing doesn't need to be exact. With 400 or 800 speed film you can stay stopped down quite a bit. I just got a Yashica 28mm f/2.8 on e-bay for $20. Ditto a 135mm f/2.8. Yashica primes are generally pretty good. I think the only zoom worth having is the 28-85 ML. If you need long, go with Vivitar's older lenses. I have a Vivitar Series 1 70-210 f/3.5 (made by Tokina, sn# starts with 37) that is just fantastic. It cost me $102 on e-bay. I would put it up against Canon's 70-200 in every category but focus speed; it is MF only.

    The Yashica FX-2 is a larger, more solidly built camera. It seems a bit harder to find in really good condition. I have purchased 3 of them. Oh, well plenty of spare parts on hand. By the way, if you get this camera, use 1.35V zinc-air hearing aid batteries. It meters much better with them, although they die in 3 months or so, even if not used. You can cover the air holes with tape to prolong them, but they are only about $1 each. The FX-3 uses standard LR44 batteries, available widely.

    Edit minutes later: The split prism FX-3 S2 is easier/faster to focus than the FX-2 is without it. With the right batteries (FX-2 1.35V zinc-air; FX-3 2xLR44), both of them meter just fine. Both use only center-weighted average. If your subject is NOT in the center of the frame, you'll have to focus and meter, then compose. Not a problem for me, that is how I use my DSLR, center point only.
    Last edited by Sambarino; 01-01-2012 at 10:35 AM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: Additional information.

  8. #8
    Hatchetman's Avatar
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    You could buy a Pentax Spotmatic and a 28mm lens and have about $350 left over.

  9. #9
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    I'll second Jeff K's suggestion. Get a Canon FTB with a 28mm ( I just shot with mine this morning). The metering is needle match. You can buy everything on Ebay, including the Wein cells for the meter, or shoot "sunny sixteen" without it. With your budget, you would have a nice pile of money left over for film.

  10. #10

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    All the recommendations look great so far ... can't decide! I may have to just flip a coin, or better yet, see which one gives the best deal and best physical condition on eBay and just go with that. Either way should be fine I guess.

    If I had to go with my gut feeling, I like the Yashica (based on the above review) and also like the Minolta X-series more, mainly because I found this review online rokkorfiles.com/XD11.html which talks about the focusing and metering, and the 28mm is rather cheap now . There are a few issues though, such as complaints about battery drain, but leaving the battery out when not in use seems to fix that issue.

    I currently have a Minolta XE-1, Minolta XD-11, Canon AE1, Pentax K1000, Pentax Spotmatic, Canon FTB and Yashica FX3 lined up on eBay from rated sellers, so depending on closing price, I'll get one of those!

    While searching for info, I also found this cameraleather.com ... sign me up . If I was to use this alone to decide, the Yashica is the most beautiful

    And yes, having piles of money left over for film, will certainly help

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