looking for a new 35mm SLR

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by jackfrost, Jan 29, 2005.

  1. jackfrost

    jackfrost TPF Noob!

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    Hello all, I'm new to the forum, and I'm looking for a little advice on a new camera to get. I'm an amateur and will use it only for artistic purposes. I'm hoping to spend around $300. I don't really have any brand loyalty, it's just hard to know where to start looking.

    I currently have a couple cameras that were given to me: they are old Pentax Spotmatic F, and I have about four lenses that fit them (they say Asahi Takumar on them). are these worth anything? Is there anyway I can adapt these screw-type lenses to the new bayonet type cameras?

    thanks for the help.
     
  2. railman44

    railman44 TPF Noob!

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    Hello and welcome to the forum! You forgot to add if you want a camera with all the electronic bells and whistles (auto focus, etc) or a manual camera. Since I'm a Nikon guy, I would recommend looking at Nikon on eBay. You said you wanted the camera for "artistic" purposes. I'm not really sure if I understand what you mean. Anyway, do your homework regarding what kind (not brand name) of camera you want and what's available in your price range. Personally, I think eBay has some very good deals. Looking at a recent photo rag, B&H offers (used) for example: a Nikon 8008 AF (body only) for $199 or a 8008S AF (body only) for $229 with both in condition of 8+. Nikon AF lenses are plentyful on eBay. I would suggest a 50mm "normal lense" f/1.8 to start with. Just a thought...
     
  3. Jess

    Jess TPF Noob!

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    Canon's A series I beleive is comparable to the Nikons spoken of above. Their FD lenses are a dime a dozen and also fit a few other models I'm unfamiliar with. The A series are manual focus. I know the AE-1P meters and has some computer smarts on that line. Otherwise, you can flip it completely manual or partial, set whatever dials etc. you like. I know I can get a body w/ 50MM for $300 at a local camera store that charges too much, I imagine you can get one for a lot less on E-bay. That's my knowledge spent, lol :)
     
  4. selmerdave

    selmerdave TPF Noob!

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    Why not use the Spotmatics? I think you'd be dropping a *lot* more than $300 before you got the equivalent of what you already have. Great camera to learn on.

    You can get a K-mount adaptor that would allow you to use your lenses on a newer Pentax, but it's not terribly convenient for switching lenses I don't think. Those lenses are not worth a ton but are probably optically equal or superior to much of what is available today (depending on which exact lenses they are and assuming they are in good condition). If they say "SMC Takumar" or "Super Takumar" then you're in very good shape.

    Dave
     
  5. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    I second everything that Dave said. When these lenses were made Pentax was doing it's best to compete with Carl Zeiss, and doing a great job as far as quality was concerned. And the camera bodies are built like tanks. The only problem is that the old light meters seem to fail.

    You can look on Ebay or at keh.com to see what they are going for these days; probably not a whole lot. I have several and they are my harsh conditions gear: blizzards, rain storms, punk rock bars, etc...
     
  6. Rob

    Rob TPF Noob!

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    I agree entirely. I have just bought one for teaching purposes, and although it doesn't fit K-mount lenses - the Spotmatic pre-dates the K series, it's a fine camera in it's own right.

    If you eventually want to go up to something with a few more features, you could try a nice Nikon like mine link but you'll be paying an awful lot of money for a set of prime lenses (like that f1.8 105mm). I would estimate that kit there at about $1200 and it won't give you much of an edge over your Spotmatic. The biggest advantage of Nikon (and new Canon) is that the lenses are virtually all interchangeable. I use a F65 as a cheap auto body for backup in difficult situations (weddings / model shoots etc).

    One of the facets of a great manual camera like that is that it will totally ruin your next experience with a "modern" automatic body and, say a f4.5 35-120mm zoom lens. You will find the newer camera feels flimsy, that there's never any light and that you're so busy zooming in and out on your subject that the composition goes to pot. I did anyway! Stick with the properly engineered stuff and you'll love it.
     
  7. jackfrost

    jackfrost TPF Noob!

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    wow, thanks for all the quick, great replies. I have been using the Spotmatics for many years, but they are very old and worn out. I'm not aware of any metering on them whatsoever (it must be broken?) - i did have a handheld meter, but it broke as well. on one of them the flash mount broke off, and on both of them the mirror gets stuck occasionally. the flash I do have for them works intermittently and EATS batteries.. i think it takes 4 AAs.

    i'm looking for something modern with AF and auto advance (and rewind, but thats a nice to have). i like the prospect of being able to shoot multiple shots in quick succession without winding the camera manually.

    i'd like to keep the Pentax cameras, so would they be able to be cleaned so they work better?
     
  8. Rob

    Rob TPF Noob!

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    Jackfrost,

    With the Pentax whose mirror jams, try a compressed air spray - buy it from your local computer supplier for a couple of dollars - it's the same as the camera stuff but without the premium. Don't get too close with the nozzle, or you'll get white gunk on the mirror. Hold your breath, as you don't want to be breathing that mouldy rubbish in!

    The Pentax Spotmatic has a built in light-meter on the right hand side of the viewfinder which has a + at the top, a flange and a gap and then a flange and a - at the bottom. The needle (obviously) moves up with light and down with dark. Make sure that you've got the speed set to something realistic i.e. 1/30th indoors, or it'll be off the scale.

    AF and motor drive or film advance are not really available on that model as it's circa 1968. Try a manual SLR from the 1980's. A Nikon F3 with an MB-4 drive would be the dog's nuts, but they are still top-dollar. Otherwise I'd recommend any "modern" Nikon - the F65 would do it for about $100 (body). Many people here are not as Nikon as I am, so they will be able to recommend rival kit for similar money, but I still believe that Nikon make the nicest prime lenses. I like my crispness.

    Good luck!
     
  9. Rob

    Rob TPF Noob!

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    Sorry - forgot to mention that the Pentax has a battery in a screw-thread holder in the bottom of the camera. You'll need a nickel to get it open. Open that and replace the battery, it's a thin jobbie.
     
  10. jackfrost

    jackfrost TPF Noob!

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    got it - any idea what size those batteries are? i opened up both cameras and there are no batteries in either. :er:

    for reference, here are the lenses i have:
    SMC Takumar 1:1.8/55 (times 2)
    Super-Multi-Coated Takumar 1:2.5/135
    Super-Multi-Coated Takumar 1:4/200
    Auto Promaster MC 1:2.8/28

    I'm assuming SMC is an achronym for Super-Multi-Coated?

    no matter what I get, I would like to be able to use these lenses. the Nikon F65 and the Canon Rebel series looks attractive...
     
  11. Rob

    Rob TPF Noob!

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    They are two MRB400 Wein Cells. They are mercury replacement batteries and the originals are legally dubious in the UK.

    SMC = Super Multi-Coated, or Special. This refers to a couple of coats of the paint stuff, instead of one, and a heat-treating process.

    You'll need to post pictures of the lens mounts for help with which cameras they will fit, although if they are solely Pentax screw-fit, then they are not inter-changeable with anything else.
     
  12. jackfrost

    jackfrost TPF Noob!

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    here's a shot of the Pentax body from my POS digital camera...

    [​IMG]
     

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