Manual film SLR!..but which one..?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Slnce-z-GSI, Feb 2, 2005.

  1. Slnce-z-GSI

    Slnce-z-GSI TPF Noob!

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    Hi, I am searching for quite some the for any informations on manual SLRs. I am planning to buy one - now is time to choose. There are tons of used and also some new models on the market and it is not easy to orient.
    BTW - I have some little experience on manual film SLR and I am also using C-5060 for ~ 1year for different kind of photography.

    Yes - I approximately know WHAT I want to do:
    1) landscape and nature photography (some ~ 300mm lens later)
    2) makro photography
    3) "low light" - mainly outdoor.

    What are my candidates?

    first of all - of course - there is some price limit - let's say not much more than some 700$ for body and 50mm lens. The cheaper body I will manage to buy, the more I will be able to spent on lenses.

    so:

    FM3a, FE2, FM10, Yashica FX3 super 2000, Pentax LX, Contax Aria, Contax RX, Maybee some OM? , ...

    What else come into your mind?

    Of course - all of them have some pros and cons (price for lens, aviability on the market, technical issues) and I would like to ask YOU what would you advice me to chose - or - NOT to chose ?

    More specific questions:

    How much will I miss the mirror lock-up?
    Any particular problems with mentioned (or other) models ?
    What about accesories for these guys(lenses, teleconvertors...) ?

    Just let me add at the end - I am just using older Zenit 12 XP and it looks like i will enjoy this world.

    Thanks for any commets or advices.
    :hail:
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Welcome to the forum.

    You seem to be concerned with a "manual" camera. Do you mean manual focus or manual exposure?

    I would suggest looking at a newer auto focus camera, you can still use manual focus and manual exposure if you want...and the availability of lenses & accessories should be better. Of course there are great older manual focus cameras out there so if that's what you want, go for it.

    Will you miss MLU...you might, especially with macro photography and low light (long exposure) photography.

    With any film system, it's usually better to invest more in the lenses than the body. Pick a system that will allow you to grow & evolve with your photography. You can't go wrong with Canon or Nikon but some of the others have great stuff as well.

    What level of body are you thinking of? $700 would buy a pretty good, mid-level body with a lens or two. A consumer body would be cheaper but might lack some features that you would want.

    As with any new camera choice...a good idea would be to visit a camera shop and hold different makes & models. Get the one that feels the best to you.
     
  3. Rob

    Rob TPF Noob!

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    How about a lovely Nikon F3 to give you the mirror lock-up?

    My favourites in that list are the FM3a and the Pentax LX. Both have a mount which allows for a multitude of lenses and accessories. All can suffer from gunk and mould when aged, so have a close look at the innards before you buy.

    Rob
     
  4. Slnce-z-GSI

    Slnce-z-GSI TPF Noob!

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    Hm, I had a look on F3 and it has some realy nice features (8s in M, MLU), but it has only 1/80 Xsync and flash TTL is also missing there. And the weight is ~ 700g. (OK, COntax RX is 800g) Otherwise very nice camera. I will look it up to more details.

    LX attracts me especialy for his light metering system (up to 2 minutes in A), but seems to me a bit (I say a bit) expensive on his age. What I do not like much is the LED +/- viewfinder indication system (I prefere the needle as the FM3a has). Also lenses are harder to find on the eBay.

    FM3a is main candidate - only thing wich annoys me is that in M mode it goes only up to 1s exposition. But maybee this is a technical problem for manula shutter (the same is true for FM2n). The main advantage of nikons is a large ammou nt of used lenses of good quality in affordable prices.

    Does anyone has some more ideas?

    thanks
     
  5. ksmattfish

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

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    For the subjects you mentioned I think mirror lock up would be a desirable feature, but it is a feature that many photogs live without. The Nikon FM2n doesn't have a mirror lock-up switch, but the mirror flips up at the beginning of the self timer, giving you mirror lock-up as long as you a shooting subjects where you can wait 10 sec. I assume it's the same on the FM3a.

    The LX is sort of a cult camera, and it's collectors keep the prices up. Any K-mount lens would fit on a Pentax LX; there are millions of them out there.

    Personally, I don't trust auto modes with exposure times longer than 1 sec. Reciprocity begins to break down, and different films require different exposure adjustments. All of these cameras have bulb for longer exposures.

    I'm familiar with the Nikon and Pentax cameras that have been mentioned; I think they would all do a great job. The Nikon FM-10 is usually overpriced for what it is because of the Nikon brand name. Instead of spending $700 on a fancy body and a 50mm lens, maybe you could get a cheaper body and several lenses? You can get a FM2n for $200 on Ebay, and 2 or 3 good lenses for what's left over.
     
  6. Rob

    Rob TPF Noob!

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    The F3 will TTL sync flash at any speed, but you need an AS-17 to control the unit(circa $200 widget). It works great with big Metz hammer-heads.

    The natural sync speed is 1/80th for un-adapted flash as you say.

    I'm not disagreeing with Matt about reciprocity, however, I have achieved some pleasing shots with FM3a, LX and F3 at night on regular Fuji Superia 200 and 400. Slide film probably won't work though, cos your flexibility will be less, but you can do a five-minute auto-exposure with all those cameras and get a result which has worked.

    example of about a 1 cigarette duration auto exposure with Nikon FM3a

    Rob
     
  7. railman44

    railman44 TPF Noob!

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    My vote would be cast for the Nikon F3HP. Some real beauties on eBay with said 50mm f/1.4 lenses.
     
  8. Slnce-z-GSI

    Slnce-z-GSI TPF Noob!

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    Yes, you will get the mirror lock-up in the self timer mode. But I suppose, that I can not use the timer mode when using the B setting. Tgis menas, that I can not get the MLU for exposures longer than 8s on this type of cameras (without dedicated MLU button)

    What about FE2? It would let me go upt to 8s in both manual and AE mode (FM2n does not have AE, as far as I know)

    thanks..
     
  9. Slnce-z-GSI

    Slnce-z-GSI TPF Noob!

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    1) What do you mena by 5 min auto-erxposure ???

    2) This question probably does not belong here, but why is slide film much more sensitive to proper esposure selection?
    Hm, Nikon FM3a is able to make automatic exposure up to 8 seconds (according to specifications).
    3) How could you obtain so long exposure time? (~ minutes) :confused: //This is probably related to the question 1//

    M..
     
  10. ksmattfish

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

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    Mirror lock-up helps the most at shutter speeds between 1 sec and 1/250th (some people say between 1/4th sec and 1/125th sec). With longer exposure times the camera stops vibrating in less than a half second of exposure.

    I'm sure the FE2 would work wonderfully also.
     
  11. Rob

    Rob TPF Noob!

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    1) By five-minute auto-exposure I meant: Load camera with negative film (I love Fuji Superia 200 or 400); go out at night; set up camera on tripod in A (or perhaps AE) mode; dial in the depth-of-field; attach the cable release; focus (if necessary) wait for wind to die down; press shutter release; have cigarette whilst listening for the second curtain / mirror clunk! Job done (cigarette optional).

    2) Good question. Technically I don't know the exact answer (Matt?). Practically, you can usually get a decent exposure up to three stops under or two stops over with modern 35mm neg film. With slide, it's only about two stops under and one over AFAIK. This is probably a controversial statement, but it's my practical experience.

    3) I guess the answer is that the manufacturer guarantees performance to the listed time, but the camera exceeds that performance? All I know for certain is that if you follow the instructions in 1 it will work!

    Example of three minute automatic exposure at night with Nikon FM3a using Fuji Superia 200
     
  12. ksmattfish

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

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    With print film the final product is the print, while with slide film, the slide itself is often considered the end result. You can make up for the under or over exposure of neg film in the printing process, and you may not be able to tell if a print came from a neg that was correctly exposed vs one that was off a stop. While you would probably have no difficulty spotting the difference between slides where the exposure is as little as 1/3rd stop apart.

    These days if you are using a digital process to print from slides you can probably fix an under or overexposed slide in Adobe PS, but I don't have a lot of experience with that.
     

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