Mid-range SLR?

Fred Berg

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I got some really good feedback on another thread recently (Turret, in the landscape gallery), and whilst working on the advice I received it confirmed a developing feeling that I've had for a while now: I enjoy using film at least as much as, if not more than, digital.

Currently I'm using a Revue AC-5 (same specs as a Chinon CP-7) for most of my analogue photography, but would like to move up the ladder a little. I've been looking locally and also on ebay, and have more or less narrowed things down to a shortlist of 3 potential cameras:

Pentax MZ-3; Canon EOS 50e; Nikon F80. Basically this is because they are available in good condition, are within my budget, offer good possibilities to add lenses, and have a fastest shutter speed of 1/4000 (twice as quick as what I now have available).

Are these cameras good choices for someone who would like to improve and is prepared to try things out and practise? I would be very grateful for any advice you could offer on this.

Thanks.
 

Corto

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Also Consider a Nikon N/F70, Great bang for the buck.

But if you can afford it, look for a Nikon F2......

Nikon N70, Kodak Ektar 100

6687684509_c858a047a2_z.jpg
 

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I think Nikon F100 will be a good one to consider.

On another note, personally I find the film more influential than the camera for film SLRs unless you go to professional ones like F3, F4 etc.
I noticed much bigger difference between say Kodak Gold 200 vs Ektar100 as opposed to between F501 vs F4 with it comes to exposure and image quality. Of course the F4 offers more features like auto focus and exposure modes and perks like faster continuous shutter and more precious AF etc. Generally speaking I could take all my photos just as well with either camera.
 

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What is your budget? Because the F100 can be had for less then $200 these days, a steal for what is arguably the best film SLR ever made (F6 aside).

Another good choice in AF nikon cameras is the n90s. If AF doesn't matter to you, the FE2 may be a consideration.

F2,F3 and F4's are typically priced higher then the F100 because of collector value not usability.
 

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If you get a camera with a lens mount type that is not compatible with current DSLR's then they will be very cheap on the used market.

Example: Canon FD mount, Minolta MD or Screw Mount cameras.

The Canon T-90 was a nice camera.
 

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What is your budget? Because the F100 can be had for less then $200 these days, a steal for what is arguably the best film SLR ever made (F6 aside).

Another good choice in AF nikon cameras is the n90s. If AF doesn't matter to you, the FE2 may be a consideration.

F2,F3 and F4's are typically priced higher then the F100 because of collector value not usability.

EXCELLENT suggestions. The F100 is a lovely machine. The Nikon N90s (USA name was N90s, I think Europe, other areas it was called the F90X) has a really nice, BIG, bright, clear viewfinder, and pretty easy-to-work controls. VERY affordable these days!!! Autofocus. Simple.
 
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Fred Berg

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Thanks a lot for the suggestions, everyone. I have a budget of around 150 - 200 euros, which isn't going to get me an F2 but might be enough for an F100 going by ebay prices. The F90 is also a great tip, I looked at one on ebay last night (what they were asking was a little out of my price range, but I'll shop around a little). The Canon T cameras also look nice, and are a little less money than the EOS range. Once again, thanks very much.

Great photo of the Cardinal, Corto.
 

DannyD

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There are plenty of good cameras in the second hand market. My personal advice is to chose a camera with compatible lenses if you already own a dslr…

My top "modern" cameras are :

Canon : EOS REBEL 2000 (EOS 300), EOS ELAN 7 (EOS 30/33), EOS 3
Minolta : Dynax Maxxum 7, 800si, 700si, 600si Classic, 7xi, 9xi
Nikon : F90 (N90), F90x (N90s), F80, F100
Pentax : MZ-3, MZ-5

You can get them for a fraction of their original price !
 

Mike_E

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If you wind up going with the Nikon 90 get the 90s/x. The plain 90 doesn't have spot metering.

I had an N90s and it was a great camera (somebody wanted it more than me evidently as it was stolen) but there is some limitation on the lenses it uses- the very oldest (Non-AI) and the very newest. I believe that the F100 can use everything from the AI up.

Another thing about the N/F90s/x and the F100 is that they use AA batteries. This is HUGE when you are out in the middle of nowhere and your batteries give out; trying to find CR123s at a convince store is tough but you can get AAs anywhere. Also, since the Nikon lenses you'd be using will work on most Nikons (film or digital) they will hold their value. This is important if you want to trade up or move on to medium format.

Good luck!
 
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Fred Berg

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Thanks Mike. The camera I have now will take AAs or the special photo pack battery and I always use the AAs. Whatever I do go for will need to take these too.
 
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Fred Berg

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Thanks Danny. I think the Minolta range could be worth a look.
 

cbrown222

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I got an N75 for ~$50 and I have no complaints so far. You should give it a look.
 

mdarnton

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Nikon is a good system to get into because there's LOTS of used stuff available--over 40 years of old lenses still work with most current cameras above a certain spot in the price lineup, so if you decide to get a new [digital] pro camera, all of your old lenses will still work (unlike Canon, who have a bad habit of making old lenses incompatible with new cameras).

Right now it looks like wedding photo fleets are unloading N90 Nikons on Ebay, and I just got one for $20! Yes, I would have liked an N90s, but $20??? It turns out to be a nice camera, but, like a lot of newer ones with batteries and motors, is heavy and big. Most of the line immediately below that won't meter with a lot of the old lenses, and the N90 will work with the newest lenses in only program or shutter priority mode. I believe the F100 will use even the newest lenses properly, but it's a lot more $$$ than my N90. Supposedly any body with a program mode will work with the newest lenses, but you won't be able to see what f-stop is being used.

If you want a lighter camera, simple, and only want to use older lenses (anything with an aperture ring on it--the newest line dropped that), the FG is a nice carry-around camera with manual, program, and aperture-priority modes equally well executed, does everything you need, and is also dirt cheap, and did I say, small, small, small. Unlike a lot of older film cameras, the FG stands out for having a finger grip on the front (make sure that if you buy one it still has this detachable doo-dad), making it very easy to carry for street shooting.

The N2000 is like an FG with a motor, and you can buy one for less than a half-case of beer costs. I inherited one and was surprised at how functional it is.

As older cameras become un-repairable, I've recently gotten into the idea of buying bodies that can be replaced for a lot less $$ than any repair would be, but are still within current systems. Nikon fits that the best of anything available.
 
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Fred Berg

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Thanks very much for the info, everyone. I'm not in a hurry and have time enough to run your suggestions through so please keep them coming.
 

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