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Camera Suggestions for a Beginner
Old 06-11-2016   #1
ktmrider
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Camera Suggestions for a Beginner

I am looking for suggestions for a film camera for a young woman. We have just completed a two week trip to Iceland and I loaned her an M2 with 15mm and 35mm lenses, an incident meter and Ektar 100. She liked using it when not shooting with her i-phone.

Anyway, she is working to pay for college tuition so I am thinking Leica may be above her price range. I think she needs something with a TTL meter so I am thinking something like a Nikon FM or FE or perhaps an Olympus OM1 (a system I have never owned) or a Canon.

Thoughts/suggestions?
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Old 06-11-2016   #2
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I think you're on the right track - an FM or OM1n with fresh seals would do the trick for not a lot of money. I'd give the FM a slight edge due to the quantity and variety of inexpensive lenses out there.
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Old 06-11-2016   #3
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Another vote for either the FM/FE or OM1/OM4. If she wants AF, a Nikon N80/F80 with the cheap Nikkor 50/1.8 AF-D is another good pick.

Edit: another suggestion is Pentax ME Super, very similar to the OM.. both have great viewfinders.
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Old 06-11-2016   #4
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Nikon FM2 should be ok, small, light easy to use.
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Old 06-11-2016   #5
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Just about any of these options already mentioned would do, but make sure the camera actually works as intended. Nothing is worse than figuring out a wonky camera, especially when you are starting the adventure.
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Old 06-11-2016   #6
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Om2 maybe rather than om1 for easier batteries, what about an eos 5 or an f90x with 50mm.
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Old 06-11-2016   #7
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I'd suggest a small bodied camera with light weight, so she would like to carry it around. The weight and size matter a lot in this case, I guess.

I think any of the Cosina OEM SLRs would do, namely one of the Nikon FM10, Canon T60, Olympus OM-2000 and Yashica FX-3 Super 2000.

They are newer cameras (easy to find one doesn't need CLA), all have TTL meter, some even have spot metering. They can shoot without batteries, and they can be cheap (much cheaper than their cousin Bessa RFs). They are lighter and smaller than the "professional SLRs" but they can be mounted with the wonderful lenses from their corresponding systems so nice photos are more or less guaranteed.

I'm shooting my Olympus OM-2000 now and I like it.
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Old 06-11-2016   #8
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Yeh, a Nikon FM/2 or FM3a with their 50mm lens would be an excellent and not very expensive choice.
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Old 06-11-2016   #9
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pentax spotmatic
olympus om-2 spot/program
canon ftbn
nikon fm2
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Old 06-11-2016   #10
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Pentax K1000. Uses readily available batteries and you can find them for not much money.
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Old 06-11-2016   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by madNbad View Post
Pentax K1000. Uses readily available batteries and you can find them for not much money.
I'll second that recommendation.
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Old 06-11-2016   #12
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Everybody will mention his favourite manual focus camera, be it Nikon, Canon, Olympus, Pentax, Minolta, you name it.

Are you sure a manual focus SLR is what she wants?
Would something like a Voigtländer Bessa R be an option?
Or something like a Canon Canonet 28 or Minolta Hi-matic 7SII?

If you go for a manual focus SLR it really doesn't matter what brand. Don't get an entry level one, but you don't need a top of the range one. Some important things already got mentioned: what battery does it use and how's the condition of the camera.

Edit: I would like to add a recommendation, and yes it is a favourite of mine: Minolta X700. These are great cameras, affordable, batteries are easy to find, under appreciated so very affordable.

I think any of the cameras already mentioned will do, but be aware that Nikon manual focus lenses are expensive compared to Canon and Minolta.
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Old 06-11-2016   #13
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Canon A-1 and a 50mm 1.8 FDn.
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Old 06-11-2016   #14
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Another + for the K1000.
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Old 06-11-2016   #15
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Thanks for the suggestions. They pretty much fall in line with my thinking. The plan is to visit CAMERA AND DARKROOM in Albuquerque soon so she can handle a lot of 35mm bodies. Most all quality brands work similiarly so the key is ergonomics.
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Old 06-11-2016   #16
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I shoot Canon A series camera's but it's because of the 6 volt battery that has become a bit expensive & harder to find in stores is why I don't recommend it. I'm sure you will find a great camera. Minolta's are nice too, especially the X series.
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Old 06-11-2016   #17
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It's 2016, get a body with automatic exposure as an option. Nikon FE or FE2 instead of an FM or FM2, for example.
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Old 06-11-2016   #18
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I would strongly recommend limiting the options to a camera that uses a readily available battery. This would rule out the otherwise decent options that include the Pentax Spotmatic models, the OM-1 series, Canon F... series (except the "New F1), and Nikkormats other than the FT2 and FT3.

I'd vote for:
  • any Pentax K series or M series other than the ME (ME Super is OK), with a particular liking for the KX and MX models.
  • any of the various Nikon FM/FE family, particularly the newer "...2" models.
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Old 06-11-2016   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nasmformyzombie View Post
It's 2016. . .
Yeah. And?

Why not go for a camera that still works when the battery dies?

Cheers,

R.
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Old 06-11-2016   #20
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Honestly, since she has an iPhone, which has several good light meter apps available, I think I'd find her a beater M4-P and a Voigtlander 50.
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Old 06-11-2016   #21
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Why/when did she use the RF vs the iPhone?

Another crazy option is a Canon P (one is the classifieds I think, not recommending that one, just the camera perhaps) and a 1st generation CV 15 and 35 of your choosing.

A Leica IIIc with a 1st gen CV 15 and a 50 of your choosing. Think about adding the cost of a CLA to the purchase.

A lot depends upon what she likes/wants to shoot.

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Old 06-11-2016   #22
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Quote:
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Yeah. And?

Why not go for a camera that still works when the battery dies?

Cheers,

R.
You battery fearing people are just quaintly anachronistic in your fear, and for some who drum on incessantly about it are likely just plain battery phobic. I have been using battery dependent cameras since 1978 and have NEVER had a battery die outright in a camera while shooting. It's not that difficult to check the battery viability with a camera prior to leaving for a day of shooting. It's certainly no big deal to carry spares either. It's not like a new battery costs a fortune or takes up too much room in your camera bag or your pocket.

Many pros in the late 70's and early 80's feared battery dependent cameras---when they were first introduced. Today most pros shoot digital. I have yet to see a battery independent digital camera.

Nikon introduced the FE in 1978 and the FE2 in 1983. Take advantage of 1970s and 1980s technology (oh the horror for you Luddites, I know ) so one doesn't have to spend time fiddling with a shutter speed knob and the aperture setting and a focus ring. Concentrate more on composition instead. We are talking about a beginner here! You can always forgo automation later after mastering the basics.

Furthermore, many battery dependent cameras from the 1970's and 1980's have one shutter speed that works without a battery. The Lecia M7 (albeit from the 21st century in some respects) has two manually controlled shutter speeds.
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Old 06-11-2016   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Addy101 View Post
Everybody will mention his favourite manual focus camera, be it Nikon, Canon, Olympus, Pentax, Minolta, you name it.

Are you sure a manual focus SLR is what she wants?
Would something like a Voigtländer Bessa R be an option?
Or something like a Canon Canonet 28 or Minolta Hi-matic 7SII?

If you go for a manual focus SLR it really doesn't matter what brand. Don't get an entry level one, but you don't need a top of the range one. Some important things already got mentioned: what battery does it use and how's the condition of the camera.

Edit: I would like to add a recommendation, and yes it is a favourite of mine: Minolta X700. These are great cameras, affordable, batteries are easy to find, under appreciated so very affordable.

I think any of the cameras already mentioned will do, but be aware that Nikon manual focus lenses are expensive compared to Canon and Minolta.
I agree with all of these points. I'm also partial to manual-focus Minoltas and think that the X-700 would be an excellent choice, among the many good options.

I'm glad to hear that you will be taking this young woman to a camera store where she can handle a variety of cameras. My thought was that she had only used a Leica RF, so far, and that she may, or may not , like an SLR.

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Old 06-11-2016   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisPlatt View Post
Mechanical cameras will be repairable forever; not so your electronic wonders.

Chris
try getting a nikon f eye level finder's prism recemented and resilvered. just saying!
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Old 06-11-2016   #25
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When ever I use a battery dependent camera I carry at least one spare. My digital cameras have rechargeable and I can have one charging while using the other.

I would try to buy a used newer camera as it will be lighter having more composite materials. The older all metal cameras can be an issue regarding weight.

Just my thoughts to help.
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Old 06-11-2016   #26
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Just adding my two cents. Minolta X700, Nikon FG, Pentax MX, Canon AE-1 P
would make a wonderful first camera.
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Old 06-11-2016   #27
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Actually, I let her use my R6.2 before going to Iceland and then gave her a choice between a M or the R6.2. I think the variety of lenses I planned on bringing led her to select the M. I know she liked the metering on the R.
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Old 06-11-2016   #28
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I'm sticking with my IIIc but adding an SL2 to the mix. Good lenses are reasonable for both these days.

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Old 06-11-2016   #29
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Ah - the photographer's catnip question...


I'd suggest an OM-4t or Nikon FM3a or FE2
The battery issue is a canard, what if your battery dies? Well, what if you run out of film and your battery is just fine?
You can carry film, then carry an extra battery

Cameras break - if the OM-4T dies, get another or get it repaired
Same for FM3a etc

Nikon has infinite variety of lenses , but honestly, how many us she likely to get as a beginner?

Just about any small body with a couple lenses is all she needs to get started, the rest is just overanalysis
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Old 06-11-2016   #30
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Minolta XD is a simple ergonomically pleasing camera that has modern functionality without much complexity.
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Old 06-11-2016   #31
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Hi,

The young lady used a film CRF with a direct vision VF and liked it but we/you are all suggesting a film SLR...

Then I read that she liked the R6. So why not an R6, dirt cheap at present but dear lenses? Or ask what she liked most about the M2 and concentrate on that. And did film come into it at all?

Thinking about smart phones I wonder if it was the VF she liked and so would be happy with either a CRF or SLR.

And an external meter was used and so I wonder if an AE camera with manual would be ideal.

Regards, David
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Old 06-12-2016   #32
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Quote:
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Honestly, since she has an iPhone, which has several good light meter apps available, I think I'd find her a beater M4-P and a Voigtlander 50.
Yes! Giving person best ever made RF camera to try and then pushing to SLRs is the cruelty!

She liked 21 and 35mm. 35 Color Skopar on M4-2 will do.
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Old 06-12-2016   #33
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Quote:
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The young lady used a film CRF with a direct vision VF and liked it but we/you are all suggesting a film SLR...
I wasn't I mentioned the Voigtländer Bessa R.
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Old 06-12-2016   #34
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Quote:
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It's 2016, get a body with automatic exposure as an option. Nikon FE or FE2 instead of an FM or FM2, for example.
It's 2016, not 1986. Get one with program modes and multi zone AF.



I'd recommend - from personal use - Nikkormats FT2 or FT3, Nikon FM2, FE2.

The Nikkormats are crazy cheap - my perfect FT2 was a fraction of the cost of a Pentax K1000. Out of the Nikkormats I'd recommend the FT2 or FT3 models are they take modern batteries. The older ones do not.

The Nikon FE2 and FM2 are the next step up.

Ultimately whatever you pick, you want to make sure it is reliable. A lot of old cameras have issues w/ prism desilvering, shutter curtains needing rebuilding etc.
Nikkormats and FM2, FE2 use metal bladed shutters, and tend to be very solid.
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Old 06-12-2016   #35
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Exa 1c.
Use a hand held meter/phone/film box stickman exposure guide.
Learn real photography.
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Old 06-12-2016   #36
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I think David Hughes and Ko.Fe are right, why not a CRF camera?

Mind you, to undermine my own theory, today I used both the Leica MP and the Nikon FM3a to try to take shots in the back garden in a heavy shower - I was trying to capture the rain.... and found it much easier to deploy the SLR compared to the rangefinder.....
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Old 06-12-2016   #37
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Well, like I posted earlier, she has tried both. She tells me her budget depends on her birthday later this month. CAMERA AND DARKROOM in ABQ has a great selection of used cameras. We will go there and fondle several before she makes a final choice. The point on battery availability was something I had not thought about.
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Old 06-12-2016   #38
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Won't that Leica cost a lot more than even a pristine Nikon F, F2, etc?
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Old 06-12-2016   #39
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Quote:
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Won't that Leica cost a lot more than even a pristine Nikon F, F2, etc?
A lot depends on which Leica.

Lots of great options to start her journey. Some classics take a bit of work, be it battery adapting or CLA, best thing is that many are very afordable and quite useable.

Keep is in the loop, be sure to check out the classified here for get deals (e.g. Stuff listed for a couple of weeks looking for a good home) and the occasional fire sale).

B2 (;->
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Old 06-13-2016   #40
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Hi,

If the budget is limited then I'd ignore the Leica fttb and look for one later when money is easier to come by.

Most of us end up with a small collection of cameras for different tasks. I suggest looking at where you'll end and starting with one of them. So the Leica's for later on but how about a small pocket film camera for now like an Olympus XA, Konica A4, Leica mini II and so on?

Or - the third of the classic trio - some sort of SLR with a decent zoom and then, later on, specialised prime? The Pentax ME Super and Minolta X-300 and (say) a Tokina AT-X zoom, which is a great 28-90mm zoom from memory. Or one of the bigger Minoltas like the 7000.

All the above are great cameras/excellent for the money you pay these days. Looking at film cameras as a trio of SLR, RF and good P&S gives a wide choice of starting point and of cameras.

Regards, David

PS Just thought; how about one of the overlooked "bridge" cameras? I was/am very impressed with the Olympus iS-3000 that I bought out of curiosity because it was cheap and had a good spec.
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