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Suggestions for an everyday carry SLR?
Old 05-24-2014   #1
Pfreddee
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Suggestions for an everyday carry SLR?

The Nikon FG which I had such high hopes for has developed a wonky shutter, and since I paid $27.00 for the body, it isn't worth fixing. My Olympus OM1 is all over the place with its meter, even with the adaptor for hearing aid batteries. Everything else is working fine. I would like to have an SLR devoted to B/W, but it seems like a crap shoot choosing a used film camera. Any suggestions?

(I could use the Oly with a hand-held meter, I suppose, just like my Contax.) The camera doesn't have to be a Nikon or an Olympus, BTW.

Thanks to all who reply.

With best regards.

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Old 05-24-2014   #2
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The Nikon FM, FE series are nice. My FE2 continues to work well after 30 years of use. The S-76 batteries it uses are very common and easy to find. The FE2 uses a flywheel and inertial damping to minimize mirror shock.

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Old 05-24-2014   #3
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I have a couple of Pentax ME Supers. I sent one I was given to Eric Hendrickson for an overhaul- $50? as I remember? The Pentax M 50mm f/1.7 lens is an amazing value for its quality- another $40.

Uses LR44 batteries. Almost as small as the OM-1, great metering, nice viewfinder. And other Pentax lenses are all over the place.
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Old 05-24-2014   #4
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The FM/FE series are nice, and not expensive, esp considering you already have a lens.

But personally I'd just keep shooting the OM1 with the handheld meter.
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Old 05-24-2014   #5
Joe Jesus
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The Nikon F3 is an unstoppable camera, though a bit on the heavy side. It takes modern batteries and the meter is pretty good.
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Old 05-24-2014   #6
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How about a Minolta X-570 (aka X-500)? The metering display makes it easier and faster to shoot manually compared to an X-700, though you lose P mode (A is still present). I bought one as a B&W partner for my X-700 based on the page here: http://www.rokkorfiles.com/X-570.htm and loved it. I found that the shutter/mirror sound in the well-used 570 was significantly different from, and smoother and quieter than, my 700 (which I've owned since new), but I can't find any evidene of a change in shutter mechanism. The VF is a huge, bright, high-magnification affair that IMO is the single best thing about these bodies - it truly makes them a pleasure to shoot, especially when using a contrast filter for B&W.

Lenses are nice too

Downsides? The capacitors may need replacing, and any camera of that age is likely to benefit from a CLA. These "basic" bodies seem pretty robust. Shutter only goes to 1/1000. Does not work without batteries (but they are tiny and cheap and last for ages). That's about all I can think of.
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Old 05-24-2014   #7
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For an everyday carry, Pentax MX is tiny. Much smaller than a Leica M in fact.
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Old 05-24-2014   #8
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I have had good luck with Fujica St 801 and 901. They take M42 mount lenses so there is a great variety to use.

Yashica had a line of FX cameras that might be worth a look. Most have held up well over the years. They had cameras from metered manual to aperture preferred to both aperture and shutter preferred models. The Yashica lenses tended to be very good, and they take the Contax lenses as well.
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Old 05-24-2014   #9
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Wink

Pentax me or mx are nice. Maybe get the Oly om1 meter fixed?.
Seems a waste to buy into another system though.....
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Old 05-24-2014   #10
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There really aren't too many bad choices in that golden age of cameras (riiiiight during the transition from fully mechanical to semi-automatic w/ electromagnetic shutters).

Choose based primarily on ergonomics and then creature-comforts (like metering, max shutter speed, battery-less operation etc). Most of the late-70s cameras are solid enough, and of reasonably similar sizes (obviously some are smaller and some larger)...
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Old 05-24-2014   #11
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Have 2 Nikon FE's. One of them I bought new in 1981. My fondest SLR's.
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Old 05-24-2014   #12
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If you have a Contax, a Yashica might be a good body. That is, if your contax sport the contax/yashica mount.

I have the FX-D Quartz which I started to love so much it became my choice for "one camera, one lens-challenge". It's not bulky or heavy, rather light and small for a SLR. I haven't had any trouble with her more than once or twice where I have accidentally turned the front positioned mode knob to self timer, not a big deal.

Oh, yeah the leatherette on the FX-D Quartz and some other similar models suck, when I got mine (from a friends clean out) the leatherette turned into crumbs from the slightest touch. I just removed it and cleaned of the left over glue. Haven't bothered getting replacement skin for it, works fine as is.
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Old 05-24-2014   #13
Chris101
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pfreddee View Post
The Nikon FG which I had such high hopes for has developed a wonky shutter, and since I paid $27.00 for the body, it isn't worth fixing. My Olympus OM1 is all over the place with its meter, even with the adaptor for hearing aid batteries. Everything else is working fine. I would like to have an SLR devoted to B/W, but it seems like a crap shoot choosing a used film camera. Any suggestions?

(I could use the Oly with a hand-held meter, I suppose, just like my Contax.) The camera doesn't have to be a Nikon or an Olympus, BTW.

Thanks to all who reply.

With best regards.

Pfreddee(Stephen)
I also have an FG and an OM1n. They both work, but I did send my OM to John Hermanson for an overhaul. It came back working like new! And at the price of an FG, just buy another - they work fine when they work - the exposure is dead on, especially with flash.

But I also like the Nikon N80. Again cheap, so if something happens, just replace it.
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Old 05-25-2014   #14
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Nikon FM3a, if finances permit; or else an FM2 or FM2n. Or an F3 if you like 'em a little bigger.
Olympus OM2n or OM4Ti.
Pentax MX.
Fujica ST-705 or -801.

Or a Mamiya 645 Pro TL.
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Old 05-25-2014   #15
p.giannakis
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Loads of good suggestions so far - i assume that AF SLRs are out of the equation. I will second the Pentax ME super and the Minolta X-700, both beautiful cameras. If you are on a budget, have a look at chinon cameras, the CE-5 is a very dependable camera. Cheap mechanical SLRs like the little Fujica STX-1 or the the ST-series are excellent cameras if you don't want to spend too much money.

By far my favourite SLRs are the Pentax MX and the Minolta XD-7.

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Old 05-25-2014   #16
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The Minolta XD-series are nice camera's! Love mine.

Loads of good cameras, they're old so some could malfunction, but most of them are very nice. Looking at the fact you had an OM and a Nikon, it seems it makes sense to get either a Olympus OM or Nikon body as you have the lenses for it.
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Old 05-25-2014   #17
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Surely it would be very hard to go past a good OM-2 ... better metering would be hard to find and the viewfinder has few equals. My faultless OM-2 with 50mm f1.8 Zuiko cost me the grand sum of fifty dollars.
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Old 05-25-2014   #18
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There are many good cameras out there.
Not being fair about non servicing!
It seems a "rule" that every Leica requires a CLA or similar..
These are all old cameras.
Yet nobody does anything to these now "cheaper" cameras!!
They may need a repair or service.
Light seals and mirror bounce foam worn away..
You have an Olympus.
Either look for a working one, or repair the one you have.
Find a body for your lens.
A Nikon-F will always work, but mostly forget about meters.
The Photomics are all questionable due to worn parts.
I have used Canon,Fuji,Minolta,Nikon,Pentax.
They are all good.
Find something that fits your hand and eye!
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Old 05-25-2014   #19
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Pentax P30. Cheap as chips, small, nice glass. Downside is that it is only DX film cannisters
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Old 05-25-2014   #20
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If you have an FG, just get an FE and keep your Nikon glass. As for the wonky meter in OM, just turn the meter off. It is good to learn how to shoot without a meter, even a working meter will sometimes not give you the best reading for a particular shot. Sometimes you want a little more exposure on a dark area, or a little less on a bright area.

I only use a meter in my F3P for shooting birds and things with slide film and super tele lenses.
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Old 05-25-2014   #21
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How about a Pentax K1000, just for the nice analog meter.
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Old 05-25-2014   #22
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I sold my f6 and found an FE2, for very casual close-up and sport events : nobody needs more if not a professionnal.
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Old 05-25-2014   #23
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FM3a....amazing camera but pricey....love old school pentax bodies and their radioactive lenses as well!
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Old 05-25-2014   #24
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Praktica MTL-3. Nothing to worry about, tough as nails, M42, simple lightmeter, very cheap what more to want. Or a Yashica Electro XL if you want fancy with mirror lock-up.
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Old 05-25-2014   #25
Ko.Fe.
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It would be my film Rebel EOS with modern cheap Canon AF pancake prime lens.
I have no fetish in SLRs, old mechanical bodies makes no sense for me.
Everyday camera must be as easy and fast to use as possible. More keepers.
By the time you set and focus your all mechanical camera the moment is done and gone.
Every days situations are completely different from photo walk.
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Old 05-25-2014   #26
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By the time your EOS has booted I have already focussed and shot. Got an RT myself but I wouldn't consider it an everyday walkaround camera.
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Old 05-25-2014   #27
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Nikon F (no meter), FM2n (match needle with mechanically timed shutter), FE2 (match needle or aperture AE with electronically timed shutter), or F3hp I match needle or aperture AE with electronically timed shutter) for me, given Nikkor lenses. If you have Nikon AF lenses, I have an N80 body that works very nicely.

Oly OM, Pentax MX, Minolta, etc all made good cameras too, but IME Nikons have always been more robust and more available lenses.

Of course, something like a Leicaflex SL is a wonderful camera but even today they and their lenses carry a premium price, and for good reason.

G
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Old 05-25-2014   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ko.Fe. View Post
It would be my film Rebel EOS with modern cheap Canon AF pancake prime lens.
I have no fetish in SLRs, old mechanical bodies makes no sense for me.
Everyday camera must be as easy and fast to use as possible. More keepers.
By the time you set and focus your all mechanical camera the moment is done and gone.
Every days situations are completely different from photo walk.
That's a rather curious attitude given that most of the best street photography done in the past century was done with entirely mechanical, meterless cameras.

G
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Old 05-25-2014   #29
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Quote:
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That's a rather curious attitude given that most of the best street photography done in the past century was done with entirely mechanical, meterless cameras.

G

With Respect Godfrey. I believe quite firmly street photography was much more interesting in the earlier part of this century...prior to the existence of af do all slr's and PS cameras.
Had AF existed in the 40's-60's in a readily available form.... we would see some great works from those cameras.
That's my view. Maybe the view of others.
I love mechanical cameras but, I think the romantic aesthetic comes from a coincidence rather than a reality. Old technology cameras don't make more nostalgic photos IMO

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Old 05-25-2014   #30
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My favourite small SLR's for everyday use are the Olympus Om1, Pentax Mx and Contax 139Q.
Great build quality, big and bright viewfinders.

I don't recommend the EOS SLR's at all, they are too big and noisy. Great workhorses but not for everyday use.
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Old 05-26-2014   #31
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A big Thank You! to everyone who replied. I got some good ideas.

With best regards.

Pfreddee(Stephen)
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Old 05-26-2014   #32
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If you already have Olympus lens I'd suggest the OM-2n. It uses commonly available silver oxide batteries.

My favorite carry SLR is the Minolta XE-7 though...and the Rokkor and Rokkor-X lens can't be beat...
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Old 05-27-2014   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ko.Fe. View Post
It would be my film Rebel EOS with modern cheap Canon AF pancake prime lens.
I have no fetish in SLRs, old mechanical bodies makes no sense for me.
Everyday camera must be as easy and fast to use as possible. More keepers.
By the time you set and focus your all mechanical camera the moment is done and gone.
Every days situations are completely different from photo walk.
I used my Yashica TL Super after I got my Fujica ST 901, but mostly so I could have two different types of film handy. Usually b/w in the Yashica. After I got my Yashica MAT 124G, the Yashica got a lot less use. I still use the Fujica because of the great autoexposure, and the really low light SBC cells, as well as the great lenes.

So I agree with all mechanical cameras sometimes needing more fiddling for exact exposure for each shot. But the Fujica and others with manual focus, but good autoexposure do tend to speed things up. Pentax ME Super, Olympus with autoexposure, or others in that class, are worth a try imho. That assuming the OP isn't looking for only match needle or match led and mechanical shutter.
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Old 05-27-2014   #34
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Any Nikon FE, FE2, FM will be great for everyday use. They are quick and easy to use with not too much of electronics to obtrude your views. FM is purely mechanical with just a battery powered light meter.
Plus they are inexpensive.
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Old 05-27-2014   #35
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My FG is the best camera I've ever had, bang for buck, and I carry it more than anything else I have, so I bought a couple more on Ebay. When one goes, I'll move on to the next. For $45, you can't go wrong, and it's cheaper to buy a new one than get an old one fixed.
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Old 05-27-2014   #36
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Quote:
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By the time your EOS has booted I have already focussed and shot. Got an RT myself but I wouldn't consider it an everyday walkaround camera.
This is false logic - modern AF film (and digital) cameras are easily as fast or faster than older mf's - the "boot" thing suggests you might walk around with the camera switched off? Makes no sense. Turn it on in the morning - off when done! EOS cameras spring to life instantly and the best examples respond and focus instantly.

That said, I love my old MX - but if it's speed I want I'd use My EOS 1
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Old 05-27-2014   #37
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This is false logic - modern AF film (and digital) cameras are easily as fast or faster than older mf's - the "boot" thing suggests you might walk around with the camera switched off? Makes no sense. Turn it on in the morning - off when done! EOS cameras spring to life instantly and the best examples respond and focus instantly.

That said, I love my old MX - but if it's speed I want I'd use My EOS 1
Maybe he meant the EOS 300D. I have one and it's annoying that even if you leave it switched on all day, it goes to sleep and there is still a three to four second 'boot time' after hitting the shutter button before you can take a picture. That's my only SLR that behaves like that.

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Old 05-27-2014   #38
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Old 05-27-2014   #39
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I have a Canon F1n at the moment. Very impressed with the build quality and ergonomics.
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Old 05-27-2014   #40
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Nikon FM.
Cheap. Cheerful. With all the features one needs for serious photography.
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