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SLRs - the unRF For those of you who must talk about SLRs, if only to confirm they are not RF.

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Old 03-23-2019   #81
NickTrop
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Why are modern SLRs better camera bodies than the so-called classics?

One major reason is your classic manual focus camera is basically a shutter priority camera. You set the mechanical shutter speed dial on top to a set speed. Your aperture is virtually in "slave" mode since you adjust it accommodate your aperture setting. Nobody twirls around their shutter dial left and right to accomodate shutter settings. With a more modern electronic camera it's as easy to shoot in aperture priority as it is to shoot in shutter priority.

This is the last production consumer film camera made by a major camera manufacturer. Decades of R&D went into its design. It has electronics only dreamed of in the 50's., 60's, and 70's.

And they're neither trivial or frivolous (see above as one example). Electronics and CPUs helped eliminate much of the clockworks that wear over time. I know if my shutter is at 1/1000th, that's what it's shooting had not off be 1/2 a stop. I can see important information on the digital display on the top plate. I have sophisticated matrix metering. I can switch between modes easily. Another is seeing settings in the viewfinder and making adjustments from a thumbwheel without having to take my eye off the viewfinder.

It is much lighter than an OM1. It's shorter in length. It's a little taller due to built-in flash, absent on the OM1 and useful when you need it. It is a bit wider because it has a useful grip. Its ergos are better than the OM1.

You just have to get over the fact it's made from high quality plastic. Like your keyboard. Like your printer. Which you wouldn't really want made out of metal, would you? And like vast majority of lenses made today including very expensive high-quality ones.
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Old 03-23-2019   #82
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronald M View Post
F6 is plastic.
Says who? The specs and my personal experience owning two F6 say BS to that. I also own two F2as. The F6 has an all metal body, top and bottom. Don't confuse the rubberized covering as it being plastic.

You may be confusing the F100 (plastic back, back latch and rewind fork) with the F6, whose corresponding parts are all metal. The F6 is every bit as solid as the F2 and is weather sealed to boot. Don't get me wrong, the F2 is a retro delight to use, but the F6 is a much more capable shooter.
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Old 03-23-2019   #83
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PunkFunkDunk View Post
Short answer: because they are ugly. Or, more accurately, what we here in Australia call fugly (fat + ugly).
Huh! Among professional architects this term also means "functionally ugly" and is used to describe the more horrible examples of Brutalist architecture from the 1960s to the 1990s.

I've said "fugly" in passing to friends in Melbourne and had some odd looks. I now know why...
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Old 03-23-2019   #84
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If I had to choose between a 1990 Era pocketable 35mm point and shoot and a plastic bodied auto-focus SLR from the same period then I'm with Nick - but there are more options than these 2 genres for 35mm film photography.

Operations wise - yes, versus a two hundred dollar point and shoot Olympus Stylus, I prefer the ability to control the exposure that comes with a plastic bodied, auto-focus 35mm SLR like my Nikon N80/F80. Plus, there is usually no shutter laggggggggggggggg.

Second, as I mentioned above, the plastic bodied SLRs are usually priced less than a decent meal with beverages at a better restaurant.

But - like your choice of beers, there are more options than two genres. I don't usually opt for Bud, Miller or Coors. Consequently, the N80 led me to purchase a Nikon FE2 - which has the traditional control layout that I can glance at see all the camera's settings.

When I want manual control, I find the match needle meter of the FE2 quite intuitive. The micro-prism focusing patch on the FE2 is a bit more reassuring, which the N80 lacks. Also, the N80 does not meter with older Ai and Ai-S lenses.

By the way, I'm weird duck. I ran a couple rolls of film though my Retina IIa last weekend. I'll be developing the rolls later today. This would be anathema to most folks that truly enjoy an AF P&S film camera, but not all. My 30'ish barista at my local coffee shop has talented knack for any film camera.
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Old 03-23-2019   #85
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Cheap cameras aren't necessarily bad cameras.

In the ate '90s I played with several Pentax SLRs which had appeared on the retail market a few years before and were soon to be found in great numbers in charity shops around Australia.

For the most part, these worked well, tho the zoom lenses gave slightly soft images, in a pleasing way. Light wrapped around subjects, that sort of thing. Nothing I would want to print or scan now, but.

In around 2005 Nikon dumped a load of F65s (aka N65) SLRs on the retail market inAustralia and I bought a new one, for around A$250 as I recall, with a 28-80 G zoom. A battery winder grip came my way for A$20 and I grabbed it. Also a second F65 body on Ebay, a few years later.

It has been ages since I've used an F65 but my partner makes do with a Nikon D90 with the older Nikon Series E lenses and an F65 as a film backup. The kit is very useful as the lenses are interchangeable. Alas, the F65 winder grip doesn't work on the D90 but one can't have everything.

There are many bargains out there if one wants to take the time to find them. As for using them, I've always believed that Henri Cartier-Bresson would have easily done most if not all of his brilliant photography, with a Kodak Box Brownie if the Leica hadn't been invented.
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Old 03-23-2019   #86
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The sad fact is that despite all the good here, the fact a camera does everything great has never been a compelling reason to own one.
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Old 03-23-2019   #87
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PunkFunkDunk View Post
Short answer: because they are ugly. Or, more accurately, what we here in Australia call fugly (fat + ugly).

I always thought fugly = f-ing ugly.


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Old 03-23-2019   #88
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I agree with the rationale. However, part of the romanticism of shooting film is with manual and classic cameras which have quite a different camera. The latter AF SLRs are quite akin to DSLRs and don't depart much in experience compared to an OM-1 or a TLR, should we bring different form factors in discussion.
Supply and demand wise, the middle and lower range was owned by people who most probably are far away from film nowadays. I keep thinking about the graph in the ADOX keynote where the market went from 3B rolls to 26M in the lapse of these 20 years. A 1 digit Nikon F catches the attention as being the top line, and people prefer to own stuff they dreamed about back then because it's top end.
An F90 is more a prosumer, despite excellent, is in oversupply. Ditto for an F80, F65.

I came back from the camera club and brought my GW690III, talked with another member who had the mkII and commented about price increases. There was a thread on RFF about these cameras being underpriced. People would go first for the higher end and exotic cameras, once that segment becomes less affordable, other options will be explored.



Unironically, my OM1 jammed a few years ago and I "replaced" it with an F80. The cheap availability and AE convenience was excellent for more casual and dangerous beach duties, which ended killing that body. Saw the F90 as an excellent replacement albeit not as lightweight.



Quote:
Originally Posted by NickTrop View Post

You just have to get over the fact it's made from high quality plastic. Like your keyboard. Like your printer. Which you wouldn't really want made out of metal, would you? And like vast majority of lenses made today including very expensive high-quality ones.
Carbon Fiber bicycles and Aerospace composites! 90s cyberspace age polycarbonate!

Given time I think the bad rap may wear out and be replaced with a certain nostalgic appreciation. I read about a concept called the 30 year old cycle, about pop culture, where the kids that grew up in an era bring those influences again when they grew up (music, directors, etc). Related to the frequent string of 1980s remakes and tributes.
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Old 03-23-2019   #89
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CMur12 View Post
I always thought fugly = f-ing ugly.


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Likewise...
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Old 03-23-2019   #90
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NickTrop View Post
This I don't understand. What features does this camera force you to use? If you want the manual experience, you can avoid these features be turning them off. Viola. A manual camera. I can turn this into a manual camera by setting the dial to "M" and flicking the AF switch.
Your preferences are your preferences, but are you really arguing that using a 2000's plastic fantastic AF SLR in manual mode gives the same user experience as something like a Leica M3 or Pentax SV (designed from the ground up to be used this way)?
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Old 03-23-2019   #91
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Not sure how you will take this Nick, but......Ken Rockwell agrees with you. In a June, 2008 article he calls the N75 "...among the best 35mm cameras ever made."
So you have bought a lot of camera for coffee money, congratulations.

My best bargain in a camera is a Sears KS500 (Ricoh KR-5) with it's 50 f2 standard lens for a total of $5, including working meter batteries. Lightweight, plastic top and bottom covers, common PK mount, really good viewfinder, and surprisingly quite shutter action.
Very basic, but come on, Five Dollars! You can't hardly buy a roll of film for that amount anymore.

One more thing Nick. If I were you I'd buy another one ASAP before all your yabbering make the prices go up.
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Old 03-23-2019   #92
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I like that the purists on one hand and the fashionistas on the other are so dismissive over AF SLRs, keeps them dirt cheap.
The semi pro models like the Nikon F801 and F90 are probably the best bang for the buck you can get now. People are almost giving away F801 bodies.
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Old 03-23-2019   #93
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NickTrop View Post

You might "like" a '67 Impala. You might think it has certain charms. "Look cool". But a 2005 Camry is a better car.
This thread has jumped the shark when someone tries to make a point by picking this car(buncle)



over this righteous ride:

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Old 03-23-2019   #94
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huss View Post
This thread has jumped the shark when someone tries to make a point by picking this car(buncle) over this righteous ride:
The shark was jumped long ago, but you make a strong point.
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Beautiful Bricks
Old 03-24-2019   #95
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Beautiful Bricks

Here's the insides of one model Eric Hendrickson calls a "Plastic Pentax" :




Just look at all those plastic gears!

The Pentax ZX/MZ series Achilles heel is a plastic gear in a critical place.
Once it breaks - and it invariably does - camera is completely disabled.
The replacement motor came with a metal gear, but it requires complete disassembly
and it is now no longer available.

IIRC some of the Minolta X-series cameras have a plastic gear that often breaks, disabling the camera.

No doubt countless other later model film SLRs from all manufacturers were built similarly.
Cheap now yes, but I consider them disposable cameras.

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Everything breaks eventually
Old 03-24-2019   #96
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Everything breaks eventually

Dear Board,

Every camera will eventually fail so I can't see the harm in buying older model AF SLRS for the price of a disposable camera? One of those cardboard boxes with film in it costs $ 8.00 and I have a total of $ 20.00 in two fully functional Nikon 8008S's. If one pukes I have a back up.

Meanwhile when that older mechanical SLR fails you then spend more than the replacement cost for a CLA and/or the necessary repairs and wind up having twice the money it's worth in the camera. If you chose to do that OK, but from an economic standpoint it makes no sense.

Late model AF SLR's are generally good deals. They often come with lenses that can be used with full functionality on current DSLR's. I've bought several old AF SLR's that came with good usable lenses on them. The lenses, a Canon metal mount 50mm/f1.8 and a Nikon 50mm/f1.8 AF-D along with a Nikon 28-105 AF-D are being used on digital bodies when they aren't on film bodies and they produce great results. The value of the lenses themselves made the purchase cost of the cameras less than zero.

There are a lot of ways to skin a cat.

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Tim Murphy

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Old 03-24-2019   #97
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NickTrop View Post
You might "like" a '67 Impala. You might think it has certain charms. "Look cool". But a 2005 Camry is a better car.
Whereas I agree with you that the 80s and 90s SLRS are under appreciated, the statement above is difficult to follow. I thought the original point of the thread was about the under appreciation.

With regard to reliability, I bet the Impala overall will last longer than the Camry. Old American iron is robust and easy to fix just like a mechanical camera. The Camry will suffer from all sorts of electronic problems, EOL of microprocessors and deterioration of critical polymer components. Just wait.

I like the picture from Chris Platt above. Lots of electronic components, plastic insulation and wiring harnesses and plastic gears. Hell to maintain and fix once in breaks. Nonetheless, I am having fun with my F90X while it lasts.
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Old 03-24-2019   #98
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It seems Nick`s obsession is to always find the right balance between bang for the buck and usability without any concern for the haptics and ergonomics that others enjoy. However, many of us don`t have that same obsession. I will gladly pay more for things that make me gel with the camera more.
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Old 03-24-2019   #99
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Some time ago, I bought a Nikon F90x for very little money. Excellent camera. No beauty, but reliable and well performing.
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Old 03-24-2019   #100
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Yes, I think they’re absolute bargains. I love my Dynax 5. Superb camera with very accurate exposure, fast AF, full featured and light as a feather. I paid £15 including a kit lens.

It pains me to say I can’t tell the difference between negatives shot with the Dynax from ones taken with my Contax G1 which was 30 times (!) more expensive.
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Old 03-24-2019   #101
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Found myself going down this road, too. Consolidated by shipping off some Sony and Contax gear to dive into the Nikon system with a set of lenses usable in both digital and film, and with the F100 and D750, the handling isn't too dissimilar, too. Nice stuff! And to think all this time, I'd eschewed Nikon and AF... older eyes moved AF from the "ignore" category to "time to get it" for grand baby pictures. Less about $'s and more about the tool box.
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Old 03-24-2019   #102
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I had a late era 35mm Minolta-Konica Autofocus SLR with a matching short zoom not too long ago that I was toying with (I am a pretty hard-core vintage era mechanical camera guy). I was pretty impressed at it's ability to focus and expose rapidly and accurately, as wells automatically load and advance 35mm film. The camera was made in 2000 something, right before the digital onslaught, but well done. If I'd had time I would used it - on occasion. It had a nice feel to it, the way it handled and so forth, all consistent with the best of Japanese consumer products. I liked it better than later era Nikon AF SLR's I've seen.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #103
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F65/F75 owners, your experience please.

Considering one of these as a light, cheap throw it in a bag camera for cycling etc.
Ticks most of my boxes apart from not being able to change ISO from the DX code (I shoot consumer c41 1/3rd of a stop over, push b&w etc). Does the exposure comp dial work well enough to get around this ?
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Old 1 Week Ago   #104
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ste_S View Post
F65/F75 owners, your experience please.

Considering one of these as a light, cheap throw it in a bag camera for cycling etc.
Ticks most of my boxes apart from not being able to change ISO from the DX code (I shoot consumer c41 1/3rd of a stop over, push b&w etc). Does the exposure comp dial work well enough to get around this ?
The N65/N75 only work with 1/2 stops, not 1/3 stops. If you can work around that, they're fine cameras.

If you can't, the N90s/F90x is about 450g heavier, but it can shoot 1/3 stops and barely costs much more despite being a considerably more advanced camera.

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Old 1 Week Ago   #105
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It's an intriguing question thanks Nick.

One thing I don't think has been mentioned is many of these now dirty cheap plastic fantastics were quite expensive when brand new.

I've had several such cameras...nice units especially at can be had for peanuts price point...but you all can have my eye level F2 when you pry my cold dead fingers from it.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #106
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I agree this is an interesting question. While many of these recent vintage film SLR's suffer from too much plastic, etc. they are often in overall better condition than better made vintage SLR's, many of which now need servicing. The later day SLR's also usually have working TTL meters that use modern batteries. For this reason they may be useful for those experimenting with film photography for the first time.

I've found the Cosina made mechanical shuttered SLR's of this genre such as the OM-2000 and Nikon FM10 to be fairly decent and reliable SLR's (for instance).

I don't know much about the late Contax era SLR's, but I did see one about 20 years old with build quality that really impressed me, especially the brightness of the finder. The Contax series mostly had electronic shutters though, which I avoid, but I think there was a mechanical shuttered version (S2 or something like that).

I think all 35mm film SLR's will eventually appreciate in value unless someone starts up production of reasonably priced models again -- same for other formats of film cameras in fact - we can only hope!
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Old 1 Week Ago   #107
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Yeah so I crumbled when I found a like new one for $8. For $8 this camera is totally worth it.
Here with my Sigma Art 50 1.4:



Yeah you can't set ISO. And Exp comp is in .5 stops. But it cost 8 freakin dollars! A Fuji disposable camera costs $9!
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Old 1 Week Ago   #108
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vagab0nd View Post
The N65/N75 only work with 1/2 stops, not 1/3 stops. If you can work around that, they're fine cameras.

If you can't, the N90s/F90x is about 450g heavier, but it can shoot 1/3 stops and barely costs much more despite being a considerably more advanced camera.

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Cheers. I have the broadly similar F801 which will probably be on the way out as I just mostly shoot my F4 now I have a mb-20 for it.

After a lightweight camera that I'll just probably use a 50 or cheap kit zoom on, whilst also using the pop up flash to save me taking a dedicated flash unit.
Shooting my consumer C41 at half a stop over rather than a third shouldn't make too much difference...
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Old 1 Week Ago   #109
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Quote:
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The later day SLR's also usually have working TTL meters that use modern batteries. For this reason they may be useful for those experimenting with film photography for the first time.
I think the main thing for the af SLRs is that they're more consistent with their results than manual focus and/or mechanical cameras. Autofocus, matrix meters and TTL flash remove user error; electronic shutters are more accurate than mechanical.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #110
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Talking

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ste_S View Post
Cheers. I have the broadly similar F801 which will probably be on the way out as I just mostly shoot my F4 now I have a mb-20 for it.

After a lightweight camera that I'll just probably use a 50 or cheap kit zoom on, whilst also using the pop up flash to save me taking a dedicated flash unit.
Shooting my consumer C41 at half a stop over rather than a third shouldn't make too much difference...

I've got a similar setup going on - N90s / N65 / FE / Nikkormat FT2, with plans to add an F4.

It took me a little while, but once I realized that I a) prefer to invest in glass over bodies, b) don't like mount adapters, and c) like having diverse body styles available to shoot, it became obvious that Nikon is the route for me.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #111
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F65 arrived today and it's not working quite right with my 50mm f1.8 af-d (which works fine on F801 and F4). Auto-focus doesn't always engage and I'm getting 'err' on aperture priority mode. Ideas ?

Ahh - maybe ignore me. You can't use the aperture ring as the camera doesn't have the ai tab and have to use the dial to change aperture, right ?
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Old 1 Week Ago   #112
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Quote:
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F65 arrived today and it's not working quite right with my 50mm f1.8 af-d (which works fine on F801 and F4). Auto-focus doesn't always engage and I'm getting 'err' on aperture priority mode. Ideas ?

Ahh - maybe ignore me. You can't use the aperture ring as the camera doesn't have the ai tab and have to use the dial to change aperture, right ?
Correct. In all settings modes, including M, you have to set the lens to minimum aperture and make exposure adjustments via the wheel and compensation dial.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #113
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Can't believe you all are still going on about this. But I have to say that I've bought and used quite a lot of the cameras mentioned in the above posts, and some have their weak points, but all were usable. That's what matters in the end.



And for the all mechanical purists like Huss, no need to get worked up over cheap automatic camera fun. You can find the same kind of action in old non-interchangeable lens rangefinder cameras (and those without rangefinders too). The Ricoh 300/500 series comes to mind quite quickly for capable but cheap today cameras. My favorite small non-rangefinder is a Braun Paxette.



Anyway, the main thing is to find something for little money that makes you happy to use, whatever it is made out of.



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Old 1 Week Ago   #114
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Originally Posted by Huss View Post
Yeah so I crumbled when I found a like new one for $8. For $8 this camera is totally worth it.
Here with my Sigma Art 50 1.4:



Yeah you can't set ISO. And Exp comp is in .5 stops. But it cost 8 freakin dollars! A Fuji disposable camera costs $9!
Quote:
Originally Posted by farlymac View Post
Can't believe you all are still going on about this. But I have to say that I've bought and used quite a lot of the cameras mentioned in the above posts, and some have their weak points, but all were usable. That's what matters in the end.



And for the all mechanical purists like Huss, no need to get worked up over cheap automatic camera fun. You can find the same kind of action in old non-interchangeable lens rangefinder cameras (and those without rangefinders too). The Ricoh 300/500 series comes to mind quite quickly for capable but cheap today cameras. My favorite small non-rangefinder is a Braun Paxette.



Anyway, the main thing is to find something for little money that makes you happy to use, whatever it is made out of.



PF
Hey I caved!
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Old 1 Week Ago   #115
john_s
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Originally Posted by css9450 View Post
Feature- and capability-wise, my best film camera is probably my Nikon N90s. Obviously not as pretty as my F2 or my Rolleis but unlike those cameras it has PSAM, center-weighted, spot or matrix metering, several frames per second motor drive, all-mode autobracketing, fantastic flash capability, etc, etc... Too many to even remember. But it wasn't $9 or $25 or even $100. I bought it new in 1996 so it was full price! Hard to believe its been 23 years.

This camera is by far the most comfortable to hold of any SLR I've tried. I have small hands. The contours of the right side of the body just fit perfectly. And mine was full price, new also. (F90x in this part of the world)
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Old 1 Week Ago   #116
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Originally Posted by farlymac View Post
Like Austintatious, I too bought an N90s brand new, and still have it, though I've had to remove the goo from the back that was supposed to act as easy-grip. But that was it's only problem.
..................


PF

Nothing that some carefully applied duct tape can't fix. Even some later Nikon SLRs have this problem which I think is bizarrely extraordinary for such a smart company which make products of such lasting value (P+S models excluded).
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Old 1 Week Ago   #117
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A quick initial impression of the F65 i got today

It's small for an af camera with built in motor drive and pop up flash, not far off the FE/M chasis size. Quite impressive really.

In black it looks quite nice and whilst it's made of plastic it doesn't feel cheap. With the grip and the back ridge for your thumb it's actually really nice in the hand. Something you can use with a wrist strap without issue.

For a SLR with af, flappy mirror and motor drive it's reasonably quiet. The af motor makes a nice 'whooshing' sound with an af-d lens as opposed to the nails on blackboard noise of earlier Nikon af cameras

The viewfinder is smaller than other film Nikons I've used but without it being tiny as found on the D3xxx and D5xxx DSLRs. Perfectly useable.

A physical switch to swop from auto and manual focus is nice, the button you have to hold down to cancel the af assist lamp in low light less so. Having a depth of field preview button is great on a modern(ish) consumer cam.

Taking it to a festival at the weekend, looking forward to seeing how it turns out
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Old 1 Week Ago   #118
HHPhoto
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NickTrop View Post
Are these 2000's plastic fantastic mid-level SLRs the new film bargains?
Yes, they are, definitely.
Cameras like Nikon F75, F80 or Canon EOS 300V, 300X, 30, 33, 30V, 33V deliver very good quality, much more features than older mechanical film SLRs, and are available for extremely low prices.
Perfect for film photographers who are interested in making good photography, and not so much in hipster-camera-fashion .

Cheers, Jan
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Old 1 Week Ago   #119
jsrockit
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Originally Posted by HHPhoto View Post
Perfect for film photographers who are interested in making good photography, and not so much in hipster-camera-fashion .
Exactly... here in Santiago, Chile I see many film cameras that have no hipster value in use. Digital too... many people still using D80, D300 to make wonderful photos. It is refreshing really.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #120
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Yesterday I was out dipping into water and sometimes I like the point of view from it, so I tend to have a "not very valuable" camera handy for that purpose... Usually it has been a Nikon AF SLR, F80 (which died of salt spray exposure) and an F90. A thrift find mju I also fulfilled EDC purposes, but doesn't have the sparkle and sharpness of an SLR.
Though yesterday only had the Pentax MX (adopted from a fellow RFFer). Only one hand for shooting, the other one for balance and holding onto the ladder of the pier. I missed automation in focus and film winding.
It's always fun to see some reactions when taking the camera into the water (over it of course, no nikonos here).


As of what John says. The other day in the photo club a member took a Pentax K100 (2010 SLR?), and we discussed its low value, but I always argued for its usefulness and how purpose fulfilling it may be.
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