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Are Later Film SLRs Now Overlooked?
Old 03-15-2019   #1
NickTrop
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Are Later Film SLRs Now Overlooked?

With film point-n-shooters (many of them) asking silly prices and which are quite old and more or less disposable consumer items. And with the ever-aging base 60's and 70's era rangefinders reaching the very tail end of their lives (nothing lasts forever)...

Are film SLRs from the 2000's the new "find" in film photography? To wit -- just picked up a Nikon N75 for $9.00 (on Amazon, yet). Just the body. In a box (we shall see what we shall see when it arrives...)

Plastic, granted. But the camera has a slew of modern features and, well, while it ain't new, it also ain't as old as a Yashica GSN or some such. It autofocuses, has autofocus points, PSAM etc... Production run from 2003-2006 so while "old" it ain't "that" old (for a film camera body...)

Got it because I have a slew of Nikon lenses and film in the fridge. It costes lest than a roll of film and processing. So what the heck? The batteries costes almost as much as the camera.

Are these 2000's plastic fantastic mid-level SLRs the new film bargains? On Amazon, sellers are asking $25-30 for film tested ones with replaced seals. Plus Amazon return policy (which is why I took my chances and went cheap...)
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Old 03-15-2019   #2
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I am not interested. I like the 1960s to early 80s mechanical SLRs, else I go with a modern digital. There may be a few gems in there though.
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Old 03-15-2019   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NickTrop View Post
With film point-n-shooters (many of them) asking silly prices and which are quite old and more or less disposable consumer items. And with the ever-aging base 60's and 70's era rangefinders reaching the very tail end of their lives (nothing lasts forever)...

Are film SLRs from the 2000's the new "find" in film photography? To wit -- just picked up a Nikon N75 for $9.00 (on Amazon, yet). Just the body. In a box (we shall see what we shall see when it arrives...)

Plastic, granted. But the camera has a slew of modern features and, well, while it ain't new, it also ain't as old as a Yashica GSN or some such. It autofocuses, has autofocus points, PSAM etc... Production run from 2003-2006 so while "old" it ain't "that" old (for a film camera body...)

Got it because I have a slew of Nikon lenses and film in the fridge. It costes lest than a roll of film and processing. So what the heck? The batteries costes almost as much as the camera.

Are these 2000's plastic fantastic mid-level SLRs the new film bargains? On Amazon, sellers are asking $25-30 for film tested ones with replaced seals. Plus Amazon return policy (which is why I took my chances and went cheap...)
Nick,

Your question, "Are film SLRs from the 2000's the new "find" in film photography?", is true for some of us for exactly the reasons you mentioned. My F80 is the real deal plastic fantastic! I have several other Nikons from the early days of AF and they work wonderfully well! Right now I am working on expired Ektachrome with the .
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Old 03-15-2019   #4
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They are, but OTOH the appeal is not the same as mechanical cameraa (classic and hip) or P&S (compact and stylish).
An example I have is the nikon F80, which I got rather cheap with a kit zoom. It sadly died due to saltwater exposure -- but its proce allowed riskier behaviour shooting.

Replaced with an F90 and F801 that I got as bundle for 20 quid a body. Prosumer range, but rather clunky in some ways. F90 was described as "VCR styled" by Ken Rockwell.
OTOH the pro level cameras get more attention, F4 for example. I remember some youtubers almost simultaneously posted reviews of it.

Very capable cameras and the pinnacle of automation, but not attractive.
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Old 03-15-2019   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dave lackey View Post
Nick,

Your question, "Are film SLRs from the 2000's the new "find" in film photography?", is true for some of us for exactly the reasons you mentioned. My F80 is the real deal plastic fantastic! I have several other Nikons from the early days of AF and they work wonderfully well! Right now I am working on expired Ektachrome with the .
It seems to me -- as a guy who's been in/out of film photography for a long time since the advent of digital, that the used camera market has "trends". Rangefinders remain pretty consistant but cameras like the Olympus 35 SP (as one example) went for some high prices a few years back but seems to have fallen out of favor. Meanwhile, prices for point-n-shoots have shot up etc.

But newer SLRs seem to be quite deflated. C'mon. $9.00? Film tested ones for $25? Ones with a kit lens not much more? Say what you will about rangefinders etc. New(er) is new(er). And these had features that blow away any point-n-shoot many of which are going for $100's of dollars now. And they simply have decades less wear than the classic rangefinders.

These were in production in 2006. I have underwear older than this! (Or is that TMI?)
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Old 03-15-2019   #6
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Yes Nick... it’s only a matter of time before certain versions of these gain value. All you need is a celebrity to use one or for some photo star to swear it gives him or her some magic. Haha.
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Old 03-15-2019   #7
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I have been on this road a while now. Heading for the big six-five, the number of keepers with my manual focus classic SLR's has gone down a bit. Auto focus is now my friend
Had a Nikon N65 and sold it. Loved the small size and I got some great photos with it.
Picked up a Nikon N80 with battery grip,kit lens,polarizer and a leather case for peanuts.
Also grabbed a Nikon N70 data back for a tenspot. It has the fake panorama blind in the shutter. I use it with a 24mm or a 28mm as a poor mans Xpan. Last I got a Minolta Maxxum HTSI for twelve bucks. Manual,shutter,aperture and program settings and a top shutter of 1/4000 second. Yes it is plastic, but I can use the great Maxxum glass with it.
Lots of good stuff out there for very little coin if you just want some new toys.
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Old 03-15-2019   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsrockit View Post
Yes Nick... itís only a matter of time before certain versions of these gain value. All you need is a celebrity to use one or for some photo star to swear it gives him or her some magic. Haha.
Exactly, Terry Richardson starts shooting one prices shoot to $300.
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Old 03-15-2019   #9
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These days I don't know anymore who does use film for real. Few real film photogs like Janku. With M. The rest is film status showers. It can't be 9$ camera, it has no status. Well, some old people as well, who still thinks it must be all mechanical and manual. Those are totally F.

I think, young ones, those few who getting into the film, they might rediscover SLRs from the end.
I'm enjoying my EOS300. It works and it works with modern flashes and all current and from the past EF lenses. Those are 20$ cameras. Recently discovered rechargable batteries for it.
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Old 03-15-2019   #10
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HA yeah well referring to Terry will not result in more modeling bookings these days..

But as to the OP premise yes there are plenty of these types of film AF SLRs that are around. What I like about them is an easy entry into a lens line, lots of Pentax and Canon as well as Minolta that all have some very compelling glass to match them. Lots of the standard 'kit' lenses had lots of modern lens designs thrown in them and have a tremendous price to performance ratio.
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Old 03-15-2019   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NickTrop View Post
With film point-n-shooters (many of them) asking silly prices and which are quite old and more or less disposable consumer items. And with the ever-aging base 60's and 70's era rangefinders reaching the very tail end of their lives (nothing lasts forever)...

Are film SLRs from the 2000's the new "find" in film photography? To wit -- just picked up a Nikon N75 for $9.00 (on Amazon, yet). Just the body. In a box (we shall see what we shall see when it arrives...)

Plastic, granted. But the camera has a slew of modern features and, well, while it ain't new, it also ain't as old as a Yashica GSN or some such. It autofocuses, has autofocus points, PSAM etc... Production run from 2003-2006 so while "old" it ain't "that" old (for a film camera body...)

Got it because I have a slew of Nikon lenses and film in the fridge. It costes lest than a roll of film and processing. So what the heck? The batteries costes almost as much as the camera.

Are these 2000's plastic fantastic mid-level SLRs the new film bargains? On Amazon, sellers are asking $25-30 for film tested ones with replaced seals. Plus Amazon return policy (which is why I took my chances and went cheap...)
Well yes, if you just want to take pictures. But for us MMM (metal, manual, mechanical) snobs, who love to caress our cameras, fondle them as it were, these plasto-blob battery dependent abominations just won't do you see. This kind of attitude will keep them cheap for those smart enough to see their real value.
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Old 03-15-2019   #12
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The Voigtlander (Cosina) Bessaflex TM "M42 Mount" SLR. Made in the early 2000s and modeled after the Ď60s Topcon. I have the silver model and it suits my needs just fine.

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Old 03-15-2019   #13
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60s-70s era RFs aren’t near the ‘very’ end. It really depends on how well/poorly individual units were cared for. Recently sold a couple restored Canonet Ql17s for good coin. They will last a couple more decades at least, unless abused.

That said there are some really great AF SLRs from the late 90s/early 2000s that are well-built- F100s, Contax N1, and not terribly pricey
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Old 03-15-2019   #14
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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.
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Old 03-15-2019   #15
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I do like to use my film cameras along with current digital gear:



and

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Old 03-15-2019   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markjwyatt View Post
I am not interested. I like the 1960s to early 80s mechanical SLRs, else I go with a modern digital. There may be a few gems in there though.
1+

Back in 1995, bought a Nikon FM2-T new and it has never failed me.

If I had to choose one film SLR right now, it would be the petite OM3/4 or Nikon FM2 or FM3a. The Olympus viewfinder is quite the revelation.

As mentioned by the OP, P&S cameras like Contax fetch stupid money; Kyocera no longer services them so they're pricey paperweights when their ancient electronics (will invariably) fail. The upside is that MS Optics can convert the lens to M mount and it gets a 2nd life.
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Old 03-15-2019   #17
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plastic fantastic is less likely to be repairable (but still probably more repairable than the mechanical diehards think), but it's classic in its own way. vintage 80s and 90s tech has a unique look to it.

helmut newton shot with a canon eos 100 and eos 5, among many other cameras.
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Old 03-15-2019   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markjwyatt View Post
I am not interested. I like the 1960s to early 80s mechanical SLRs, else I go with a modern digital. There may be a few gems in there though.
Same. Part of the film experience I enjoy is the manual focus and film winder lever to be honest. I have no desire for a loud, autofocus plastic SLR camera.

That said, I may add a F100 to my collection to shoot my current D/G lenses on
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Old 03-15-2019   #19
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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.


A couple of years ago I got an N80s, and liked it just as well, though it has slightly less capability than the N90s. But it is a little smaller, and has better styling for my tastes. It's actually not far removed from the first digital bodies that Nikon produced as far as looks are concerned since it came out towards the end of the film body era. I do pick up any 50/55, 60/65, and 70/75 bodies if I come across them, and they are not in the collection, because they are dirt cheap now days.



The one film body I really want to get is the FM3A, the final embodiment of the FM/FE series with everything that came before it included in one camera, and introducing a hybrid shutter mech that ran on batteries, or not. You had the electronics for aperture preferred operation, or could work it full manual when the batteries died. Can't do that with an M7.


The biggest problem with using P&S cameras is that eventually they fail, either electronically, or just due to plastic fatigue. Which is too bad because there were a lot of them made with decent lenses. It's when they got fancier controls, and all the subsequent buttons that the failure rate went up because there was no dust or weather sealing, and stuff got inside to destroy them. I ruined at least two fine P&S cameras by having them in my shirt pocket on a hot summer day.


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Old 03-15-2019   #20
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Interesting question. If I may add a thought.

This huge revival in film has all happened since 2008, during a period of tremendous money expansion. From City salaries and stock prices to vintage wrist watches and cameras, even coffee tables and desk lamps at ď1st DibsĒ have all seen big price jumps. ďIrrational exuberanceĒ, Allen Greenspan famously called a similar phenomenon back in the late 90s. I donít know if the plastic fantastics have the cache to catch the wave, but Iím very interested to see if the whole thing can survive the next recession. I have a feeling it will not and there will be a big contraction in the vintage film camera market.
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Old 03-15-2019   #21
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Hmm. Well, most of the cheaper plastic fantastic cameras had cheap viewfinders that were difficult to focus manually with. Not a big deal if you are going to use AF most of the time, but I prefer to focus manually. They still could take good photos.
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Old 03-15-2019   #22
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I was only having this discussion the other day with the owner of an old camera shop which has gone from being a curio shop to hip in three years. He sells as many P&Ss as he can lay his hands on, ditto Pentax K1000s (city with two university degrees in photography), but the plastic fantastics linger - well, one fewer as I bought it.

Some of them really are very plasticky, and the epitome of anti-styling - most photographers are interested in aesthetics after all - but things like the mid range Eos and the Nikon F90s etc are immensely capable things. Is it a matter of time, possible, but everybody young I've spoken to who is into film is doing it as an antidote to the point phone and capture selfie. So I wonder if it is as much the ease and capability of these things that makes them less desirable as well as their absence of simple style that appeals to the Apple generation.

Meanwhile I am rather enjoying using them for not a lot and if they go wrong, who cares?
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Old 03-15-2019   #23
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There is zero charm to those sticky backed plasto cameras which is why they only appeal to people who like the idea of paying more for the batteries than the cameras.
Metal mechanical cameras have a feeling of history, permanence and quality. P&S cameras have a feeling of carefree joy.
DSLRs (disposable single lens reflex) film cameras feel like a stepping stone between "here Honey look what I bought for you" and the trash can.

No-one cares if they can take great pictures, as no-one (ok maybe 5 guys who need to get out more) likes using them.

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Old 03-15-2019   #24
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I treat cameras as tools and there are the right tools for the right trade. I have a Barnack Leica that I rarely use, it slows me down when I need to act fast - the cheap plastic EOS5 or F90x get the job done for me.

I wouldn't hesitate buying those cheap cameras if they work well and use them. At the end of the day, the pictures I bring back home are the most important, not the camera I took them with.
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Old 03-16-2019   #25
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Gear or photographs?

One man's junk is another man's treasure.

This brand or that brand?

Rangefinder or SLR?

Follow your own path or the crowd?

Just pictures, or Art?

It is interesting how all threads rise or sink to the same common denominator. Preferences.

The OP has "rediscovered" a sub-market of inexpensive gear. I have had those cameras since they were new. Now, in 2019, all the darlings/icons of the gear world, those beautiful Leicas, are gone as are the Rolleiflexes and Hasselblads. But the older Nikons, some metal and some plastic, remain. Total net worth of those cameras is probably only a few hundred dollars.

And yet, I am making images and memories everyday and enjoying the experiences more.

Preferences. We all have them and all is good. These days I enjoy the latest technology to use it for my purposes, and I am just as happy with my old $25 Nikkormat. Why? Because I am free to create what I want and how I prefer to do it. Freedom is a wonderful thing.
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Old 03-16-2019   #26
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Certainly plastic SLRs can be found for peanuts, much better value here (Sydney) than p&s cameras - but they're only bargains if good, inexpensive lenses can be found for them, unless you already have a collection of legacy lenses. The temptation to build a small prime collection for every bargain SLR camera could easily get out of hand.
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Old 03-16-2019   #27
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Last time I looked, many metal and mechanical SLRs were still very affordable (e.g., SRT, FTb, ect.). Film SLRs still a great value compared to their original price, and the going price for rangefinders.
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Old 03-16-2019   #28
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The problem is pro or semi pro SLRs from the 90s are so cheap why bother looking at lower level bodies shame really. In the last couple of months I've bought an EOS 5 and a F90x both for around £25 and both built to a high level with good features and even good autofocus.
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Old 03-16-2019   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yokosuka_Mike View Post
The Voigtlander (Cosina) Bessaflex TM "M42 Mount" SLR. Made in the early 2000s and modeled after the Ď60s Topcon. I have the silver model and it suits my needs just fine.
Sounds interesting. Just checked... $500 on the auction site. Oops, no longer of interest here.
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Old 03-16-2019   #30
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N90s is good and inexpensive now, but F100 is even better.
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Old 03-16-2019   #31
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A Nikon N75 kit with a 50 and chipped 3.5/28 is lighter than my equivalent M6 kit. And not much larger.

I have 4 N75's at present (plus other AF and MF Nikons and two F2's in excellent condition.) I use them mostly with manual focus lenses.
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Old 03-16-2019   #32
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I had a Canon EOS 1n for a brief while (3~ months) and if I were honest, I would tell you I shot more photos I kept than with Leicas etc. due to it being quicker and easier to make a well-timed, exposed, composed photo of things that happen in a fleeting moment. Photos of our Dog (since passed.) running around etc.

Photographers are a fickle bunch, they want the credit of taking a good photo in addition to having a good photo. After all, what Cameras did Cartier-Bresson use? Or Bert Hardy? They certainly didn't use an automatic focusing and exposing Nikon (with bells and whistles.)

I understand I am talking about people who like photographs, not cameras, on a forum about cameras. I am myself included in those people.

Why do you think I don't use it anymore...?
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Old 03-16-2019   #33
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Quote:
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Last time I looked, many metal and mechanical SLRs were still very affordable (e.g., SRT, FTb, ect.). Film SLRs still a great value compared to their original price, and the going price for rangefinders.
I purchased Nikkomar for 24 cad locally. Just because of the all ravings on forums about it. It came with huge flash, huge hard case and zoom manual.
It works, but as usual with all affordable old mechanical SLRs, no seals and to get to seal pooping at the focus screen, camera needs to be disasmbled.
My plastic EOS300 is superior to this forums fuss item. In all aspects.

Oh, I also fixed FTb after getting it and let it go quick. Another inferior camera if you are into photography.
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Old 03-16-2019   #34
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I bought a Contax N1 with the Planar 50/1.4N to satisfy my dream of owning one when I was priced out at the time. I loaded it with Tmax 400 and off to target practice. Then it all came rushing back why I got into rangefinders in the first place. The Planar whirls back and forth minimum focus/infinity/minimum focus/infinity/minimum focus until eureka the green light glows and a shot is made. I’ll take the ground glass and light meter thank you very much. If I ever buy another late model film body it would be the F6 for the manual focus confirmation or the EOS 1n or 1v for the only truly decent AF technology in a film body. But these are no $50 bargains.
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Old 03-16-2019   #35
lxmike
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Pentax mz5n , a great camera, plastic and takes all my pentax smc m series k glass
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Old 03-16-2019   #36
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I use two Pentax P3n bodies, they have to have batteries. But the batteries last forever. What I like about them is they are very small, have split image finders, with manual lens you can have Auto-Shutter, and with an 'A' stetting lens you can set it to full manual. They also are meter connected to full manual match. The big thing is they don't have a screen. I don't like the no DX adjustment, and the only 1/100 flash synch.

Here it is next to a 6x7:

Two SLRs by John Carter, on Flickr
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Old 03-16-2019   #37
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Forgot to mention the nikone f801, a sold beast nut a great camera
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Old 03-16-2019   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NickTrop View Post
Exactly, Terry Richardson starts shooting one prices shoot to $300.
Here in Chile they go for a lot more $ than in the US and young people are buying them. However, that is because they are cheaper still than the more desirable cameras.
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Old 03-16-2019   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huss View Post
There is zero charm to those sticky backed plasto cameras which is why they only appeal to people who like the idea of paying more for the batteries than the cameras.
They will soon be popular... because they are different. The next generation will think they are awesome looking in a retro way. It is sure to happen.
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Old 03-16-2019   #40
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I have what many would consider an insane amount of vintage manual SLR and rangefinder 35mm cameras, and I enjoy using them. But when I know that I need to get the shot, the camera that is most often in my hands is this Nikon F90. It is not fancy or flashy, but it is a solid, dependable camera with excellent metering that does everything that I want to do, with virtually every Nikkor lens ever made. It just works.

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