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The built-like-a-tank SLR of your choice
Old 07-17-2018   #1
johannielscom
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The built-like-a-tank SLR of your choice

Hey,

Recommend me an SLR that is tough as nails in every aspect and won't break (the bank)?

My backpacking daughter takes SLRs on her trip and even manages to wreck a Chinon Memotron CE-II, which is a pretty tough camera already. So any advice on a tough-as-nails camera that preferably can also withstand a bit of beach sand is very welcome. Student's backpacking budget, so please no recommendations of the top line Nikon or Canon SLR...? Internal meter required and anything else is up for debate except build quality
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Old 07-17-2018   #2
Gerry M
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If Nikon F2 is over budget, then maybe Nikkormat or Spotmatic?
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Old 07-17-2018   #3
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It may not look it, but the Pentax P30T is actually a pretty tough camera.
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Old 07-17-2018   #4
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Soviet SLR are tanks but always a gamble when it comes to shutter accuracy and possible light leaks due to insufficient black paint etc.
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Old 07-17-2018   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johannielscom View Post
Hey,

Recommend me an SLR that is tough as nails in every aspect and won't break (the bank)?

My backpacking daughter takes SLRs on her trip and even manages to wreck a Chinon Memotron CE-II, which is a pretty tough camera already. So any advice on a tough-as-nails camera that preferably can also withstand a bit of beach sand is very welcome. Student's backpacking budget, so please no recommendations of the top line Nikon or Canon SLR...? Internal meter required and anything else is up for debate except build quality
Nikkormat FT3/50mm f2 Nikkor and a plastic food container to protect it from sand when not in use.
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Old 07-17-2018   #6
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Question. Does she pay for her gear or do you buy it for her?

Mini-rant here, but when I was 10 and got my first camera, I treasured it.
I took it everywhere. Back packing, camping, cycling etc. Never broke anything.

Fast forward.. remembering how much I loved my first camera I bought my nephew a Fuji Instax. After one week it was literally in pieces. Kid didn't care, parents didn't care. Am I really that old that I am from a generation of people who took care of their stuff?

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Old 07-17-2018   #7
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Minolta SRT101 or other SRT. Everybody has a preference. I have about ten or so of them. Easy to get fixed quickly.

Build quality is very good. Keep it is a large ziploc bag when around blowing sand.
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Old 07-17-2018   #8
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Contaflex Super -- dropped it more than once while hiking in the Grand Canyon
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Old 07-17-2018   #9
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Old 07-17-2018   #10
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Had a Canon F-1n for many years, and as my buddy used to tease me, "You could drive nails with that camera." It was pretty bulletproof, with a 50mm f1.4 FD lens. Only problem now is the mercury batteries can't be bought, so the built in light meter will have issues.

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Old 07-17-2018   #11
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Get a Zenit 12XP with the Helios 58 f/2. I used one for years and years, dropped it countless of times and still worked well.
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Old 07-17-2018   #12
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Why no love for the Topcon SLR cameras? They ARE tough as nails and really nice. Lens are amazing and not that expensive.

My favorite is Topcon RE-2


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Old 07-17-2018   #13
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Nikon F4 hands down. Pretty darn indestructible, takes normal AA batteries, but possibly over-budget.
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Old 07-17-2018   #14
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You should be able to find a used Nikon F or F2 for not too much cash. For an automatic, AF model that you can beat the devil out of and it will still keep ticking, a Canon EOS 1n is a hockey puck. For less money--Pentax Spotmatic, Nikkormat, Minolta SRT101/201, Canon F1n, Canon FTb, even the Leicaflex. Really lots of great old film SLRs now available cheap.
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Old 07-17-2018   #15
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Original Nikon F or Canon F1. Why bother with any other's when the original pro bodies are still the best. If auto exposure, then the Nikon F3 as I believe they made more of them then any other pro Nikon.
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Old 07-17-2018   #16
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Pentax MX. Small size but super dense.

Carried to beaches many times. Also to swamps and forests and hills. Still good.
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Old 07-17-2018   #17
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Pentax K1000...
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Old 07-17-2018   #18
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A variation on a Pentax p30 and k1000:

If you don't care about building a system, you could look at the Olympus om101. I used one for fifteen years: Just stuck it somewhere in my backpack, wrapped in a sweater.

Very cheap to get 2nd hand, very nice finder, not too old, zamac frame with hard plastic covers and powered with four baby penlite batteries. The smooth hard plastic outside with no dials that stick out makes it easy to move around in a backpack without the risk its own weight rests on the shutter speed dial.

Cons: peculiar focusing with a thumbnail and you need an add-on adapter to get M and A mode, just like the om10. And the motor winder buzzes a bit too loud. And not compatible with regular OM lenses, very unfortunately (they fit, but don't stop down).

Canon t50 could be nice as well, with plenty to choose in lenses.
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Old 07-17-2018   #19
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The OLYMPUS XA 1 is a tough and simple camera with a great performance to size ratio. It fits in a pocket and works well in rain, freezy weather or warm sunshine.

But if she has to have an SLR, then the Praktica L series has been my choice of carefree camera that keeps on working with no thought to looking after it.
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Old 07-17-2018   #20
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Nikon F and learn how to guess exposures. One less thing to go wrong/run out of batteries.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 07-17-2018   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nukecoke View Post
Pentax MX. Small size but super dense.

Carried to beaches many times. Also to swamps and forests and hills. Still good.
I second the MX, it's small but tough, with an amazing viewfinder.
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Old 07-17-2018   #22
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Hehe everyone recommends their favorite SLR. But does it really have to be an SLR, if she doesn't change lenses or do macro? I'd go with a Konica off-road, Fuji equivalent or Nikonos. Tougher and lighter.

Or any less tough point&shoot that's cheap enough to risk it. At least lighter.
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Old 07-17-2018   #23
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Trying to hold a Nikonos steady while releasing the shutter is why I don't miss mine. An ergonomic disaster, though indeed rather tougher than old boots. But surely the reason why we are recommending SLRs is... well... look at the OP's question.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 07-17-2018   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timmyjoe View Post
Had a Canon F-1n for many years, and as my buddy used to tease me, "You could drive nails with that camera." It was pretty bulletproof, with a 50mm f1.4 FD lens. Only problem now is the mercury batteries can't be bought, so the built in light meter will have issues.

Best,
-Tim
+1. That's exactly how the salesman sold it to me. Batteries easily dealt with by using a CRIS adapter. Or get F1N -- different batteries.

Tolerance to sand is another matter. FTb might have fewer crevices.
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Old 07-17-2018   #25
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If you want an SLR that is good for hammering in fence posts, smashing down doors and demolishing outbuildings I recommend a Leicaflex SL MOT. Problem is that you may need to improve upper body strength to lug the thing around.
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Old 07-17-2018   #26
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Quote:
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Nikon F and learn how to guess exposures. One less thing to go wrong/run out of batteries.

Cheers,

R.
Absolutely agree on this. Make sure it is the meterless prism version.

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Old 07-17-2018   #27
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Quote:
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Nikkormat FT3/50mm f2 Nikkor and a plastic food container to protect it from sand when not in use.
+1 ^^^^. I also think the Pentax Spotmatic is a pretty tough camera, and may cost a little less than the Nikkormat.
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Old 07-17-2018   #28
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Quote:
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It may not look it, but the Pentax P30T is actually a pretty tough camera.
I have two one from new, I bought the second if the first went south. So far many years of service. Plus, a layout that I like.
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Old 07-17-2018   #29
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I also recommend the Nikkormat FT2 (takes Silver Oxide Batt's) or the Minolta SRT series and a 50mm F2 Nikkor. Dirt cheap and awesome.
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Old 07-17-2018   #30
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Old 07-17-2018   #31
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I’m a Nikon guy and I recommend the FM2N. If I were to take a 35mm SLR backpacking, that would be my choice. Extremely tough and reliable and also lightweight. You need to use the older lenses which is a plus - you want to be able to focus yourself and not rely on power to focus your lens. The older AIS lenses are pretty compact and bombproof.
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Old 07-17-2018   #32
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Kiev 60 TTL - built like a tank but with iffy film spacing.
Inexpensive.
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Old 07-17-2018   #33
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Quote:
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It may not look it, but the Pentax P30T is actually a pretty tough camera.
Pentax P30T and P3N are dirt cheap too - practically disposable.

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Old 07-17-2018   #34
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I loved using my Nikon F2 and Canon F1N. The F and the F1n may have been more solid, but the F2 and F1N were more fun to use.
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Old 07-17-2018   #35
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I loved using my Nikon F2 and Canon F1N. The F and the F1n may have been more solid, but the F2 and F1N were more fun to use.
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Old 07-17-2018   #36
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The Canon EF, the one that took FD lenses, was my go-to camera for decades. Usually with an 85mm 1.8 lens. I still have it but doesn't get much use. Built like a tank. Does not have an interchangeable viewfinder like the F1.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canon_EF_camera
Many are available in excellent shape since most pros used the F1s
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Old 07-17-2018   #37
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Old 07-17-2018   #38
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Where is no mechanical SLRs which will stand against not giving a crap about camera given by parents kids, especially on the beach. If not your kid, then next to yours will manage to drop it in the sand.
Even I dropped camera on the sand this weekend while kayaking with kids
Doesn't matter how this mechanical SLR build: it is sand and sand dust.

Get Konica off-road, they were build for it.
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Old 07-17-2018   #39
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I go the other way: One of the compact Nikons. When it gets smashed, replace with another one. The convenience of the lightweight camera outweighs extra ruggedness. And, the FM, FM2, FE2 are pretty solid. FG is too, until the electronics give up.
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Old 07-17-2018   #40
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Quote:
Student's backpacking budget
how much is that?
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