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Specific SLR choice
Old 09-09-2013   #1
NeeZee
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Specific SLR choice

So here is one for you SLR experts.

I'm pretty happy with my RF's, with my beloved Leica IIIf in particular, I still think it's the best camera ever made, but...

... being just back from vacation in France I decided to get a film SLR again (sold my Nikon FM and all lenses some 3 years ago) after playing with my gf's Nikon F3.

I don't really want an F3 though (and can't afford one at the moment anyway) - something like an FE2 or OM-2, just cheaper - I'm on a budget. So here's what I'm looking for:

Must haves:
- aperture priority (shutter priority might be ok as well)
- manual exposure mode
- easily accessible AE lock function
- price: body + 50mm (f1.7-2.0) standard lens < 50€
- all metal black body
- hefty construction, 'classic look' (thinking of the fe or om again)


Nice to have:
- no mercury cells
- shutter speed display in finder
- rather fe size than om size (I've got huge hands)

After some research I found the following:

- Minolta XE (my favourite so far as far as 'looks' are concerned but probably not cheaper than an FE esp. in black)
- Minolta XD7 (XD11) (looks cool and with some luck within my budget but body is on the small side I guess)
- various Canons (need some help there)
- Yashica FR1 (not sure about the quality)
- Konica Autoreflex T4 (lenses are supposed to be great but how about the bodies?)

Any comments on these? Do you know other (less common) brands/models?

I don't really care about the lens mount, by the way - not really planning on building a big system there (not yet ).

Thanks,
Thomas
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Old 09-09-2013   #2
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I don't know about European prices, but getting an FE-2 here with a lens for under $100 is not easy at all. I think you'll find the FE to be significantly less -- and it's a very nice camera also.

You mentioned the FE/OM as the basic type of camera you're looking for, but perhaps, given that you have large hands, a "full size" camera is more what you're looking for. In that event, something like the Canon A-1 is worth looking at, though "all metal" is not what you will get with a Canon, since they were the first to switch over to plastic bodies (well made, however). I have also had excellent luck with the Nikkormat EL.

I would not recommend the AE-1, because of the plastic issue and also because I've found that using it in manual mode is not very convenient.

Along those same lines, I would not bother with the Konica T4 -- I think it's frankly not nearly as well made as the earlier Konicas, notably the Autoreflex T3 (shutter priority, though so does not display shutter speeds in the viewfinder).

The OM-2 is an excellent choice, though it may be a little small for you. Even the basic OM-2 (not OM-2n) works well. I forget how it does autoexposure lock, but it does offer that feature.
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Old 09-09-2013   #3
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Mamiya Z series? you are limited to E series Mamiya lens though.
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Old 09-09-2013   #4
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have you tried a half case on an OM? it fixes the size problem for me. the OM-2sp is sort of the readhead stepchild of the single digit OM cameras but I love mine.

otherwise, Yashica.
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Old 09-09-2013   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KoNickon View Post
I would not recommend the AE-1, because of the plastic issue and also because I've found that using it in manual mode is not very convenient.
Manual mode on the A-1 is barely better. If a reasonably convenient metered manual mode is a requirement, the A-1/AE-1 and many other advanced multi-mode or shutter priority AE cameras from that period are no good choice. By contrast, most aperture priority AE cameras from that period have a fully functional metered manual mode.
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Old 09-09-2013   #6
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And you should also keep in mind that nearly all of these cameras will need some level of service. Keep an eye out for those that have been serviced.

My general thoughts on cameras:

- Nikon FE: I've owned this camera since I bought it new in 1979. Excellent camera with a plastic top deck. The only thing it's required has been new foam seals. It uses silver oxide batteries. You must have the film advance in the "standoff" position to take a photo. When it's flush against the body, it locks the shutter release. Battery dependent with just one manual speed plus B. I think this has the least-bright viewfinder of the bunch.

- Minolta XD11: I like this camera a lot. As I recall, it was the first to offer BOTH aperture- and shutter-priority autoexposure, as well as full manual exposure. It doesn't have a shutter lock, so you have to sure that nothing sits atop the camera and accidentally presses the shutter release. Bright viewfinder. Battery dependent with just one manual shutter speed plus B. It has an excellent feel. I like this camera a lot. Most of these cameras will need a new body covering. The original covering often shrinks.

- OM-2: Shutter speed dial is at the base of the lens. Body is a bit small. Quality of construction is excellent. Bright viewfinder. Shutter is one of the quieter ones of the bunch. Battery dependent - no battery, no taking photos. There is an on-off switch for the meter.

- Contax 139 Quartz/Yashica FX-D: Excellent camera that can take either Zeiss or Yashica lenses. Very bright viewfinder. The body covering almost always is worn and will need to be replaced. There is no on-off switch for the meter. It's aperture-priority autoexposure with a full range of manual speeds, which are selected using a collar around the film rewind crank. Battery dependent - no battery, no taking photos. The Zeiss lenses can be very pricey.

- Rolleiflex SL 35 E: I sometimes mention this, because I love this aperture-priority autoexposure camera and use it often with an f/1.8 Planar, a great all-purpose lens. However, finding one in proper working condition can be a major exercise in patience. The electronics can be wonky. And the mechanicals often seem to have some kind of problem. Battery dependent - just one manual shutter speed plus B. There is a shutter-release lock, which prevents the shutter button from being pushed down and turning on the meter inadvertently. Despite it being an orphaned camera system, the lenses still command a high amount. I think it took me three or four tries to find a camera that didn't have any electronic or mechanical problems.
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Old 09-09-2013   #7
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An OM-2 or OM-2n have a good aperture priority and metered manual set up. In metered manual it operates like a OM-1. They use regular S76 or equal silver oxide batteries, 2 of them.
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Old 09-09-2013   #8
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If you could get one for the price, I think that's a good option. Lot of camera for the money. I have an OM-2SP, which has the extra features I like and use, but I wouldn't turn my nose up at a 2 or 2n. Or an OM-1, for that matter, though that just has the matchneedle in the viewfinder.
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Old 09-09-2013   #9
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I would hang out for a user F3. i bought one for a friend last year 70 euro with a 50 and OK, it was brassed and the backlight didnt work but everything else was fine.
It's much nicer than an FE or FE2 and cheaper!
I only sold mine due to eyesight issues and inability to focus it. IMO Nikon's finest M/F slr. These F3's just keep going.....
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Old 09-09-2013   #10
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I would suggest to consider the overall effect that using a well made camera will have on your willingness to take photos. For me , the best camera of this kind is precisely Nikon F3 - best MF SLR ever made. If you say, you don't have the 150-200 EUR necessary in order to get one I suggest you sacrifice a couple weekends working, and you will save up for one. Worth it.
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Old 09-09-2013   #11
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Thanks a lot for all the replies so far! Some very interesting thoughts and recommendations, indeed. Never heard of the Mamiya Z series before - nice looking cameras - does anyone else have an opinion on these? By the way, my uncle gave me his Contax 137 MD a few years ago - i liked it but it died after just 2 rolls of film (i know these are ancient electronic devices and it could have happened with a nikon or olympus too, but well...).
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Old 09-09-2013   #12
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And just to make it clear: Handling the Nikon F3 made me considering an SLR again, but I don't really want one of them. I liked my FM better (simplicity at its finest, no awkward flash mount or digital shutter speed display), that's why I'm looking for a cheaper alternative to the FE...
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Old 09-09-2013   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nobbylon View Post
I would hang out for a user F3. i bought one for a friend last year 70 euro with a 50 and OK, it was brassed and the backlight didnt work but everything else was fine.
It's much nicer than an FE or FE2 and cheaper!
I only sold mine due to eyesight issues and inability to focus it. IMO Nikon's finest M/F slr. These F3's just keep going.....

While understanding the OP does not desire an F3 - the issue above can often be alleviated by the addition of a DK-17M to the high eyepoint finder.

Regarding the OM-2- i think the only way to lock the exposure is to shoot it in manual so if you want aperture priority and exposure lock at the same time you might be out of luck there.
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Old 09-09-2013   #14
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I really like my Minolta XE-7, XD-5, and XD-11.

The XE is a pretty hefty camera, one of the reasons I like it so much. MC and MD lenses are not very expensive unless you want some of the more exotic stuff.

The XD series are smaller. The shutter is nice and quite. They handle nicely too. I replaces the shrinking leather on one of mine with griptac from cameraleather.com. It feels nice in the hands.
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Old 09-09-2013   #15
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You should know that by the mid-1980s, nearly all camera makers were using plastic in their bodies in varying amounts.
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Old 09-09-2013   #16
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Quote:
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I really like my Minolta XE-7, XD-5, and XD-11.

The XE is a pretty hefty camera, one of the reasons I like it so much. MC and MD lenses are not very expensive unless you want some of the more exotic stuff.

The XD series are smaller. The shutter is nice and quite. They handle nicely too. I replaces the shrinking leather on one of mine with griptac from cameraleather.com. It feels nice in the hands.
Yeah, i considered the xd5 as well - they usually go for about 20-30 on German ebay. Never seen one in black, though (i know I'm a bit picky here ). And yes, the lenses are really cheap - going for a discontinued lens mount (aka not Nikon) might even make sense there...
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Old 09-09-2013   #17
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You should know that by the mid-1980s, nearly all camera makers were using plastic in their bodies in varying amounts.
I know, that's why I'd prefer one of the earlier (mid 70s to early 80s) models. And I wouldn't mind some minor plastic/rubber parts - i'm not expecting 'all metal' as in 'leica IIIf'
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Old 09-09-2013   #18
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Ricoh XR-series. XR-1 or XR-2, maybe XR-7 or Xr-10 Super for the old style shape, XR-20sp or XR-P for modern look. Or XR-X for all-auto-integrated-wind. Latter two models support TTL flash. Run on SR44 cells, XR-X takes AA size alkalines and rechargeables (officially). Basically, XR-P to me seems like X700, spec-wise. Access to Ricoh P-lenses (28mm, 50mm, 28-100/4 and some from 80-200 area) and any other K-mount lenses.
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Old 09-09-2013   #19
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I'd say look to the earlier '70s if it's metal you want -- the trend to smaller cameras like the OMs, the Nikon FM/FE and Canon As in the mid-70s was accompanied by increased use of plastic top and bottom decks. Take a look at the Konica T3 and Nikkormat EL -- good reliable cameras.
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Old 09-09-2013   #20
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Find a great camera and don't worry too much about the make and model. It's the individual camera's condition that is important in these old cameras. Around here they are giving Minoltas away and they made some great ones.
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Old 09-09-2013   #21
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XD7 was my first serious camera. Still have it and is a great camera for the money.
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Old 09-09-2013   #22
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I'm surprised you don't simply go for an FE or an FM -- they're selling in the US for less than $60 most of the time. You won't get a fifty with it in all likelihood but for 75 Euro or you could have the camera with the 50/1.8 Nikon E series lens, which is quite good. (The 35mm and 100mm E series lenses are also great).

Where I live and shop USA, (eBay and the like) the OM2 is more expensive than the FE/FM. The Minolta XE is a good choice but the XD's tend not to hold up, have electronic problems.
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Old 09-09-2013   #23
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I'd recommend the Konica T3 as you have big hands. The OM2 won't be the right fit for you. The body plus 50mm 1.7 (go for the old version with EE instead of AE on it) will give you that old-fashioned feeling with excellent image quality.

Similarly, a Nikon EL2 is made great and you'll be able to use AI lenses if and when you get a digital SLR.
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Old 09-09-2013   #24
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With your specs and being that you already own Leica I would get one of the R cameras.
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Old 09-09-2013   #25
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With your specs and being that you already own Leica I would get one of the R cameras.
His main spec was that he cannot afford a Nikon F3 with Nikon lens...
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Old 09-09-2013   #26
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Check out Nikon FG. Meets most of your criteria, especially price.
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Old 09-09-2013   #27
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Thanks again everyone!
As some of you said, I just really want to try an FE I think, so I'll just wait for a good deal on one. I might be able to get a working black body at around 50. The girlfriend still has a Nikon E Series 50mm she doesn't use, so I'd be ready to start and if it's fun I can still get other lenses...
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Old 09-10-2013   #28
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Looks like you have made your choice for some good reasons. But if you still have any doubts, you might want to check out the Fujica ST901. It doesn't get any love here at RFF, but is a good capable camera. Your criteria:
Must haves:
- aperture priority (shutter priority might be ok as well) - Has that from EV-3 to EV 18 at ISO 100.
- manual exposure mode - Manual mode from 1/60 to 1/1000 and B. Manual mode is mechanical, not dependent on batteries.
- easily accessible AE lock function - If you mean locking shutter release (which ativates the meter) so you can't run down batteries, it has that. If you mean exposure lock, no, it doesn't have that.
- price: body + 50mm (f1.7-2.0) standard lens < 50€ - I have no idea what they sell for in Europe.
- all metal black body - Hard to find one that isn't black body, but they do exist.
- hefty construction, 'classic look' (thinking of the fe or om again) - They sure do have that.


Nice to have:
- no mercury cells - Use a 544 battery, no mercury.
- shutter speed display in finder - Has that with led. Unlike most, for 1/1000 you get an actual 1000 by led, or for 1/30, you get 30 by led. So even in dim light, you know for sure what you are getting for a shutter speed. There is also an aperture reading with Fujica lenses, but it it not lighted.
- rather fe size than om size (I've got huge hands) - I don't know the size of the FE, but it is larger by a bit than an OM 10 I have.

Another advantage is that it is M42 mount, and will take any M42 mount unless there is a mechanical problem, such as some Mamiya lenses. You can use stop down aperture metering with the depth of field control, and lock it in DOF mode for ease of use.

As I said, they don't get any love here in RFF, but they are a good and durable camera. I have had my original one for a couple of years shy of 40. I have had no problems with it. The Fujinon lenses are a little expensive, but always worth every penny.

Probably even more features would be the Yashica FX 103. You might want to check it out, but I think the older M42 Yashica lenses are a little better, and the great Contax lenses sound like out of your budget.

Neither of the above are Nikons, but imho worth a look at least.
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Old 09-10-2013   #29
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I would like to suggest the OM-2S Program, with it's spot metering, aperture priority or full program modes. Plus is has manual operation at 1/60th and B in case the non-mercury batteries die.

An alternative could be the OM-40/OM-PC. It's a 'consumer' version of the OM-2S but it has the ESP metering which is unique to the OM line. Works splendidly for slides.
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Old 09-10-2013   #30
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I'm not trying to be tacky linking to a thread I started, but it seems to fit the requirements asked by the NeeZee.

To be exact: Mamiya NC1000. It's a system camera with unbelievably good lenses in its line up.

Pics and everything else you need: http://www.rangefinderforum.com/foru...d.php?t=119497
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Old 09-10-2013   #31
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Programs are for wimps. Buy a real SLR: no meter, no batteries. Nikon F!

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Old 09-10-2013   #32
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I agree with Roger.
Take the F.
The Camera with no Problems.
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Old 09-10-2013   #33
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Minolta is the choice. I would advice SRTs - very, very good focusing, extra heavy and large compared to XGs . I use XG 9 with a motor drive because my hands are not small. Lenses in MD mount are cheap and very different.
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Old 09-10-2013   #34
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Nikon FE: a very nice camera indeed
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Old 09-10-2013   #35
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Quote:
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Programs are for wimps. Buy a real SLR: no meter, no batteries. Nikon F!

Cheers,

R.
Nikon F? Doesn't that thing have advance/rewind levers and a back door? Totally wimpy...
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Old 09-10-2013   #36
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I just purchased a Olympus OM-4 and I really like it, it has a great meter
in it and it's build really well, but the OM1 and 2 are sweet as well.

Range

P.S. Take the batteries out of a OM-1 it's a real SLR as well.
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Old 09-10-2013   #37
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Nikon FE, FM, FM2, FM3 as budget allows. The OM crowd has it's followers, but all the lenses are getting long in tooth and are relatively harder to find than their Nikon conterparts. For the pure Nikon experience, an F or F2 with plain prism.
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