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Nikon F3 vs Canon F1 vs Minolta X1/XK
Old 10-18-2018   #1
giganova
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Nikon F3 vs Canon F1 vs Minolta X1/XK

I'm searching for an SLR that I can keep with me in my bag on a daily basis and I wouldn't have to worry too much if something happens (unlike my Leicas that I sometimes baby too much).

Love the "industrial" design of the flagships of the 80s, the Nikon F3, Canon F1 or Minolta X1/XK. These beasts are so ugly, love them!

Do you guys have an opinion on -- or better: experience with -- any of these monsters? All I know is that the F3 is probably the smallest and lightest of the bunch, but also the more expensive one, and the 1st version of the F1 had a mechanical shutter. As a cheaper alternative, I'm considering an FM or FM2 for lightness, compactness and the mechanical shutter.

What do you think?



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Old 10-18-2018   #2
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Giganova, I've used both the Canon F1 & the Nikon line. The F3 has a great high eypoint finder. I never had problems with them, but always preferred the mechanical cameras. It seems as though F3s & good FM2s are about the same price on ebay. There is a great choice of lenses for either at good prices for the older ones.
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Old 10-18-2018   #3
xayraa33
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The Canon F1 N shown there is not exactly a bargoon compared to many pro level film SLRs going for a song these last decade and a half.

I seen many Nikon F3s selling for much cheaper than the Canon F1N
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Old 10-18-2018   #4
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My experience has been that the F3 is easier to use than the New F-1. It just feels better in your hand. The winding is much different than the Canon, too. No experience with the Minolta...good luck!
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Old 10-18-2018   #5
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Used the original Canon F-1 for about 15 years and never had a problem. Now have the F-3 Nikon and the FM2n. All work well; the FM2 and the Canon do not required batteries except for the meter; the F-3 does. I had no problems with any of them, but the F-3's meter readout is sometimes difficult to see, something that never happened with the Canon or the FM2n. My only Minolta experience was with the much earlier manual focus cameras - 201 and 202, I believe. If I was concerned about weight and size, I would go with the FM2n. Otherwise, with no lenses governing my choice, I would go with the Canon.
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Old 10-18-2018   #6
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Daily carrying guy who shoots Leica...then I would get a FM or Oly OM or equivalent because of compactness.
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Old 10-18-2018   #7
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This really is a situation where it pays to try the cameras out before buying, The Nikon F3, Canon F-1 and Minolta XK are all excellent cameras, with each having their good points and bad points. Lot of personal preference involved here. If compactness and weight are important to you, I agree with the previous poster, consider the Olympus OM-1.

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Old 10-18-2018   #8
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I agree the Olympus is a good camera and small. I had the OM series for a short while and couldn't get used to having the shutter speeds in a ring around the rear of the lens mount. That's an especially problematic placement if you shoot during the winter and wear gloves. And the Canon F-1 I mentioned in my previous post was the original, not the F-1n.
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Old 10-18-2018   #9
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I have two F3Ps, and a Minolta XK.
I love the Minolta and it is a super cool, alternative option. But it was built in the era of the Nikon F2, not the F3, and so feels from that generation. The F3 feels and handles like a much more modern camera.
I have both the original AE (the Herman munster one) head as well as the 'superior' AE-S head for my XK. I actually prefer the AE head as the needle meter read out is much easier to see in most conditions.
The film wind on lever on the XK is much more solid feeling than the floppy light weight one on the F3, but the F3 is all sorts of awesome with the MD-4 motordrive.
For me the biggest reason to shoot the XK is to be able to use the fantastic 58mm 1.2 lens, and the 35-70 macro zoom.

None of these cameras (including F1) are small or light weight. If you want that, FM2 or some such thing would be much better.
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Old 10-18-2018   #10
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"As a cheaper alternative, I'm considering an FM or FM2 for lightness, compactness and the mechanical shutter."

As others mentioned, it is tough to beat the OLY OM 1 for the qualities that you requested.

Something else to consider : If it was not for compactness, the Canon FTb and the Minolta SRT series are readily available for a super low price and while not pro rated, they are still tough as nails.
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Old 10-18-2018   #11
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I have a couple of New F1 (that what the picture is) and have had F3 in the past never the minolta, in my opinion F3 is lighter than the New F1 but is far better made, I would agree with others better to go for something lighter like FM or OM, or even better a rangefinder!
good luck.
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Old 10-18-2018   #12
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Old 10-18-2018   #13
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Dear giganova,

«SLR that I can keep with me in my bag on a daily basis».

Hmmmm... If you have Rokkors, Nikkors, and Canon-lenses, there are many choices. Why not a Minolta SR-T101, e.g.? Ivor Matanle would definitely agree, I guess.

But Matanle would also say: Avoid an Olympus OM! It's much more fragile than all the other mentioned cameras.
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Old 10-18-2018   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sumarongi View Post
.....But Matanle would also say: Avoid an Olympus OM! It's much more fragile than all the other mentioned cameras.
If you’re a professional who beats up your cameras maybe, but for a general carry-with-you-wherever-you-go camera, the compact size and light weight of the OM-1 is hard to beat.

And this comes from a guy who owns a few Canon F-1’s and a Nikon F and F2. That all have their place, but right now I’m carrying a OM-1 loaded with a roll of Eastman 5222-XX. Nice street combo.

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Old 10-18-2018   #15
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I went with the Canon New F-1, but I still want a Pentax LX. You should add it to your list!
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Old 10-18-2018   #16
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Since our suggestions have been getting smaller/lighter....the Pentax LX is a gem....but my favourite user was the MX....almost the Leica M feel.....in terms of size & handling
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Old 10-18-2018   #17
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None of the above. I would go with a Nikon F2 over all these choices.
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Old 10-18-2018   #18
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HugoStudios Tan Morocco XK (2) by Nokton48, on Flickr

I've got to pipe in as I love my Minolta XK. It just got recovered with Hugostudios Moroccan tan leather. I had mine completely overhauled by Essex, right before the big hurricane wiped them out. Timing and Good Luck were everything in regards to that deal.

Who else fixes XK's? Just make sure you get a good one if you decide this way.
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Old 10-18-2018   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dogman View Post
None of the above. I would go with a Nikon F2 over all these choices.
I politely disagree.

I shot an F, F2, F2A, FM, and an F3, and I would take the F3 any day of the week over the rest of them. The F3 was probably my favorite film camera of all time. Just different strokes.....
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Old 10-18-2018   #20
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Awesome replies and much to this about!

How loud is the shutter on any of these cameras? I remember that I had an FM2 for a few weeks and found -- compared to Leica M or even R -- that the shutter was very loud.

Another super-sexy SLR is the R6, or course, but glass is very expensive.
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Old 10-18-2018   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by giganova View Post
Awesome replies and much to this about!

How loud is the shutter on any of these cameras? I remember that I had an FM2 for a few weeks and found -- compared to Leica M or even R -- that the shutter was very loud.

Another super-sexy SLR is the R6, or course, but glass is very expensive.
"I'm searching for an SLR that I can keep with me in my bag on a daily basis and I wouldn't have to worry too much if something happens (unlike my Leicas that I sometimes baby too much). "
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Old 10-18-2018   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by giganova View Post
Awesome replies and much to this about!

How loud is the shutter on any of these cameras? I remember that I had an FM2 for a few weeks and found -- compared to Leica M or even R -- that the shutter was very loud.

Another super-sexy SLR is the R6, or course, but glass is very expensive.
Well, cloth focal plane is less loud than metal focal plane -- and IMHO, Minolta cameras (including the Leica R -- despite metal focal plane shutters), are less loud than anything Canon and Nikon made

Wait, you haven't mentioned another super-sexy camera: the Leicaflex (Leicaflex SL, Leicaflex SL2) -- super robust, 1/2000th, plus cloth focal plane shutter!
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Old 10-18-2018   #23
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I own the XK, F3 and FM2n. They are all very different cameras.

One thing you may want to consider is which meter style you like. The XK has a match needle versus the +- indicators on those two Nikons. If you prefer match needle meters you’d need to go back to earlier Nikons; the F, F2 or FM.

Another thing to consider is size and weight. XKs are big! And heavy! So are Fs and F2s. For a daily carry, unless you need the extra features of a press-corps camera, the FM or FM2 (or Minolta SRT-101, 102, 202, etc...) will be a lot easier on your shoulder.

And ANOTHER thing to consider is that, as much as I love the XK (and I love it a lot), XKs are starting to show their age and, because they weren’t made in large numbers, it’s very hard to find parts and even harder to find techs who’ll work on them. You’ll have a much easier time servicing any Nikon model or the much more common Minolta SRTs.

The good news is: every one of these cameras are excellent performers with great lenses available for them so it’s not like you’re really going to make a bad choice.
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Old 10-18-2018   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sumarongi View Post
Well, cloth focal plane is less loud than metal focal plane -- and IMHO, Minolta cameras (including the Leica R -- despite metal focal plane shutters), are less loud than anything Canon and Nikon made

Wait, you haven't mentioned another super-sexy camera: the Leicaflex (Leicaflex SL, Leicaflex SL2) -- super robust, 1/2000th, plus cloth focal plane shutter!
The Minolta XD-11 (with vertical-travel METAL shutter) was the design model for the entire Leica R series and is easily the quietest SLR I’ve ever used. An awesome camera but it definitely does not have the battle tank looks that OP seems to like.
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Old 10-18-2018   #25
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My choice would be Nikon. For me the fact that there is a wider compatibility of lenses and bodies given the Nikon lens mount, is a big plus.

Joe
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Old 10-18-2018   #26
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I've owned a Nikon F3HP and the Canon NEW F-1 you have pictured above. A lot would depend on what lenses you have. All things being equal, I liked the Canon better than the Nikon, but it was close, and if you have a bunch of Nikon glass, then I'd go that way. Neither is a bad choice. Never had or used the Minolta.

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Old 10-18-2018   #27
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001 by Nokton48, on Flickr

The XK body styling is very similar to the SRTs.
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Old 10-18-2018   #28
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Quote:
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001 by Nokton48, on Flickr
Geez...just loan em one of yours so he can see if he likes it or not.
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Old 10-19-2018   #29
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I fancied a new F1n for years before I actually held one next to an f3hp. No contest, felt like a crude brick in comparison. And Minolta stuff is finnicky and the lenses far overrated. F3hp for me.
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Old 10-19-2018   #30
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Exactly!
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Old 10-19-2018   #31
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I fancied a new F1n for years before I actually held one next to an f3hp. No contest, felt like a crude brick in comparison. And Minolta stuff is finnicky and the lenses far overrated. F3hp for me.
«Minolta stuff is finnicky and the lenses far overrated»?

Uhhhhm, I guess you presume Leitz chose Minolta as their partner some 45 years ago because they're congenially «finnicky and the lenses far overrated»?
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Old 10-19-2018   #32
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I got a F3HP and its a fantastic camera, I wear glasses and its the best viewfinder I have ever tried. Shutter sound is a bit loud but I love this camera.
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Old 10-19-2018   #33
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Quote:
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«Minolta stuff is finnicky and the lenses far overrated»?

Uhhhhm, I guess you presume Leitz chose Minolta as their partner some 45 years ago because they're congenially «finnicky and the lenses far overrated»?
Yup, and I stand by what I said. Mostly personal experience. I wanted to like the cameras and lenses but was left quite disappointed.
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Old 10-19-2018   #34
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I've owned all three (F3 F1 XK).

Prefer XK. Never disappointed.
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Old 10-19-2018   #35
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DSC04450 (1) by Nokton48, on Flickr

Rokkor glass has never disappointed me, either.

If you don't need interchangeable screens, and heads, there is also the XE-7. And the XE-1.

001 by Nokton48, on Flickr
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Old 10-19-2018   #36
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Rokkor glass has never disappointed me, either.
Me, either. My Minolta experiences have all been positive, but I can see how someone's perception of a brand could be forever tainted if they experience a bad example of one of that company's products. To each their own....

Quote:
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If you don't need interchangeable screens, and heads, there is also the XE-7.
True (and also a camera I own and love very much) but finding one in good working order is no easy task any more and it's even harder to find parts for these than the XK. I'm a big Minolta fan boy and the XK and XE are among my favorites but shopping for an XK or an XE-7 is not for the feint of heart.
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Old 10-19-2018   #37
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Me, either. My Minolta experiences have all been positive, but I can see how someone's perception of a brand could be forever tainted if they experience a bad example of one of that company's products. To each their own....

Agree 100%

That is why, I have so many SRTs, and only one XK, and one XE-7.
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Old 10-19-2018   #38
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Rokkor lenses always gave me some very pleasing results from all the Japanese lens makers and I own many Canon and Zuiko and even Nikkor lenses and even have some Takumars.

Rokkor made lenses are the closest to the famous make German lenses in the way they draw. But the old Takumar lenses get my vote for being the best built.
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Old 10-19-2018   #39
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The perfect camera for everyday carry is a Leica M, why not just get some insurance and use the camera you already have?
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Old 10-19-2018   #40
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Canon F-1N is a really nice complement to a Leica, for me. Similar level of solidity if you get a well cared-for/serviced copy, and that matte black paint feels wonderful/brasses nicely. Though the electronics in the F-1N can and do fail, my first one bricked itself over the course of a few months (may have just had a particularly abused copy though).
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