Camera Advice Needed: 1st SLR (film)?
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nanahachi

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hey all

having been given the gift of a camera for graduation (grad school), i could use some advice in picking one out. As of yet, i don't know a budget, and i know that really matters here. i'll try to post my budget as soon as it get a clue from the family. Also, after talking with resident expert StuartR and a few friends, I'm thinking along the lines of the following:

Canon Elan7NE (used) or a Nikon N80 (or similar) with a 50mm 1.4 lens, and a telephoto for zooming.

I want the ability to go fully manual (both zoom and focus), but want to be able to go fully auto too.

I am not looking for a digital camera, i'm interested in a celluloid fed (i.e. film) camera only.

Thanks so much for any help and suggestions.
 
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psychogentoo

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You really can't go wrong with either camera. I have the N65 with couple of different nikkor lenses. It takes awesome pictures....well...if I point it in the correct direction and focus...er..um...


I just wish the D70 would come down in price around the digital EOS...but I digress.

If all the fancy automatic features aren't needed then you may want to spend less on the camera body and spend the money you save on better lenses. Those Nikkor lenses are expensive...
 
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PSmith08

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The Nikon N80 is what I used in that bracket, but a used manual F3HP would be maybe the same in price, have the entire MF Nikkor stable (pre/post-AI) available, and be more rugged. However, since you want AF, I would go with the N80.

Here is a link for a good review of the N80.
 
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agile_one

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I've had a Nikon F70 for years, and wouldn't hesitate to recommend Nikon for film camera's. Just having access to that tremendous lens inventory, and body of knowledge of Nikon users is worth the price of admission.

Of course, Canon, Leica, Minolta, Olympus, etc owners feel the same way about their lines.
 
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Edwood

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Really, what's your budget? You will be spending far more money on lenses than you ever thought.

Also keep in mind that most of the more modern lenses are interchangeable (well, minus the whole crop factor for APS sized sensors) with their Digital SLR counterparts, so should you upgrade, you can still use the same lenses. The only company I know of that maintains the ultimate backwards compatibility with their lenses is Pentax. You can use lenses as far back as 1975 with the most recent DSLR's.

-Ed
 
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av98m2

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I had both the F80D and (borrowed)F90X (N80 and N90 in your part of the world). Both are excellent cameras, with the F90X being slightly better built. The F90X can also meter with the older AI/AIS lenses, the F80 can't. You might want to take that into account.

BTW, I eventually sold both and got me a FM3A.
 
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PSmith08

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Nikon has compatibility with mounting, focusing, and exposing with all lenses after the AI-conversion in '77. Some cameras allow their AI-tab to swing up and out of the way of the lens. Most AI/s lenses have the old aperture mounting shoe, and it isn't hard to get one if they don't.

On the newer bodies, AI-compatibility is a must, but non-chipped MF AI/s lenses will mount and expose, but you'll lose matrix metering--and in some cases, metering at all.

Since Nikon has taken the enormously bad decision to go entirely electronic, there are worries about long-term compatibility; however, those worries have been around since I first got into photography five years ago, when the D1x/D100 was going to absolutely kill film. They were wrong.

Quote:

Originally Posted by av98m2
BTW, I eventually sold both and got me a FM3A.


I really was not happy with Nikon's decision to stop producing F3s. The equipment had to have been amortized and it was not an R&D drain. The things are indestructible, expose spot on, and are compatible with all Nikon lenses except the execrable G-series.

In fact, I just did a test, my F3's on-camera meter vs. my Sekonic L398M, and the F3/398M agreed spot on. Those cameras are perfect. All the MF Nikons managed to be great. Something they haven't done since the FM3A.
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by PSmith08
I really was not happy with Nikon's decision to stop producing F3s. The equipment had to have been amortized and it was not an R&D drain. The things are indestructible, expose spot on, and are compatible with all Nikon lenses except the execrable G-series.

In fact, I just did a test, my F3's on-camera meter vs. my Sekonic L398M, and the F3/398M agreed spot on. Those cameras are perfect. All the MF Nikons managed to be great. Something they haven't done since the FM3A.



I must say (and I "must" as almost no one does as it is almost heresy) although Nikon got all the mechanisms "right" in the F3 series...the F3 series was an ergonomic nightmare. Square corners on an overly large body (let's not discuss the "handgrip" comfort or shutter release position on the Motor Drive 3), a locked exposure compensation dial but unlocked ISO dial (just who designed that, anyway?? A guy who never shot slide film??!).

Those and a few other faux paxs make the F3 series not a personal favorite of mine. Great mechanicals hampered by my desire to set it back on the counter 20 seconds after I pick it up. The F4 was even bulkier but at least they tried to get some ergonomics in there.

And thank (someone) for a real hotshoe on the F4, finally...
 
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meat01

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KEH is a good place to buy a used camera on line. Their condition ratings are conservative in my experience. www.keh.com
 
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PSmith08

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Snake
I must say (and I "must" as almost no one does as it is almost heresy) although Nikon got all the mechanisms "right" in the F3 series...the F3 series was an ergonomic nightmare. Square corners on an overly large body (let's not discuss the "handgrip" comfort or shutter release position on the Motor Drive 3), a locked exposure compensation dial but unlocked ISO dial (just who designed that, anyway?? A guy who never shot slide film??!).

Those and a few other faux paxs make the F3 series not a personal favorite of mine. Great mechanicals hampered by my desire to set it back on the counter 20 seconds after I pick it up. The F4 was even bulkier but at least they tried to get some ergonomics in there.

And thank (someone) for a real hotshoe on the F4, finally...



You have valid points, but the F3 was really the last Nikon F. I see a sort of desire to return to the base body with the possibility for tweaks in the F6, but the magic is gone. The F3 does not have the best ergonomics; but it is downright petite compared to a beast like the F100 or the F5. Looking at it, it is clear they designed it with a motor drive in mind, and then botched the motor drive. I think that they should have built the motor drive in, but then we'd be seeing far more malfunctioning F3 carcasses than we do.

It is probably the best of the F series, as its mechanicals were the best of the true F cameras, and its ergonomics were a forerunner--inept, though--of the F4.
 
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socrates63

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Check out the forums at photo.net... lots of knowledgeable and helpful people there, kinda like here
 
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Get the N80 but skip the 50mm in lieu of a 24-85 G lens. I finally sold off my manual focus Nikon bodies and man foc prime lenses when I bought a DSLR but since I couldn't give up film, I went w/ the N80. If speed is important, consider the F100.
CPW
 
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mikeliao

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A Mamiya 7II. Oh...been dreaming about my favorite camera that I unfortunatly sold off. Actually medium format prices have dropped a lot...

In 135, I'd say let your budget be the deciding factor. (All Nikon terms follow, I know diddly about Cannon) If you can get a second hand F5, go for it. Lens will cost far more than bodies and if you're serious about shooting, then film and developing costs will outweigh everything.

If you're sort of new to it all, get a cheaper starter package or even better, a second hand F3 or even 8008s. 50 F1.4 or even the cheap 35-80 ?? plastic lens will work. When you find yourself buying film by the block, then drop a two thousand on a flagship body and professional lens...because you'll already have spent more than that on film and development.

And seriously, look into medium format if the budget allows.
 
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av98m2

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Quote:

Originally Posted by PSmith08
Nikon has compatibility with mounting, focusing, and exposing with all lenses after the AI-conversion in '77. Some cameras allow their AI-tab to swing up and out of the way of the lens. Most AI/s lenses have the old aperture mounting shoe, and it isn't hard to get one if they don't.

On the newer bodies, AI-compatibility is a must, but non-chipped MF AI/s lenses will mount and expose, but you'll lose matrix metering--and in some cases, metering at all.

Since Nikon has taken the enormously bad decision to go entirely electronic, there are worries about long-term compatibility; however, those worries have been around since I first got into photography five years ago, when the D1x/D100 was going to absolutely kill film. They were wrong.



I really was not happy with Nikon's decision to stop producing F3s. The equipment had to have been amortized and it was not an R&D drain. The things are indestructible, expose spot on, and are compatible with all Nikon lenses except the execrable G-series.

In fact, I just did a test, my F3's on-camera meter vs. my Sekonic L398M, and the F3/398M agreed spot on. Those cameras are perfect. All the MF Nikons managed to be great. Something they haven't done since the FM3A.



I was VERY tempted to buy a used F3HP, I have to say. I won't be able to go back to a plastic camera after getting used to the build of the manual bodies.
I'm quite sure the FM3A will be Nikon's last manual body...well actually I was quite suprised it was even released!
 
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