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  • Recommendations for 35mm camera

    I've been out of the traditional-photography area too long, and I'm no longer familiar with camera models. Perhaps someone here can recommend a current model with the following features:

    35mm SLR
    1-3 degree spotmetering option (this is where most drop out)
    In-finder illuminated display of shutter and f/stop
    Full manual exposure as well as auto-exposure modes
    No built-in flash, motor drive, or auto-focusing

    I don't even know if they make cameras like this anymore. I'm tempted just to buy an old Nikon F3 via ebay, but they're so old.
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  • #2
    I'm sure you'll get personal recommendations soon, but since I need autofocus (there will come a day when you too want "some help" ), I can only look on the internet for info. After searching, there don't seem to be many, and some of those will be "divorced" from their makers soon, i.e. Olympus discontinuing its OM line in spring 2003. Nikon's current manual focus model offers only center-weighted metering according to specs. Contax has the Aria which offers spot metering.

    If you go to B&H Photo's site, click on Photo Dept. (on left hand menu), then next window "Cameras" under 35mm category -- this will bring you to a screen where you can search for manual focus SLRs. Photo.net has search feature also for info on different models, buying older SLRs, etc.

    B&H Photo

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    • #3
      Sad about the OM line, I used to be a loyal OM-2 owner. My little P/S camera is also Olympus. They make good stuff.
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      • #4
        Re: Recommendations for 35mm camera

        Originally posted by Doug Nelson

        No built-in flash, motor drive, or auto-focusing

        I'm just curious. Why wouldn't you want an auto-focus or motor drive?

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        • #5
          I'd have to agree with CJ, the only make i can think of that offer what you want in one camera would be Contax, I think..

          The Contax S2s could also be a good option. But be warned..the combined prices for body and lenses could erase the debt of a small third world country

          Also, the S2s was limited, so probably only available used. Aria might be a good choice, if the price is right...

          You'd have a lot ore choice if you didn't restrictg yourself to camera's without motordrive/AF... And it'd be a lot cheaper too, prbably...

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          • #6
            I've nothing against auto-focus or motordrives, in theory. But I don't need them, have never used either (I did own a motordrive, but never used it), and in the meantime they add extra weight and complexity.

            I rarely use auto-exposure, as well
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            • #7
              Ah...welll, in that case buy a Nikon F5

              Best camera I've ever used!

              But seriously, if you are considering buying a camera, you also need to consider the whole system that comes along with it....

              Meaning, does this make serve your needs better than the othere, how about backwards compatibility (if you buy an new AF-body now, will it still take used manual-focus lenses etc...)

              Nikon is most versitale, but..expensive.
              Canon has no backward compatibility..so you can't buy old manual lenses for your new body.

              Good alternatives are Sigma, Pentax and Minolta.

              Minolta I wouldn't choose, because it has a more limited range of lenses available from 'third party' suppliers.

              Sigma is cheap and has a huge lens range and good prices.

              Pentax would be the most versitile, because it'll still take 20yr old Pentax K-bajonet lenses of any make, and is reasonably priced, especially used.

              So, you need to consider also what you want to use your kit for, and what kind of lenses you think you'll need.

              And of course, practically all autofocus cameras let you focus manually (although sometimes less accuratly than full manual lenses) and set your own exposure.

              happy hunting!

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              • #8
                Do you have old non auto focus lenses you want to use? Then go with brand that uses the mount and get an older camera.

                The new cameras can over ride any of the auto settings if you wish and all lenses being made are for these cameras to my knowledge altho older lenses are still available.

                Nikon and Canon both have the large and expensive lens lines and the third party have lenses to fit these mounts.

                I use digital slr and went with Canon as they have the most amount of stabilized lenses which are essential to my use.

                Have you considered a dslr? They are more expensive but use the same lenses as film camera and that is where your money dissapears quickly

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                • #9
                  I took the advice listed here along with other research I did and pulled a 180 from my original goal and bought a Nikon F100 I almost bought a Contax Aria, but its auto-bracketing only goes up to one stop in either direction (and that was the main purpose I could think of for a motor drive).

                  I was seriously tempted to go digital, but the pricing for the resolution I want was out of my range. The new Canon and Kodak models are amazing, though.

                  Thanks for everyone's help. Now I have to choose a slide scanner
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                  • #10
                    Let others learn from my mishaps. My Nikon F100 arrived yesterday. I bought it via Ebay (used) and was quite happy with the price. Plus I'm quite happy with the camera, it was as described and no gripes there. But...since it was used it had no user manual, and this sucker is complicated!

                    I have no idea how to use it, what with all the icons and buttons and plus/minus signs and cryptic abbreviations, etc. I found someone else selling manuals (also on Ebay), but that adds a little to the price I paid, plus it will now be at least a week before I can actually go out and enjoy the thing.
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                    • #11
                      Doug, I have a F-100, so I ran back to get mine out of the closet so I could walk you thru the basics -- then I sat there wondering how to change the settings from Manual to Program.

                      So THEN I got out my manual to read to you:

                      (Have you found the battery compartment on the bottom right hand side [as you point the camera out]?) Use 4 1.5V AA-type batteries or lithium batteries. Place in battery holder and turn the release knob to lock firmly.

                      Turn the power switch (top right hand side) to ON. Confirm battery power with the battery indicator in the top lcd. To change the exposure mode (to Programmed, shutter priority, aperture priority, or manual) -- press the "Mode" button on the top in front of the LCD as you also turn the Command dial on the rear. If you set the exposure mode to Manual, the command dial will let you change the shutter speed (without pressing the Mode button). You have to set the lens aperture to its minimum and lock -- the aperture is controlled by the dial on the front of the camera. Check to see that your metering is set to matrix metering (there are three choices on the right side of the eyepiece -- a button with three icons above it -- matrix is the one in the middle with five white areas.

                      That ought to get you started, but if there is something else you need, just holler. It was a good reminder for me to take some time and actually use mine again. At least until I can afford a Nikon digital SLR...which will be quite a wait.
                      Last edited by CJ Swartz; 04-11-2003, 01:41 PM.

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                      • #12
                        Thanks, CJ. What are the M-S-C settings on the front bottom right of the camera (I thought "matrix-spot-center", but that switch is on the viewfinder)? And the "L" button on the back below the "rewind knob"?

                        I'll be able to look these up myself next week, but they're really agravating me right now
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                        • #13
                          Doug, I sent you an email with some of the answers you need.

                          Let me know if you need anything more from the manual. It's good for me to read it again, since I've got to get the cobwebs off the camera and shoot some of this beautiful spring blooming all around me.

                          I've looked for a downloadable F100 manual online, but haven't found one yet. Probably because it's so many pages. I would recommend looking at a Magic Lantern or similar non-Nikon manual -- they usually are more readable, at least for me.

                          The link I sent you is here -- Review-info by Edwin Leong

                          and others with good info here:

                          F100 Review/Info -- Bjorn Rorslett

                          Review/reactions from an amateur

                          F100 Users Group
                          Last edited by CJ Swartz; 04-11-2003, 02:58 PM.

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                          • #14
                            I just got the manual that I bought via Ebay. I went with a scanned version on CD. It's in PDF format, 250meg in size. I almost went with a paper version, but this was 1/3 the price. I'm very pleased with this. The scan is excellent. I only wish it was text-searchable, and I'm worried about the legality of the whole thing (although the vendor has been selling these for some time and lists their street address and phone number, so I guess if it was illegal they would have been stopped long ago).
                            Learn by teaching
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                            • #15
                              Hey Doug, I was wondering how your equipment is working out. I am thinking of doing the same thing myself. I can't afford the digital SLR that I want so I'm thinking of getting a used good film SLR, developing the film myself and scanning the negatives. Is your system working out well?

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