Best bang for buck manual focus SLR?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by Odot, Feb 4, 2018.

  1. Odot

    Odot Member

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    So my GF wants a new manual focus SLR snce her Praktika is finito. For the most part they all have the same functions but i wonder how to determine whats really good in terms of durability and lens/image quality. What would you suggest and why? Thanks a lot.
     
  2. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber
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  3. Chan Tran

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    It depends pretty much how many bucks you have to spend. Your luck may vary so I don't know. I have bought 3 Cannon A Series an AE-1 for $5, an A-1 for like $17 and an AE-1P for $15 all with the 50 f/1.8 lens. The AE-1 came with the 28mm f/2.8 too which makes it the best bang for the buck in that group.
     
  4. TheRook

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    Any of the manual focus SLR cameras from the popular Japanese brands (Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Minolta, etc.) manufactured between 1970-1990 offers a wide variety of good, affordable and easily obtained lenses. Be patient, and you will find a good deal.
     
  5. mdarnton

    mdarnton Member

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    I'm particularly fond of the Nikon FG, mainly because it will use almost all Nikon lenses up to and including the AF-D series, so it makes a nice backup to a Nikon digital system. I think it's one of the best cameras for that type of compatibility with current equipment. Aside from Canon having repeatedly obsoleting their lens mounts, forcing you to use their older lenses, the AE-1 is basically the equivalent camera.
     
  6. wiltw

    wiltw Subscriber
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    I would think that it is best to get the really popular brands, as there will be far more lenses on the used market to select from.
    OTOH, with a less common brand, there may be less competition for available lenses on the used market not, so better availability. Dunno
     
  7. RattyMouse

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    Have a look at a Nikon FM2n. It's wonderfully simple to operate and and is constructed very well.
     
  8. Alan Gales

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    +1

    I bought my daughter an OM-1 a few years ago. Back in the day Olympus cameras were known to be popular with women because of their small size. The only problem is the camera took mercury batteries which are no longer made. You can buy a battery adapter to take modern batteries that enables the light meter to meter properly. I found one on eBay and it works great.

    The FM2n is newer though and you have the choice of all those Nikon lenses.
     
  9. wiltw

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    Beware that some battery 'adapters' simply alter the physical size, so that a smaller form factor battery can FIT without rattling around in the battery compartment. The OM-1 needs STEADY voltage of 1.35V, and not varying 1.5V
    The best of the 'adapters' alter the voltage from 1.5V down to 1.35V, and -- most importantly -- hold the 1.35V output steady throughout the lifetime of the 1.5V battery
    An alternative is to use the Wein (air cell) which output 1.35V but deplete themselves even if the camera is switched off, since removing the 'seal' on the battery admits air to allow the voltage producing chemical reaction.
     
  10. MattKing

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    A further alternative is to buy one of the "physical" adapters that permit using hearing aid batteries. The batteries are essentially the same as the Wein cells, but they are very inexpensive.
    The hearing aid batteries don't last for a particularly long time, but you can buy them so cheaply that it is easy to keep a bunch of them on hand.
    Jon Goodman sells those type of adapters, among many others.
     
  11. Alan Gales

    Alan Gales Subscriber
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    Yes, you are correct. You can put a modern battery in the OM-1 but the voltage is too high and causes the light meter to give the wrong reading. I bought an adapter which changed the voltage. Of course after paying for the camera and the additional battery adapter the OP might be better off buying a newer Nikon FM2n.

    Of course a lot depends upon which camera feels good in his girlfriend's hands. I know the OP is concerned about picture quality and there are a few dogs out there but most 35mm lenses are pretty darn good. I used to shoot a Contax with Zeiss lenses but I was in a huge camera club where people owned a lot of different brands. If I wanted to compete with them then I knew it was all about me as a photographer and not the brand of gear I used.
     
  12. Ap507b

    Ap507b Member

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    I had diodes that drop the voltage of an SR-44 down to 1.3V put into my pair of OM1's as part of CLA's. Got a couple of brass adapters off eBay to take an SR-44 cell up to the mercury battery size. Preferred a permanent solution without regularly having to replace zinc air cells.
     
  13. jnanian

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    k1000 but they might not be 6-15$
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2018
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  15. I always got great use and reliability from the Minolta slrs from the SR-7 through the X-700. Choose any camera from that family. All the Rokkor lenses are great.
     
  16. OP
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    Odot

    Odot Member

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    I am eyeing one of the Nikon and saw someone sell it witha 50mm Planar lens so i have to ask, is this better in terms f image quality than a Nikon AF-D lens?
     
  17. OP
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    Odot

    Odot Member

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    I am eyeing one of the Nikon and saw someone sell it witha 50mm Planar lens so i have to ask, is this better in terms f image quality than a Nikon AF-D lens?
     
  18. Paul Howell

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    One of the best deals is a Chinon CM 3 matched needle, really matched diodes, or CE3 aperture preferred in M42, there is even a auto winder for it, or CE or CM4 in K mount. Others that come to mind, Minolta 101, Canon FD, Pentax P3, Ricoh K models are very good as well. The Chinon uses a current battery.
     
  19. baachitraka

    baachitraka Member

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    Olympus XA
     
  20. tedr1

    tedr1 Member
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    XA is not an SLR


    There was a popular lens mount type in the 1970s-80s the M42 type, because the lens attaches to the camera by a screw thread, metric 42mm. Some of the lens made to this standard were first class, Pentax for example made some good ones. There were many other brands also, premium and el-cheapo. To go with these lenses you need an M42 SLR, many were made, Pentax was one of the best, this is a Spotmatic SP2


    pentax-sp2-1.jpg

    I did a lot of great work with one in the 1990s.

    If you have deeper pockets look for a Nikon FE or FM.

    Many cameras of this vintage may need attention to light seals, this is important if shooting outdoors in full sun.
     
  21. jim10219

    jim10219 Member
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    I'm going to through another vote in for the Minolta. You can find lots of great camera bodies for not much money for any of the brands mentioned. But finding good lenses for cheap is a different story. Since the Minoltas don't really have much use on most modern digital cameras (without adapters anyway), they tend to be cheaper.
     
  22. WilmarcoImaging

    WilmarcoImaging Member
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    Agree with the Minolta SR- and X- series, and Canon AE-1 Program suggestions. These systems are reliable with good lenses available. And fun to use.
     
  23. Theo Sulphate

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    Best bang "for the buck" has to be Nikkormat. Very inexpensive camera. Almost always found in working condition for little money. You can mount the less expensive pre-AI lenses and you have metering.

    Preferably Nikkormat FT2 to use modern battery.

    Check out this page to compare models:

    http://www.mir.com.my/rb/photography/hardwares/classics/nikkormat/html/history.htm


    Canon equivalent in terms of price and performance today is FTb. Uses common FD lenses.

    Other cameras mentioned above by others are good, but won't be as inexpensive.
     
  24. Ko.Fe.

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    Fresh FG-20 and 50E lens.
     
  25. Odot, you should ask your girlfriend what features are important to her, how important a manual mode is, and how much automation she would like. This will help greatly in narrowing down a good SLR for her to buy. For example, if she prefers some automation but still wants a full-featured manual mode, then cameras such as the Nikon FE or FG or Minolta X570 or Olympus OM-2 would be high on my list of recommendations. All of these cameras offer Aperture preferred auto plus a full-featured manual mode. The Nikon FG even offers a program mode.

    So I recommend that you put together a check list or equivalent, then get back to us and we can be much more specific in our recommendations.
     
  26. blockend

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    Totally agree. A Nikkormat and 50mm f2 is what I'd go for. If the meter doesn't work a phone app will cover it, or Sunny 16.
     
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