Plastic SLRs

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by blockend, May 26, 2016.

  1. blockend

    blockend Member

    Messages:
    3,673
    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2010
    Location:
    northern eng
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I have a big soft spot for entry level autofocus SLRs. By the late 1990s and early 2000s they were high functioning, reliable, adaptable, lightweight and in 2016, they're dirt cheap.

    Consumer AF SLRs have compacts beat on most counts except size, and some like Canon's 3000 series, are pocket sized given an appropriate lens. Plastic SLRs take kit zooms or high end lenses, you can stick them on auto or go full manual with overrides, they have a handy flash and a hotshoe, and you barely know you're carrying them they're so light.

    I think they're undeservedly neglected because they look like granddad cameras. I say embrace the shiny plastic!
     
  2. LJSLATER

    LJSLATER Member

    Messages:
    283
    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2012
    Location:
    Utah Valley
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I loooooved my Nikon N75 (RIP).
     
  3. OP
    OP
    blockend

    blockend Member

    Messages:
    3,673
    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2010
    Location:
    northern eng
    Shooter:
    35mm
    The N75/F75 qualifies as prosumer in some charts, but we'll let it in because the numbering and general build quality says entry level! I don't have a 75 but they were the limit of Nikon's consumer technology before digital, and very capable cameras by all accounts.
     
  4. Ricardo Miranda

    Ricardo Miranda Member

    Messages:
    2,417
    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2012
    Location:
    London, UK
    Shooter:
    35mm
    What happened?

    Until the Digitographers came in early 2000s I had never heard of that word.
    The F75 is a very nice camera to use.
    I still have 2 and the battery grip is handy.
    Pity ISO can't be changed and manual focus lenses loose metering with it.
     
  5. OP
    OP
    blockend

    blockend Member

    Messages:
    3,673
    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2010
    Location:
    northern eng
    Shooter:
    35mm
    There's usually a workaround for ISO via the exposure compensation button. Most Nikon entry level cameras aren't good with pre-AI lenses, but workable with later ones. Their natural accompaniment is a nice plastic AF lens that releases their potential. Canon had moved to EOS some years earlier, so no compatibility issues. I've been trying to find a video of a famous young female Japanese photographer who used an EOS 650 (or something similar) for her work. It used to be on YouTube but so far has eluded me. I think of cheap SLR cameras of that era as Lomography spirit without the hype. They're kind of neglected from the social history of photography, as though they never existed. It's time to rehabilitate them, and more importantly, put film through them.
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2016
  6. BAC1967

    BAC1967 Subscriber

    Messages:
    500
    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2014
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Is this what your talking about? I don't like plastic cameras but I did want the bag this came with when I picked it up at a garage sale for $20. I'll probably run a roll of film through it before I decide its fate. It is in very nice condition. I put a battery in it and everything seems to work properly.

    [​IMG]Nikon N60 by Bryan Chernick, on Flickr
     
  7. OP
    OP
    blockend

    blockend Member

    Messages:
    3,673
    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2010
    Location:
    northern eng
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I have two of those. One usually sports a Nikon AF 50mm 1.8, and the other a Sigma AF 28mm 1.8 APO.
     
  8. TheRook

    TheRook Member

    Messages:
    344
    Joined:
    May 18, 2016
    Location:
    Philadelphia
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Two years ago I bought a pristine Nikon F90 (N90) for practically pocket change, and it is indeed a very capable, feature-rich camera. However, I wouldn't call it a light-weight at all. It is significantly heavier (and vastly more bulky) than any of my other other SLR's. Quite a beast, really. Sometimes I wish it was less heavy and more compact, as I would then be more inclined to take it with me on extended hikes and overseas trips instead of my much travel-friendlier Nikon FE.
     
  9. Theo Sulphate

    Theo Sulphate Subscriber

    Messages:
    5,254
    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2014
    Location:
    Gig Harbor & Palm Springs
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Canon Rebel G (EOS 500N) - a very good camera with decent controls. With the 50/1.8, it weighs almost nothing.

    I've made many good photos with them.


    Canon Elan 7NE, two 500N's, and a Rebel G:

    IMAG5730-1.jpg
     
  10. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

    Messages:
    3,167
    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2008
    Location:
    North Caroli
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I have been using an N80 as my main 35mm camera, supposedly because it was so cheap it wouldn't be a big deal if I dropped or lost it, unlike my "nice" cameras. Then I realized the plastic 50/1.8 lens is really good, Matrix metering and autofocus result in a high yield, and it even has built in fill flash for daylight.

    Where do the F801/N8000 cameras fit in the Nikon chronology and product lineup? I have one of those too but it's much noisier.
     
  11. chip j

    chip j Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,871
    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2012
    Location:
    NE Ohio
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Yes, the N80 is my main camera too (I have 3 new bodies). The Matrix is right on & it has the electronic grid too. Much nicer to carry around than my F100 (the back door plastic catches on it broke, and now it's useless. Just got one w/a new, light, 28-100mm, which performs the same as the 28-105 AF I have.
     
  12. tokam

    tokam Subscriber

    Messages:
    293
    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2008
    Location:
    Sydney, Aust
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    About three years ago I was given a brace of Minolta AF SLR's - two Dynax 7's and a Dynax 807si, (Japanese version of 800si). They are very impressive and capable cameras with over 200 pages of instruction books between them. Getting to know them is the tricky part and I haven't even started with the HS 5600 flash which allows off camera wireless controlled TTL flash with adjustable lighting ratios between the on camera flash and the HS5600. Pheew!

    My Canon FD bodies are much more approachable, including my T90 which is an honorary plastic camera. I generally manage well without AF.

    My main reason for hanging onto the Minoltas is that I was also given a brace of A mount lenses, some of which I don't have in FD mount. These include a Tokina 100-400 zoom and a Kenko 500mm Cat lens, (not AF by the way).

    One reservation I would have with the lower end AF SLR's is the use of plastic for the lens mount on the camera body. I believe that Canon did this on a few bodies. That to me is cheaping out in the extreme. Whip a lens on and off twenty times and then check for wear on the mount. :unsure:
     
  13. tokam

    tokam Subscriber

    Messages:
    293
    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2008
    Location:
    Sydney, Aust
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    ... a lot of these cameras also take expensive and sometimes hard to find lithium batteries CR1/3N and 2CR whatever batteries. Give me alkaline or rechargeable AA's any day. Luckily my 807si came with the optional grip which can be fed on AA's.
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. Theo Sulphate

    Theo Sulphate Subscriber

    Messages:
    5,254
    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2014
    Location:
    Gig Harbor & Palm Springs
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    That was the criticism with the early Rebels - they changed to metal later. Canon's apparent initial thought was that they'd sell the camera with a kit zoom lens which would stay on the camera most if not all of the time. Their target buyers for these cameras were beginners.
     
  16. onre

    onre Member

    Messages:
    345
    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2015
    Location:
    Toijala, Finland
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    OM-2000 and other plastic OEM Cosinas are oddly appealing. After all, it's the same shutter as in Bessa, and rest of the camera ain't bad either. If they weren't badged as Nikons, Olympuses etc, they might be more popular.
     
  17. OP
    OP
    blockend

    blockend Member

    Messages:
    3,673
    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2010
    Location:
    northern eng
    Shooter:
    35mm
    According to Wikipedia the F90 is classed as high end prosumer, so two notches up from the cameras I'm talking about. That isn't to suggest the F90 range aren't good cameras, or even cheap cameras at today's prices, but I was thinking of the SLR equivalent of point and shoot cameras, lightweight plastic bodies, pop up flash, pentamirrors, etc. In Nikon terms that's the 401 range, F/N 50, 60, 65, 55. The equivalent Canon would be the film Rebel series and predecessors. Minolta had the 500 series and other makes their own plastic fantastics to fit the AF SLR boom.

    Their main asset from my perspective is their weight, or lack of it, and the control offered compared to a typical P&S. Because such cameras immediately preceded DSLRs and prices of most film cameras were suppressed to similar levels, they are often lightly used and not taken seriously, whereas in fact they are highly evolved. They are fun cameras, but smart fun cameras, the kind of thing you'd take to the beach and throw around without worrying about the consequences.
     
  18. Sewin

    Sewin Member

    Messages:
    395
    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2015
    Location:
    South West Wales
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    F80 and F100, nice. The F75 a bit of underated sleeper, but didn't a few complain about the autofocus back button being a bit fiddly to operate in conjunction with the shutter?
    Also the F70 with its Marmite "fan" interface.:smile:

    Now that I can't read the camera settings and focus so well without specs, autofocus and nice displays in the viewfinder are a bonus.
     
  19. Sewin

    Sewin Member

    Messages:
    395
    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2015
    Location:
    South West Wales
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I've the black UK version F60, they have a proper metal chassis, AF slightly noisy, but I've heard worse and metering may not be as sophisticated as other entry Nikons, but in the real world so what.

    As I only paid £10 for it and I can fit my AF and G Nikon lenses and autofocus works I'm not complaining. I like it a lot.

    As stated above they tend to get neglected and ignored, but can be picked up for the price of a few pints out with the lads.
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2016
  20. OP
    OP
    blockend

    blockend Member

    Messages:
    3,673
    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2010
    Location:
    northern eng
    Shooter:
    35mm
    My F60s are both "champagne" colour, which adds to the down market feel. The first was £20 inc. Nikon 28-80, the second was a body for £12 - both were mint condition. They typically sell for around £5-£25, though they sometimes slip through for 99p!

    I'd be interested in any info about non-Canikon consumer SLRs, were they good/bad/indifferent?
     
  21. Ricardo Miranda

    Ricardo Miranda Member

    Messages:
    2,417
    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2012
    Location:
    London, UK
    Shooter:
    35mm
    There were some plastic jewels in the early 2000s.
    Remember the Minolta Dynax 5? Or the 60?
    They could use all the lenses and all the flashes made until there. But, they were packed in a very small body and with a lot of features.
    Or the Pentax *ist series?
    The late 90s MZ series were very good and the MZ-50 and later -30 sold very well. They had some nice features and a good meter.
     
  22. OP
    OP
    blockend

    blockend Member

    Messages:
    3,673
    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2010
    Location:
    northern eng
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I have a few plastic Minoltas, but they have that weird hotshoe and seem to die faster than the others. The Pentax MZs passed me by, but they look pretty good. I'll pick one up to test. The weird looking Pentax MZ-S sells for around £300, but that's not an entry level camera.
     
  23. Sewin

    Sewin Member

    Messages:
    395
    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2015
    Location:
    South West Wales
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Some say the champagne models were less prone to being stolen, which can be a bonus I suppose :happy:

    When you think how much these cost back then, that's some depreciation, just on the cusp of the last film camera / earliest dslr, but these entry AF cameras are full of sophistication compared to my Prakticas :D.
     
  24. Sewin

    Sewin Member

    Messages:
    395
    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2015
    Location:
    South West Wales
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    How about one of these then to trial?
    Cheap enough on fleabay.

    Chinon Genesis or Olympus iS. I read the Olympus iS-3000 weren't too bad.

    Anyone have one?

    genesis.jpg

    is-models.jpg

    Yes according to the "experts" the Genesis was "the future of photography" :smile:
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2016
  25. Ricardo Miranda

    Ricardo Miranda Member

    Messages:
    2,417
    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2012
    Location:
    London, UK
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I've had a few of them for many years, here it goes.
    The F-801 was presented a few months before the F4 in 88.
    It was the first Nikon to have a modern look with external LCD, command dial and it cemented the way most Nikon AF would work, i.e. press a button and rotate dial. It also had very advanced flash features when the SB-24 was used. The later F5 and onwards will add a sub-command dial, but they still had the same principles as the F-801.
    The F-801s was an upgrade in 91 and added the Spot metering and improvements to the AF that had appeared in the F-601 in 1990.
    The F-801 series were the advanced amateur cameras sitting just bellow the F4 from 1988 to 1992.
    They were replaced by the F90 series in 1992 which added support for the D series lenses, better metering and a multi-point flash metering.

    The noise you hear when auto-focusing is the AF rotating shaft. It happens with use.
    I have one which sees regular use with that noise and one that has been used very little and has no screeching noise.
     
  26. rubbernglue

    rubbernglue Member

    Messages:
    73
    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2013
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I used my parents Minolta AF 5000 and only later did I learn how much of crap it really was since it was unable to do other than Program or Auto...
     
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies. If you have a Photrio account, please log in (and select 'stay logged in') to prevent recurrence of this notice.