Who in the heck uses a motor winder/drive on a film camera these days?

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Do You Use an Accessory Motor Drive or Winder on a Film Camera


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MattKing

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I think it is fair to say that if you don't have a camera and you have a need to take many photos quickly, it would make more sense to choose a digital camera for the task.
But if you already have a film camera that you like using, it can be fun to use a motor winder or drive with it.
For me, I've only added a winder when I wanted to have the ergonomic advantages that one can get from some of them, or if the winder allowed me to replace harder to find batteries with AA or AAA batteries - usually a camera that already had a slow built in power winder.
 

RMILLOY

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MY F6 is set to “S” and the F4 and F3 motor drives stay in a storage cabinet.
Film is way too expensive - action photography is for a digital beast like my D4S and others!
 

Chan Tran

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I often use the Nikon F5 and F3HP. With the F5 I have to use the motor drive. I do use the F3HP with the motor drive often. I never ever use any camera in continous mode.
 

Helge

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I think it is fair to say that if you don't have a camera and you have a need to take many photos quickly, it would make more sense to choose a digital camera for the task.
But if you already have a film camera that you like using, it can be fun to use a motor winder or drive with it.
For me, I've only added a winder when I wanted to have the ergonomic advantages that one can get from some of them, or if the winder allowed me to replace harder to find batteries with AA or AAA batteries - usually a camera that already had a slow built in power winder.

It’s all about use case. If you’re doing sports photography for a paper or a website then sure.
But hobby am(our)ateur photography is hardly about “sense”.
 

faberryman

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More rules. Now it is when, how, what kind, and for what purpose you can use winders, if at all, with your film cameras. It is hard to keep up with all the rules. Maybe someone could do a little red book for handy reference.
 

Dennis S

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I had one on a Canon A-1, or an AE-1, can't remember. What I do remember was that it was slow and noisy. I think Canon made 2 types of winders, and that one was apparently the bargain one.

Actually Canon has 3 different winders for Canon A1 & AE 1 and other variants of the A body Canons. The MA really packs a punch with 12 AA batteries and you really know your limits if you have it out all day.
 
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NB23

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Just cause I'm nosy.

I'd've thunk that motor winders and motor drives would be the last thing anyone would want on a film camera these days. .... but who am I to judge?

What do “these days” have to do with it? I don’t get it.
 

reddesert

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In the past, if you wanted to conspicuous-consumption advertise your commitment to burning a hole in your wallet with film photography, you needed a high-end luxe brand camera (Leica, Hasselblad, Zeiss, etc). Now you can do the same by simply adding a motor drive to your 35mm SLR or similar.

If you want to experiment with motor drive as grip, KEH often has as-is 35mm motor drives for low prices (like under $5) and you can toss one into an order. I bought an MD-12 that way intending to use it as a grip, possibly removing the motor, but then I fixed it (resoldered a ground wire). So I had to look for another one.
 
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lxdude

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I do not use a winder much, but it's handy to have at times. My shooting is usually deliberate. I just don't usually need one and it adds bulk and weight. I don't have or need a motor drive, but a winder can be very useful to me in some situations.

I have them for the Pentax LX, MX, and ME Super. Also for the Bronica ETRS-i 645-format camera.

There are times when a winder helps a lot, like at an air show, especially using a really long lens.
And for macro, on and off a tripod, especially when I'm shooting near or at ground level. It is very awkward to manually wind while keeping my eye right at the viewfinder. Even using the LX's sports finder, or on the 645 the "waist-level" finder or the huge sports finder, the winder makes it easier to keep the framing I want. On the 645, depending on what I'm doing, I might use the winding crank, the add-on double-stroke thumb winder (called the Speed Winder, which makes the handling similar to a 35mm SLR), or the add-on motor winder. Each has its place. The trade-off is bulk and weight, though the Speed Winder is pretty light. I like the compactness of the camera with just the crank, but the Speed Winder provides a nice solid grip, as does the motor winder. Sometimes I choose between the crank and the Speed Winder solely on mood.

I prize the compactness of the MX and the ME Super. Small and light, easy to carry and unobtrusive. But the winders give such a nice grip and balance, and there are those situations when I really need to keep my eye right at the viewfinder between shots.
The winder on the LX doesn't provide a grip; it would be nice if it did. But its added weight at the bottom still does make for better balance with heavier lenses.

So I do find a winder useful in the right circumstances. I like that I have it if I need it, but otherwise, unlike the cameras with a built-in winder/motor, I'm not carrying the additional bulk and weight of the batteries and motor mechanism. And when I'm in a quiet place or shooting landscape, I like not hearing the high-pitched whirr.
 
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lxdude

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As a Pentaxian I of course have winders for my LX cameras. They feature power rewind, which is nice. I like the winder on my MXs, they add just enough heft, and make sequences, regardless of the speed, easier. However, the MX winder's Achilles heel, IMO, is the tiny "cap" for the 4 AA cells. Too easy to drop, and at some point the tiny screw will strip out. Not a good idea for Pentax's foray into the Pro market.
Much nicer is the battery tray for the ME Super. Why didn't Pentax use such a tray on the MX?

Boy, ain't that the truth! They should have redesigned the MX winder. The ME Super's winder (Winder ME II) is well done. I like the grip better, too. And it takes the same remote cord as the LX's winder, which the MX winder doesn't.
 
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Philippe-Georges

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I had a winder on one of my Pentax LX's, not for winding, but just for the weight and mass to compensate for the mirror slam and my wobbly hand while shooting at low shutter speeds...
 

Helge

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More rules. Now it is when, how, what kind, and for what purpose you can use winders, if at all, with your film cameras. It is hard to keep up with all the rules. Maybe someone could do a little red book for handy reference.

Where are these rules you speak of?
All I see is questions and preferences.
Don’t cut yourself on the binder twine.
 

E. von Hoegh

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Just cause I'm nosy.

I'd've thunk that motor winders and motor drives would be the last thing anyone would want on a film camera these days. .... but who am I to judge?

I use my old cameras because I like film and mechanical things, throw in optics and you have an irresistible trio of attractions.
Yes they are handy sometimes, I have the Olympus electric thumb with an OM-3, and for the F2s I have the Nikon motor drive complete set, just in case. I might use one in two years, but they can be very handy, indespensable every so often. They're a tool, after all. Try using a 5fps motor drive on a manually metered camera and manual focus lenses to photograph, say, a polo match. You'll make some new synaptic pathways, plus I find it fun.

One of my friends uses a 1931 model A pickup as a three season vehicle. He goes shopping, brings home his firewood, uses it as a light truck. But, it's almost 92 years old. He's having fun, too.
 
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E. von Hoegh

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Oh, I agree with you 100%. There is absolutely no sane reason for me to be attaching a MD to my cameras. Blowing a roll of film in 4 seconds these days is financially irresponsible. My motors are always set to single. I use it for the same reason I use film, just because its fun. To me it's almost like doing one of the civil war dress up thing. Get out the 'ol PJ camera and pretend I'm stalking the mean streets for a photo op.

Even shooting digital I rarely if ever use burst.

Did I mention I really like the sound?
If we were sane, we'd be using digital. Q.E.D. ^ Sanity is overrated and far too authoritarian.
 

Don Heisz

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I've never used one. I have a few but never hooked them up. I use a Contax 137, which is like a 139 with a motor drive. And newer slrs all have built-in motors. It just never occurred to me to try one of the add-on motors I have. So none of the poll options are applicable. You're certainly not necessarily blowing through a roll of film in seconds just because advance is motorized. That you can shoot 3 fps doesn't mean you will.
 

film_man

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I got a motordrive bundled with my EOS 1N. Still haven't figure out how to remove it.
 

wjlapier

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I have one for my Leica R-E but haven’t used it yet outside of testing it. It is bulky.

 

glbeas

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I find with a Bronica Sqai a motor drive is more ergonomic and economical. The handle makes it easier to use and the batteries are AA size which are much cheaper than the ones needed if running the camera without the drive. The camera body when mounted to the drive uses the drive batteries to power it.
 

E. von Hoegh

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Well yeah. We'd also dich fountain pens and manual gearboxes. We like what we like and stick with it.
Which reminds me, I keep forgetting to order an ink sac for a mid-20s lever-fill Sheaffer "Lifetime". Anyone needs one, it's Pen Sac Co dot com. They're cheap, $2-3 each. Shipping $4 iirc.
 

faberryman

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Where are these rules you speak of?
All I see is questions and preferences.
Don’t cut yourself on the binder twine.

I thought a few of the posts were more strongly worded than mere expressions of preference. My mistake.
 
OP
OP

Sharktooth

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I find with a Bronica Sqai a motor drive is more ergonomic and economical. The handle makes it easier to use and the batteries are AA size which are much cheaper than the ones needed if running the camera without the drive. The camera body when mounted to the drive uses the drive batteries to power it.

You're a funny guy, glbeas 😍

As an owner of a Bronica SQ-Am, I found that hilarious!
 

gordrob

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I have 3 F1-New cameras all with motor drives. Wouldn't use them any other way. Also have the FN100 back and bulk film loader as well. Also have the Pentax Spotmatic Motor Drive Set 250
 
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Some winders/motor drives are just too bulky. I am not a fan of the ones that add a grip like most of the old ones. The smaller winders are nice. Some complete the camera, like the winder for the Contax 139. Makes the camera the perfect size. Same with the Contax ST. It eliminates "flying pinkie syndrome". Both add a vertical shutter release as well. Useful. I used to use a motor drive on my Canon cameras, EOS 3 and 1n. That was just too big. I use the 1n these days by itself. So really, it just depends.
 
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