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Any thoughts?

Discussion in 'Classic Models & Marques' started by Benchista, Mar 16, 2022.

  1. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    For what seems like many years now, I've been looking for something. No, not my marbes, gave up on them years ago.
    No, my quest is for The Perfect Camera. Not THE Perfect Camera, of course, because clearly, such a beast doesn't - and can't - exist. But a camera that fits a certain spec that I enjoy using, and want to continue to enjoy using for years to come.
    So what's the magic spec? What I'm after is a manual-focus, manual exposure, mechanical SLR. So far so good. It should have a readily-available battery for the meter. Ideally a metal focal plane shutter. A depth of field preview. A shutter sound I like. Ideally, mirror lock-up. A nice viewfinder, with ideally interchangeable focus screens. It should focus and mount lenses in the "right" direction, have access to decent lenses (idealy ones I already own, but...), be compact, and reliable, and not too expensive. Lenses I would want - a 24mm, 35mm, 50mm and something in the 80-135 range. Primes only.

    So on the face of it, sounds a lot like a Nikon FM2 - but the lenses mount in the wrong direction, focus in the wrong direction, and above all, I just don't like it. So not the FM2.

    Cameras I own that are possibilities:

    Pentax MX: A camera I like a lot. Focus direction is wrong, it has a cloth shutter, but pretty much everything else is right - I would just need a few more SMC-M lenses.
    Canon F-1/F-1n: Wrong battery, too heavy.
    Canon FTb: Wrong battery
    Rollei SL35: battery
    Praktica VLC series: Was really wanting something that feels a bit better built, but otherwise, a great option
    Pentax Spotmatic (various models): battery
    Nikon F2: Don't really like this one, either, and mine has a dodgy meter head
    Cosina CSR: Shutter, reliability concerns. Otherwise, rather a nice little camera.
    Praktina IIa: No meter
    Olympus OM1N: battery, and ultimately control layout

    Cameras I'm considering:

    Contax S2: I've got the Zeiss lenses, but the camera is too expensive, and too loud
    Yashica FX3 2000 Superduper: Well, something like that... No DOF preview, but cheap
    Olympus OM3Ti: Just silly money, sadly - otherwise close to perfect
    Leica R6: Lens cost is the issue here.
    Bessaflex TM: Cost

    Any other suggestions?
  2. Zou

    Zou Well-Known Member

    Get someone to 3D print a new shell and lens mount to squeeze the FM2 gubbins into?
  3. Gezza

    Gezza Well-Known Member

    1v ?
  4. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    If I was forced to make do with just one film camera, my choice would be simple: a Leica M3 with a Sumicron 50mm. If I was allowed a second lens, it would be the Elmar 90mm.

    On the other hand, digital is just so much more fun!

    Leica M3 with 90mm lens.jpg
    zx9r likes this.
  5. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    I do regret selling my M3 - wasn't the prettiest machine, but so smooth. But it's not what I'm looking for.

    I've herd dafter ideas. ;)

    That's my main film SLR of choice, to be honest - excellent camera, but I want something more, well, traditional.
  6. Gezza

    Gezza Well-Known Member

    I don’t use mine very much now but would find it difficult to let it go.
    Benchista likes this.
  7. PentaxManiac

    PentaxManiac Well-Known Member

    FX3 Super 2000? That one's available under several different names: see also Vivitar V3800N and Ricoh KR5 Super II. Better build quality than similar models sold with Cosina or Miranda (Dixons' own-brand, not the proper 60s/70s camera maker) badging, but all of these have, in my mind, one drawback in their handling and that's the metering indication in the viewfinder. There's just a +, a - or a green light in the middle, nothing to say how far out you are in either direction. If you're using a lens without half stops it may not even be possible to get a green light.
  8. IvorETower

    IvorETower Little Buttercup

    I'd go for the Pentax MX; in some ways I wish I still had mine
  9. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    It's one I'm considering - no DOF preview, but cheap as chips and I've got all the Zeiss lenses I want.
    zx9r likes this.
  10. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    It ticks lots of boxes, and I really do like the camera.
  11. nimbus

    nimbus Well-Known Member

    It seems the nearest might be the OM1n. Yes a cloth shutter, the meter battery can be solved with an adapter to allow use of a common battery. The Pentax MX tends like many Pentaxes to suffer from shutter taper in age. The Olympus does the rest, all the lenses and not at stupid prices, interchangeable screens, dof preview with bright viewfinder. The control layout is different, the shutter speed dial is easier to change with the camera at the eye than on the top of the camera. Like all you do get used to it, except perhaps Nikon, yet I don't find the bayonet turning the opposite way a problem. The Fx3 2000 Super to me feels cheap and nasty, the older FX3 has a much better feel. However to each their own.
  12. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    Well, if I'm not allowed a Leica, there's only one alternative...

    Self Portrait with Nikon F.jpg

  13. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    YOU are allowed a Leica. ;)

    Was very pleased to get rid of my F. Second-rate Praktina copy. ;)

    It's a fascinating, and very important camera, but I never enjoyed using it - I do genuinely prefer Praktinas, but that's my personal foibles.
  14. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    My first camera was a Pentacon FM and I've always missed that angled release. The Praktina was, I think, a better made camera but was (a) rare and (b) out of my price range in the mid '60s.
  15. daft_biker

    daft_biker Action Man!

    I think you should get the Oly and the Leica. If they are appreciating in value you would be saving money buying them sooner rather than later and making a good investment ;);).
    zx9r likes this.
  16. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    I've had an OM1n for what, 20 years or so, and yes, I use it with a battery adaptor. I just significantly prefer the MX. I do particularly like my old 35mm f2 Zuiko - bought it used in France from an electrical store (FNAC) that at the time did lots of new and used photo gear. The guy in the shop thought it looked too tatty to sell for the perfectly reasonable price it was listed at, and sold it to me as a (much cheaper) 35mm f2.8 instead. Cleaned up beautifully...
  17. nimbus

    nimbus Well-Known Member

    I still have a Mercury battery in mine and several spares stored in the fridge, they don't seem to go off or leak. Not that I've used the camera for some years, I work the shutter quite regularly though, I intend to put a roll through it this year, I used one quite extensively from 1980-84 when I traded it for a Mamiya 645. I ended up buying another quite a few years ago and fitted it with the diagonal split focusing screen as I found I liked them in the Mamiya.
  18. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    That Pentacon FM had a split image spot in the centre as well. I was very disappointed to discover that it wasn't standard on all SLRs! :(
  19. Chester AP

    Chester AP Well-Known Member

    I used one for 27 years, before buying a Pentax DSLR after the death of Kodachrome. It did everything I wanted, was compact and reliable.

    I kept if for a while, then being realistic, I know I would not use it again. I managed to part-exchange it against a second hand lens I wanted, just when the market was at its lowest point and it was worth very little. When I see what they sell for now...
  20. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    Right, well thanks for everyone's thoughts.

    I've decided to have a go with various models I currently own and see how I get on with them with a reasonable period of use - Praktica VLC3, Pentax MX, and the Olympus OM1n.

    I've then got a few other alternatives I might try if I can get sensibly priced options: Yashica FX3, Pentax KX and possibly a Fujica ST801.

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