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Hi-end film SLR on high budget? Olympus vs Contax vs Nikon?
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2020 4:53 pm    Post subject: Hi-end film SLR on high budget? Olympus vs Contax vs Nikon? Reply with quote

Hello MF forum members. I have just sold my last bit of assorted film gear I have collected over the years, and now I have enough budget to start from a clean slate.

I tried point and shoot and rangefinder cameras and decided it's not my cup of tea (T2, Espio, G1 with 45mm planar, M6 with 35 cron, Yashica electro, Olympus XA).

I've realized I'm an SLR guy. I've realized I need just one body and one lens. Owning beautiful gear makes me want to shoot it (that was the case with the contaxes especially and the leica).

So I'm ready to splurge and get the best of the best, get a lens for it and be set.

So far the SLRs I have owned are Fujica AX5, Contax 167mt, Canon 300x, Zenit E, Pentacon Six TL. I like the form factor and classic look of fujica, and usability of Contax and Canon.

My perfect lens is in 40-45mm range. Luckily lots of systems have compact lenses in this range and all of them seem to be great performers.

So far I have my eye on two cameras – Contax s2b and Olympus Om3-Ti. I love the classic look, small size, feature set, both have options for a small 40-45mm lens.

I was hung up on contaxes because of my history with the brand, but people on a different forum made me realize that I might be overlooking other great hi-end classic SLRs, like the om3-ti, or maybe something from Nikon, or Pentax?

Does anyone have any cameras in mind that they would like to point out?


PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2020 5:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Have a look at the Pentax LX, redimp.


PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2020 7:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with Sciolist. The Pentax LX is a great camera and often goes overlooked when pro-level cameras are discussed. It is comparable in basic features to the Nikon F3 and the Canon New F-1 (short descriptions of each are provided below). All three offer shutter speeds to 1/2000 and aperture-priority exposure in addition to metered manual. All have interchangeable finders and motor drive/winder options.

To me, one of the LX's greatest features is its ability to read exposure off the film plane, which works fantastic with low-light shots. The LX's shutter will stay open as long as is necessary to record a correct level of exposure.

Among cameras that have interchangeable finders, the LX is unique in that it uses a base finder to which other accessory pieces are attached -- high magnification, sport finder, etc. Usually you'll find the LX with the standard finder attached, however.

One drawback of the LX is its motor drive. Winders are not that difficult to find for the LX, but the motors are rather rare, and then when you do find one, it almost always has a dead NiCad pack included, so it isn't of any use until or if you get the NiCad pack rebuilt.

Another drawback to the LX is its sticky mirror syndrome, which requires a fairly extensive amount of refurbishment to correct. Almost all LXes these days will suffer from this malady, unless it has been done previously.

The Nikon F3 is housed in a subtly sleek package, quite ergonomic and compact for what it is. One of the things I really like about the F3 is its metering pattern. Most Nikons use Nikon's tried and true 60-40 weighting system, where 60% of the meter's weighting occurs within a largish circle seen in the viewfinder. Nikon tightened it up with the F3 to 80-20. I think the reason why Nikon did this was to improve exposure accuracy with slide film when shooting in its Aperture-priority mode. I found it to be highly accurate with essentially no missed exposures. The MD-4 motor drive fits seemlessly with the camera and becomes an essential accessory -- to me, at least.

Canon's New F-1 is almost unique among Canons in that it has a hybrid shutter (the only other one is the EF). Slow speeds are electronically controlled, whereas faster speeds are mechanically controlled. The advantage to this setup is that, even if the battery dies, one has a full selection of faster shutter speeds plus B available. The New F-1 is an extremely rugged camera. I have no doubt that one could pound nails with it, if needed. It came new with a choice of two basic finders -- one is just that -- basic. The other, the AE Finder FN, is the finder best used when one wants to access the New F-1's Aperture priority mode. The New F-1's meter readout is very easy to read and bright, much easier to figure out than Nikon's. The New F-1 offers three basic metering patterns, which are determined by the focusing screen being used: centerweighted, partial, and spot. (I prefer partial, for the best all-around uses.) The Motor Drive FN for the New F-1 is a large beast, very full featured. A nice companion, but if one wants something a bit smaller and lighter, there is the Winder option. In order to access the New F-1's Shutter Priority mode, either the motor or winder must be installed.


PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2020 5:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No clear conlusion, but among the various analog devices I have used, Zeiss and Leitz stand out, mainly because of quite good optics and very bright and accurate viewfinders.

Canons EF mount must be recommended because it will allow all manners of ancient lenses to be adapted (like. it must be admited the Minolta mount), but EOS is not designed to focus manually so even with the MF ground-glass the EOS 1 viewfinder is inferior to the Kyocera Contaxes and the Leitz R-8. The CX with manual shutter times is less likely to suffer from changing battery availability, while ancient electronics, such as in all "modern" film devices like the R-8 are unrepairable (where late production-runs free from electronic problems should be preferred), but while they work, they are relatively cheap, reliable and effective.

As to the optics,I would avoid Canons short-lived non-adaptable auto wonders and splurge on Zeiss or Leitz optics, never mind if not made in Oberkochen or Wetzlar/Solms, the Japanese avatars are excellent.

As to Olympus, I recall once a torrential rain drowned an OM plus my then M3. The olympus had its viewfinder filled with water and its meter die so it was declared unrepairable, while Leitz service confirmed that rangefinder and shutter worked perfectly.


PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2020 2:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Which ever you prefer, I would strongly recommend a mechanical camera. Battery dependent ones will give up the ghost eventually, whereas well made bodies from the 70's are still producing great pics. If a repair is needed, parts are available. I have a 3 or 4 fully electronic cameras from the late 90's and use them while I can. But I know my Nikon F, Canon F1 and Nikkormat FTn will outlast me.


PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2020 7:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can't say anything about the OM-3 and Contax S2B, but i would recommend you to have a look at the three cameras mentioned by cooltouch: Canons New F-1, Nikons F3, and the Pentax LX. All of these can be found for pretty reasonable prices (in Switzerland between CHF 100 ... CHF 200). The Canon and the Pentax have a hybrid shutter - the short exposures are mechanical (they work without batteries), the longer exposures are electronically controlled. Contrary to the OM-3 / S2B these cameras have exchangeable viewfinders. If you really need a 40mm or a 45mm lens (instead of 50mm), the Canon is not an option; they never made an FD 45mm lens. All three SLRs mentioned here are extremely rugged and reliable, especially the Canon and the Nikon.

Stephan


PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2020 8:07 pm    Post subject: minolta Reply with quote

I am surprised that stevemark with his excdellent Minolta pages does not recommend one of them: much undervalued and wiith good optics plus shorter mount than EF, so every slr lens (excdept Alpa) will fit.

p.


PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2020 1:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd suggest a look at the Nikon FM2n. A camera ignored by many but often used as a backup by professionals in the film era because of it's mechanical shutter with a 1/4000 maximum speed. Has a battery operated internal meter but will operate just fine with no batteries. No meter but sunny 16 rules are fine for many situations.


PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2020 6:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well if you don't mind a camera with batteries then my top cameras are the Canon T90 with matching flashgun and Nikon f4.
For the Canon T90 you must buy from someone reliable as when digi arrived they were left in cupboards and many/quite a few... have sticky shutters/magnets, also you can use an adapter for screw lenses..note Olympus cameras or Nikon can't be used for screw lenses.
The F4 can take many Nikon lenses from pre AI to quite a few AF lenses so is a VG all rounder for both manual and AF.
For a more mechanical camera by Nikon I quite like the FM but for me the wind on lever has to be slightly open for the camera to work and in the vertical position was sometimes getting caught in my nose Rolling Eyes
Good luck choosing your camera.


PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2020 11:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Leica?


PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2020 11:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Minolta XE, XE-1, XE-7. The same camera depending where in the world you are.


PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2020 10:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

DigiChromeEd wrote:
Minolta XE, XE-1, XE-7. The same camera depending where in the world you are.

XD-11 over XE six days of the week and twice on Sunday.


PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2020 6:42 am    Post subject: Splurge Reply with quote

if you really want to get rid of cash and obtain a unique set of lenses, the "Rolls Royce alternative", Alpa 11si is a simple and robust body, but its Kinoptik, Kern and Angenieux optics are up there with Leitz and Zeiss. Those knowledgeable about the world of cameras will be convinced that you are one of them .Also,its very short mount to film distance will let you mount all mannerr of lmodern enses-.If you have to rely on auto aperture operation, Alpa adapters for Nikon and M42 can be found.

Its finder is not as bright as the Contax or Leica alternatives however, its only use of a battery is for the light meter, admittedly a peculiar type, and but the elsctrics of the meter is coupled as a bridge circuit, so it is immune from voltage variations . The original makers are long gone, and optics has to be bought at expensive auction sites like Leicashop in Vienna,but as long as skilled watchmakers exist it can be maintained: it contains no fancy autocircuitry which is bound to become irrepairable Looking at the prices, an Alpa body + lenses seems to be an investment rather than just a tool.

A less study-intensive way of getting a set of excellent optics with a well performing film camera (while its electronics lasts), would be to obtain a late Leica R8 or a R9 wirh a corresponding set of apochromatic lenses. (Leitz is not in the habit of just using slogans for three-colour correction). Their last R-zooms are also quite good and all R optics will serve well if you should wish to move to digital devices (as would your Alpa optics)

p.


PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2020 7:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gardener wrote:
DigiChromeEd wrote:
Minolta XE, XE-1, XE-7. The same camera depending where in the world you are.

XD-11 over XE six days of the week and twice on Sunday.


Everyone to their own, I suppose. Wink Laughing


PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2020 8:56 pm    Post subject: Re: Hi-end film SLR on high budget? Olympus vs Contax vs Nik Reply with quote

redimp wrote:
Hello MF forum members. ... now I have enough budget to start from a clean slate.
...
I've realized I'm an SLR guy. I've realized I need just one body and one lens. Owning beautiful gear makes me want to shoot it (that was the case with the contaxes especially and the leica).

So I'm ready to splurge and get the best of the best, get a lens for it and be set.
...
My perfect lens is in 40-45mm range.
...
So far I have my eye on two cameras – Contax s2b and Olympus Om3-Ti. I love the classic look, small size, feature set, both have options for a small 40-45mm lens.


paulhofseth wrote:
I am surprised that stevemark with his excdellent Minolta pages does not recommend one of them: much undervalued and wiith good optics plus shorter mount than EF, so every slr lens (excdept Alpa) will fit.

p.


The thread starter was asking for an excellent mechanical camera with one lens in the 40-45mm range.

* The Minolta SR-T would be a mechanical camera, but i would hesitate to recommend it as a "best of the best" camera!
* The XE is nice, but "best of the best"? Probably not.
* The XM hasn't a mechanical shutter either, it's AE viewfinder usually doesn't work reliably any more, and even with the AE-S finder it is rather clumsy to use (e. g. the need to change the sensitivity of the viewfinder depending on the shooting conditions).
* The XD certainly is a nice camera, but due to the revolutionary light metering (final checking and re-adjusting after the aperture is closed!) it takes quite a while until finally the camera takes the image. In addition most XDs sold today have a sticky mirror damper which makes the camera even slower!
* the X-500/X-700 are very capable cameras, especially when used with the Motor drive. There's an excellent viewfinder, and the ergonomics are - for a camera from the early 1980s! - very good (much better than Canon new F-1 or Nikon F3). However it is a plastic camera with a cloth shutter ...

Take a XD / x-700 and compare it side by side with a Canon new F-1, or an Nikon F3, or an Pentax LX. Especially the Canon and the Nikon feel much, much more professional.

That said, I very much like many of the Minolta lenses. In the 17mm to 100mm range they usually are better than their CaNikon counterparts: better coating (=> better colors), sharper, and in their MC-X/MD-I incarnations much smoother to operate.

I hope this clarifies some of my previous statements.

S


PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2020 8:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excalibur wrote:
Well if you don't mind a camera with batteries then my top cameras are the Canon T90 with matching flashgun and Nikon f4.
For the Canon T90 you must buy from someone reliable as when digi arrived they were left in cupboards and many/quite a few... have sticky shutters/magnets,
...


Not a reliable camera, as you said yourself. In addition: Too much plastic, no fun to operate. The Canon new F-1 is a completely different beast Wink

S


PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2020 9:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gardener wrote:
DigiChromeEd wrote:
Minolta XE, XE-1, XE-7. The same camera depending where in the world you are.

XD-11 over XE six days of the week and twice on Sunday.


Care to qualify that? Smile


PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2020 6:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

stevemark wrote:
Excalibur wrote:
Well if you don't mind a camera with batteries then my top cameras are the Canon T90 with matching flashgun and Nikon f4.
For the Canon T90 you must buy from someone reliable as when digi arrived they were left in cupboards and many/quite a few... have sticky shutters/magnets,
...


Not a reliable camera, as you said yourself. In addition: Too much plastic, no fun to operate. The Canon new F-1 is a completely different beast Wink

S


Well if I was a digi user and wanted to play\try\relax with film I'd go straight to Medium Format as the quality of results is superior to 35mm.....but erm it's not what the OP is asking Wink


PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2020 2:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

visualopsins wrote:
Gardener wrote:
DigiChromeEd wrote:
Minolta XE, XE-1, XE-7. The same camera depending where in the world you are.

XD-11 over XE six days of the week and twice on Sunday.


Care to qualify that? Smile


That it is capable of shooting in both shutter and aperture priority should be enough.


PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2020 5:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excalibur wrote:

Well if I was a digi user and wanted to play\try\relax with film I'd go straight to Medium Format as the quality of results is superior to 35mm.....but erm it's not what the OP is asking Wink


If you are a landscape/architecture type of photographer, that makes sense. However, if you want the classical "film" look for your street photography, then the "clean" medium format look would be counterproductive ...

S


PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2020 5:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gardener wrote:
visualopsins wrote:
Gardener wrote:
DigiChromeEd wrote:
Minolta XE, XE-1, XE-7. The same camera depending where in the world you are.

XD-11 over XE six days of the week and twice on Sunday.


Care to qualify that? Smile


That it is capable of shooting in both shutter and aperture priority should be enough.


I want an XD with a Leitz-Copal XE shutter and super smooth film advance, and I don't care how much it costs! Gimme gimme!


PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2020 8:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice to see you listed the 300x. Yes you'd need to get a chipped adapter for focus confirmation, but after that you've got something extremely light, modern and usually affordable, and bar the M39 mount a very short flange- the 300v is more plentiful compared to it, though.