Good choice for a "keep it in the car" SLR ?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by johnw63, Jan 20, 2010.

  1. I've been thinking that to get better at photography, I need to shoot more. Alarming concept, I know. To do that, I think it would be a good idea to have a camera to stash in the car, so I can shoot when the need arises. I don't want to keep my F4 in the car. At this point, I am still thinking of film cameras. And, since all my lenses have the big N on them, a Nikon SLR would be the ticket.
    So, what would be a good "glove box" camera ? I was thinking an old 8008s or N90s. With the price of some of the F100s, I was even thinking about one of those, if I could get a well used, but fully functioning one at a low price. I don't want to collect it, so clean as the day it was built isn't an issue. I even looked at an FM2, but they seem to be hanging onto their price better than the three I listed.
     
  2. N6006. If you're lucky you can coerce a shop into paying you to take one off their hands. All you'll need is a roll of 3M blue masking tape to hold the door latch shut, which is prized for its lovely brokeh.
     
  3. SCL

    SCL

    An EM would do fine. I recently picked one up in a Salvation Army store in VG condition, plus case plus 50mm series E lens for the grand sum of $8.
     
  4. You can pick up a used F4 for 2 to 3 hundred dollars or a used FE for 1 to 2 hundred dollars or a used FM for a hundred or less. The FM would be good because you don't need a battery to use it. My wife has an F75 that I've used and kind of like and they are less than a hundred (although replacement batteries are almost the cost of the camera).
     
  5. I won't mind keeping a small digital point-and-shoot in the car, such as a Canon Elph, that can be operated with one hand as one drives.
     
  6. If you can find an F100 at a price you like, it's got a beautiful viewfinder, the best metering and autofocus of any Nikon FSLR bar the F6, and a used F6 is pretty pricey. And the F100 has a good focusing aid system (the three way kind, with "too near" and "too far" arrows, in addition to the "green dot" for focus confirmation.
    Lorne, F4 for $200-300? I'm curious, why that, over an F100 at $200 or less?
     
  7. I always keep an FM in my car.
     
  8. For several years I have carried a Nikkormat in the trunk with a couple rolls of film and 3 non-AI lenses, at a total investment of maybe us$75, courtesy of the local camera shop's bargain bin. It has come in handy, too. Automatic everything is way overrated.
     
  9. i wouldn't keep any camera in the car. well, maybe a disposable one for insurance purposes.
    okay, maybe one in the likes of lex's N6006 or stephen's EM :)
    don't you like carrying bags? if you do already carry a bag, why not just find room or get a bigger bag to squeeze in the camera?
     
  10. My car camera is an F80 and a 28-105mm. Cheap as chips these days.
     
  11. Since this camera will be living in your car, it isn't really necessary that it integrates with your "good" gear - pretty much any SLR with a standard lens would do (I wouldn't leave any of my good lenses in the car anyway). Case in point - my good stuff is all Nikon and Olympus, but my carry-around camera (lives in my backpack) is a Contax 137MD with a 50/2.0 Yachica standard - got it for nothing, replaced the seals and the famously scabrous leatherette and it zips along - plus, it's built like a brick outhouse and runs on AAs. That being said, if you're set on Nikon, I would go for an FM or FE with a 50/2.0 (an underrated but excellent lens) - you could pick up this combo on ebay for ~$100-120. Cheap, solid, competent and easily replaceable if something happens to it ("Dude...where's my car.....?")
     
  12. You can get a bargain N90 from KEH for less than 30 bucks, I'd go with that unless you have a number of older AI or AIS lenses, then a FM, FM2, etc might make sense.
     
  13. I always have some "keep-in-car" SLR, though which one I use varies. I usually use something that does not share lenses with my Nikon collection, thus avoiding the temptation to leave the good ones on, and providing an excuse to get extra lenses in other, cheaper, mounts. Minoltas and Konicas are good for this, because even good lenses can be gotten cheaply enough that it doesn't matter if they suffer from the environment. My current one is a Minolta X-700.
    If you live in a severe climate that tends to freeze batteries, you might consider something with an all-mechanical shutter, such as an old Konica, a Pentax K1000, or one of the low-end Yashicas. Plenty of cheap good lenses for these, and they'll work even if the meters die.
     
  14. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    John, I'll give you a somewhat off topic answer. I think you are much better off keeping a digital camera in the car. A car can become very hot in the summer, not particularly good for any film inside if it is going to be there for days; of course, heat is not particularly good for any camera either, film or digital.
    Another issue is that if you tend to shoot a few frames a day, you are far better off being able to review those frames quickly rather than having to wait for the entire roll of film to finish and keeping spare rolls around.
    But to become a better photographer, you need to get your (best) images critiqued. Let people tell you why your images might not be as great as you think and how they can improve. Merely shooting more and posting them to forums where everything is praised sometimes is not sufficient.
     
  15. A little off topic but why keep it in the car? not knowing where you live, but cars are often subject to extreme temperatures and having a small camera on your person is in my opinion more handy.
     
  16. SCL

    SCL

    I use the term "keep in the car" loosely. I never actually keep one in the car. Any time I go out I grab a small bag which has my "keep in car" camera. It may stay in the car while I'm at the grocery store orbarber shop, but unless I'm actually driving, it is usually with me. For instance I was at a board meeting last night (23 degrees F and ice storm) - the camera was in my brief case, same thing when I'm working at several of the hospitals I volunteer at, the camera is in a soft brief case...but it accompanies me in a car, especially when I don't want to take the big gun cameras.
     
  17. John, I have seen cameras that are left in cars literally melt. Ok, the whole camera doesn't but some of the internals might. And I am talking older film cameras. So if you do plan on leaving them in there, put them in a cooler. It should keep them insulated from the heat.
     
  18. I always keep an FM in my car.​
    My car has a buttom marked "FM". I pressed it, but a camera didn't pop put from anywhere. When I press the "CD" button, sometimes an actual CD pops out of a slot.
     
  19. Couple of solar cells and an efficient brushless DC electric fan, and you can rig up a cooled compartment in your car.
     
  20. Joe, I'd be worried that a fan would just circulate hot air. A smaller, cheaper, less power-hungry version of this thermoelectrically cooled chest would be just the thing: http://www.safehomeproducts.com/shp2/product/koolatron-12v-36-qt-capacity-kool-wheeler-with-wheels/coolers-ice-and-thermoelectric/160283/160283.aspx?source=GoogleBase
    Lacking that, I'd just put the camera inside a regular picnic cooler with a gallon milk container filled with room temperature water to help slow the rate of temperature rise. Doing that, I'd bet you could leave the car out in the summer sun for several hours without the camera / film / batteries / etc. getting dangerously hot. Just don't try this in bear country. Many associate picnic coolers with food and wouldn't be satisfied when they find only tasteless camera gear inside. ;-)
    Tom M
     
  21. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I'd just put the camera inside a regular picnic cooler with a gallon milk container filled with room temperature water to help slow the rate of temperature rise.​
    Hopefully you'll never has any kind of leak, or your camera will be inside a container with a lot of water sloshing around.
     
  22. Shun, good point about the possibility of a leak. Any large thermal mass (including solids) would help slow down the rate of temperature rise.
    Tom
     
  23. I won't mind keeping a small digital point-and-shoot in the car, such as a Canon Elph, that can be operated with one hand as one drives.​
    The road is already infested enough with bad/distracted/reckless drivers, please don't add to the problem. Thanks.
     
  24. True, the heat issue is something I need to consider. Where I live, it can get in the 110s , in the summer. Perhaps the camera would be more of a " toss in the car when I go, but keep with me in bad temps" sort of thing.
    Most of my lenses are AIS, but I was thinking of using a 28-85mm f3.5-4.5 AF lens as the candidate lens.
    Some one mentioned using other brands, like Minolta... I just so happen to have access to an X-700 kit that has a 35-200mm Vivitar zoom and a Rokkor 58mm F1.2 lens. However, it's something a friend of the family wants to sell, for around $200, I think. A bit more than I was thinking for a take it with you setup. That 58mm seems to be a popular lens.
     
  25. I agree with Shun. Keeping a digital camera in the car makes a lot more sense. The images withstand heat, cold, passage of time much, much, much better.
    If you like a larger camera than the Elph, I recommend the Canon G11 - excellent reviews. I just ordered one. I will probably keep that one in my car.
     
  26. Well, that might be a good choice, but I'd rather not leave a $450 camera in the car. Maybe one further down the price chain would be better for me.
     
  27. Small film camera to leave in the car? A Rollei 35s of course. Simple, small and very cool. Has a sharp 40mm lens. you don't need more.
     
  28. I like the EM suggestion. It is tiny and the 50mm Series E lens is pretty sharp. It kinda remininds me of a Leica.
    If I was buying a film camera, though, I'd think about an F5, if only because you can get one for $250 when they were going for closer to $2,000 in their prime.
    Regarding the suggestion to go digital -- one of the hidden benefits is that it allows you to shoot much, much more. I just noticed that I hit 10,000 frames on my D700, which is less than a year old. That's 277 rolls of film, which most of us wouldn't expose. It takes a lot of effort to get all those printed and a budget of $2770 for film and processing, assuming you did. All those extra shots are practice in becoming a better photog.
     
  29. That is a very good point !
    I am really enjoying the look of the slides I take. Not that the pictures that result have been keepers, but the colors are great.
    The idea of a small digital camera is probably best, but I know I would grumble about the lack of DoF. You just can't push the backgrounds out of focus. if you zoom out at all. But the ability to shoot lots, and lots, of pictures and get nearly instant feedback is a big plus.
     
  30. Go to Ffordes of Inverness using Google. I have just bought a Nikon F5 from them and they have Nikon F100's in stock. In addition, they also have loads of other film and digital cameras. I have previously purchased medium format bodies and lens.
    My own experience of them is very positive and I feel happy to reccommend them.
    They usually post kit to me and are reliable.
     
  31. I usually bring my Canon XS10 with me in its bag case whenever I'm out and about. I keep my DLSR and gear at home unless I'm heading out to shoot something in particular. I recently picked up a used Canon point and shoot, only 5MP but has a swivel LCD, optical viewfinder, takes AA batteries and is made of metal. That one I leave in the car, cost me all of $20.00. I keep in in the storage bin between the seats, out of sight but ready.
     
  32. I carry around a D70s all the time, unless I'm going to sports game to shoot. Then drag out the good stuff - D300 and D300S! Still not a couple of D3's or a D700, but...!
    I have an N90S with the "time/date etc electronic back plate. Have the original backplate as well. If interested, let me know.
    shoppix_photos@yahoo.com
    Steve
    I realize you are not leaving it in the car all the time, but on those occaisions a styrofoam or other type of small cooler is good idea. Plus it doesn't look like a camera bag to peeping 'toms'! Probably wouldn't break into your car to get a sandwhich and soda!
     
  33. I love my F4 and FM, but I agree with Shun also -- digital is better for faster learning. How about a Nikon D40 with the 18-55mm AF-S lens. It has a good enough viewfinder for composing, and it's small enough to pack around so you don't always have to leave it in the car. About $350 on ebay, minus the cost for film and processing.
     
  34. Joe, I'd be worried that a fan would just circulate hot air.​
    Mine ducts to the driver's side rear air ejector (I hope that makes sense to someone outside the auto industry. An air ejector is a port on a vehicle that's placed in a low pressure zone, so that it sucks air out of a moving car instead of drawing it in) and only runs when the car is stationary. A flapper door keeps the fan from turning into a little siren when the car is in motion. I copied something we used for one of the early voice control systems back at Ford. Cheap, efficient, easy to install.
    A smaller, cheaper, less power-hungry version of this thermoelectrically cooled chest would be just the thing: (link)
    You're now on my tea list (link) . There are three words one does not apply to Peltier devices: "cheap" and "low power".
    Lacking that, I'd just put the camera inside a regular picnic cooler with a gallon milk container filled with room temperature water to help slow the rate of temperature rise. Doing that, I'd bet you could leave the car out in the summer sun for several hours without the camera / film / batteries / etc. getting dangerously hot.​
    I'd bet agaisnt that. It strikes me as insufficient thermal mass (water is pretty horrible for these things unless you're dealing with phase changes), and insufficient transfer capacity. And I wouldn't want to go to the trouble of logging it to validate it.
     
  35. I did a long search of P&S cameras, and I think I discovered I wasn't that excited about the features, in the $150 and under, price range I have formed.
    I have some watches on the 'bay to see how N90s , and F100s and a few others, like a D40 are going for. I did see a D90s in BGN condition at KEH for a whopping $30. That one has my curiosity.
     
  36. John, I have an N6006 body. It's a good little camera and you're welcome to it for the cost of shipping.
    Warning: Battery door is secured with black tape rather than per Lex's blue tape protocol. Hope that's not a deal breaker. ;-)
    JW
     

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