"Hall of Fame" modern film cameras

Discussion in 'Modern Film Cameras' started by dwscott, Jan 25, 2011.

  1. I want to say I like the idea of this forum. I also appreciate that it crosses all brands/mounts/etc. I love all film cameras, and appreciate that there is a place to easily discuss many different kinds of "modern" film cameras.
    I think we should take nominations for the Hall of Fame in modern film cameras. Feel free to nominate your favourites ... or give a nod to the "almost greats".
    To start things off, I nominate:
    • Nikon F100 - it's really as big a camera as I want to carry in 35mm. Stunningly well built. A feeling of speed and precision that has to be experienced to be appreciated. And featuring the most modern of Nikon's film camera interfaces (you digital shooters will be right at home.)
    • Pentax MZ-S - Pentax's final film flagship. It is tiny, quirky, and a joy to shoot with. The truly unique digital control interface (with big dials rotating around displays on the top, and the use of traditional aperture ring lenses) does a great job of "getting out of the way." If aperture rings were more ubiquitous, continuing this interface would help Pentax's image of offering a unique product. Other Pentax specialties are present here as well -- small body size, huge viewfinder, good build quality. The MZ-S is to the F100 as a Porsche is to a top-of-the-line Corvette - small, nimble, quirky and not really as fast.
  2. I don't have the Maxxum 7000 (note to self, resist temptation to ...), but clearly the early EOS cameras are in the "Greats" list for this new forum.
    Here's the first EOS camera, film naturally.
  3. I have to say, I have been lurking for about two weeks now and it was THIS THREAD that motivated me enough to actually register just so I could post my reply. I will post a proper introduction of myself in the "new members" thread shortly; but, I have to put my two cents in here.
    I second the nomination of the F100 into the H.O.F. (I also think that the N80 needs serious consideration as pound-for-pound was quite similar to the F100 in a smaller, less menacing body).
    I would also like to nominate the Pentax K-1000! The only camera that had so many bodies made that the actual mold broke! I mean, who didn't own/have/learn on a K-1000 if they were introduced to photography in the late 80's and early 90's.
    I also would like to nominate the duo of the Nikon F3HP WITH the MD-4 motor drive! That was a tank of a camera and talk about a work horse ...
    So many great cameras throughout the years, I can't wait to see what other members think as well on this subject.
  4. I'd like to nominate the Olympus XA series.
    They get a lot of air time in the Classic Manual Camera forum, but I think that because they have a battery and exposure automation, they'd go here.
    An XA was my first 35mm camera, and I still have it. I have its descendant, the Olympus Stylus Epic, a weather-proof 35mm camera. And I have an Olympus Stylus Tough 300, a 12 MP submersible digital camera. I keep thinking about writing an article comparing all 3, how there's always been a market for a small versatile camera that takes great photos.
  5. It probably does not get the respect that it deserves, but the Nikon N8008 is a great camera, with its high-eyepoint viewfinder, and use of AA batteries, not those CR-series things. Plus, it meters and works fine with AI-manual and most AF lenses. I think the AF module is the same as in the mighty F4.
  6. i suggest Olympus OM-1 and/or Olympus OM-2
  7. I nominate the Nikon F4 - aside from the F6, the best camera to be used with MF lenses in Nikon's camera line-up. I certainly second the nomination of the F3/MD-4 and the F100.
    I don't want to forget the Nikon FA - a first with (now considered rather rudimentary) matrix metering.
    Contax RTS III - the best camera to gain access to the Zeiss lenses.
    Leica R8/R9 - gotta be the ugliest.
    Pentax LX - for that electro-mechanical hybrid shutter.
    Olympus OM-2/OM-4 - fantastic metering.
  8. I must nominate the Canon EOS 1v. It's the most amazing camera I've ever used (and I've used a lot!), and it was/is the basis for the superb Canon 1D-series of DSLRs.
    -I also agree with the Nikon F100; it's perfectly proportioned and so well laid out. Plus the information in the viewfinder is extremely helpful. Along with my 1v it's the film camera that's getting the most use from me at present.
    -The Pentax LX is another great choice. What a tough camera with a superb metering system.
    -The Canon EOS A2/A2E/5 is another fantastic platform that I think was a bit ahead of its time. It was very full-featured for the early 1990s, and still is impressive today.
    -Nikon N90s; a rugged camera that satisfied the likes of greats like Galen Rowell. Some of the greatest pictures of the last 20 years were taken with the N90s/F90x.
    By the way, I absolutely love this forum! As much as I love classic cameras and DSLRs, there is so much to discuss about AF film SLRs that I don't know and would love to learn.
  9. stp


    + another vote for the F100, one of the best-value cameras I've ever owned. Combined with the 35-70 f/2.8, the process and results were outstanding.
  10. I'd include the Canon T90, the Canon AE1 and maybe the Canon A1 (mostly for its multi-mode capabilities).
  11. F4s and Pentax 6x7 (does the Pentax count?) I've bought at least three of each over the years, and were it not for the price of a Nikon MF scanner, I'd own the entire range of P67 gear. As it is, the Minolta 5400ii was cheap enough for me to get yet another F4s, and nothing feels better in my hands. I love the manual focus range-finding thingie as well as being able to operate the entire camera with my eyes closed. Although it sounds like a sick camera compared to F3HP with MD4 which was pure music...
  12. I'm not a Canon user, but I have had the chance to shoot both the AE-1 and A-1. Even though the A-1 was 'technically' the better camera, I liked the AE-1 better ... I would second a nomination for the AE-1 ...
  13. Ahhh, the T90...most definitely a Hall of Famer, and the granddaddy of my 1v.
  14. 2nd the Pentax K-1000 and Canon AE-1 (even though I also feel A-1 is a much better camera).
  15. Pentax ZX-5- one of the best looking AF film cameras with the "retro" treatment.
    Olympus IS-10/20/30- good performing 28-110 zoom- a ZLR
    Konica A4- benchmark for precision single focal length compact 35
    Minolta X-700- great combination of ease of use, features, and performance
  16. I think the ae-1 and later canon FD models are classified as MODERN 35mm slr's
    but the Pentax K-100 my ricoh kr5 or even my 1961 Miranda Sensorex are match pointer ELECTRIC
    not electronic cameras. they all three and many others made by several manufacturers are match pointer manuals focvus. and are not really modern "style" camerasa. a NON slr like the Konica C35 automatic and the canonet 28
    are both more electrical rather than electronic, they work on a trap needle principle
    even though the two cameras have auto-exposure. There Might be a transistor inside..
  17. The Olympus Stylus Epic for SURE! One of the best days I've had in the last year was when I found one of those babies in a box at work that was marked "junk!" I didn't expect it to work, but after an inspection, and a few rolls of film, it got a clean bill of health from me. It was a wonderful find! Best lens ever in a 35mm p/s camera!
  18. The Leica that the market wasn't ready for and which almost did Leica in - IMO better than anything that came before it and after it.
    Edit: realized to late that this camera probably doesn't have a place in this forum either - story of a lifetime I guess.
  19. Back when I couldn't afford cameras I lusted after the F801s, F3, F4, RTSIII, T90, EOS 630, OM4-Ti and a few others like the F1-HS, R4 and the high-end Hasselblads and Rolleis. I'd say all of those are worthy for the hall of fame.
    The F90X and F100 are also just as worthy. The F100 is probably one of the biggest bargains in this category. F4s go for more on eBay but are not as capable.
  20. In an attempt to correct my above mistake I nominate the Minolta CLE - another rangefinder milestone camera.
  21. Contax AX. Autofocus camera with manual focus lenses. With an adapter a lens for the 1930s Praktiflex becomes auto focus!
  22. Nikon F3 and the Pentax 645. Both are "early modern".
  23. Konica FS-1
    After having too many T3's fail on me in the past year, I'm finally taking a shine to this electronic beast. I'm not crazy about the shutter lag or Tv auto exposure (never was fan of Canon AE-1, for that matter). But this is my only working Konica for the time being. The viewfinder is really nice to look through - I don't know what else it compares to - it has a certain brightness and snap.
    Runs on 4 AA's, makes the 1/2 metal body all the more solid-feeling. Seems to work great in the cold, too !
  24. From the Nikon camp, I'd like to nominate the Nikon N2000 (F301). Not because it's all that great of a camera (although I do enjoy using mine), but because Nikon made several advances with this model. The N2000 was the first Nikon body to incorporate the DX encoding system. It was also the first Nikon with a motorized film advance. I've also read that it was the first Nikon to feature a composite (gasp!...PLASTIC!) body, but this came from a questionable internet source. Lastly, the N2000, the N2020, and the FA (I think) are the only three cameras to make use of the lens type signal notch that was introduced with the AIS lens mount and continued on until the recent G lenses.
  25. OM-3 & OM-4 (also in Ti versions). Why nobody has "copied" their metering system is incomprehensible. It really was THAT good - and still is.
  26. There's already a separate thread running on Minolta SLRs, but for completeness I'd add the Dynax/Maxxum 7 - one of the last great film SLRs. The only thing it's missing is a little screen on the back to preview the picture you've just taken ... ;-)
  27. For me it's got to be the K1000 (my first SLR), could I also sneak in the Olympus OM10? Slightly later model of course but still a brilliant camera (and still going strong).
  28. Canon EOS 3 - One of the last Hurrahs of the 35mm film cameras, and quite affordable these days.
  29. Here are 3 of my favorites; the big and the small:
    and the really small:
  30. Damn, my shopping list just got longer...
  31. That Olympus Infinity Stylus was a heck of a camera. I got one for my girlfriend in the 1980s, still have it (and her). Ours does not have the exposed circuit board feature like John's! Very sweet little camera to use and operate. The Yashica T3/T4 were also very good cameras in this category. Now that we have this forum I'm inclined to pull out a few of these beauties and run them through their paces again.
  32. Not sure if this quite fits the modern era, since these have only built in exposure meters but no other electronics...
    Canon FTb-N. Arguably the best of a niche that includes the Olympus OM-1 and Nikon FM-series (also Minolta SRT-series and others).
    Having owned and enjoyed both the OM-1 and FM2N, I found myself missing a few features after selling my FTb-N when I decided to go all-Nikon:
    • The Quick Load doodad - that was really handy for fast film reloads when I was walking around.
    • Clever and functional multi-purpose lever for stop-down, true mirror lockup and self-timer.
    • Shutter release locking collar that could, in a pinch, replace a cable release for locking the shutter open for long exposures.
  33. And, probably more suited to this forum, I'll toss in the cameras too often dismissed as neither fish nor fowl: the Olympus ZLR.
    The Olympus iS-2 and iS-3 zoom lens reflex cameras (and the "lesser" entry level ZLRs) never quite gained the respect they deserved in the film era, but were very influential on a proven popular digital camera paradigm - the "serious" P&S digicam. Excellent bundle of features, including very good midrange zooms, TTL flash and accurate if somewhat slow autofocus. The ZLR appealed as much to the experienced SLR user as to novices - provided the experienced SLR user didn't suffer from elitism. I still have and occasionally use the iS-2.
  34. Lex, you're absolutely right. Those Olympus cameras had different numbering in Europe - my example is called the iS-3000 but I had a couple of other models before this. They were very delicate cameras and did not take kindly to knocks (which is how I ended up with the top-of-the-range model, courtesy of insurance claims!).
    There's a 35-180 zoom, pretty good macro and excellent autofocus. Nice results too. I think the following is a scan from a print.
  35. I like the clutch of smallish SLRs that appeared diuring the 1980's. The Olympus OM1 and Pentax LX and MX were my favourites.
    ...and a mention for the superb Mamiya 6 and 7.
  36. vdp


    For me the greatest ever SLR is the Contax RX while the Contax Aria gets honorable mention.
    For the greatest non SLR film camera I nominate the Konica Hexar AF.
  37. I'm going to have to toss my own favorites in here...
    Minolta XD-11
    Canon New F-1
    Canon T-90
    Contax RTS III
    Nikon F4s
    Canon EOS RT
    Contax AX
    Canon EOS 1V
  38. I have my favorites on the main brands (sorry no Minolta) from what I have used so far and they are:
    Pentax KX
    Canon AE-1/ AE-1P
    Olympus OM-1
    Nikon F3
    Nikon F100
  39. My choices are: Nikon F100, Canon T90, Minolta XD-11, Nikon FE2, Canon AE-1.
    The Pentax K1000 and Canon FTb may be Hall of Famers, but they are clearly Classic Manual Cameras, not Modern Film Cameras as most would define the categories, I believe.
  40. My choices are four that I have and use all the time:
    • Nikon F6
    • Nikon FM3a
    • Contax G2
    • Yashica Electro 35 GTN
    and also a couple that I would like to get my hands on some time in the future:
    • Contax T3
    • Leica M7
    in no particular order.
    And for the larger film formats, it would be, of course my trusty Mamaya RZ67 II.
  41. F100 gets my vote. It's a bit crazy, when you think about what you get, for under $200. Works great with AI lenses, and all the current lens features, and old and new flashes, and it has that "precise" "pro" "feel" that's characteristic of the better Nikons.
  42. The Nikon F5 gets my vote. I use two of them and they fit my hand like a glove. Solid build, fast, accurate....it's simply my favorite!
  43. There's no question in my mind: the Canon EOS 1V (and perhaps also the EOS 3).
  44. Canon Rebel 2000, as it is known in the US, and equivalent cameras under different model designations in other countries.
    If I am not mistaken, this was the most popular film SLR ever manufactured. It has a very good feature set, accepts virtually all EOS lenses, interfaces to most of the canon TTL flashes, has nice handling (at least in my opinion), was not too expensive, and is dirt cheap now as a used camera.
    I have two of them in my camera bag, as well as two each of its successors, the Ti and the T2.
  45. At this point, I only have two cameras which fit in this category, so I'll nominate them: Oly XA and Oly Stylus Epic.
  46. Nikon F801, no particular reason other than I have one and it's not a bad camera. It was Nikons top AF enthusiast model until the N90 replaced it. I had an N90s actualy I've own two of then at different times. Canon EOS 600 was a great modern body it was my first AF SLR would have held on to it but someone stole it. Just curious where does my 1998 FM2n fit in modern or classic?
  47. I'm a little late to this party....
    I don't have the Maxxum 7000 (note to self, resist temptation to ...), but clearly the early EOS cameras are in the "Greats" list for this new forum.
    Here's the first EOS camera, film naturally.
    I second JDM's nomination, the Canon EOS 650
    Mike :D
  48. I'd second the F100 and the Olympus XA series. There's little you could change on these that would not be to their detriment.
    I can't decide where the Nikon F3 belongs, classic or modern film. Better get two of them, one for each hall of fame.
    I also have a fondness for the Minolta X700 and the lowly x-370, very nice basic cameras with good performance and good handling. For some reason I've always found Minolta meters, at least the later ones, extremely accurate. I have used my X-370 for years as the standard for calibrating anything else that needs adusting, and never regretted it.
    The Minolta Maxxum 7000 might qualify for its historic significance more than for its build quality. It was solid, with good metering and multiple modes, and it was very nice to use. But the slow focusing and a tendency toward mechanical failure (why you can get a minty 7000 with aperture base plate problem for less than the cost to mail it), as well as hunger for batteries, compromise its hall of fame rank, I think.
  49. Nikon F4 (brought 35mm SLRs into modern era by almost any measure) and Contax Rx (smooth as silk manual focus SLR with automation). Perhaps the two most capable "modern" film cameras that could do it all, and were superbly engineered.
    Canon T-90 has also already been mentioned -- yes to that as well -- the multiple-spot meter reading capability should have become standard on all SLRs.
    The Nikon F6 only because it represents the end of 35mm film SLRs. Steve McCurry used an F6 to shoot that last roll of Kodachrome...
  50. I.M.O the first truly modern film camera that was the forerunner of just about all subsequent 35mm film SLR design both in shape and function was the Canon T90, at the time it came out I sold cameras for a living and we and the customers had never seen anything like it and they sold like hot cakes, unfortunately with the introduction by Minolta of first autofocus SLR the bottom dropped out of the market for them and they were only made for around a year in 1986, but some indication of how many were sold is how many are still around twenty five years later.
  51. Konica Hexar AF, a full-featured point and shoot with 35/2 lens that rivals the 4th-gen Summicron 35/2, should be in here! It is bigger than any p&s that I know of (well, maybe some of those early 80s honkers are bigger than it), and while the feature sets of other posh p&s like the Contax T2/T3, Nikon 35Ti or Ricoh GR1 are similar, the silent mode of the camera combined with its intelligent way of handling the P (program) feature (set your widest desired aperture along with your slowest preferred shutter speed), IMHO, beats the others hands down.

    Other cameras mentioned here are much more notable than the Hexar AF; but for its unique features, it is my favourite p&s... and probably last 35mm camera!
  52. I love my Nikon F5; it fits my hand perfectly and is a solid platform. My favorite smaller film cameras are: Canon AE-1 and Voigtlander R3M (I enjoy shooting with this more than my Leica M6TTL, go figure). Medium format film camera favorites are Mamiya 7, Pentax 645 and Fujifilm GA645. Oh yes, and my 50-plus year old Agfa Isolette III with f3.5 Solinar lens, a great little camera that produces fantastic results.

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