Ideal digital camera.....for old farts.

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by russ_britt|3, Dec 30, 2012.

  1. What would you want if you could have your perfect digital camera?
    Being a old fart with mainly film knowledge this would be my wish list camera.

    A metal body, with a canon FD mount.
    A dial to set the asa, another dial on top of the body to set the shutter speed. The F-stop would be set by the lens of course. A match need type exposure meter, not coupled in any way.
    Basically a digital Canon F1........with a full frame chip.
    I hate menus or any other play things on cameras........just a camera that lets me photograph what I want, how I want it to look.
    Oh yes a shutter that fires when I push the button, not when the camera decides its right.

    I dislike plastic cameras with plastic lens.....and one that everything is automatic.

    I like to be THE photographer when I photograph.

    Am I the only one?
  2. Agreed. Shove a digital sensor in an Olympus OM-4 or a Nikon F100 and I'd be happy.
  3. Do you want to be able to use different lenses? By specifing 'FD mount', I think you do, but being an old fart, I know that sometimes my presumtions can be very wrong.
    As an old fart, how much weight do you want to pack?
    Most dslr's allow manual mode setting of aperture and shutter speed. Few (if any??) come without a meter.
    Why are you so sure of wanting full frame chip? And what frame do you want the chip to fully fill?
    If you hate menus, get over it. You won't find any digital cameras without any menus. By use of menus you can, for example, configure a camere to operate: in manual mode where you set both Fstop and shutter speed, shutter response when you push the button, etc.
    I have 2 nikons, and both are configurable to trip the shutter when button is pressed, I expect most cameras do, although you would be hard pressed any one person who knows the answer for all cameras.
    Not a canon user myself, but I believe FD mount is discontinued??
    Whether or not you "are the only one" is irrelevent. There probably aren't any cameras conforming exactly to your specs; examining and exploring options, combined with an openess to continued learning, can enable you make rational choices.
  4. Gee Russ, I saw that catchy title
    Ideal digital camera.....for old farts.
    ...and sure enough I think, "This looks interesting, am I an old fart?". Well, regardless if I qualify, lol:
    I think it would be fun to have the digital camera with all the old manual controls of the old film cameras. I would go as far as to have that manual f/stop too. Basically a manual film camera with a full frame digital sensor. There would be very little to break. It would probably not be my most used camera, but sure would be one I would play with a lot and who knows, maybe it would be my favorite.
  5. No Canon FD mount digital. Nikon kept legacy glass on board with some DSLRs that use an Ai tab for metering with manual lenses, making them easy to use like an oldie with either manual or aperture priority mode. Looks like you're SOL with Canon; as for the other requirements, they mostly vanished with Canon's late film SLRs, if not earlier. Closest you'll probably get is using a handheld meter, transferring readings to the camera, and being thankful you've not blown 1/3 of a roll.
    Make the jump to a DSLR and shoot it your way. They're more flexible than you think. I'm quite a ways from fartdom and still shoot 35mm and medium format but do find digital less painful and compromising than you're painting it here.
  6. I'd disagree only about the ISO dial. It was clutter on the top of the OM-1 and serves even less functional purpose now. With many digicams it's easy enough to set the ISO if you prefer a fixed ISO. I prefer auto ISO with a user selected range, since many current digicams produce nearly identical results within a flexible range (say, ISO 80-200), while allowing the use of faster shutter speeds to minimize motion blur, or aperture to suit DOF.
    There are some digicams with well designed controls that don't rigidly mimic manual film cameras, yet are just as functional in their own right.
  7. Agreeing with Lex. Pick up something like a D300, and notice that you can put yourself in a mode where external physical controls impact aperture and shutter speed, and can - without looking in a menu at all - adjust ISO by holding down one single button and using an external dial. You can also set up the camera to shoot when you push the shutter button regardless of what the camera thinks about your exposure or whether anything's in focus.

    No needle meter, but an in-finder equivalent, in the form of a bar indicator that shows over/under.

    Essentially, ignore all of the other very useful features, and give it a try. If you want the same features in a 135 format instead of APS-C, off you go to the D700 or similar. I'm sure there are exact counterparts in the Canon universe ... but you're going to have to give on the FD lens issue.
  8. I'd just take an M Typ 240. Leica has already done the work for me.
  9. since there never way and may NEVER BE a camera with an fd mount
    besides whet they made 25 years ago. the chances are slim and non.
    or bob hope or no hope..
    Theoretically, It would be a very nice camera for the OF or in my case VOF.
    it is do able. I am ambiguous about the ISO dial. it could go either way.
    aomething like the canon t50 or t70 with an add-on would eb a start.
    these and earller canon cameras do not have DX coding.
    and the electronics could be on the bottom like the winder on the A series.
    It would kill sales of many other dslr's
    this would mean only a troublemaker company would make and sell one.
    I have enough T and A cameras to last me 20 years.
    Sign me up./ I will take out a loan.
  10. I agree, but in a Pentax mount. Though Pentax digitals aren't too bad in their ergonomics (not perfect, though). Just no full frame one.
  11. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    I assume you drive a car with a starter crank in the front, no windows or roof, no heat or air conditioning. It still gets you there, doesn't it?
  12. The reason I said FD mount as these are manual only optics. This could be in any mount of you choice that uses older optics.

    Non plastic optics....
    Yes I di think the newer Leicas are probably already doing this.

    Yes I do want a set asa.......
    If I pick 400 I want it to stay on 400, period.
    I do not want the camera to (think) about anything, but to follow my commands.
    Like my F1 does now..........a old film camera with a full frame sensor.
  13. My digital SLR does nothing more than follow my commands. I can easily and efficiently control as many of the settings as I choose. The digital sensor does not magically imbue the camera with a mind of its own or the ability to control my mind.
  14. Gimme the controls of a Nikon F and a film adapter pack. They are now making Hollywood movies on digital media and then backing them up with film 'cause digital is will-o-the-wisp and won't be usable very long.
    Digital is very handy but so was Polaroid. How long did THAT last?
  15. Gee, when I set my EOS digital to manual focus on the lens, set to shutter priority, set shutter speed, then it works just like your ideal.
    If I am willing to use aperture priority, then I just stick on one of my many Nikon non-AI lenses, set the aperture on the lens, focus manually, and voila!
    I may be more of an old sh*t, than an old fart, though.
  16. Right. Every Nikon body I use - from the old film bodies once in a while, to the brand new ones - can be easily set up to do only what and when I want them to. This is very easy.

    And there are some very good, reasonably priced Nikon DSLRs that will work beautifully with classic metal-and-glass, manual focus lenses.

    Wayne: the whole "digital won't be usable very long" notion is just wrong. Data can (and regularly is) transformed from one format and/or media to the next - all the time. My images exist in more than one format, stored in perfect copies in multiple geographic locations. Alas, my thousands of negatives are all in one place, and are only a single ugly fire or water event from being lost forever (unless I digitize them!).

    As a guy who also has a Nikon F, I can assure you I'm much happier with the control available on the newer technology - even when I'm using it all in entirely manual mode.
  17. Russ, have you considered staying with film? There is a Canon FD Forum here at, and a number of film-related forums too. My impression is that you probably aren't ready for digital yet. I worked with film from 1969-1999 and gradually made the complete shift from analog to digital. Lately I've been working with a little Fujifilm X10, that reminds me a lot of rangefinder film cameras from the eighties or so in its weight, metal construction, feel, appearance and controls. But its processes are unquestioningly digital. For me some of the nostalgia is satisfied but not all. Unfortunately such a camera would I think, still be too far from what you're asking. (I am 64 years old.)
  18. I would say that modern DSLR cameras (I can speak for the upper end Canons, which are constructed of stainless steel and magnesium alloy) have a lot to offer old farts/fartesses like us. You may like the aperture dial on the lens, but a modern dSLR lets you spin a wheel on the body, and then there's another wheel to spin to set shutter speed. You never have to remove a hand from the body to dial in your exposure! You have the "M" mode that you can set with a dial on top of the camera, and that will prevent the camera from trying to think. Look through the viewfinder, and you have a match needle system.
    If you like manual focus lenses, change out the focusing screen for a split prism (not available on all cameras, but on many). Then mount up the appropriate adapter, and use whatever old manual focus lenses your heart desires. The Nikkors and M42 SMC Takumars are my favorites. Oh, and here's a kick for you: You'll be able to set the shutter speed on the camera body and the aperture on the lens! The only caveat is that you'll lose the auto stop-down on the lens. You'll have to focus with the lens wide open, and then stop down to the desired aperture for your exposure, which is no big deal if you're shooting from a tripod.
    Having said all of this, I really like modern lenses with modern optical design and auto focus! I use the AF semi-manually, whereby I use a button on the back to lock in focus at the center point, re-frame, and then shoot. I also like the use of reinforced plastics, which greatly lighten the camera. (I'm not as young as I used to be.) But if metal and manual everything are your cup of tea, you can do it splendidly with a modern dSLR.
  19. Man I am 80. I have had all those old cameras at one time or another. I have a Canon 7D, T4i, and a Sony NEX5N. I have never felt too old to move along with the times. I also, horror of horrors, use Lightroom and photoshop. I am not too old to stay up to date. I am also not so mentally lazy that I cannot enjoy learning a new and different camera and a new exciting technology. The payoff. I am making better pictures more consistently than I ever have and I had my own wedding business where I shot film with medium format. Step out on a limb. Be a little adventurous and get something state of the art and learn it. You can operate manually as much as you want once you know how to use a digital camera. I would have been far better off for a number of reasons had I done weddings with todays digital equipment. I like old cars and flew old piston airplanes but if I want to go someplace I'd rather be in a 787. I am a really old fart who doesn't need to step back into the past. My goal is still quality images with the best and newest stuff I can afford.
  20. I can and do shoot with digital guys are kinda harsh.
    I was just thinking out loud, maybe you guys never think?

    Sorry I bugged some of you so much.

    Yes I too used to shoot professionally....all Hasselblads.....and have learned to shoot digital.
    But I do miss simpler cameras. more robust cameras.

    As I stated this was about what I would like to see in a camera.
    I guess you guess you guys are happy with the current crop of plastic auto cameras.

    Most of you missed the point completely, some did not. But most did........I was not asking for help, just stating what I would love in a limited production camera.
  21. I guess you guess you guys are happy with the current crop of plastic auto cameras.​
    If anyone's a little testy, Russ, it's because observations like that ring so false, and suggest that you haven't - despite your assertions - actually worked with a decently made DSLR.
  22. Walter Degroot you understood what I was saying.....Thanks for looking outside of the box.
  23. If one respects DP Review, you will see their recent article about Nikon's recent patents for retro fitting camera backs for the FM and FE film cameras with an FX sensor. Silly? It seems not. It costs a lot of money and time to file a technology patent, so there must be some legs on this one. I hope its true.
  24. "...missed the point completely,.... not asking for help, just stating.....
    Fair enough.
    You have defined your original post as a rant. Rants happen.
  25. We seem to get thes posts about once every 2 - 3 months: all I want is a really simple, no frills digital camera just like my "fill in the blank" film camera. If what Francisco has referenced regarding a Nikon patent is true, maybe there is a market for a simple digital camera.
    I just happen to have a couple of FEs gathering dust. Being the cheap older fart that I am, I'd consider, repeat, consider, spending a couple hundred dollars (at most) for a digital back for one of my FEs. My D300 works so well for me, though, that I don't have a burning need for anything else.
  26. I guess my perspective is that if someone produced this, I wouldn't bother to buy it. My Canon cameras allow me to set to "M", and without taking my eye away from the viewer to set aperture, shutter speed, iso, pop the flash and focus the lens. That's good enough for me, and would mean I'm not a buyer for whoever might produce this body.
    And, BTW, I'm defintely old enough to qualify for the "old fart" badge of honor.
  27. SCL


    For this old fart, the perfect solution (had it worked) a number of years ago would have been a 35mm cartridge based sensor insert, then I could have used all of my my favorite bodies and lenses. Unfortunately, it was a sham!
  28. New tech cobbled onto old tech seldom works as well as hoped. It was tried with the earliest dSLRs built on Nikon 35mm film bodies. A digital camera built from the ground up as a digital camera is more likely to provide satisfactory performance, even with the type of minimalist old school interface folks occasionally express a desire for.
    Personally I'd like to see Nikon retool the V1, rather than dumping it altogether. Add a simple yet versatile control interface comparable to the Ricoh GRD, GX100 or GXR, but keep the same basic body design which is compact, solid and feels comparable to some 35mm compact film cameras. But I don't particularly need or want aperture or focus rings on lenses - with a well designed camera everything essential can be operated with the right hand while the left just steadies the camera other than when operating the zoom ring.
  29. What would you want if you could have your perfect digital camera?
    Being a old fart with mainly film knowledge this would be my wish list camera.​
    Personally, I think I've about found mine. The Canon EOS 7D...

    A metal body, with a canon FD mount.
    A dial to set the asa, another dial on top of the body to set the shutter speed. The F-stop would be set by the lens of course. A match need type exposure meter, not coupled in any way.
    Basically a digital Canon F1........with a full frame chip.​
    With the exception of the FD mount (Canon left that behind 25 years ago when they developed the EF mount), everything you mention can be done with a modern DSLR. The match-needle may not look exactly like you recall, but there is absolutely nothing preventing you from putting the camera in full-manual mode, and making all your selections yourself.

    I hate menus or any other play things on cameras........just a camera that lets me photograph what I want, how I want it to look.
    Oh yes a shutter that fires when I push the button, not when the camera decides its right.​
    If you think using a modern DSLR is all about menus and button pushing to get things right, you could not me more wrong. Yes, DSLRs do have a plethora of menus, but in the vast majority of cases, once you've sorted them, you rarely need to go back to them. Maybe at the start of a shoot, to tweak some things, but rarely during a shoot. I shoot birds quite a lot, and I can't recall the last time I actually delved into the menus on my 7D in the middle of a shoot. Nearly everything I need is available from the camera controls, sometimes with a single button press to go in,then out of the setting mode. It is very simple once you've done it.
    That's not to say you don't use the display, you will, to review your shots, and to check things like the battery life remaining.
    As for taking the shot, the delay of a DSLR is no worse than that of a mechanical SLR. I went to the 7D for that reason, my P&S digital had a mind of its own when it came to making the shot.

    I dislike plastic cameras with plastic lens.....and one that everything is automatic.​
    Frankly, today's industrial plastics are very good, quite good enough to maintain the registration distance for an SLR. Plastics are used in some lens manufacture, but not, so far as I know, in the optics of any major manufacturer lens. There's absolutely nothing preventing one from putting a $500 DSLR on a $13,000 lens...
    Of course, if you insist on a metal chassis, you'll need to pony up for the more expensive lines of cameras.
    No DSLR that I'm aware of forces you to let the camera do it all. They often have modes that do this, but if you want to go it alone, there's nothing preventing you from using Sunny 16 or a CdS light meter with your DSLR...

    I like to be THE photographer when I photograph.

    Am I the only one?​
    I should think not! But "being the Photographer" is a LOT MORE than saying that one made all the settings themselves, or worked without menus, etc. There are many good and great photographers who embrace the DSLR, and create great photos with it. I'm sure many use some of the "automatic" settings at least occasionally, because it gets them the result they want or need at that particular time.
    There's no profit in selling a stripped-down DSLR, no matter what mount. You still have to provide the sensor, and the chip (computer) to process the sensor data and write it to a card, plus other functions, so any cost saving would be minimal. Even if there was a substantial savings, I doubt there would be a lot of takers. Everyone says they don't need or want video, and for some I'm sure it is 100% true, but for most, having that extra feature that doesn't get in the way is a great asset.
    (Some years ago, I was involved with a small European car club, and the die-hard masses were clamoring for a "stripper" version of one of the cars, to harken back to the days when power everything wasn't even an option. Well, the maker was persuaded, and a few of them leaked out, but overall, it was a tremendous flop, because it was a dead end. You could have the stripper, or the fully-optioned car, but you couldn't "upgrade" anything on the stripper to get someplace in between. And, the "die hards" who clamored the loudest still didn't buy them...)
  30. As a longtime member of the Old Fart's Club, all I want is a larger viewfinder image in my 5d2.
  31. I could see a digital body being simplified without all the menu system as a sort of Holga-ist or retro-grade item. On more occasions then I want to remunerate I've had the camera setup wrong and wound up with something like small files when I wanted raw ones or a particular white balance. This happens usually from either rushing, or forgetfulness, a common old fart syndrome. What I most dislike about certain cameras is the plethora of buttons that can be activated inadvertently by ones hand. So a simple straightforward digital camera, limited buttons, with of course a 100% real viewfinder would be something I'd be interested in. So in the vernacular of us old farts I'd say cut the crap.
  32. As I stated this was about what I would like to see in a camera.​
    ... and yet you started out by asking...
    What would you want if you could have your perfect digital camera?​
    ... presumably for old farts, from the title of the thread. So were you asking fellow old fart(esse)s, or were you telling us? Does your query have right and wrong answers? I didn't think so at first, but apparently my answer was wrong.
    In answering, I tried to point out that there is ALREADY a fully manual, metal camera hiding inside the (upper-tier) metal-bodied dSLRs, and you can put the old manual focus lenses on them if you wish. I personally find it easy to ignore buttons and settings I don't care to use. What does the mountain skier setting do on my 40D? I haven't a clue, and that doesn't bother me. I know what M means (and also Av and Tv), and that's enough.
    I also pointed out the old-fart benefit to high tech plastics. (They are light and easy for gimps like us to carry.) I didn't point out the old-fart benefit to auto-focus, being that many of us don't have the eagle eyes we had when we were young.
    I honestly don't understand why people get so hot under the collar about cameras with too many features. If you don't like a feature, just don't use it! Heck, my car has an ashtray and a cigarette lighter, and yet.... I DON'T SMOKE! I don't send pissy letters to the auto manufacturers that they should produce cars without ashtrays for people like me, and I don't bemoan on automobile forums that there's no car without an ashtray. So I guess I just don't get it.
    Anyway, the plastic body "problem" is easy to solve. Solution: Don't buy a plastic body. Buy a metal one instead.
  33. Sorry Sarah........I was not trying to offend anyone. Just stating what I would love in MY idea digital camera.
    I figured maybe someone else would like the same, maybe not?

    It is clear that most want auto everything........thats fine, I do not.
  34. "It is clear that most want auto everything......"

    That's not even close to what people have actually been saying, but since you seem to have little interest in others' views, it's probably not worth the effort of explaining them again.
  35. Russ, FAIW, the Canon EOS 5D (the original one) is very good at being a basic camera -- no built in flash, a minimum of auto modes, etc. It seems to be built for people like us who just want the camera to be a box and sensor with a controllable shutter. It's made of metal, too. The new 6D seems to be another basic camera that might fill that bill -- with better imaging capabilities.
  36. ...I put my 30D on manual and just shoot away, but in saying that, my Mamamiya (sic)645e, and it's lenses (sic) are a delight to me; as it's a basic MF camera though, it would be nice to have a digital back but I'm too much of a tight arse too expend that sort of money...that's my personal choice.
  37. Gup

    Gup Gup

    "I dislike plastic cameras with plastic lens....."
    Solution? Spend more money. You said you appreciate Hasselblad, so you know you get what you pay for.
    "and one that everything is automatic."
    Only the cheapest and oldest P&S cameras can be described this way.
    "I like to be THE photographer when I photograph. Am I the only one?"
    Pretty inflammatory statement on given the company we keep.
    "Oh yes a shutter that fires when I push the button, not when the camera decides its right."
    Do you really believe the camera makes that decision?
    "What would you want if you could have your perfect digital camera?"
    My idea of a perfect digital camera would be one that I never need to replace. One that I could build a genuine affection for. One that I could use for the rest of my life and reflect fondly upon thirty years from now as I recall how it accompanied me on all my remaining adventures. I would love to be able to 'modernize' this body at various times with new sensors as they become available but not have to replace it. I have a real aversion to discarding things that still function and contributing to the wanton consumerism that is the modern world. My Minolta SRT 202 still functions as new and is the camera of choice for both my daughters. That body is loved. I am very fond of my D2x and am slowly warming to my D700, but I fear neither will stand the test of time that I may have left as I approach serious fartdom.
  38. Although a lot of young farts use them as well, the Leica rangefinder digital camera has the manual operation simplicity you want, but you need to have vintage Leica or V-C optics, deep pockets and/or not worried about cost. If I had a batch of FD lenses I might bite the bullet, brave the technological knowledge acquisition hurdles and purchase a Canon lens adapter and a NEX-7 or an eventual Sony FF mirrorless camera, or something equivalent. Some automation won't impede your photographic approach, whether or not you learn to override it.
  39. Great Subject! Think about it all the time. I'm 75 this month. I just bought 5 bags of Dektol and 5 bags of D76......
    Will keep me in stock for a couple of months. I've used several digital cameras over the last few years. But they do not satisfy me like enjoyment of the 35, TLR, and Large Format cameras I use.
    What I miss in digi-photography is the hands-on, and hand-made aspect. Nothing like lining up a shot on ground glass. Nothing like watching a print come up in the darkroom.
    For this old fart, computer photography is amusing, but it ain't the real thing!
  40. Like Gene, I shoot b&w film in small and large format. It's what I have wanted to do from the start. I also own and use occasionally a
    d70, but rarely print, or have printed by a lab, digital photographs. Still, to an extent, the d70 satisfies the desire for taking pictures.
    My favorite 35mm film camera is the f100, so my ideal digital camera would be the current nikon dslr closest in feel and operation to
    the f100. It's probably more a comment on my skills than on cameras themselves, but late model cameras often make better
    exposure-making decisions, finer distinctions, than I do. As someone with so-so--well, poor--eyesight since birth, I love auto-focus
  41. A dial to set the asa, another dial on top of the body to set the shutter speed. The F-stop would be set by the lens of course. A match need type exposure meter, not coupled in any way.
    I hate menus or any other play things on cameras........just a camera that lets me photograph what I want, how I want it to look.​
    Minolta 7D have dials more than any digital and film camera
    - Exposure mode dial.
    - Dial for Exposure compensation and flash compensation and also in a different values.
    - Focus area switch.
    - Focus mode dial.
    - Metering mode Dial.
    - Bottom for quick ISO selection.
    - Dial for WB selection.
    - Dial for Drive mode.
    What it can be more than this?. Harry, Amazon still have one in a good condition for about $600.
  42. Museeb - You're pretty much describing my Nikon D300.

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