Versitile camera

Discussion in 'Modern Film Cameras' started by matthew_thomas|4, Dec 11, 2016.

  1. Hello I'm looking to buy a 35mm film camera. I need advice on what camera that is compatible with the most amount of lenses. In other
    words I am looking for the most versatile camera. Thanks.
  2. SCL


    That's a pretty wide margin, and not very well defined. But I'll offer several pieces of food for thought. Early Canons SLR bodies using the FD mount are extremely versatile due to the short register distance from the lens mount to the film plane; for instance I can not only use a full range of Canon FD lenses, but with adapters, most Nikon lenses in the F mount, all M42 screw mount lenses from the Pentax family, Most Leica R mount lenses, and some longer focal length M and Leica screw mount lenses. In the rangefinder bodies (not SLR), the Leica M series bodies stand head and shoulders above others.
  3. Canon EOS?
    AFAIK the biggest lens line on the market and you could probably also adapt lenses.
    Warning! I do absolutely not recommend working with adapted lenses, besides those made to provide every feature of the original ones. - Film bodies are cheap! And I'd usually happily grab something like a Ricoh KR5 (as crummy as SLRS get) over an EOS 1 (used to be top of the line) to shoot a 50mm k-mount lens which would be native for the KR5. - Working with manually stopped down aperture just sucks as does using manual focus on AF SLRS. You can do it when there are no alternatives but you won't enjoy it.
    Rethink if you really want the most lenses. There are wonderful $12k telephoto zooms awaiting your $30 EOS 500 but can you afford them? - I can't. Make up your mind if you want auto focus or the retro feeling of going manual and if you pick the latter maybe look for somebody selling a for your needs more than complete set in a discontinued mount like Minolta MD.
    Or avoid investing into dead systems. Buy into something that provides digital bodies too, if you ever feel the need to shoot such.
    Cameras to consider: personally I liked the just slightly advanced EOS 50. - Every other will take pictures too. - google their features. - EOS' eye control AF point selection did not work in portrait orientation with the EOS 5 for me.
    If you prefer manual focus: Look at old Nikons or Minoltas for the long end.
  4. Canon FD is a great choice. 'A' series' cameras are are commonly available at on-line auctions, as are FD lenses. 'A' series' cameras: A-1, AE-1, AE-1P (P= PROGRAM), AV-1. Other great cameras using FD lenses are the EF, 'F' series, FTb, and others.
    A reason to go Canon FD is that the FD lenses were as a general rule always superb, some of the best. And today there is a glut of them available for low cost. I have been able to vastly increase my collection of these cameras and lenses due to today's low costs. Another thing - the FD lenses I buy today never seem to have any issues with internal fog/haze, and the focus helicoids never seem to be badly "gummed up" like they can be with other manufacturer lenses.
    Any older Canon camera you get will likely need to have its deteriorated back-side dust seals replaced; they get gummy and self-destruct. (Also the mirror bounce cushion.) This is a cheap and simple repair; most anyone can do this him/herself.
    The Canon flashes (155, 199A) that I have purchased have also always worked just fine, even now being over 35 years old. There is a LOT of reason to consider the Canon FD-era items, beyond what I have stated here.
    Hope this response has added valuable information for you . . .
  5. It's a little off target but a modern digital mirrorless camera like the Sony Nex's or A7's can, with the aid of an adapter mount nearly any lens in existance.
  6. I guess I'll take a different direction. I've been shooting Nikon forever. I'd get either a Nikon N90S or an F4S. Prices are amazingly low on these very versatile camera bodies and you can use a huge variety of very affordable manual focus or autofocus lenses. There are many other models in this product line, the F2, F3, F5 and the F6 as well as the FM and FE series. They will all do anything you ask of them and are easy to use and durable. I can't say anything bad about the Canon line but I grew up using Nikons and would recommend them to anyone.
    Rick H.
  7. As above, there are three lens mount systems that are, or have been, very popular with many photographers: the Nikon F mount, Canon FD mount, and Canon EF mount.
    Canon switched to an incompatible mount when they introduced autofocus lenses. That is the EF mount. These lenses work on the later models of 35mm film cameras, and Canon DSLRs. Used ones aren't unreasonably priced, and you can use them with your Canon DSLRs.
    The previous Canon mount, FD, works with many models of Canon SLR, with the FTb being one popular and readily available model. They also work on the AE1, AT1, AV1, A1 series, and the T70, T80, and T90. These are all manual focus lenses.
    The Nikon F mount, first used with the Nikon F 35mm SLR in about 1959, and continues with modifications through today. There are some incompatibilities, but not always big ones.
    One of the changes is the AI (auto indexing) in about 1976, which makes meter coupling somewhat easier. These can be recognized as they have two set of aperture stop numbers, one smaller set that can be seen through the viewfinder on some cameras. Even though they still work on newer cameras, they are still very reasonably priced on the used market.
    The first Nikon autofocus lenses are the AF series, which should also be compatible with AI cameras. They are also compatible with older cameras, but won't meter one cameras with meters. These couple to a motor in the camera.
    Later Nikon autofocus lenses have a motor in the lens. These are the preferred lenses for later Nikon cameras, including most Nikon DSLRs.
    There are many lenses available in all three mounts, over a wide range of focal lengths, from the OEM and other companies. Vivitar lenses were popular in Nikon F and Canon FD mount for many years, and more recently Tamron makes many in autofocus Nikon and Canon mounts.
  8. Perhaps it is important to add other requirements than simply "compatible with the most amount of lenses", and to also give the responders an idea of the type of photography (subject matter) you intend to pursue. For instance some makes have more choices than others of fisheye or macro lenses, or very long fast telephoto optics. Are your needs more focussed than that?
    Also "35 mm camera" covers a fairly wide range of types and knowing what type of camera (digital, film, mirrorless, rangefinder, DSLR or DSLR) would narrow the field a bit, also what specific camera qualities you require that might limit the lens choices as well.
  9. "I'm looking to buy a 35mm film camera. I need advice on what camera that is compatible with the most amount of lenses. In other words I am looking for the most versatile camera."​
    The M42 screw mount, and the Leica M mount, and the Nikon F mount are the three that I find the most versatile.
    I use Pentax and Fuji M42 screw mount cameras with low-cost and high-quality Takumar and Fujinon lenses ranging from 28mm to 200mm.
    I use a Leica M mount rangefinder and have a good selection of expensive high-quality Leitz, Zeiss, and Voigtländer lenses from which to choose.
    I use Nikon F mount cameras and a wide selection of high-quality reasonably priced Nikon, Sigma, Tokina, Tamron, Zeiss, and Vivitar lenses from 14mm to 1000mm.
  10. Hi,
    I'd go with Nikon, there is a larger assortment of used lenses out there and lower in price than EOS Canon.
    If you enjoy manual focus, have a look at a FA or F3.
    Autofocus, the F100 is a very versatile pro camera.
    Low cost, N80/F80 can be had for under $100.
    The Nikon lenses that you invest in can be used on a DSLR if you go that direction in the future, or you can sell them for what you paid for them. Avoid aftermarket lenses with what ever camera you choose.
    Happy Holidays,
  11. If you're buying film cameras, you'll probably find that the real investment is the lenses (except for the very cheapest common lenses) -- the bodies are relatively cheap. Many very old lenses can still be used on modern digital bodies.
    As someone suggested above, decide whether you want old-school manual-focus body & glass, or more electronic, autofocus equipment. The best experience is generally from matching the body to the lenses that were designed for it. Better to avoid needing to use adapters, and while newer autofocus glass might have slightly better optics, the controls on the lens (manual focus feel & action, and possibly aperture ring) are probably nicer for use with a manual focus body than the newer, plastic AF lenses.
    I would pick the sorts of lenses you want to use, then find the right body to mount them on rather than the other way around.
  12. With old and new Nikon film camera's you can use the Nikon AF-D lens either new or used. It works on a fully automated or manual film camera. There are AI-S lenses in vast numbers out there from Nikon and 3rd party lenses as well.
    To me versatile means a camera that works, one that has diopter eyepiece availability or built in adjustment such as the F100 and one that is repairable. Most Nikon and other model manual focus camera's are 20+ years old and whatever you buy it probably should be cleaned and repaired. I think that the Nikon FM, FM2, FM2n, FM3a are excellent versatile camera choices. They run about $90.00 to $700.00 in the order that was listed. They can all be repaired.
  13. Nikon F3hp It has the most lenses and they are readily available. Many are high quality. Also, motor drive and other options. My recommendation for an SLR. Very sturdy and good ergonomics. They are plentiful. If you want a rangefinder then Leica M6, which is much more expensive. All high quality lenses.
  14. The reason I have stayed with the Nikon F mount is I have a choice of either Nikon or Zeiss Lenses. The Nikon AIS lenses are desirable when I want good quality with light weight and small size. The new Zeiss lenses have an aperture ring making them usable on older Nikon cameras such as the FM2n and are chipped for use on new cameras such as the F6. The are larger and heavier but offer excellent image quality. The Zeiss are manual focus which suits my style of photography.
  15. I've used most popular lens mounts over my 35 years of photography. And I have two basic favorites: Canon FD and Nikon F. I like Canon FD for the quality of the optics in terms of their build quality and image production, but there's also a sentimentality component. Canon FD was my first 35mm system. Nikon F I like for its quality also, but I also like it because there's just so many different pieces of gear available. Gadgets galore!

    As for a camera, when it comes to Canon FD, I still really prefer the old cameras: Canon FTb and original F-1. I like them because of their metering systems. They both use match-needle metering, which is simple to use and accurate. And they both have a 12% partial area meteering pattern. Inside the viewfinder you'll see a rectangle scribed into the focusing screen. Metering occurs only inside this rectangle. Because of this arrangement, I've always been able to accurately meter even difficult scenes. If you really want something more modern, then go for the T90. It's the ultimate manual focus 35mm camera. If you don't want to spend that much, then go for the T70. Very capable camera that can be had for very cheap, usually.

    As for Nikon, well, I have several favorites, but if you're into a simple photographic tool that provides a few handy options, then I recommend the Nikon FE. Sure, you can spend some more money and get an FE2. But you can't mount pre-AI lenses unless they've been modified to the AI mount. This same caveat applies to the FM and FM2, btw. It's a battery dependent camera, but it takes a couple of the ubiquitous A76/LR44, which you can find everywhere. Therre's also the Nikon EL2, which is essentially a Nikkormat, but is functionally the equivalent to the FE. It's a beautiful camera in its own right, and built rugged the way you would expect a Nikkormat to be.

    If you want something more stout and rugged, then to me the F2 is the obvious choice.All mechanical. The only thing the battery powers is the meter. It has better ergonomics than the F and a much better motor drive option, should you choose to go that route. The F2 is a system camera with many acceessories. The next system camera, the F3, is lighter than the F2, has better ergos, but is battery dependent. But like the FE, it takes the A76/LR44s which can be found virtually anywhere. I find that the F3 is the sort of camera that grows on you. It's smooth and sleek and does everything with aplomb.
  16. I think it depends on what you want for metering, and how new the lenses you want are.

    If you expect only to use lenses with aperture rings, and if you don't need a meter, I'd go for the classic Nikon F or F2 with no meter. Any F model through the F3 will function on anything with an aperture ring (or a fixed aperture), including AF lenses. Metered pre-AI F's and F2's will not meter at full aperture without a meter claw, and post-AI F2 and F3 will not meter at full aperture without an AI compatible lens, but they will shoot with them, as will any Ai compatible Nikon whose aperture follower can flip out of the way. A plain prism F or F2 needs no battery, and is famously reliable as well as a classic.

    I would guess that the most overall compatible film camera would be the Nikon F4. It provides full function with any AI or AIS lens, including matrix metering, it will stop down meter with a pre-AI manual lens, it will function fully with any older AF or AFD lens, will work in P or S mode with AFG lenses, and will auto focus with AFS. It does not support electronic apertures or VR, but that's about as versatile as anything in the film world. There was an AI follower modification for the F5 that would put it ahead, but that modification is, I think, no longer available. An F5 or an F100 will function better with G lenses and supports VR, but cannot take unmodified pre-AI lenses.
  17. I would go with Nikon. Of course, the Nikkor lenses are fantastic, but you can also get new lenses from many manufacturers if you choose. But there is also a wealth of manual focus AIS lenses that will work on any F mount body. The Nikon 4/4s mentioned above will give you access to pretty much any lens made for the Nikon system, AND matrix meter for everything.

    My recommendation for great value in an auto-focus, matrix metering Nikon would be the F4, and for a manual focus, manual wind Nikon, an FM2 would be a great choice.
  18. There are two problems in your question. <br><br>

    First is the lens mount. <br>
    • Most lens mounts are proprietary to the brand; Nikon F mount only on Nikon, Olympus OM mount only on Olympus, etc. So Brand X lens will not fit on Brand Y camera body. <br>
      • There are a "few" exceptions where an adapter can be used to adapt Brand W lens to Brand Z camera body. But these are the exceptions to the rule. And sometimes you loose functionality with the adapter. Example, the lens is no longer auto stop-down aperture, but manual aperture control.
    • Related to the proprietary mount is when the mount or lens interface has changed. <br>
      • Example1, all the Nikon SLR and DSLRs have the same F mount, but the interface is different; pre-AI (prong coupling), AI, AIS, AF (screw drive), AF-S (internal lens motor), and G (without an aperture ring). Examples:
        • On a F2, you cannot use a G lens (no way to control the aperture), you cannot meter with an AI lens (without using stop-down metering, if the lens does not have the meter coupling prong on the lens).
        • On a F2, you can use a AF lens, but you have to manually focus the lens, and you cannot meter wide open (have to use stop-down metering).
        • On a F4, you cannot meter with a pre-AI lens (unless it has be AI converted).
        • On a D70, you cannot even safely mount a pre-AI lens (unless it has be AI converted).
      • Example2, where the mount itself has changed
        • Cannon had a breech lock mechanism in the 1970s, now they have a bayonet mount.
        • Pentax has a screw mount in the 1970s, then they switched to a bayonet mount.
    • Early on (1970s), there was the Pentax screw mount that was on several brands of cameras. That is the closest that I can think of to a multi-brand mount. But I think that mount went by the side a LONG time ago.
    As for "compatible with the most amount of lenses."<br>
    • This really depends on the independent lens manufacturers. As the many independent lens manufacturers (both current and past) will in total make more lenses than most any camera manufacturer.
    • But there are many duplicates. Example: 15 different independent lens manufacturers/distributors, each making/selling a 135mm/f2.8 lens. So yes you can fit the 15 different lenses, but they give you same image, because the focal length is the same. So are they 15 different lenses or 15 variations of the same lens? And many of these lenses will duplicate the camera manufacturer's own lenses.
    • Then you have the lenses with interchangeable mounts, like the T-mount manual lenses, or the Vivitar T-4, or the Tameron Adapt-All, etc. The same lens fits on several/many different cameras by changing the adapter.
    Instead, I would list what lenses are of most interest TO YOU, both present and future.<br>
    Then look at the different cameras to see if they have these lenses, either by the camera manufacturer or an independent lens manufacturer.
  19. Gary I have to disagree with you on a few points. The Nikon F2 will meter with AI or AIS lenses as long as it is a somewhat later version, the F2A, F2AS and ASb. All are updated to the AI lens and of course it's all in the viewfinder which can be changed from one F2 body to another.The F4 will stop down meter on the pre AI lenses.

    Rick H.
  20. Rick,
    I agree on your points.
    • My older F2 has only prong connection to the lens. I would need to replace the viewfinder $$$ to get AI connection to the lens.
    • The F4, yes I did not mention the same issue as my F2 with the prong and AI lens. But in the reverse direction, have to stop down meter a non AI lens.

Share This Page