Which modern film camera...

Discussion in 'Modern Film Cameras' started by andy_collins|1, Oct 30, 2011.

  1. I was thinking recently about which mfc I'd be using if the world hadn't turned digital and film bodies were still the tool of choice. I'm certain it would be my 1v, although life with an F100 has proven to be quite nice too! The Minolta Maxxum 7 is also a wonderfully nice camera, but just a little too 'plasticky' for my taste. I bought my 1v in September of 2002, but bought my first DSLR, a Canon 10D, in April '03, 7 months later or so. At that point I began to focus heavily on digital shooting and used my 10D far more than my 1v. As the years have passed I've grown to really appreciate the 1v and consider it one of the greatest cameras ever, and if digital had only been a passing fad, I'm pretty sure it's what I'd primarily be using now. What about you? What would be your main camera if digital wasn't around?
  2. For manual focus, I am still using my Nikkormat EL and a Nikon F2. But there are lots of other worthy candidates like my Olympus OM-1MD, Canon T-90 (a spectacular camera!), to mention only a couple.
    And of course, there are all those lovely 'classics' from VEB Pentacon. :)
    I really like my EOS 3 for film AF.
  3. Probably my Linhof, F's and Nikkormats, which are still main cameras. Digital dropped the Pentax 645 and F3 down to "how can I not buy them affordable prices. " :)
  4. I have always used a variety of cameras. I would be shooting the Canon T90, Nikon F3 or Canon EOS 1N. Today I used the EOS 7E. I still sometimes select a film camera as the tool of choice even with the ton of digital gear I have. These days I tend to go with lighter gear which is a more important spec for me than film or digital.
  5. A manual focus Minolta. If digital weren't around, the prices on my favorite modern SLRs wouldn't have fallen enough for me to buy them :)
  6. SCL


    I'd use my Canon T90, Nikon F4, and Leica M4 a lot more than I do these days.
  7. Since I already have a lot of Maxxum gear I guess it'd be a Maxxum 9. For modern, but manual focus I'd go for the Nikon FE-3.
  8. I would be getting a lot of mileage out of my Nikon F5 in this presumed scenario - instead of having sold it at a quite a loss. Might have replaced my beat-up F4 bodies with some nicer looking ones too. Also, the inherited Leica rangefinders would see a lot more use than they do now - to the point were I would consider adding one or two lenses two the existing.
  9. Is the Leica M3 considered to be a „modern film camera”?
    It would be the last camera I would part with (after my Leicaflex SL and the 2000 FC/M) if I had to sell my film-cameras.
  10. Modern, classic, or both? You decide. I can't pick just one.
    Canon: EF
    Contax: 139
    Mamiya: NC1000
    Minolta: XD-11
    Nikon: Nikkormat
    Pentax: K2
    Petri: Color 35
    Yashica: FR I
  11. Canon A2E followed by Nikon F2 (modern?) and Canon rebel.
  12. I'm using my old Pentax MX a lot these days, and cursing my bandwagon-jumping tendencies for allowing me to sell off my MZ-S back in 2006 - a finely crafted AND hi-tech little beauty. Also, fond memories of the LX, Olympus OM2N and OM4Ti. Good luck with the 1v, Andy - it'll keep at least one bicep in shape.
  13. Canon T90, EOS 1V;
    Contax RTS-III, RX;
    Nikon F6, F4 (the only ones on the list I don't have)
    Mamiya 645 Pro TL.
    These are the Chosen Ones.
  14. Canon FD: New F-1, F-1, EF and the assorted FTbs. Maybe a T90.
    Canon EOS: 7E, Probably would have to buy an EOS 3 or 1V
  15. Nikon N80, before I modernized to a Nikon D90.
    But... digital explosion initially pushed me into medium-format, old Rolleiflexes and the like.
  16. "What would be your main camera if digital wasn't around?"

    I stopped using digital cameras three years ago after four years of trying. I've only owned one mfc. The reason is a simple physical one: I've got a bad right hand, especially the thumb. If I've got to press buttons, turn wheels, or stretch across a rh grip, then I can't use the camera, at least not successfully. That excludes just about all electronic slrs and dslrs. My work is almost all handheld, mostly with a Leica III or a Pentax Spotmatic. Neither is reknowned, though, for their bright, crisp finders, and I'm of an age where I can tell my eyesight isn't what it was. So, autofocus is now of interest.

    Last month Mike Gammill posted here about the Pentax ZX-5 and I realized it might be a solution. It responds to the lens aperture ring, has shutter dial, so no thumb wheel turning or button pressing, and most importantly a shallow right hand grip with a shutter release button nearly straight up on the top plate. I only noticed the article this evening, as I was doing some research before posting here to ask about a solution. Thanks, Mike.

    When the time comes I can't walk about town for hours, there's a 4x5 and big tripod in the closet waiting for the day. Despite the current retro body design trend in some digital cameras, I don't think it will lead to anything useful for me, at least not before the 4x5's time comes.
  17. Another vote for the Canon EOS 3, the best camera body I have ever used. But than again, my dslr is a humble 400D.
  18. Film camera recommendations: SLR-Nikon F2 or Canon F-1n with HH Exposure meter, total functionality.
    Rangefinder cameras: Leica M3 or Rollei 35(no rfdr)
    TLR: Rolleiflex Automat or Rolleicord
    Folder: Zeiss Super Ikonta B prewar
    Field: Crown Graphic with international back for cut film or rollholder 120 film
    Medium format: Hasselblad 500 series
  19. I'm still using my Nikons: F6, FE2 and FM3a. And I got an EL a little while ago, which I use with the autocompensating Nikkor 55 mm f/3.5. The F6 has the most functionality, especially the iTTL flash capability is great. For the FE2, I got a Voigtlander Ultron 40 mm f/2, which travelled to Scotland with me a few weeks ago.
  20. Two really „modern” film camera-systems I would like to try out are the Contax 645 (handled one for a few moments and was really impressed) and the Rolleiflex 6008 integral.
  21. Although I love to use my FD bodies (various F-1's, F-1n's, F-1N's, EF's, FTb's, T90's), the film camera I use by far the most these days is my EOS 1V.
  22. The Olympus is a heck of a system camera, which is light and small and there is Pentax which has many camera's in their line from the fifties small and light also now there Nikon which also has cameras from that time , as well as other manufacturers from that time some have gone by the wayside since then but did produce quality cameras:
    It comes down you choice of what you think you would like to use :
  23. Mike, when you write FE3 I assume you mean FM3A. For mechanical modern SLRs I like the Canon F-1, Nikon F2 and various Minolta SRTs. I prefer these to any of the Pentax screw mount of K mount film cameras. For electronic manual focus SLRs I like the Konica FT-1, Nikon FE and FE2, Minolta X-700 and X-570, Canon EF (hybrid shutter). I don't like AF very much but I enjoy using some AF cameras with manual focus lenses: Nikon N2020, Nikon N8008S, Nikon N90S. I don't have a Canon T90 and I don't really care for the Canon A-1 I do have. The Canon F-1N is, I think, a modern classic. The meter needle moves faster than that of an F-1 or F-1n but the lack of a meter lock button causes me to use it (with the AE finder) in match needle mode. Its finder isn't much brighter than those of my earlier F-1s with L screens.
    I recently shot a roll with a Nikon F2 and soon after that shot a roll with an N90S. They are both good cameras with a different feel. I find the focus assistance in the N90S very handy and with all of the exposure modes it's a lot of camera for the money.
  24. Great responses, everyone! Andy L made a great point when he said that if digital hadn't come along, we wouldn't be enjoying the prices we are on a lot of our 'new' favorites. I'd love to hear more...
  25. Yes, FM3A is what I meant. Thanks.
  26. If upward compatibility with a digital dSLR hadn't been a factor, I'd probably have stayed with the Olympus OM system a decade ago if manual focus was good enough; or the Canon EOS 1v or A2E if autofocus was essential to my needs.
    I really enjoyed the compact size and light weight of the OM system. Even the slightly slower Zuikos with the 49mm filter threads were an excellent compromise for a travel friendly kit. By now I would have added an OM-4T to the OM-1N, and the 35-80/2.8 would probably be my primary lens.
    The main reason I switched a decade ago to Nikon from Olympus OM and Canon FD was because Nikon was at that time the best compromise for cross-compatibility between manual focus and AF lenses for the film and digital photographer. Unfortunately nothing in the Nikon lineup can match the OM system for a travel friendly kit. My FM2N and smallest AI or AIS Nikkors don't fit my favorite Lowepro waist bag that used to comfortably hold the OM kit.
  27. "What would be your main camera if digital wasn't around?"
    My first pick would be a Nikon F3. Somehow I find myself drawn towards it more even though a F100 can be picked-up at a lower price these days. My F3 which was bought used served me well up until recently when the LCD readout faded and also developed issues with the shutter. I am now looking for another one. Having said this, I am now realizing that Olympus OM1N and OM2N are also good options. I acquired both these models which are light weight and compact as well. The OM2N with aperture priority and a great viewfinder is certainly a good option. But then when it comes to lenses it is different. Nikon with its vast array of lenses makes it attractive I guess.
  28. I was an OM user before I switched to digital. Realized I enjoyed using metal cameras with sharp edges and big bright VFs more, and made use of the low prices to pick up some Nikons (F2, F3HP, F4S) and a half-dozen Nikkor primes. If digital hadn't made 35mm so cheap, I probably would have stuck with the OMs - they really are great. As it is, my most used cameras are the F3HP and the OM4T - hard to tell which is my favorite - they're both up there as the best SLRs ever, IMO.
  29. I would use my Nikon F3HP as my main camera and F5 as second camera.
  30. "What would be your main camera if digital wasn't around?"
    Nikon F2 for the following reasons:
    1. It is a very rugged and reliable camera
    2. I prefer manual/mechanical cameras
    3. I prefer battery independent cameras
    4. I have a large assortment of accessories that allow me to configure the F2 for almost any type of assignment.
  31. For me, my Minolta 9xi
    Mike : D
  32. Didn't "modern" film cameras mean post-manual focus?
  33. Brian, some manual film cameras like the OM-4 and Pentax LX were produced until the late 90s, even beyond 2000, and certainly won't pass as classics. With the LX, even though it's manual focus, there's a lot of technology under the hood that makes it a rugged and super-reliable manual focus camera. Another example would be the T90; manual focus but loaded with tons of modern technology and certainly a modern film camera, IMO.
  34. I have an FE, that I use a lot. I'm thinking of getting an fm3a as a winter camping camera. Or something. You need an excuse right?
  35. Absolutely! Sounds like good logic to me.
  36. Hi all
    I have a beautifull,Minolta XD7 which is allso the XD11,to hear the shutter operation is music to my ears,i do believe Lieca had some dealings in this model,
    I have a Nikon F4S built like a tank,but if i were on a desert island with one camera it would be My Hassy M/F with the metered head,things just look better when you look thru this,but it gets very little use due to i cannot afford the Digi Back,Iwould ask do many of you still use film i loved it !!! but digital is so convenient.
    All the best Dave
  37. I like my Nikon F (without the meter prism) and my F3 (at night -- brilliant design of its meter). I also carry a Konica AF and a Fuji GA645 for street and landscapes/portraits, respectively. For parties and snapshot occasions, I use one of my collection of RF cameras from the 70s. For a more modern and recently built camera, I'd buy a Nikon FM3A. I use Nikon because I have the lenses, but Canon is also excellent.
  38. Without a doubt, the F2T and the F3T. Currently using them both. Never crossed over to digital. Never will. Unless they quit making film! I understand film is making a comeback. :)
  39. What I would be shooting would be constrained by what I had been shooting an the investment in a system, pretty much a given for most of us.
    Until recently, any photography was prompted by several extended trips to Nepal and Thailand, and I always wound up with a new camera for one reason or another. The last such camera was a Minolta 7. The word I got in my research for a prosumer camera was this was as good as any, if not better. Maybe there are better built bodies and larger systems, but reviews were uniformly good. I could have changed systems when one needed to be replaced because of water damage in the camera that was there when I bought the camera, or when the next one was stolen, but I now own three 7's. Just don't use them, although I am dinking around a little with a Minolta XD-11 and am finishing up my second roll.
    I continued with the Sony system for digital. At this point, I have too many lminolta enses to consider changing, but I could have made a switch because I had little equipment beside the camera the last time I bought a replacement for a 7.
  40. You all should be shooting a Pentax 67II, you don't know what your are missing. I still use it with my digital slr system.
  41. My film camera of choice would certainly be my Nikon FM3A. A truly modern and wonderful film camera! Beautifully made; elegant manual simplicity, and very travel friendly too! I certainly love using mine! Just don't use it as much as i'd really like though :-((
    Great thread folks!
  42. if digital had only been a passing fad​
    It was for me!
  43. Leica M3, Nikon F and Rolleiflex 3.5E
  44. As most have ignored the lens question, for me it is the most important consideration and for highest overall quality in 35mm it has to be Leitz (pre 1980) or Leica (for more recent lenses), and their camera bodies. In 6x6 or 6x7, it is the more modern Mamiya RF cameras or Hassy for SLR. Unfortunately, I can afford only a few of these.
  45. I really like my Nikon FM2n because you don't need a battery to shoot. If price is not of a concern, the Nikon F6 is even better, especially if you want AF.
  46. An old thread, perhaps, but interesting to me.
    My first camera for sheet film would be (actually is) the Super Graphic Press Camera---the sweet spot in Press Cameras----very fast to operate--and of course you get the incomparable 4x5 negative.
    For Medium format: The Rolleiflex F 3.5 Planar Lens. If you can't shoot a 4x5 negative, this is the next best thing!
    Medium Format for Travel: The Voightlander Perkeo II with the Skopar lens---about the same size as the Canon G12
    For 35mm: For action: Nikon F5; for travel: Nikon FM3A.
  47. I use my F6 full-time and am quite happy!
    If I wasn't shooting the F6, then I'd be looking at the F5/F100 and I'd definetely look into the EOS-1v and the Dynax 9.
  48. Nikon F100. There is no better modern film camera for the money it sells for used these days. $150 is an absolute steal.
  49. These days I am using a nikon fm3a. Also a tachihara 4x5 camera.
  50. My Canon T90 is seeing more action these days than my EOS 20D. Unfortunately, my developing is lagging far behind my shooting!
  51. Glad to see that folks are still considering this question...wonderful responses!
  52. I'm going to amend my answer; if digital had never happened, or proved to be a passing fad, film gear would still be expensive. I'd purchased an Elan 7N a few months before the 5D and ultimate acquisition of lots of other film gear, so no doubt I'd still be using the 7N. I would later have picked up a T90 to use as my primary camera, putting the 7N in the closet. All the other gear I listed above would have been out of my price range!
  53. My last big film camera upgrade was the Nikon F100, I bought for $700 used on ebay in 2002. Sold it in 2004 after I bought a Canon Pro1. Bought an F3HP in 2005 and again in 2009. Sold the F3HP earlier this year and won't buy another one. I have a newer F100, bought mint at a pawn shop for $150, late serial number, etc. I love it but it is rarely used as I only shoot film a few months out of the year. It's hard to get motivated here in the Seattle area to shoot film when we're in a dark grey weather period (which pretty much lasts from November to May around here, with some small exceptions of course.

    Last night I rounded up all my film Nikon 35mm cameras. I have 3 Nikon F's (one is my late fathers F which will never be sold), an F100, an N8008s, an FE2, an FM, and an FG-20 that I am going to sell shortly. Of all of them I only paid $42 for the FE2 and $25 for the n8008s. Will keep those since they were so cheap. Will sell one of the Nikon F bodies (the 1968 one, will keep my late fathers F and the 1973 chrome Apollo with the standard prism).
    I found the n8008s can give me as good of results exposure wise as the F100, but just not nearly as fast of AF, which isn't a deal breaker since I don't need AF for most of my film photography. The n8008s also has the grid screen in it, which I love as I shoot a lot of architecture. So most likely I am going to sell of my F100, as much as I love it, but it just doesn't get used much at all to justify keeping it. I hate to see good equipment sit unused. Before I had an F100 I had an N70, which supposedly was to replace the n8008s, but it is a far better camera, with the HP viewfinder and normal controls. The N70 had a very short lived menu design that took a lot longer to manage than the n8008s did. Also the N70 has a rubber belt as the film drive which tends to break after a while, instead of the normal gears in the n8008s.
  54. Geez, pardon me -- I skipped to the end of the queue. If digital were to never have happened, I would have continued to chug along as I have for the past 20 years or so. I have an EOS outfit for the wife, which includes an Elan IIe, a few lenses, and a 240EZ flash. That's plenty good for taking snaps at Christmas time.
    For myself, I have three outfits: Nikon, Canon FD, and Bronica ETR. The Nikon outfit consists of an F, a couple of F2s, and an FE. I have a decent assortment of lenses, ranging in focal lengths from 24mm to 200mm, and I have aftermarket lenses that get me all the way out to 650mm. Canon FD includes an F-1, A-1s, and FTbs, with a lens assorment ranging from 17mm to 200mm, and the same aftermarket lenses as mentioned above (they're T-mount). My Bronica outfit is still quite small -- an ETRSi body with the Speed Grip, a few backs, a prism, and a 75mm and 150mm lenses.
    I've been very happy with the quality of film photos I can get with the above cameras, so if digital were to suddenly vanish, I wouldn't miss it all that much, except for the convenience. It does have that going for it.
  55. I have enjoyed reading this discussion. I never took a picture until I was thirty, and ever since then, thirty-two years ago, I have
    dreamed about improving my photography. Strictly amateur, I shoot b&w film mostly, in large format and small format. I also own a
    dslr camera. In small format, I own a f100, which I like a lot. I just purchased a used nikon fe--in fact, I have not received it yet--
    which accepts my nikon lenses. Back in the day, when I used my uncle's canon ftb, I dreamed of owning my own manual focus slr
    camera. In having just purchased the fe, I am living the dream.
  56. Also enjoyed reading this thread.

    Not sure it applies to me - several years ago I was at a crossroads trying to decide between the Canon 5D and the Nikon F6. I went down the film route and I'm happy I have, although the 5D still seems to hold its own even now. It sits alongside my wife's F5, her Pentax MX, and my LX.

    Other films cameras I'd love to try(/own!!): Nikon FM3a, Canon T90, new-F1, 1v. Minolta dynax 9 and the '9'. Pentax PZ1p and the MZ-S. Olympus OM4.

    It think the concept of the PZ1p is terrific, would love hypermanual on my F6.
  57. Being a new recruit to this forum I am pleased to have been able to read this revived thread. Having moved to digital eight years ago I always felt nostalgia for the days I shot film. As a result I recently bought a T90, my all time favourite camera that I foolishly sold, and I have started to shoot film again alongside digital.
  58. I asked the same question but with a different slant. What would camera makers be making today if digital never happened?
  59. If digital had not shown up, I'd probably still be shooting with an OM-4T, an OM-1 and a few lenses. However, the plummeting cost of film cameras has enabled me to indulge in some previously unaffordable SLRs - Nikon F through F4, Canon F-1 and Minolta XK. My "go to" SLRs are an F2 Photomic and an F3HP.

Share This Page