Which SLR with these features, please?

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by lambert_s., Mar 22, 2014.

  1. So, I am not new with manual film SLRs, but I have a limited budget and can't afford yet to buy just to try. Moreover, the same cameras I bought for little 2/3 years ago now sell for 5 or 10 times more....
    So, I would like a film SLR with:
    • bayonet mount. I understand there are adaptors for my M42 lenses anyway;
    • match needle light meter: not LED, not LCD, a nice needle is what I want;
    • 1/1000 sec. minimum;
    • a bright finder. I was happy with the one of the ME Super, but oh boy those LEDs, and those fiddly buttons!
    • No buttons for the shutter speed, I want a dial;
    • a diagonal split screen! It's brilliant, I bought a Ricoh KR10 Super for that, but it arrived with a LCD light meter, and leaking for that matter;
    • hot shoe so I can use my flash;
    • a system which accepts nice lenses;
    • Something with the quality and solidity of the metal bodied Pentax, not too flimsy.
    • I found the solidity in a Praktica MTL5B I just bought but it's quite... big and heavy. so small bodied is preferred. And its viewfinder is dim!
    In May my Dad should bring me his 1970s SRT101, let's see if this is good for me... It won't have hot shoe and split screen (at all) but it ticks all the other boxes.
    As I have PK lenses and soon Minolta too, it would be grand if candidates were with those lens mounts, but it can be also something else - only thing it doesn't have to break the bank! :)
    Thanks in advance!
  2. Try to locate a Konica TCX, it is plastic bodied, small in size, but not flimsy made by Cosina for Konica, uses (1) AAA battery to power the meter, totally mechanical but does do shutter preferred AE. Works without battery but no metering. The lenses to look for 40mm f1.8/ 135 f2.5/ 50mm 1.4/ 28mm f3.5 / 35mm f2.8/ all fairly modest and excellent optics all bayonet mount. Adaptor available to allow use of M42 lenses on the Konica. I had one but kept Konica TC instead even tho it uses mercury 625 battery.
  3. 1. Minolta SRT 102 has split screen and I'd say brighter finder (but if you want ML, check as they exist only on some bodies of 102), these are great and my recent acquisition of EX models have only surpassed them in overall feel and quality (even if I'm facing some minor fixes to bring them to full speed)
    I'm not sure why bayonet is on your priority list as M42 will give a ton of lens choices you'll never get with any bayonet and this sort of negates your other wish for a "system that accepts nice lenses" (not to say there isn't a bayonet system with such lenses). M42 isn't as fast to switch lenses and perhaps does not feel as secure, but boy, do you have a choice in lenses in M42?
    2. Back to my No. 1: Minolta system will give you a hoard of top notch lenses you can hardly beat (and the price is still right, even now) and a line up of bodies (especially the SRT and EX line with your preferred match needle meters).
    Also, and this applies to ANY brand, if you're looking for a lens to add to your arsenal, it is often cheaper to find a body with that lens attached.
    I'll stick to above although there are more choices meeting your list. I really like the Spotmatics too, but again that "bayonet" is an M42.
  4. The Pentax ME Super SE has a split diagonal field, but meets few of your other criterion. I have one and like the diagonal split screen quite a bit. That may be the hardest criterion to meet. I'm not sure why Pentax felt adding a diagonal split focus was worthy of a SE (Special Edition) designation, but there you have it. :)
  5. Apart from the diagonal split screen the Nikon FE2 may fit your requirements. It accepts all Nikkors in the AI, AIS and E series, has match needle metering, shutter speeds of 8 secs to 1/4000, a bright finder, a dial for shutter speeds, hot shoe flash, loads of great Nikkor lenses, has a brass body (chorme or black finish), and is small (for a Nikon). The battery (check for availibility) powers the meter and the shutter though there is a mechanical speed of 1/125th sec. I really liked mine when I had it.
  6. Get a Pentax LX plus the screen you want.
  7. It would help if we knew what your budget was as what you are after may be hard to find on a low budget? The FE2 ticks most of the boxes but may be too expensive?
    Perhaps an OM2N?
    Bayonet mount, looks to have a needle in the viewfinder from what I have just seen about it on the Mir site (I have only ever used the OM2 SP which has LED's)
    1/1000th top shutter speed.
    Finder brightness is subjective but I have never had a problem with my OM2 SP.
    Shutter speed dial, admittedly in a strange place around the lens mount.
    Interchangeable focusing screens.
    Hot shoe.
    Zuiko lenses are highly regarded.
    OM2N was aimed at professional users so should pass the solidity & quality requirement.
    OM2N is fairly compact.
    Olympus OM2 stuff is reasonably priced. I put together an outfit last year with the OM2 SP, 3 Zuiko lenses and a flash for under £100.
    Only things I would say against an OM2 are no viewfinder indication of aperture, slow flash sync speed & the foam seals may need attention.
  8. Pentax MX is quite nice, large bright screen, not much eye relief, but three LEDs for metering. It has a real shutter speed dial, not stupid buttons. Not battery-dependent.
    If you want a needle for metering, you're stuck with the first-generation K-mount cameras, like the KM, KX, K2, and K1000. Downside is that they are the largest and heaviest K-mount cameras. But they do count as "classic manual cameras."
    Part of what made the ME, MX, and the rest of that second generation of Pentax K-mount cameras small and light was removing the bulk of the meter movement!
    If you want a bright finder, it's the LX. Expensive, probably will need an overhaul as soon as you buy it, but a wonderful camera. You can use it in match mode, where you match the LED to the selected shutter speed. But really best used in auto mode, it has superb metering. Not very battery-dependent, only the slow shutter speeds require a battery.
    None of the interchangeable focusing screens for the MX or LX have a diagonal split-prism, only horizontal.
  9. The one I thought would fit your need well is the Pentax KX but it doesn't have the split image.
    I does have a bayonet mount and adaptable to M42 lenses without have glass. Some thing like a Nikon then the adapter would need glass.
    Has a very nice and accurately match needle meter system
    Top speed 1/1000 and viewfinder is at least as good as the Pentax ME.
    Of course it has all the dials and the hot shoe.
    Pentax lenses are very nice lenses and the KX has a body as rugged as any Pentax.
    The price if you find one can be less than the more inferior Pentax K1000.
  10. Forget the diagonal split screen and get a Minolta SRT whatever. I have a Voigtlander VSL2 with a diagonal screen, but it only works on the odd occasion :)
  11. The SLR that jumps out to me is the Olympus OM-1n:
    Compact metal body, but one of the largest brightest VFs of any 35 SLR, with basic needle metering
    1-1/1000 mechanical shutter
    Hot shoe
    Full system backup, great lenses, motors, more than a dozen screens (inc a couple of diagonals), backs, macro, flashes - you name it.
  12. The Nikkormat Ft2 or Ft3 will fill most of these requirements. Manual focus Nikkors are dirt cheap and excellent. I have an Ft2 and wouldn't let go of it. I suspect the OM series would be excellent also.
    Rick H.
  13. hey wow, how many answers!
    Thanks! I tried to give an answer to everybody.
    Paul Wheatland, thanks: although I am sure the Konica works well, and it has the great plus of a grip (and a widely available and inexpensive battery)... well, it's in plastic... But if I can manage to find one for cheap, I'll consider it.
    Witold Grabiec, thanks: I'm seriously considering Minolta because also the look is important, so I will see how the 101 performs first, and if I can't live without the split screen getting a 102 won't be such a hard task.
    Bayonet over M42. Nothing against M42, at the contrary! But, first of all I have already the Praktica which is M42, and I want to share some love with a bayonet fitting camera. Then, I can fit M42 on bayonet but not the other way round. Ultimately, limiting to bayonet excludes fantastic cameras in M42 flavour that unfortunately are just too old, and if sold in good conditions cost already too much. Also, it's not a requirement, but having an aperture priority mode is sometimes useful. I don't thing there are M42 cameras that do that, but maybe I'm wrong.
    Patrick S, I have already one and I seriously hate those buttons, and those LEDs. That's why I got the Ricoh...
    David Harris & David Carroll, thanks! Looking at the Olympus right now!
    David Harris, low budget, 100€ max with a lens attached to it if not a PK or Minolta camera, in working conditions, not exotics, but also not cameras found in the back of a cupboard, not cameras which have not been tested with film, or sold by people who say "I am not expert with these things"... :)
    Colin Carron & Fred C, please read above ^^ :) they are out of budget... While I seriously like the FE2, I have never been attracted by the LX. I dig a lot the fact one can change the viewfinder prism for something else (waist level finder is so cool!) but I don't like details like the 2 dials with numbers like that... I mean, raised? It looks cheap. It's okay on a P30, not on the LX. I preferred the first answer Fred C, I like the K2. :)
    BeBu Lamar, thanks, I'll look at it! It looks simple which is good. And the price is right too.
    Tony Lockerbie, yeah, I guess so... In the meantime, I'll wait for the 101 - then let's see.
    Thanks again!
  14. I second the Nikkormat FT2. It has a horizontal split screen, but it has everything else you asked for. I love mine. I also have an SRT101. You can use your flash if it has a cable and you slip a piece of electrical tape over the hot shoe contact.
  15. INN you original post you said that you did not like the led metering of the Ricoh Ktr5
    The stick and lollypop metering of excellent cameras such as the Pentax k 1000
    are overshadowed my the led metering and 1/2000 metal shutter of the KR5.
    The pentax may have a somewhat higher buil;d quality.
    but the meter is more subject to impact damage
    and after 30-40 years the cloth curtain may have aged and deteriorated.
    things being equal the KR5 would me more dependable.
    ( the sel;f-timer may be a problem)
    I do not suggest that Olympus konica nikon or canon cameras
    or minolta cameras are not as good for your first choice
    the Pentax K mount cameras are more common and easier to find lenses.
    the m42 mount cameras and lenses are common.
    but all but a few chinon/cosina cameras have stop-down metering
    these few cameras will meter wide open with regular one pin lenses
    avoid any odd0ball such as cameras with unique mounts or this that use a modified m42 mount.
    canon FD moiunt lenses are fairly common.
    but many a series and t series caNON CAMERAS ARE FULL AUTO.
  16. not cameras which have not been tested with film, or sold by people who say "I am not expert with these things​
    While it is true many of these do try to sell a lemon, don't completely rule it out as you may be passing a deal of a century. Surely you do take a gamble when buying from such, but there are still those who actually have found themselves holding a grandpa's film camera yet never having taken a pic with anything but a supermarket branded digital spatula. My recent deal costing me $100 that included 2 Minolta bodies (SRT 101 & EX-1) + 3 Rokkor lenses with some add ons and all in great cosmetic and fully working condition is a testament to such opportunities still existing.
    I understand your desire to take on a bayonet system, in which only Minolta and Pentax K is a cost effective option (Minolta due to it still not having been discovered, by many, as an often superior option to many Nikon and Canon offerings, and Pentax K due to more than one brand adopting the mount). Also the aperture priority comes in handy at times, but doesn't shooting film feel real good when you actually slow down? For fast street film shooting perhaps you could consider one of the many rangefinders from Konica, Fuji, Minolta or Yashica. They cost not too much (most well below $50), lenses are first grade and most offer automation.
    Lastly, the cameras we are suggesting here may be old, but their built quality is like none other in at least a couple of decades. Quality of manufacture is no longer about making a long lasting product. Not to mention their look and feel makes you wanna take time enjoying it. Your Praktica is actually a good product capable of quality photography, but your SRT is going to be a refreshing experience in mechanical quality, and there have been reported cases of individuals salivating over the feel of a Minolta EX.
  17. Hi Lamberto, about your budget, you do not say what it is. But checking completed items on ebay UK, a good working FE2 body seems to go for about 60 GBP plus shipping.
  18. I recently saw Pentax cameras and lenses going up in price quite a lot, though.
    Minolta, yes, the look definitely cool, and when I'll receive in May the SRT101 I will see if it has the kind of quality I like. So far it's very promising.

    I am not very much into Canon-Nikon stuff because they end up being very costly, not only as initial investment for the body, but also for their lenses. The popularity they have now amongst digital camera manufacturers reflects in the prices of their old second (or third and fourth) hand 35mm cameras. I know in ebay UK FE2 are selling at affordable prices, but I have to take into account a shipping to Canary Islands, and additional import duties I have to pay here. So a £60 body may cost easily £85 / £90, and still it would need a lens, which would be subject to shipping and import duties as well. Here nobody uses film cameras, there are not serious labs where to process the film, and yet a Pentax P30n can be sold at 100€, imagine something metal, and more serious; so the local market is out of discussion.
    Colin, My budget? Roughly 100€ max, including lens if not a PK or MD mount camera, as I have already lenses for those.
    Witold, I got the MTL5B very cheap and with a cool lens, because it was listed as "Praktica camera good condition uploaded via iPad" and it arrived with just the battery oxidised, I just fixed it 3 days ago, that's why I haven't used it yet. It was 10£ including shipping to a friend living in London. I agree that sometimes it's worth taking risks, but when prices are already over a certain amount I have also to take into account international shipping and duty fees that nobody is going to refund, so I'm limited, unfortunately.
  19. Lamberto,
    You are correct, it is not worth taking a risk when the price itself is already closing in on the set budget. I only mentioned it, because when a price does look like a deal, then the risk may be worth it.
    I'm sure you'll enjoy the SRT. I have 2 Prakticas myself (and surely not the end of that road either) and I like and respect them, especially given their contribution to the development of photographic equipment (many don't even talk about it or give them credit for, those who describe them in a down right derogatory language have surely never actually handled them). But the SRT next to it is just another story.
  20. I am now waiting for a Mamiya M645 eyecup which supposedly fits the Praktica, then I will put a dioptric lens in it as I did for my ME Super:
    I hope it will make me love the MTL5B a bit more, as it has been a bit a delusion when I saw its viewfinder. I am sure that Praktica is an outstanding brand, and I agree it is too much in the shade in the photography world, and that's a pity. I bought mine because I needed a M42 body, I had a Pentacon 50 - f/1.8, so I decided to get the matching body. I seriously love the feel this 'brick' gives me, that's a real solid camera. I would be afraid to drop it on the floor, I may break some tiles, no joke.

    As for the Minolta XE-1 you mentioned, I didn't know it, and that's a very good candidate: nice viewfinder, cool looking and it has the aperture priority mode too, which is a bonus. And the indicator of the aperture, which is handy. Oh, and normal batteries!
    The SRT is arriving wearing the standard Rokkor 55mm f/1.7, and with a Hanimex zoom 80-200mm f/3.3; moreover, also a Maxxum 400si is arriving together with them, wearing a Sigma AF 24-50mm, but I don't know if the lenses will be interchangeable between the two cameras - I'll find it out later. I believe the next step would be almost naturally Minolta, then. Always if I like the SRT, but I just read good things about them.
  21. The Minolta XE is strange case of being relatively unknown, especially given its quality and Leica connection. The typically talked about source of info for all Minolta manual gear is the rokkorfiles.com, where there is no mention of this line (or I cannot find it). Why it's a mistery to me. Once you use your SRT add another 20-30% to the feel of it to imagine the XE. Both lines however have fantastic feel, looks and built quality. The shape of the pentaprism housing alone is a standout.
    To be fair to Minolta there was also the XD line (running side by side with XG line), the beginning of superb electronic sophistication that ended with the X line (with the unfortunate discontinuation of the XE/XD shutter). But we're talking leds in the finder now.
  22. Of course the description fits a Nikon Photomic FTn or an early F2 almost perfectly, except for the bulk and cost, and the possibility of bad meters if you're shopping blind. You would be hard put to find a better finder image, and it's certainly the archetype of robustness.
    However, bulk and expense are disadvantages, and I'd second the Minolta SRT-102 or its ilk as possible substitutes. The exposure meter is a bit harder to compensate, but it works nicely, meters well, it's a reasonable size, and you can find tons of lenses for it.
    Lenses for Konicas are less common but often dirt cheap when you find them, and another possible avenue might be the Autoreflex T3. This is also a bit hard to adapt to modern batteries, but works well with hearing aid batteries. It's built like a tank, has a match needle meter and shutter priority auto exposure which works well, and because of the unusual automation, the shutter always works, without any battery. A disadvantage is that the hot shoe accessory is not built in but attaches to the viewfinder, and is susceptible to damage from dropping and the like. The viewfinder is also not as bright as some others, and the camera is a bit noisy. But the lenses are very good, and it's pretty reliable. Although it's hard to adapt to modern batteries, the odd battery-check routine makes it extremely easy to adjust for whatever batteries are in it by fudging the ASA setting.
    You cannot interchange lenses between manual and auto focus Minoltas, because Maxxums have a purely electronic aperture. You'll be out of luck on that, but then again, a Maxxum that works can work pretty well. While you're using the SRT for serious stuff, you can throw the Maxxum in the car, and be ready for anything that flies by.
  23. Just wanted to comment on the battery issue. It surely makes it easier to go with the body that takes silver oxide widely available by design. But the PX625 and similar mercury ones can be easily replaced (if one does not want go through meter recalibration and not all cameras are actually voltage dependent). Solutions can be had for far less than the rediculously priced C.R.I.S. adapter you see mentioned everywhere.
  24. While I also recommend the SRT series (102, 202, etc) for split image, I also recommend the Nikkormat FT-3. It works with both AI and non-AI Nikkor lenses. The Nikon FM also supports both, but its metering is match diode rather than match needle. The Minolta XE series (American versions XE-5 and XE-7) are quiet and smooth (shares shutter and body with Leica R3) so you can aperture priority as well as manual metering. In manual mode the VF shows the recommended shutter speed so simple set the speed to the indicated speed. In addition to the 1 sec. through 1/1000 sec. you also get 4 sec. and 2 sec. shutter speeds. Also, on the XE series Minoltas the shutter will fire at a mechanical 1/90 sec. and B even if batteries are discharged.
  25. I am more and more convinced that XE-1 can be a valid upgrade to a proper camera. I looked many times at Nikon, as my dad when was working had a company's F3, and I had my very first photographic experiences with it. The Minolta was already away, and I almost never saw it.
    But, Nikon generally turn out quite expensive in terms of lenses. To build a system with a wide angle, a 50, a long prime and a general purpose zoom with Nikkor I may break the bank.
    As for battery, I was about to get this one to try the camera out. Then, later I will find out a better way to use maybe the 1.5V ones.

    As for "local" market, for a laugh please have a look at what prices some things are sold here: "photographic equipment"

    This is in Madrid, mainland Spain, and although I wouldn't have to pay loads for the shipping (well, probably the same as if it was from UK) I would have most certainly to pay import fees, as we are in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean with a special tax regime, so a world apart.
  26. Lamberto,
    You can have the Wein cell for a one-off try but it is way too expensive long term. For relatively low cost alternative you have the guy in Netherlands who sells a ready made adapter that takes readily available SR44 silver oxide batteries. It costs 16 euors shipped. There are cheaper options, but you would have to hunt ebay for a bit. These are actually voltage lowering adapters (just like the C.R.I.S.), but because of how they are built (unlike C.R.I.S.) they are an exact match size/height wise as the actual PX625 cell.
    His email is: battery.adapter@online.nl, His name is Frans.
    He will send you a pdf file on how to order it. Payments through PayPal and he mails it as regular mail (adapter is hardly detectable inside a regular envelope). And it will fit any camera that takes PX625, so it could be a future investment too.
  27. Lamberto!
    I am a Nikon user so I do like the Nikon very much but Nikon really have no match needle meter camera except the FE series (including the the FM3a which certainly out of your price range).
    Besides due to the longer flange distance on the Nikon F mount to mount an M42 lens on it the adapter requires optic to allow it to focus to infinity. Doing so would degrade the lens quality.
    I recommended the Pentax KX because the Pentax K mount is quite easy to adapt to M42 lenses because when Pentax designed the K mount they thought about that problem.
    The Pentax KX while doesn't support motor drive (except the very rare motor drive version) or has a split image focusing aid, it does have a good match needle metering system. The MX doesn't. The meter in the KX is very good and is significantly better than that in the KM and K1000. It can measure light all the way down to EV -2 and uses a silicon photocell instead of CDS cell. Besides if you're going to use the meter then get a camera which doesn't use mercury cell. You can adapt but costly and still not working very well. Because building a metering system that requires the battery voltage as reference isn't a good design. As you can see today no meter is built like that.
    The KX was in production for may be only 2 years so there aren't many of them around but being the top of the line it is now usually sold in used market for much less than the bottom of the line K1000.
  28. Of course the XE-1 uses a pair of MS 76 silver cells (1.55 volt) which are easily available.
  29. Yashica FR 1
  30. Thanks Randy! That's an interesting model as well and it will be kept into account.
    As a side note I finally understand why the CO-Y rear lens cap that came with the Pentax M 50 f/1.7 wasn't closing well, actually it was pretty rubbish at doing its job. :D
  31. If you go for the Minolta SRT 101 series, you should try to locate a 303 (European designation), i.e. the last and best in Minolta's development of fully mechanical SLR cameras. It has the match needle meter and split screen you are looking for (the latter is NOT present in most 101s and 202s), plus speed and aperture visible in finder, double exposure facility and mirror lock-up (the latter is however not present in some of the final production 303b models - to be checked!).
    On the other hand a Olympus OM-2n is a vastly superior camera, and easily one of my favourites amongst the some 40+ classic SLR I own. It boasts one of the best (if not THE best) finder ever, 14 interchangeable focusing screen, choice between manual (with match needle) and semi-automatic aperture priority exposure, and most particularly the extraordinary OFT (Off The Film) metering system that will allow automatic exposures up to 120 sec (!)(The camera will actually meter correctly for a teoretically infinite duration, but after 2 min film reciprocity takes over). All of this is a very elegant design, compact size and low weight. The only shortcoming is, this is an electronic camera, and will not work at all without batteries. With some patience, it should not be impossible to locate a OM-2n well within your budget.
  32. Grazie Ezio, I will be given a 101, then I'll see for a better model. As many of you will confirm, buying cameras is dangerous :) Once you start with one, you end up with many others (come le ciliege... una tira l'altra) :) That's why I am a bit scared of venturing in Olympus territory... But I admit I've always been fascinated by the design and the compactness of The OM (1 digit) series. And the interchangeable focusing screen is a nice feature for sure! Thanks!
  33. I don't think any 101's had factory installed split screen, but I think all of the 102 and 202 models had them. The 303 is the European 102 so it should have a mirror lock up. The 303b is the equivalent of the 202 so I don't think it has the lock up.
  34. Mike: you are basically correct, but it depends. My 303b has mirror lock-up. Apparently there were some variations in production.
    Lambert: using M42 lenses on bayonet-mount cameras indeed is a convenient way to gain access to an enormous supply of relatively cheap lenses (some of them quite good), but - are you fully aware of the implications as regards metering? This demands a rather long and borish explaination, and I would rather not go into it unless it can be of some help.
  35. Ezio: yes I am, I owned for ages a Pentacon 50 and a Schacht 200 in M42 and I was using them on my ME Super, before getting the Praktica. Not the most comfortable thing in the world, I know.
  36. Good. As you already know the basics, you might wish to consider that the OM-2n is the one and only camera that will allow you to use your M42 lenses in aperture priority semi-auto mode. This is because the OTF metering system establishes the required shutter speed DURING the exposure rather than BEFORE it, as it is commonly the case.
  37. Ezio: Will have to google this because I didn't understand. :) Thanks!
  38. Ricoh XR-2s, diagonal split screen and all. I have one and it's a very fine camera which would meet all your requirements, including easy battery availability.
  39. Lambert, if you like the XE series cameras, there is a way to get aperture priority autoexposure using M42 lenses via adapter: For this to work the lens must have an auto/manual switch. To get autoexposure set switch to manual and open lens to maximum aperture to focus. Then stop lens down until meter needle points to desired shutter speed and shoot. The Olympus is still a good option and has a brighter focusing screen.

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