Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by tony_lockerbie, Oct 6, 2009.
Well, I can testify that the FED 4 rewind "wheel" is incredibly bad, if that counts:
In a Certified objective double blind taste test the F3 is the clear winner.
Among what I have.....
Mine must desperately need an sla!
I would like to read your writing on women.....
For smoothness, in my limited collection, I'd take the F3. Just feels perfect. But reading this thread makes me realize I should try the Leica R3 (it was attached to a lens I wanted... never tried the camera yet). My R6 and R7 don't particularly impress for smooth winding, not my FM2n.
The Werra is indeed worth mentioning - it's not smooth but a great and unique design. I love these little cameras.
The worst I have is a Kiev-4a. After some cleaning and lubrication it feels slightly less coarse and uneven then before. Even better is the rewind: the wheel broke of, I replaced it with a screw so I rewind using a screwdriver. And even then you still feel it's the opposite of smooth. Luckily, the much older Kiev-2 sets the record straight, and work heaps better.
When I saw the title of this thread, I didn't think first that "best" was meaning "smooth", I would have found more important comments about "regularity" of frame spacing. This may be more problematic in MF, but the problems may also arise in 35mm cameras and then yield even more unpleasant issues (like impossible automated framing of slides for instance). So here are some personnal experiences :
In 1979, I bought (new) a Minox35 EL, that is still working very well and has fairly regular frame spacing. When Minox stopped their range of 35 models, I decided (why not ?) to buy their latest Minox35 GT-S, and was very disappointed with its very irregular frame spacing. Apart this bad experience, my 35mm cameras generally have rather fairly regular film advance.
Concerning MF, the cameras I have show very diverse regularity of frame spacing, but none catastrophic except from Pentacon Six. My best camera with equal frame spacing (to a fraction of mm !) is a Flexaret I bought on a flee market in Praha ; even better than my Rolleiflex T.
One peculiar camera I like very much is a little very old 645 folder : a Rodenstock Citonette with red peeping windows to control the film advance. Its problem with frame spacing is that the frame window is so large that equally spaced pictures are less than 2mm apart. So I had to put marks on the red windows so that I may be able to group four pictures without any spacing to get a little more than 5mm space every four pictures for cutting the film.
Zeiss Ikon Contarex. The film advance is smooth, precise, and reassuring even though well over 100 parts are moving. Shooting with one of these is a special experience.
Yeah, actually my R4's advance is silky smooth -- but only without film in it. Maybe it's just that extra little bit of drag that's the straw which breaks the camel's back. My R8 came in today. Its advance is also silky smooth, but it requires quite a bit less pressure than does the R4 (comparing both with no film in them).
I will put in a vote for a non-slr, and that's the roll-film back for the Mamiya Press (which I have on my Plaubel Proshift). This makes the F3 seem like it's full of sand.
My experience is mostly limited to Canon and Nikon, so I'll comment on that.
I will say that my Leica IIIc is quite smooth, but doesn't feel a lot different from the Canon knob winds I've had. That may be heresy, but it's just my observation
I've seen several reference in this thread to the Nikon F, F2, F3, FM/FE series, and Canon F-1 series. Here are my thoughts:
F3-definitely smooth-almost too smooth, but legendary for a reason
I find the F and F2 somewhat similar, but find the F2 lever significantly more comfortable. Without measuring, I think the F2 also has more offset and a shorter throw although couldn't swear to that. Regardless, I prefer it. My only complaint is that I have some F2s that have a bit of a "whine" in advance.
The FM and FE series are nice, but not in the class of the pro Canon and Nikons. I find them to be a bit more "sloppy" and the lack of multi-stroke drives me crazy.
I'd consider the F-1n the equal of the F2 if not a bit better. It's tight, quiet, and smooth. The original F-1 has a similar feel, but gets downgraded in my book due to the smaller offset, longer throw, and less comfortable lever. The New F-1 is a totally different beast-it feels solid and tight, but is not smooth by any stretch. I LOVE the New F-1(I prefer it on the whole to the F3, which is its contemporary) but film advance is one area where it falls behind its direct competitor.
That's just one person's thoughts, though.
I haven't tried it with film, yet, but the Contax IIIa has a very smooth stroke. Someday, I should shoot with it.
I see that the middle pages are missing, so I don't remember now whether I posted in them. I initially noted, as many do, that the Nikon F3 is pretty much the best, but at some later date, a generous photo.net person sent me a Minolta X700 (mine having quit with a bad case of capacitor-itis), and I may have reported then, but do now if not, that the X700 comes very close, if not equal, to the famous Nikon.
Anyone used an Alpa?
My Olympus Om-1 MD's wind was smooth and decisive for thousands of exposures . . . until it wasn't, and wouldn't advance the film. It was the only the part of that lovely camera which demanded servicing twice in the twenty years I had it. (Of course, I had a CLA done each time.)
Good God! Do you guys wind on yourself? Like using a pair of decent Purdeys, I always get my loader to do that for me.
I love the F3 but I still think that the advance on the XE is smoother. My XE has recently been CLA'd so maybe that's also making it feel especially nice.
Olympus Pen D. But it's only a half frame so maybe that's cheating.
I have not owned that many camera's but my Mamiya 645e is a delight to wind.. It's the only camera I have owned that makes me smile winding. My FM2n is also very good but it does not make me smile. It is smooth and it re-winds very well also. I owned a Leica MP earlier this year for a short time and the winding of the film on that was silky smooth as people say about Leica's but the rewind action was stiff and rough. Better re-wind action then my son's Leica M6. No idea about the best camera film wind as I have not owned a lot of camera's over the last 60 years. They tend to last a very long time as you know. I guess I will go with Mamiya 645e from the camera's I have had experience with.
That reminds me -- as winding experiences go, I'd also have to include the Rolleiflexes I've owned as some of the best, all of which had butter-smooth film advance mechanisms.
I love my Nikons and all but the Minolta XE7? Takes the cake it does
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