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Camera Reviews How-to's

FAQ - What Camera to Buy?

J. Ramon Palacios (jrp) on May 21, 2002

Keywords: nikon, camera, bodies, product, articles

Used 35mm SLR's

The Nikon 35mm Pro model SLRs and rangefinders were and are made to last more than a lifetime. So chances are that you can still find a camera to suit you, in excellent or mint condition, without making you go bankrupt.

Nikon F
 The Nikon F, introduced in 1959, revolutionizing the world of 35mm photography.



There are many good, reliable sources in the USA, for used cameras in good condition, but I will only list here those I have used or those who can ship worldwide recommended by my good friend Doug Clifford founder of Ace Indexes:




See it in the B&H Photo and Video used section
Chedk out current prices at B & H used section
Nikon FE2
Nikon FM2
The Nikon FE2 was introduced in 1983; IMHO it is the best of the FE and FM series of cameras. It's most interesting feature is the electronically controlled shutter, with titanium curtains like in the FM2. You do select shutter speed (from 1 to 1/4000 sec, TTL flash sync at 1/250 sec) and aperture on your own, although the center weighted light meter guides you.  You focus manually and preview the depth-of-field. However, it does have TTL flash. Simple, easy to use, it takes the MD-12 winder and the MF-16 data back. I am the happy owner of two of these babies, although I bought them brand new.
The FM2 came into the market in 1982, like the FG and a year before the FE2. It is still favored by many pros. It has the same die cast all metal body of the FM and FE. Center weighted TTL metering (60/40 balance). Top shutter speed 1/4000 sec. 
All mechanical; flash sync of 1/125 sec. Depth-of-field preview button. 
It uses the MD-12 Motor Drive, and has a great MF-16 Data Back.
Non TTL flash, sorry. 
Nevertheless, solidly built, this is an outstanding long time favorite of the manual camera fans, later improved in the FM2n model.
Check current prices at B&H Photo and Video
Nikon F3HP
Nikon N70/F70
The manual focus Nikon F3HP , also introduced in 1982, is the ultimate 35mm SLR traditional camera for those who want the full control feeling. Durable aluminum die cast construction, Highly Center Weighted metering (80/20 balance) and TTL flash control. The F3HP comes with the now standard DE-3 high-eyepoint viewfinder system with virtual 100% coverage for full WYSIWYG wearing eyeglasses; LCD exposure information readout in viewfinder. Top shutter speed 1/2000 sec. and flash sync up to 1/80 sec. Ultra strong, ultra thin, dual titanium shutter curtains for really extended usage. A rugged and elegant camera to last forever. I am still pondering whether I should get one. In the meantime my partner Bo bought one while at the 4th ANPAT.
The N70 is another fun camera, an integral motor autofocus 35mm single lens reflex. Focus Modes are: Autofocus and Manual with Electronic Rangefinder. Autofocus Area: Wide and Spot selectable. Autofocus Modes: Single Servo AF and Continuous Servo AF. Focus Tracking is automatically activated when subject moves. Three built-in exposure meter modes: Matrix, Center Weighted and Spot. Five segment multi sensor is used for TTL auto flash control. Its built-in TTL Speedlight has a Guide number of 46 (for ISO 100, in ft.); with flash coverage for 28mm or longer lenses; Red-Eye Reduction, TTL flash control including 3D Multi Sensor Balanced Fill Flash, Slow Sync and Rear Curtain Sync. Check it out. 

Almost needless to be mentioned, a pro body that remains a most interesting alternative -with full lens line compatibility- is the F4.


35mm Used SLR Recommendation:
  • If you really are serious about photography but with a limited budget, you are on the right track with a used 35mm Single Lens Reflex, like the ones shown above. You do have a good chance to get an excellent body and lenses.  
  • Or look for a good used auto focus 35mm SLR 
  • Maybe even a used high end 35mm SLR, the best possible tool for the task. 
  • Remember that on the average at least 50% of your budget will go into the body and 50% into the lens, and keep on saving because once hooked you will then need a bag, a good (sturdy) tripod, filters and of course, more lenses.
(2 Votes)
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J. Ramon Palacios J. Ramon Palacios (jrp)

JRP is one of the co-founders, has in-depth knowledge in various areas. Awarded for his contributions for the Resources

San Pedro Garza García, Mexico
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Larry Jones (Larry443) on May 4, 2014

Outstanding! Thanks so much for the overview and the recommendations. I enjoyed reading about each class or group you presented. I especially liked your closing comment as that's what it's all about for me. Thanks again! Larry

Zita Kemeny (zkemeny) on March 5, 2013

Very good points which we may check when we want to buy a new camera. Thanks.

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