Help with Apples and Oranges (not still life)
Ok, been doing a loot of reading here. When I first start perusing I was thinking of getting a D40 to go with my F2. Now I've changed course because I decided to stay with film a bit longer and see what happens in the next year or two with digital and FX bodies.
Here's where the apples and oranges come in. I want to get a second film body but not spend too much money on it (less than $100 - less expensive is better with the better half). but I'm torn about getting another manual focus like my F2 - been eyeing a few Nikkormats at KEH or Adorama. While I was browsing I also discovered I can get an N80 or N75 for about the same money.
Here's the pros and cons I have in my head for the N80:
+ Autofocus with manual mode so I can have my cake and eat it too.
+ Can invest in lenses that will work (especially VR) when I do finally get a D-SLR.
- Lenses won't interchange as easily with F2.
- Reliability? - at least compared to a mechanical manual focus like F2
- figuring out menus etc on another camera
+ Works well with modern speedlights
Here's he pros and cons for Nikkormat or older F
+ Simple and Rugged
+ Enjoyment from the satisfying mechanical click
- Lenses won't as readily move up that I'd buy for this (VR)
- limited or difficult interaction with modern speedlights.
Please help me break the deadlock in my head...
Tony, Army Nikkonian
#2. "RE: Help with Apples and Oranges (not still life)" | In response to Reply # 1Cadfael_tex Registered since 05th Apr 2008Fri 18-Apr-08 04:45 PM
>Are any of your lenses AF or AF-D? If not, you will have no
>TTL metering on the N80. Just a consideration.
No AF or AF-D; all my lenses are pre-AI. Don't have a lot of lenses and those I have I'll probably keep dedicated to my F2 rather than have them altered.
I'm looking at the F/N80 as a way to start getting some modern, good lenses that I eventually will also use with a D-SLR body when the finances and models align for what I want (say a FX body with D300 type price).
#3. "RE: Help with Apples and Oranges (not still life)" | In response to Reply # 2ahhbeebee Registered since 01st Dec 2006Fri 18-Apr-08 05:13 PM
Since you already have the F2 and can enjoy all the pro's you list for manual focus camera
"+ Simple and Rugged
+ Enjoyment from the satisfying mechanical click"
Then why another? If you are looking for an entry point to modern lenses etc then you really should bite the bullet and start somewhere. You'll have to figure out menus and other modern bells and whistles eventually.
With respect to reliability, although much of the camera is plastic, don't let this fool you into thinking the N/F80 cannot withstand the rigors of normal use. I have no idea what the shutters are rated for, but I'm sure its well over 50k. As you've probably read, its are great little camera, one caveat would be that you can't use any of your Pre-AI lenses since they will/can damage the mount.
Its a fully capable modern camera, if you want something more rugged, you'll probably have to splurge for the F100, I don't think I've every seen a negative review of that camera.
#4. "RE: Help with Apples and Oranges (not still life)" | In response to Reply # 3Cadfael_tex Registered since 05th Apr 2008Tue 29-Apr-08 12:50 AM
I keep toying with the idea. I'd have to start over with the lenses but that's not a problem. What would be a good lens to start out with - I need something cheap at this point but not too much of a slouch. I'd be looking used. I'd add better glass to my collection later.
#5. "RE: Help with Apples and Oranges (not still life)" | In response to Reply # 0
I thought I'd put in my 2 cents re: N75 / N80, if you choose to go that way.
I own both these bodies, and they're both fine cameras, but have different strengths and weaknesses.
I bought the N75 for my wife to use for snapshots. It's fabulous in that role. Even though it supports P, A, S, and M shooting modes, it's not as easy to exercise control over certain functions as is the N80 (spot metering, for example) and you can't override the DX-coded film speed. It's really geared toward less sophisticated users. It's also lighter and might feel too "plastic-y" to someone coming from a manual body.
The N80 is just a great camera. I cut my teeth on a Ricoh manual focus SLR, which I replaced with a Canon Rebel after my Ricoh was stolen. I didn't like the Canon at all -- kept it for years but never really enjoyed using it. After switching to the N80, I started really enjoying photography again.
I have to say that the N75 is better at flash photography with print film than is the N80, which often underexposes flash pics on print film if the flash is the main source of light. I suspect that the N80 meter is biased toward slide film and is trying to avoid blowing out highlights, where the N75 is geared toward print film. I have to dial in exposure compensation or under-rate the film by about a stop to get reliable head-on flash pics with print film on the N80. This is my second N80 body, and they've both done this. I also have a friend with a F100 (basically the same metering system as the N80) who gets similar results. This is not a complaint mind you, just an observation of one area that the N75 out-performs the N80, in case this might apply to the types of photos you often take.
As for lenses, I have to add my voice to the recommendations for the 28-105mm zoom. I also own a Nikkor 50mm f/1.4D, which is really nice for available light shots. I've even put it in front of a Kenko 1.4x teleconverter and it made a pretty good little 70mm portrait lens. The 50mm f/1.8 gets good reviews and is much cheaper, but I've never used one.
If you haven't yet, go over to Thom Hogan's site (www.bythom.com) and check out his reviews of various lenses, and Nikon gear in general. I can also recommend his e-books, should you buy an N75 or N80. He's good at explaining the metering, autofocus, flash system, etc., on these cameras.
Having come from manual focus to the N80 and now looking at buying my first digital body, I think your plan to get your feet wet with an auto-focus film body as a step toward digital makes a lot of sense.
Good luck, and thanks for serving.
#7. "RE: Help with Apples and Oranges (not still life)" | In response to Reply # 0
This is an older thread, but it doesn't sound like you've resolved what to do, so I wanted to chime in...
I have a Nikon F, a handful of Nikomats, an N70 and an N80, as well as access to a D300 and a Fuji S3 Pro. Basically about forty years of photographic technology available to me...
The Nikon F rocks, but without mercury batteries, the meter is not usable anymore. Ditto with the Nikomats. The F seizes every once in a while (Actually right now I can't un-stick it, so it needs service, again...) and the only solution is to remove the film and have the camera repaired. I've had this camera repaired at least three times.
The Nikomats have been reliable, but the meters don't work anymore. Using an alkaline battery is not a good option for the meter because the voltages aren't constant like on a mercury battery.
The N70 is a great "compromise" camera because it allows you to mount older, manual focus glass (must be ai'd) and meter, while also using newer glass (no VR though). It requires non "G" type lenses or you wont' be able to use it in aperture priority mode, IIRC.
The N80 is, IMHO, the very best cheap film camera of the "new" generation. It uses G lenses, VR, etc. just fine. It does not meter with MF glass at all (except the few very rare AIP lenses) so it is really only suitable as an AF camera. But it is fully compatible with all the new lenses (non DX of course) and flashes etc.
If you are looking for a way to get started on the new generation, the N80 is perfect for you. Grab it with a 28-105 and you will have an awesome setup. If you can't afford the 28-105, land a 50mm 1.8.
If you want a camera that can use ALL of your glass, you should look for an F4. The AI prong can be folded back on that camera to accept non-ai glass. Not sure if that's a default configuration or something that NIkon needed to modify for you, as I don't own an F4...
The F4 is also the only (i think) camera that can do matrix metering with old MF glass.
The F4 is more money than an N80, it doesn't do AF as well, it probably doesn't work well with G type lenses, but it will let you mount virtually anything and is a pretty amazing camera. If it were me, I'd go with the N80 and add an F4 as a manual focus body that can use my AF glass in a pinch.
Nikonian in the High Desert of Southern California.
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