This is not another camera review website. I'm just giving an overview of some film cameras that I have bought and love using over the years. I've bought several other cameras but never keep a camera that I don't like using. I'm pretty particular about which camera I actually keep and do tons of research before deciding on a camera or lens. My cameras don't stay on a shelf gathering dust. I use them all!
|Canonet QL17 GIII|
Staple of Old Town Alexandria, The Hard Times Cafe. Taken with a Canonet QL17 GIII, Fuji Pro 800z 35mm film
This photo is taken with a Canon QL17 GIII circa 1972. I scanned it on an Epson V700 at 15MP.This camera has a super sharp fixed 40mm f1.7 lens that I have scanned at 52MP! This camera is so smart that the shutter locks when you are trying to take an under or overexposed photo! This camera is a perfect unassuming rangefinder like Leica X1/X2 or Fuji X100s, but has better full frame picture quality, more megapixels and cost me only $90.00! The button battery lasts forever so if you don't use your camera everyday, you don't have to worry about charging it before going out. It has a perfect film loading system that works for the most clumsy hands-even I can't screw up loading film in this camera. Reviews are for digital cameras that change every year, but if you insist look here for a review of the Canonet. You can buy one on eBay, Adorama, KEH or even craigslist from $50-$190 and they work great.
What can I say about this literally bullet-proof workhorse of a camera? It's beautiful, durable, functional and does everything right. It was designed by an italian race car designer for goodness-sake! The F3 was so good and does everything so well that Nikon sold the same basic design for 25 years! It is a manual focusing, removeable-everything, Nikon system camera that works with just about every nikon lens ever made except the newest DX toy lenses. I have an arsenal of Nikkor Ai-S lenses that I use pretty regularly with this camera. It also has a removable prism that can take several types of waist level or high magnification or other accessory finders that are still available today. The quality of this wonderful camera's construction is most evident by simply advancing the film and feeling the ball-bearing loaded advance lever. Super smooth and unlike any other film camera. The MD-4 Motor Drive while adding a lot of bulk and weight, (eight AA batteries) but provides a perfect handgrip that makes the weight really easy to manage and advances the film at 5fps to keep up with any action. The MD-4 facilitates long exposure photos since it by-passes the cameras battery and powers the camera itself.
|Nikon F3 w/ Nikkor 50mm f1.8 Series-E on a modern Manfrotto Tripod|
Typically a long exposure photo will kill the battery in a lesser camera since it takes electric power to keep the shutter open. The F3 has B, T, and X settings that can also be used for long exposure photos with out taxing the battery. I get perfect photos with my Nikon F3 time and again. The pictures are always properly exposed and in focus with the huge viewfinder always giving me the opportunity to frame a perfect picture. I noticed when I finally started trying out autofocus cameras how the focus might jump at the last second and screw up the picture. The F3 has a super-precise focusing system and tried and true center weighted aperture priority metering that gives me perfect results all the time. Once again, this is not an in-depth review (go here for that) but suffice it to say that this camera is so good that it is almost offensive how cheaply you can buy these for. I paid only $180.00 for my copy which was pristine and $34.00 for the MD-4. You can get a scuffed up and dented F3 that will still last you a lifetime for $60-$80! This camera is so durable and was manufactured for such a long time that they can be found in large quantities on eBay, BHPhoto, Adorama or KEH, etc.
|Trusty Nikon F100 film SLRw/ Nikkor 50mm f1.4 AFD. Matrix metering,|
fast autofocus, 4.5 fps, very customizable, and all the handling and
goodies that we are all used to in a modern Nikon DSLR
Taken with an Nikon F100 and Nikkor 75-300mm f4.5/5.6 Tele Zoom.
Great auto-focusing performance from the F100 following the seagull.
|Leica M6 with Zeiss 35mm f2.8 Biogon-C. This camera and lens combo besides being a beatiful to look at, are great handling and easy to use. This camera & lens are easily my favorite combo and the perfect rig for street photography.|
In all fairness this Leica or any rangefinder camera is not a camera the works well (or at all) for macro photography or extreme telephoto or fast moving subjects. For most people the Leica covers 95% of life's subject matter, ie candids, events, people, landscapes, city-scapes, street photography and such. For the remaining less common subjects like close ups of ladybugs, birds in flight, a tight end in the back corner of the end zone or the craters on the moon you will probably be better off with an SLR or DSLR. All I can say is that being the camera freak (read afficionado) that I am, I tend to carry several camera bodies and lenses when I go out to take pictures. I inevidably reach for my Leica when it's "go-time" and leave the bulky SLRs in the bag. I do so enjoy photographing with my M6 and am never disappointed with the pictures that I get as a result.