BetterPhoto Q&A
Category: Best Photographic Equipment to Buy : Film-Based Camera Equipment : 35mm Cameras : Manual Cameras

Photography Question 

Distorted Prices?

One thing thats really puzzling me... Why do most of the manual focus basic camera like the FM3A and FM2n cost more than the feature loaded AF SLRs these days???

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11/2/2001 8:20:58 AM

doug Nelson   Maybe there is a little bit of demand for them by purists like us, and by pros who must have reliable back-up, but not enough demand to mass produce them in great numbers. My hat's off to Nikon for continuing to make them, even if it is not all that profitable.

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11/2/2001 10:18:11 AM

James Bennett   I'd be glad to stick my nose into this one. First, the older MF units were simply better built. Ask yourself how many AE-1s are still out there taking great pictures. Then ask where your Rebel or Elan will be in 30 years? Secondly, most new cameras have "features" most people will never use. I've never had occasion to take a picture at 1/8000 shutter speed, have you? Or eye controlled focus? Please! Third, a really good AF lens can cost you a ton. A similar quality MF lens can be had for a fraction of the cost. Finally, simply ask yourself if you would really rather have, say, a mint condition T90 or a new A2? 'Nuff said.

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11/15/2001 7:14:53 PM

George Anderson   It's a question of sales volume, production site, and construction material/quality. Compared to a modern "consumer quality" AF camera, Nikon builds the FM3a to a last generation standard - solid duralumin body, ball-bearing advance mechanism, metal shutter transport gears, etc. Plastic's a lot cheaper than metal. The FM3a is not built in China by ill-trained staff but by skilled labor in Japan on a small assembly line. Even if the FM3a seems expensive, Nikon probably loses money on every FM3a they make. Certain to be a valuable collectible and a functioning camera long after the LCDs on more modern camera desins have winked out for the last time.

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7/12/2005 9:52:33 AM

John P. Sandstedt
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/8/2001
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  With each new iteration of "The Computer" [a digital camera,] the demand for well made, manual and semi-automatic cameras goes up. If fact, a friend, who owns a camera exchange, will not buy cast off digitals - but, he will go after film cameras because there's a strong market.

Check Q&A and you'll find reference to the Canon AE-1, the Pentax K-1000, the Minolta SRT-201 and a host of other 18-25 year old cameras. They're like the original Volkswagen Bugs - you can't kill 'em.

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7/13/2005 12:25:30 PM

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