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Category: Best Photographic Equipment to Buy : Film-Based Camera Equipment : 35mm Cameras : SLR (Single Lens Reflex) Cameras

Photography Question 

Beginner 35mm SLR

I'd like to get a new 35mm slr. I'm a beginner, and being such I know that you'll probably suggest a Pentax k-1000. I'd like to get something new. I've had too many bad experiences with used equipment. I don't necessarily want to spend a fortune, but I'd like to get something that I can continue to use as I get more experienced. Any suggestions?

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7/30/2003 12:24:37 PM

Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/18/2000
  Canon Rebel Ti, Rebel 2000, or Rebel G-II; Nikon N65 or N75, Minolta Maxxum 5, Pentax ZX-7 or ZX-L/6. In each case the camera maker's 50mm f/1.8 is sharper than their standard kit zooms (28-80 f/3.5-5.6) sold with these. Each maker has a "better" 28-105 f/3.5-4.5 zoom that would be preferred to the kit zoom.

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7/30/2003 1:00:03 PM

doug Nelson   Another option is the Nikon FM3A, a manual camera that can use Nikons AIS lenses, and also Nikon's autofocus lenses (in the manual mode). Nikon may sell the FM10 new, a manual camera that has a decent reputation, but is less robust than the FM3A. See to learn more about Nikon manual cameras.

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7/31/2003 6:15:45 AM

Mike    i like the nikon fm3a but it's a little more ($$$) than what I had in mind. I like manual, though. anything a little less?

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7/31/2003 4:27:05 PM

doug Nelson   See if the FM10 is still being sold new.
It's made by Cosina, so the build quality is not Nikon, but you can expect Nikon to stand by the product. The FM 10 is extremely light weight, so you'd be willing to carry it around more.
Look at used cameras on The FM2a and FM2 have a great reputation for durability. When KEH says "Bargain", they mean it has a few scratches or paint rubs, but is fully functioning. They may even have a slightly used FM3a.

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8/1/2003 5:22:19 AM

Dale Moreau   While I understand your concern for buying a used camera, I personally recommend it. You can get an excellent condition FM2n for around $200.00 (+lens)with hundreds of lens choices everyday on line, or check out a local pro-dealer who stands by their products and pay a little extra. I have have had an assortment of nikons from Nikormats through my current F3s with absolutely NO problems at all.
Have fun,

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8/13/2003 3:57:33 AM

Rahul Sharma   Dear Mike,
I have one Cosina C1s manual camera with 35-70 lens and I tell you its a good one at low price. You can easily master SLR photography with this one and then you may go for some advanced one. Its a totally manual camera with TTL metering but no option for multiple exposers. Shutter speeds from Bulb, 1s to 1/2000 and f spot from f3.6 to f22. Results are quite good and the lens mount is K mount so dont expect to interchange lenses with nikon or canon bodies. Overall its a good camera for beginners

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8/13/2003 6:42:30 AM

Amy Hummingbird
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/14/2000
  I too am a beginner, and I started out with an old Canon Rebel G. When I got bored with it, I got a Pentax ZX-M. It's not for everyone I'm sure, but I've loved it. It has auto film advance and autoexposure, but the focus is manual. You can do manual exposure as well. It has worked really, really well for me, and I've learned more using it than I ever did with the Rebel. I got it through B&H with the 50 mm f/2 lens (which I recommend, by the way -- you get hooked on it and no zoom will ever compare), and the whole package was under $200.

Of course, I'm sure it will never measure up to an FM3A, but hey, I don't have the cash for that and I'm not THAT serious a photographer! But if you're really interested in new equipment, this is another option for you. I've had great luck with it.

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8/13/2003 7:48:03 AM

Jaye    Hi Mike. I would highly reccommend the Pentax K1000. It is totally a mechanical 35mm SLR. No lights, whistles, or anything else to distract you in your quest to become a quality photographer. I am a seasoned amateur, who uses a number of Nikon SLR's, one of which was my first camera. I love them, but I should have started out with a totally manual camera like the K1000. I have one that I have had for (2) weeks. I use it quite a lot, and it is quality. You can find one n ebay, in topflight condition, get you a couple of lenses, 35-80, and a 70-210, which you ca also find on ebay. Don't get me wrog, all of the above advice given to you are top flight stuff, but this is my opinion. The Pentax K1000, has my vote.

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8/14/2003 6:22:36 PM

Buddy Purugganan   There are plenty of 35mm manual/autofocus cameras available for any beginner. For Manual cameras--the Nikon FM 2/3 with an SB Speedlight Flash is truly a wise choice.I have used this and what I find incredible about the Nikon FM2 or FM2N is that they can even function without ANY batteries! For an autofocus (AF)camera---Nikon N65/ N55/ or the new N75 have a vast reservoir of excellent features that makes photography easier for the beginner! By the way, most of the AF cameras have built-in speedlight flash units for convenience...though I would recommend the SB Speedlight flashes available to avoid flash lighting problems. See for details of the BEST SLR cameras now!

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8/20/2003 7:19:57 PM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
  I wouldn't really recommend a k1000. True you can learn from it, but just because it's all manual dosen't really make it a better beginners camera. Most cameras that have aperture/shutter priority still can be switched to manual. And the pentax has a meter that tells you whether it reads something as over or under exposed just like a newer camera does when it's set on manual.
So unless you just can't afford a newer camera, a k1000 would be a start, but I think if you're somebody who's really going to try and learn as much as you can, you'll quickly outgrow it and will want something else. Because you'll want to at least try a new lens, and I don't think you'll be able to find one other than a 50mm, and that's what will probably come with the camera.
I don't know how much they cost brand new off hand, but something like an A2 would be a good choice, especially a good used one. Or if minolta makes a comparable one to that.

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11/26/2003 5:31:17 AM

Stephen Salathiel   Hey bro,

I'd definitely go for a manual Nikon. These things rock. I started out with manual Minoltas like the SR-T 303, and then when I was about 15 or so, my uncle lent me his Nikon FE2 because my Minolta had broken. I've never looked back since. If you buy a manual Nikon, you'll be buying into part of a huge system that is infinitely upgradable if/when you feel the need. I still love this model camera (the FE2) but never actually bought one because I was too blind to focus the damn thing!!! I bought an 801s instead with an autofocus zoom. The manual lenses work great on a lot of the newer cameras so there is no need to sell your whole outfit if you want to change gear. I decided that I didn't like the feel of manual focussing the autofocus lenses, so I bought a Nikon F4s ($650 AUD) with some manual lenses (my favourite is the 28mm F3.5 AIS, sharp as and dirt cheap ($70 AUD)). There is an electronic rangefinder that helps me to focus. From my perspective, I wouldn't buy a Pentax K-1000 or anything like that. I am only twenty, a student and have relatively no money. I'd keep saving your pennies and buy a manual focus Nikon body like the FE2, FM2 or even an FA (this body is the coolest manual focus camera ever!!) and then not be pissed off that you bought some other brand (although they do exactly the same task probably equally as well!!). These cameras keep their resale if you don't bash them, so you'll never have a problem trying to offload them to someone else. There is tons of great quality used gear out there for Nikons and this digital era is just making the prices lower. You would not regret buying a Nikon. I can't say the same thing for other brands. I know that the old Minolta lenses are really nice, cheap and feel great, but it is (like the manual focus Pentax's and Canon's) a bit of a dead end if you later want an autofocus body. Hope this helps. Please don't bag me other posters!!!

Best of luck, Steve.

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1/6/2004 2:35:55 AM

Tom Walker   Gregory, k1000's are still being sold new and a new body goes for more than a ZX-M with lens, tripod and bag. Used ones usually sell on ebay for more than I paid for mine new 21 yrs ago

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3/13/2004 10:47:27 PM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
  Well there you go. Another reason not to automatically go get a k1000.

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3/13/2004 11:20:07 PM

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