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02-14-2011, 10:00 PM   #1
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Best constructed film SLR?

I have a K1000 and a Yashica Mat 124 TLR, but I'm not so keen on either (they also neither of them work that well). I miss the metal film winder crank from my old Spotmatic, the Yashica Mat feels delicate, and I'm lusting after a Leica I can't afford. I wonder: what is are some of the best-built film SLRs out there? The Spotmatic SPII I used to own is the best I've handled, but I'm sick of buying duds (it's happened too often for my college student budget) and I hope to get a beautifully built camera next.

In short: is there an SLR out there with build quality like—or even near to—a Leica's?

02-14-2011, 10:11 PM   #2
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I'd say that a Pentax KX or an LX would be your best choice.

Regards

Chris Stone
02-14-2011, 10:21 PM   #3
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The Nikon F which can drive nails? Or the Canon F-1 new if you want something a little more "modern"?
02-14-2011, 11:04 PM   #4
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As Chris mentioned the KX, mine's been in continuous use for 35 years now.
Also the K2 is really well built with an incredible metal shutter, as long as you get one with a working ASA ring.

Phil

02-14-2011, 11:53 PM   #5
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Get an LX.
02-15-2011, 01:26 AM   #6
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I have 2 K2s and it is a solid camera.
02-15-2011, 01:40 AM   #7
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maybe LX, but i never have one.

but from my experience having several pentax film slr, it could be the K series. KX KM K1000 or K2.

Last edited by fearview; 02-15-2011 at 01:46 AM.
02-15-2011, 02:27 AM   #8
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If you want an SLR with Leica quality, well there are the Leica R series.

The bodies are surprisingly cheap, but the lenses are not (the Leica ones at least, Angenieux and Zeiss made also lenses for the R mount)

If you want the best made ever SLRs (I didn't the best, only the best made) well the Alpa have a reputation for being the best ever. Never hold one, however.

02-15-2011, 05:30 AM   #9
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leica quality SLR?

get nikon F
02-15-2011, 05:31 AM   #10
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Nikons from the crank-advance era are very solid and silky - e.g FM/FE series - and I believe the equivalent era Canons (as long as the electronics work) are very durable as well. I recently ended up with a Minolta SRT 201 and it is surprisingly well put together, again, as long as the meter works these seem bullet proof.

With Pentax maybe it's worth looking at the Program Plus / Super Program era, they seem to have hit a sweet spot with those.

In M42, if you want a cheap but reliable seeming camera, I suggest a Fuji ST605/605n: these are built to a price point but are very cheap and my two have been reliable where it counts.
02-15-2011, 06:43 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by irchan Quote
leica quality SLR?

get nikon F
why does everyone seem to think the F is the closest thing to a Leica? I have two of them, a Leica M3 and several Pentax bodies and the closest one to a leica is not the F by any means. the closest thing for me would be a pre-spotmatic body. an SV or something else in that range. the F? really? just because its bottom half comes off the same way? the F feels clunky, far less solid and finely crafted than a Pentax of the era, much less a Leica of the same era.
02-15-2011, 09:32 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by séamuis Quote
why does everyone seem to think the F is the closest thing to a Leica? I have two of them, a Leica M3 and several Pentax bodies and the closest one to a leica is not the F by any means. the closest thing for me would be a pre-spotmatic body. an SV or something else in that range. the F? really? just because its bottom half comes off the same way? the F feels clunky, far less solid and finely crafted than a Pentax of the era, much less a Leica of the same era.
well.. it does kill the M3..
02-15-2011, 10:21 AM   #13
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Any mechanical or semi-mechanical Pentax (including another SPII or SP-F) as long as you accept the fact that you should immediately send it to Eric for a CLA. I vote for a KX since it is for me the best combination of features and simplicity - more robust features than a K1000, almost no electronics (K2's are perma-dying now), can be converted to a split-image screen and will accept M42 lenses with adapter.

I'm certain there are Nikon and Canon corrollaries to the 70's Pentax mechanical bodies.
02-15-2011, 10:39 AM   #14
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Thanks for all the suggestions so far!

Are the Spotmatics the only ones with that beautiful metal film advance lever? My K1000 has this ugly black plastic (or pastic-covered) one.

I'm saving for a K-5, so I'd love to stay with Pentax. It sounds like a Spotmatic is a pretty good bet for me, or a KX (which has the advantage of using the same lens mount as the K-5). Sadly, the LX is beyond my means at the moment. I'm really attached to having high build and functional quality in my cameras, so if that requires a CLA, so be it.

Is there anywhere in New York City where one can try out old SLRs? I'd love to just feel a Nikon F/F2 and compare it to the feel of my K1000 and memories of my old SPII. I probably shouldn't let myself keep thinking about Leicas, of course.
02-15-2011, 10:45 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by jzietman Quote
Is there anywhere in New York City where one can try out old SLRs? I'd love to just feel a Nikon F/F2 and compare it to the feel of my K1000 and memories of my old SPII. I probably shouldn't let myself keep thinking about Leicas, of course.
I would think that Adorama at 42 West 18th Street would be a good place to start. Don't forget about thrift shops or pawn shops either.
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