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06-22-2014, 08:47 PM   #1
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A Little Advice Please

Can anyone please recommend a decent auto focus film body, or should one go with a manual body? And if so, which ones are good quality? I'm considering getting a Pentax film body that can share lenses with my DSLRs.

Thanks in advance!

06-22-2014, 08:57 PM   #2
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All of the Pentax film bodies are of good quality.

I use manual focus nearly all the time, even on my digital bodies, so I'm a bit biased in that way. If you go with a manual body, make sure your lenses have aperture rings to make things as easy on yourself as possible.

I hear the PZ-1p is a favorite in the autofocus series. Personally, I favor the MZ-5n and MZ-S.

You'll hear a whole range of opinions, but you really can't go wrong with any of the Pentax bodies.
06-22-2014, 09:23 PM   #3
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Autofocus is only now getting to the point that it isn't more of a hindrance than a help.
My probably rather biased and factually impaired opinion is that that you couldn't give me an auto film winding, dx coding, auto focus bungling, plastic fantastic Pentax film camera for free.
Other people love them.
But then some people like country music and rap music as well so that's not saying much.

If you want film but like the camera to do most of the work I would pick up a surprisingly cheap Super Program, its metal bodied and packed with features and advancements most of the others don't have, but still has a full manual mode.
If you know what you are doing and want all mechanical but still with some key features get an MX.
If you have tons of money to piss away on features that are mostly meaningless get an LX. (2000 shutter speed and light meter are the only useful things over MX).
If you are poor but know what you are doing, want all mechanical, and don't need any features get a K1000 which comes with the added bonus of being durable and reliable enough to bludgeon someone to death halfway through a roll of film and still be able to finish the roll with it. But not a crap Chinese K1000, look for the Asahi logo on the front.

Whichever you get, plan on sending it in for a CLA right after you get it.
06-22-2014, 09:35 PM   #4
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Well, I still have and use my SF-1 and love it. Simple to use and I love its fill flash much more than my K-5.

Shot about 300 pictures in Europe in 2011 and took nice B and W shots on TriX last year at Burning Man.

Costs about $35 bucks on ebay. Make sure it still has the rubber eyepiece though. Very rare as they disintegrated. Most of my DA lenes work OK on the camera but all the F and FA lenses (Full Frame) work great and auto focus perfectly. Of course the DA wide angles vignette. And film and development gets to be pricy. Have fun!

Oh, I like EDM music.

06-22-2014, 09:36 PM   #5
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Im with OregonJim I use manual lenses all the time as well.


If you buy an autofocus film camera that's just something else that can go wrong, go traditional and buy a basic manual focus camera with auto options, or match needle like the k1000.


A good manual film camera after a CLA should last another 50 years.


The k1000 is the obvious choice. Simple strong capable reliable.


If Autofocus is your gig then consider the Canon EOS3 this is the only autofocus camera ever made that actually worked the way you want autofocus to work. and I quote a well known photographer:-


When I first picked it up, I was astonished at how it just knew where I wanted it to focus, without me having to do anything. No matter if I wanted to focus on the obvious part of an image, or a subtle, low-contrast item off to the side, the EOS 3 somehow just knew, and magically used the correct AF sensor every time.
Then I realized that it has Eye Controlled Focus, a name which doesn't do this system justice. It should be called "mind-controlled autofocus," since you don't have to do anything to control the AF system other than just shoot. The AF system is constantly looking at your eye, and already knows where you're looking when you press the shutter, so without you even having to think, the EOS 3 already knows where it needs to focus, and it just does.
The EOS 3's AF system is far ahead of today's cameras, which no longer use this expensive system. With newer cameras, we again have to slave through dicking around with knobs and dials to choose AF points, something the EOS 3 does all by itself by magic.


I don't want to spend precious seconds choosing an autofocus point or forcing the active autofocus point over the subject by composing badly and having to crop later, and then having to review to see if the camera actually did focus correctly.


I want to either focus myself or have the autofocus do it for me immediately no messing, guaranteed, the EOS3 is the only camera that did this.


Look at a manual film camera user work, he looks, focuses, composes, takes the picture, moves on.


Look at the digital camera user work, he looks, dicks around with the autofocus, waits for focus lock, composes, takes the picture, dicks around with the review screen chimping, checks focus, decides to retake, looks, dicks around with autofocus, waits for focus lock, composes, takes the picture. dicks around with the review screen chimping, checks focus, moves on.


The difference is digital users spend all the day peering at the review screen. the film camera user spends all the day in the pub or watching the football on TV having fun having already got a load of images in the bag. With the EOS3 you don't need a review screen, the autofocus works. (just as well as film cameras don't have a review screen).


How are you going to check the autofocus system focussed correctly and didn't front focus or back focus on a film camera, you cant, the EOS3 with its intuitive eye controlled autofocus doesn't need this, it makes a lot of sense.
06-22-2014, 09:38 PM   #6
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*ist, ZX-L, PZ-1 - I have all 3 and they're all good. I'm not shooting film most of the time, but this allows me to keep a different type/speed of film in each body and switch bodies if necessary.

And the P5 (MF) is supposed to be a cheap, under-spec'd camera, but for some reason I really like mine.



Of course the LX and MZ-S are widely considered to be the two best Pentax film bodies, but they're also the most expensive (which is why I don't have either one).
06-23-2014, 03:01 AM - 1 Like   #7
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If you're planning to use some of your 35mm compatible DA lenses make sure you get a body that can control the aperture from the camera body. I think the MZ-6 can but you'd need to check. My knowledge of AF film bodies is sparse as I like the K and M series bodies better. Despite not having 'money to piss away' my favourite body is the LX which I've had for ten years.

K.

PS Personally I think the K1000 is like wearing a hair shirt. If you want a basic K series camera the KM is, in my opinion, a better choice. A few more useful features than the K1000 and often cheaper than the K1000 as it hasn't gained 'iconic' status.
06-23-2014, 05:40 AM   #8
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I have an MZ7 which was my 1st autofocus film camera (in 2008!!!)
I like the way it works, plays well with manual lenses and with the newer ones. After I added the AA-grip for batteries the weight and balance improved significantly though.

However, I know that the MZ/ZX series is plaged with the plastic gear syndrome..... be aware of that

06-23-2014, 09:10 AM   #9
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Thanks a million. Now I guess it's time to research.


I should add: I usually try to keep as much manual as possible, but I sometimes appreciate auto focus if and when I decide to shoot self-portraits and few other types of shooting using a remote. So auto focus is something I do not have to have, it would be more of a luxury I would enjoy.

Last edited by Trudger1272; 06-23-2014 at 09:18 AM.
07-01-2014, 08:55 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by womble Quote
If you're planning to use some of your 35mm compatible DA lenses make sure you get a body that can control the aperture from the camera body. I think the MZ-6 can but you'd need to check. My knowledge of AF film bodies is sparse as I like the K and M series bodies better. Despite not having 'money to piss away' my favourite body is the LX which I've had for ten years.

K.

PS Personally I think the K1000 is like wearing a hair shirt. If you want a basic K series camera the KM is, in my opinion, a better choice. A few more useful features than the K1000 and often cheaper than the K1000 as it hasn't gained 'iconic' status.
I agree with this sentiment even though I adore the K1000. The KX and KM are better cameras and they are cheaper for the exact reason stated above. But truly, when they were new this was not the case, the reason being that they were (are) better cameras. I shot with a K1000 for a very long time off and on but it was an exercise in Zen, having only the bare minimum necessary to make a picture. For everyday use I would always choose my MX, LX or KX.
07-01-2014, 09:29 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Imageman Quote
Im with OregonJim I use manual lenses all the time as well.
If Autofocus is your gig then consider the Canon EOS3 this is the only autofocus camera ever made that actually worked the way you want autofocus to work. and I quote a well known photographer:-


When I first picked it up, I was astonished at how it just knew where I wanted it to focus, without me having to do anything. No matter if I wanted to focus on the obvious part of an image, or a subtle, low-contrast item off to the side, the EOS 3 somehow just knew, and magically used the correct AF sensor every time.
Then I realized that it has Eye Controlled Focus, a name which doesn't do this system justice. It should be called "mind-controlled autofocus," since you don't have to do anything to control the AF system other than just shoot. The AF system is constantly looking at your eye, and already knows where you're looking when you press the shutter, so without you even having to think, the EOS 3 already knows where it needs to focus, and it just does.
The EOS 3's AF system is far ahead of today's cameras, which no longer use this expensive system. With newer cameras, we again have to slave through dicking around with knobs and dials to choose AF points, something the EOS 3 does all by itself by magic.

I've got an EOS 3 and it is a lovely body. As you say, the 45 point autofocus was way ahead of its time. The eye control focus is really innovative and a lot of folks on the Canon forums would like to see Canon put it into its DSLRs. I actually don't use the eye control that often because its not 100% accurate and you may have to have a second attempt to lock onto the object you are looking at...... and that may mean losing the shot. Some folks also reckon the the eye control drains the battery quite a bit.

Its ideally paired with the 24-105L lens but its a heavy combo. I'll use my EOS 3 if I'm shooting film exclusively but if I'm also carrying my DSLR (EOS 7) then I'll go for something lighter like my MX or ME Super.
07-01-2014, 08:14 PM   #12
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I suppose it's because I grew up in a world where photographic automation was not the norm, but I never found making pictures with the Pentax K1000 to be much of a hardship. That said, once I hit my middle fifties, the old eyes didn't handle focusing too well in certain lighting conditions. For that reason my main shooting bag these days contains a Pentax PZ1p film body and a Pentax DSLR clone (Samsung GX-10).

These bodies allow manually controlled exposure settings, while auto-focus provides an excellent crutch for aging eyes, especially since both cameras allow for choosing where the camera will focus rather than just letting the camera's little processor have its way.

My K1000 still sees occasional use, but mostly it's retired; spending its time in a place of honor in a glass case that houses several other cameras I've loved over the years.
07-02-2014, 12:28 AM   #13
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I would also go for manual focus, cheaper, more reliable, etc.

As for the self portraits, generally you can quite comfortably do then on a manual camera by simply eyeballing the distances and setting the lens to that focus. Often also with stopping down a little to give you a bit more room either side of that setting.



I'd also suggest looking at an SPX if you want AF.
They are very cheap now, and from memory will do pretty much anything you need.
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