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11-09-2009, 02:46 PM   #1
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Cheap Av M42 body suggestions?

I've recently put some presssure on my dad to pick up his 35mm SLR after many years of absence. The problem is, his camera is an M42 Zenit EM. The most manual camera a person can imagine with a Selenium light meter to boot. Long story short, he's not into photography enough for this to not become a chore.

My thought is to get him a new body to go with his existing lenses - a 50mm Helios and a 135mm Soligor.

The problem is I know NOTHING about M42 bodies. I want to buy something cheap... say $30 shipped to the UK (Where my dad is). it would need to have aperture priority AE for convenient use.

Beyond this, I have no stipulations.

Do you think that this is acheivable for this kind of price? If so, what models should I be looking at?

11-09-2009, 02:50 PM   #2
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AFAIK the only lens-independent auto exposure cameras were the Chinon Memotrons. All other Av M42 cameras relied on some sort of trick M42 mount - e.g. the SMC Takumar, Pentacon Electric, and whatever Fuji called theirs...

You can get some excellent manual metering Fuji (ST series), Yashica (TL Electro variants), Ricoh/Sears... or a Spotmatic...

Bottom feeding like this, you probably want to get the camera yourself for a check-out first, to make sure everything's working and to DYI the foam replacement (most likely required) before sending to your dad.
11-09-2009, 03:09 PM   #3
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This is just something to think about.

I was origionally looking for a screwmount camera, however I ended up with a newer K-mount instead.
Although I've only used a K-mount lens for a handfull of shots I'm glad that I did.
Along with my screwmount adapters I can pretty much use any Pentax lens I want. Being an autofocus body I can even use all screwdrive autofocus lenses.
It auto meters, if I want.... or I can choose full manual or AV.
The best part is I found it for less than I'd have to pay for most screwmount cameras I've seen. $45.00 here in Kelowna at a pawn shop.
Since I already had several screwmount lenses, and 2 screwmount adapters I only had to buy some film and a replacement battery.

I honestly wouldn't hesitate letting my mom use this camera, knowing that she'll have fun with it and get some decent pictures.
I can't say the same about my digital, which is more complicated to use.
11-09-2009, 03:12 PM   #4
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Thanks guys... I figured as much.

It may be easier to give him my Z-70 and buy a couple of cheapo lenses by the sound of it!

Edit: I just remembered how much I hate my Z-70. Maybe I'll SELL my z-70 to somebody that appreciates in body manual aperture control and spot-on metering and use the cash to buy something I'd be proud to give my dad, like an ME Super


Last edited by keyser; 11-09-2009 at 03:26 PM.
11-09-2009, 03:23 PM   #5
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Get him an m42 adapter (pentax one!) while you're at it
11-09-2009, 03:29 PM   #6
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Actually, I hear the Z-70 is very good at metering with the M42 adapter. How well to older cameras lik the ME meter with such an adapter?
11-09-2009, 03:36 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by keyser Quote
Thanks guys... I figured as much.

It may be easier to give him my Z-70 and buy a couple of cheapo lenses by the sound of it!

Edit: I just remembered how much I hate my Z-70. Maybe I'll SELL my z-70 to somebody that appreciates in body manual aperture control and spot-on metering and use the cash to buy something I'd be proud to give my dad, like an ME Super
I just looked up the spec's of the Z-70 and to me it looks like a fine choice for him.
I pretty much only shoot a PZ-20 these days, which I can't picture being that much different and it's been a good camera for me.
Although I'm really looking for a PZ-1P, if your still thinking about selling it at Christmas time drop me a PM. I'm broke until then, however I might be interested when I get my bonus.
11-09-2009, 03:59 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by little laker Quote
I just looked up the spec's of the Z-70 and to me it looks like a fine choice for him.
I pretty much only shoot a PZ-20 these days, which I can't picture being that much different and it's been a good camera for me.
Although I'm really looking for a PZ-1P, if your still thinking about selling it at Christmas time drop me a PM. I'm broke until then, however I might be interested when I get my bonus.
I'll drop you a PM.

11-09-2009, 04:11 PM   #9
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If you want a m42 film body, look into the Pentax ES II or the Yashica TL Electro X. I would pick the former.

http://whitemetal.com/pentax/esii/esii_info.htm

Butkus' site will have manuals of good scan quality on both of these and 100s of other bodies and gear.
11-09-2009, 04:24 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by keyser Quote
Actually, I hear the Z-70 is very good at metering with the M42 adapter. How well to older cameras lik the ME meter with such an adapter?
My ME super is superb with Takumars. Until I got the k10d it was my dedicated takumar body
11-09-2009, 04:45 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Andi Lo Quote
My ME super is superb with Takumars. Until I got the k10d it was my dedicated takumar body
That's good to know. I presume you have to stop down meter though? Please excuse my ignorance about the old Screwmounts; I don't really have much clue about their mechanical functioning, let alone how they'd work with an adapter!
11-09-2009, 04:48 PM   #12
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Yeah, you have to stop down meter. That said, if you want to send your dad an adapter to use with the M42s he have, make sure he has the auto-manual switch or that his lens is manual by default.
11-10-2009, 12:47 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Andi Lo Quote
Yeah, you have to stop down meter. That said, if you want to send your dad an adapter to use with the M42s he have, make sure he has the auto-manual switch or that his lens is manual by default.
Which could be an issue for the Helios, depending on what version he has as only one version had the A/M switch, if I remember correctly, and I'd guess it's an all-auto Helios if he got it with his Zenit. That's an easy "surgery" to convert it to manual, though.
11-10-2009, 04:58 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Blue Quote
If you want a m42 film body, look into the Pentax ES II or the Yashica TL Electro X. I would pick the former.

Honeywell Pentax ES II

Butkus' site will have manuals of good scan quality on both of these and 100s of other bodies and gear.
I've got a TL Electro X for sale in the marketplace.
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