Is there a "Manual" Digital Camera, the equivalent of a Nikon FM2?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Stoatgobbler, Feb 5, 2006.

  1. Stoatgobbler

    Stoatgobbler Guest

    Hi there,

    My (very) amateur photographic hobby has taken me through a few camera's
    ending up, for the last 15 years, with a Nikon FM2 (mainly used with the
    24mm lens) and a Bronica ETRS (mainly with the 40mm lens) which I use
    predominantly use for landscape photography.

    Since my photography seems to get simpler as time goes on (and knowledge
    of what matters to me in both the enjoyment of taking the photograph and
    ending up with the envisaged picture increasing) I have ending up with
    cameras with manual shutter speed, aperture and focus and with an
    internal (but not interconnected to anything) light meter in the Nikon
    and a handheld Sekonic for the Bronica.

    I do not want an auto everything camera but I would like a digital

    Seemingly my Nikon lenses are not suitable for their digital range and
    so I'm not beholden to any camera manufacturers system, I am starting
    with clean sheet.

    As a digital virgin I would like the digital equivalent of the elegant
    simplicity of a there such a thing, simple camera, control
    of aperture and "shutter", ideally, with manual focus.

    I'm not sure I want to buy into a SLR manufacturer range until I've
    accumulated some digital experience so a (very) good quality simple
    point'n'shoot or a rangefinder/TLR would suffice. The local (uk) cameras
    I've seen from regional branches of Comet/Dixons/Jessop's are all auto
    everything cameras with more thought going into unwanted "modes" than
    simplicity, reliability, rugged and quality.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.
    Stoatgobbler, Feb 5, 2006
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  2. Well there's the Epson R-D1. Sounds just like what you need.


    "It looked like the sort of book described in library
    catalogues as "slightly foxed", although it would be
    more honest to admit that it looked as though it had
    been badgered, wolved and possibly beared as well."

    _Light Fantastic_
    Terry Pratchett
    John A. Stovall, Feb 5, 2006
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    "A combat photographer should be able to make you see the
    color of blood in black and white"

    David Douglas Duncan
    Speaking on why in Vietnam
    he worked only in black and white
    John A. Stovall, Feb 5, 2006
  4. Stoatgobbler

    Matt Ion Guest

    Almost all modern SLRs, film or digital, can be operated in full-manual
    mode. I often go with all-manual settings on my Canon Digital Rebel
    when I'm shooting in nightclubs, where lighting can be tricky to meter
    and autofocus has a hard time locking on to anything.
    Hmmm, well being a Canon user, I can't say for sure, but I believe one
    of Nikon's big strengths over the years has always been the
    backward-compatablility of their lenses and bodies. If your FM2 lenses
    won't simply snap right onto, say, a D50 body, there should be an
    adapter that will do the trick.
    Operationally, these functions should be relatively simple in most
    digitals. The cameras will necessarily have a lot more options and
    features, but you don't have to use those. To give you an example based
    on my DRebel, to shoot all-manual, you merely set the Mode dial to "M"
    and flick the AF/MF switch on the lens to "MF" for manual focus.

    The adjustment wheel above the shutter then controls the shutter speed
    (from Bulb to 30s to 1/4000s), and while holding down the EF-lock button
    with your thumb, it adjusts the aperture, both in 1/3-stop increments,
    allowing a full range of exposure adjustments without having to change
    your gripon the camera.

    The settings display on both the rear-panel LCD, and through the
    viewfinder, and a +/- 2-stop exposure meter shows the results. An added
    benefit with the Canon is that even under manual focus, the AF points
    will show you when you have a focus lock (this can be turned off as well).
    Well again, you may want to look into the compatability of or adapters
    for your existing Nikon lenses and accessories with a new Nikon digital
    body, but if you're going for an all-new system, I'd personally
    recommend a Canon DSLR setup (Rebel XT for the most basic, 20D if you
    wanna get a bit more serious, and it just goes up from there), because
    that what I have and I really like it :).

    I believe you'll find the manual controls are going to be generally
    simpler and more accessible with an SLR than with a point-and-shoot, you
    avoid a lot of the other typical P&S bugaboos like motor-driven zoom,
    shutter lag, and so on, and you have a much more expandable camera that
    you won't be cursing for its limitating in two months :) (And just a
    note, because I *know* someone will take me to task for it - not all P&S
    cameras suffer from those "bugaboos"; the higher-end ones do approach
    DSLRs in many performance aspects, but at that point you're paying so
    much for a P&S that you may as well take the next step anyway).

    avast! Antivirus: Outbound message clean.
    Virus Database (VPS): 0606-0, 02/04/2006
    Tested on: 2/5/2006 11:13:05 AM
    avast! - copyright (c) 1988-2005 ALWIL Software.
    Matt Ion, Feb 5, 2006
  5. his makes absolutely zero sense as far as I'm concerned. It's a dead end.
    Better to get a D50 body alone or with the 18-70 kit lens. He has Nikon
    lens, why not start out with the cheapest way to use them?
    Ed Ruf (REPLY to E-MAIL IN SIG!), Feb 5, 2006
  6. So, since when are you the standard for sense? He was interested in
    before jumping into a dSLR, "... until I've
    accumulated some digital experience so a (very) good quality simple
    point'n'shoot or a rangefinder/TLR would suffice."

    Well it the only rangefinder out there. It is a very good quality
    rangefinder until the DM Leica comes out.

    Face it Ed, you lack imagination.


    "A combat photographer should be able to make you see the
    color of blood in black and white"

    David Douglas Duncan
    Speaking on why in Vietnam
    he worked only in black and white
    John A. Stovall, Feb 5, 2006
  7. And what part of "the beginning of that sentence did you NOT read?

    If that's the case then you can't keep things in the context posed by the
    OP worth a what?
    Ed Ruf (REPLY to E-MAIL IN SIG!), Feb 5, 2006
  8. Stoatgobbler

    Rich Guest

    You certainly get what you pay for with that camara.

    # Magnesium alloy exterior, die-cast aluminum chassis
    # 5.6x3.5x1.6 inches; 1.3 pounds with Li-ion rechargeable battery
    # About $3,000
    Rich, Feb 5, 2006
  9. Why do you think that? Most lenses will work on full manual with all the
    dslr bodies. Since Nikon doesn't have a full frame camera you will
    experience a 1.5 x multiplier for the FOV of your current lenses.
    Why waste this $$ on a camera with no possible future use compared to a
    Nikon dslr body which can use them?
    Ed Ruf (REPLY to E-MAIL IN SIG!), Feb 5, 2006
  10. Stoatgobbler

    Tesco News Guest

    I would agree that a Nikon DSLR is the sensible answer.

    They can all work in Manual Exposure, if you are using older lenses ( AI )
    you will have to use Manual and a hand held meter. They do not need any
    adaptor, they just go straight on, but there is no metering with them on the
    D50, D70 or D70s, I believe the D200 will meter using them.

    The Auto Focus indicator will show when the lens is focussed, but the VF
    Screens do not have any focussing aids, and are smaller than the FM / FEs.
    That Auto focus indicator is very precise, and you will find it is much
    finer tuned than the Split Image device you are used to.

    Roy G
    Tesco News, Feb 5, 2006
  11. Stoatgobbler

    JAL Guest

    Sort of... The Nikon lenses will mostly ~work on the camera, but the D50/70
    don't like the manual lenses and when used, the meter doesn't work. To
    remedy this you have to step up to the new D200, $1700 when you can find
    one. I believe there's a service somewhere that will add a computer chip to
    old manual lenses to make the D50/D70 recognize them.

    JAL, Feb 5, 2006
  12. I looked into the R-D1 and the price is outrageous. There.................
    now someone has said it out in public.

    William Saens, Feb 6, 2006
  13. I looked at the pix on the page using the link below. These pix taken with
    the R-D1, in my opinion are certainly nothing to write home about:


    My DSLR would have blown these subjects away. They would be jumping off the
    screen. Maybe the guy knows where the controls are because he is a Leica
    guy, but have you see the results?

    William Saens, Feb 6, 2006
  14. If you just want to experiment, get a 2nd hand Nikon D1. They tend to go
    for $500 or less.

    A D1 will have everything a typical DSLR has except for image quality. The
    D1 accepts the same lenses as the FM2, so you can verify the effect of
    'digital' directly.

    You can continue to use the aperture ring and the focusing ring on the
    lens. The shutter speed dial is unfortunately a general purpose dial, but
    it is not that hard to get used to.

    The D1 has a reasonable 'B' screen. And there is the focus assist
    information from the AF system.

    With digital, there is a lot of extra complexity like selecting the ISO,
    choice of output format (raw, tiff, jpeg), choice of white point etc. But
    that is just the nature of digital photography.
    Philip Homburg, Feb 6, 2006
  15. You can tell all this from a 300x232 pixel web page image? The images are
    down sampled -1000 % I would like to compare the RD-1 side-by side with a
    Nikon D70s as they both have the same sensor.

    Darrell Larose, Feb 6, 2006
  16. Stoatgobbler bedacht in

    Will you be buying a new camera or would you be willing to try your hand at
    digital photography with a good second hand camera?

    Justus Lipsius, Feb 6, 2006
  17. Stoatgobbler

    Stoatgobbler Guest

    Hi again,

    Thanks for the info, I was informed by a local camera shop that my Nikon
    lenses wouldn't work on their digital bodies, maybe I shouldn't believe
    all I am told (Kendal branch of Wilkinson Camera's) and try for myself.

    Thanks for the info on the Epson, very expensive, not sure I'll get that
    one past the missus.

    Whilst following your Epson lead I came across a Ricoh GR-D, apparently
    set to manual gives total manual control, looks robust and simple, fixed
    28mm lens. Anyone any experience?, for £400 looks cheap. If I remember
    rightly weren't the 35mm versions of Ricoh's G range Lieca lens fit?,
    wonder if they intend to bring a GR-D with that lense mount, that would
    be the one for me.

    I apologise for any flaming I've caused, it was not intentional.
    Stoatgobbler, Feb 6, 2006
  18. Stoatgobbler

    Stoatgobbler Guest

    I'm not sure, the reason why I've never tried digital photography is
    that it has seemed so transient. I've always thought that a good quality
    camera holds its value over many years if looked after and maintained,
    nowadays with digital it's moved camera's into disposable territory, a
    Nikon FM2 bought 20 years ago would be worth 50-75% of that cost 10
    years later. An equivalent priced Nikon digital SLR body bought now
    would probably be little more than landfill in 10 years time if it even
    lasts that long.

    Maybe that Epson would hold value and therefore not seem so expensive?

    I've nothing against second hand, when I was a student Jessops second
    hand counter and Grays of Westminster were common haunts.
    Stoatgobbler, Feb 6, 2006
  19. Stoatgobbler

    Bill Funk Guest

    Back then, film SLRs were a mature technology. But it took them a
    while to get to that state.
    Now, digital cameras are still a young technology; witness how fast
    things are moving (your complaint).
    If you want to, you can wait a few decades for digital camera
    technology to mature, but many of us will be enjoying it in the
    Personally, I understand your dilemma: spend now, with the expectation
    that something better will be along 'real soon now', or wait 'till
    that something better comes along. For myself, my solution was to buy
    a DSLR now (a DRebel/300D), buy a nice selection of lenses, and expect
    to stick with Canon bodies in the future. If, OTOH, you intend to
    stick with P&S, the problem is worse, as any upgrade means a whole new
    camera, not just a body.
    But, reality is what it is. Technology marches on. The decision is
    yours to make, and complaining won't help.
    Bill Funk, Feb 6, 2006
  20. No, and yes. The vast majority of digital cameras, and every DSLR,
    lets you set the shutter and aperture yourself. All the DSLRs and
    many of the others allow you to manually focus (they don't always give
    you much to *help*, though). And, by the way, your Nikon lenses will
    function on all the Nikon and Fuji DSLRs -- but the 1.5x crop factor
    will probably make you unhappy, so in some sense you're right.

    However, all these cameras *also* support automated exposure and
    auto-focus (with lenses that support it, in the DSLR case). And,
    since they've got LCDs already, they have multiple levels of menus and
    all sorts of levels of complexity, giving you control of things you
    never had control of before in a film camera. Also they've got
    bazillions of buttons all over the back, top, etc.

    But you can learn to use them manually easily enough; I use my fuji S2
    manually quite a lot (and with old MF Nikor lenses often).
    The P&S is the *simple* end of the digital range. The ones that go as
    wide as 24mm can be counted in the fingers of one hand, I believe, and
    are not cheap ones.

    There's something to your idea of starting with a smaller commitment.
    One of my useful rules of thumb is that my first purchase or two when
    I go into a new area in one of my hobbies (or professions) are much
    more likely to be "mistakes" than choices I make in an area I'm
    already knowledgable in. I got lucky with my first digital camera --
    it was among the best choices I could have made at that time in the
    price range, I still think. But that's not the outcome to bet on.
    David Dyer-Bennet, Feb 7, 2006
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