Friday, 1 August 2008

In search of the 'Perfect Camera'

It doesn't exist of course, but I've been searching for it anyway. Let me explain. For a few years I've been using Pentax manual focus gear with 2 bodies, an ME and an MX, along with various Pentax-M prime lenses. The ME gives aperture priority auto with +/- 2 stops EV override. The MX is fully manual and mechanical. Both are very compact well made have excellent handling. The lenses are great too. But what I'd really like is a combination of the two. AE with full manual override and a proper shutter speed dial. The ME Super is the obvious choice, but I hate the push button shutter speed control. And like the ME there's no aperture display in the viewfinder. The Super A is nice, but still has those push buttons. At least there's an LCD shutter speed display on the top plate, and most of them are finished in black. But I'll pass for now on the Super A. I nearly bought a P30T. It has a real shutter speed dial but no +/- EV overide and no manual film speed setting. Can you see the pattern here? Pentax gets it almost perfect every time. There's also the K2 (rare as hen's teeth) and the LX (too expensive). I'm going to have to switch to another make...

So I put together a list of must haves and a list of nice to haves:

Must haves:
  • From a top manufacturer. I.e. Olympus, Canon, Nikon or Minolta. Pentax are already out.
  • A manual focus camera, not an autofocus camera in manual mode.
  • Aperture priority AE
  • Metered manual
  • A real shutter speed dial
  • Shutter and aperture info visible in viewfinder
  • DoF preview
  • +/- exposure correction
  • manual film speed setting
  • Wide range of available lenses

Nice to haves:
  • Self timer
  • Program exposure mode
  • Exposure lock
  • Black finish

I dropped Minolta as their entire range is unfathomable to me. I'm not sure about the availability of lenses either. Canon went the same way as the AE-1 is shutter priority and the AV-1 doesn't have full manual. Which narrows us down to Olympus and Nikon.

I like the OM-2. I like it alot. But you loose shutter info in the viewfinder in manual mode. The OM40 looks good has program mode, but I don't like the way the manual metering works. In the Nikon camp there's the FG, also with program mode. Nice, compact, available in black. But for the same money I can get an FE, a proper camera made of metal.

So I did. £40 bought me a lightly brassed FE in black. The perfect camera? Pretty close. Watch this space!

1 comment:

toddono said...

I await the pictures...