which autofocus camera?

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Hi all

I just started joining a photography course in my spare time and had bought a Nikon FM3a. As I am a beginner, I am having problems focusing and friends did advice me a keep the fm3a as backup camera and get an autofocus camera so that I will not be discouraged along the way. The autofocus nikon cameras that have been recommended to me are either f80 f90X or f100. I do not want to buy one camera now and upgrade to another shortly.What I want is something that will see me through another 5 years as I move along on the learning curve. I am trying to strike a balance the price and features in the camera. So which do you guys recommend? thanks

-- Lilz (lavenderlilz@hotmail.com), February 27, 2002



In my opinion, do not succumb to the auto focus buzz. Nothing worth while comes with little work. It is a skill learned like any other- with time and practice.

How may rolls of film have you shot? Have you sought the advice of someone who has mastered it? There may be something realtively easy you can do, as the FM3a is an excellent camera capapable of absolutely first class images, certainly more reliably than an F50 or 60.


-- RICHARD ILOMAKI (richardjx@hotmail.com), February 27, 2002.


Thanks for replying. I find it tough to focus especially when its for action shots - like street photography or animals in motion - by the time i focus, the action is over. Hence the recommendation from my friends.

-- Lilz (lavenderlilz@hotmail.com), February 28, 2002.

Hi, I'm a beginner in photography too! F80 is my first camera and so far I have no complaints. It's an above average camera though I don't think it will take me through another 5 years. If my budget allows, I will either get a F100 or F4 which will definitely last more than 5 years. You will then have to buy a new set of AF lenses....

-- sanz (san2@bluemambo.com), February 28, 2002.

as a beginner, i must say you're rich! personally i agree w/ richard. master, or at least get a hang of manual [it forces u to go back to basics] first, then go for the AF thingy. i'm a FM2n holder [fully manual too ;P]

ps. if u ever want to give up, there's always a buyer here.. juz kidding. cont to make them good shots!

-- loong (changloong@yahoo.com.sg), March 07, 2002.

thanks for taking the time to reply. is there any recommended reading for beginners? i only started to use the fm3A since february 2002 and would like to read more to get a better understanding of the manual camera and the basics of photography.

loong - how long have you been using your fm2? do u use autofocus as well now? if you do, what do u use?

-- Liliz (lavenderlilz@hotmail.com), March 13, 2002.

I agree with the general comments given here about not rushing into an AF system. The reason is that you want to learn how to make a good image, not how to operate a machine. The FM3a is an excellent camera, blending the best of the FM2 with the FE2 I think, though I've not used it before. I was on the FE for more than 15 years and really happy with it until it gave up on me recently. With the regularly usage that I get with the FE, I do not think an AF body could go for 15 years. My advice is to stick with the FM3a and get a 50mm f/1.4 lens. There are different ways to track a fast moving kid with manual lens. One of which is to pre-focus a certain distance that you'll expect the kid to run to and simply just wait until he/she comes into the distance. The other is to track the kid and try to keep him/her in focus (it can be done!), this is a better way because your background will be blurred while the kid stays in focus, giving you the typical 'F1 race car' panning effect. The trick is to try lots of exposures and make lots of mistakes and learn from them!

-- Andrew Tham (kh_drew@hotmail.com), March 22, 2002.

I think going for a F80 would be fine although i would recommend the F90X, however, the F90X has stopped production which may mean a new model in the similar mould would coming up. So either you wait or go for the F80. It is like the an mini F100 without the metal body and some other things you would not need as an amateur.. don't listen to people who tell you to only use a manual camera as you find that you'll only be using manual focusingless than 10% of the time. what you need to learn is how to control your aperture and shutter and know their effects, from there you'll develop your skill . also why buy a manual when the auto slr can also be a manual.my instructor once told me that more than 90 % of the time, he uses auto instead of manual and he's a professional photographer.

-- Nick Tan (counsellor.5@singapore.idp.edu.au), April 08, 2002.

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