Sunday, May 22, 2011

The User’s Review: The Last Generation of 35mm Film SLR Cameras, Canon EOS Rebel T2, Minolta Maxxum 70, Nikon N75 and Pentax *ist (released in 2003 - 2004)



During 2003 – 2004, the four major camera manufactures, Canon, Minolta, Nikon and Pentax, released their last models of consumer-level SLR cameras. Although at the low end, mainly regarding their prices, they should be the most advanced in term of technology. Many features in these cameras are passed on to the digital SLR bodies. Several of these last-generation film SLR, such as Canon T2 and Pentax *ist, do look like DSLR bodies with big screens on their backs. However, the screens on film SLR cameras do not show any images, and display only camera settings and parameters.




On the internet, there are articles talking about these film SLR cameras. Here, with the four cameras side by side, I emphasize the differences and unique features of them using images and table (highlighted in blue).



Canon
EOS Rebel T2
Minolta Maxxum 70
Nikon
N75
Pentax
*ist
Body type
TTL AF, AE SLR
TTL AF, AE SLR
TTL AF, AE SLR
TTL AF, AE SLR
Body color
Silver/black
All black
Silver/black or all black
Silver/black
Body material
Plastic
Plastic with metal top cover
Plastic
Plastic
Lens & tripot mounts
Metal and metal
Metal and metal
Metal and metal
Metal and plastic
LCD screen
On film door; biggest
On top
On top
On film door
Date/time imprinting
Optional
Standard
Optional
Standard
Viewfinder
Pentamirror, ~ 90%
Pentamirror, ~ 90%
Pentamirror, ~ 89%
Pentamirror, ~ 90%
Dioptric adjustment
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Viewfinder display
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
DOF preview
On lens mount
On lens mount
On lens mount
On main switch
AF points
7
9
5
11
AF point selection
Auto or manual, dial on back
Auto or manual, front dial
Auto or manual, dial on back
Auto or manual, dial on back
AF assistant beam
flash
flash
Separate beam
flash
Meter zones
35
14
25 (3D)
16
Exposure modes
13
11
10
10
AE lock
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Multiple exposure
≤ 9
Unlimited
≤ 9?
Unlimited
Breaketing
3 frames; ±0.5 EV
3 frames; ±0.3, 0.5, 1 EV
3 frames; ±0.5, 1, 1.5, 2 EV
3 frames; ±0.3, 0.5, 1 EV
Film ISO and manual setting
25-500, manual 6-6400
25-500, manual 6-6400
25-500, no manual
25-500, manual 6-6400
Infrared film
No
No
No
No
Focus modes
4 auto and manual
4 auto and manual
3 auto and manual
2 auto and manual
Shutter
30 – 1/2000 s, bulb, 1/125 snyc
30 – 1/2000 s, bulb, 1/90 snyc
30 – 1/2000 s, bulb, 1/90 snyc
30 – 1/4000 s, bulb, 1/125 snyc
Self timer
10 s delay
With audio signal
10 s delay
?
Remote
With delay option
With delay option
Delay mode set on camera
With 3 s delay
Cable control
Optional
NA
NA
NA
Flash Guide No (100 ISO meter)
13
16; wireless flash
12
11; wireless AF360FGZ flash only
Film transport
Prewind; 2.5-3 fps; mid-roll rewind
Auto load; 3 fps; mid-roll rewind; film leader left-out option
Prewind; ~ 1.5 fps; mid-roll rewind
Auto load; ~ 2.5 fps; mid-roll rewind
Custom functions
6
14
12
17
Power
2 CR2
2 CR2
2 CR2
2 CR2
AA Battery grip
BP-220
NA
MB-18
BG-20
Size, mm, mm3
130x90x64 = 748800
135x92x66.5 = 825930
131x92.5x65 or 67.5 (date) ≤ 817931
122x84x63.5 = 650748
Weight, g
365
375
380 or 385 (date)
335
Price of used in 2011, USD
30-50
25 - 40
30 - 40
70 - 120





In term of body design, I pick Canon T2 because, with my right hand alone, I can reach 11 buttons and dials (except flash and DOF buttons), which may be used during shooting, on the body (see the following image). Probably that's why there is no button/dial on the left-side top. Regarding the build quality, Canon T2 and Nikon N75 should be better among the four.


Before picking/buying a SLR camera body, there are many factors to be considered: your personal preference, available lenses, body functions, price, and… There is no the best one for everybody, but the one most suitable for you. 


I also have four articles focusing on each of them, Canon T2, Minolta Maxxum 70, Nikon N75 and Pentax *ist.

Write to me if you have any comments and suggestions. Thanks.

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