I'm looking for a cheap, second hand digital camera body for my M42 lenses. And I'm stuck; there is actually quite some choice. Currently, I have a Canon EOS 300D; there are two reasons I want to change:
- Manual focusing is problematic. The focusing mechanism of 300D is not very good, so focus hint is not useful; and the small and dark viewfinder makes manual focusing not reliable.
- ISO 400 is the most that gives somewhat useful pictures, but even that is already noisy.
I have a collection of CZJ M42's which are not bad at all, and two medium-priced Minolta AF (MAF) mount lenses that I'm currently not using but would like to try. I am considering the following bodies, all in the range 100-150 EUR second hand on eBay, and I can't decide:
- Konica Minolta 7D.
- PROS: Large, good pentaprism viewfinder will make focusing easier; all important functions accessible through knobs, dials and buttons on the body; in-body image stabilisation; I could use my MAF lenses with this camera.
- CONS: apparently, it is not straightforward to use the AF-confirm and anti-shake feature with an adapter, the adapter must report the correct focal length of the lens (which cannot be set manually). Performance at ISO over 400 is not v. good. Also, it is large and heavy.
- Pentax K10D or K100D.
- PROS: many people think that Pentax is ideal for M42. All functions like AF-confirm, metering, anti-shake work with any dumb adapter.
- CONS: small, unimpressive pentamirror viewfinder (in the case of K100D). Poor performance at ISO > 400. I will not be able to use my MAF lenses.
- Canon 20D.
- PROS: large, good pentaprism viewfinder (but smaller than that of Minolta). Good accessibility to functions. High ISO performance not better than Minolta. A simple chipped adapter works perfectly with M42 (AF-confirm works).
- CONS: I cannot use my MAF lenses. No image stabilisation. Image quality no better than Minolta. And, I don't like Canon (yeah, that is a valid point for me).
- Sony NEX-3.
- PROS: much better performance at high ISO than any of the previous. Great AF hinting (focus peaking). Small size, with a pancake can be carried around like a small compact. More modern than the previous. Tilt screen allows close-to ground photos or photographing people inconspicuously.
- CONS: No viewfinder (that would be my first camera without a viewfinder). Will the focus peaking work better than the small viewfinder of the 300D? No image stabilisation. Cannot use MAF lenses (well, it can, but the adapter would cost more than the camera). Small size makes it unwieldy with large lenses (like my Sonnar 200/2.8). And: no viewfinder.