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A Nice Used FM2n

I was in the camera store the other day picking up prints (Yeah, yeah, I still use film. You gotta problem wid dat?), and as I usually do, I nonchalantly drifted over to their cabinet of used equipment. For once, they had something interesting: a black Nikon FM2n in beautiful condition. Understand that I already have an FM2n, which was my first “real” camera. I bought mine used, and even though it was the nicest FM2n of the ones they had, it was in poor condition. I put some money into it, but it still has a few problems—the frame advance doesn’t travel far enough to fully advance the film, so you have to double-stroke it, and the frame counter only works intermittently.

Since I still use it, it would be nice to replace it with a body in better condition, but I don’t think I can justify it. For one thing, we are saving for our first digital camera, a Nikon D70. That’s $1000 right there, but the bleeding won’t end there, I’m sure. That body will need a lens. The lenses I own are all manual-focus “AIS.” They will physically mount on the D70, but they won’t work with it at all. There’s no autofocus of course, but the D70 can’t even meter with these lenses, so we’re assuming that we’ll be getting one modern autofocus lens. Which one, though? The perfect lens would be the new 17-55mm f/2.8 DX lens, but this lens will probably cost more than the camera. What we’ll probably do is get a 35mm lens, which on the D70 will act like a 50mm lens on a film camera. Since we both use 50mm lenses primarily (me on my Leica, and my wife on her Pentax K1000), that should be adequate.

So I don’t think a “new” FM2n is in my future after all. Besides, I’m not sure it even makes sense. For one thing, you can still buy a new FM2n for about $850 (complete with 50mm lens), but for the same money, I’d probably get an FM3A. As long as I’m just dreaming, I should pre-order the Epson R-D1, which is the closest thing to a digital Leica M we’ll see—until Leica itself introduces a digital M (if they ever do). The R-D1 is a real rangefinder camera that you focus optically; it just doesn’t use film. It will cost about what a Leica costs as well, reportedly $2700.

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