Ok, I wanted to get a camera that works well for manual focus, it’ll mainly be used with some old Nikon glass and whatever oddities that I might construct (usually M42 mount).
First thought was to use either a Fuji S3 or S5, I already have an S5 with a KatzEye focusing screen that’s an absolute pleasure to use, not to mention of course the dynamic range that it delivers, but in this case the one lens that I really do want to make more use of is the rather wonderful Nikon 28mm f2.8 AI-s and I would really like to enjoy all of the 28mm that is can deliver so the crop sized sensor in the Fuji’s wasn’t going to satisfy. Obvious answer would be a Nikon D700 but used prices on these are in the region of £900 (so £1000 with the focusing screen), at this point I felt a little envy towards the Canon folk with their Ee-S focusing screen.
I was surprised to find how little a used 5D can be purchased for, this seems to be partly due to the fact that you need to send them into Canon to find out the shutter count, c’mon people, these things have a burst rate that’s hardly worth referring to it as a feature, they were never that big in the heavy use fields of photography so as long as the outer body is in generally good condition (look for rubbed off paint on the buttons as signs of wear) then you can be pretty sure that there’s a good amount of life left in it. I got mine for £350 (including 3 months warranty) from a local camera shop and paid another £30 for the Ee-S screen, a couple of cheap Nikon and M42 to Canon adapters from ebay and for less than £400 I’ve got a damn fine full frame camera that’s ideal for manual focus work
Yeah, I know I need to rely on stop-down metering but that’s hardly a deal breaker