Nikon F501

A fea­ture-rich cam­era from the 1980s, with aut­o­fo­cus! Re­leased (year): 1986 Price new: £250/$365 Price used: £30/$50

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The Nikon F501 was launched back in 1986 and ush­ered in a new age of Nikon aut­o­fo­cus SLRs. Other mod-cons in­clude au­to­matic film load­ing, a built-in mo­tor-drive with ad­vance speeds of up to 2.5fps, au­to­matic ISO sens­ing for dif­fer­ent film speeds, and triple-mode ‘pro­gram’ shoot­ing.

The cam­era is a good match for Nikon AF lenses that are still in pro­duc­tion to­day, although aut­o­fo­cus is un­avail­able with newer AF-S (Silent wave) lenses. One ad­van­tage of the older-style D-type AF lenses is that they in­clude phys­i­cal aper­ture rings on the lens bar­rel, which you’ll need to set the aper­ture when you’re not shoot­ing in au­to­matic pro­gram shoot­ing modes. VR (Vi­bra­tion Re­duc­tion) is also un­avail­able with the F501, and you’ll nat­u­rally need FX (full-frame) lenses rather than DX (APS-C) for­mat lenses. Ul­ti­mately, good work­ing ex­am­ples of the F501 can be found very cheaply if you look around, for some se­ri­ous fun with film pho­tog­ra­phy.

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