35 mm camera advice for a high school photography program

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by terrylynn, Jun 3, 2012.

  1. terrylynn

    terrylynn Member

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    Hello!
    Are there any decent manual cameras still available? The school wants to set up both a digital and analog program. Actually the principal is extremely interested in film and the darkroom!!! So, I need to figure out which cameras to buy. I don't know the budget yet, but when I did it before the wonderful Pentax K1000 was available and a decent price. Any suggestions?????
    Thanks!
    Terry
     
  2. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    Grab as many Canon AE-1's as possible. One of the best beginner cameras around. The Pentax K1000 is another good one but many of the used ones that come up have been thrashed.
     
  3. ChristopherCoy

    ChristopherCoy Subscriber

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    I second the K1000's... That's all we had in our high school program.
     
  4. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    The Nikkormat EL is very nice.

    PE
     
  5. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    Without a doubt, K1000, the ideal student camera. Built like a tank.
     
  6. summicron1

    summicron1 Subscriber

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    you can also go to Freestyle where they sell, new, both a vivitar AND a Nikon film camera. They are moderately priced but fine cameras, and you will avoid the problems that older used cameras have (leaking seals, balky shutters and so on).

    http://www.freestylephoto.biz/1689-...70mm-Lens-Includes-Case-Batteries?cat_id=1802

    and

    http://www.freestylephoto.biz/59880...t-with-50mm-f-1.7-lens-case-strap?cat_id=1802

    having said that, put the word out in your community you need serviceable 35mm film cameras for school, many people will give you theirs and you can pick and choose, mix and match and toss the rest. While you are at it, display a casual interest in darkroom equipment and you will soon be overwhelmed....
     
  7. CGW

    CGW Member

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    The Vivitar linked above, depending on the budget, is probably the best deal going and no worse than the plasticky and pricier Nikon. Can't see the point of scaring up decrepit K1000s and lenses or other relics.
     
  8. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    Does it have to be a single make/model?

    I bet you can solicit donations and you'll end up with more than you need.... Parents may have these somewhere and of course, you could buy these for next to nothing these days, if you are not choosy on makes and models.
     
  9. wblynch

    wblynch Member

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    And then hire a camera tech to repair, adjust and maintain the mish-mash of used cameras?

    Those new ones at Freestyle look mighty nice.
     
  10. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

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    Go keh.com bgn shopping.

    Bodies:
    nikon n90s ~ $35-70. If you want a modern AF, matrix metering, ttl flash slr.
    nikon fm ~$60-80. A tough but easy to handle manual slr, that I have taught some of my students on as well.

    lenses:
    50mm 1.8 E series ~$60 or less
    28-80mm 3.3-5.6 ~$60 or less
    50mm 1.8 AF ~$95 or less

    At these prices with Keh warranty, I would not bother with those new vivitar cameras. Put the rest into film, paper, and chemicals, and misc darkroom gear.
     
  11. Excalibur2

    Excalibur2 Member

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    For manual cameras:- you could start with a Praktica MTL3 with Helios 58mm 44m f2 or Meyer/Pentacon 50mm f1.8 and you could get results nearly equal to an expensive DSLR..I've seen this combo go for as little as £10. More upmarket would be Canon FTb or Minolta SRT models...the Canon AE1 was mentioned, nice battery camera (I'd prefer a A1) but be careful of the Canon "mirror squeak".
     
  12. Craig Swensson

    Craig Swensson Member

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    It would make sense to go with new.The Vivatar is K mount and lens are easily available at reasonable prices.This will standardise the set up and save having to deal with the usual problems with second hand cameras. After all the students deserve to have reliable standard equipment that is going to allow them the opportunity to learn.This is the most important point in your case, not somebody elses idea of what is a good second hand camera.
     
  13. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

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    New does not mean it may work well, older nikons have never failed me, most common fix is a light seal replacement, and anyone with two thumbs and half a brain can do it.

    http://www.photographyreview.com/ca...s/35mm/vivitar/v3800n/prd_144606_3105crx.aspx

    Reviews of the vivitar, first two indicated defective cameras on arrival, 2nd review was of a teacher who who bought 10, of which 7 were DOA. Vivitar once was a good brand, now just a name plate sold to mask no name manufacturers.
     
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  15. Hatchetman

    Hatchetman Subscriber

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    IMO the most important point is that old cameras need to checked out for bad light seals, lagging shutters, batteries, etc. Easy stuff to fix, but costs $75 or so per camera. So you can pick up real nice, solid cameras for $50 or less, but they will need to be put back in proper operating condition. The worst thing would be to give the kids cameras and it turns out the film is ruined and the camera doesn't work right.
     
  16. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    It would be a good thing to have all the cameras share the same lens mount.
     
  17. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

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    Not sure but I mentioned keh warranty. And defective cameras can be returned for another. Bgn grade indicates that it should have no mechanical problems. If you are doing analog/digi a modern film slr such as the n90s you can share AF lenses as well.

    Experience: photography teacher
     
  18. Pioneer

    Pioneer Subscriber

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    Student Camera Options

    For a school program you will want to get new cameras. For personal use, used cameras are fine, particularly if you do not mind having to fiddle with them or send them in for repairs. But in your situation I strongly recommend that you go with new manual cameras like the Vivitar V3800N or the Nikon FM-10. You will not have time in the middle of a semester to wait for a new camera to come in, or to repair one. I believe that both cameras are being produced by Cosina and sold under their respective brands.

    Neither camera will be as stout and reliable as the old standbys that many of us remember, so you will be faced with an occasional broken camera. Because of the low price they should probably be treated as throw aways because a repair, if even possible, will likely cost as much as a new camera. In your situation I would call BH Photo, Adorama or Freestyle and see if you can set up a bulk buy with a store warranty where you can return non functioning cameras to the store for credit against new, replacement cameras. Vivitar or Nikon may provide warranties but, if so, I suspect that the warranties are not intended for school photography programs so probably will not be of much help for you.

    I am partial to the Vivitar V3800N as I use the Pentax K-Mount lens but I seriously doubt that there is a lot of difference between the Vivitar and the Nikon with the exception of lenses, and a slightly higher price for the Nikon. I have been successfully using the Vivitar V3800N for my own personal work for over two years now and the camera has been very reliable for me. In the past two years I have shot over 100 rolls of Kodak BW400CN and Kodak Tri-X in the Vivitar and haven't experienced a single malfunction. I have been quite happy with the performance. I do not purposely abuse it but I use it while hiking and traveling off-road so it does not lead a pampered life. However, please be aware that I have used this camera fully expecting that I will replace it if something major fails, not repair it.
     
  19. dynachrome

    dynachrome Member

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    I always thought that the lack of a depth of field preview lever/button made the K1000 less than ideal as a teaching camera. You could settle on a particluar model, but a bunch of them cheaply and then have them serviced. The models I would consider would be the Nikkormat FT2, Canon FTbN and Minolta SRT 101. All three cameras have a depth of field preview feature. All three cameras also have mirror lock-up and decent metering. When they are serviced they can work reliably for a long time. The earlier Nikkormat FTN was made for 1.35 volt mercury batteries. The FT2 takes an MS-76. The FT2 works equally well with pre-AI, AI and AIS lenses. It also has a buil-in hot shoe so there is no accessory choe to get lost. The Canon FTbN shows the shutter speed in the viewfinder, which is helpful. The earlier FTb is missing that feature. The FTbN has 12 degree spot metering and that can also be helpful for teaching. The early and middle Minolta SRT 101 models have mirror lock-up. The later ones do not. Standard lenses for all three are reasonably priced. They are least costly for Minolta and most costly for Nikon. Canon is on the middle. I forgot to mention that both the Canon and the Minolta were made to work with 1.35 volt batteries. They can be converted to 1.5 volts while they are being serviced. After that they will run on A625 batteries. Whatever you decide, it's nice to hear people still want to use film cameras.

    I have a collection of the Vivitar and other Cosina-made lighweight SLRs. When they work they are just fine and used oens sell for very little. They are not up to the standard of the older Nikon, Canon or Minolta mechanical cameras. I just don't know how much abuse they will take. Before Pentax started making DSLR cameras no one wanted K mount lenses and they went for very little. Now that has changed so they are no longer the bargain they once were. If you can live without the mirror lock-up feature then the Minolta SRT 201 would be good. It has a simpler depth of field preview button, a hot shoe and a brighter finder.
     
  20. blockend

    blockend Member

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    If you buy used, Canon FTb, Minolta SRT, Nikkormats, Spotmatics. Older K1000s are okay but the non-Japanese version were prone to problems. If you want modern batteries and electronic shutters on a manual camera, the Canon AT-1 is nice and cheap. Institutions often have a buy-new policy, which is crazy when you consider the market is flooded with old cameras that any knowledgeable person can buy for a fraction of the price of new gear.
    Late period AF cameras (Nikon F60, F75, etc) have plenty of modes and shouldn't frighten the iPhone generation.
     
  21. mjs

    mjs Member

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    As I think that broken or finicky used cameras will turn kids off faster than anything else, I'd go with new cameras if it were me and if I had the ability to do so. I think that turning the course into 'old camera repair 101' would be a mistake.

    Mike
     
  22. LarryP

    LarryP Member

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    I'm thinking the film km would be a better deal than the k1000. At keh they are 1/2 to 1/3 the price and have dof. the manual smc are dirt cheap as well....... but then as PE said it's hard to go wrong with the nikkormats.
     
  23. terrylynn

    terrylynn Member

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    Thanks to everyone who replied. This forum is wonderful!!!!
    Terry,
     
  24. Leigh B

    Leigh B Member

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    The standard student camera has always been the K1000. Inexpensive and fully manual.

    - Leigh
     
  25. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    The K1000 is expensive! Get the Nikon FM (the original FM not FM2, FM2n or FM3a).
    Want to stay with Pentax? Get the KX which is less expensive and yet much better camera than the K1000.
     
  26. elcabezagrande

    elcabezagrande Subscriber

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    Get the Yashica FX-3 Super. It has everything that you want in a student camera.