35mm SLR - why?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by rippo, Jun 6, 2010.

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  1. rippo

    rippo Member

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    I've been thinking a lot about different formats, types of cameras etc lately, and I'm a little stumped on one. Perhaps some can chime in and give me their opinions? I get why one would shoot with large format, medium format, 35mm rangefinder, sub-mini etc. But what advantages, if any, would one choose to shoot a late-model full-featured film SLR over the d-word equivalent? Seems to me that using an EOS-1V or a Nikon F6 would be an "almost digital" experience, but fall short. I have a Nikon N90s that I rarely use.

    I'm not asking for a D-versus-A discussion. I know better than that! I'm just asking: why, in a digital age, would a photographer specifically choose a modern film SLR camera such as those mentioned above?

    -Matt
    (Bronica EC, Bronica ETR-s, Yashica Electro 35 GSN, Yashicaflex, Nikon N90s, Super Ricohflex, Toyo-View C etc etc etc)
     
  2. dpurdy

    dpurdy Member

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    The SLR digital experience is almost like shooting an SLR film camera but it falls short.
     
  3. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    The main reason for me is that I don't care to spend 2K plus to get a camera that would equal (for many things) the 35 SLR I already own.
    OTH mostly I use MF and LF.
     
  4. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    If you're asking specifically about late-model, auto-everything, bells-and-whistles SLRs, I agree that they're more similar to DSLRs than different---the main difference is in the recording medium rather than the user experience.

    More generally, I think the answer is just that some outstanding cameras have been made in the 35mm SLR format; no wonder considering its popularity. I find myself shooting my AE-1 a lot simply because it's an elegant camera in use, not because it's an SLR per se.

    -NT
     
  5. Alex1994

    Alex1994 Member

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    1. It's much cheaper to buy.
    2. Brighter, bigger viewfinders
    3. Pleasure of using film.
    4. No messing around on the computer.
     
  6. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    maybe the reason why people buy them, is because they want one ?

    ( equipment is a distraction ... )
     
  7. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    I think we've done this one to death. I'll say no more.

    pentaxuser
     
  8. mopar_guy

    mopar_guy Subscriber

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    I love my Olympus OM-4T.

    1. Bright viewfinder.
    2. Manual focus (all I have to do is turn the Focusing Ring until the subject is in focus).
    3. Affordable, high quality prime lenses.
    4. Multi-Spot metering.

    Most important: You cannot load Kodachrome into a DSLR.:surprised:
     
  9. nyoung

    nyoung Member

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    1. My now 10-year-old F5 has superior autofocus speed and metering to any DSLR available under $3000. I've proved it shooting both on the same assignment.
    2. Despite the dwindling availability of film types, film still gives us many more choices in terms of color rendition, dynamic range, and enlargeability of the image. In other words, D**** still has relatively narrow exposure latitude - much like the transparency films of the 60s and 70s.
    3. Independence - I can go on the road for weeks with my manual Nikons and shoot every day without needing a battery or a power outlet to recharge.
     
  10. Zathras

    Zathras Subscriber

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    :D:D:D:D
     
  11. Ric Trexell

    Ric Trexell Member

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    Why still use a 35mm you ask?

    I think that for some people a 35mm would be a better choice because I have heard that they are more rugged than digitals. If you are taking one camping or hiking, I have read where a camera repair place suggested using a film camera. I'll admit that there are improvements coming along those lines so that may not be as important today as in years past. Also, you can get a 35mm for $200 or so, where as a good digital is still around $400. Then you have the arguments that I won't waste time with, such as some people will say that b/w is better in film or that colors are more natural. When my x-700's no longer are working, I will probably either stay with MF or get that manual Nikon. I don't think that will be happening for a few years so who knows where we (or I) will be then. It is getting so that there are less and less reasons not to go digital, but that is great in a way. As long as photography improves be it digital or film, it is to the photographers benefit.
     
  12. WetMogwai

    WetMogwai Member

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    I'm with the OP. Since I got my Bessa R, I never use the SLRs anymore. The only things I find the SLRs do better than rangefinders are automation and things that require really fast action, like sports. I don't need the automation unless I also need speed. In the case of fast action, I'm more likely to have to shoot more to get a good picture because I have less control over the image. That means burning through lots of film. Because of this, I pretty much stick to the DSLR when I need that kind of speed, which is not often. I'd rather waste electricity than film and I don't want to miss the action while I'm changing the roll, so I don't use film in action situations.

    The only case where I can imagine really needing the 35mm SLR is as a special purpose body to complement the digital setup. I might take one along when shooting a sporting event just for fun. I could imagine using one on a film set where I'm shooting a movie with my DSLR and have my lenses handy. Otherwise, they pretty much sit on the shelf at home.
     
  13. rippo

    rippo Member

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    Thanks everyone. Just to clarify, I don't have a "position" on this. I'm not asking "why the heck would anyone use an F6??!" I want to know why people who *do* use an F6/EOS-1 like those cameras? I think I've got some of the answers here. More camera for the money compared to a dSLR, film exposure latitude, and perhaps legacy (what you've been using for the longest time, works for you etc).

    One question: are film SLR viewfinders inherently brighter than dSLRs? If so, why is that? Or is it just a more-camera-for-money thing? (Cheap-ish film SLRs have viewfinders comparable to high end dSLRS)

    Oh and I can see the argument for a full-manual or even older battery-operated film SLR for camping, long travel, situations where electricity might be difficult to find. Does that argument work for the EOS-1/F6/full-auto SLR? Those CR123/CR5 batteries last a reasonably long time, I would guess. I know I'd be happy to haul my N90s and a bunch of AA batteries off into the hills for a few weeks (although I'm not sure I'd actually go off into the hills for a few weeks, camera or not!). My dSLRs would only last a few days.
     
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  15. 5stringdeath

    5stringdeath Member

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    Equally, I know people who just cannot grasp the rangefinder concept, they really want to see through the lens. So its a matter of how one works.

    I own both kinds cause I'm moody :D My most "fancy" SLR is a Canon Elan 7e, and its the one I use less often ... I like it because its relatively quiet and I can use my lenses in exchange with my 5D, but I generally use it in Manual mode anyhow.

    Now I think I'll shoot with it this week :D Good thread! hehe
     
  16. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    I still like doing film. I like doing things by hand than by computer. I'm weird!

    Jeff
     
  17. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Uhhm, to be able to use film, have a wider choice of lenses, cost of rangefinders.

    Nice meters and some automation doesn't define "the digital experience" for me.

    I have a stable full of N90s's that I use regularly when fast shooting, fast loading, snapshots, scouting, or flash is needed.

    The N90s is also truly a great light meter and very much a compliment to my RB or 4x5 even if the shutter doesn't drop.
     
  18. Brian Legge

    Brian Legge Member

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    What rangefinder system has an affordable range of lenses to handle the range of photography an slr covers (including macro, long zooms, etc). Medium format system cameras can compete to a degree but are significantly less portable than a 35mm slr.

    How do you use polarizers on a rangefinder? Maybe I'm doing it wrong with the slr, but I orient it by looking at the result. I'm not sure how that translates to a rangefinder.
     
  19. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    I don't covet the F6, but I sure would like an F5 sometime to replace/supplement my F4s. They all have fantastic meters which can make a rolls of film contact print with great consistency between images, even as scenes change.

    It's the ultimate in film SLRs, and we like our film. Digital folks covet up to date DSLRs.

    Nikon/Canon SLRs are good for people wanting to use a large variety of modern lenses, want autofocus and motor drive for fast candids or sports. If you snub them because they are not chrome/brass/100% mechanical, they can do the same things in the same manner, just as long as it's not -30f which would kill the battery. If you have just one style of photography you like to practice, get a simple tool that does the job. If you want a variety of photographic challenges and don't mind learning complicated equipment, a newish SLR can be a very versatile tool.
     
  20. steelneck

    steelneck Member

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    Not that i have a full featured film SLR, but i guess that the advantage of the late-model full-featured film SLR has, over its digital equivalent, is that it loads film. Ya cant shoot film in a digital camera..

    But compared to a bit older manual focus and mechanical SLR we are talking about something different. Compared to those i find that "full-featured" in newer cameras almost revolting. Counting from now and one year back i have barely touched my DSLR, but my two old Chinons (Pentax-K mount) is at use almost every day. I have actually bought my last digital SLR, i wont buy one again, unless some manufacturer makes a manual focus DSLR without all those revolting features demanding a 300 page manual, features that just distracts and get in my way.
     
  21. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I have a Canon New F-1 and a 5D MKII, and I find I use the F-1 when I want the results on film, because I like the look of film for B&W and have no interest in any kind of digital B&W prints (though in general I shoot mostly medium or large format for B&W) and I usually prefer the look of color slides and the ease of editing slides (mostly for bird photography, where a larger format or RF aren't options). I'm more likely to shoot digital when I'm shooting for someone else who needs a digital file, or for copy work where I'm essentially using the camera as a scanner, and sometimes for family photos where relatives want images right away via e-mail. Most of my lenses are interchangeable or convertable between FD and EF mount, and I own no autofocus lenses.
     
  22. Leighgion

    Leighgion Member

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    When you consider the advanced film SLR and DSLR "experience" is similar, the answer isn't hard to suss out. You shoot a high tech AF film SLR in the same kinds of situations you'd use a DSLR, but shoot when you feel specifically like shooting film.

    A good DSLR is a very fine piece of kit and my D300 is generally my first choice for things like event coverage, but it's not a total replacement for film. There's times when the F100, with the film options, is what I want even for chasing action.
     
  23. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    Leighgion, checked out your flickr page and was pleasantly suprised to see the 35mm f1.8G DX being used for film. There seems to be some vignetting in some of the photos and I was I wondering if this was caused by the lens or added, as the "Temple Reading" photo seems to have little or none.
     
  24. rippo

    rippo Member

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    I guess I *have* been overlooking the obvious answer: it's still film. Bells and whistles aside, if you want it to look like film, you shoot film. How the camera feels and operates doesn't make it "almost digital". It just makes it modern.

    Does someone have the answer to the "bright viewfinder" question? Is there a technological reason that viewfinders are brighter in film SLRs than in dSLRs? Or is it just a quality issue? (high end film SLRs with bright viewfinders can be had for cheaper than the equivalent dSLR).
     
  25. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    More modern cameras tend to have brighter screens than older cameras, and DSLRs often have very bright screens that are not so easy to focus with, if you need manual focus, or at least that's true for Canon--I'm not sure about other brands. With the two Canon DSLRs I've owned, I've had focusing issues with the stock screen that were solved by installing an S screen. Another issue is that autofocus lenses aren't generally geared so well for precise manual focus, so it can often be easier to focus manually with a manual focus lens.
     
  26. Alex1994

    Alex1994 Member

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    Most 35mm SLRs have pentaprisms, while most Dslrs have lower-quality, dimmer pentamirrors to save on cost, weight and space.

    That said, the viewfinder of a D700 is very good indeed. High-end pro camera, probably has a pentaprism too.
     
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