Camera for student

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by Hamster, Jul 23, 2009.

  1. Hamster

    Hamster Member

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    In the old days, photo instructors would advise students to get themselves a Pentax K1000 to learn the basics of photography.

    These days, a lot of photo students were spoilt by digicams, green box mode and wunderplastik in general. They seems to have very little patience to adapt to the slow working needed for K1000 like cameras.

    So what is your opinion of a suitable for a starter film camera these days? I am thinking something that has a aperture priority mode and uses readily available battery. Pentax ME Super for instance.

    What would you recommend?
     
  2. Mark Fisher

    Mark Fisher Subscriber

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    An Olympus OM2 (or OM2N) fits the bill nicely. A depth of field preview is also a good learning tool especially if they are allowed to use aperture priority mode.
     
  3. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    How about a Yashica TLR (or any other)with a hand held meter-- makes you think about what you are doing. The grid in the viewfinder helps with composition, large negative aids in printing.No motor drives,no auto exposure, work at your craft one exposure at a time.
    Rick
     
  4. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    A Nikon FM10 would probably be the standard Nikon option now, but... actually, I got several students started on an F100 and they took to it like fish to water.

    The culture of learning is quite different now: back "in the day" new students weren't accustomed to all the electronics menus and auto functions... the conventional wisdom was that less is more. Today it is quite different- students not only tolerate a lot of gadgetry but they actually expect it and soon miss it because they are probably shooting a DSLR in tandem.
     
  5. Krzys

    Krzys Member

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    Canon AE-1 has shutter priority.
     
  6. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    There are many...and they are all cheap these days.

    I would not personally include A-Priority mode as an important feature of a beginner camera.

    Some of the ones I know and love are: Canon FT-b, or anything in the F series, except the F-1, which is more expensive.

    Pentax K-1000 or Spotmatic.

    Minolta SRT.

    I don't know all the Nikon equivalents of the Canons I mentioned, but they do exist.

    Olympus also has many good options.

    I personally prefer the Canon and Nikon lens selection over all the others.

    Forget the batteries, IMO. An incident meter will make for better exposures, and for better learnin'. One old manual camera for $100 or so, a brand-new under-$200 Sekonic Studio, and a copy of "Photography" by London and Upton is the way to go for a beginner, IMO. Give them something with an idiot mode, and they won't be able to help themselves from using it!

    If A priority really must be there, I like the options in the Canon A series: AV-1 and A-1.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 23, 2009
  7. Nikanon

    Nikanon Member

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    Ditch the auto modes and get a full manual , that's the only way to learn, then you decide what best suits your needs. Nikon f, nikon f2, or canon ae-1 I recommend
     
  8. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Weird list considering your first sentence. Two Nikon pro bodies with manual metering...good...but then a low-end Canon whose initials stand for "Auto Exposure"? The Canons closest to the two Nikons you mentioned are the F-1 and the FTb.
     
  9. Kimberly Anderson

    Kimberly Anderson Member

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    We still use 45 K1000's in my program. The digi-kids love them.
     
  10. dougjgreen

    dougjgreen Member

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    I would get a fully manual film camera - but I don't have any qualms about a camera also having auto exposure control, so long as it has a good metered manual mode. There are lots of them - including the Pentax K1000, but the K1000 has become wildly over-priced in the market by people dutifully following that advice. It actually costs more than the KM and KX, which are the two models that were above it in the Pentax Product line when they came out, and which are better cameras. Here's my list - all should cost well under $100, and getting one in good condition is the key:

    Pentax K-mount: Pentax KX, Pentax KM, Ricoh KR-5 (any version) Pentax K1000 (but it's over-priced vs. other choices)

    Canon FD mount: Canon FTb, Canon TX, Canon AT-1

    Minolta MC/MD mount: Minolta SRT any model, Minolta X-570 (my favorite of the whole bunch)

    Nikon F mount: Nikon FM, Nikon FE, Nikon FG, Nikon FM-10

    Olympus OM mount: Olympus OM-1 or OM-1n, Olympus OM-2 or OM-2n

    Any of these could and should be gotten with a 50mm lens having a maximum aperture of between f1.4 and f2.0
     
  11. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    Canon FTb, Tx, etc. will be good among others.

    Jeff
     
  12. Anastigmatic

    Anastigmatic Member

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    To doug's list i would also add the Fujica ST801 (some other fujica as well e.g.ST 901), manual camera, 1/2000, speed displayed in viewfinder, meter display uses LED in v/finder (good for dim light), DOF preview button easy to hit, glass is quality and cheap to get
     
  13. GJA

    GJA Member

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    Ideally, I would say a Nikon F3hp, but thats well above budget.

    An FM-10 might be a better option or maybe a Nikkormat?

    I only really know about Nikons, but I think older cameras are good so that one can get a nice cheap 50mm 1.4 lens.
     
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  15. dougjgreen

    dougjgreen Member

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    Are those Fujicas M42 mount? I was trying to avoid M42 cameras because the lenses have, surprisingly, gotten a bit pricey in recent years
     
  16. dougjgreen

    dougjgreen Member

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    To me, the best choice among Nikons on a tight budget would be the FM, with the FE next. The FM-10 is newer, but it's a plastic Cosina knock-off body, whereas the FM and FE are REAL Nikons.

    If the budget were bigger, that puts the FM2n, FE2, F2 and F3 into play, but those are more expensive cameras than anything I recommended.
     
  17. Nikanon

    Nikanon Member

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    I've found the canon ae-1 used on full auto is a cheap reliable camera , it's not technically full auto more shutter priority but I don't recommend using it on that mode. Again for the cost and reliability used on full manual it's a great camera
     
  18. thisismyname09

    thisismyname09 Member

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    AE-1. That's what I started with a few years ago. (the class actually used FTs or TXs or something, but I had an AE-1.) I never really used the auto-exposure mode.
     
  19. joelr

    joelr Member

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    I have to vote for the K1000. Thats what I learned on and I still shoot that very camera to this day. It's girth and heft are what I like about it. I know there are great other models from Canon, Olympus, and Nikon.

    However I think ALL manual is a critical choice when learning, not something that you can choose to MAKE all manual. Especially when a lot of people learning and/or starting with film today, have learned the digital way first. I'm not knocking digital, I use plenty of digital. But when you learn habits like take, take, look, look, delete, umm maybe fix... You need to force yourself to stop, think, visualize and really understand the relationship of the lens, shutter, and film.

    I agree that K1000s do seem over priced. Certainly in used dealers, and ebay. I see plenty of them pop up on craigslist for less than 100. Especially when summer comes and students are trying to offload them, and the later in the summer it gets, the more the price seems to come down... I don't think you can go wrong with any of the fully manual ones out there.

    Joel.
     
  20. nsurit

    nsurit Subscriber

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    Although somewhat prejudice, I'd say either an Olympus OM 1 or 1n that has been sent to zuiko.com for a CLA and conversion to modern batteries. I teach a beginners class at a local artists studio and issue each of my students either an OM 1 or 1n. There is no Mr. Automatic in these cameras. Nice! They get to learn how a camera works. There are others that will do the same thing and none that will do it any better. Bill Barber
     
  21. brofkand

    brofkand Member

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    This is what I started on:

    A Nikon FG with a 50mm 1.8 series E lens. Cost me less than $50 on eBay. Has manual exposure modes as well as aperture priority. They use the pretty standard S76 battery (two of them), or the available at Radio Shack 1/3 N (both end up being 3V, but the 1/3 N will last longer).

    I still have that camera and I love it to pieces. I've made many beautiful photographs with it, but have moved on to a Mamiya m645 system I am building.
     
  22. iamzip

    iamzip Member

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    Canon T90 takes AA batteries - gotta love it! Plus FD and FL Lenses are cheap!
     
  23. Rol_Lei Nut

    Rol_Lei Nut Member

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    If the student isn't going to do much lens changing (i.e. just uses a 50mm), I'd add the Pentax Spotmatic to the list of recommended fully manual cameras.

    Forget the K1000... No DOF preview or meter switch (meaning you always have to put the lens cap back on)... Yuk!!!!
     
  24. cknapp1961

    cknapp1961 Member

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    Nikon N80 is a good student camera and are inexpensive. It has Program, Aperture, Shutter Priority, and of course full manual. Since it works with Nikkor AI manual focus lenses, and Nikon AF-D lenses, once you start buying lenses you can use them on (dare I say it) digital if need be.
     
  25. dougjgreen

    dougjgreen Member

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    The problem with the Nikon N80 is that the meter doesn't actually work with manual focus lenses. If the student wanted an autofocus camera that also worked with manual focus lenses, the N90s is a better choice for that specific reason.
     
  26. sidearm613

    sidearm613 Member

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    what about a Yashica FR? Especially the FR-II? Those are aperture priority only.