Get Me Started..

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by FruitRevolver, Aug 30, 2009.

  1. FruitRevolver

    FruitRevolver Member

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    First a hello to all APUG members.

    Well a long story short, im moving to film..

    I own a 7D a a100 and an a350 with various Minolta glass and was recently looking to move to Full Frame digital. What can I say, my head hurts! after hours spent researching and testing some of these cameras i was not impressed to say the least, First by the prices! Secondly the fact that in maybe 1 month im going to be out dated and out done by the next model.
    This sickens me and i have decided to move to a market which i think would suit me better.

    Now, I have always had a soft spot for film but have never known where to start,brace yourselves........ I have never shot film...
    I am looking for a nice 35mm camera I think the most important thing is it has to be fun to use, and from what I hear from film users most are.

    I have been looking though these forums abit and the Nikon F5 seems like a very respectable camera and also has lots of features I might be familiar with, I think this era of camera would suit me better than going back to the likes of SRT's etc BUT I am welcoming all your suggestions.
    The fact that I own a-mount lenses need not come into this as I will be selling all my current gear (bar my a100 and 50 1.4) to fund my film purchase.

    I am looking forward to your replies
    PS: it is so nice to find a camera forum that isnt one brand based and have all the "bitchyness" (Canon or nothing, 21 megapixels... is that it! etc etc) of some of the other forums (digital I might add) that I have been reading.
     
  2. bill spears

    bill spears Member

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    I like hearing stories about people switching to film from digital - Welcome to Apug !

    Can't give you much help with choosing a 35mm although the F5 is a cracking camera if you want all those kind of feautures. The secondhand prices are very tempting at the moment too, in fact so are all film camera prices !

    I'm more of a mechanical med/large format worker so tend to prefer these types of cameras but it really depends on the subjects you shoot.
    Whatever you get, enjoy it and take pride in being a 'pure' photographer !
     
  3. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Hi FruitRevolver,

    Welcome to the darkroom side.

    I actually like a little lighter camera than the F5.

    An F100 or 2 would be a great choice in the modern range.

    I own an FE2 that is ever so sweet. The "match needle" metering, aperture priority auto mode, and split prism focus make this my favorite camera.

    I also own 4 N90s bodies that are great, and inexpensive. Having 4 allows me to have various films ready to use. There is very little that the modern cameras do better than this body. I use these bodies when auto-focus and balanced TTL flash become important.
     
  4. Jeff Searust

    Jeff Searust Member

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    Why do 35mm rather than medium format?

    Are you going to be developing your own stuff? Printing?
     
  5. David Brown

    David Brown Subscriber

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    If you have "various Minolta glass", why buy a Nikon? You can get a Minolta Maxxum 9 for the same or less or even a 7 for about $200. My suggestion would be to go to KEH and buy a Maxxum 600si - "EX" for $53!!!!! - and if film turns out to be for you, invest more money.
     
  6. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    I have a Nikon F5 and paid good money for it when I bought it. I do like it but it's not any more fun than my other cameras, F3, FM, Minolta SRT's, Olympus OM2n etc... The price of the good used F5 is very good now. In fact a good condition Maxxum 9 would be more expensive than the F5 although the Maxxum 9 is a very good camera. I think it's in the same league as the F5. Which is better depends on you.
    Now as for which one is the most fun? I think it depends on you too. I found that the all manual, meterless cameras are the most fun to use.
     
  7. glockman99

    glockman99 Member

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    If by any chance you ever feel that owning 4 N90s cameras are too many for you, I'd be interested in trading my Nikon FA & MD-15 motordrive for one. Shoot me an email if ever interested.
     
  8. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    Most 35mm cameras are good choices, you might look into medium format. BTW welcome to APUG!

    Jeff
     
  9. Leighgion

    Leighgion Member

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    The F5 has an impeccable reputation, but it's rather on the big and heavy side with its integrated extended grip and 8 AA-cell battery requirement. I considered the F5 when I was shopping for an AF body, but ultimately I went with an F100.

    Haven't had my F100 for too long, but I've been pretty happy with it. Only downside in controls vs DSLRs is that the custom settings basically require a cheat sheet to set up since it's all number and letter codes. Most of these are things you'll set once and leave though, so it's not too much of a burden.

    I've not owned any of the nicer N-series Nikons, but some of them have very solid reputations. They're not built as tough as an F100 or F5, but if you're not out to punish your gear in the jungles of Brazil, they're good values.
     
  10. elekm

    elekm Member

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    I probably would start with something modest and inexpensive. And because film cameras are inexpensive, compared with digital, you can try different brands without investing too much money. And most can be resold for roughly the price you paid, as the prices for used gear have more or less settled and don't move a whole lot, except for the occasional seller (or certain eBay sellers) who overprice their gear.

    This way, you can try different cameras, figure out which one suits you best and then sell the ones that don't.

    Camera bodies are very subjective, and what you might like in a camera might be very different from what someone else might like.
     
  11. Mark Fisher

    Mark Fisher Subscriber

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    For me, 35mm is about portability. I'd find a small Minolta body and give it a go. All the manufacturers make decent bodies and lenses. You have Minolta glass so you might as well start there. The F5 is a pretty large body and I'd personally stay away from it.

    If you can live without autofocus and you are starting from scratch, consider one of the smaller bodies (e.g. Nikon FM series, Olympus OM, most Pentax) and go from there. If you can go to someplace that has used cameras, it would be great to hold them in your hands and go over the functions before deciding.
     
  12. andrewc

    andrewc Member

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    When using digital I shoot Canon EOS which is a logical progression from my use of EOS film gear prior to using digital. I happen to have an EOS 1vHS which I think is one of the all time greatest cameras ever made, film or digital. I also happen to be returning to film to some degree but interestingly the 1vHS is not my first choice of film bodies. The Canon F-1 is with my Minolta SR-T 102 not far behind. I just bought a Nikon FE2 which is a beautiful camera and may become one of my most-used cameras. What an amazing machine! Don't rule out the older, more mechanical SLRs too quickly...they're a joy to use.
     
  13. Dave Pritchard

    Dave Pritchard Member

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    I just do not like autofocus SLRs. I have Nikon F bodies and Konica T3s. Focus is the photographer's choice, not the cameras. This is an individual preference, I know.
     
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  15. FruitRevolver

    FruitRevolver Member

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    Thanks

    Wow all great replies, thanks so much.

    Well the F5 being so big and heavy seemed to pop up quite abit, but I must admit this is one of the reasons this camera appeals to me, I am a fan of heavy well made machinery it just has "that feel" to it, although I realize it may not be as practical as a lighter body.

    About the Minolta 9, I have been looking at this camera for a while now and it seems people dont have many bad things to say about it, and of course owning Minolta glass it would seem to make sense for me to buy one. But I feel I might be abit limited for possible future purchases with only Minolta glass, and the 9 being the top of line camera from Minolta's A mount history leaves me little room for possible future upgrades.

    Moving to Canon or Nikon just feels like a safer move with more bodies and lenses available etc.

    There are plenty of used camera around here, I live just outside Tokyo there is a few really nice shops quite close to me (where I buy most of my a mount glass) with a very nice selection of 35mm gear (all there a-9's allready have the SSM upgrade too!)

    Someone asked me what I shoot. My real passion is buildings: abandoned/rundown houses, factories, schools, hospitals etc.
    But I shoot most things, mainly landscape and portrait I very rarely shoot sport/anything moving fast and although not essential it would be a nice extra to have something capable to do so.

    At the risk of sounding stupid(er) could someone please enlighten me on medium format?
     
  16. Dave Pritchard

    Dave Pritchard Member

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    The large negatives have a quite different tonal response than 35mm. That and the amazing detail available from commonly available films.

    The cameras are bigger. It is harder to get the film developed and printed. It is really expensive to get a SLR in MF. A Hasselblad is much more pricey than a Nikon F2, for example. I am shooting 120 in TLR cameras because it is such a large negative and can capture incredible detail. I will live with the limit of just using a 'normal' lens to get the inexpensive, lightweight cameras with the large negatives.
     
  17. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    Since you have an A100 and A350, you already have Alpha glass. Is it all for crop-sensors or is some of it full-frame? If the latter, you can get a Minolta SLR that will fit your lenses. As a starter, I would recommend the 5 - it has most of what you need (SSM and wireless HSS flash) but no MLU or FEC. If you want something fancier with features similar to a DSLR, get a 7. If you want an indestructible tank, get a 9; as for it being the top-of-the-line camera with no upgrade path, you'd be in basically the same position if you bought an F5 or F6 which isn't really a better camera anyway. See mhohner's film-bodies reference for specifications. The advantage of staying with the Alpha mount is that when you buy good glass for your film body, you can also use it on your digital bodies; see also dyxum for a bucketload more Alpha information.

    That said, since your subjects are pretty static, I would also suggest looking at an MF SLR. Hasselblads sure are expensive, but a good Mamiya RZ or RB is not expensive at all - you can have a basic working RZ kit for $500ish and the lenses cost in about the same range ($100-1000) as Minolta AF lenses. RB is even cheaper but a bit heavier and with less automation. RZ lenses (warning, religious flamewar ahead) are on a par with the Hasselblads for quality.

    MF in general... you use 120 size film not 135. It's 60mm wide, giving an image width of about 56mm. Depending on the camera, you will either get 42x56mm (645) images, 55x55mm (6x6) images, 56x69mm (6x7) images or larger (6x9, 6x12 and 6x17cm). The larger the image, the fewer you get on a roll - 16 for 645, 12 for 6x6 and 10 for 6x7. One 120 roll has the same basic film area as a 135-36 roll, so with 6x7 you're getting negatives with 4x more area (2x as much linear resolution if your lenses are up to it) per frame. B&W films in 120 can be developed at home as easily and cheaply as they can for 35mm but if you want colour, the easiest option is to use a lab and that's not a cheap option. Medium format film scanners are more costly than 35mm ones but you can use a flatbed with more passable results than on 35mm. You need a bigger enlarger if you want to do traditional printing (highly recommend it), but 6x7 enlargers are not expensive at all - one box of paper can cost more.
     
  18. Mark Fisher

    Mark Fisher Subscriber

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    If you've never shot film, I'd stick to 35mm for now to get started. It is easier to get processed and mistakes cost less.

    If you want something that feels like reliable piece of machinery and has a good line of lenses, you'd be happy with an Olympus OM-series camera or a Nikon FM2. The OM1 uses obsolete batteries so you'd need to deal with that (convert it to modern batteries or use zinc-air) so you may prefer an OM2 or 4 camera if you go with Olympus. Both the Nikon and Olympus are completely manual cameras. If you really want to learn about photography (film or otherwise), a manual camera is the way to go. I've used the same OM1 for 31 years. It could use an overhaul at this point, but it has been absolutely reliable.
     
  19. Leighgion

    Leighgion Member

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    A machine doesn't have to be the heaviest in its class to be well-made. The F5 is extra big and heavy because it was meant for folks like traveling photojournalists and sports photographers who were rough on their gear and needed plenty of speed and power, both in the mechanical and electrical sense. If you're mostly going to be shooting static subjects in your local urban environs, then the F5 is going to be more durability and batteries than your needs strictly require. Nothing wrong with using one for such things of course, but if any part of you can be discouraged by the weight of your gear, lighter options are worth looking at.

    I shoot medium format and while it's pretty kick-ass, I will take a contrary viewpoint to other posters and gently suggest you don't try to jump right into it as your freshman film experience. While it's no more difficult to actually shoot medium format cameras than 35mm, there's a host of practical considerations which most neophyte film shooters would be happier to be free from while they get their feet wet.

    With a 35mm camera, you're dealing with the film format that's synonymous with film in the public mind. A shop that sells film with sell 35mm, a shop that processes film with process 35mm and the film comes in tidy, hardshelled cassettes that are easy to handle. You can talk about "film" and people will assume the majority of the time that you mean 35mm.

    When you get into medium format, you're dealing with a completely different film product, the 120 format roll film. It's much less common in retail channels, most frequently only available from pro/specialty shops, costs much more per frame, and processing service is also much harder to find. If you're searching for sales and service related to medium format, you must be specific about what format you're talking about. Just saying "film" when you actually mean "medium format film" is going to net you a lot of disappointments. Also, 120 film is more fiddly simply to handle. It doesn't come in a hard shell cassette, but rather wound openly around a plastic spool with black backing paper to protect it from light. If you're not careful handling it at the start and finish, it's possible for the roll to loosen and get exposed to light as its safety relies upon remaining tightly wound and being taped.

    I recommend sticking with your current plan and starting in 35mm. It's the king of convenience in film. You can always move up to a medium format camera later.
     
  20. hoffy

    hoffy Member

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    I'll backup what Polyglot has said. Start with a minolta (I'd personally go the 7, as it has the SSM capabilities. which will basically future proof any new lens purchases). Give it a try and after a while you feel like you need to change, you would probably still get your money back. Nothing wrong with Minolta cameras and lenses. Yes, there are holes in their lineup, but there is still plenty of good lens coverage.
     
  21. Oldtimer Jay

    Oldtimer Jay Member

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    Hi,

    I am a Canon guy for the most part, but also have collected most of the upper tier film cameras from Nikon, Minolta and Pentax as well. They are all excellent cameras and each has its own ergonomics and special features. For you however, it seems that the best choice would to do what Hoffy and Polyglot suggest and get a Minolta 7 or 9. I have both and they are every bit as good as the equivalent Canons or Nikons. If you decide you want to switch brands after you have familiarized yourself with shooting film you should be able to sell the body for about what you paid for it. Why switch to a different system necessitating buying a body and lenses before you are sure you want to use film extensively?
    Just my 2cents worth.

    Jay L.
     
  22. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    As others say, if you've never shot film, definitely start with 35mm for the convenience, ubiquity and compatibility with your current equipment. While MF will give you more resolution, it is a bunch of extra stuff to learn. I paid GBP10 ($15) for my Dynax 5 (I got lucky) and you could get a basic Minolta AF camera to play with for about $50. Once you're used to the different ways of exposing compared to digital, used to developing your own B&W and maybe printing it, only then move to an MF system where the costs are higher and the hardware is less automated and much less forgiving of mistakes. I spent about 6 months learning 35mm film and then bought an RZ. Haven't looked back (though my A700 still gets a lot of use, including as a spotmeter), but doing your conversion to film in two stages makes it much easier because when something goes wrong, you can isolate the problem more easily.

    If you don't have any full-frame glass, I recommend getting something like the Minolta 50/1.7 ($100) or 50/1.4 ($250) - it will not only be a perfect lens for your first film SLR, it is also a fantastic portrait lens on your DSLR. Don't begrudge the $20-$50 you spend on a film SLR ($200 if you get a 7) that you'll maybe only use for a while: you can sell it for about the same amount and when you realise that a pack of paper costs the same or much much more, the cost of a body becomes irrelevant.
     
  23. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    For Architecture you may actually want to consider 4x5. It has nothing to do with film size. Movements, swing and tilt of the back and front, may be a huge advantage to you. Basically you can make straight lines look straight and control focus better. Most MF cameras don't have any movement ability.

    For moving things lighter cameras rock!

    For things that will stand still MF can give you a nice bump in quality over 35mm, think Brides and studio work. For things that will not stand still, like kids, street shoots, and athletes, lighter cameras again rule the roost.

     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 31, 2009
  24. DLM

    DLM Member

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    Another vote for the Minolta 7. I actually got the a-7 earlier this year from KEH, and I love it so far. I'd say if you're going to stay w/ Minolta, bo with the 7 or the 9, and not mess with any of the lower models. I started out with a 400si, and did a bunch of comparing of the other models before the 7 purchase. It seems like most of the Minolta SLR's have one thing or another that they are missing, iwth the exception of the 7 and 9, which pretty much have it all. I also got the vertical grip for the 7, and the balance feels great with any lens on it. I might search out the Japanese a-9 in a few years since it's at the top and has the weather sealing, but for now the 7 does the job perfectly.
     
  25. unohuu

    unohuu Member

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    Another Vote for Maxxum 7

    It is a great starter camera. It has everything you will want or need in a film body, except it is not built like the F5/F6 or Maxxum 9 (I don't know Canon). For landscape and portrait shooters you can't go wrong. If you shoot archtitecture you might have trouble with tilt/shift lenses, but other than that Minolta/Sony have the glass you want. Fast, beautifully matched with the Minolta bodies.

    I still have a film body because my wife shoots with Sony, but I love the Maxxum 7. I compare it to my N90s and F100. It is not the F4s, for sure, but focus is fast and accurate and exposures are dead on.

    There is a Yahoo group devoted to Minolta that can give you additional information and Hohner's site is essential.
     
  26. flatulent1

    flatulent1 Subscriber

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    Yet another vote for the Minolta 7 or 9; if you have the lenses already, you may as well take advantage of them. Remember, photography is a life-long hobby, there's no hurry for you to track down the perfect system this week, let alone this year. A few years from now you can scratch that Nikon itch, or start to invest in medium format. No rush at all.