Why shoot film on automatic, pro/high-end cameras?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by Viggi, Oct 8, 2012.

  1. Viggi

    Viggi Member

    Messages:
    32
    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2009
    Location:
    Scotland; Fr
    Shooter:
    35mm
    On and off I research various cameras on the internet, and I've GAS'ed over Nikon F4/F5 (and read up on F6 and F100) as well some high-end Contax (RX mainly). I have a few 35mm cameras and all except Nikon F80 and Hexar AF are manual focus and mechanical (like the Nikon FM2n). The F80 doesn't partner FM2n too well because the former won't support the older lenses. So, I might pick up an F100 instead or an F4. But in this digital age, why get these fast, automatic film cameras? I'm not going to fire an F5 off at 8fps. Just use digital kit for that. For those of us who use film, it seems it should be more of a thai-chi type photography, mainly in B&W; enjoying the feel of the camera, honing your skills and understanding of exposure, and getting that film look we love. The Nikon F6 should be in nowhere-land - not much nostalgia attached to it and truly superseded by the digital revolution. I can see why you'd like to use the more recent film cameras - they are most likely more reliable, but one could also pick up Nikon FM3a, which went out of production in 2006.

    So why do you use F6, F5, or other high-end film cameras such Minolta 7, 9 or Canon equivalent?
     
  2. Terry Christian

    Terry Christian Subscriber

    Messages:
    694
    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2011
    Location:
    Memphis, TN
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    That's exactly why I use more recent film cameras: they're more reliable, so I can think more in the moment about getting the shot and less about the mechanics of the process. I don't, however, use cameras on automatic modes; usually I'm in aperture-priority or full manual.
     
  3. Les Sarile

    Les Sarile Member

    Messages:
    1,285
    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2010
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    Shooter:
    35mm
    There's nothing wrong with getting a completely maintenance and worry free current film camera with all the features they have that are useful today as the day they were released.

    What's wrong with shooting film in a burst?

    [​IMG]

    Perfectly fine to use color 35mm film due to their superior latitude that far exceed any current digi offering and they continue to render beautiful colors.
     
  4. Helinophoto

    Helinophoto Member

    Messages:
    618
    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2011
    Location:
    Norway
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I use my Canon 1v because of the incredible focus accuracy on it.
    Not everyone shoots flowers and sleeping cats, I like to shoot just about anything and most often, a manual focus alternative would be useless for me.

    Also, the Canon 1v at least, has a really incredibly solid build quality and the meter is top notch as well (has spot metering), making me able to take accurate spot values and place the exposure in the zones, directly in-camera.

    I do own a lot of manual focus cameras as well (Leica CL, Hasselblad 503CW, Mamiya RZ67 II, an old Rolleiflex and a Yashicaflex) and I use those for stationary objects mostly.

    I want a Pentax 6*7 II.....but they are still way out of price-range (never seen one being sold used where I live).
     
  5. David Brown

    David Brown Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,577
    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2004
    Location:
    DFW, Texas
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    :D
     
  6. Helinophoto

    Helinophoto Member

    Messages:
    618
    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2011
    Location:
    Norway
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Hehe, I'm sorry, didn't mean any disrespect to still-shooters. (I do shoot a lot of landscape and still-life myself) :smile:
     
  7. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

    Messages:
    6,577
    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2005
    Location:
    Los Angeles,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I'm not sure I understand the question.

    But I shoot film using both high-end professional SLRs and well-maintained "amateur" SLRs equally. All I really need out of a camera is familiarity and an assurance that it will work correctly. The "system" aspects of the pro cameras is helpful sometimes too; If you need it, then you need it.
     
  8. ArtO

    ArtO Member

    Messages:
    263
    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2008
    Location:
    Florida
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I have an F4S and an F5 and love them both. The F4S is the very first high-line Nikon that I ever purchased. That was 2 F4S's ago. The metering on the camera is fantastic. I often find myself messing around with the spot meter capability - very nice. Right now I'm shooting a Nikkormat EL that I just purchased and an 8008 that I got several years ago. I just love the equipment, probably as much as the shooting, so I try to rotate through my bodies and lenses.

    Most times I shoot manual or Aperture.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 8, 2012
  9. EASmithV

    EASmithV Member

    Messages:
    1,925
    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2008
    Location:
    Maryland
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I almost always shoot my F6 on aperture priority. It lets me think more about what i'm shooting than how i'm shooting it.
     
  10. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

    Messages:
    7,260
    Joined:
    May 18, 2008
    Location:
    Beaverton, OR
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The biggest reason I have an n90s, an F100, and an F5 is for their metering and auto focus.

    Auto focus is simply becoming more and more important to me as I age, no surprise there.

    Still love using my FM2, RB, and view cameras but it takes my old eyes more time and effort. I'm willing to do manual focus but my eyes don't always have the time to get me there.

    Ok, so why is a camera's meter important to a die hard incident metering/manual camera setting guy like Mark?

    Pure practicality.

    Proper fill flash in the field is important in a significant amount of the photography I like to do. Yes "A" mode is good, and I even prefer it in certain situations, and it works with my older cameras, but; automatically balanced, TTL, Matrix metered, instantaneous exposure and flash control is really good at making shots look like flash wasn't used. The shots simply print easier and look more natural.
     
  11. rolleiman

    rolleiman Member

    Messages:
    281
    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2011
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Who shoot on auto film cameras?....Well, I like to "pick up my camera and go", without worrying whether the battery is charged up or not. Whilst I usually prefer all mechanical bodies, the batteries in my Nikon F90x last at least 6 months or so.
    When I was working professionally, the digi stuff was a nightmare of unreliability, with battery drain (even when not in use) the main problem. Even without drain, digi cameras eat up battery power like no film camera does. You could never be sure when your digi would suddenly run out of power.
    Also, whether it's a case of only 36 shots on a roll, I always work more slowly and carefully with film, usually resulting in better pictures.
     
  12. Viggi

    Viggi Member

    Messages:
    32
    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2009
    Location:
    Scotland; Fr
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Interesting responses - thanks. I guess it just boils down to that people like taking photographs, they like film, and these cameras are great tools and help you do what you like. For me, my enjoyment of photography has generally been wrapped up in my penchant for mechanical cameras - looking for a camera, buying it, using and fondling :smile:. I really think I need to find time to photograph more! I'm just waiting for the right moment (when I'm really GAS'ed) to order a Contax RX. But after using 167MT a few times, I wonder if I really should go that way. I was photographing in a French market in west Aveyron, France, and people noticed the whir and whine of the motor. When I used my old Konica T3 or Yashica FX3 (even with its 'clangy' shutter) I just felt more comfortable. I reckon I don't need an automatic power tool camera. Just been secretly hankering for one :smile: Good to hear what fellow shooters take away from their cameras/tools.
     
  13. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

    Messages:
    6,577
    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2005
    Location:
    Los Angeles,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Great summary!
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

    Messages:
    4,595
    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2011
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    I personally can't give up three years of my life trying to read through an owner's manual as thick as
    a phone book just to try and figure out how many electronic options I have to turn off in order to
    make a camera actually take a picture. And I don't like looking through a viewfinder which resembles
    an airplane cockpit. If the camera needs a battery to operate, I don't want it.
     
  16. moviemaniac

    moviemaniac Member

    Messages:
    32
    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2012
    Location:
    Austria
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Why? Because I can!

    Seriously, some shoot digital, some shoot old. bulky ULF cameras, some shoot instamatic, some shoot polaroid, some shoot p&d 35mms and some shoot the latest and greatest analog monsters. When I'm out shooting an event nothing replaces my EOS 3/1V bodies. Sometimes you need the speed of the AF, the reliability, the ability to use the latest and greatest lenses and sometimes the hefty, bulky look of a "serious" SLR like a 1V with battery pack lets people know you mean serious business. Bad for street photography, great when moving people out of the way when you're officially photographing an event of sorts. And then there's stuff like advanced flash techniques which won't work with old manual cameras. Whenever I need a flash I really like a camera-/flash combination I can rely on 100%. Oh, and you mentioned burst rates. Well, I can get an EOS 1V for very little money and can shoot 10fps if need arises. Good luck finding a digital camera with the same burst rate at a similar price level (even when looking at the price tag these carried when they were new).
    Different jobs need different tools. There's a use for the latest and greatest as well as for something like my MF-Minoltas when I'm out going for a walk and don't want to lug all my gear around.
     
  17. narsuitus

    narsuitus Member

    Messages:
    775
    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2004
    Shooter:
    Multi Format

    …because none of the digital SLRs have an interchangeable viewfinder like the Nikon F5 does.
     
  18. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,876
    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2009
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I have an old Canon F-1 n and automatic works 95% of the time. However, shooting in snow or backlight situations call for manual setting. I'll also use manual if I expose using the Zone System.
     
  19. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

    Messages:
    4,252
    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2009
    Location:
    Central Flor
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Why not?

    It's rare but I do shoot my F100 in rapid fire mode from time to time. I don't hold my finger on the shutter like I would on digital but sometimes, I have a need to shoot 3 to 5 frames in very rapid succession. Just because digital is out doesn't diminish the usefulness of these fast film bodies that professionals relied on.

    I really dislike this shoot more and get a few good one type shooting.
     
  20. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    7,039
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2005
    Location:
    Basin and Range Province
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    I can shoot any camera slowly and methodically, so more choices means, well, more choices.
     
  21. flatulent1

    flatulent1 Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,339
    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2008
    Location:
    Seattle USA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Because that's what I'm accustomed to shooting with. I learned photography on a T90. I still use one. Well, five, actually...
     
  22. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

    Messages:
    2,305
    Joined:
    May 10, 2006
    Location:
    Aurora, IL
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I like my F3HP, it has all the features I need. Interchangable viewfinder, accurate viewfinder, 5fps film advance but like you said it's like 30 years old and may not be very reliable so I have my F5 it does pretty much the same as the F3 and it's much newer. As for the FM3a ?? I think it's way overpriced (although I did spend $2000 for the F5, still I think the FM3a is overpriced) and yet not having all the features I want. To me it's not as good as the F3 besides the fact that it's newer and not yet worn out.
     
  23. Dismayed

    Dismayed Member

    Messages:
    156
    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2011
    Location:
    Boston
    Shooter:
    Med. Format RF
    I use 35mm for quick captures. And I break out my large format gear when I want to take total control of the process (short of making wet plates).
     
  24. thegman

    thegman Member

    Messages:
    623
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2010
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    The features of the F6 etc. exist now, as they did when the camera was released. They certainly hold no appeal to me, but I get why people want that modernity, automation (when you want it), fast top shutter speeds etc.
     
  25. Alan W

    Alan W Subscriber

    Messages:
    435
    Joined:
    May 16, 2009
    Location:
    Tennessee
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I love the auto bracketing of the n80.Put it in continuous mode and get 3 shots with one touch of the release button-great for testing film.You can buy the n80 now for around $30 and they're all reasonably new.Since it's a "little brother" to the f 100 I wouldn't mind one of those either!
     
  26. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

    Messages:
    9,315
    Joined:
    May 24, 2005
    Location:
    Washington DC
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Thinking back to the 167MT vs RX dilemma, the RX, while not silent, is quieter than the 167. But they're all motor-driven SLRs in the end and will never be as quiet as a Rolleiflex. But if you like the Contax system, I highly recommend the RX. I had one for years, then offloaded it and my other Contax SLR gear to finish out a G2 and 21mm rangefinder outfit. Now I do find sometimes I need an SLR, so I added an RTS III when I found one at a price I couldn't resist.