Would-be 35mm camera user

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by bettonbaby, Nov 20, 2010.

  1. bettonbaby

    bettonbaby Member

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    Hi,

    I use a cheap digicam and snap away unthinkingly. Recently I was allowed a look at a Pentax SLR and really liked it. In particular I was taken with the optical viewfinder, something I don't have.

    I take photos in arboreta and large gardens and if the sun is out I can't see what I'd doing with my lcd screen. I'd like to remedy this. At this point I must say I know nothing about photography but my instinct tells me that I'd like 35mm use, even if I have to study up the basics first.

    So I want to buy a cheap slr to learn on. All I'd need is the basic lens (50mm?) to start with. Trees and shrubs and views are pretty static except in the wind so things like speed should, I imagine, not matter much.

    There are loads of film cameras on Ebay, a confusing mix of makes and models. I'd be pleased if somebody would point me in the right direction for a start. I don't need pro equipment but don't want to buy rubbish.
     
  2. sandholm

    sandholm Subscriber

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    Nikon F90X (or F90S which is was called in the US), really good camera. I personal have one in the car which always stay there. The 90X is almost a pro camera, and i think it were amid to the advanced amateur sector and as a pro backup body.

    For the manual, go to http://www.keh.com/camera/Nikon-Autofocus-Camera-Bodies/1/sku-NA029990022910?r=FE then click on the "Product specification" which is located above the price.

    You have a lot of lenses, auto focus, good metering, battery back, date back and a lot more and today they are cheap.

    cheers
     
  3. JohnMeadows

    JohnMeadows Member

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    You have a lot of good choices available, which is the good news. If you truly want to learn I would get an SLR that is not "auto-everything" and I would skip the auto-focus as well. One of the cameras I enjoy shooting with recently is a Nikkormat FT2. Other older Nikon models (e.g. FM etc.) would also be good choices, along with Pentax K1000, or the older Pentax screw-mount Spotmatic series. This is not an exhaustive list though, and I'm sure others will make recommendations as well.
     
  4. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    You check out the Canon FD system, decent prices. Look up KEH Used Cameras. BTW Welcome to APUG!

    Jeff
     
  5. Diapositivo

    Diapositivo Member

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    Any manual camera of the mid eighties, once serviced, should work very well, with lenses of the same epoch. Optic schemes of the time were already calculated by computers, and advanced multi-coating techniques were used. If we exclude the recent progress in zooms and in autofocus, for anything else lenses of the eighties, especially fixed focal length ones, are typically not worse optically, and better mechanically, than present offerings.

    If you buy a camera of the kind "automatic + manual mode" I would check that in manual mode you have full working light meter with indications in the viewfinder, like a proper manual camera. Some automatic cameras, when you use them in manual mode, do not give you complete information in the viewfinder.

    Also, I would go for cameras with mirror lock-up. You can find cheap ones, for instance Minolta SrT 101b or similar. Mirror lock-up is important when you take pictures with a tripod and with speeds in the range 1/4th - 1/30th of a second, more or less.

    You can find very cheap cameras with Minolta MD mount or Canon FD mount or Olympus OM mount. Those cameras cannot mount new lenses because that kind of mounts disappeared in the late eighties with the advent of Autofocus. You find many lenses on eBay anyway and they tend to be of very good quality. If you buy a camera with a Nikon mount or a Pentax K mount, you can buy new lenses today that would fit those old cameras, generally speaking.

    The Sony cameras of today have the Minolta AF mount so you can find many second-hand lenses on eBay. Notice the difference between Minolta MD (or MC) lenses (they are all manual focus) and Konica - Minolta - Sony AF lenses. They are different mounts.

    In considering your budget, I would take into consideration also a general inspection, lubrication, calibration etc. done by a technician. This might cost another 50 Euros or more. It is important to do it when you buy an old second-hand item (especially if you intend to use slide film) so as to assure that shutter times are precise, the camera is light-tight, etc.

    I would also consider, perhaps not immediately but a bit down your path, buying one or two external lightmeters: a spot reflected light meter with 1° of reading field (like the Minolta Spotmeter F, or the equivalent offerings by Pentax and Gossen) and maybe also an incident light meter. Those will "teach" you to understand exposure, light, contrast in practical terms. Some new light meters will provide both features on the same device (check the Sekonic offering), but they can be expensive. In the second-hand market bargains can be found.

    Actually if I were you, before dedicating myself to film, I would buy a second-hand cheap digital camera that you can use in manual, you can find those for a song. Digital let you see very fast your mistakes and it is better for the first stretch of the learning curve. After that I would begin with film. And I would buy a tripod and an external spot lightmeter instead of buying the fourth lens.

    Cheers and welcome in the community of film shooters
    Fabrizio
     
  6. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

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    If you want to jump right in, any Minolta x- or sr- series cameras and the older Pentax K-'s are a great name at much less money than the equivalent Canon or Nikon bodies.
     
  7. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    Freestyle Photo Supply sells new Vivitar starter kits for as little as $170. These use the Pentax K mount lenses, there are literally millions of these lenses available used for super cheap. These are as basic a camera as a person can find, through-the lens(TTL) metering, light weight, many accessories available.
     
  8. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Welcome to APUG.

    Unlike the others I'd recommend getting a Pentax K mount SLR camera for a simple reason, there's afar wider choice of additional lenses available second hand, and they are compatible with the current DSLR's as well.

    The Pentax MX or larger K1000, KM & KX can all be found at reasonable prices, and another good camera is the Chinon CE4 which is manual or automatic and had superb f1-8 & f1.4 50mm standard lenses.

    A number of manufacturers used the K mount, Pentax, Chinon, Alpha, Carena, Cosina, Petri, Ricoh, Vivitar, Zenit etc as well as some newer Chinese companies so that's why there's far more lenses available.

    Ian
     
  9. MikePenn

    MikePenn Member

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    If you look around enough you should be able to find a camera lens combo for under $80.

    Olympus OM-1/2 (smallest )
    Pentax K1000 ( marked Asahi )
    Minolta SRT 101 ( built like a tank)
    Canon AE-1 ( watch out for squeal )
    Nikon FM (usually more expensive )
     
  10. Kisatchie

    Kisatchie Member

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    You should be aware that many classic film cameras require a mercury battery, which is no longer available. All Nikon cameras I am aware of (except the Nikkormat / Nikomat series, which I'm not familiar with) take readily available batteries (MS-76 or equivalent). Some Nikons are the FM, FM2, FM2n, FE, FE2, F2, and F3.
     
  11. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

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    bettonbaby;

    My dad taught me to use a 35mm camera when I was 10 years old.
    I had my first official photography class where I developed my own film and printed my own images when I was in high school.

    If a 10 year old kid can learn to do it, any adult who puts his mind can learn to do it.

    To be honest, it's not hard. I would say that photography is more "detail oriented."
    The process of photography isn't hard to learn. It is that attention to detail which turns mere snapshots into works of art.

    The first camera I ever used by myself was a Pentax K-1000.
    It's just a basic, manual model. I still have it. As others have said, a K-1000 would be a good choice.

    Basically, just study up a little, get a camera and go burn some film. 90% of photography is learned by experience.
    You can read books all day long but book learning won't do you any good until you get your a$$ outside and take some pictures!

    Just do it!

    You'll be fine! :cool:
     
  12. Brian Legge

    Brian Legge Member

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    I'll get crucified for this, but I'll throw it out there -

    1) Many film cameras which have automation also have the option to have manual control (manual focusing, manual exposure settings, etc). For a first film camera, particularly if you don't have someone around who will help you out, I'd suggest something that gives you both auto exposure and manual exposure. That could help you ease in to it a bit more, particularly if you don't have people around who can help out.

    2) If the main thing you want is an optical finder and if you don't have any film background or interest, I'd suggest looking at a digital SLR. This would be significantly more expensive than a film camera and can be a cheaper way to learn about manual control of a camera (ie turn off automatic features, take a shot, review it to see what you did wrong, figure out what to change, try again, etc).


    Don't get me wrong, I love shooting film. I use my digital camera about 5% of the time at this point. And I learned on film. Over all though, I have to imagine it being something of a harsh transition going from a digital point and shoot to a film SLR (particularly an all manual one). A digital SLR could be a good transition and most of those lessons learned using it in complete manual mode could be applied to a film camera should you decide that is for you.

    All that said, film is definitely cheap to try. Quality film SLRs are dirt cheap right now - you could probably find one for $50 or less - so there is no harm in experimenting.

    More specifically, what is it that you want out of this new camera? If you could toss an optical finder on your current camera and be perfectly happy, I'd suggest looking for something along those lines. If you want an SLR specifically (ability to change lenses, opportunity for manual control, etc) there are a huge number of options both film and digital you could explore, If film is appealing, by all means buy a film camera.

    If you know some friends with different types of cameras, I'd suggest seeing if you could handle or borrow them for a day to give you a sense of the range of options (and because those people my be able to help you get started if you buy a similar camera)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 20, 2010
  13. bettonbaby

    bettonbaby Member

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    My word, you all given me a lot to think about. Very sound advice too, I can see that. I'll now settle down and read up on the specs of all the cameras you've kindly mentioned and then search ebay and used camera sites for the best deal.

    I particularly like the idea of using a digital camera with fully manual settings so I can practice and then review the results immediately. Dunno why I didn't think of that myself....

    I'm very grateful to everybody. I'll post again when I've decided and got something.
     
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  15. flatulent1

    flatulent1 Subscriber

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    Brian, I have timber and nails in the truck. What's your address again?

    :whistling:
     
  16. CGW

    CGW Restricted Access

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    Thanks for raising the merc battery issue. Apart general decrepitude, many of the old SLRs mentioned above are a no-go because they need mercury oxide batteries--banned in 2000. For someone just starting out, AF Nikon bodies like the N90x(N90s) or cheaper 801s/8008s work beautifully as MF cameras: great viewfinders, centre-weighted/spot/matrix(with AF lenses) metering,motorized film advance. They're also years newer than the holy relics of SLR-dom that can be 40+ years old. I bought my last N90s in EXC+ shape in 2009 for $50.
     
  17. Marvin

    Marvin Member

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    N80 N75 good autofocus good exposure control and manual or program. I have 2 each of these and like them very much. The Matrix metering is right on and autofocus can track race cars on the track. Get the battery grips and they will run on AA batteries.
     
  18. M.A.Longmore

    M.A.Longmore Subscriber

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    .
    Fred, save the nails.
    I have a Remington Nail Gun that I haven't used in years.
    This would be the perfect occasion to get it out of the basement !
    We'll just need ear plugs, and safety glasses. Send me his address.


    Ron
    .
     
  19. Brian Legge

    Brian Legge Member

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    CGW and Marvin, thank you for mentioning those cameras. I wanted to recommend one of those nikons in particular as they are incredibly cheap for what you get and they provide a wide range of 'easing in to film' options in my opinion. I just wasn't familiar with with them to recommend specific models.

    Edit: And I consider helping anyone from point and shoot to SLR (of any kind) a good step. Once people are over the hump of understanding exposure, shooting in manual, etc I think film becomes harder to resist - particularly as there is no affordable digital equivalent of medium format, large format, TLRs, etc. Its only a matter of time. :wink:
     
  20. pentax4ever

    pentax4ever Member

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    Pentax K1000 and later Pentax SLRs use widely available silver oxide (SR44/E357/S76) batteries. The ME Super, Super Program, Program Plus, P30t, and P3n all have aperture preferred and manual modes. There are a ton of very good K-mount lenses out there.
     
  21. flatulent1

    flatulent1 Subscriber

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    Ooh, I like it. Give him less opportunity for escape. :bandit:
     
  22. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

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    I also own an ME Super and a Super Program. A beginner can't go wrong with either of them, in my opinion.

    They both have various automatic modes and full-manual modes. You can use auto exposure when you just have to get the shot. You can use aperture priority mode when you want to focus on depth of field but not worry about shutter. You can go full-manual when you want to take the time to do it right.

    Shop around on eBay, et. al., and you might be able to find a ME Super or Super Program for $150 or less. If you're shrewd you might get one for under $100.
     
  23. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    I never heard of the OM-1/2. A half frame version I presume?:tongue:

    I suppose it would be the smallest.:D
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 21, 2010
  24. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    The mercury battery problem is easily solved:

    http://www.apug.org/forums/forum52/84029-manual-film-camera-2.html#post1092895
     
  25. mr rusty

    mr rusty Subscriber

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  26. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Maybe not peanuts but I bought a brand new Canon 300 last year for £10 ($16), and the seller had a box full of them.

    Ian