A lot depends on what your personal vision is like.
I personally feel a great deal of achieving any goal rests of being able to edit images yourself.
If you're shooting b&w and don't have access to a darkroom then purchasing an enlarger or access to one should be part of your budget. I've seen some terrific deals on 35mm enlargers. (free to $25)
If you have the processing end taken care of and the 250 is just for film and stuff once again it comes down to what you want to shoot.
Last summer I shot most of project with an old minolta xg9 and a 35-70 zoom. I've got a couple prints from it in my personal gallery. I didn't need filters or anything. Just film, processing, gas and lunch. :)
My other project has been buildings and for that I've found filters have been necessary.
hmmm a les mclean workshop and a couple good books were good investments as well. Didn't change my shooting much but my prints sure got a lot better!
PS my technically my 50mm prime lens is sharper. Does it matter for the prints I'm making? Not one bit.
The 50mm prime suggestion is not just that it's sharper (which may or may not matter except on larger prints), but that it's a terrific tool in two ways:
1) it forces the photographer to be more involved in taking the photo (as opposed to just cropping in the viewfinder without moving), so it's a good learning and development tool; and
2) it's usually an f/1.8 lens or better, so, being much faster, it opens up a lot of possibilites, from using slower films to existing light. Even the best, most expensive "pro" zooms are more than a full stop slower.
Zooms do have the advantage of convenience, no doubt about that.
[quote="pierre"]The 50mm prime suggestion is not just that it's sharper (which may or may not matter except on larger prints), but that it's a terrific tool in two ways:
In general terms I agree with Pierre, but the point of the original question was "Here's my current equipent... I've got $250, what should I do to take cool photographs?"
Spending part of their limited funds to pick up another lens just doesn't make sense to me. If they had a 50mm I'd say stick with that. Heck, I'll really go out on a limb, if they only had a point-n-shoot I'd say stick with it.
Having film for your camera and the ability to process your own prints is what is key. The rest is just gettting caught up in the details.
I'd spend it on film, and the chemistry to develop it. Having all the kit in the world will not improve your photography. Making photographs will. I had an old Minolta Autocord with an 80mm fixed lens for the first 15 years of my photographic life and shot as much film as I could afford. I also had an enlarger of dubious vintage with a very old Wray Supra 105mm lens and the lot cost me £25, £10 for the camera and £15 for the enlarger. I was given good advice by two old photographers, one said use your camera until it becomes an extension of your mind and hands, the other said photograph the light not the landscape.
Whatever you choose to do enjoy it and I wish you success.
In this situation, if I didn't have enough darkroom equipment to make contact sheets that would be the first thing I'd buy. I would then spend the rest on film. If I already had the contact stuff I'd pop for a fast 50mm and again, the rest on film. Take the 50 where ever you go and take the zoom if you don't mind toting it around. Shoot, shoot and shoot some more!
Without a second thought : ROAD TRIP !!!!