What camera to choose.
I'm thinking on buying an old film camera, but I'm in a little bit of doubt on which camera I should choose? There's three cameras I have in mind.
Should I consider the Nikon F5, which I can find relatively cheap, even though the camera is a little bit big and bulky? Should I go down the medium format road with the Rolleicord/flex or should I return to the 35mm path and "drive the save up money car" towards a used Leica M6? Leica is of course a dream camera, but the lenses and body is still pretty expensive.
Do you already use a digital camera?
If so then maybe you should eschew 35mm and instead go for the medium format option as your digital camera will do all that a 35mm camera will do but it won't be able to do what a medium format camera can do...
Your budget will be a major influence on your choice of medium format camera. Do you want a camera to fit in your pocket, or are you happy to take a bag?
Older Leica M3 cameras are better value than an M6 and excellent performers even with a good 1950s Summicron, I used my for many years before deciding that I was no longer interested in 35mm and switching to a Yashicamat (Turkey) and Rolleiflex's (UK).
I think RR is right about medium format it gives that edge in terms of image quality compared to 35mm. I just carry my TLR's using the neck strap, the case/backpack is for my LF gear
If you think about Leica - then go for it. Lens: for start buy some cheap elmar (like 5cm f3.5 LTM), and later you can buy some summicron, or summilux or whatever. If M6 is too expensive: then go for a screw mount body - they are cheaper and fit in pocket.
Well, I have a budget around $1000, maybe a little bit more if I save some money the next couple of month. I use my Canon 7D from time to time, but not as a professional photographer (earning to pay the bills).
Also the 7D is quite large in comparison to the old 35mm cameras, and it would be nice to downsize a bit, without a loss in quality if you know what I mean. So yeah it would be nice to have something you can fit in your pocket or in a small bag. Aaaand that's where I probably shouldn't have mentioned the F5, because it's as large as the 7D.
Sorry about that.
Ian Grant and darkosaric:
I always thought that Leicas only could use Leica lenses.
By the way, if I decide I want to make gallery size images, is 35mm too small or should I go for the medium format?
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Getting a Leica M3 w Leica lens is the way to go. Everyone should own at least one for awhile, then, if you don't like it, easy to sell.
I can't tell you which to choose as it should fit your needs and budget. I do suggest that if possible test it before purchasing or at least buy from a reputable source with a return policy. Once you get it test with film and processing to be sure it is functioning correctly bot mechanically and optically.
Always remember that the nicest camera on the shelf is useless when you don't have the money to pay for film and processing.
So, with a limited budget I wouldn't go for a Leica. These cameras have addictive and seductive properties and you will soon be spending much more money on them than originally intended. Don't ask me how I know
With a budget of 1000 $ I would go for a nice Olympus OM-2 and two or three favorite lenses and use the rest for film supplies, maybe even a basic set for film development (50$) and a good entry level film scanner (300$). IMO nowadays it is more important than ever to be in control of your workflow and honestly, for me it is half the fun of the whole thing.
Compared to SLRs, rangefinder cameras like the Leica M are quite a bit more expensive and I would suggest that you give them a try at a later point in time, when you are certain that you really want to stick with film and are ready to explore a different shooting style.
If you decide for MF, a decent post-war Rolleiflex in good condition is a reasonable choice. Just be aware that the waist level finder is not to everybody's liking and you should make sure that you will get along with the limitation of one focal length. If not, a more flexible system camera like a Bronica SQA could be the better alternative.
That is equivalent to the budget I had when I was doing the same as you.
Originally Posted by PaulDK
I went for 6x9 folders.
Zeiss Super Ikonta 531/2 has coupled range finder. A good example with clean lens is capable of amazing quality and sharpness.
Moskva 5 is a Russian copy and a good one is capable of matching the results of the 531/2.
Zeiss Ikon Ikonta 524/2 has uncoupled range finder. Produces the same quality as the 531/2.
AGFA Record III with Solinar Lens produces even better results than those above.
There are others that are said to produce better results than these, but I'm not so sure and anyway they are well outside "our" budget.
All these fit in a jacket pocket...
For $1000 you could get a rolleiflex automat ($300), light meter ($100ish), and have money left over to get a hasselblad or bronica or good folder, or a 4x5 speed/crown graphic.
I highly respect the F5 (I had an F4s and newer DSLRs), but unless you're doing sports, it's probably not necessary today. Perhaps the exception would be if you want perfectly exposed E6 film using the camera's meter. It and the F4s had a very nice matrix metering system built to expose transparency film, which is going the wayside.