Choosing a camera
If I can't choose a camera, only because I don't know anyone who coud more or less without fear or favour compare some cameras and from camera revies it's quite hard to tell what's good or bad or better.
So, I have used a Praktica (with some old, unsharp lenses ) Yashica fx super 2000 (can't compare to the praktica), a Yashica fx-103 (more solid than the fx-2000), and now I want to buy one for myself.
But I realise that Yashica's are not the only cameras avaliable.
So I need somebody to tell me If there are any better than (for example) the same Yashica fx-103.
Well, hard to tell what i want, but is the Canon A-1 that much better? (apart from some more programs and shutter priority, and so on )
So actually the question is like this:
What camera (that is not a scarcity and avaliable, e.g. on e-bay ) would You suggest for me? It could be about the yashica- 103 or canon a-1 level camera.
Well, is the canon a-1 more solid?
Or any other cameras?
Well, at least the Yashicas can use CZ T* lenses.
Hope You understood my question.
Thanks for any advices.
My advice? Buy cheap, shoot lots of film, learning in the process and refining your definition of the ideal camera for you. Then, based on that experience, upgrade when the first camera becomes a serious limitation. By starting with a completely manual camera, and a reasonably good hand-held meter, you'll learn more about the technical aspects of photography much faster than with any form of automation.
[COLOR=SlateGray]"You can't depend on your eyes if your imagination is out of focus." -Mark Twain[/COLOR]
Rio Rancho, NM
The Yashicas can use the Zeiss glass, but will the cost of those lenses stop you from buying the lenses you want?
Almost any system that you can afford will be just fine. You didn't list anything in the way of "features" that you want or what your budget is, so I'll make some assumptions based on what you said you've used: You're willing to use a manual focus camera as long as it has a meter, and you're probably interested in "general photography" so you're not yet looking for anything terribly exotic. You want to be able to afford a camera and a few lenses without spending a lot of money.
The Yashica is fine as long as you can get the lenses you want. If you'll be buying the Yashica lenses rather than the Zeiss lenses because of cost constraints, then I'd suggest you look at something like an old Pentax K1000 or even a Pentax Spotmatic (screw-mount) instead. You'll be able to afford a lot of good lenses for one of those cameras, and the cameras are built like tanks. The old Pentax lenses were some of the best around, especially if you stick with Super-Multi Coated ("SMC") lenses.
As an example of the price difference: KEH sells the Zeiss 50mm f/1.7 for the Yashica in Bargain condition for US$62. (This is by far the cheapest Zeiss lens they list; most of the Zeiss lenses run anywhere from US$200 - US$600.) They sell the Pentax screwmount SMC 50mm f/1.4 in Bargain condition for $US35, and most of the lenses for the Pentax screwmount sell for under US$100.
For the price of the cheapest (Bargain condition) 180mm Zeiss lens that KEH lists (US$349), you could buy Pentax screwmount lenses in the following lengths: 200mm, 135mm, 105mm, 50mm, 35mm, and 28mm...plus a Spotmatic camera body. And you'd still have a couple of dollars left.
I love Zeiss lenses, but unless you're sure you're going to be able to afford them, I think you'll be happier with a camera that allows you to purchase good lenses at a fair price and that will last you until you decide to upgrade (either to a higher-end 35mm camera system or to larger film). Besides, the Pentax Spotmatic and K1000 cameras seem to run forever. You could probably buy a well used system today and use it for the rest of your life.
Film is cheap. Opportunities are priceless.
Budding photographer here, and I'd like to echo the feeling of my respected colleagues. I have a Praktica L, which uses M42 (AKA Pentax Screwmount) lenses, and I'm relishing the availability of good, cheap lenses. My body is fully manual, doesn't even have a meter, but I got it CLA'd so that the obvious defects are wiped out.
Honestly, when you begin, you can't even judge yet the effect of two different lenses of same focal length (I know I can't). Bear in mind that you have to figure out at the same time the problems of proper exposure, depth of field, and compostion: getting down and dirty with the details of how specific lenses look, how film reacts, how they combine with processing techniques, and how they look on paper will take you YEARS. Go incrementally.
Start by getting the obvious facts right: is my shutter accurate? is my light meter also accurate? can I take pictures without shaking? are my lenses clean? is my body light-tight?
Get a few cheap prime lenses (~30-50$) of decent brands, usually japanese (vivitar, pentax, yashica, asanuma; 50mm Zeiss can also be cheap) to get a feel of different focal length. It's the most obvious feature of a lens, and that will get you started. Don't try to make too fine distinctions too early because your eye will be looking at the wrong things.
For your first developments, any average lab will do. Find the one that's closest to your house, so you'll minimize on shoe costs The point is to see whether you're overexposing or underexposing, if you can find the right angle/focal length, and if you can focus. Don't even think of mastering contrasts yet, and think formally.
At that point getting to know a more experienced photographer and/or finding a lab that can process your film manually will become invaluable. The learning process is very individual, so being able to talk with someone and ask questions in terms YOU understand will bootstrap you into something more accurate. Start reading technical, artistic, and critical literature. Show your pictures around, and exchange ideas. Experiment with what you know. You'll be surprised by how much you can accomplish when you sit down and think hard instead of hunting gizmos.
Overall, you want to get manual control on more and more aspects of your work. This takes time, effort, and learning. There's no recipe.
On the Pentax theme I'd recommend you look out for a Centon K100 which is a Pentax clone and takes the PK fit lenses. Loads of fine quality Pentax SMC lenses available as already been said. They are well built, very cheap and on Ebay they usually only go for about £10-15 (GBP) leaving you free to spend your cash on lenses. Since I liberated one from my son I've used it more than my Nikon F100. Manual cameras are great fun to use and you'll learn everything you'll ever need with one.
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These days on Ebay you can usually pick up various K mount cameras for not much more then shipping. The Ricohs are some of the best values. Better speced then the Pentaxes. Cheaper. No cult bidding wars.
If you want basic with no frills then something like the KR-5 types. If you want everything but autofocus then the XR-M or XR-X camera. Same camera different name. With patience both should be had for less then $50 with a 50mm. The KR-5 maybe closer to $30.
That website has manuals for a whole bunch of K mount cameras.
Well, it's not that I've never used a camera at all.
I own the Praktica (fully manual)with 37, 50, 135 and 200 mm lenses, but mostly I use only the 50 mm lens , I know the basics of fhotography, I also have something more or less like a darkroom at home, It's not that I'm an utter beginner but there are some reasons I want to get a new camera:
*It's heavy (I know that theoretically it's good (it's harder to jar it))
*It's quite hard to focus precisely (compared to those SLR's that have the the split-image rangefinder, which I love)
* The mirror slap/shutter open and close is very jarring, and the shock is not absorbed
*The lenses I have are old and heavy, and I'd rather spend money on lenses that are really good, I don't see any sens of wasting money on lenses for a camera that's morally outdated. (which is one of the most important motives for buying a new camera and collecting some (I think, about 4 would be quite enough) lenses for it)
[sorry for my english]
Anyway, even if I had a camera that has the AE or P programs, most of the time I would use it as a manual camera. Just sometimes it's good to have those programs.
I use the Praktica, I can't say I dilsike it, but it's morally outdated .
I've used the Yashica fx-2000, which is also fully manual, and I can say it's more comfortable and more fun using it.
But only I haven't used a Canon or a Pentax, I can't judge them.
I assume that the difference between using a Canon and a Yashica could be the same than the difference between the Yashica and the Praktica.
How can I know?
So what I would need is a (don't know if it may be called so, but)- manual camera that has the split-image rangefinder, at least the AE mode, but if it had also other programs, it wasn't a trouble
The DOF preview button would be great, but that's not the most important thing.
Well, maybe there's something else, but I can't imagine just now.
So - I need a good camera that can be used as a fully manual camera, but has also other features, now I think I could afford about 170 Euro for the camera + a 50mm lens.
The features will not disturb me from learning fhotography, as long as I can use it as fully manual camera.
Hope You understood what I said.
And thanks for any advices again!
Last edited by reinis; 04-24-2005 at 08:03 AM. Click to view previous post history.
I live in Latvia, and getting anything from the USA is quite expensive (especially after joining the UE), so I actually can get only stuff from ebay.de, and there's no Centon stuff at all.
Originally Posted by TPPhotog
I don't know if it's of use but I only use ebay uk as I can't use palpay. Postage shouldn't be too bad from here.
The pentax K-1000 seemed like a brick just like the Praktica to me, I think I'd like something with more features
Originally Posted by Mongo