Originally Posted by papisa
Hello and Welcome Mike,
The first thing I would do is put a roll of color c-41 and drop it off at a one hour photo lab or better a pro-lab if you have one close by. Have fun for the day shooting all different kinds a subjects (close up, far away). To keep the variables down to the minimum, I would choose one lens (normal) and put the others away for awhile. Inspect the pictures for anything that my not look right, ex. light leaks, underexposed/overexposed at great measures, very out of focus (or shallow DOF through out), half black images...
Remember, some variables my be from your lab or your lack of experience (I say that kindly because I do not know where you are in your photography.)
Depending where you are in your photography below may or may not help at this time:
To fully examine and understand how your camera/meter and lenses are performing with minimum variables, I suggest using E-6 slide film. If you do not have much experience with shooting E-6, at first the results may be discouraging because of the small latitude/forgiveness. If you are not familiar with E-6 films, it may not be the best medium to test run a camera for mechanical errors. If you need help learning E-6, please check the APUG Archives or just ask any of us on APUG.
If you are at the point that you can process your own black and white film; then I would suggest testing with black and white film you have experience with.
Welcome and I hope the camera works out for you.
IMO, it depends on whether you're also learning to process your own film. If yes, then by all means use B&W -- you'll learn more, faster, about sharpness, DOF, etc. (IMO) with B&W rather than with color confusing the issue, but if you don't process your own film, then buy a bunch of Costco "Kirkland" film (rebranded Fuji, last I checked) and get it processed at Costco as well. Results in an hour (I can't get my B&W done that fast, the film won't be dry enough to scan, much less prints washed and dried), and your cost for film, processing, prints, and a CD will be under $10 for a 24 exposure roll.
Originally Posted by papisa
And if you feel you'd like to try B&W before getting you feet wet processing your own, then get a couple rolls of either Kodak's current C-41 B&W (BW400CN, is the last name I recall for it) or Ilford XP-2 Super -- Costco can handle either one as well as color, and they make nice images (though, like any color film, they don't have the lasting potential of a silver-image emulsion).
Photography has always fascinated me -- as a child, simply for the magic of capturing an image onto glossy paper with a little box, but as an adult because of the unique juxtaposition of science and art -- the physics of optics, the mechanics of the camera, the chemistry of film and developer, alongside the art in seeing, composing, exposing, processing and printing.