Student Seeking Suggestions/Advice From Advanced Photographer (35mm)
My name is Ashley and I am a beginner with the art of photography in the most literal way. I am about to start introductory classes for digital and 35mm photography next week and hope to become a polished photographer in the future. At this point I really don't have the knowledge it takes to compare different 35mm cameras and purchase one that's best suited for my needs and level of experience. I have been browsing online now for several hours and I am getting pretty overwhelmed with all of it. I would be in a tremendous amount of debt to anyone with some experience that has some good recommendations on where to steer myself in the purchase of equipment. My goal is to end up with a 35mm camera that is reliable, has any features I will need for learning in a classroom environment, is not necessarily "top of the line" but is somewhat close and any additional things that I will be able to use throughout my career to enhance the quality of my work. I look forward to hearing what experienced artists think! Without the power of suggestion I don't think I will be able to make a choice! Thank you so much for your time, I greatly appreciate you.
Don't be fooled into thinking you need an expenisve camera to make great pictures, nothing could be further from the truth.
Manual controls, mechanical operation, good choice of cheap but good quality lenses are the things you should look for. For years the standard students' camera was the Pentax K1000, I think this would be a great place for you to start.
I am much older than you but you probably know more already than I do because you are willing to ask basic questions.
First off, there is a difference b/w the film-based photography that this site is dedicated to preserving - and the (now) more common mode of digital imaging.
I believe you have to first make a personal decision of whether you want to pursue film or digital photography. If you prefer film as a means of "capturing an image" then you are close to being what this site is about - and close to where my interests lie.
How you then process the film you shoot will determine whether you would prefer to remain here or, if you like to scan your film shots etc., would be happier on the site's sister site:hybridphoto.com
Anyway you "cut it" welcome to the site Ashley from George in NYC,
before you even start thinking about buying one make sure you understand the requirements for the course. When I took intro to photo the proffesor had told us all that we needed 35mm SLR's with manual controls, several students came in with point and shoots after hearing that.
Originally Posted by ashlinimartini
Speaking as someone who spent 10 years as a professor, your teacher will appreciate it if you go and ask him or her. It shows that you are interested and willing to put in the effort to talk to them.
That said, I'd recommend a Nikon, such as an FE or FE2 from someplace like KEH. They are first class cameras that don't sell for much, and there are tons of reasonably priced lenses for them. You might consider getting a 28mm (wide angle), 50mm (normal), and 105mm (telephoto) lenses. Make sure to buy from a reputable dealer, like KEH.
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I don't know where you are located or if you know anyone knowledgeable about cameras. If you know what to look for some great deals can be had out there. The chain pawn shops in my city are selling 35mm SLRs dirt cheap. Their cases are filled with cameras and lenses.
My city doesn't have any used camera stores to speak of anymore but if yours does, there are probably bargains to be had there as well.
Like I said, don't go buying a pig in a poke. Have someone who knows what they are doing check everything out.
One of the forum members of nelsonfoto has put several Cosina SLR's up for sale. The first couple are k-Mount bodies, equivalent of the K-1000. The last two are the older screw-mount bodies. I would go with a k-Mount body, although the older screw mount cameras have many VERY cheap lenses available. The K-Mount is easier to use.
All are good prices.
All the above are good suggestions - if budget is a consideration, my recommendations from cheap to somewhat more expensive would be Pentax K1000 and then Nikon FE, FE2, FM, FM2n, F3. These days second-hand analog equipment is much cheaper than it ever was before and even a Nikon F3, a top pro camera of 25+ years ago, is really not that expensive.
Best regards and welcome!
Nikon and Pentax have excellent systems and have considerable backward compatibility with their older technology (not each other). This would allow you to purchase a basic system and then later upgrade as your needs evolve.
Last edited by Snapshot; 08-22-2007 at 05:54 AM. Click to view previous post history.
"The secret to life is to keep your mind full and your bowels empty. Unfortunately, the converse is true for most people."
In the past I recommended (as above) the Pentax K series.
1. It is reliable and was quite affordable.
2. There are good lenses available for it.
3. The Pentak K series is a bayonet mount...the earlier versions like the Spotmatic (which are good, I use one that is nearly 40 yrs old!) are screw mount lenses, they are threaded and are more cumbersome to attach to the camera...
Now however the price factor is now quite different and Nikons are very affordable, and I agree with Peter and David, If you can afford it get one of the Nikon cameras listed above, they are also bayonet mount systems, and are of the highest quality...note the Pentax K and the Nikon cameras are of metal body construction-a good thing in my opinion...