Hmm, the character probably resides behind, rather than in the camera. That is the good news. The good and the bad news is that if you understand how the tool works, almost any tool will do. If your budget is $800 or less, you should be able to get a pretty good variety of equipment. I probably wouldn't spend it all on one camera. For a couple hundred dollars you should be able to pick up a Holga or a Diana and a nice medium format pinhole (http://www.8banners.com/index.php?op...id=2&Itemid=36) or (http://www.zeroimage.com/web2003/Ent...ryFrameset.htm) which would leave you with $600. Take 3 or $400 of that and decide on what 35mm SLR you want and start looking for a kit. With a little judicious shopping on Craigslist or eBay you should be able to pick up a kit in that range that would include 3 lenses or so. That would leave $200 to $300. Spend $150 or so and have a good repair person go thru the body with a CLA and you will still have enough left to buy a tripod, extension tubes or other goodies and that should provide you with the tools you need to let your imagination run wild. My poison of choice happens to be the Olympus OM line, however there are many other good ones. If you are going to chase something on eBay, take a look at esnipe.com. My 2 cents worth and then some . . . Bill Barber
Anything with a Leica screw mount is a good start.
Then you can put an Industar-22 on it, or a FED 50mm f:3.5: http://www.apug.org/gallery/showphot...392&ppuser=124
-- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
Kiev 10, it has gobs of character.
Hi, Ben. Welcome to the group. The camera really doesn't matter all that much. You need two things. Artistic vision and familiarity with your equipment. I have a Minolta sr-T101 and a few assorted (nothing special) MD/MC 3 lug bayonet mount lenses. I have been using them for a few years now and am still getting used to my Mamiya M645j MF w/ three Sekor-C lenses. But when you know what your gear is capable of and you are able to see past the norm in your subjects and are deliberate with your technique, very little of your work is not going to be artistic. I've even found that my family event snapshots have a little something extra even for quick hits on the fly. So I hope you you enjoy your stay, Ben. Post pictures so we can see what you're made of. Thanks, Ben.
"Wubba, wubba, wubba. Bing, bang, bong. Yuck, yuck, yuck and a fiddle-dee-dee." - The Yeti
Thanks so much for everyone's thoughts, it's much appreciated. I don't think I was clear about the fact that obviously the picture comes from who's behind the camera, rather than from the camera itself- that's a given. I guess though I was missing the immediacy of film to give a certain quality that can add character, such as the colours or vignettes that even a knackered old lomo lc-a can produce. Digital can't replicate that.
I will definitely look into everyone's suggestions! Thanks again- Ben
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Cameras are just tools, even the Jujxiti 16 Megawatt Picanator. The right tool for the right job. In the film way, you could have allot of tools (cameras) and still be under $800.
For example, you could have a pinhole camera ($5 on up), a "normal" SLR ($80-$300), a cool old 35 or 120 folder ($20-$200) with a funky lens, a Holga($30), an old 120 box camera($2-$20), and an oldish monorail 4x5 including a lens ($300-$500), and come in around that $800 with a little time invested in careful shopping.
No- none of them are new, except the Holga, but you would be suprised how much life is left in many old cameras.
Then you get to choose the tool like an artist chooses a paintbrush.
You don't listen to only one CD, why shoot only one camera?
I tend to use the older "vintage" lenses. They have more character, a different look. More like the pastels of Kodachrome. These do not have to be expensive. A new Bessa R series camera can use 1930s lenses with a Leica Screw Mount to M Adapter. An older Summitar, Elmar, or Summicron has a different look to it. As do the Sonnar copies, such as the Canon and Nikkor lenses. I just "made" an uncoated 5cm F2 Sonnar for a Leica thread mount camera out of parts lenses. Some of my best B&W photos have come from that lens in Contax mount.
With a 50 year old Canon 50/1.5 on a Bessa R2:
On a Humorous note, a friend on another forum asked me to make a lens that would give "Holga" quality images on a Leica camera:
How about a single-element, RF coupled lens for a $5,000 camera?
Last edited by lens_hacker; 01-26-2008 at 08:14 PM. Click to view previous post history.
As much as I like shooting with my Kievs, I wouldn't recommend an FSU camera to someone as their only/first film camera. While using them are wonderful experiences, the technology is a bit dated and the cameras are only middle-of-the-road in reliability. For $800 and a desire to return to film photography after working in digital, I would recommend considering a camera that wouldn't be so different in operation from your previous digital cameras. There are many excellent, modern Nikon, Canon, Pentax, etc., cameras available used and they all benefit from improved optical technology. If you want to look at older equipment, it's hard to beat Nikon F, Canon FD, Pentax screw-mount and K-mount, Minolta, Olympus, etc. Great cameras with great lenses and operation that's not so different from current cameras. You can even get into medium format for $800. Lots of great stuff there too. You can get that "character" you're looking for in the optics from a lot of brands.
Interesting question Ben. (Welcome back from the dark side by the way!) It's food for thought for all of us.
I think it depends entirely on what type of photography you want to do. A 4x5 view camera won't help you with street shooting, but then again, if you want to work in a more deliberate, contemplative way then that 4x5 may just be the answer. A medium format would put you in between in terms of ease of handling.
All lenses have their own characteristics and some will suit your personal vision better than others. To make that choice you should look at the work of others, decide what you admire and then see if you can find out what they use. I don't mean copy the work of others but look for the image characteristics that best work for your own, personal vision.
If you can I'd think about getting access to a darkroom too - you can further refine your images there with personal control which you just can't get from a lab.
Exciting times my friend. Enjoy them.
lens_hacker, I shoot a variety of older lenses, many uncoated, some pre-WWII, on my 2x3 Graphics. All are, though, anastigmats and I don't shoot them on a format they won't cover. I've never noticed much in the way of different "looks" from any of them except Aldis Unos (a little soft, still acceptable, and they don't get sharper at smaller apertures) and a no-name Goerz dialyte type doppel anastigmat (not a Dagor, terribly soft at all apertures) and a 65/6.8 Raptar (same). Until proven otherwise, I think that stories that older "vintage" lenses have more character, a different look are old wives tales.
Originally Posted by lens_hacker
And I've shot a lot of Kodachrome, mainly both versions of Kodachrome 25. Pastel it ain't. Have your eyes and your shutters checked. Your vision's probably ok, but your shutters almost certainly run slow. Or perhaps your exposure meters need to be calibrated.