35mm camera/lens for artistic results..?
Hi there, I'm looking to shoot film again after using digital for a while and pretty much hating it.. (so sterile!) Anyways I'm looking for a camera and lens combination that will give me slightly more interesting/unusual/characterful results than a regular 35mm, but am a bit stumped as to what to go for. The cheaper the better I guess, but I might be able to spend upto $800ish.. someone suggested the lomographic/Russian camera route- a Zenit 122 or KM, but I've heard they're pretty unreliable etc.. someone else suggested a Contax/Zeiss Planar 50mm lens, but they can be fairly expensive.. Does anyone know of a camera/lens that yields characterful results, that is generally reliable and fairly inexpensive? Might be an impossible thing to find, but worth a shot.
Any thoughts are much appreciated. Cheers~ Ben
Get a used Pentax K1000 with a good Takumar 50 mm.
This is what I tell all my students to get.
What you've mentioned is at opposite ends of the scale in terms of quality, both in mechanics and, to a lesser extent, optics. A lot depends on what you consider artistic. As for your budget, you could easily accomplish such a goal with a third of that, but you could also spend double. I would lean towards a Cosina Voightlander Bessa with a fixed focal length lens that fits your vision best. For example a 35, if you like a lot of space, or an 85 or 105 if you like tight framing. A 50 would probably be my last choice, but it depends on what you like. For 800 or less the possibilities are almost endless, far from impossible.
Welcome to APUG. You might want to post a thread on the "Introduce Yourself...." forum.
For $800 you can get yourself a very nice kit.
Since you seem to have had some SLR experience in the past - perhaps you'd like to give RF a whirl?
At that price range I think you can swing a new Cosina Voightlander R2M and 50mm lens. Where you go from there is up to you.
Personally, I'd stay away from the FSU stuff. Fun to play with but lousy as reliable shooters.
And from the cheap seats...
Depending upon what you mean by 'artistic' and 'character', you might get a kick out of a Holga or a Diana? See 'Light Leaks' magazine. $50 gets you a camera and a few rolls of film to have fun with.
The nicest photograph I ever took of my newborn daughter was with a Holga!
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What do you mean by "characterful"? That should help people give you some answers.
One thing that I do is use a screw-thread Leica, which gives you access to OEM lenses made over a period of 80 years and which have quite marked differences in terms of flatness of field, bokeh (quality of out-of-focus image) and flare. One thing that quite a lot of people do is to use a 35 mm SLR (any leading brand will do) and fit it with a "Lens Baby", which has been deliberately designed to offer a highly quirky image quality. This latter idea is quite attractive, you can get weird optical effects while not having to use a cruddy cheap camera that leaks light, overlaps frames, etc.
For $800 you could put yourself in a Rollei TLR or a Bronica GS-1 and avoid the limitations of 35mm altogether.
you can get the results you are going after
with just about any camera.
i second the idea of getting a k1000.
they are cheap and reliable,
no use spending money if you don't have to.
Well, not to belabor the point, but you can make art with every camera/lens imaginable...
Anyway, if you want something with character that is reliable, get a Brownie. They are the simplest possible camera, and they were built to a decent standard. Even if they break, they are so simple that you could repair them yourself.
If you want quality glass with character, then the notion of character itself becomes difficult to define. Most professional 35mm lenses are optimized for sharpness. In 35mm, however, the Leica Thambar lens ($$$$) is one of the few famous pictorialist lenses. I know that Minolta used to make a lens that was optimized for out of focus areas (bokeh). Nikon also made a lens with Defocus Control (DC), which allows you to control the aspect of the bokeh.
If you want to go the large format way, you can find amazing soft focus/portrait lenses that will have sharp to blur transitions to die for.
You could also make a pinhole camera, but that will require long exposure. However, that has a lot of character, and has no moving parts.
Last edited by Michel Hardy-Vallée; 01-25-2008 at 11:32 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Using film since before it was hip.
"One of the most singular characters of the hyposulphites, is the property their solutions possess of dissolving muriate of silver and retaining it in considerable quantity in permanent solution" — Sir John Frederick William Herschel, "On the Hyposulphurous Acid and its Compounds." The Edinburgh Philosophical Journal
, Vol. 1 (8 Jan. 1819): 8-29. p. 11
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