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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Nov 2010
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    Would-be 35mm camera user

    Hi,

    I use a cheap digicam and snap away unthinkingly. Recently I was allowed a look at a Pentax SLR and really liked it. In particular I was taken with the optical viewfinder, something I don't have.

    I take photos in arboreta and large gardens and if the sun is out I can't see what I'd doing with my lcd screen. I'd like to remedy this. At this point I must say I know nothing about photography but my instinct tells me that I'd like 35mm use, even if I have to study up the basics first.

    So I want to buy a cheap slr to learn on. All I'd need is the basic lens (50mm?) to start with. Trees and shrubs and views are pretty static except in the wind so things like speed should, I imagine, not matter much.

    There are loads of film cameras on Ebay, a confusing mix of makes and models. I'd be pleased if somebody would point me in the right direction for a start. I don't need pro equipment but don't want to buy rubbish.

  2. #2

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    Nov 2009
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    Switzerland
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    Nikon F90X (or F90S which is was called in the US), really good camera. I personal have one in the car which always stay there. The 90X is almost a pro camera, and i think it were amid to the advanced amateur sector and as a pro backup body.

    For the manual, go to http://www.keh.com/camera/Nikon-Auto...990022910?r=FE then click on the "Product specification" which is located above the price.

    You have a lot of lenses, auto focus, good metering, battery back, date back and a lot more and today they are cheap.

    cheers

  3. #3

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    Jul 2010
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    You have a lot of good choices available, which is the good news. If you truly want to learn I would get an SLR that is not "auto-everything" and I would skip the auto-focus as well. One of the cameras I enjoy shooting with recently is a Nikkormat FT2. Other older Nikon models (e.g. FM etc.) would also be good choices, along with Pentax K1000, or the older Pentax screw-mount Spotmatic series. This is not an exhaustive list though, and I'm sure others will make recommendations as well.

  4. #4

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    Sep 2007
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    Richmond VA.
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    You check out the Canon FD system, decent prices. Look up KEH Used Cameras. BTW Welcome to APUG!

    Jeff

  5. #5
    Diapositivo's Avatar
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    Nov 2009
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    Any manual camera of the mid eighties, once serviced, should work very well, with lenses of the same epoch. Optic schemes of the time were already calculated by computers, and advanced multi-coating techniques were used. If we exclude the recent progress in zooms and in autofocus, for anything else lenses of the eighties, especially fixed focal length ones, are typically not worse optically, and better mechanically, than present offerings.

    If you buy a camera of the kind "automatic + manual mode" I would check that in manual mode you have full working light meter with indications in the viewfinder, like a proper manual camera. Some automatic cameras, when you use them in manual mode, do not give you complete information in the viewfinder.

    Also, I would go for cameras with mirror lock-up. You can find cheap ones, for instance Minolta SrT 101b or similar. Mirror lock-up is important when you take pictures with a tripod and with speeds in the range 1/4th - 1/30th of a second, more or less.

    You can find very cheap cameras with Minolta MD mount or Canon FD mount or Olympus OM mount. Those cameras cannot mount new lenses because that kind of mounts disappeared in the late eighties with the advent of Autofocus. You find many lenses on eBay anyway and they tend to be of very good quality. If you buy a camera with a Nikon mount or a Pentax K mount, you can buy new lenses today that would fit those old cameras, generally speaking.

    The Sony cameras of today have the Minolta AF mount so you can find many second-hand lenses on eBay. Notice the difference between Minolta MD (or MC) lenses (they are all manual focus) and Konica - Minolta - Sony AF lenses. They are different mounts.

    In considering your budget, I would take into consideration also a general inspection, lubrication, calibration etc. done by a technician. This might cost another 50 Euros or more. It is important to do it when you buy an old second-hand item (especially if you intend to use slide film) so as to assure that shutter times are precise, the camera is light-tight, etc.

    I would also consider, perhaps not immediately but a bit down your path, buying one or two external lightmeters: a spot reflected light meter with 1° of reading field (like the Minolta Spotmeter F, or the equivalent offerings by Pentax and Gossen) and maybe also an incident light meter. Those will "teach" you to understand exposure, light, contrast in practical terms. Some new light meters will provide both features on the same device (check the Sekonic offering), but they can be expensive. In the second-hand market bargains can be found.

    Actually if I were you, before dedicating myself to film, I would buy a second-hand cheap digital camera that you can use in manual, you can find those for a song. Digital let you see very fast your mistakes and it is better for the first stretch of the learning curve. After that I would begin with film. And I would buy a tripod and an external spot lightmeter instead of buying the fourth lens.

    Cheers and welcome in the community of film shooters
    Fabrizio

  6. #6
    Christopher Walrath's Avatar
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    If you want to jump right in, any Minolta x- or sr- series cameras and the older Pentax K-'s are a great name at much less money than the equivalent Canon or Nikon bodies.
    Thank you.
    CWalrath
    APUG BLIND PRINT EXCHANGE
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    "Wubba, wubba, wubba. Bing, bang, bong. Yuck, yuck, yuck and a fiddle-dee-dee." - The Yeti

  7. #7
    Rick A's Avatar
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    Freestyle Photo Supply sells new Vivitar starter kits for as little as $170. These use the Pentax K mount lenses, there are literally millions of these lenses available used for super cheap. These are as basic a camera as a person can find, through-the lens(TTL) metering, light weight, many accessories available.
    Rick A
    Argentum aevum

  8. #8
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    Welcome to APUG.

    Unlike the others I'd recommend getting a Pentax K mount SLR camera for a simple reason, there's afar wider choice of additional lenses available second hand, and they are compatible with the current DSLR's as well.

    The Pentax MX or larger K1000, KM & KX can all be found at reasonable prices, and another good camera is the Chinon CE4 which is manual or automatic and had superb f1-8 & f1.4 50mm standard lenses.

    A number of manufacturers used the K mount, Pentax, Chinon, Alpha, Carena, Cosina, Petri, Ricoh, Vivitar, Zenit etc as well as some newer Chinese companies so that's why there's far more lenses available.

    Ian

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Nov 2010
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    Philadelphia
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    If you look around enough you should be able to find a camera lens combo for under $80.

    Olympus OM-1/2 (smallest )
    Pentax K1000 ( marked Asahi )
    Minolta SRT 101 ( built like a tank)
    Canon AE-1 ( watch out for squeal )
    Nikon FM (usually more expensive )

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Oct 2010
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    St. Joseph, LA
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    You should be aware that many classic film cameras require a mercury battery, which is no longer available. All Nikon cameras I am aware of (except the Nikkormat / Nikomat series, which I'm not familiar with) take readily available batteries (MS-76 or equivalent). Some Nikons are the FM, FM2, FM2n, FE, FE2, F2, and F3.

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