Best Film Cameras

Discussion in 'Modern Film Cameras' started by Ludmilla, Jun 10, 2019.

  1. For me the cost of film & development would be negligible so I would only need the price of a camera. However, i am a little petrified of being mistaken for a hipster so i’ll probably stick with the iphone and canon powershot.
  2. Point and shoots are cheap - but so are 1990s-2000s lower end SLRs
  3. I'm just curious if you have some sort of "secret" for this.

    At least around here, even a cheap roll of 24 exposure color print film will cost a couple of dollars(I can find it for ~$1/roll for expired, and I'd do it if it weren't for the fact that I rarely use any kind of color negative film) and commercial C-41 processing is typically $4-5 develop only. Double that if you want the lab to scan it-I do my own scanning, but it's enough of a pain that I basically only scan select frames.

    There are some inexpensive B&W films, and processing at home isn't super expensive(enough D76 to process a few dozen rolls is under $10) but you're still likely at $4-5 a roll. I can often do better by shooting the partial bulk rolls that the local camera store gives me(often times I get them not even knowing what type of film they are and have to figure that out myself, which isn't a huge deal, but they won't give them to just anyone for this very reason). Even then, if I want to print, I can easily spend a couple of dollars making a good 8x10 of a negative worth printing-that's counting the paper "wasted" getting things like exposure and contrast right before making the final print, and not really even counting the chemistry(a $10 gallon of Dektol tends to last me a while, although fixer doesn't last quite as long).

    There ARE inexpensive ways to shoot film, but it often takes some practice to get to where you CAN do it inexpensive and learn to judge things like whether a particular lot of expired film is worth bothering with. On the other hand, considering the cost of film+processing, I'm often into a roll of slide film $20-25.
  4. I have a very close friend who shoots film and they said I could use their stock if I wanted to play around with film photography. It’s the only reason I thought about film cameras but, as others have said, digital is so good now there’s no point in me exploring film photography any further.
    tomspielman likes this.
  5. I shoot mostly expired film and process it all at home. I lucked into a very good Nikon scanner for $100 that'll let me scan either 35mm or medium format.. And I don't do any dark room printing so the cost of prints for me is the same with either film or digital.

    Periodically I'll post adds on craigslist looking for film which is where I think I got most of what I have now. I've run into a few photographers who've gotten out of film and some who have some recently or soon to be expired film they won't use. Still as you say it's probably $1.00 to $2.00 a roll before processing. Then there's the chemicals. I'm probably set for awhile for B&W aside from fixer. A C-41 kit is about $30 and is good for maybe 10 rolls. I haven't done any E-6 yet so I can't comment on that.

    But yeah, you're right. It's probably $4 to $5 a roll when all is said and done. But I maybe shoot a roll or two a month on average. Well, it's more like 4 rolls within a couple of weeks and then not much for a bit and then a bunch more. So it's a much cheaper habit than some of my other vices.

    The biggest cost to me of film vs digital is time.
  6. I have a bad iced-tea habit. I walk a few blocks to a store to buy some several times a week in good weather. It's just bottled stuff though, - nothing special. My wife has asked me on multiple occasions why I just don't buy a bunch to keep at home so I don't have to go out as much.

    I don't because part of the bad habit I enjoy is walking to the store and drinking the iced-tea on the way back.

    Most of the pictures I take are digital, - by far. You can't beat the convenience and the low cost. But I enjoy the process of using old cameras and developing film. I like the results too but I'd have a hard time saying that film is better. Medium format is really good and maybe for certain types of photos the grain and more random noise in film has a positive effect, but most of that can be simulated in digital.

    I do think I take better pictures since I've started using old cameras. I've been forced to learn the basics of how light, shutter speed, aperture and lenses work together to form an image. You can learn that all with modern cameras too, but you're not forced to.
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2019
  7. I’m not interested in exposure stuff (I shoot everything in P mode, auto everything) and, even if I did, I don’t think my photos would improve.

    (I am reasonably aware of the inverse relationships between exposure parameters, so I’m not being truculent, or rude, just realistic )

    Phil S mentioned serendipity the other day and that sums up my approach to photography.

    Lucky Ludmilla strikes again :)

    Having said all that, I think I’d love a go at a TLR and all that upside-down left-right focussing stuff. But I know I won’t. Pipe dreams are underrated:)

    All the best.
    steve_gallimore|1 likes this.
  8. At least on the TLR I have everything is the right way up, and I was prepared for the the backwards left-right stuff. But what surprised me was the tilt. Getting a level horizon was very frustrating at first. :)

    But yeah, looking through the waist level finder of a TLR is unique. For some reason I feel like I'm looking at the world through an old TV set, - if old TV sets had grid lines.
    steve_gallimore|1 likes this.
  9. Yes, shooting with a manual top grade film camera today is like wearing a vintage manual-wound swiss watch. :) Or writing with a vintage fountain Cartier pen.
    leo_tam|1 and danny_o' like this.
  10. If I wear a manual wind wristwatch, it had better be American!

    And I'll take my older Mont Blancs, thank you very much :) (although the one I mostly grab/use these days is a 146 made around 1990, so I don't think it counts as vintage).
  11. WOW !!

    And I expect that to be called "AMERICAN" it has to exclude anything other than "USA"? As in, maybe a good watch made in Argentina is simply "NOT AMERICAN!!"

    I expect that this post will be deleted by the moderators, but just so that it gets said, a whole lot of people, from Tierra del Fuego to Baffin Island are, and consider themselves to be, AMERICAN, as opposed to European, Asian or Antarctican.

    We, in Canada, are AMERICAN !
    Fidel Castro was a proud AMERICAN !

    Rant over, please delete.
    Ricochetrider likes this.
  12. If you know of any watches made in Canada or Argentina, I'd happily include them in my collection.

    In fact, I have a few prized private labels for Toronto jewelers(made by the Illinois Watch Company) and there are Walthams made for the South American market.

    I would dare say that your rant is misplaced in this context because the USA WAS the only country to my knowledge with any kind of watch industry. If other companies in the Americas had them, their production was certainly small, but it would not mean that they would not hold any collecting interest for me.
  13. Tom makes some good points, but it could be even simpler. It might be a case of somebody who's noticed the resurgence in interest in film and who's simply curious. Perhaps not curious enough to buy a film SLR, but curious enough to spend a couple of bucks on a reasonably capable P&S camera. So they get one and they shoot a couple rolls to see what all the fuss is about. Maybe they like it and maybe they don't. If they don't like it, they haven't spent much money, but if they do, they may just be willing to take things to the next level. Buy, say, something like a Nikon N80 that can be had just about everywhere for less than $50, and which is a very capable do-everything SLR. Spend about the same on an AF-D or earlier lens, and then they're able to take things to the next level. This might be enough to get them hooked on shooting film, or maybe this is enough to satisfy their interests, and they stop at this point, still with not much money invested, and with at least the chance of being able to get one's money back out of the outfit should they consider selling it.
    mjferron and orsetto like this.
  14. Yes.

    I still find darkroom work fun enough not to consider cost for the time.
    (Though it has been a few years now since I did any printing, since scanning is easy and fast.)

    I have many rolls of film, in different sizes, either given to me or bought for
    low prices. Since they are already bought, I don't count again the cost.

    When I was young (50 years ago) I would buy 100 foot rolls of film for $5, so film cost
    was already pretty low.

    But also, I think people don't count the cost of time for digital. The price of memory cards is so low that
    we don't count it, but there is time to go through the pictures, store them on disk somewhere with
    backup, and otherwise keep track of them. Select the better ones to show others, or even print.
    Unlike darkroom work, I usually don't find that so much fun. If you count this, you will find that
    film isn't so expensive.
  15. It's really hard to compare time required for processing and printing film to that of working in Photoshop or other programs to produce a printed result.
    It is not a simple lineal comparison, and I know that I can do things easily in Photoshop that only Ansel Adams or his ilk could achieve in the darkroom.

    I know that I personally enjoy working in digital much more than in a dark, moist, and smelly photo lab. Occasionally I have a brief moment of nostalgia for my days in the darkroom, but I find that if I lie down, it soon passes.

    On the other hand, as I have said before, the smell of fixer in the evening smells like, well, like photography (like Lt. Colonel Bill Kilgore)
  16. ?
  17. Phones and low end digital cameras are fine as long as one knows how to use them. Thankfully, apart from the odd dimwit, most people do.
  18. Silent Street

    Silent Street Silent Street Photography AUS

    I agree with your sentiments about darkrooms. I have quite enough trouble with odours the moment I get close enough to an RA-4 printer at full tilt on the day's print run.

    My last darkroom session (RA-4 and B&W printing) was in July 1996.
  19. Silent Street

    Silent Street Silent Street Photography AUS

    Booooom! :rolleyes:
  20. Silent Street

    Silent Street Silent Street Photography AUS

    Not strictly true for or solely of cell phone and low end digimon users. The high flying, big noting professionals, with their beloved Phase 1 Hassies are convinced that film and processing died a long, long time ago: I meet these rather overly defensive types every week, and they are noteworthy for their aloof, distant and out of touch views, mostly retrospective, with a poor idea of the immediate future. You cannot even talk to them about this over a coffee without risk of them choking on their flat whites and becoming enraged by "lies, bloody lies!".

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