getting into film photography

Discussion in 'Modern Film Cameras' started by pawel_baranski, Feb 23, 2012.

  1. I'd like to try film photography. I want something with good image quality and cheap (it may be either slr or rangefinder).
    I'm interested in 35, 50, and some portrait lens (~120 preferably) primes.
  2. I'm not interested in telephoto photography at all (except portrait lens) and compactness is one of main reasons i want to try film photography.
    I'm not sure about the autofocus. I'm thinking about reportage/street photography and stuff like that, so i may not need it.
    Some kind of basic built-in light meter, like in dslr would be desirable.
  3. Well, in SLRs I have some favorites, but for compactness, the Minolta XD11 with a 50mm f/1.7 MD lens or 45mm f/2.0, the Nikon FE, FE2 or FA (the FM is very nice but doesn't have autoexposure and the meter readout is only a +/-) with the 50mm f/1.8 AIS (the first version with the larger focus ring is better than the newer version with the narrow focus ring) and the 100mm f/2.8 Series E is compact and good, but cheap. If you want AF, the Nikon N75 is good and small and Minolta and Pentax both made small models.
  4. I'll second the Minolta manual focus. The XD11 and XD5 are both compact, the XD5 being cheaper but just as capable. The lenses are going for low, low prices, and they're good quality.
  5. +1 for the Nikon FE, FE2, FM2n or FA. An alternate 'feel' body is the Olympus OM2n (lovely viewfinder). Can't really go wrong with any major brand, but I have these and luv 'em to pieces.
  6. many of the older and newer 35mm slr's will suit you and I think the viewing system will make it easier to not only frame focus and generally view, but enable you to see what is in and out of docus.
    TYour choice of 25 and 50 mm is good. but not since the old Exacta have many 120mm lenses been available., Possibly the very popular 135 would do but is may be too long and too narrow a field of view to suit your neesd
    You may like a 85mm - quite costly or a 105mm -less expansive.
    Remeber that it is far easier to manufacture a longer sharp lens than a 50mm or 35mm.
    I Once took a photo of a young woman with a 28mm lens and a long nose.,
    never again the " bugle snoot" effect made me hide the photo from her.
    admittedly a short zoom., often resfeered to as the Kit lens , likely will not be as sharp as a prime fixed focal lenght lens.
    But if you expect only to make 4" x 6" prints is is not bad.
    I lkove slides and at one time shot only slide film.
    But I think that time has passed and quality print film is available.,
    Do not neglect B&W film. I KNOW it is NOT color, but it has a different kind of beauty..
    and has tonality that cannot be seen in color film.
    The differences are less than in the early days of color print film.
    last of all do not succmb to the lure of a certain brad and it's superior lenses.
    Choose a camera that is easier to get lenses and accessories for.
    and one that fits you comfortably and has easier to use controls.
    Some really great cameras are rather orphans. and should be avoided, they take great photos but are harder to buy anything to fit them. Canon Pentax and Nikon are the most popular
    with the Olympus and Minolta close behind. There are several clones of Pentax slr's
    and they are quite inexpensive. they cost far less than a clean.lube, and adjustment on any camera.
    and with minor exections are fully compatible with a Pentax.
    the only thing you should consider is full aperture metering.
    the canon FL series and the M42 screw mount cameras are stop down metering.
    (one rare exception)
    But any slr you buy except a few that folks here will advise against will do what you want.
    welcome to the world of film enjoy.
  7. And what about rangefinders? I heard they are better for this focal lenghts i'm interested in + compactness.
  8. KEH is selling Nikon N65 level cameras for under $50 in near new condition. You can buy AF lenses for not much more. Another good choice is the Canon Elan 7 series, I had one for a while and liked it for street work. I'm a Nikon shooter at heart personally. You can also stick to the manual gear, the FM/FE series, and the Nikkormats are great. A little more money gets you an F, a little more gets you an F2, for me the best camera ever made. Fast manual focus lenses are similarly cheap. You can put together a pair of bodies (one is never enough) and mf lenses from say 28 through 200 mm for way less than $500.
    Rick H.
  9. Pawel, for film work I use two RFDR Leicas, a IIIc and an M6. For portraits I use mainly 75mm and 90mm lenses. For those focal lengths, I have no doubt that an SLR would be better. The small SLR cameras made after the OM-1 by most manufacturers are nearly as small as RFDR cameras and are now available for little money, as are many lenses for them. If your eyesight does not need correction, one of them is the obvious answer.
  10. Ebay turns up good deals for the patient, sometimes. From last year for me, below:
    ... a very clean OM2n in fully working order plus a 50mm Fi.8 Zuiko and strap and case. What a fun thing it is, and it's nearly pocketable (big pocket).
    Keep eyes peeled everywhere you go.
  11. Nice find there Jim!
    Pawel - some quick thoughts:
    i. Canon T90. Used to the be the go-to news photographers camera in Japan. Built like a tank and because Canon FD series lenses are hard to adapt to modern EOS bodies, quite cheap. Offers several metering modes, and a 5fps motor drive. Manual focus. FD lenses are dirt cheap.
    ii. Konica Auto S2 - since you asked about rangefinders. Also inexpensive (though prices are gong up!) and has the magnificent Hexanon 45 1.8 lens. This is truly one of the best lenses I've ever shot with. Also has a read out for the light meter on TOP of the camera (in addition to inside the viewfinder). This makes it very convenient when you are shooting from the hip (which you often do in street photography).
    iii. Konica Auto-reflect T3 - also very sturdily built, and since Hexanon lenses are also difficult to adapt to DSLRs, cheap. Hexanon lenses will blow you away with their quality.
    If I had to pick on of my three suggestions I'd go with the Konica Auto S2. I will take that camera with me to my grave.
  12. I never appreciated Konicas until recently, and man, they do have fine lens quality!
    Prices are amazing as Kayam indicated.
  13. I'd also suggest you look at the T90. KEH has 'ex' bodies from ~$100, an outright steal for one of the most capable manual focus cameras ever built. The metering system alone is worth the price.
    Users guide:
    Have you considered medium format? Prices have rebounded somewhat since the low a few years ago, but something like a Bronica ETRS kit (a fully modular DSLR system) can be had for a few hundred dollars.
  14. The Konica Autoreflex T3 is the best option. Konica glass is very cheap, including two excellent portrait lenses, the 85mm f1.8 and the 100mm f2.8 which offer superb resolution. Plus, Greg Weber is THE man to turn to for Konica parts and service. Send him a T3 for CLA and you'll have a go-to camera for life.
  15. In the later days before digital, so many cameras achieved a high level of competence, that you can hardly go wrong with any of the suggestions above. Actually, things haven't changed much since digital, either. Most cameras made after 1990 or so are just really good.
    That being said, if you like manual focus, the Canon T90 is an extraordinary camera, and the FD lenses which fit on it are still undervalued in the market, since they don't work on EOS Canon bodies. All lenses seem to be going up in price, however, perhaps because most of them can be used on 4/3 cameras.
    For AF cameras, also consider the Canon EOS 3 or, for less investment, a Canon 10s. Even earlier EOS film cameras don't focus very fast, but work fine if you're not doing sports. Many of them typically sell for under US$30, although the lenses (working as they do on later EOS digital cameras) are still very much usable, so cost a little more. On the other hand, if you decide to go (back to?) digital later, they will still be usable there on EOS cameras.
    If you already have lenses and a digital body, of course, it makes sense to see if there are film cameras that can use those lenses.
  16. If I was going to do street photography, I would go with autofocus. There is little time to fumble around with manual focus. Opportunities disappear fast on the street.

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