Help with camera choice for getting back into photography

Discussion in 'Beginner Questions' started by Jheath0015, Jan 26, 2018.

  1. When I was in high school photography class (15 years ago) I was using my mother’s Minolta freedom 35af. Just a simple point a click but I thought the photos I developed turned out quite well. Good enough I sold some prints. I’m now wanting to start taking pictures again. I am having a hard time choosing a rig for this. I am wanting to stick with point and click for now at least for simplicity and that it’s all I know how to use. SLR’s are more than I want to deal with at the moment. My choices from research are the Minolta Hi-Matic af2/af2m, Nikon L35AF, or Canon AF35M/L. I have been leaning towards the Minolta but just because I’ve used a Minolta before. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Also to note is my wife has an Olympus OM-10 with several lenses in storage. Since it’s an SLR I would prefer the others but, if it still works should I stick with that?
  2. If the OM10 works, yes, go with it. Very easy to use.
  3. If you want to get back into it using film, and want to keep things simple to get started, you might want to consider also the consumer SLRs from the 90s: these all had a fully automatic mode, AF, built-in flash etc. In that way, as easy to use as a compact P&S camera - I think it's a misconception that SLRs are always more complicated. But as you progress, these cameras can also all do full manual operation, which a number of compact cameras will not allow. Most of these models do not need to cost much at all (cameras as the EOS300 or Nikon F65/N65).
    For digital, the same would apply, though you also have the option for mirrorless cameras, which are mostly less bulky. Of course, the initial cost of digital is substantially higher, but there is no additional cost per shot afterwards, and learning might benefit from the instant feedback too.

    Of course, a SLR you already have, is by far the cheapest option, but the level of automation on that olympus is a bit less. If that stops you from using it, it's obviously not the best choice. But if you're willing to put in a bit of effort, it makes sense to dust it off and make it sing again.
  4. SCL


    I suggest using what you have, initially. You will quickly determine what features are most important to you and can then begin to look for cameras which meet those criteria. It is a waste of money to jump in without a clear vision of what you really want...much better to take your time and get it right the first time, besides it gives you much more time to research the options.
  5. Do you really have to use film? You can buy a used $20 digital camera that can perform the equivalent of the Minolta Freedom 35AF.
    Jochen and Andrew Garrard like this.
  6. I agree with Chuck. The OM10 can't be a bad choice. After all, you already have it. :) I guarantee that it cannot hurt to try it out for a few days. Then again, there is nothing wrong with a zoom compact. I have a couple (one by Pentax, the other by Rollei) with 28-105mm zooms. They aren't big, either.

    Also, there are some 35mm compacts that have manual controls, like the Minox 35 series. Or the original Olympus XA, which has a rangefinder, unlike the Minox.
  7. Olympus Stylus. Simple, compact shirt pocket size, excellent lens, weather resistant clamshell design. I had one of these for many years.
    Scroll down through the linked page for different models and prices.

    Olympus stylus film camera mint | eBay
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2018
  8. Tony Parsons

    Tony Parsons Norfolk and Good

    Consider what it is that you want to photograph, and why, then narrow down your choice given the restrictions under which you have placed yourself. Sure, a point and shoot will give results, but should you wish to extend your picture capturing abilities in the future, then a 'system' camera will give far more choice, and with perseverance produce better images.
  9. The OP stopped posting?
  10. If you really want to rig up a darkroom in your home to enjoy film, I recommend taking your wife's SLR to have more chances to get an initial stack of images with a few really print worthy among them rather quickly.
    Getting used to such a camera can't harm.
    After that you can figure out what exactly you are after and shop accordingly.
    If it isn't the darkroom work you should be able to find a quite decent and equally capable digital camera for not too much money.
    I never had any film AF P&S I enjoyed using. - I'm happier with their entirely mechanical ancestors, even combined with a hand held meter. To make use of a P&S's main advantage, to be able to spray & pray quickly, maybe even shooting from the hip, I guess digital is better suited since you pay less per picture taken? AFAIK most film P&S came with a single AF spot in the viewfinder center and urged to focus and re-compose. I prefer AF everywhere all over the frame or at least an ability to pre-focus my camera and simply wait for the desired shot to happen. - YMMV.
    Since you started with a borrowed camera last time, I highly recommend doing so again, until you are sure what you'll really want. IMHO there is no real reason to shy away from SLRs (if we aren't talking Graflex', which appear a tad bulky).
  11. paul ron

    paul ron NYC

    Right now a Bronica ETRS is about the best starter in medium format ($200-$300).

    The are fairly abundant in good condition, priced to sell fast. Lenses are wonderful and have a nice variety. BUT the best part, those gorgeous 645 negatives. That will eventually take you to other more advanced and larger medium formats.

    If you are really in the mood for fun?... get a yashicamat TLR ($125-$180). Light, easy to use and you can find some great deals in the classifieds here. Many people like the 124... but really, any of them are great. How can you beat a great Japanese camera?

    Lenses & Shutters

  12. If it is a point and shoot you are after I have had a Pentax IQ zoom for many years that is quite good and easy to use, excellent glass. I don't use it often but it would do very well based on your description.

    Rick H.
  13. I much prefer an instant result by going digital...been selling on line for a while and have most preferred the Nikon Coolpix 4300. Loved this camera when kodak no longer made digital cams. But only this particular model as I tried other Nikon models of Coolpix line, but this is the only one I've found that I felt that it understands what I am trying to do...How else do I say it? That's it! And I found it used on Ebay for 65.00!
  14. Garbos: Do you actually mean a Coolpix 4300 (from 2002), or do you mean a Coolpix S4300 (from 2016)?

    The S4300 appears to be a fairly modern small-sensor compact with no direct exposure controls, built to a budget, though no doubt designed to be easy to use for a novice. The original 4300 is ancient technology, and I have to assume it's going to be pretty painful compared with the responsiveness of a modern camera.

    If buying a digital compact with a view to getting seriously into photography, I'd get one with explicit exposure modes for "shutter priority", "program mode", "aperture priority" and "manual exposure" (known as "spam" in some circles) - even if it also has scene-specific exposure modes. I've tried using a compact that lacked these modes and only had scene modes, and it was incredibly frustrating to use. You don't need to go for anything other than automatic at the start, but learning about the affect of aperture and shutter speed on an image isn't terribly complicated when you do want to learn more, and it's much less confusing than (in the case of my camera) trying to work out what the difference between "fireworks 1" and "fireworks 2" was. Even if you usually use an automatic mode (and "program mode" is effectively just that), it's eventually useful to have a camera that lets you take control.

    Budget permitting I'd recommend a large sensor compact such as the RX100 line (the original of which is relatively affordable, especially refurbished like mine) or - well, this guide is probably going to do better than me recommending something I've not tried. If that's outside the budget, something like a Powershot G11 or G12 is aimed at the same market segment but a few years older.

    Assuming you don't just want to pick up an older Nikon D3x00 series or the Canon equivalent and have a DSLR, of course. You can put those in scene modes too and not have to be scared by the additional controls until you're ready to.

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