35mm SLR - Help Required

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by laudrup, Feb 26, 2005.

  1. laudrup

    laudrup TPF Noob!

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    Hi Guy's your advice is needed!

    I've been hovering about for a little while and recently posted a few pics taken with my digital camera.

    I've been reading a few books on 35mm photography and looking at posts here and fancy giving it a go. Mainly because the cost of a digital slr is out of my price range at the moment, it sounds pretty rewarding and picture quality is likely to be better.

    The problem is I don't know what to look for. I'm borrowing a friends 80's Pentax me super for a few day and I've also looked at some of the basic nikon and canon models. What's a decent specced slr for an enthusiastic newcomer?

    I know this might have been asked in the past but there is a heck of a lot of choice!

    any help appreciated

    Cheers

    Laudrup
     
  2. Rob A

    Rob A TPF Noob!

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    im not sue if there that good, but i have an olympus OM40 and i LOVE it!! its never failed, has auto, manual and program mode. and oyu can pick one up for about £50

    but i also like canon, and im thinking of getting one of the EOS models. this mite be a good choice as they are not too expensive, there good cameras and if you chose to get a canon DSLR, you can use the same lensesso thatl save you abit of money!
     
  3. Kodan_Txips

    Kodan_Txips TPF Noob!

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    I posted about this about 3 weeks ago, but can't remember where.

    So, to summarise:

    Nikon manual SLRs are wonderful, built to a terrific standard, BUT, because of this they were the professional's camera of choice, so second hand models may well have been VERY badly treated, so purchase with extreme care.

    The same applies to Canon, but to a lesser extent, I think.

    Minolta tried desperately to gain the same sort of reputation, and made a lot of gear that was as good as, sometimes even better than, Canon and Nikon. Because they never quite made it to the top in terms of street cred, their equipment is often in much better condition, yet much cheaper. Minolta is my system of choice - I have spent about 250 dollars recently, and got 2 bodies, a 24-70 zoom, a 50 mm 1.7, a 28mm 2.8, a 100-200 zoom, and a flash gun. All are in perfect working order, most are in mint condition. I rest my case...

    When selling SLRs in the late 60s and early 70s, we felt that Pentaxes were a bit tinny - good lenses, but increasingly poor materials. I liked the K1000, but can remember the shop manager repairing a Pentax by BENDING the door straight, after a customer had dropped it while open. Ok, it then worked, but I would prefer a camera so well built that it didn't bend in the first place. (I had a Topcon that chipped our concrete floor when I dropped it, but still worked...)

    Olympus were very "pretty", lots of bells and whistles, and so LIGHT. And so FLIMSY, in my opinion. (nb, I am talking about the very early Olympus models, I don't know the OM40)

    Early adopters of the then new wave of electronicified cameras were often disappointed with their reliability, but obviously that must have changed as time passed. Again, with electronics, purchase with EXTREME care - it is easy (ish) to get manual problems fixed, maybe even at your local camera club. But a printed circuit board that is broken may well be irreplaceable. Furthermore, cameras relying on electricity for wind on etc, may well just not work if the batteries or the circuits die.

    My 2 Minolta X300s will blithely carry on no matter what - I may be guessing the exposure, but at least I will get a photo.

    As to what to buy in terms of lenses etc, I recommend:

    A manual SLR body, with an f1.7 or f1.8 standard lens. Portable, fast lens, carry it always.
    A 28 mil 2.8. Landscapes, architecture, group "portraits".
    A 135 or 100 mil lens. Individual portraits, medium telephoto, sometime nice for macro work.
    A decent flashgun. Get one that can be used off-camera somehow, with a slave unit or long lead.
    UV filters for all your lenses, and a polarising filter for every filter size you have.

    That will do to start with, and might cost as little as 150 dollars. A good idea is to seek out complete packages, as these seem to sell cheaper than separate items.

    Later you could get a sturdy tripod, a long zoom. a filter system to play silly beggars with (Cokin are cheap and easily available on ebay), a wider wide angle (20 or 24), more flashguns, a motor winder - the list is endless, there is always something cheap and fun to buy.

    Good luck, and as always, don't forget to post opinions and results here.
     
  4. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Ya know... with digital cameras, I'm not sure just how important it is to have a SLR. Many cameras offer amazing optics and you see through the lens while shooting. Most have a zoom lens from wide to long, so interchangabily is less important.

    I think if a digital camera allows manual operation (shutter speed and aperture) and custom white balance, you can do quite a bit. The biggest problem I've had with the smaller cameras is on-camera flash.

    I hope this helps.

    -Pete Christie
     
  5. Rob

    Rob TPF Noob!

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    If you're going to save yourself some money, then you'll be best going for a classic SLR. Nikon, Canon and Pentax are probably the biggest three names and all have fine cameras with a broad range of accessories and lenses.

    If you are going to go for a classic camera such as these, then there aren't likely to be many features to choose from - base your price offers on the condition and number of free bits with the body.

    Find a classic camera shop near you and handle a Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Olympus etc. and see which feels right. Check that the lens mount is the "standard" one - with post 1970 Nikon it's not a problem, Pentax K-mount not a problem (don't really know about the others).

    IMHO don't bother with compact digital cameras for a while. They are virtually worthless after you've used them and are very rapidly superceded by new models. There's also a very misleading statistics theme with them - it might have 7 Megapixels, but it's probably also got a tiny CCD and a nasty bit of glass on the front.

    If you are starting out, I would strongly recommend a Nikon FE or FM2n or similar fully manual capable camera with just a f1.4 standard (50mm) lens. You will be able to do almost anything with it and if you enjoy it, a tripod, flash and more lenses are very easy to add. If you come into money and then go digital, you will probably get back what you paid for it.
     
  6. fadingaway1986

    fadingaway1986 I Burn Easily :(

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    I would invest in either a Nikon or Canon system as they are easy to get accessories for, and when you move onto a dig. slr (if you do) - you should be able to take your lenses, etc. with you. (that is, provided you buy a reasonably new film camera that uses autofocus)
     
  7. GerryDavid

    GerryDavid No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Ive heard the used Canon 300d's can be down to $400us, so thats pretty tempting. So thats a possability.
     
  8. Kodan_Txips

    Kodan_Txips TPF Noob!

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    If you buy an old film SLR system off ebay, 400 dollars should get you a decent setup and a trip to somewhere nice to take photos.
     
  9. GerryDavid

    GerryDavid No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    But after the $400 for the 300d, you dont need to worry about $6 for a roll of film or $3 for developing with out prints. And if you prefer to adjust each picture on the computer anywase, the extra $3 for scanning. :0)
     
  10. airgunr

    airgunr TPF Noob!

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    All good suggestions. I personally prefer Nikon but Canon or any of the other major brands are fine cameras.

    One point that has been touched on but I would emphasize. When you buy the camera a large part of your investment is the lenses and other accessories. Plan for the future in that regard.

    I think Nikon and Canon have the best assortment of lenses so you may want to consider staying with one of those. That way if and when you move to a digital SLR you don't have to re-invest in lenses and stuff.
     
  11. catweh00

    catweh00 TPF Noob!

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    I just placed my camera for sale under the classified forum.

    I was in the same situation you are now. I wanted to buy a dSLR, but they were too expensive. However, I bought a nikon N75, practiced with it, got used to the SLR mode and operation, and now I am selling that exact same camera. Just my personal opinion, but if you really want a dSLR, then you will eventually get one. I wouldn't dump too much money into a film SLR and then switch. I wouldn't buy a proSLR in film just yet.

    I bought a lower end, cheaper model nikon (selling mine for $150 with lens and strap and film) and now I can upgrade. Also, all of the lenses I am selling work with dSLRs from Nikon, I just don't need them.

    Thereby, if you do make the switch later on, you have plenty of lenses to help you out. The nikon D70 body alone isn't too high, and it will only go down in price. I would think about getting a good starter film set-up, with lenses, practice while you are saving your money, and then go dSLR.

    If you are going to spend money on digital (eventually), I would skip over all point and shoots cameras. If youre spending over $500 bucks, I would save a little more and get a dSLR. They are far superior to p/s cameras, IMO. My d70 starts up in a flash and takes pics even quicker--I posted pics in the forum a couple of days back of my niece--she was running around the whole time, but people thought I was able to get here to sit and pose. yeah right! She stopped for split second when I took those pics. A p/s would not have captured those shots, IMO.

    My advice: Buy a cheaper SLR film camera, get used to it, practice for a few months, save your money, and go dSLR.

    Craig

    Just my two cents.
    Craig
     
  12. uberben

    uberben TPF Noob!

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    I started taking photography more serious last October and I bought a Canon FT QL body with the following lenses
    - FL 55mm 1.2
    - FL 19mm 3.5R
    - FL 55-135mm 3.5
    - FL 100mm 3.5
    - Vivitar 2800 auto flash
    I have since purchased a bunch of cool filters and a decent tripod. I spent about 200 on the camera and lenses, another 100 on filters and about 80 or so on a tripod. There is no way I would have been able to afford a decent DSLR setup. Plus, with film I am forced to actually learn how to set up a shot instead of just taking a million shots and lucking out on a few.
     

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