Advice for a newbie

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Kiteflyer, Jul 11, 2005.

  1. Kiteflyer

    Kiteflyer TPF Noob!

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    Hello all,

    This is my first post so please be gentle.

    My wife is looking for a new hobbie and I suggested she take up photography, she is really up for the idea and it is her birthday in a couple of weeks, so I have decided to buy her a film camera.

    We already have a digital camera, but I think it would be nice if she could set up a dark room and develop her own pictures.

    So I have a few questions and need a bit of advice.

    First off, Camera - I have been looking at 35mm SLR's.

    Would this be a good start ? Can anybody reccomend a make/model that would be good for a beginer. I am looking at spending about £100.

    Dark Room - How much will it cost to set up ? I have looked at a few web sites which give details of how to do it, but they do not give any details of cost.

    Anything else I may need to know.

    Thanks in advance for any advice.
     
  2. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    I'm not sure of the exchange rate, but if she wants auto-focus go with a Canon Rebel, and if she wants manual focus, go with a used Nikon FM2n. They go for around $200 here in the US.
     
  3. Kiteflyer

    Kiteflyer TPF Noob!

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    I don't think I made myself clear, we know absolutely nothing about photography, what is the benefit of manual/auto focus ?
     
  4. Scurra

    Scurra TPF Noob!

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    Well as the names suggest manual focus and auto focus differ in that manual requires the user to set the focus whereas auto focus uses a computer to focus for the user. Most auto focus SLR cameras will have the ability to tuen the autofocus function off. On my canons it is located on the barrel of the lens itself. So I would say that the rebel would be a good starting point as it has the potential to offer you both of these features. The rebel also has both full manual and program modes on the camera so as your wife starts out she can flick the camera to 'portrait' or 'landscape' mode, as she becomes more familiar with the workings of the camera she can dabble with aperture priority and shutter priority modes and finally when she's got a good understanding of everything she can use all of the aforementioned or total manual control of all the settings. One thing I would say, if you can see in the future the use of infra-red film being likely buy an old model camera without an electronic frame counter as these will mist your negatives when using infra-red.
     
  5. DocFrankenstein

    DocFrankenstein Clinically Insane?

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    Does it have to be an SLR?

    If you're setting up your own darkroom, maybe it would be more fun for your wife to go to medium format cameras?
     
  6. DocFrankenstein

    DocFrankenstein Clinically Insane?

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  7. etaf

    etaf TPF Noob!

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    why do you want to go the darkroom and film route?
    As a hobby photography has always been expensive because of the cost of film and developing - its interesting you want to get into darkroom when a lot of people are getting out - all my friends at camera clubs etc have almost all stopped using there darkroom and moved toward digital or purchased a good film scanner and just have thee film processed only and then use the computer to adjust play with the photos before printing out.

    I dont want to put you off film, as it does have its place - but consider the running cost as the extended time to learn.
    you can take 1000 pictures with a digital camera and play and experiment to learn and look at them on the computer for free how much to do that in film????

    if you do want to go film - then yes SLR minimum or medium format
    have a look at some websites for the cost of film
    have a look at 2nd hand for camera's loads of film camera on market really cheap now - i saw my EOS5 which used to go for around the £350-450 ,mark before digital 2nd hand in a local jessops for £150
    Have a look 2nd hand for darkroom - loads on the 2nd market as people leave that behind
     
  8. Kiteflyer

    Kiteflyer TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the replies.

    I think I am gonna go with the SLR option, purely because i think it will be alot simpler for her to learn (correct me if I am wrong). She also wants to go to evening classes so the SLR being more main stream would probably be a better idea.

    I have seen this http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=15239&item=7528158262&rd=1

    What do you reckon ? good deal ? it's approx $135 usd
     
  9. Rob

    Rob TPF Noob!

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    I'd say that the idea of doing it all yourself is a great one, and as a consequence you'll want full control over everything. Looking at initial outlay vs flexibility and creative possibility, I'd thoroughly recommend starting with an old-fashioned 35mm SLR such as the Nikon FM2n or the Canon AE-1. Get one of these or similar cameras with a fixed 50mm lens and shoot with a reliable mainstream film brand such as Ilford or Kodak and stick with this kit until you know what's happening.

    Learning both photography and the darkroom is really challenging, as a beginner, you might be better off getting the films developed and printed at a lab and then enlarging yourself to compare with the standard results. Otherwise, when you start, you won't know whether it's the camera or the darkroom controlling (or mucking up) the exposure.

    My advice would be:

    Buy a book on 35mm film cameras. (Lots of these!)
    Buy a book on the Darkroom processes. (Lots of these!)
    Get a cheap, branded 35mm SLR with a 50mm 1.8 standard lens (should be easy)
    Choose a type of film such as Ilford Delta or Kodak T-Max at about 100 ISO (stick with it)
    Take some pictures and get the hang of the three settings - focus, depth-of-field, shutter speed.
    Get them developed at a lab and when you're happy, move on to....
    Borrow someone's darkroom and get them to help you print one of your negatives.
    Then if you're happy with the results, buy some darkroom kit
    Ask questions here on the forum about the mistakes - how to's etc.

    I suggest the above course of action, because you can back out if it's too tricky, or seek advice, hopefully before you blow a wadge of money on the whole schebang. Start with a couple of books, get a nice camera and let the lab do the work first. When you're happy, you can spend some money (it's very addictive photography!)

    Good luck, and there's plenty of us old-fashioned types around to help you.

    Rob
     
  10. Rob

    Rob TPF Noob!

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    Oh, I forgot to say that darkrooms can cost anything from a few pounds to.... mega money. You're at exactly the right time to start up as many people are dumping their darkroom kit and you should be able to get a top class setup for less than £200.

    There's a few good shops and people I could recommend in the UK, but eBay should be a good place to look. Get a book on the darkroom process and maybe ask some specific questions here about what brand of enlarger / trays / chemicals etc. if you're at all uncertain.

    Rob
     
  11. Rob

    Rob TPF Noob!

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    I don't think it's appropriate for a beginner. This is an automatic camera which probably won't promote good technique or good learning - it'll no doubt take a nice picture of a dead-centre subject, but it probably won't help with a photography course.

    Rob
     
  12. DocFrankenstein

    DocFrankenstein Clinically Insane?

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    Does anybody think here that MF is harder to learn than the 35mm?

    I think it's even easier, cause you'll take even more care composing with it.
     

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