Help me start my film journey

Discussion in 'Film Discussion and Q & A' started by sharkylittleton, Jun 23, 2009.

  1. sharkylittleton

    sharkylittleton TPF Noob!

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    Let me be frank, digital photography leaves much to be desired. I find myself post processing certain photos to mimic the warmth of higher ISO monochromatic films. I think it's a good time to start shooting with film.

    I need to figure out a film format and decide what camera to go with it. I plan on shooting mainly B&W, with the occasional color. I'd be happy with a fixed 50mm f/1.8 type of lens to do 90% of my film works, and maybe a zoom for the future. I do alot of wide open aperture digital shooting to isolate my subjects... that is extremely important that I have that ability with a film camera. I'd like the ability to enlarge my prints clearly past an 8x10 if possible. I'm thinking about taking a dark room class eventually, but the nearest pro lab might be sufficient, for a while atleast. My budget might be about 150-200. Hope I listed all of the important stuff and hope I'm not asking too much. Any suggestions would be appreciated! Thanks guys!
     
  2. ann

    ann No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    with your price range, two formats come to mind. 35mm and the a camera that uses 120 film. this format will give you a variety of format sizes from 6x6, 6x7 and 6x9.

    with the lens you mentioned look at a canon or nikon. try KEH.com for a wide variety of cameras. Since i am not a canon users i can't recommend a specific type, but with nikon, you might look for an f2 or even if lucky you might find a 90s , or if you are old school perhapes even an old nikon f, now that is a tank.

    there are of course still plently of pentax k1000 around that are very basic , no frills or whistle and bells, but great for learning basics.
     
  3. christopher walrath

    christopher walrath No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Go to ebay and do a search for 'Minolta', 'srt101' and also get a handheld light meter. You'll get started for well under $100.00 leaving plenty for film and chemistry and all kinds of magical stuff. Also, the magazine has been running a beginners series since May so hit the link in the sig and download some issues and check it out.

    Welcome to the darkside.
     
  4. sharkylittleton

    sharkylittleton TPF Noob!

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    Great posts guys. Some great information.

    I'm thinking about getting an older 35mm SLR, I've been seeing 35-50mm fixed lenses from f1.4-2. That's pretty good. Image quality is my main concern. I've been eyeballing Canon AE1 and the recommendations I've gotten here.

    Shooting with 120 film is appealing as I'd like the ability to enlarge my prints in the future. I hear you can get 20x20 if the conditions are correct. Does anyone have any recommendations on a medium format camera and what lens to go with it?

    TIA
     
  5. Actor

    Actor TPF Noob!

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    I think you'll be disappointed if you try to go medium format with a budget of only $100-$200. You'll be limited to a TLR, or possibly a rangefinder, and many of these do not have interchangeable lenses. If you use a lab, processing will cost you more. If you set up your own darkroom an enlarger will cost more. And of course film costs more and the selection of available films is limited compared to 35mm.

    Medium format is great if you can afford it but I seriously doubt that $200 is enough. I suggest a minimum initial investment of $1,000 just for the camera, and a commitment to spend a lot more on film, processing and other equipment down the road.

    It's fine to want to get the best results you can, but that has to be tempered with a consideration of what you can afford. On that note, 35mm can look pretty good when blown up to 20x30 or larger, particularly if you use slower films. Don't forget that larger prints tend to be seen from greater distances, partly or completely offsetting the need for a larger negative. Screens in motion picture theaters are huge but the images, projected from a 35mm print, usually look great.
     
  6. christopher walrath

    christopher walrath No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Under $200, go 35mm. Many older SLR camera systems will give you much more bang for your buck. In March I got a Minolta XG-1 with the 45mm pancake lens, a 80-200 zoom, a 28mm wide and a 2x converter for under $100.00 USD on eBay including shipping.

    If your bent on MF and have $300 plus shipping I am selling my RB67, 90mm Sekor lens, No 1 macro ring, waist level finder and two 120 film backs. The body is a Pro S and so is one of the backs. (Hint Hint)
     
  7. sharkylittleton

    sharkylittleton TPF Noob!

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    Thanks Chris, for the information. I've also started to read some of your beginners guides which I've found to be helpful. I've come to the conclusion that 35mm would be best for me. The price point will allow me to take more shots and just get more exposure to the film side of life. Lately I've attempted to mimic shooting film by covering up the viewfinder on my 40d, disabled auto focus on my fixed 50mm while shooting monochromatic. I suspect that the anticipation for film development will cause much excitement. I also have a Diana where I can still shoot 120 film if desired.

    I've been seeing decent deals around the net for used old school 35mm setups, but with the age these SLR's dating back to the 70's and 80's... should I be looking to get a "tune up" and how much can I expect to pay for these services?

    Thanks.
     
  8. christopher walrath

    christopher walrath No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I think you can get a good CLA for well under $100.00 most places. As to age, man, these cameras were built to be around after the nuclear holocausts to take photographs of the cockroaches for evidence of their survival.

    I'm sure the same goes for the various Canon, Nikon and Pentax models. But I would trust almost any Minolta sr- or X- camera that was advertised by a reliable seller as functional to be functional. And for me, the more mechanical, the beter. You can take your batteries out of an sr-T101 and the only thing you need to keep on taking pictures is a hand held light meter or a good experience base for guessing exposure. The sr-T101 can be a FULLY mechanical camera. The XD-11 has lots of bells and whistles. The XG and X-# cameras are very durable and a blast to use.

    Of course, they're not Canons or Nikons. But you can go a whole lot further with your dollar in the Minolta line. Less invested in the system means more invested in the film and others necessaries
     
  9. javier

    javier No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I like Anns suggestion and would say to seriously look at the Pentax SLR's. A K1000 is as basic as they come and what a work horse. The ME SUPER is beloved by many and is aperture priority and very small. Of course you also have the great Pentax lenses and many to choose from.
     
  10. sharkylittleton

    sharkylittleton TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the advice guys. I'll probably spend the next week or two sourcing a cam that includes a basic 35-50mm fixed lens. A friend of mine just gave me a stainless steel tank and 2 metal 35mm and 1 metal 120 spools and i have no idea how to use them!!! I'm aiming for the ability to at least process my own negatives and scan them into my compooter. Do you guys think that i can get a clear look at a scanned 35mm negative? Or is the format just too small?
     
  11. sharkylittleton

    sharkylittleton TPF Noob!

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    Is IQ between these film cameras all relative or is one manufacturer and lens combo known to be great in the IQ dept?
     
  12. javier

    javier No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The lenses certainly have allot to do with it, but the bodies do not. I would say that most lenses can exceed the quality of the film, so really the film is the most important from what little experience I have. I have been shooting film for about 2 years now and digital for about 10 years, so i went backwards, but in truth, I enjoy and shoot more film than digital these days.
     

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