Help with vintage cameras, please!

Discussion in 'Collector's Corner' started by fourside, Dec 28, 2006.

  1. fourside

    fourside TPF Noob!

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    Hi guys,

    I have always loved the look of photography from the 60s. Whether it's black and white or in color, I love the way it looks (although I do prefer color).

    I own a Canon 350D, but I want to try some film photography. Immediately it came to mind that I should find a camera from the 60s, but it's hard knowing where to start!

    Can anyone suggest any good cameras from that age that will produce the results I want?

    I also need some help knowing what all is involved in making the prints. I don't want to be stuck with something that I have no idea how to use on a regular basis.

    Thanks alot, and any questions or help you have will be appreciated!
     
  2. fourside

    fourside TPF Noob!

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    Oh by the way, I found a Contaflex III that I could afford to buy (I'm not wanting to spend over $50 for the camera I buy) but I'm wondering if I can get some details on it and I want to know how hard it would be to take pictures and produce them.
     
  3. ksmattfish

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

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    As long as the camera uses 35mm film you shouldn't have any problem getting it processed and printed. If it uses 120 film you'll need to find a full service photo lab. I'm assuming you don't want to set up a darkroom?

    A Contaflex III will take excellent quality photographs. I don't believe it has a built in light meter, so you would need a hand held meter, or to learn to estimate exposure. Just google "Contaflex III" for loads of info.

    I'm not sure what you mean by "the look of photography from the 60s". If you are talking about a lower contrast look a lot of it may have more to do with the film and printing available in those days than the camera and lens. Modern color films are made to produce higher contrast, higher saturation, snappy images.

    If you are talking about the smooth, creamy look that's 120 film, and you'll want to look into a medium format folding camera or twin lens reflex. It might be hard to find a nice one for under $50, but it wouldn't be hard to find one under $100. Something like a Agfa Isolette or Yashica TLR.
     
  4. fourside

    fourside TPF Noob!

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  5. fourside

    fourside TPF Noob!

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    Guys, I have pretty much decided on either buying the Contaflex III or a Holga. The look I am going for is the old film look, with warm colors and not alot of contrast (and generally not a very sharp picture, I guess).

    I'll give an example:
    http://static.last.fm/proposedimages/original/6/1636/113320.jpg
    http://static.last.fm/proposedimages/original/6/1636/198509.jpg
    http://static.last.fm/proposedimages/original/6/1636/113322.jpg

    Is it the film used, the camera, or a combination of both? Would that be possible with a Contaflex III (or a Holga, for that matter)?

    Thanks alot guys. The CFIII auction ends in 18 hours so I'd like to have some input by then!
     
  6. Don Simon

    Don Simon TPF Noob!

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    Generally it's a combination of the film and the lens rather than the camera. Except with those certain Russian cameras people buy when you want their light-tight box, well, not so light-tight.

    For what you want to do, you need the right film and it sounds like you also want a camera with a lens that produces quite a soft image (and use a fairly wide aperture and/or a soft filter). That doesn't necessarily mean something from the '50s or '60s; I use lenses from those decades and with today's film or digital the images they produce are as sharp as with any modern lens.
     
  7. fourside

    fourside TPF Noob!

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    Hey thanks alot for the info. Could you give me a few suggestions for a camera, lens, and film? I want to spend $60 at most for the camera and lens I think, so that's why I looked to older stuff.
     
  8. Torus34

    Torus34 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    What I'm seeing in those shots is something less than a top-of-the-line lens. The Holga will give you a mess -- not the overall gentle softness you seem to be looking for. Almost any 3 element design will get the dog walked. By the time you're up to a Zeiss Tessar [or even a Schneider Xenon] lens design the color correction will be too close to the better modern glass.

    I would suggest any of a number of older 35mm rigs, including the Argus C-4, the Kodak Signet, etc. I'm sorry, but I have no hands-on knowledge of the Contaflex III.

    The Yashica 120 cameras will provide too sharp an image. The same holds for a Minolta Autocord. A Ciroflex, Ricohflex or similar will produce a softer image. If you don't mind the work of re-spooling 120 onto 620 rolls, an old Kodak Duoflex might well do a nice job for you at minimal [read 'rock bottom'] cost.

    Some of the older Russkies have lenses that are surprisingly sharp, by the way. The standard Industar is not to be sneezed at. I routinely use my Fed, Zorki and Kiev 35mm's for 'street' photography. As I enlarge 35mm b&w to 6"x9" max, sharpness is no problem.
     
  9. mysteryscribe

    mysteryscribe TPF Noob!

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    I just got a photina 120 tlr and it is very nice soft and yet with a sharpness as well. I like it a lot. Very inexpensive to I might add

    I also have the fed 2 russian camera 35mm rangefinder and like it a lot. Also a pertri 7s that is fun...
     
  10. fourside

    fourside TPF Noob!

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    Thanks alot for the quick replies guys - I'll look into everything you said.

    Do you guys have any setup that you would completely suggest for my purpose? Meaning a certain camera, lens, and film? That'd do me wonders. I don't mind learning but I want to get something ASAP.
     
  11. Torus34

    Torus34 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    As noted, any of the older rigs will give you a start. As an additional way to go, you might wish to try whatever camera you presently have with a softening filter. Cokin has a huge line of these and they're not all that expensive. Ebay might prove to be another source for them -- I haven't checked it myself.

    You can also experiment with applying a thin coat of vaseline to a UV filter. It's tough to judge the results in advance, though.
     
  12. mysteryscribe

    mysteryscribe TPF Noob!

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    a niece piece of clear plastic wrapped around the lens makes a great softening filter. Many a bride around here has a soft focus wedding picture with a bit of florist bouquet plastic bag over the lens.
     

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