Is it advisable for a poor high school student to get a film camera?

Discussion in 'Film Discussion and Q & A' started by ronnie156, Apr 17, 2010.

  1. ronnie156

    ronnie156 TPF Noob!

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    I'm taking a photography course in high school, so I've learned the basic stuff and practiced the techniques a bit using the DSLRs at school. But I really want a camera with manual control so I can practice outside school, and hopefully in the near future, advance to a professional level.

    The problem is I can't even afford a used DSLR kit in online stores, let alone a brand new one that comes with warranty and many other accessories.

    So I'm wondering if it's a good idea to start shooting with a film SLR camera. I've done a bit research on the internet and it seems to be advisable to do so. There're also quite a few deals on ebay selling SLR camera with lens under $50 (models like Pentax k1000, Canon AE-1,etc.).

    Though I'm concerned about the price of shooting and more importantly, cost of self-developing the photos. It would be much more preferable to develop the films the way I wanted, instead of handing them to the store and let someone else to do the job for me. Is it easy to learn how to develop your own films? and is it recommended to spend so much money on developing the photos? (like buying an enlarger, chemicals and the tools for editing)

    I know that digital photography will be much cheaper in the long run, it's just that I really can't afford one at the moment, plus people have been saying shooting in film is a good way to learn photography. They said it gives you more discipline and prevents you from developing a dependence on photoshop.

    So can anyone give me some advice? What should I do? :(
     
  2. ann

    ann No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    developing film is very easy and isn't really expensive as most of the equipment needed can be bought used on ebay.

    Learning to print takes time and lots of practice to be good which can translate into an expense. Does your school have a darkroom?

    You might check out KEH for a used camera, as they are a reputable dealer.

    There is the option of doing your own developing and if you have a scanner, to scan the negatives which will then be useable on your computer; however, i am very old school and think darkroom work can be very helpful with future work with digital.

    I don't think there is an easy answer here. You might also check to see if a school other than yours has a darkroom class you could attend, usually a class has a lab fee which will certainly help as then you will have only film and paper to buy.
     
  3. ronnie156

    ronnie156 TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for your advice, ann. Yes we have a darkroom in the school, but I'm not sure whether we can use it or not, I'll ask the teacher when I get back this Monday.

    As for purchasing the camera, it's a shame that I can't afford anything above $100. I guess the only option for me is to get a kit set from ebay and bear the risks, but thanks anyway.

    BTW just wondering is one set of kit lens enough to go a long way? It seems buying a whole package with the camera body + 2-3 lenses is much more economical than buying the body and the same lenses separately.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2010
  4. ann

    ann No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    since you are on limited funds, get a body and one lens and wear that out learning.

    start saving, even if it is a dollar at a time, so in the future you will a 'nest" egg to upgrade.
     
  5. skieur

    skieur TPF Noob!

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    The other approach is to get a point and shoot digital camer with manual mode and a good telephoto range. It would be more expensive that a $50 SLR, but no film cost, and you would become familiar with digital faster.

    skieur
     
  6. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I've got to agree with skieur on this...I would rather have a decent, modern point and shoot digital camera than a 35mm film SLR. The film and processing costs of a $50 SLR will soon be money right down the tubes, for the most part, wheareas with the digital camera you'll have the ability to shoot basically, unlimited shots for almost no extra costs. There's nothing wrong with film or film cameras or shooting with film; the bottom line though is that today, digital images are fairly easy and economical to print--at WalMart,at Rite Aid,at Costco, there is access to superb printing capability in machines made by Kodak and on the Fuji Frontier printers,and today's most common medium,like it or not, is "the digital file". It's simply easier and faster and more direct to capture images digitally than it is using film and then some type of scanning process,and digital makes the "film and proofing" part almost free.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2010
  7. D-B-J

    D-B-J Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    The only difference is, film forces you to be careful with EVERY picture you take, and it forces you to learn. With digital, i can go out and shoot 300 photos and save only ten.
     
  8. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I don't agree with that sentiment at all. How is it that film forces one to learn?
    Just because there is film behind then lens instead of a sensor does not mean that learning occurs; that is a simply fallacious argument, with no grounding in logic.

    Let's say we take 1,000 pictures, 500 with film and 500 with a digital camera; will there be a huge amount of learning with the 500 film shots, and no learning with the digital shots?

    Learning in the field of photography is largely about learning how to translate theoretical or conceptual knowledge into a final photograph. Learning is also about *practicing* things like composing, focusing, and timing; with a digital camera, it's easy to practice all those things without incurring large bills for film and processing. Shooting fewer pictures on film versus shooting more pictures on digital--I know which practice and learning routine I think will produce a better-skilled shooter...and it is the routine that involved MORE exposures actually made,reviewed, and analyzed.

    As far as analyzing results--digital makes it pretty easy, both with on-scene LCD review and zoom-in, in-camera histogram, and instant feedback,as well as EXIF information for complete technical details. With film, there is a 4- to 12-hour wait time between shooting and seeing any "real" results. I don't really think that film offers as much learning potential as traditionalists think that it does. For those who learn by doing, digital allows a huge amount of "doing" for very low cost, with instant feedback that serves as guidance along the way.
     
  9. pbelarge

    pbelarge TPF Noob!

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    Skieur and Derrel have it right. The P&S will allow him to keep taking shots without the fear of cost. If he has issues now, it will not go away when shooting and he may actually have to stop shooting because of the lack of funds.

    Ronnie, there are all kinds of P&S cameras on ebay as well. Make sure you get a card with the camera, and start having some fun.
    Also, try to get a camera that has some manual settings.

    Good Luck
     
  10. stone_family3

    stone_family3 TPF Noob!

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    Don't forget about Craigslist and freecycle. I managed to get a whole darkroom setup for free off of freecycle. Another thing is if you are with in a year or two of college and are considering photography as a career look at your top colleges and see if they require a film camera for your basic classes.
     
  11. Shaneuk

    Shaneuk TPF Noob!

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    I suggest saving for a D-slr, Slr's are good and they produce good images, but they are costly to run, film, developing, etc.

    Save up, it's better have a D-slr will speed up your learning as well.

    You don't have to buy new as well, I have a 450D for sale. You could also look around ebay for for some cheap deals.
     
  12. compur

    compur No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    My advice is to buy what you can afford to buy and don't buy what you can't
    afford to buy. :D
     

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