Itching to try 35mm film camera, no idea what to look for

Discussion in 'Film Discussion and Q & A' started by epp_b, Oct 28, 2008.

  1. epp_b

    epp_b No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I used to have a fantastic little Zenit 35mm film SLR, which I gave away to a thrift store before I got really into photography, not realizing what a valuable thing I had. "Psshht...who uses film anymore?" :roll:

    *epp_b smacks himself upside the head then kicks himself in the shin*

    Anyway, the more I read about some the advantages of using film -- dynamic range, noiseless long exposures, resolution, etc. -- the more I want to get into it. There's also something perversely magical about taking your shots, rolling up the film, sending it for processing and getting it back to see how they turned out.

    I'm looking to use film wherever I can't get the sort of dynamic range I want with digital, basically for landscape and nature shots.

    I have about $1000 invested in Nikon camera equipment, but I have no idea where to start for film cameras. I have one lens that I can use on a 35mm frame (50mm f/1.8) and was planning on buying more full frame lenses anyway.

    I'm not really sure where to start with what I want the camera to have in terms of features. I'll probably be using manual, non-CPU lenses as the only CPU lenses I have are DX, so a light meter isn't absolutely necessary and I imagine it's expensive for the light metering to be built into the camera body itself as in the D300 and above (yes? no?). I can always use my D40 for light metering and exposure testing if necessary.

    Basically, I want to do this cheaply. I'm keeping my eye open on eBay. Any particular models to suggest?

    EDIT: just had another thought that, if I get one with an AF motor, I have an excuse to buy some AF lenses ;)
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2008
  2. Steph

    Steph No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    What's your budget? Do you want a fairly recent camera with AF or an older all manual camera?

    If you are after a camera with AF, look at the Nikon F100. It is considered to be one of the best 35mm film camera ever made. For an older fully manual camera the Nikon FM2/FM2n are very good and sturdy (and they have a built-in light meter).

    As for film, if you want the largest dynamic range possible, go with negative film (as opposed to slides). You did not say if you wanted to shoot colour or B&W. For colour work, I found Fuji Reala to be a very versatile film.
     
  3. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    If you are going auto-focus then think about an N8008s or an N90s. The 8008s can be had for around $50-$60. It's slower than the 90s which you can pick up around $100 with a battery grip. The thing with the 8008s and the 90s is that they use AA batteries instead of the CR123s which will save you some coin.

    Both are cheaper than the N80- which I believe can use the -S and -G lenses (I don't on one) or the F100 which is a sweet camera.


    $.02
     
  4. epp_b

    epp_b No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    As little as possible. Say, less than $100.

    AF would be nice, but not strictly necessary.

    Thanks.

    That's what I was planning.

    Colour.
     
  5. epp_b

    epp_b No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    OK, I've been looking around. I think F-801/N8008 is probably the best bang for the buck for a cheap film SLR.
     
  6. djacobox372

    djacobox372 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    You should be able to find a Nikon FM on ebay for "a little less then $100."

    I sold a near MINT nikon FM on ebay with no reserve for only $48!! I'm done with no-reserve auctions, I expected to get over $100.

    Nikon FE's often sell for less then $100 on ebay as well.
     
  7. ksmattfish

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

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    Very long exposures I understand; although you may find that grain isn't as attractive as people make it out to be, and our concept of what looks "noisy" has gotten a lot more picky since extremely clean looking digital came along. Good luck on the dynamic range and resolution; my experience is that an 8mp Nikon or Canon DSLR beats 35mm color neg film on both.

    Ahhhh, now there's a good reason to shoot film: because it's fun! Don't get an electrified, gizmo-laden, missing link to the DSLR. Get a fully mechanical, fully manual 35mm SLR like the Nikon FM, FM2, or FM2n with a fast 50mm lens. The thrill of the advance lever is much better than the whirr of the motor drive. Get away from the gadgets, and go for a simpler experience.

    Here's an even better idea: skip 35mm and go straight to medium format. I think you will see the differences between film and digital you mentioned above much more clearly from a 6x6+ sized neg. A TLR is about the same size as many 35mm SLRs. Old folders are even smaller. Don't be intimidated by medium format; it's like learning to drive a van or large pick-up truck after driving compact cars all your life. It takes a little practice and concentration at first, but pretty soon it's the same old thing, just a little bigger.

    EDIT: If you are interested I have a black Nikon FM2 with a Nikon 50mm f/1.8 that I'd sell for $125. It works great, and looks pretty good too. There is some brassing where the camera straps were (no strap now, but it has the rings for one), and minor scratches, but no major scrapes or dings. The leatherette looks new. The rubber on the eyepiece is worn out. When I wrote this post it wasn't my intention to try and sell this camera, but I've got all these film cameras collecting dust; they deserve a good home where they will be appreciated. :)
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2008
  8. benhasajeep

    benhasajeep TPF Noob!

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    I own a very wide range of Nikons. The first brand new slr I purchased myself was a 6006. Even though I really wanted an 8008. But the choice was a 6006 and 2 lenses or the 8008 and 1 lens.

    I eventually did get an 8008, and a 90s, and a F4s, and a F100 (see a trend here :wink:). They are all working fine. Using AA batteries is a big plus in my book (can you say rechargeable). Although lately ebay has been to the rescue for batteries. I now can get 40 cr123's for the price of probably 10 at local stores (damn those small flashes).

    With all these cameras, which one do I use most for film? The f100. Why, becasue it the one in my main bag. For the pictures I take now, anyone of my bodies will work. There is no real advantage from one over the other.

    And as for the waiting for the film to come back, I do them myself. There is no better smell than photo chemicals in the morning. :mrgreen:
     
  9. epp_b

    epp_b No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I bought an n8008 on eBay. I should get it by the end of next week.
     
  10. christopher walrath

    christopher walrath No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Just now, I was watching that one. Nice score.
     
  11. MikeBcos

    MikeBcos TPF Noob!

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    OK, I have to say this, I have owned my DSLR for one week, until then I had only shot film SLRs, this thread and its comments is making me feel REALLY old!
     
  12. christopher walrath

    christopher walrath No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The scent of fixer keeps one young and full of vim and vigor. Cuts nice with vodka too;P
     

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