Looking to learn with 35mm before going to dSLR

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by fdiddy, Oct 13, 2009.

  1. fdiddy

    fdiddy TPF Noob!

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    I am new to the technical aspect of photography but am very passionate about good photography and love to take pictures. I was looking at diving into a dSLR and then thought that I would love to learn photography from the ground up. I'd like to buy a 35mm SLR.

    I like the idea of MF so that I can really work at doing everything myself, but don't know enough about the difference between MF and AF to make that decision.

    The last thing that is high on my priority list (if it's at all possible) is to make sure that the lenses I will be buying for my 35mm will work with a dSLR that I undoubtedly will buy in the future. I prefer the style of Canon and Sony dSLRs but if Nikon makes lens interchangeability easier it's not a deal breaker.

    I'm 100% on starting with 35mm, I will not buy a dSLR now, please don't recommend that I might as well just start with one.

    Thanks for all of your knowledge and help.
     
  2. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    Go to wikipedia and check out the Canon and Nikon lens mounts over the years.

    That will give you an idea of which lenses will work with both film bodies and digital bodies
     
  3. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Sony means Minolta AF 35mm SLR bodies. Canon means the last few remaining Canon 35mm SLR bodies made before they stopped producing film cameras. This information is of course, based on the ability to use the lenses from a 35mm film camera on a future digital slr body.

    You want Manual Focus? Flip a switch and move from AF to MF.

    And have fun paying $12 for every 36 pictures you take as you learn. Around the $5,000 point, you will have managed to make about 415 trips to the lab, 415 trips back home, and probably 200 trips to by film. SO, by the time you've spent $6,000 on film,processing, and drop-off and pick-up plus film purcahsing trips, you'll have learned as much in a year as you could in a month with a $550 Nikon D40 kit.
     
  4. fdiddy

    fdiddy TPF Noob!

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    I forgot to mention that I would also like to start developing my own pictures, but I think that's a different discussion for another place. Thanks for the replies.
     
  5. c.cloudwalker

    c.cloudwalker TPF Noob!

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    I am a film photographer, fairly new to digital. Although I will keep my DSLR for some specific things, I intend to go back to film.

    That said, everything you do with a film camera can be done with a DSLR. Meaning you can learn photography with either one. Just because a camera gives you all automatic everything (including focusing), it does not mean you can't choose to do it all in manual.

    And when you're talking about learning, I have to agree with Derrel. Considering the cost of film and processing, you would learn much faster with a DSLR unless, money is no object.

    If you are thinking about doing your own darkroom work, then it is another story altogether. Of course, setting up a color darkroom is not as simple as a B&W one. Color requires much more precise temperature control and the equipment is not as easy to find used as what you need for a B&W darkroom.

    Nothing wrong with B&W. That is 100% of my personal/art work. But it is not what everybody likes either.

    If you insist on starting with film, I would not worry about lenses fitting whatever digital body you buy later. Just pick a tank like all manual body and a couple fully manual lenses at a garage sale, pawn shop, or on ebay. Depending on your luck, it'll run between $30 and $100 to have something very decent to learn with.
     
  6. txphotog

    txphotog TPF Noob!

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    I agree with the couple of previous posts. Digital will teach you a lot quicker because you can take more pictures without spending money getting them processed.
     
  7. IgsEMT

    IgsEMT No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    my 2cents:
    Digital will teach you faster, but film will teach you how to GET your shot and not bang-out 20frames hoping that one of them will come out.
    Both film and digital have positives and negatives, if you have a mentor who can guide you, it'll probably be the best thing for you.
    Good Luck
     
  8. c.cloudwalker

    c.cloudwalker TPF Noob!

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    Sorry IgsEMT but I disagree 100% Just because you can keep your finger on the button and bang-out 20 frames in no time doesn't mean you have to do it. There is such a thing as self control.
     
  9. fdiddy

    fdiddy TPF Noob!

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    This is exactly what I was thinking. I want to be able to take a picture based on knowledge. I don't want to take a picture, then look at it on the LCD screen, and then recompose it, change settings whatever. I believe that I will retain information and think more about my choices if I don't have a way of seeing how my shot turned out before I'm long gone from it.

    And yes, I want to develop B&W, not colour.
     
  10. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Film won't give you this
    Digital won't give you this

    Only shooting - and shooting lots will give you this - combined with experimentation. Never get into the trap of thinking that all the old masters only ever took one shot of a scene and walked away with a keeper. Many times they would take a series of shots at different settings to ensure that they got the correct look on the photo when they get back to the lab. Sure experience (years) would help them whittle down the number of shots needed to get that correct effect as would familiarity with the subject they are working with as well.
    I seem to recall one notable photographer saying that 1 keeper out a roll of film (36 shots) was good day out. ;)

    I'm not trying to talk you away or toward either film or digital, I just want you to understand that shooting with a film camera will not make you a better photographer or make the learning process any better or quicker. Infact being able to review shots in the field and make key changes whilst your there - in the light and can retake the shot is a fantastic thing. Sure its showing that you didn't get it right the first time -but its giving you a change to correct that mistake and learn from it. All those great film masters - they've got boxes of old failed shots that the world never sees ;)
     
  11. Dwig

    Dwig TPF Noob!

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    Given your desire to start with a MF film SLR and want some degree of compatibility with a future DSLR your only real choices are Nikon and Pentax. Even with these, there are some significant limitations in lens compatibility between the older film SLRs and modern DSLRs.

    The Canon EOS film cameras share a lens mount with DSLRs, but these are highly automated AF cameras that would offer absolutely no learning advantage over or distinction from their DSLRs. The same goes for the Minolta Maxxum line of film cameras. The only reason to try to learn on these, instead of a DSLR, is to learn film darkroom techniques. The lenses older manual focus Canon A & F series, FD mount lenses, and the older non-Maxxum Minolta models, MD and MC mounts, aren't compatible with the Canon and Sony, respectively, DSLRs.

    The older MF lenses for Nikon will work on their DSLRs if they are AI mount or newer (~1974 or newer). The Pentax K-mount lenses, and older thread mount with an adapter, will work on their DSLRs. In both cases there will be no gain in functionality on the DSLRs (MF lenses stay MF, ...) and in some cases there is a loss (AI Nikkors don't work in all metering modes on DSLRs and on some they don't meter at all). In both cases, modern AF lenses, if they are compatible with full frame DSLRs, will work on the older MF bodies provided they have their own f/stop rings (many don't).
     
  12. Dao

    Dao No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Being a beginner in photography, I will agree with others that going with digital help me learn and understand photography faster. One of the draw back with digital camera when compare with film based camera is the stock focusing screen on digital DSLR. It is easier to use manual focus on film camera. (i.e. split circle focus screen)

    I believe the learning process (except film processing) is some what the same with digital or film. But then again, I do not know too much about film camera. I bought a used Canon EOS film camera, and I will use it in the future especially on B&W.
     

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