Need help buying a camera for class.

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Felix0890, Oct 2, 2009.

  1. Felix0890

    Felix0890 TPF Noob!

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    I'll be taking Photography classes at my university soon and I'm a bit confused as to what to buy. I sent an email to the professor that teaches photography and he replied with this:

    "[FONT=Calibri, Verdana, Helvetica, Arial]If you are thinking in taking a class with us you will need a 35mm manual camera that has a 50mm minimum F2. The camera also has to have manual aperture settings, manual shutter settings and that you can the ISO."

    Besides the 35mm, manual, and ISO requirements, the rest translates into "as;lkdjfa;lskdfja;sdlkfjasd;lfkj" for me. I asked him whether the camera must be film or if I can buy a 35mm digital camera. From the requirements he sent me, does it look like it has to be film? I don't know if the "50mm minimum F2" means film.

    Also, if there are any cameras that you would recommend that also meet these requirements, I'd appreciate the recommendations.

    [/FONT][FONT=Calibri, Verdana, Helvetica, Arial]Sorry for the newby post. I'm hoping to learn all of the technical terms.

    [/FONT][FONT=Calibri, Verdana, Helvetica, Arial]- Felix :D
    [/FONT]
     
  2. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Hmmm, since he has specified "35mm" and not D-SLR, I would assume it is a film camera required, but I would write back and confirm that. The "50mm f2.0" refers to the lens; the 50mm is the focal length and the f2.0 is the maximum aperture (size of the opening through which light is admitted).

    I would check your local used gear stores; my personal recommendation would be for a Pentax ME Super w/ 50mm 1.8 or 2.0 lens (should come to <$200). There are however a million different bodies you can buy, any of the Nikon F series, the Canon AE-1 & AE-1 Program were also excellent bodies. As well, inexpensive, offshore makes such as Praktika can often be found in thrift stores for <$50.
     
  3. bengtb

    bengtb TPF Noob!

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    Any one camera that use film is manual...i myself use OM-40 with a film of 400 ASA which is like ISO in film using it together with a prime lens 500mm/1.8 which was normal i those days...


    Taking pics that i can convert to digital as well..
     
  4. Plato

    Plato TPF Noob!

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    In addition to the comments from the others...

    "ISO" and "ASA" mean the same thing - sensitivity to light (film or digital sensor). There is a history behind the two sets of semantics but you don't care about that. What you do care about is that the "ASA" term was used with film and "ISO" is used with digital.
     
  5. Felix0890

    Felix0890 TPF Noob!

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    He just invited me to his office next week to see some of the cameras he uses for the class.

    I'm hoping I can use a digital in the class. I would love to learn the film-developing process, however I would prefer the convenience of digital and would not like to keep having to pay to develop film after I finish the courses. Also, I prefer to keep pictures on my computer and not on paper so I'd be paying for a roll of film to be developed just to be scanned into my computer. :meh:

    Thanks to those of you that replied and the recommendations are appreciated.

    -Felix
     
  6. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    In North America.

    Many parts of the world have used "ISO" to refer to film speed for a long time.
     
  7. icassell

    icassell TPF Noob!

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    If I were you, I would buy a high-end Nikon or Canon film camera. They are available very cheap these days and there is gobs of excellent glass available very cheaply. This way, if and when you migrate to digital, you will still have an excellent 35mm body to use when the fancy strikes you. Those of us who were raised in the 35mm era only could dream of owning some of those bodies that are available now for a song.
     
  8. Randall Ellis

    Randall Ellis TPF Noob!

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    I've never seen a fully manual digital camera, so he most likely wants you to get a film camera. You should have no problem getting one with a 50mm f/2 lens for very little money.

    50mm refers to the focal length, f/2 refers to the aperture - both of which you will shortly learn the significance of.

    In photo classes we specifically require 35mm manual film cameras because students routinely try to cut corners and when you are trying to learn basic ideas you cannot cut corners if you want to have any hope of actually learning anything valuable. Manual cameras prevent that - you have no way to delete what you consider mistakes before you have the opportunity to learn from them and you cannot rely on the camera to think for you because it can't do that. We're crafty like that ;) Oh, by the way, you will not be paying to develop film, rather they will teach you how to develop it yourself, so don't worry about that cost

    Shop KEH Camera: Used Cameras, Digital Cameras, Film Cameras, Laptop Computers and More. if you want to get something used but that comes with a warranty. Bargain quality will be far and away more reliable than anything off ebay and it keeps costs down. Look for cameras like Pentax K-1000 or Canon AE-1. Minolta and Nikon made many manual models as well, but I'm not all that familiar with them so I can't toss out models very easily. If you use KEH, simply select any brand labeled 'manual focus' under the heading 35mm. Then select outfits. Choose any camera that has a lens marked 50mm and f/2 or lower. Don't worry about motor drives and all that jazz as you'll just have to remove them for class assignments.

    Lastly, try to relax and enjoy the class. There is a great deal that can be learned in photography courses but the students always seem in too much of a hurry to become 'pros' or to learn how to do the same tricks that everyone is doing online, or they are so scared up messing something up that they stay twitchy through the entire course and never learn anything. Everything that you learn (well, excepting developing film of course) will have at least some, if not quite a lot, of relevance to digital photography. And you can't really mess anything up, trust me on this one, you'll do fine. Contrary to many student's beliefs, photo classes requiring the use of film are not an attempt to indoctrinate anyone into being film users, nor should they be considered anti-digital in any way. The manual film requirement is an attempt to teach the basic ideas behind photography - all photography - so that you can best express your ideas in whatever medium you choose to use later on.

    - Randy
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2009
  9. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I really can't agree with KEH.com on this deal--their prices are much higher than what used 35mm manual focus gear is actually worth in today's sucky economy, and now 10 years into the d-slr era of photography.

    I just went and browsed through 10 pages of manual focus bodies and another 6 or 7 pages of camera outfits, looking at Nikon manual focus in both instances. My feeling is that a LOT of the older cameras are quite old now...FE's are 30 years old, FM's can be 30 years old, FM-2 and FE-2 models can be 25 years old...the prices KEH has on "outfits" are somewhat high in my opinion,because on the actual, walk-in retail and eBay market, manual focus 35mm cameras are worth almost nothing, but KEH.com,being the largest vendor of used equipment, gets thousands and thousands of potential customers each day. Go to a pawn shop and see that KEH prices are double or triple what this stuff brings in any major metro area of the US.

    Here is a Nikon FM,which is one I would suggest as being *the* most-reliable and the most-versatile small camera (takes pre-AI lensesmkaing it more versatile than FE-2 or FM-2,etc) from e-Bay, with new foam seals.
    Price? Bids are at $20, Buy It Now is $50,with $10 shipping. Now that is the price range that these cameras are actually "worth" in the real world.

    Black Nikon FM - eBay (item 290355193045 end time Oct-03-09 18:15:19 PDT)
     
  10. icassell

    icassell TPF Noob!

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    I would have to agree with Derrel on this one. I remember when I tried to sell my Minolta XD-11 and lots of excellent glass ... and was offered nearly zilch for the pile of it. I decided to keep it. I see lots of great stuff on Craigslist and at yard sales for a song. You could buy several bodies to get one good one for less than the price you would spend at a big distributer.

    You might consider that old standy -- A Minolta SRT-101 or SRT-102.
     
  11. c.cloudwalker

    c.cloudwalker TPF Noob!

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    I agree with Derrel also. There is nothing wrong with buying on e-bay so long as you do your homework.

    Check the seller's rating for his sales not just his general rating. Some people have good ratings but when you look at the detail it is mostly for buying :(

    Also check that the seller sells a lot of photo equipment. Anybody can pick up a good deal at a yard sale and stick it on ebay but if they don't know cameras, they don't know how to check them out.

    That said, I was also a Minolta user and any of their fully manual cameras would do you fine with a minor investment. Those cameras are workhorses and Minolta has some extremely beautiful glass. Any of the SRT bodies would be great.
     
  12. Felix0890

    Felix0890 TPF Noob!

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    Wow . . . lots of advice here. Thanks! Since I'm assuming, with my assumptions being reinforced, that I will need a manual camera, I did some research and did find good ones for >$100. The one I'm currently looking at is a Nikon N6006 35 mm SLR with Tokina AF 28-70 and 70-210 lenses and Sunpack power zoom 4000 AF for $100. Does that sound like a good deal? I'll do more ebaying before I go with that one just in case.

    Also, the class won't start 'til next semester (January) but I'd like to get the camera now to start learning some things by myself. Obviously I won't know how to process film. How much does it cost to process it? Speaking of . . . how much does film cost per roll? I'm assuming it's either really cheap since nobody uses it anymore or really expensive because nobody (at least not many) makes it anymore. :lol:

    I'll get to researching the cameras you guys suggested. Thanks again!

    -Felix

    Edit: One more thing . . . and forgive me on the newby question but, what does this "beautiful glass" term mean. I'm assuming lenses?
     

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