the simplest film camera

Discussion in 'Film Discussion and Q & A' started by elbmek, Jun 29, 2009.

  1. elbmek

    elbmek TPF Noob!

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    Hi,

    usually i use a canon 350D, which is amazing. however, i'm about to embark upon some travelling which could be a bit rough and am looking for the simplest film camera possible.

    i'm talking mechanical wind, no flash, no batteries, manual focus if possible. it should also be fairly small. does such a thing exist?

    thanks
     
  2. Easy_Target

    Easy_Target TPF Noob!

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    Well the simplest film camera possible, would probably be a pinhole.
     
  3. compur

    compur No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    There are many such cameras -- older, small rangefinder or zone focus
    type cameras.

    For example, the Kodak Retina cameras are small, folding 35mm cameras
    that are quite well made and have excellent lenses. Some others include
    the Zeiss Contina models, Voigtlander Vito and Vitomatic series, the King
    Regula cameras, Kodak Signet models and many others.

    If you insist on no batteries then you will either have to have a camera
    with no built-in meter or with an older selenium type meter which does
    not require batteries. But, these older meters have aged now and are not
    as accurate as they once were.

    You can compensate for an older, tired meter via the camera's film speed
    setting but this will require some testing first using another meter to compare.
    You can also use most print films without a meter by "guestimating"
    exposure using the "Sunny 16 Rule" or you can purchase a separate
    hand-held meter.

    In any case, be sure the camera is in good working condition before
    purchase.

    However, if by "simple" you mean "simple to use" then I would
    recommend a small point & shoot camera but you'll definitely
    need a battery for these. Some good, tiny P&S cameras are
    the Olympus Stylus models and the Nikon Lite Touch models.
     
  4. c.cloudwalker

    c.cloudwalker TPF Noob!

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    The first camera that came to mind is the old Olympus XA. About the size of a pack of cigarettes if you take the flash off, mechanical wind, manual focus, beautiful glass.

    But you are stuck with the 35mm lens. And I am not sure whether the battery runs only the light meter or also the shutter. It's been a while since I've seen mine and don't know where it is :lol: so unfortunately I cannot check on that for you. The only problem I had with it (them in fact as I also have an XA2 which is definitely not quite as nice) is when my eyes started to go. I had a hard time focusing it.

    Here is a link for you to check it out: Photoethnography.com - Classic Cameras

    Minolta's SRT 202 has a mechanical shutter and you can switch lenses but it is not the lightest camera. It is an SLR and built like a tank. It does require a battery for the light meter but I don't think you can get away from that unless you carry a separate light meter...

    I am talking about cameras that I own of course but I am sure that if you look at other brands' older models you will find the equivalent of the srt 202.

    Now, if you go and look at even older cameras, you will find some that use no battery whatsoever but you have then no control over the exposure or you have to be very good at figuring out exposure without a light meter.

    I cannot tell you exactly how often I had to change the battery in my 202 but I know it was not very often. I would think that you can go on a 6 month trip and not worry. With the XA, I really don't remember. Sorry. But the link I gave you has a link to one of the fan clubs and I'm sure you can find a lot more info there.

    There are some collectors here so you might get some better tips than mine.

    Good luck in your search. And have a nice trip.
     
  5. Battou

    Battou No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Well....Here are a few that fit the bill that I have and can show you

    Box cameras like my Zeiss Ikon Box Tengor 54/2
    Zeiss/Ikon Box Tengor 54/2 by Battou - Photo Lucidity

    Older range finders like my:

    Kodak Signet 40
    Kodak Signet 40 by Battou - Photo Lucidity

    Leica III
    Lieca IIIf Black Syncro by Battou - Photo Lucidity

    Argus C3
    Argus C3 by Battou - Photo Lucidity

    And there are some SLR's, but I don't think I have any batteryless SLR's at the moment. I do have several that will opperate in full without them but they do use them
     
  6. elbmek

    elbmek TPF Noob!

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    awesome, thanks for all your help.

    in fact, i think the best thing would be do accept a battery and just buy something crappy off ebay. i'm really not looking for quality here, just something (reusable) that can take me some film. looks like anything truly mechanical is a bit of an antique, and a bit beyond my price range.

    someone once described to me a "toy camera" (which is not what you find when you google that term), meaning something designed for kids, with no flash and a manual wind. in fact i remember the first camera i had - it had no light meter, no battery, and a plastic lens. it took nice enough photos, and would hold up to the rain/dirt/sweat/sand/falling that i guess might happen on my trip. i want that again :p.

    thanks for your suggestions, though, they really were fascinating (and you've given me some ambitions for the future!)

    cheers
     
  7. Actor

    Actor TPF Noob!

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    A Pentax K1000 is reasonably small. It does have one battery (which lasts a long time) that powers the light meter. There's no on/off switch; capping the lens shuts down the meter. Can be had off ebay with 50mm lens for less than $50. I've also found it at pawn shops.
     
  8. Battou

    Battou No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    You don't need to get something "Crappy". There are a great many top of the line cameras that do not require a battery, that Leica I posted above is one such camera.

    If you are willing to accept a camera with battery your choices expand exponentially. Many SLR's made prior to 1973 (there or there abouts) use the battery soly for the meter.

    My every day walkaround camera is a Canon EF. It uses the batteries for only the meter and long exposures in excess of 2/1, this leaves you with shutter speeds from 1/1 to 1/1000, the self timer, multi-exposure, exposure lock and Shutter priority can be used with out power, they are all mechanical on that model.

    No need to settle with crap here my friend. ;)
     
  9. c.cloudwalker

    c.cloudwalker TPF Noob!

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    I agree with Battou, why crappy? There are plenty of older cameras that use very little battery power (just for the light meter) and still have beautiful glass. Maybe you don't understand that but, in the past, a camera body basically was just holding a film and a lens together.

    Your main problem is how heavy is too heavy and how much can you do if you don't have a light meter...
     
  10. bhop

    bhop No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I would recommend a Pentax K1000 as well. Cheap body, cheap lenses, reliable, simple to use, battery for the meter literally lasts for years and if it dies, the camera still works fine. It's the original 'student camera'. I have one and enjoy picking it up and playing with it from time to time, although, I haven't shot with it in a while.

    check out this pentax k1000 group on flickr
    http://www.flickr.com/groups/k1000/

    .
     
  11. compur

    compur No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Maybe a "single use" camera would fit your needs. Like these:
    KODAK Single Use Cameras for Indoors or Outdoors, Low Light or Bright Light
     
  12. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

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    I find my N80 simpler then my FE. :p
     

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