Worries about using film cameras

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by keller, Jan 14, 2006.

  1. keller

    keller TPF Noob!

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    I'm thinking of going into film photography, but the problem is, I know absolutely nothing about film. I've used compact 35mm cameras in the past for happy snaps, and that's about it.

    I'd like to do mostly landscape and outdoor portraits, with large-size prints (A2 and A3 sized). Will a regular SLR camera do, or do I need those medium format cameras?

    When buying a film SLR camera, what are the technical features I should be looking for?


    Also, I've been reading about using slides instead of film. Can slides be used with most regular 35mm SLRs?
     
  2. darin3200

    darin3200 TPF Noob!

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    To get up to those sizes medium format would probably be the best option for quality and detail after enlarging.

    If you decide to buy an SLR just for landscape you don't need a lot of features like fast autofocus, fast shooting speeds, 10 different modes, etc... For landscapes you would be better off buying a less feature rich SLR and spending the extra money on good lenses. All you really need is a light meter.
     
  3. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    Medium format will make better quality prints than 35mm, but you might want to see some examples of each before you decide. 35mm may be fine for your tastes.

    That said, the slower pace of medium format is well suited to landscapes, and it doesn't have to be expensive.
     
  4. terri

    terri Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Good advice. :thumbup:

    You can comfortably get some good enlargements with a 35mm film cam, if you stick to lower ASA films and quality prime lenses in your arsenal of equipment. Slide film is wonderful, gives good rich color and can certainly be used in any 35mm camera. It's really all about how you want to get prints made after the fact. :)

    That said, a print from a medium format negative is a thing of beauty!

    Start reading, and maybe take a class or two to help you get a feel for what system will give you what you're after. We're here to help guide you along the way. :D
     
  5. keller

    keller TPF Noob!

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    Thanks everyone, I appreciate the advice.

    I've also heard that having film processed by places like Walmart or the local Kodak shop tends to give poor quality photos? If so, where else could I get higher quality photos processed? I don't have any space to set up a darkroom (I live in a 1-bedroom place, and closets are too small to fit inside), so I'm relying completely on outside processing.
     
  6. Azuth

    Azuth TPF Noob!

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    It is possible to develop negatives without a dark-room and use a scanner to scan them onto your PC. The dark room is only really a must for making your own prints.

    A pro photo lab will give you much better control over the processing, they also tend to be more consistent. Also, you may not want every frame printed and certainly not enlarged so a pro lab is better to accomodate these things. Just grab the yellow pages or walk in to any photographer's store / studio and ask, they'll generally be happy to point you in the right direction.
     
  7. Jeff Canes

    Jeff Canes No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Easy to use and availably to get good lenses
     
  8. LWW

    LWW TPF Noob!

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    I think that's a bit of a bum rap, but it certainly increases the chances of bad work.

    I use minilabs regularly, being cheap, and can offer a few tips to increase the odds:

    -Forget equipment hangups. If properly maintained all labs will have good stuf. It's the tech that makes the difference. Ansel Adams made masterpieces from what today would be considered junk machinery. A minimum wage kid who works photolab 1 day a week and has been doing it 3 weeks can't turn out a masterpiece from state of the art stuff.

    -Whenever possible drop stuff off early in the day. People are more rested. Chems are fresher. Things just seem to work better.

    -If they have 1 hour but you won't be back for 4 hours let them know. In this day and age of consumerism where people think they can come in to a 1 hour lab with 28 rolls of film from a 2 week European vacation and walk out in 1 hour...well when someone is the rare customer saying "Take a little longer, I'd rather have it right..."is probably going to make people at least a little more conscientious(sp?) on your job.

    -If you have none mainstream photos...the Moon, comets, fireworks, Christmas lights, heavily backlit subjects, disclose it going in. You can take multiple stabs at printing a neg but only 1 shot at properly developing it.

    -If you shoot a roll with problem lighting then finish out the roll. Don't take in a roll with 6 photos from mountaintop snow skiing in bright noonday sun along with a peck from kids running inside with only built in flash and some more taken on a Moonless night of the Orion Nebula.

    -When you find a good photofinisher that works for a good price ask if you can get their schedule or remember what they look like. Another person at the same lab may or may not produce their results. If your developer is off today ask for next day and that developer. It makes them look good to the boss and more likely to give your film the best effort.

    -Locally Click Camera offers superb processing in 1 hour at prices a shade below the typical minilab. The real deal however is if I drive 10 minutes farther to their main lab I can get up to 3 rolls back in 1 hour while the local Click minilab struggles to make 75 minutes. Now that the time is about a push I also know everyone who works there and their work is EYEPOPPING!

    -Another deal I had once, a guy who ran the darkroom for a local magazine publisher for 40 years retired and then just to get out of the house took a part time job working the minilab at a local Krogers. Dirt cheap processing, pro lab quality, and if you would listen they guy would educate you on nuances of color and shadow.

    -Don't discount mail order. I still use York now and then. I used them a lot when I was younger. Other than a little more dust than Click they do nearly as good a job for almost free. They sure aren't Instamatic though. Younger people may not have the patience. Those old enough to remember being excited when the mail man came everyday, because their was no UPS-FedEx-1 Hr Everything, can probably deal with it.

    LWW
     
  9. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    I want to re-emphasize this. At the tail end of my film use, I took all my work to whatever Eckert's Drugs store this particular person worked at that week. I met her during a photo workshop. She did all their mini-lab training for WNY and really knew her stuff. I consistantly got better results from her than I did the pro labs in the area.
     
  10. 'Daniel'

    'Daniel' TPF Noob!

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    I'm finding it hard to find anywhere near wher eI live to get developing done at reasonable prices and good quality. i can take it to labs and it will cos about £10 or go to Tesco or Boots but probably get pretty oor results. I'll try the out thoguh.

    So look around till you find somewhere you like. I have somwhere I like but it costs your first born just to get a roll developed.

    I'm going to develop my own I think.
     
  11. Don Simon

    Don Simon TPF Noob!

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    Good choice. For black & white I'm sure developing yourself is the best option. My problem with Boots, Tesco, Snappy Snaps etc is that with the technology they have you're unlikely to get bad prints... they just won't be the prints you wanted. Obviously the more control you have over processing, the better.
     
  12. LWW

    LWW TPF Noob!

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    How would you find a good dentist, doctor, lawyer, butcher, baker, or candlestick maker? This is just another human provided service.

    If you have someplace yoy like that's high it never hurts to ask if they have any volume deals.

    LWW
     

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