35mm Film Camera


TPF Noob!
Oct 1, 2010
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Hi everyone,

I'm new to this forum and I hope some of you can guide me.

I'm looking for an entry-level SLR camera and while going through some second-hand models I came across a Minolta Xg-7 35mm w/ 3 lenses for 100$. I don't exactly know the details of the lenses but will be visiting the owner shortly to find out. My main quesition is how feasible and practical it would be start film SLR photography in the presence of current DSLRs? Will it get probitively expensive later when it comes to rolls and prints? Does it have a steep learning curve? To be honest, I'm a bit inclined to favour the film SLRs in terms of quality but I don't know if that's entirely true!

My prior experience has mostly been with point-and-shoot Canon digicams and a little of my friends Canon 1000D. I don't really want to be restricted to only something like bird photography or landscape photography but want to experiment around. From all I know getting just a DSLR w/ a standard kit lens would not be enough for that, right? Atleast for bird photography I would need a substantial zoom lens to start out. And that would mean spending a whole lot than just the camera price. Are there any entry level DSLRs w/ lenses that don't blow a hole in my pocket? Used ones will do.

Also, since I'm on the subject of film cameras, what other film cameras can I look at which have great quality and are available rather inexpensively?

I know these are a lot of questions, but please guide me.

Film learning curve is much steeper than digital. With digital, as you know, you take your picture and see it instantly and see what mistakes you made right away, then you can fix and learn. 2 weeks later when you get your prints you might not remember what your settings were or anything and you'll have to learn all over again. Of course film cameras are cheap, it's the tax that's expensive (tax being your endless processing and film costs) Before there was digital processing costs weren't seen as a tax since it was the only option, so pro film cameras went for thousands used. Now it is seen as a tax so they go for pennies on the dollar. Don't be wooed by low upstart costs.
Welcome to the forum.

One thing to consider, is whether you want to someday get a digital SLR camera as well. Because if you do, it might be a good idea to get a film camera that has lenses that will be compatible with a digital model. Most Nikon lenses made since the 70's, should still mount to modern Nikon SLR cameras...and Canon's lenses are compatible from 1987 forward.

There are certainly plenty of options for cheap film cameras and lenses (especially the ones that aren't readily compatible with modern cameras)...but the cost of film & developing can add up. You could go for something completely manual, thus forcing to you to learn about exposure, or you could get something more automatic but with the options for manual control.

Also, are you planning on a digital workflow (scanning your film images)? Because in most cases, the scanning part will work against you and you won't get near the quality of a digital SLR.
Thanks a lot for your replies supraman and Big Mike!

I'll go have a look at the camera and the lenses tomorrow and get back to you. Yes, scanning I suppose would be problematic for me. Lets see. I'm still very much confused. Maybe having a look at some actual cameras and lenses might help.
You should be able to get a decent used digital camera for around $300 with a lens. I know I've seen Pentax *istD for around that price, and they are still a nice camera, especially for a beginner. There are plenty of Pentax lenses out there, and even the older screw mount lenses from the 50's and on will work with a cheap adapter, you will loose some of the modern features, but if you want to learn to shoot a camera manually, it's something that works.
2 other classic's worth consideration are the Canon AE-1 and the Nikon FE. A search on Google of these will give a wealth of information on these great old cameras... and the best part is, they're very cheap now.
I bought an F3, motor drive, and lens outfit from KEH for < 300. I have a D90 also. The new Nikon G lens won't work on the F3, but manual focus Nikon lens are cheap and will work in manual mode on my D90.


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