First 35mm SLR

KaraElizabeth

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I'm taking a black and white darkroom class next month. I'm so excited for it. I contacted the instructor AND art center several days ago asking what camera he recommends/if they have lenders I could use in the beginning. Neither have responded as of yet. I'm hoping to find a nice, clean, inexpensive camera. Preferably $100 or under since film is purely recreational as of right now. (I can always upgrade later, right?) I want to be able to do full on manual. I don't plan on buying too many lenses; I shoot film more for the art and fun of it. I'd rather invest the big bucks in digital gear. At least that's what I'm thinking this week. ;)
I was originally debating between the Pentax K1000 and Canon AE-1. Any information on these cameras? Other suggestions? What lenses are necessary?
 
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Dinardy

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I always liked minoltas. But I guess I'm biased.

Especially the MD Rokkor glass (which is decently cheap now). I have had an XE-7 for the last decade or so and I just fell in love with how it felt and shot, super durable body with decent metering capability... just my noobish 2cents.
 
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Skidmark

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The Pentax K1000 is an excellent choice, you can find them on eBay with a 50 mm lens, usually for $60 or less. Any manual "K" mount lens will work on it, there are thousands of choices of those one eBay too. I've heard good things about the AE1, but have no experience with them.
 

Derrel

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The Canon AE-1 and AE-1 Program were two of the highest-production 35mm SLRs ever built, and many of the original owners of these camera are passing on, and their families are donating their camera gear to GOodwill in pretty high numbers. An AE-1 Program and 50mm FD normal lens sells for $24.95 here, and there's about one camera a week to ten days coming in. Minolta X-series camera are also coming in pretty regularly. THe knock against the Pentax K1000 is the mechanical, match0-needle meter system, which is somewhat prone to breakage. However, offsetting that, the camera's shutter and lens diaphragm actuation are 100%R mechanically done, requiring NO batteries to actually shoot pictures.

The Canons are cheap in large part because the Canon manual focus lens mounts are dead-ends. Same with Minolta, dead end. Pentax K OTOH, is still usable on brand new cameras.
 
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KaraElizabeth

KaraElizabeth

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Thanks for all the feedback! I was going to get the AE-1, but recently am leaning more towards the K1000 honestly. I'll check out the Minolta's and can't wait for more opinions. :)
 

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Both those are boderline relics. With most once-popular 35mm cameras going for peanuts now, you might also look at Nikon AF models like the 8008s and N90s--both work very nicely with manual focus lenses. I'd get the newest you can afford. There's really nothing inherently superior in oldies like the K1000/AE-1/Minolta X series. Old Nikon models like the FE/FM variants are worth a look. I'd not bother with Nikons older than these.
 

vintagesnaps

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I love B&W film and darkroom work - you're making me feel excited for you! The Pentax was always popular as a student camera and they made some nice lenses so would probably be a good choice for a class. I'm not as familiar with the AE-1 - it's probably too 'high-tech' for me if it takes a battery for anything other than the meter! but I have some Canon FD mount that I like. I'm not familiar with Minolta but people like those too and the Rokkor lenses were always supposed to be good - any you're considering would probably work fine for you for class.

I've done well with Buy & Sell New & Used Cameras ? Canon, Nikon, Hasselblad, Leica & More - KEH.com and I think they would be an option later on to trade in and upgrade. Or to add to whatever system you choose.. (if you turn into one of these Darkroom Rat !)
 

vintagesnaps

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Everyone has their preferences, the most recent camera I bought was made c1920. I've bought all kinds of old cameras and use most of them from time to time.
 

Robin_Usagani

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If you shoot canon currently, I would just get a new film camera that takes EOS mount. Shouldnt cost very much. Less than $50. That way you can use same lenses.
 

MartinCrabtree

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AE-1. I kept mine when I switched to Nikon because they (all three of them) did so much for me. Like stated earlier the glass is dead so great lenses can be had cheap.
 

peter27

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I'm no expert but the majority of the photos I've uploaded to this forum were taken with a K1000 and a 50mm lens. Take a look and see what you think.
 

timor

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Both those are boderline relics. With most once-popular 35mm cameras going for peanuts now, you might also look at Nikon AF models like the 8008s and N90s--both work very nicely with manual focus lenses. I'd get the newest you can afford. There's really nothing inherently superior in oldies like the K1000/AE-1/Minolta X series. Old Nikon models like the FE/FM variants are worth a look. I'd not bother with Nikons older than these.
In which part of Toronto you live ? Surely not mine. Bodies like 8008 are going for nothing, true, but try to get the lenses. On the other hand I don't see anything superior in this AF bodies, the opposite, they are overcomplicated with too many "auto" options. The only problem with borderline relics is reliability maybe so go for good brands like Pentax or Minolta.
 

cgw

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Both those are boderline relics. With most once-popular 35mm cameras going for peanuts now, you might also look at Nikon AF models like the 8008s and N90s--both work very nicely with manual focus lenses. I'd get the newest you can afford. There's really nothing inherently superior in oldies like the K1000/AE-1/Minolta X series. Old Nikon models like the FE/FM variants are worth a look. I'd not bother with Nikons older than these.
In which part of Toronto you live ? Surely not mine. Bodies like 8008 are going for nothing, true, but try to get the lenses. On the other hand I don't see anything superior in this AF bodies, the opposite, they are overcomplicated with too many "auto" options. The only problem with borderline relics is reliability maybe so go for good brands like Pentax or Minolta.

Try looking on eBay? Primes like the 50/1.8E and 50/2Ai aren't that spendy. "Overcomplicated with too many "auto" options" puzzles me since the cameras I mentioned are very straightforward and can easily be set to run in manual mode. Aperture priority is handy. They have big bright viewfinders and also do spot metering. They're quite tough, use built-in motor drives and run on AA batteries. I gave up on non-mechanical Minoltas after two X-700s crashed, thanks to their baked-in problem with bum capacitors. You should also mention the cost and difficulty in finding competent repairs for the oldies. My only point is that film photography isn't dependent on Nixon/Ford era cameras.
 

timor

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My only point is that film photography isn't dependent on Nixon/Ford era cameras.
My point is if one want to shoot film in this type of cameras - what's the point, digital is less troublesome. I have F70,F75,F80, all factory new bodies. They do things I don't like, they are slow, need constant control of the settings, they refuse to fire when I want (obviously they supposed to be smarter ?) because something is not right (be it exposure or focus) according to theirs "logic". Must be, that I am not alone here as nobody wants this electronic film bodies, K1000 or Spotmatic costs more in average.
I think, that film technology went to the point where as a hobby is not about just "taking pictures", but something more like real control over medium and for that relics and hand held spotmeter are just good.
 

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