Photographer from Australia


TPF Noob!
Mar 25, 2006
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Sydney, Australia
well, ok, i wouldnt call myself a photographer... yet...

Im new to photography and im just looking for a point in the right direction. i've always enjoyed a good photo so i was excited to score
my mums Pentax MZ-50 (when she got a new compact digital). i have a few questions?

  • Is this camera any good? (do you want more details on it?)
  • Do you have any advise to give a newb like myself?
  • With develoing the film, is it too newb-like to just take my roll of film to the shop to get developed? or should i look in some other direction? Remembering im very new and have a budget of a uni student (ie next to nothing).
  • Last, is anyone here from Australia?
Thanks heaps in advance for your help.

I live in Melbourne, so you're not alone on this forum (I think there are quite few Aussies on here, actually)

Devleoping your film at any place is fine, but if you want great quality prints, you might be better to go to a reputable camera store.

I don't know aboutyour particular camera - but Pentax is a brand with a good reputation and some great lenses (I have a very okld Pentax K1000 - it's a great manual camera), so you should be Ok with it as a starting point.

My only real advice to you as a beginner would to take lots of pictures. Get hold of a good book might help (there's quite a few recommended here). I'd aslo recommend switching teh camera to aperture pririty to help you get a feel for how it afects depth of field. Read lots of forum like this one, and check out other peoples pictures. You might also like to join a local camera club. But mainly, take lots of pictures :)
Hello, alas I'm not from australia, in my dreams!

I've never seen or used your camera, but they're all basically light tight boxes with a hole that opens and closes in. Just looked it up on the internet, looks absolutely fine!

My only advice is to shoot as much as possible. Don't be afriad of taking photos and don't expect to get a full roll of great ones back every time. If you get one good one back for every 36, that's a good ratio.

See if you can enrol on a photography course at a local college. Especially one where you get to do darkroom work. A - it teaches you a lot about photography and B- it's great fun!

And no, I quite often take my film to Tesco's (supermarket) to get developed. It's cheap and once you have the negatives you can always get other prints from them. At this point you want to be taking lots of pictures anyway, so the cheaper you can make it, the better!

If you really want to economise, you can start to shoot black and white film and develop it at home yourself. Bit of an initial outlay and you don't get any prints, but it will work out cheaper if you do it a lot!

Good luck with everything!
Joel said:
hey i just thought of another question. whats the best way to record what settings i used for a particular photo? a table or something?

Notebook. I start a new page for each film and give it a reference - 2006/A, 2006/B etc, the date, what camera I was using and the film type. When I file the prints and negatives I label them with the same reference number and tear out the notebook page and file that too.

For each exposure I write down the location, the subject, shutter speed, aperture and where I was focusing (this will help you later when you want to see how aperture affects your depth of field).

I also make a note of how I decided on the exposure, for example I might take a meter reading from close to someone's face and then open the aperture 1 or 2 stops from what the meter indicated, or I might meter the darkest shadow in the scene and then close down the aperture by one or two stops. This may not make any sense to you at the moment, but try a search for threads on exposure and you'll get lots of helpful information. For now you are probably just going to use whatever settings your camera's meter tells you and maybe shoot in automatic mode where the camera does everything for you, but it is worth getting into the habit of writing it down anyway.

I'm in the UK, but I've got family in WA and friends in NSW. I've visited both, and wish I was there right now!

cool thanks! you guys have been heaps helpful!!!

and yeh i have been doing some reading about all that stuff and i'll definatly keep learning and reading as i go!
I just found out the the lens isnt the original lens. it says on it

Pentax 28-50

the further around it says

1:3.5-5.6 28-80mm

and at the very end it says

Arkon 58mm UV.

Im looking around the net now for info so hopefully i'll find something. do you guys know anything about it? i dont even know what all those numbers mean :blushing:

also theres a bit of dust inside the lens and in the camera in general. i had a search for how to clean it but didnt come up with alot (i'll keep looking tho).

Thanks again for helpin out a newbie :thumbup:
Pentax 28-50

That means it's a Pentax branded zoom lens. This is a wide to general lens, suitable for landscapes, portraits whatever. Not however, a long lens for wildlife or sports.

1:3.5-5.6 28-80mm

It's a 28-80mm zoom lens with widest aperture at 28mm of f3.5. At 80mm the widest aperture is f5.6. This is fine for general photography, but won't let you get a very narrow depth of field.

and at the very end it says

Arkon 58mm UV.

That's a third party removeable UV filter. It has very little effect on the end image, but will help protect your lens from scratches and stuff. Probably best as a newbie to leave it on for safety.

Im looking around the net now for info so hopefully i'll find something. do you guys know anything about it? i dont even know what all those numbers mean :blushing:

Let us know if there are any further explanations needed to the numbers!

also theres a bit of dust inside the lens and in the camera in general. i had a search for how to clean it but didnt come up with alot (i'll keep looking tho).

Don't clean the camera unless the images are affected by the dust - you'll probably make things worse, or perhaps damage the camera. Wait until you've got a better idea of how it all works before attempting this, or take it to a professional for a CLA.

Thanks again for helpin out a newbie :thumbup:

No problem! Just ask if you need anything clarified.

WOW! thanks for such a good reply. i didnt plan on playin with the insides. i just thought i'd ask :) I'll be hanging around so hopefully i'll be able to post some shots soon!
Another Aussie here, (Newcastle dweller)

I used an MZ-50 through High School for major assignments and when I couldn't use that I had my dad's Pentax ME Super to play with. :)

The MZ-50 was a superb camera for a student to use since it has full electonic lenses. :)

You'll probably find a few more Pentax loyalists around here, I'm a devout Canon user but sometimes i'll revert back to my old Pentax ways. :)
bit of a bump on this one, all the way from page 11 :p

i get pretty much everything you explained (thanks btw), except for one thing, what exactly does the 28mm and 80mm refer too. i have been trying to figure it out myself just from logic but so far i cant... can anyone help?

also, where it says (eg) 1m on the focus ring, that mean the focal distance it 1m right. and this doesnt change, much, with the zoom, it doesnt apear to.
The 28 and 80 are the length of the lens in mm.

Basically, your eye sees at about the same magnification as 50mm. That lens straddles the "normal" range, so 28mm is wide enough to do landscape scenes and 80mm is about perfect for a portrait. It isn't, though, a lens which is suitable for distant stuff - bird spotting, motor sports probably wouldn't be do-able with this length. However, the good news is that it'll do pretty much everything else.

The distances on the focussing ring are not very important, as your camera allows you to see through the lens and you look through and turn the focus until it looks right. Depending on the type of zoom, the focus may or may not vary a bit or a lot with zooming. It's likely that you'd want to zoom first and then focus really.

Oh cool! i get it now! is that measured from the mirror or film (or sensors?). or am i still not getting it haha.

i didnt understand for a bit there, but i took the lens off and looked in the back of it as i zoomed in and out. now i understand :D


also that second question was just out of curiosity, i dont plan of focusing buy looking at the top of the lens. hehe...

ok i know im full of questions but i have another now, is 100mm zoom, 2x 50mm zoom. or does it not work in this way?

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