Please help, film camera

Discussion in 'Film Discussion and Q & A' started by DakotaHolter, Dec 28, 2017.

  1. DakotaHolter

    DakotaHolter TPF Noob!

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    Hello everyone! I have recently acquired a "PRAKTICA LTL 3" film camera from a garage sale for free, I have a nikon d3200 that ive had for years, but i wanted to challenge my self and use an old school type of camera to make it harder to challenge my self, ANYWAYS. I was curious on what type of 35mm film i should start off with, i noticed turning the lens to focus is very stiff but thats understandable for the grease that use to be in it. I would be using it to take daytime photos with it, id love to shoot with black and white and maybe color film. any suggestions and also what settings would be good for a daytime shot. Thank you for taking the time to help me. -Dakota


     
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  2. Dave442

    Dave442 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I would run a couple rolls of whatever color film is cheap locally for you. Have it developed and see if there are any signs of light leaks, etc. You can just use your D3200 to grab a good estimate of the exposure to set on the LTL, pick up a cheap handheld meter, a phone App, or use the Sunny 16 guide. Try some different shutter speeds and note down your exposure settings.

    One of the nice parts of many older lenses is their manual focus feel, having a lens that sticks does not sound like much fun.
     
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  3. DakotaHolter

    DakotaHolter TPF Noob!

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    Thank you Dave for responding to my post so quickly! I will definitely do that! I suppose there is no magic method of making it not stick as much as i turn the lens eh? i wont complain! it will still be fun to get out and make mistakes and get a better bond with the camera!
     
  4. john.margetts

    john.margetts No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    If the camera has been sitting unused in a cupboard or, worse, garage, for 30 years lots of parts are likely to be stiff, not just the focus. My standard technique with any "new" old camera is to sit watching the TV for a couple of hours, firing the shutter, winding on, adjusting shutter speed and aperture continually, all with no film in the camera.
     
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  5. 480sparky

    480sparky Chief Free Electron Relocator Supporting Member

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    You'll likely find the shutter has slowed down from age and non-use. Usually, 1/30 is accurate, but 1/60 is now 1/50, 1/125 is 1/100, 1/250 is 1/150nl, 1/500 is 1/200 and 1/1000 is 1/250.
    The longer speeds can be all over the board. 1/15 can be 1/10 or 1/20. 1/8 might be 1/3 or 1/15. Etc.
    Only thorough testing and analyzing many rolls of film can nail the actual speeds down I'd you don't have a shutter timer.
     
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  6. Designer

    Designer Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Exercising the lens focus ring and the camera's shutter will sometimes help, but don't expect a miracle. One simple thing you can do to work around the stiff focus ring is to set the focus at some known distance, and place your subject at that distance. Fun and challenging at the same time.

    I would not expect the shutter to be precise in the timing, but your first roll can give you some valuable feedback. Take notes on the exposure of every frame to help you analyze the performance of the camera when you get the film back.

    Speaking of roll, if the box doesn't have suggested settings printed on it, and if there is no sheet of exposure settings inside, simply note the film speed (ASA or ISO) and go online to get the correct exposure. Use daylight as your testing light and the settings starting point. Sunny day, but no glare.

    A good, fresh, daylight film is what you want. Probably for color prints, although color transparencies or b&W will work for the testing. Pay attention to the expired date on whichever film you buy. Take the exposed film to a reputable lab for processing.

    Often, the lab will make adjustments to the exposure and color when they make the prints, so look at the negatives to judge whether your camera is exposing the film correctly.

    Do not oil anything inside the camera or lens. If everything works except for the stiffness, ask a local repair shop to tell you how much they will charge to clean and re-grease the lens focus ring. Don't try this yourself unless you just want to see what's inside. You will probably not get it back together correctly, so take it apart only if you're going to junk the lens anyway.

    Oh, I nearly forgot to mention that older lenses can be purchased inexpensively, so it would be easier and less trouble to simply find another lens like it that works properly.
     
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  7. jcdeboever

    jcdeboever TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    For black & white, I prefer Kodak 400TX, better known as TriX. Ilford HP5+ works well too but I develop myself, both offer a wide exposure latitude. For real good light or tripod photography, I use Fujifilm Acros 100.

    If you want your local lab (Walgreens, Walmart, Rite-aid etc.) to make prints, then Ilford XP2 Super 400 would be a good choice as it uses the C41 color processing but it comes out in black & white. Most local labs don't process true black and white film anymore, like TriX or HP5+

    For color, it all depends on what I'm doing. For cheap film, the Kodak Color Plus 200 is very nice for outdoor use, general purpose. Very under rated in my opinion. For lower light, inside stuff, Kodak GC/UltraMax 400 is solid and produces nice skin tone indoors. Kodak Porta 400 is very nice for skin tones and has a pleasant pastel color look but a little more expensive. For max sharpness, Kodak Ektar 100 has beautiful saturated color, great for landscape / outdoor stuff but a little red on Caucasian skin but very sharp.
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2017
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  8. vintagesnaps

    vintagesnaps Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I'd try a basic roll of Kodak or something and see what you get. If you get some good pictures and like the camera, a different lens might be worth it. I like Kodak TMAX, or any of the Ilford films for B&W, and Kodak Portra is nice color film. Usually I use 100 ISO if it's sunny outdoors, 400 for lower light/indoors.

    I think that Praktica uses a screw mount lens so you'd need to get an M42 (which is often called a Pentax or universal mount). Pentax did the M42 screw mount earlier then switched to their Pentax bayonet mount so make sure you're getting what works with your camera. There is also the M39 which fits many older rangefinders but won't work with yours, so you need to make sure if it says screw mount which size it is.

    You could try http:/www.filmphotographyproject.com - they have articles and videos and sell film. For lenses take a look at Used Photography Cameras & Equipment - Buy and Sell Online . Their vintage items are listed on the KEH outlet which is their ebay page. What I like is that since KEH went to stock photos on their site, on ebay they still show photos and descriptions of the actual camera or lens you'd be buying or bidding on. I've also bought used from Adorama, and places like Pittsburgh Camera Exchange.
     
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  9. DakotaHolter

    DakotaHolter TPF Noob!

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    Thank you everybody so much! I am having a heck of a time loading the film to this camera, very few videos on YouTube. I appreciate everyone taking the time to help me! It means a lot.
     
  10. Designer

    Designer Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    On "trick" that I used when loading film is to fold and crimp a small flap on the end of the leader. This little flap should be no longer than the depth of the take-up spool, and when it is inserted into the spool slot, it will help the leader wind around the spool. Make sure the fold is going the right way so it doesn't then pop out of the slot. Wind the take-up spool about one full rotation before carefully closing the back. After the back is closed, make one or two film-advance strokes while watching the frame counter. If the counter advances, then you're good to go. If the counter does not move, then open the back and try again.
     
  11. john.margetts

    john.margetts No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    On every camera I can think of, the frame counter will advance with no film in the camera, or with the film not loaded correctly. A more secure check is to watch the rewind crank on the left as this rotates when the film moves but not otherwise.
     
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  12. Designer

    Designer Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Absolutely! I knew that, but I forgot. Been 20 years for me.
     

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