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Film curious ...

Discussion in 'Everything Film' started by EightBitTony, Aug 31, 2018.

  1. EightBitTony

    EightBitTony Well-Known Member

    Obviously, I've shot film, all the way up to the mid 90's, but I've never used a film SLR, only ever point and shoot film cameras.

    I'm not sure I'm ready to be developing my own film yet, but I am kind of curious about getting a second hand (obviously) 35mm film SLR for some B&W and maybe colour photography.

    I have no intention of spending a lot of money, and I may never 'follow through' as it were. I've read a bit and the Pentax K1000 seems like a decent option.

    Any comments?
  2. peterba

    peterba Well-Known Member

    Tony, at risk of appearing to ignore the specifics of your question, have you considered medium format? You can get a Yashica TLR for around £100-150, or a Bronica for around £300. Superb quality, and great fun... also different enough from full-frame digital to avoid the sense of duplication. Just a thought... :)
  3. Fishboy

    Fishboy Well-Known Member

    The first camera I bought myself was a Pentax K1000 and I never had a problem with it. Mine had the 50mm f2 lens and it served me well until I retired it for a Nikon FE.

    The needle metering on it was always good - you simply adjust the shutter speed or aperture until the needle is in the middle of a gap and you're right to go.

    If I have one reservation about the camera it's the focussing - which is done using a ground glass centre spot in the viewfinder. I've since come to prefer split image focussing because I find it easier to hit the right focus first time. I've just been downstairs and picked up my old K1000 and I still find hitting focus fairly difficult.

    I also realise that it's a while since I've given my camera collection a proper dust...


    This is mine - the battery's dead but everything else still works perfectly!

    If you're happy with the idea of a ground glass focussing spot rather than a split image, then I'd go for it!

    Cheers, Jeff

    Edit to add: I've just picked up my Nikon FE and Canon AE-1 - both of which have split screen focussing and I find them both far easier to focus than my K1000. I've forgotten which part of the world you're in, but if there's a decent second-hand camera shop near you I'd suggest handling a few cameras to see how you cope with the various models. Cheers, Jeff
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2018
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  4. Zou

    Zou Well-Known Member

    I'd second what @peterba suggests. Additionally the format may be more forgiving of error, scans/digitises easier, and apparent grain is reduced (you may of course prefer large grain, in which case it can be accentuated by developer choice for example). Even a semi-decent folder can give the 'wow' factor. Tagging @gray1720 because he knows much more about the range of options, having acquired approximately 74.3% of the film cameras in circulation at one point or another. ;)
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  5. Chester AP

    Chester AP Well-Known Member

    Re. split-image focusing on a film SLR. I used a Pentax MX (a later and more compact version of the K1000, above) for about 26 years, until going digital after the death of Kodachrome. The split image works well until you try using it with lenses with a maximum aperture of F 5 .6 or F 8, when the viewfinder image may be too dark for it to work. But it's great for 'normal' F 1.8 - F 4 lenses, where you will quickly learn the 'focus and recompose' technique after finding a well-lit object or surface edge to focus on. A few moments with a secondhand SLR camera will show you what I mean.

    The difference between a point and shoot 35 mm Camera and a film SLR is interesting: it's not like comparing a point and shoot digital camera with a DSLR because with film both cameras could have the same sensor (film emulsion and size). A 35 mm point and shoot with its 35 or 40 mm lens could give images as good as a 35 mm SLR with a 35 mm lens attached, if used outdoors in good light. It's once you move beyond this that a manual film SLR will always win because you have so much more control.

    In the early mid-1970s to the mid-1980s I also did black and white home film developing and printing, so offer a word of caution about the advice (above) to look at medium format cameras. You will find that, compared to 35 mm film, the film developing tank will use more chemicals and an enlarger to print from the medium format negatives may be larger than one for printing 35 mm negatives. Of course, if you plan to scan the negatives to get digital files then the medium format negative is the better option - but the camera, lenses and film will all be larger and heavier than for 35 mm.

    I really wish I could get a split-image focusing screen for my modern DSLR.
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  6. EightBitTony

    EightBitTony Well-Known Member

    Hmm, interesting. What would development options look like for that?
  7. EightBitTony

    EightBitTony Well-Known Member

    Perfect, thank you, just what I needed (given I had no idea about different focussing systems). I'll do some reading!
  8. EightBitTony

    EightBitTony Well-Known Member

    I couldn't do the Nikon, the menu would confuse me ;)
  9. EightBitTony

    EightBitTony Well-Known Member

    At the moment, I'm not considering my own development, I have neither the space, nor the ability to make anywhere in the house dark enough, nor the cash! So it would need to be a development service through a third party.
  10. Zou

    Zou Well-Known Member

    Or the older version of the same phenomenon - the shutter speed dial "turns the wrong way."

    NB - the shutter speed dial on the Nikon turns the correct way. Everyone else got it wrong.
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  11. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    What's the purpose of the shutter speed dial again? :cool:
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  12. Zou

    Zou Well-Known Member

    At a single press you can call louvred, BnB or Bermuda shutters. What else?
  13. Fishboy

    Fishboy Well-Known Member

    It just occurred to me while I was having a bath that I used the wrong description of the Pentax K1000 viewfinder - it's actually a ground glass screen with a microprism centre spot. My other comments about relative ease of focussing still stand though.

    Cheers, Jeff
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  14. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    My first good camera was a Pentax, but given today's prices, I'd look at a Nikkormat. Silly-cheap (only a bit more than Pentaxes, maybe less than K1000s) and a bigger choice of better lenses.


  15. peterba

    peterba Well-Known Member

    As it happens I've just got organised for developing my own black & white, but I've been using Harman (the Ilford 'descendant') for my 120 film. They're not 'cheap', but the quality is nice, IME. It remains to be seen whether I can get near to their quality with my own efforts. ;)
  16. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    You just need to get the film into the developing tank. The processing can be done in daylight. A dark room isn't necessary. There are changing bags you can buy. I used to stand in the cupboard under the stairs.
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  17. Craig20264

    Craig20264 Well-Known Member

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  18. peterba

    peterba Well-Known Member

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  19. peterba

    peterba Well-Known Member

    Jeff, what on Earth - in the course of having a bath - prompted you to think of this? :confused::p:D
  20. Zou

    Zou Well-Known Member

    Probably a bubble bath - looks a bit like the microprisms in a focusing aid?
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