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What camera?

Discussion in 'Everything Film' started by KierFX, Jan 22, 2016.

  1. KierFX

    KierFX Well-Known Member

    I'm wanting to upgrade my 1100d and think I might fancy a change, competly to film. I haven't shot film at all really but would like to get good at it.

    What camera am I best off getting? A rangefinder? medium format?


    (I shoot mostly landscape so thinking of shooting medium/large format so that I can get MASSIVE photos)
    Riaz Ahmed likes this.
  2. steveandthedogs

    steveandthedogs Well-Known Member

    Not often you hear of people upgrading to film!

    What's your budget for a start. Do you have any chance of getting your hands on the various types before taking the plunge?

    A SLR such as a Praktica will have vaguely similar handling to a DSLR and is still obtainable at a reasonable price. They will make you think more though and also slow you down a lot, not always a bad thing. And it will give you the chance to change lenses. Zenits are heavy and not as much fun to lug around.

    For a rangefinder [consider a viewfinder as well, such as a Voigtlaender Vito or similar], I'd try starting at the cheaper end in case you decide you can't get on with them; Petri 7s or Yashica Minister III or even a Werra. They have a very definitely different feel from using a SLR, but a lot of people [me for one!] like them. You may find the rangefinder spot is too faint to see, in that case, pretend it's a viewfinder and guess the distance.

    Medium format is different again. Folder? TLR? Rigid? Ones in good condition seem to be a bit dearer than 35mm and remember that you will be restricted to 8, 12 or 16 shots per film, depending on the camera. Folders tend to be a bit older and may need new bellows or some work doing to the shutter/mechanicals. Mind you, that applies to almost any kind of old camera.

    I wouldn't bother with large format for a while.

    Also, are you thinking of developing your own? You can get a kit with everything except chemicals and changing bag for about £60ish, but you will need some way of getting them to a computer, unless you want to start printing in a darkroom.

    I think overall that 35mm is the way to go to start.

    Riaz Ahmed likes this.
  3. nimbus

    nimbus Well-Known Member

    Initially I would agree with the 35mm thought. Plenty of gear to be had, some at very low prices, much of the autofocus slr film gear fetches buttons now. I picked up a Nikon F80 for £10 a few months ago. If you find you want to go down the film path you can always look at medium format later. 35mm will make for a lower cost learning curve.
    Riaz Ahmed likes this.
  4. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    Don't throw away the digital. Unfortunately the film EOS bodies won't work with EFS lenses but EF lenses for a film EOS will be useable on your 1100.

    Suggest you see how you get on with ISO set to 200 and putting £10 in a tin every 36 exposures (just guessing on film+ D&P) for the next 3 months. Plus turn off image review and don't peek at the product until 36 (or 24). For medium format simulation make it £20 every 12.

    For 35 mm get a SLR if you do anything close or moving where it is important to get the same view through the finder as will be recorded on the film. Other than that the range finder is equally good, it comes down to preference.

    Medium format means bigger cameras and higher costs. You have opportunity to make bigger prints but unless you are setting up a darkroom you may have to go far afield to get processing done. For landscapes the waist level finder on a SLR or TLR makes a good composition aid.

    Large format - you have to be dedicated and the costs go up a lot.
  5. Ffolrord

    Ffolrord Well-Known Member

    Digital is easy, because you can afford to get it wrong.

    Film is expensive, because you have to get it right.

    Stick with digital until you improve. Then think about film.
    Riaz Ahmed likes this.
  6. cliveva

    cliveva Well-Known Member

    Film is hard work, requires more skill, is expensive(cost per shot),can't change ISO(other than rewinding and loading a new film) and you need a light meter for best results(not to mention dark room facilities).
    Grew up with film, love digital:cool:
  7. nimbus

    nimbus Well-Known Member

    I think the poster wants to acquire and develop those skills, he was recently accepted onto a photographic course.
  8. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    Is a bit drastic to throw digital away though which is why I suggested using his digital camera as if it were a film camera for a couple of months including clocking up the running costs. For an SLR using colour neg. there is no real difference. I went from a 50E to a 5D and the the only things I noticed "different" was a) variable iso and b) freedom from 36 exposures. I still rarely turn the rear LCD on.
    Riaz Ahmed likes this.
  9. KierFX

    KierFX Well-Known Member

    Thanks everyone. The lenses I shoot on 95% of the time is an old 50mm m42 f2.8 lenses, Carl zeiss jenear I think. What bodies shoot m42 lenses? Isn't it the likes of pratitika?
  10. RogerMac

    RogerMac Well-Known Member

    Definitely stick with 35mm until you are really bitten by the bug. I once carried a Bronica up a Scottish mountain and when I got home I looked at the quality carefully and decided that it might be a little better than my AE1 but the difference was definitely not worth the extra weight. Mind you I could be tempted by a 6x9 folder!
    Riaz Ahmed likes this.
  11. nimbus

    nimbus Well-Known Member

    Pre B series Prakticas, with some exceptions (some had an electric control system), Pentax pre the K series, Zenith B & E and a multitude of other bodies from a number of manufacturers. The Pentax cameras are probably the most pleasant as they were well engineered and finished. Remember though that nearly all these M42 mount cameras are now long in the tooth so potentially may be suffering problems with light seals (not terminal) and shutter tapering.
  12. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    The Prakticas actually tend to be more reliable - L series ones, anyway. The metal focal plane shutter tends to suffer far less from tapering etc - they either work or they don't in general.
    Riaz Ahmed likes this.
  13. RogerMac

    RogerMac Well-Known Member

    I do not know about shutter tapering but an easy "jury rig" for a light seal problem is to load the film and then put black tape over the edges of the door before winding the film on. Later rewind the film before removing the tape. There are a few cameras that wind the unexposed film on and back into the cassette as you expose it but these are few and far between
  14. nimbus

    nimbus Well-Known Member

    True enough. It wasn't really my aim to give a detailed list of all models though, that is one advantage of metal bladed shutters. I would certainly rather use a Pentax than a Praktica though.
  15. steveandthedogs

    steveandthedogs Well-Known Member


    Go for a LTL3 or MTL3,5 or 50. The 50 has a couple of LED's for the meter - very clear, although they all work without a battery if you don't need the meter. All M42 lenses fit.

    You can even use the M42 lenses on the B series by buying an adapter - about £5-10 on ebay.

  16. 0lybacker

    0lybacker In the Stop Bath

    Kier, why abandon digital? By all means try film - forgive a parent like intrusion: don't forget the studies;);) - but when you get to college you really need to do both. It is possible to work as a pro, if that is still your goal, and use film exclusively, but you do not know yet if landscape will be your thing or whether during college years you will be diverted to some other genre of photography.

    My advice would be, put a priority on getting the grades for college, keep using the digital gear, and by all means buy a film compact or SLR to get your head around the basics of film use. That will give you an edge when you start the photography course.

    I'd recommend a s/h Canon EOS300/300V. An excellent little camera. You should be able to get one with 28-90mm lens for £30. Alternatively, look for a Canon FTbn body (more expensive - luvverly metal! :p:eek:) and a Tamron Adaptall 2 zoom, either the 35-135mm, 28-135mm (quite heavy & bulky) or the 35-70mm or 28-70mm zooms with the appropriate adaptor mount.

    Concentrate on getting quality from 35mm film first. Good exposure & good processing. BTW, massive prints? A sheet of 20x16 (hardly massive these days) costs £1.50 to £3.00 and upwards. Bear in mind that even experienced printers may use two or three or four sheets to get to the result they had in mind before they are really happy. The bigger the print you make then the bigger the darkroom, the larger the enlarger, the more expensive the lens, etc., etc.. Your aim should be getting a good quality image from a 400ISO B&W 35mm film that will print full-bleed (no border) to 16x12. Only move up to medium or large format when you have done this. Cheers, Oly
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2016
    Riaz Ahmed likes this.
  17. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    A very great deal depends on what sort of camera you'd get on with. Personally I'd recommend an original Nikon F, in many ways the greatest 35mm SLR ever made, incredibly solid and reliable, but utterly manual and (without one of the silly metering prisms) unmetered. Or a Nikkormat, which you can often find silly-cheap.

    If you want to use both film and digital (which I'd recommend), dump Canon. I have numerous manual focus lenses that I use on both film and digi Nikons with equal success. Most Nikon-fit lenses since 1959 are cross-compatible, but Canon changed mounts in 1987 so classic Canons such as the F1 are not cross-compatible with later models.


  18. KierFX

    KierFX Well-Known Member

    I'll look into a Nikon F later. Film and digital is probably a good idea to be honest. The college I will hopefully be attending has a entire corridor dedicated to film work. It has 4 dark rooms and all the chemicals are sold to us at trade price so it should be awfully cheap (well, cheaper) and they also print photos on site, at cost prices, so should be worth it
  19. 0lybacker

    0lybacker In the Stop Bath

    I would suggest leaving a switch to Nikon much later. Roger has a good point, the compatibility across the two media is much better with Nikon except older Nikon cameras cannot really be used with the latest lenses unless some way of applying corrections for lens distortions are found. Scan & re-process via APS/APCS with suitable plug-ins? Digital lenses are designed very much for digital cameras.

    The reason for an EOS300V is two fold. Relatively small & light, you can carry it with your digital kit without strain and get used to seeing what B&W will do to a colour scene. Secondly, you can employ your 1100Ds metering to cross check that of the film camera and even be your spotmeter & 'polaroider' for the 300V. The 300V is quite well specified as it is.

    I would have thought that a Nikon F is going to cost considerably more than an EOS300V or a Canon FTbN. The latter is roughly equivalent to a Nikkormat. The older metal cameras will be heavy.
    Riaz Ahmed likes this.
  20. KierFX

    KierFX Well-Known Member

    I forgot to mention I have a Canon 600 at the moment. Battery's dead at the moment and it uses the silly 2cr5 battery's but hopefully will make a hack to it tomorrow. Maybe use this until my skills improve with film?

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