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mooncat69

35mm camera recommendations

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I'm tempted to get myself a 35mm SLR for daily use. I used to have a Nikon FE2, amongst others. How practical are they? Old classics, or later models?

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I’d be concerned about how long the film and development equipment will be available for.  Right now there is probably a lot of old hardware that will run until dead..  but I doubt they’re still making them.   In another decade or so I expect it will be an extremely niche field.  I’d be prepared to have to do everything yourself from scratch..

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1 hour ago, mooncat69 said:

I'm tempted to get myself a 35mm SLR for daily use. I used to have a Nikon FE2, amongst others. How practical are they? Old classics, or later models?

That is what I would recommend, either the FE or FE2

Film will stick around, not sure of the expense though

I also have a Zeiss Ikon that I get a lot of fun from and takes great pics. Might be more fun to consider that as an option.

Having said the above, my stalwart camera yor most of my use is the Nikon D300, even though I have more recent Nikon SLR bodies.

 

Edited by Hopeful

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Film will be around forever although expect fewer choices. Disposable cameras are fairly popular so there is always going to be a one hour lab available for C41 (colour) film. B&W film is easy to process yourself.  

Best to shoot a dozen or so rolls of film before spending real money on a camera imo. Any 35mm camera will do to learn with. As cheap as possible, preferably free.

 

 

 

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7 hours ago, mooncat69 said:

I'm tempted to get myself a 35mm SLR for daily use. I used to have a Nikon FE2, amongst others. How practical are they? Old classics, or later models?

The Nikon F4 is supposed to be an excellent 35mm SLR. A good camera review/reference site is Ken Rockwell's

And if you have any of your old lenses left, they should fit the F4.

I have heaps of old 35mm SLRs gathering dust. My favourite, no-frills, no LCD, is my Canon AE-1, which my daughter now uses. You can probably find one for £40.

 

Edited by Happy Renting

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6 hours ago, Libspero said:

I’d be concerned about how long the film and development equipment will be available for.  Right now there is probably a lot of old hardware that will run until dead..  but I doubt they’re still making them.   In another decade or so I expect it will be an extremely niche field.  I’d be prepared to have to do everything yourself from scratch..

Another nice camera was the Canon T-70. Runs off AA batteries... BUT there is also a lithium button cell that has to be replaced every 5 years or so... and the cameras are about 20-30 years old now. Replacing the button cell requires dismantling the camera and soldering in a replacement, which is a lot of faffing about for a camera only worth about £50 now. That is why I recommend a pre-microprocessor, pre-autofocus SLR, which will also let you get back to photography basics. More satisfying.

Or you could try a TLR. There was a cheapo 120 film camera called the Seagull (I think Lomo now make them) with remarkably good optics, and medium format too.

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46 minutes ago, Libspero said:

More for interest than anything else..

graph.jpg

chartwithsmartphones1.jpg

Second is with smartphone cameras included.   I guess analogue cameras could make a bit of a comeback like typewriters..

 

Edit:  to credit source: https://petapixel.com/2015/04/09/this-is-what-the-history-of-camera-sales-looks-like-with-smartphones-included/

It's pretty astounding but does fit observation quite easily. When I was a kid, having a camera of any sort was a big deal, when they went digital more people carried them but it was still unusual, not it's unusual to find someone who doesn't carry one with them all the time. I'm not sure that's a good thing either!

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Just to throw a spanner into the works:

I'm not sure that the best 'classic analogue' camera would be an SLR.  The sort of things that a SLR would be good at, a digital SLR will be better at.

I'd suggest a couple of alternatives:

  • A smaller rangefinder.  This would be more convenient as a 'daily' camera and would give very good results for 'normal' photographs.  there's lots of info online, but something like a Yashica Electro would be cheap and appears to be recommended.  
  • A larger medium format.  This wouldn't be 'carry with you all the time', but they're not much bigger than an SLR and they're great to use for 'take time to set them up' photographs (ie, the antithesis of the digital camera snap).  I've got a Rolleiflex that is lovely to use, but there are lots of alternatives.  If you're doing your own developing B&W medium format is great.
Edited by dgul

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7 hours ago, mooncat69 said:

I'm tempted to get myself a 35mm SLR for daily use. I used to have a Nikon FE2, amongst others. How practical are they? Old classics, or later models?

One brand to consider is Praktica - the old East European ones. They weren't the best cameras - although the lens were amazingly good for the money - but they were very robust and relatively simple so quite long lived. I have one that my dad bought in around 1980 that worked perfectly last year when I got it out of the cupboard for BlueCat junior to use for a school project. It's very heavy but feels like it could take quite a few knocks. It also has very little in the way of electronics beyond a built in light meter so I expect it would be a bit more repairable than some of the Japanese stuff.

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1 hour ago, TheBlueCat said:

One brand to consider is Praktica - the old East European ones. They weren't the best cameras - although the lens were amazingly good for the money - but they were very robust and relatively simple so quite long lived. I have one that my dad bought in around 1980 that worked perfectly last year when I got it out of the cupboard for BlueCat junior to use for a school project. It's very heavy but feels like it could take quite a few knocks. It also has very little in the way of electronics beyond a built in light meter so I expect it would be a bit more repairable than some of the Japanese stuff.

Yes, I remember them being quite useful as a weapon.

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1 hour ago, Happy Renting said:

The Nikon F4 is supposed to be an excellent 35mm SLR. A good camera review/reference site is Ken Rockwell's

And if you have any of your old lenses left, they should fit the F4.

I have heaps of old 35mm SLRs gathering dust. My favourite, no-frills, no LCD, is my Canon AE-1, which my daughter now uses. You can probably find one for £40.

 

I always wanted an F4 when I was a kid. I saw a few when I was in Japan last.

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Depends what you'll be taking photos of.

I still use 35mm for F1. With the way I use it there's no real drawback.

I usually set the camera for an apex, follow cars to it, then press the shutter. Just single shots.

I have them developed at Boots or wherever, 36 5x7 prints for £15. Out of each 36 roll, maybe around 20 are keepers. These are kept in albums.

I also have digital SLRs and lenses, have done for a while. I could shoot multiple frames of the same shot, maybe total 3000 pics, probably delete most, leaving around 500 really good pictures which are kept on cards....and never seen again probably.

A good 35mm pocket camera could make sense, 28mm f2.8 lens or better, for less than £50.

With film you are more thoughtful before pressing the shutter release. With digital you can be just as thoughtful, but simply delete the poor shots.

I would confess that apart from motorsport, my phone takes pictures every bit as good as my other cameras.

I don't think I would bother with film if I didn't already have the gear.

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2 minutes ago, Hopeful said:

If you want to learn photography

3641742012_122670f501.jpg

True dat.

I had the ME Super, a mate had the K1000. He's now a superb photographer, I gave up in disgust.

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47 minutes ago, Bedrag Justesen said:

I think this is what I mean by 'digital will do it better'. 

For the most part, digital is easier and cheaper and really does give excellent results.  That camera will be as close to the digital experience as you can get -- a fantastic autofocus and exposure engine that'll get it right without any user intervention, and a fairly decent lens that'll help the light get to the film properly.

So, why not just use a digital SLR and miss out that pesky analogue stage?

I'd imagine that the purpose of analogue photography is to get back to a 'raw photography experience', which is exactly what that camera won't achieve.

Of course, there is also the point that often the actual purpose of analogue photography is to mark you out as 'different'.  In which case that camera wouldn't work either.

I'm not so sure about it all.  To me it's all too reminiscent of the hifi debate -- too much focus on the equipment.  I'd say a better scheme would be to get a decentish small digital camera and make a point of taking a few 'proper' photographs with it each day.  You'd have a better 'photography experience' with that approach over buying old equipment and then never using it.

Edited by dgul

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I have dozens of film cameras that I acquired cheap (or even free) when I worked for a camera shop. I was a 'digital holdout' longer than most. But TBH, digital is so good now that there is little reason to use film other than for the experience of it.

The bigger manufacturers didn't really change their lens mounts when digital cameras came out, so the lenses can be used on both digital and film camera bodies- except for lenses that are designed specifically for digital SLRs with "APS-C" sized sensors, which don't have a large enough image circle to cover a full 36x24mm 35mm frame. I still use several of my old Canon EF mount lenses on my digital body. Older Canon EOS film bodies are dirt cheap secondhand, something like an EOS 300 or EOS 300V should cost very little to buy and should still work well. But are you really going to cart an SLR around for daily use? You might be better off with a half decent compact like an  Olympus MJU-II, a Yashica T5, or (if you want a zoom lens) a Minolta Riva Zoom 75W.

I can't see myself ever bothering to use negative film again (I've never been interested in black and white photography). I might at some point shoot a bit more slide film, as there's something very pleasurable about sticking a bunch of newly shot slides on the light box to inspect them :) . I would also say that if you're going to shoot film there's a lot to be said for shooting medium format over 35mm, to get that sort of quality potential from a digital camera still costs thousands, whereas the latest 20+ megapixel digital cameras are realistically as good as 35mm.

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23 hours ago, mooncat69 said:

Yes, I remember them being quite useful as a weapon.

Here's my favourite weapon, the camera that won WW2, the Kodak Medalist. Although mine is a Medalist II and was made in 1946. Uses 620 film which got discontinued in 1995 so I have to re-spool 120 film. nbd.

MedalistComic.jpg

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10 minutes ago, jm51 said:

Here's my favourite weapon, the camera that won WW2, the Kodak Medalist. Although mine is a Medalist II and was made in 1946. Uses 620 film which got discontinued in 1995 so I have to re-spool 120 film. nbd.

MedalistComic.jpg

My favourite, rarely used except when I'm in the creative and large print mood

2a906248-acf2-4090-b403-069ce30573e3.jpg

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