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What's a good 35mm SLR for a novice who wants to learn?

ViolentPanda

Hardly getting over it.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pentax_K-mount
With Pentax you do. The control motors in Pentax DSLRs are in the body and can drive the mechanisms in older lenses. I've got a K200 body and it drives Sparrow's dad's old lenses just fine (although you get a cropped portion of the original image size, as the sensor is smaller than 35mm)
A 28mm is a good one on a camera with an APS-C sensor - equiv to about 42mm on a full-frame SLR,

EDIT: I am well late to post this information :D
Just a little bit. :)
 

ViolentPanda

Hardly getting over it.
You're not going to get autofocus on most old K-mount lenses even with a Pentax body because, well, they're manual.
I mostly end up setting my AF lenses to MF. I just can't get in the habit of letting them auto-focus! :oops:
I'm happy to let my digi-compact autofocus, but given the choice with an SLR, I revert to old habits! :D
 

Frumious B.

Well-Known Member
A 50 mm lens was already on my scrounging shopping list because pretty much the only thing I know is that it's the nearest thing to a human eye. If all goes well I'll start the course in Jan, so I have plenty of time to rustle up a lens.

If you learn photography from scratch is it usual to start with film? Don't people just plunge straight into digital these days?

The course will be at Photofusion, and it should be free for people who claim income-related benefits. Photofusion have been doing a free City and Guilds course for a while, with the fees for benefit claimants funded by Lambeth. Lambeth recently withdrew funding but Photofusion are optimistic that they'll get funding from Richmond. And the course will morph from a C&G one to a Btec. Apparently a v similar syllabus.
 

fractionMan

Custom Title
My mate spent most of his first year photography degree playing with film.


My pentax film camera currently has a modern crop frame zoom that's stuck on 17mm mounted on it. Vingettes a fair bit but I think I'm gonna get some cool shots out of it.
 

ViolentPanda

Hardly getting over it.
A 50 mm lens was already on my scrounging shopping list because pretty much the only thing I know is that it's the nearest thing to a human eye. If all goes well I'll start the course in Jan, so I have plenty of time to rustle up a lens.

If you learn photography from scratch is it usual to start with film? Don't people just plunge straight into digital these days?
Some do.

There's still, IMO, a lot to be said for learning on a film camera, though. The finite number of frames per film makes you consider and pre-visualise your shots better, which in turn makes you consider composition a lot more deeply/helps you develop your "eye" for a good shot.
There's also the darkroom side, of course, which also stands you in good stead if you ever want to dev your own films, or use alternative printing processes like cyanotype, gum bichromate or van Dyck printing.
I suspect that the photography C & G hasn't changed much in 30 years, and it was enjoyable back when I did it (or, I did about 3/4 of the course, then dropped out as I got a night job), and my G-dson found it enjoyable when he did it about 10 years ago.

The course will be at Photofusion, and it should be free for people who claim income-related benefits. Photofusion have been doing a free City and Guilds course for a while, with the fees for benefit claimants funded by Lambeth. Lambeth recently withdrew funding but Photofusion are optimistic that they'll get funding from Richmond. And the course will morph from a C&G one to a Btec. Apparently a v similar syllabus.
They've been talking about consolidating across the BTec and C & G syllabuses for donkey's years. I'm amazed they've finally got round to it!
 

ViolentPanda

Hardly getting over it.
My mate spent most of his first year photography degree playing with film.


My pentax film camera currently has a modern crop frame zoom that's stuck on 17mm mounted on it. Vingettes a fair bit but I think I'm gonna get some cool shots out of it.
I suppose I'm a bit old-fashioned, but to me learning on a dslr would be learning on a camera with too many options, if you see what I mean. I'm strongly of the opinion that if you can get the basics down with a fairly limited-option film camera, you learn all the "good" lessons about photography that'll stand you in good stead in the future, including the lesson that it's not about your gear, it's about your eye for a picture. :)
 

Riklet

procrastinación
Looking to buy a film camera as a present for xmas.

Under 100 quid all in if possible.. preferably less but will go for quality and durability. Has to be up to some travelling in South America.

Any tips/recommendations?
 

FridgeMagnet

Administrator
what sort of camera and for whom (i.e. will they know what they are doing)?

Prices have gone up a lot, particularly for point-and-shoot cameras, but there are still some bargains around.
 

Riklet

procrastinación
what sort of camera and for whom (i.e. will they know what they are doing)?

Prices have gone up a lot, particularly for point-and-shoot cameras, but there are still some bargains around.
Good question. Im not really sure tbh. She doesnt have any camera only a camera phone but seems into photography. I cant spend too much but just wanna get something solid which could be used for fun amateur photography and if she enjoys using it could stand a trip in south america for a few months. So I suppose durability and reliability is a factor. My mate recommended a Canon AE1. As you said prices seem higher than a websites from a few years back claim. Any other bargain models which would be a fun reliable intro?

Obvs the other option is a second hand but still decent digital camera.. just thought I'd look into film first.
 

FridgeMagnet

Administrator
Good question. Im not really sure tbh. She doesnt have any camera only a camera phone but seems into photography. I cant spend too much but just wanna get something solid which could be used for fun amateur photography and if she enjoys using it could stand a trip in south america for a few months. So I suppose durability and reliability is a factor. My mate recommended a Canon AE1. As you said prices seem higher than a websites from a few years back claim. Any other bargain models which would be a fun reliable intro?

Obvs the other option is a second hand but still decent digital camera.. just thought I'd look into film first.
The AE-1 is one of the cameras that's gone up in price - it's pretty random, suddenly the internet gets an idea that one model is valuable and the price triples (and never goes down again). There's nothing particularly outstanding about the AE-1, it was one of many consumer SLRs, it works fine but so do many other things.

In the UK, the Pentax ME Super seems to still go for reasonably low prices - those are good cameras and have an auto exposure mode which is useful for beginners. They're also very small. I've used an MX (very similar, just more manual) for years as a travel camera. Of course there's always the issue of people selling rubbish that doesn't work on eBay... but that's always going to be a potential problem.

You do still need to know a little bit about how these things work to take any decent pictures though, and there's the associated cost of developing and scanning. While I shoot loads of film, I'd still sound this person out first as to whether they'd be interested at all.
 

stowpirate

skinflintish camera nut
Praktica or Zenit. Really cheap cameras albeit difficult to find the best one which is the Zenit 3m. As for lenses mostly of German Zeiss origin so first class quality.
 

FridgeMagnet

Administrator
Prakticas are also good, though I wouldn't recommend some of the earlier ones for new users. You can get a Praktica BX20 for 30 quid or less these days, and those are quite advanced and have proper lenses. A full set of zooms still goes for buttons and it's all good quality East German glass.

Makes me want to take my old BX20 with the pancake 50/2.4 out.
 

Riklet

procrastinación
I ended up buying an OM-20 in the end, was in good condition from a local shop for 85 quid... not bad at all! A very well received present btw.

I havent shot any film since I was a kid and looking into SLR cameras and watching a few Youtube videos has got me all interested. So I am actually thinking of getting one too. Gonna look locally again before ebay... thanks for the tip on the Pentax ME Super. Im leaning towards another Olympus if I see anything reasonably priced tho.
 

weltweit

Well-Known Member
I occassionaly think that I wouldn't mind shooting 35mm film again.

I used to like the process, take your pics send the film away and after a pause get to see the prints.

I used to have many more prints than I have now with digital ..

Then I kick myself, the quality of my images is so much better now than back when I was shooting film. I only had an instamatic after all.. :)
 

FridgeMagnet

Administrator
You can't really compare snaps from a cheap compact on crappy consumer film sent to a one-hour-photo lab to... well, anything decent.

I'm currently scanning some Kodachromes that my dad took and I brought back over xmas and they are frankly quite lovely.
 

Riklet

procrastinación
FridgeMagnet Pentax me super seemingly in good condition going for 22 quid on ebay currently.... only a few hours left.

dead tempted to get a cheeky late bid in. :cool:

Also a Praktica MTL5 going for 50 squid on gumtree. Worth considering? Looks a fair bit trickier for a newbie!
 
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FridgeMagnet

Administrator
FridgeMagnet Pentax me super seemingly in good condition going for 22 quid on ebay currently.... only a few hours left.

dead tempted to get a cheeky late bid in. :cool:

Also a Praktica MTL5 going for 50 squid on gumtree. Worth considering? Looks a fair bit trickier for a newbie!
That Praktica is an old model, I wouldn't bother with it (also quite a lot for it). The newer "B mount" ones are more what you'd want IMO - BX20, B100, a few different models beginning with "B". They are more modern and also use batteries that you can actually buy, which is kind of useful.

That would be a pretty good price for an ME Super with a lens.
 

Riklet

procrastinación
Ok so I got an old Praktica MTL 5 B off a facebook group for 10 quid. Quite exciting bit of DDR kit even if I dont end up using it much! Think the spring on the lens for apperture is gone cos it doesnt open and close adjusting it with the lens off. Too bad! The battery cover was jammed shut but got it off with a coin.. some corrosion from leaking battery inside. Good news is it's an AG13 zinc battery not mercury!

I might need to invest in another (more newbie friendly) fully working camera from a shop but if I can get this one working for cheapy cheap It'll still be fun to learn something on. Fully manual and pretty solid. I quite like the button on the front, too.
 
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