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Category: New Questions

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Photography Question 
Kaylene Thompson
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 10/28/2007
 

Recommendations For Affordable, Used Film SLR?


I am a student Graphic Designer and hobbiest photographer. I shoot a Nikon Digital SLR now (D70s) and have 3 lens I use. I am taking a class in the fall that requires a film SLR and we will be shooting black and white film. I need to purchase a camera for this. I would like to purchase one that I can use my current lenses with and one that I will want to keep the body for to use in my photography in the future. In other words, I don't want something to just get me by -- I want something I am happy with and will want to continue to shoot with. Can anyone make any recommendations on cameras to look into? Can I find a used version for under $300? Thanks for the help!!

7/15/2008 8:27:21 PM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member
gregorylagrange.org

member since: 11/11/2003
  N prefix nikons, N80,N65,N55.
Not sure of any others or any older ones that might be easier to get under $300.

7/15/2008 9:57:40 PM

 
Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/18/2000
  Ditto the N80 (F80 outside the USA). It's close in size/function/layout to your D70s. Also the semi-pro models N100 and N90s can also be found for less than $300.

7/16/2008 5:26:48 AM

 
Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/18/2000
  Ditto the N80 (F80 outside the USA). It's close in size/function/layout to your D70s. Also the semi-pro models N100 and N90s can also be found for less than $300.

7/16/2008 5:27:53 AM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/17/2005
  Howdy Kaylene !

I'm curious about what other schools are teaching film these days. I fill-in at times at San Francisco State where we still do that but the question comes up here from time-to-time (unfortunately, IMHO, not often enough) and I don't know a lot of schools to refer them to. I should note that IMO, you're fortunate to be able to learn film technology these days. The best designers and illustrators I work with, who have been around awhile, all understand the basics of film technology and are generally familiar with its attributes and versatility.

As for used 35mm gear, check the prices at KEH.com. They're extremely reputable and their equipment comes with a reasonable return period (no questions) and a 30 day warranty. I agree used Nikons can be great. I use a bunch of F-2A's and the old Nikkor lenses are hard to beat. The coatings aren't as fancy as they are nowadays but they work just fine and keep working.

Best wishes for successful studies. I like your gallery images. Nice stuff.
Be well.
Mark

7/16/2008 9:13:06 AM

 
Kaylene Thompson
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 10/28/2007
  Thank you for the insight. I will look into them. I had seen a few F5s on ebay for around $250 occasionally that are used....thoughts?

Mark -- Its nice to hear your comment about the best designers and illustrations understanding photography. I couldn't agree more...the school I attend believes in building a strong set of foundation skills for all students regardless of their ultimate fields of study -- we all take atleast basic drawing, 3D design, photography and art history courses. Having not been an artist prior to pursuing this degree, this was especially important to me and something not a lot of schools focused on...which ultimately is what led me to the school.

The school is in Lakewood, Colorado. It is a small, private school with about 500 students and has been open since the 1960s. It is called Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design. The school is quickly growing -- I am just hoping the quality of education keeps up as it is really outstanding. If you want to check it out visit www.rmcad.edu. I have been thoroughly impressed -- certainly not the cheapest, but a respectable education.

Thanks for the website tip and nice compliment -- I need to update my gallery with some of my more current work.

7/16/2008 5:48:54 PM

 
Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/18/2000
  F5 is the pinacle of Nikon film SLRs. A bit big and heavy for hobby use, though. Ones in good shape still command $500+ retail. I'd want to be sure of the condition of one for $250 on the bay, as well as guarding against a hijacked seller's account.

7/17/2008 4:14:30 PM

 
Christopher A. Walrath
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 4/25/2006
  Affordable. I gotta throw two out there atcha. Pentax K1000. Minolta sr-T101. Fully manual if you want them to be. Lenses out the ying-yang available for them. They are tanks and take a beating. Good luck with whatever you decide upon.

7/18/2008 5:26:38 PM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member
gregorylagrange.org

member since: 11/11/2003
  Different lenses though.

7/19/2008 1:43:08 AM

 
Christopher A. Walrath
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 4/25/2006
  Too true, Greg.

7/20/2008 11:11:11 AM

 

BetterPhoto Member
  Give you a clue. I don't put batteries in my Minolta SRT-201. I use it for shooting in rain and bad weather. It may be bulky and heavy, but it's a workhorse. And yes, it has an incredible array of lenses available. I have the following for my Minoltas, and all but one were under 70 bucks. That was a Promaster 28-80mm 3.9 zoom, at 89.99. the rest were as follows. 19-35mm Vivitar Series-1 zoom: 49.99, 70-210mm 2.8 zoom: 59.99, 135mm macro telephoto: 39.99, Starr 500mm telephoto: 59.99.

7/22/2008 9:59:18 PM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/17/2005
  Since Kaylene seems to have disappeared, and speaking of used equipment, our buddy Chris Walrath (see pix above) is selling his Mamiya M645 system with four lenses for an EXTREMELY reasonable AND AFFORDABLE price. (See note posted below in BP) Who says you HAVE to have a 35mm for photo classes? How bout a really swell, well-treated, excellent quality medium format? Imagine the size of THOSE prints? COOL !!!
Just a thought. M.

7/24/2008 9:43:21 AM

 
Kaylene Thompson
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 10/28/2007
  Thanks for all the responses. I appreciate all the insight -- I looked into the Mamiya suggestion and learned that the course requires use of a 35mm so the camera for this purpose would not serve my needs. In the future, I may consider a purchase such as this after I learn the advantages of film. I agree though -- its a good deal and would be really cool to have.

In terms of the suggestions on other brands -- since I have the Nikon lenses, I am trying to stick with that in order to keep my familiarity with the camera and use of the stuff I own. I appreciate the thoughts though.

I did come across a friend through my school that is selling his Nikon F3. Thoughts on this camera?

7/24/2008 9:55:43 AM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/17/2005
  Howdy Kaylene. The F-3 is also a great camera and will allow you to use a battery of Nikkor lenses which, IMO, are top shelf. BUT I'd ask your instructor if you could use a MF 645 camera. Tell him (or her) that you're interested in shooting MF for your design work when you're finished with the course and want to avoid buying a camera twice right now and in the near future. Bet they tell you "yes".
But then again, look at the M645 to see if you like it. I think it handles like a dream and if I wasn't shooting 6x6, it'd be my choice for MF film.
Be well.
Mark

7/24/2008 11:39:10 AM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member
gregorylagrange.org

member since: 11/11/2003
  Mark's going to get her put in detention.

7/24/2008 12:26:50 PM

 
Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member
cammphoto.com

member since: 7/17/2003
  If the three lenses you own are Nikkors, you can narrow down your search by consulting a lens compatability chart to see what film bodies your current arsenal of lenses will match best with. Then you can research those cameras and decide upon what features and functions you might need for future use, if you indeed decide to allow that film body to continue to live on after your class requirements have been satisfied.

The Nikon system boasts many compatable lens/body combinations but you will learn that with some you may need to accept sacrifices.

7/24/2008 2:08:16 PM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/17/2005
  Detention? KEWELLLL !!!!! 0/:>)))==

7/24/2008 8:13:15 PM

 
David Van Camp
BetterPhoto Member
Contact David
David's Gallery

member since: 1/27/2008
  Yeah, lens compatibility may be the main issue here... if Kaylene's lenses are designed for the smaller DX format, she will have serious problems using them with ANY Film SLR (or the larger digital FX format, too.)

So, it really depends on the compatibility of lenses she currently has, more than anything else, I expect!

Probably any decent Nikon SLR body would do, otherwise.

dvc

7/25/2008 9:54:31 PM

 

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