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Photography Question 
Samantha Wharton

Which 35mm camera is best for a photography class?

this is my first class, requires a 35 mm slr camera. I am very familiar with digital photography but not so much film.. I need advice! good models, good lenses? I am buying a used camera, have been looking on craigslist and ebay.. what year is too old, which are bad ideas? please offer any useful advice!

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12/28/2008 8:34:58 PM

Samuel Smith
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/21/2004
  welcome samantha,
wow,a film camera.even I a minolta user would first recommend the nikon n65 because of depth of field preview,not that you would understand that,yet mirror lockup,i think.ah well.
then I would suggest a minolta xtsi,age?not really a problem.
your real clue to digital I suppose is auto,yet not exposure.ok.
as far as lenses,many.of the many I have,no complaints.they have charertistics,not problems.
you search for seasoned ,um,reports.
what do we do,what do we do.
expierence,on the job kinda thing,ahhhhhhh.
I agree here only with myself that bookwork is bull.the classroom fails itself without fieldwork or some apprentice type association.
so,here we are a student asking for clarification,paying money,and still no answer???i agree with a challenge,but no suggestions??
apprentiship,or the arts or anything is in the past.

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12/28/2008 10:51:07 PM

Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  IMO Sam, you can't go wrong with either a Nikon F-2A or Nikon F-3. My own preference is F-2A and AI lenses. Good deals on them at or e-bay. You're looking for later model years like 1975-1979 with meters that are still accurate or even a hand held meter would be good to have like a Gossen Luna Pro.

If you want a medium format SLR, you probably can score a clean used Hasselblad 500CM or CX with a couple of used A-12 holders, Polaroid mag and viewfinder for a good price, again at or e-bay if you know what to look for and what it's value should be these days.
Take it light.

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12/28/2008 11:14:44 PM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
  Also consider what digital you're familiar with. If you mean a fit's in your pocket point and shoot, than you're pretty much open to any kind of use film camera with a lens you can afford and that you find available. And that's in good condition.
If you mean you're familiar with digital slr's, then you can get a film of the same brand, so the layout will be close to being the same. And the lenses may fit, depending on the age of the film camera.

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12/29/2008 8:02:00 AM

Christopher A. Walrath
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/25/2006
  Hi, Samantha. I have a Nikon N65. Great camera that allows for completely manual control over exposure so you can learn the basics without your camera distracting you too much.

As to what cameras would be best, here are the top four in my most humble opinion.

Nikon F2
Canon AE-1P
Minolta XG-M
Pentax K1000

And in no particular order. All are system cameras, built like tanks and will do anything you want them to do short of a good Veal Parmigian.

Good luck with the class. Have fun and post any questions you have here so we can assist you further if need be.


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12/29/2008 11:16:34 AM

Samuel Smith
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/21/2004
  ah,maybe a minolta srt101.
yet dependable?
ya got storage and use,abuse...
olympus om-1??
most bought the 2 I mentiond and were unknowing,and um dumb.
less used and in really good shape,sorry I didn't mention the k-1000,a slip.
I was trying to narrow a choice as to longevity and ease of use,manual,full auto.then later on the use of the in camera meter can be overidden to adjust a scene to personnel choice.
not paint by numbers.

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12/29/2008 11:04:06 PM

Christopher A. Walrath
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/25/2006
  Right on, Sammy. You definitely want a camera you can grow into at this point.


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12/30/2008 5:22:54 AM

John G. Clifford Jr
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/18/2005
  Do you have a dSLR already? If so, get a 35mm camera that can use the same lenses... like a Canon EOS 35mm, or a Nikon FM/F2/F3/FE2, or a Pentax K1000.

Hard to believe that a camera course today requires the use of a 35mm film camera instead of either 35mm or digital SLR... have you confirmed this with the instructor?

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12/30/2008 3:55:56 PM

Samantha Wharton   Thank you everyone for the advice! For the class it says a 35 mm SLR is required, I have a DSLR that I have never used, because it is broken. It is an Olympus Camedia E-10... my boyfriend found it in the trash... had the lens and everything attached. I cant figure out how to take the lens off, not sure if it can be used on any of the above cameras, ANY ADVICE?

also... does anyone know how much a repair would cost? Not sure if it would be better to just buy one or not in the future, problem seems to be with the actual shooting the pictures. It can read that the memory card has no images, but once I turn it into shooting mode it makes a weird noise for 10-15 seconds and wont do anything except display a weird code...any advice on that would also be helpful!

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12/30/2008 10:37:07 PM

Samuel Smith
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/21/2004
  suggestions were made

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1/1/2009 1:31:18 AM

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