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Photography QnA: Film-Based Camera Equipment

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Category: Best Photographic Equipment to Buy : Film-Based Camera Equipment

Looking for information on flathead tripods? Wondering how to use camera filters for special effects? Take a look at this Q&A for answers to your questions about film-based camera equipment.

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Photography Question 
Christopher A. Walrath
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 4/25/2006
  1 .  The Film Sections Are Still Here
It's about time we get more people back here like it used to be. More people are returning to traditional capture all the time and it's about time we got this up and running again.

1/9/2014 7:43:17 PM

Steve Spehar
stevespeharphotography.com

member since: 9/19/2006
  Agreed! As someone who still maintains a darkroom and shoots on vintage/analog cameras, I will be happy to be a resource to anyone embarking on old school, and hopeful to have advice when I need it.

1/15/2014 11:27:31 AM

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Photography Question 
Ann H. Belus
BetterPhoto Member
Contact Ann
Ann's Gallery

member since: 2/5/2002
  2 .  Buying a Scanner
Does anyone have any recommendations for a scanner to scan both old photos and slides?

1/13/2012 9:38:34 AM

doug Nelson
DougNelsonPhoto.com

member since: 6/14/2001
  I have used an Epson V700 for about five years now. I have a brief commentary on the V700 on my web site. I like it, and find it fairly intuitive. The slide holder will do 12 at a time. Dust cleanup will not work on Kodachrome or black-and-white negs. Use a photo editor with the scanner to clean up dust spots and scratches that the scanner software doesn't catch, and to crop and size your scans. Elements for less than $100 will do for this. You might save some money with the Epson V600 or V500, but read reviews and decide.

1/17/2012 2:38:31 PM

  Doug, thank you sooo much for this infomation; sounds like an Epson scaner is exactly what I am looking for. I did read the reviews and noticed that the price differential is quite substantial, 521 vs. 170! While I never hesitate to pay for good quality when necessary, I wondered if the V700 would be overkill for me...I am definitely not a professional. I do use PS CS5 but only to make very basic enhancements. I don't have a clue on how to use all the complicated procedures. (I need lessons!) What makes the V700 so much better than the V600? Would it be worth it for me?

On another note, I sneaked a peak at your gallery and was amazed at the wonderful images you have created all over the world. I, like you, am passionate over travel photography, having traveled quite extensively over six continents during the past years. Tell me, what is your favortie place to travel?

I apoligize for carrying on and making this reply so lenghty, but any advice you can give me would be greatly appreciated.

1/18/2012 4:07:03 PM

  Hi Ann,
The last scanner I used was also an Epson scanner that was bought by a production company I work with. I dont know the model and believe it was in the $200 range but it had inserts for slides which I used to scan 2000+ slides for a NYE show we did in SF.
I scanned at 300 dpi tifs which made for slow scanning but we were displaying these with a projector and they covered the entire stage on a screen behind the band. These images were used at Grateful Dead & Jimi Hendrix shows back in the late 60's and are of cave paintings, the Ganges,and all sorts of old images. I had to retouch most of them in photoshop as they had spots and were a bit faded. PS did the trick and they are now saved on my hard drives for future shows :)
my .02,
Carlton

1/18/2012 5:07:54 PM

  Hi Ann,
Check this Lewis Kemper scanner article:
http://www.lewiskemper.com/blog/inexpensive-film-scanner-and-more

Carlton

1/18/2012 9:50:29 PM

doug Nelson
DougNelsonPhoto.com

member since: 6/14/2001
  I bought my V700 with medium format scanning in mind, but it does OK with 35mm, as long as I'm not doing fine art enlargements.

Your images deserve the best you can give them. The very best can be scanned professionally with a Imacon scanner (10 grand at fine stores), leaving other stuff for your flatbed. Read some reviews of the cheaper Epsons.

I like your work as well. I enjoyed Croatia for its Mediterranean climate and food, and for the warmth of the people. I like all of France, an easy place to drive and hang out.

1/20/2012 4:52:38 PM

Ken De Pree
BetterPhoto Member
Contact Ken
Ken's Gallery

member since: 5/15/2008
  I'm using the Epson V300, which I guess is now the V330, to scan what seems like a zillion family photos and slides. Is working fine for me.

1/21/2012 11:49:54 AM

doug Nelson
DougNelsonPhoto.com

member since: 6/14/2001
  Be sure you can scan at high bit depth. Normally, you get 24 bits (8 per R,G,and B channel). Some, if not most scanners can return a 48-bit image. The file size will be huge, but you want to do your tonal and color correction in hight bit. Only THEN do you go to 24-bit in Image/Image Mode. Overworking a difficult image in low-bit will result in banding, posterization and a histogram that looks like the hillbilly's teeth in Deliverance.

1/31/2012 9:03:00 AM

  A pro once told me it's better to take a photo of the photo with your digital camera than to scan it. Better quality.

2/10/2012 5:26:17 PM

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Photography Question 
Christopher A. Walrath
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 4/25/2006
  3 .  Split Grade Printing
Love the show. Long time listener. First time in a long time caller.

My negs are flat-ish and thus follow my prints.

I am going to be messing around with split grade printing on my Oriental Seagull RC VC II glossy paper.

What would be a good set of filters to invest in? I don't wanna go cheap, but I'm thinking two sets so I can have a 4x5 set and butcher the others as needed for smaller use (35mm,6x6) in smaller carriers. Or, would an 8x10 set be more affordable?

What do y'all think? And, no, I'm not going to go with the times, ditch my gear and buy a D-whatever.

Thanks all in advance. I'll hang up and listen to the answer.

ChrisW
(Oh, crap. He's back.)

12/14/2010 6:33:03 PM

Rainer and Simone Hoffmann

member since: 6/21/2006
  Hi Chris,

I'm not sure whether I understand your question correctly. So to clear that up a bit let me ask you two questions:

- which filters do you use at the moment to print your negs on varigrade paper?

- do you use different enlargers for different formats (4x5, 35mm, 6x6)? I've always used only one 4x5 enlarger for all formats so I just need one size of varigrade filters that fits the carrier.

Greetings from Germany

Rainer

12/16/2010 9:10:02 AM

Christopher A. Walrath
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 4/25/2006
  Hi, there. Here are some answers.

- which filters do you use at the moment to print your negs on varigrade paper?

Currently I do not own any filters. I see the need to expand into using them as, one the whole, my negs are on the flat side. I went through them a month ago and was amazed how flat I generally shoot my subjects.

- do you use different enlargers for different formats (4x5, 35mm, 6x6)? I've always used only one 4x5 enlarger for all formats so I just need one size of varigrade filters that fits the carrier.

I use only an old Fujimoto Lucky 60M that emplys 35mm and 6x6 neg carriers. I do some contact printing with my 4x5 negs. I have a Beseler 57MT motorized enlarger that I intend to print my 4x5 negs at some point in the future. I have no room to set it up as yet.

12/16/2010 5:30:53 PM

Rainer and Simone Hoffmann

member since: 6/21/2006
  Hi Chris,

as I see it you just need one filter set that fits the filter carrier of your enlarger. If your enlarger has no filter carrier you can just hold the filters beneath the lens. Not ideal, but it works (well, you'll need a third hand for dodging and burning ;-) ).

Rainer

12/17/2010 12:29:28 AM

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Photography Question 
Lisa C. Lloyd

member since: 12/7/2005
  4 .  Rolleiflex...buy it or not?
I've been offered the opportunity to purchase a Rolleiflex camera. Near as I can tell it's a Rolleiflex Automat MX-EVS Type 2. It comes at a price of about $175 and is part of an estate. The family doesn't know if it works or not and is willing to take that into account in considering price. I don't know anything about these cameras other than it looks really neat. What kind of film does it take? Is that film even manufactured anymore? How does it work? How do you even open it? There is no owner's manual, otherwise I'd be able to figure this out. Any advice?

Thanks a million!

6/14/2010 1:14:48 PM

Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/18/2000
  120 roll film, the camera will make twelve 6cm (2 1/4") square images per roll. 220 rolls are the same width film, just longer and the rolls are greater diameter. I don't think 220 fits in the old Rolleiflex.

Not specifically the MX-EVS Type 2, but here is an instruction manual for typical Rolleiflex Automat: .
I don't have a handle on value, other than it is highly dependent on condition and the specific lens. There aren't any bad lenses on these, but some are rarer or have more cache with collectors.

6/16/2010 10:57:25 AM

  My memory is that the Automat had a built in meter that controlled exposure. Usually this didn't work well after a few years. So this is probably something to put on display. Actually the price seems kind of high. The good Rollies were the Rollieflex with the Zeiss Planar f2.8 lens. I used to have one, a very fine camera. Thanks, John Siskin

6/22/2010 11:56:38 AM

Steve Spehar
stevespeharphotography.com

member since: 9/19/2006
  the guys above answered most of your questions. I had always wanted to own a Rollei TLR, and so went on a quest a couple of years ago, finally landing a Rollei 2.8F from the mid-60's for around $1500. It was in perfect working condition when I bought it and actually I got a great price for the money. That is a much better camera than the Automat.

This camera, function-wise, may not be something you want to experiment with, even assuming it works. But, if you can, find out the serial number and look it up in this database. It tells you what models and years and serial series should be worth in good condition:

http://www.antiquecameras.net/home/rolleiflex.html

You may be able to get a free instruction manual here:
http://www.rolleiclub.com/cameras/tlr/info/automat.shtml

If you are taking a crap shoot, you shouldn't pay in the range of the given value. However, if take the chance for a good price, here is the best place to send your Rollei for cleaning/repair. Harry is the master guru of Rollei repair:
http://www.rolleirepairs.com

best of luck to you.

1/15/2014 11:21:15 AM

Steve Spehar
stevespeharphotography.com

member since: 9/19/2006
  oh, ha ha. just realized how old this thread is. anyway, useful info for the prospective Rollei buyer.

1/15/2014 11:22:44 AM

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Photography Question 
Barbara Helgason
BetterPhoto Member
Contact Barbara
Barbara's Gallery

member since: 1/4/2004
  5 .  Flashtube lifespan?
What is the lifespan of a flash tube? I've had the Alien bees B800 flash unit for a couple of years but lately it seems that it is not putting out the same amount of light as it used to. Is that even possible? I assumed a flash tube would just burn out like a regular light bulb, not die a slow death. Do I simply need to replace it or is there something else that I am missing here.

The problem started when I moved my unit from my windowless basement to my new studio in an upstairs bedroom where there is lots of natural light. Suddenly I need to use a wide open aperture when using my studio lights. (Alien bees plus my speedlite)
My speedlite seems to have more power that my 800 watts flash unit? I'm confused. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

11/16/2009 5:13:56 PM

  Hi Barbara,
I have used some of the same flash tubes for more than a quarter of a century. So it clearly takes a long time to burn out a tube. I have had one tube just fail, and I have broken one or two. I have not noticed that the power has fallen off. I would assume it has something to do with the new studio; perhaps the walls are darker?

I recently tested, for power and spread, a Canon 580 II against a Paul C. Buff White Lighting 1600, and a few other units. The White Lighting, which is about the same power as a Bee 1600, was only about one stop more powerful than the Canon. I found that surprising.

One more thing: if you are using the speed light to trigger the Alien Bees, that might not be working. Frankly having the Bees slaved to a camera mounted flash usually doesn’t work. The speed light will usually put out an infrared pulse, just before the strobe is triggered. This often triggers the slaves, making them trigger too soon. The red-eye reduction creates the same sort of problem.
Thanks, John Siskin

11/20/2009 4:04:19 PM

  Thank you, that's very helpful, you've given me alot to think about. I think you might be right about the Bees somehow being triggered too soon, and somehow this is related to the new location.

Thanks again,

Barbara

11/20/2009 5:09:06 PM

  Hi Barbara,
Problems with syncing speed lights and monolights are very common in my classes. You might want to look at this article for more on sync: www.siskinphoto.com/magazine/zpdf/sync.pdf
Thanks, John Siskin

11/20/2009 5:20:33 PM

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Photography Question 
Melissa Olsen
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 11/6/2006
  6 .  Wanted Mamiya 6 RF...
I'm looking for a Mamiya 6 with a lens (75mm or 150mm). Does anyone have one that they are looking to sell?

3/19/2009 8:05:21 AM

doug Nelson
DougNelsonPhoto.com

member since: 6/14/2001
  Keep checking KEH.com. If you are a wide-angle fan, consider the 50mm wide for this camera, which is the equivalent of about a 28 for 35mm. That lens is said to be superb.

3/22/2009 4:56:18 PM

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Photography Question 
Julio Lop Lopez

member since: 12/23/2008
  7 .  Zoom Lens
Would the zoom lens for a Canon EF mark III 75-300mm fit the Canon Rebel 2000 EOS
35mm with out an adapter? Thank

1/17/2009 5:30:21 AM

Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/18/2000
  Yes.

All Canon autofocus lenses with EF mount ever made will fit and work on every Canon EOS autofocus camera ever made, film or digital.

There is a new line of Canon EF-S lenses that can be mounted only to the Digital Rebels (300D/350D/400D/450D) and the midline EOS 20D/30D/40D/50D.

1/17/2009 6:17:58 AM

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Photography Question 
Jake Trexel

member since: 3/4/2005
  8 .  super zoom telephoto lens
I am looking for a super zoom telephoto lens. I have a Tamaron 200-500 with a 2x on my Nikon FM3a. But because I am home bound, inside all the time, I cannot get close enough to bet good close ups of birds and so on, through my window. I read about a Phoenix lens 600 to 1300or1600, but what people right in about it is not good. I cannot afford the to spend $7000 on a Cannon or Nikon.
Does any one have any recommendations? Please keep in mind, that I have to stay indoors.
thanks
Jake

1/2/2009 11:25:06 AM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member
gregorylagrange.org

member since: 11/11/2003
  Get somebody to set up a bird feeder close to your window.

1/2/2009 2:43:41 PM

John G. Clifford Jr
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 8/18/2005
  I think you would be much better served if you kept your existing lens and teleconverter, but obtained a Nikon dSLR like the D60.

The crop factor of the D60 would give you the same field of view with your 1000mm effective lens as a 1600mm lens.

Something else you might want to consider would be to pick up a 1000mm catadioptic lens, like the Rubinar 1000/10 or the MTO 1100/10.5 lenses. These lenses are surprisingly sharp (as good as your Tamron/TC combination), and will get you that much closer to your subject... especially if you use them with a dSLR. They're also surprisingly affordable.

Or, you could even go with something like the new Panasonic G1 micro-4/3rds camera that gives you a 2x crop factor, for even more apparent magnification. Using the G1 with a 1000mm mirror lens will give you the same field of view as a 2000mm lens on your FM3a.

1/4/2009 5:05:41 PM

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Photography Question 
Samantha Wharton

member since: 12/28/2008
  9 .  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!

12/28/2008 8:34:58 PM

Samuel Smith
BetterPhoto Member

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 important.plus 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.
yeah

12/28/2008 10:51:07 PM

Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member

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 KEH.com 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 KEH.com or e-bay if you know what to look for and what it's value should be these days.
Take it light.
Mark

12/28/2008 11:14:44 PM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member
gregorylagrange.org

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.

12/29/2008 8:02:00 AM

Christopher A. Walrath
BetterPhoto Member

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.

Thanks
ChrisW

12/29/2008 11:16:34 AM

Samuel Smith
BetterPhoto Member

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.
weeeellllll.

12/29/2008 11:04:06 PM

Christopher A. Walrath
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 4/25/2006
  Right on, Sammy. You definitely want a camera you can grow into at this point.

Chris

12/30/2008 5:22:54 AM

John G. Clifford Jr
BetterPhoto Member

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?

12/30/2008 3:55:56 PM

Samantha Wharton

member since: 12/28/2008
  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!

12/30/2008 10:37:07 PM

Samuel Smith
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 1/21/2004
  suggestions were made

1/1/2009 1:31:18 AM

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Photography Question 
Julio Lop Lopez

member since: 12/23/2008
  10 .  Zoom Lens
Purchased a Sears Auto Zoom lens that mounts to a Canon T50 SLR. I have a Canon EOS Rebel 2000, so I purchase a T2 T-MOUNT adapter for Canon FD. Is there another adapter needed to connect the camera and lens? Thanks

12/23/2008 3:57:14 AM

Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/18/2000
  The adapter you purchased is for attaching telescopes and some reflex (ie. mirror) lenses with the T-mount to an FD mount camera like your T50. What you need is an FD to EOS adapter. They exist, but are generally not recommended. To maintain long distance to infinity focus with the FD lenses requires that the adapter have correcting lens elements. These correcting lenses also necessarily act as a 1.26x teleconverter, with corresponding loss of 2/3 stop of maximum aperture (f/2.8 lens becomes f/3.5), and some loss of image quality.

Ironically, other makers' manual focus lenses (specifically Pentax, Nikon, and Zeiss/Contax) are more easily adapted to Canon EOS because they don't require any correcting lens elements in the adapter.

12/23/2008 2:27:01 PM

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