Should I go for a film SLR?


AndrewA

Link Posted 23/09/2011 - 20:56
I am really tempted to pick up an old film SLR, why, well I am not sure I just fancy the idea.
So, my question is what should I be considering before I take the plunge, and what recommendations do fellow forum members have.
Thanks all, Andrew
Andrew

"I'm here because the whiskey is free" - Tyla

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davem

Link Posted 23/09/2011 - 21:12
Hello Andrew as a start I suggest that you have a look at this link

I got some very good advice

Dave

AndrewA

Link Posted 23/09/2011 - 21:38
davem wrote:
Hello Andrew as a start I suggest that you have a look at this link

I got some very good advice

Dave

Very helpful - thanks Dave
Andrew

"I'm here because the whiskey is free" - Tyla

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Stanovich

Link Posted 23/09/2011 - 22:14
I've owned an MZ50, which I thought wasn't that well made compared with modern and older Pentaxes (the wind-on mechanism became faulty after a couple of years and only about 30 films), and now have an ME Super that has been serviced by Harrow Technical. The ME is a very nice compact SLR and a delight to use - but of course it's manual or aperture priority only, and no autofocus (strangely while I use my K20D with everything set to manual 95% of the time, I normally have the ME on aperture priority). It should be compatible with your F/FA lenses.

Stan
K5IIs & ME Super with FA24-90, DA17-70, DA55-300, misc old primes; Fuji X20.

Cuchulainn

Link Posted 23/09/2011 - 23:24
Your 28-80 and 28-200 lenses will both work on film cameras with no problems. Pick up a cheap body (hint, I've on in the classifieds and some cheap film - poundland do some for £1! Go have some fun and then for the first roll or two, Boots or Jessops will develop and scan to CD. If you like the results, then you can look at getting more bodies. Warning though, it is very addictive! Especially since old film SLRs are so neat compared to even a small dslr.

If you do like film, then definitely get some of Boots own brand slide film - it's prepaid for development and on the 3 for 2 deal, so works out at about £6 per roll including postage to the development po box. And it's lovely getting slides in the post!

Dangermouse

Link Posted 23/09/2011 - 23:49
Get a P30n/P30T

Well made with an electronic shutter and a choice between P, Av and M modes depending on lens. Also supports Program flash. About the only snag with them is that they won't work at all without batteries, but a couple of spare LR44s are hardly a massive bulk to lug around. Thanks to their plastic body panels (the chassis is metal, so they're as mechanically reliable as the earlier bodies) they don't seem hugely popular and can be found for next to nothing body only. It will even work with full frame-compatible DA lenses although you'll be stuck in P mode with no indication of what aperture the camera has picked.

If you want AF then look for an SFXn, big and chunky but apparently tougher than the MZ series.

If you want a proper classic then look for an MX or KX. Both are 100% manual with the batteries only powering the light meter. They will however cost more than a P30T, so I'd still suggest that if you want to try film without spending much.
Matt

Shooting the Welsh Wilderness with K-m, KX, MX, ME Super and assorted lenses.

George Lazarette

Link Posted 24/09/2011 - 00:00
The Super A is superior to the P30 range in every way. Metering sensitivity, shutter speed, construction, looks, TTL flash, viewfinder. And they're lighter.

I agree that the SFX/SFXn/SF7 are all well-made and very easy to use. But they don't provide the control of the Super A.

These cameras are now very cheap indeed, so why not get one of each?

G
Keywords: Charming, polite, and generally agreeable.

Pentaxophile

Link Posted 24/09/2011 - 00:36
I think the p30s are good if you want something small, straight forward and very reliable, and want a camera in good condition for under a Tenner.

But the Super A does look like a very good bet if you want that shiny metal classic look combined with great features like Sv mode (which lets you indirectly control the aperture of DA lenses, which lack an actual aperture ring).
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Last Edited by Pentaxophile on 24/09/2011 - 00:44

matwhittington

Link Posted 24/09/2011 - 06:55
I was in a very similar position to you, Andrew, a few months back - just fancied a go with a Pentax film SLR. I thought it would be good to get something which was DSLR-esque if I could (in my research I had become rather taken with the MZ-S, which still fetches a fair ransom as far as I can tell). I nipped to my local little independent camera shop (teddington photographic, which I rather like) and picked up a Pentax *ist. I think it was about forty or fifty pounds (so not as cheap as some), but it is a great little camera. Very small and light, and with a lot of functionality built in which I have become used to from using a DSLR. I am very pleased with it whenever I use it, although it's lightness is always a point of note whenever pick it up (I think this is because it is made ostensibly of plastic).

I still find it amazing that the cameras which I used to pore over in the catalogues years ago, conscious of the fact that it would be at least a lifetime before I could ever amass the relative fortune it would take to actually own one, can now be found on ebay for (in some cases) effectively a couple of quid + P&P! Great for us though.

I have been on holiday for the last couple of weeks and spend some days on Grand Bahama island. Beautiful place -and I did find a photographic shop, and in there, amongst the various point and shoot digital compacts, they were still selling new (first hand) Pentax film SLRs... no idea how old their stock was though...

Regards
Mat W

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womble

Link Posted 24/09/2011 - 06:57
Kris' Guide to Pentax film cameras

K series
First K-mount cameras. Physically the same size as the M42 Spotmatics. K1000 an absolutely basic no-frills camera much used by students and beloved of the sackcloth and ashes brigade. Manufactured for quite some time. K2 top of the range and pricey. KX good compromise between features and price as well as being nice and robust.

M series
Small cameras bought out to try and reclaim the market from the likes of Olympus and their OM series. MX manual only and now very popular and as a result more pricey than the others. ME Super manual and Av and very very common and as such as cheap as chips. Doesn't stop it being a nice camera though. After all, it did win many awards in its time and in 1982 (when I bought mine) was top of the sales league table for many months. ME-F is an ME Super with focus confirmation (or AF with the dedicated 35-70 lens). Rest of the M series various varieties of Av only cameras, all cheap.

A series
Introduction of the A series lenses allowed the creation of programme and Tv modes. Both the top of the range Super A and slightly lower spec Program A are worth having. The A3 is notable for having Pentax's first built in motordrive and being pug ugly but is Av/P only.

LX
Top of the range professional camera body and system. Made for over 20 years. Wonderful, but expensive even now. Unless recently serviced, likely to suffer from "sticky mirror" syndrome.

P series
I've never owned one of these but they seem to be cheap and reliable. Varying degrees of automation (still manual focus) but all offer manual exposure mode. P5/P50 top of the range.

SF series
Built like tanks, ugly to my eyes, but with autowind, AF, LCD displays and all that sort of thing. Appear to be quite reliable. AF not exactly fast but quite accurate. I have one of each and although they don't get much use. Some sophisticated features like a three-shot self-timer. Bodies are cheap as chips and can barely be given away.

Z series
Very like the SF series in looks. Proliferation of modes and gadgets, buttons and screens. Introduction of powerzooms which allow for quirky (gimicky?) effects. Again, generally very cheap.

MZ series
Pentax reverted to a more classical styling from the chunky black lumps of the SF/Z series. Wide range of models. MZ-M manual focus only. MZ-S top of the range camera and still very expensive. MZ-?0 camera have mount limitations compared to the MZ-? models. MZ-7 and MZ-6 are popular as having the fewest limitations mount-wise. Known to suffer with a problem with a plastic cog in motordrive which can fail. This can be replaced by a brass cog but is often more expensive to do that buying a new camera.

*ist
The last of the Pentax film bodies. Lots of bells and whistles but apparently not many spares around.

Hope this helps.

K.
Kris Lockyear
It is an illusion that photos are made with the camera… they are made with the eye, heart and head. Henri Cartier-Bresson
Lots of film bodies, a couple of digital ones, too many lenses (mainly older glass) and a Horseman LE 5x4.

My website

Dangermouse

Link Posted 24/09/2011 - 09:26
George Lazarette wrote:
The Super A is superior to the P30 range in every way.

G

Including price... I doubt you'll find a tidy working Super A for the same money as a P30 series. My suggestion was for something cheap and cheerful to have a go with film.
Matt

Shooting the Welsh Wilderness with K-m, KX, MX, ME Super and assorted lenses.

Oso

Link Posted 24/09/2011 - 09:38
I agree with Kris, if you can get a K2, a well balanced camera, Regards
Oso

George Lazarette

Link Posted 24/09/2011 - 10:49
Dangermouse wrote:
George Lazarette wrote:
The Super A is superior to the P30 range in every way.

G

Including price... I doubt you'll find a tidy working Super A for the same money as a P30 series. My suggestion was for something cheap and cheerful to have a go with film.

I take your point. Super A prices haven't dropped as much as I would like - I'm hoping to get one for nostalgic reasons.

G
Keywords: Charming, polite, and generally agreeable.

George Lazarette

Link Posted 24/09/2011 - 11:16
Kris,

An excellent summary, though I think you didn't give the Z series their due. The Z1 and its successor the Z1-P were immensely capable cameras, and unlike the MZ-S which replaced them, they cope properly with K and M lenses.

The Z series bodies are very different from the SF series, both in looks and sophistication. However, anybody buying one will need a manual. They were highly complex, and very similar in some ways to modern DSLRs.

They were (I think) the first bodies to include the two-wheel system that the best DSLRs use today.

G
Keywords: Charming, polite, and generally agreeable.

Pentaxophile

Link Posted 24/09/2011 - 12:06
I like the Z series too, although I've only got a Z70, the budget model. However it's still a pretty sophisticated and DSLR-like camera. Only 'Penta-mirror' but still vastly better than the viewfinder on a digital APSC camera. It cost me ten quid for a mint one. (The strap was wider and nicer than the original one on my K7 so I swapped them over).



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Last Edited by Pentaxophile on 24/09/2011 - 12:07
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