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DSLR to SLR??
Hi, I've started my photography hobby about six months ago. I went from a point shoot to DSLR. Now I have an Olympus E-510 + kit lens, battery grip, fl-36 flash. (someday I'd like to get a better lens) but I find myself tempted to try older film slrs, but I'm hesitant in giving it a try because film slr's aren't really popular anymore. (the whole film processing turns me off a bit) I'm just wondering if anybody has any advice on whether it's worth investing $100 on a used film SLR plus lens, or should I just quit my wishful thinking and save up for something more lucrative and "worth it" like a new lens. thanks in advance..

Comments (13)

This probably isn't the best site to get advice about film cameras. I suppose the first question I'd ask is why you're interested in film? I'm not trying to dissuade you, but to understand. Both film and digital have their merits..

Some people like to collect classic film cameras and use them. Considering the low cost of very good film bodies today they can be attractively priced if you know what to look for. You might want to consider a film camera type other than a SLR. For instance a rangefinder or a medium format twin lens reflex. Digital competitors to those types of cameras will cost much more than the film equivalent. IMO that's where the bang for the buck is with film..

To get most advantage out of (black and white) film you're best off developing the negatives yourself. Doing so gives you more control over the results. It's not difficult nor expensive but you do have setup time and chemicals involved. It's also not necessary to develop your own negatives to enjoy shooting film..

Peek over at rangefinderforum.com for instance...

Comment #1

In the past 6 months that I've been doing a lot digital photograpy, I've learned a great deal on how to enhance, change, alter, etc... photos via software. I've learned alot about digital photography, that I personally feel that if I step out of the digital boundary and try film, it may (or may not) improve my photographic skills and knowledge pertaining to photography due to curiosity. Also I'd like to try film SLR's because I've tried point and shoot digital cameras and there quality is not up to par with DSLR. A few photography friends have mentioned I could possibly get better photo qualiity in (used) SLR films as opposed to regular point and shoot digital cameras. I was thinking of spending a few hundred dollars on a new digital camera as a backup for my DSLR but I've grown to love the feel of an SLR that I've been completely turned off by point and shoot cameras.

No one uses it anymore, it's so readily available at fractions of the cost of DSLR and even many compact digital cameras...

Comment #2

Ongoing film development and printing costs more than have the ability to offset the lower cost buy-in that the slr has..

It's a tough call, a course in digital photography may help you move forward. to me the digital format allows one to shoot limitless and go in to see the results with an immediacy film doesn't..

The chemicals, space to dedicate to a dark room, cheap cameras is only a small portion of the complete equation to take full advantage like I think you are considering..

It's more than possible, but maybe not as simple as it sounds..

Regardless of your decision,.

Keh.com is a great resource for both used/new film and digital equipment to consider...

Comment #3

Neofx wrote:.

Hi, I've started my photography hobby about six months ago. I wentfrom a point shoot to DSLR. Now I have an Olympus E-510 + kit lens,battery grip, fl-36 flash. (someday I'd like to get a better lens)but I find myself tempted to try older film slrs, but I'm hesitant ingiving it a try because film slr's aren't really popular anymore..

Congratulations on your hobby! Keep in mind that whether or not something is 'popular' shouldn't have anything to do with your decision to try new things. If you want to try film, then do it regardless of what others are doing... now if you want to use a film camera for making money, as opposed to using a digital camera, that might not be the best BUSINESS decision, and is a different issue all together..

(the whole film processing turns me off a bit) I'm just wondering ifanybody has any advice on whether it's worth investing $100 on a usedfilm SLR plus lens, or should I just quit my wishful thinking andsave up for something more lucrative and "worth it" like a new lens.thanks in advance.

I'm confused at what you're talking about when you use words like 'lucrative' and 'worth it'. Basically if you want to make money in photography and you're not shooting medium format, digital is *most likely* the better business decision, and cheaper in the long run..

Whether or not something is 'worth it' depends on what you shoot, and what you need and or want in a camera..

1. If you're planning to make money shooting fashion, are making huge prints, then spending $1,000 - $3,000 on a medium format camera body might not be a bad idea if you already have people gawking over your work. If not, you're better off shooting digital (a D40x or D60 would do fine) in order to build your skill, *then* invest in a medium format camera (one that allows film and digital backs)..

Note: the only reason I don't recommend going the medium format route to begin with is due to the high cost that you'd incur with purchasing/processing hundreds of frames of film. I would recommend the OPPOSITE if you were learning on digital and wanted to shoot fashion- I'd say get a Canon 1DsIII to learn on, and once you got it down.. you could use the same camera for professional print work..

2. Don't see yourself printing super huge in the near future and or you're on a tight budget? Go digital..

3. Follow your heart. If YOU want to shoot film just for the pure enjoyment of shooting film... run out right now, get yourself a film camera and a roll of film and start having a good time. Life is too short to worry about what everyone else is doing and or what may or may not be popular... You've got your own music to dance to .

Good Luck!.

Teila K. Day..

Comment #4

Shooting film is a different experience. For instance I wouldn't advise considering taking 100 shots a day and being able to afford the cost for long. Film will teach you to setup the shot, think about it twice, and then take it. It may improve your hit rate..

One other difference with film may be the difference in handling of the equipment. Depending on the vintage or type of film camera you may not get auto-focus or auto-metering. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. The handling and more manual control will cause you to approach your subject and photography in general in a different manner. Likewise a rangefinder will cause you to approach things differently than with a SLR..

The differences could lead you to see differently and lead you to be a better photographer, or ... maybe not. $100 for body + lens and a bit more for some film, developing, and printing isn't much to find out if you're interested..

I would suggest a) research which camera and lens you buy on a film specific forum. b) buy from a reputable dealer that gives some sort of warranty, such as keh.com or the used section of B&H photo..

Enjoy..

PS: I brought up medium format TLR's because a) you can get a good one for a few hundred dollars vs thirty thousand or so for a digital b) for some types of photography they'll blow the best full frame 35mm DSLR out of the water on cost and quality of image. (expect flames to ensue. lookup Godzilla vs Bambi on the Nikon forum)...

Comment #5

Someone gave me a very nice classic, manual focus, manual exposure film SLR. I thought it would be fun to run a few rolls of film through it. There's something special about the manual controls, the all metal tough as nails body, the huge bright viewfinder, the split prism focus screen and the pure mechanical feel it has. But I only run about 1 roll of film a year through it..

The delayed gratification of film, the inability to delete bad shots and retake the ones that did not turn out the way I wanted them, the cost of developing and printing or scanning the negatives all add up to taking the DSLR out way more often, and enjoying post processing a lot more..

Your mileage may vary.BruceMcKhttp://www.pbase.com/brucemck..

Comment #6

There are some good reasons to be in film. Here is a Wikipedia article on Velvia - a classic slide film, I think you'll enjoy the read. You will notice that in the article Velvia is compared to 22 megapixels so if you are into printing our your own images, to lets say 13 by 19 or larger; film will give you lee way in terms of cropping and blowing up an image..

Http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Velvia.

If I were going back to film, I'd definitely go to medium format. You might as well have a substantial gain if going to film. The image size in medium format film is awesome. If you are a bit of a crop freak like I am and want to blow up images to rather large sizes, medium format film is definitely the way to go..

With medium format, you work and compose slower, you will only have one or two lenses. If I were to go to medium format to supplement my digital, I'd have all the images scanned to a CD then load them into my computer to play with them in elements or photoshop - name your poison..

Here is a helpful quick write up at B&H about medium format. At the bottom of the page is a demo of image sizes, including full frame 35mm..

Http://www.bhphotovideo.com/find/Product_Resources/medComu.jspRationally I have no hope, irrationally I believe in miracles.Joni Mitchell..

Comment #7

I honestly don't think film is worth investing your limited time into. UNLESS, you go for a unique camera system like a Leica range finder which will cost you $$$$$ or as others have suggested, medium format..

Those entry level to pro-amateur level film cameras aren't worth it. My Canon Elan IIe has been collecting does ever since I bought the Digital Rebel/300D..

You are much better off investing time and money mastering your post processing skills in both screen and print output..

The one advantage of film to me is that it's so expensive, you tend to see your images in 4x6 or a little larger prints. At sizes that small, you can appreciate how enjoyable an image can be without pixel peeking. That can free you from the equipment obsession and allow you to focus on taking better pictures with what you own. You can get the same effect with digital equipment by printing more shot, putting more images online, etc. in other words appreciate how you like to use the images you've taken...

Comment #8

I use both and love it..

Many film SLR's available for excellent prices, you can get a semi pro flim slr for far less than a superbudget digital one..

I use minolta myself, and got a nice dynax 7 for 100 odd, a mere fraction of what it cost new (and it's A1 condition), plenty of choices, canon nikon and even pentax..

MF bodies are even cheaper still, and lenses can be had for peanuts almost. Nice range of Minolta MD lenses on ebay..selling for near to nothing, as are the bodies for them..and the other makers too..

Sure, digital is very handy, and great..but you will notice the superior colour and tones of film, more highlight latitude..and overall IMHO..more pleasing effect. The cost of processing and the rolls themselves are so cheap now..far cheaper than when I ist started off..

Consider what you are looking for, something different..or just a quick play about..

Film does require some patience, but I find that the non instant feedback, encourages you to take your skills to a new level. That is a good thing IMHO...

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window.

Clint is on holiday! Soon to return! ..

Comment #9

Barry Fitzgerald wrote:.

I use both and love it..

Many film SLR's available for excellent prices, you can get a semipro flim slr for far less than a superbudget digital one..

I use minolta myself, and got a nice dynax 7 for 100 odd, a merefraction of what it cost new (and it's A1 condition), plenty ofchoices, canon nikon and even pentax..

I loved the old film Minolta cameras. I get the feeling of a smaller company that thought of photographers of all experience levels..

MF bodies are even cheaper still, and lenses can be had for peanutsalmost. Nice range of Minolta MD lenses on ebay..selling for near tonothing, as are the bodies for them..and the other makers too..

Sure, digital is very handy, and great..but you will notice thesuperior colour and tones of film, more highlight latitude..andoverall IMHO..more pleasing effect. The cost of processing and therolls themselves are so cheap now..far cheaper than when I iststarted off..

Personally I found that post processing and learning to live with the more narrow exposure latitude of digital to counter the film advantages..

Film does require some patience, but I find that the non instantfeedback, encourages you to take your skills to a new level. That isa good thing IMHO...

That's the fun thing about film. Takes a while to see how well you shot and so you better pay attention to your technique. Made shooting with slide film even more fun..

For me, the biggest thing I like about film is that you tend to look at your color print film in the form of 4x6 prints. With digital, you go right for pixel peeking which allows us geeks to easily loose focus on the fundamentals..

But, despite how much cheaper film is today, the drawbacks are too high for me..

Of course, if I did have a collection of Leica glass, I'd definitely be shooting film with it. Pity I'll never be able to afford it...

Comment #10

Film does require some patience, but I find that the non instantfeedback, encourages you to take your skills to a new level. That isa good thing IMHO...

That's the fun thing about film. Takes a while to see how well youshot and so you better pay attention to your technique. Madeshooting with slide film even more fun..

With high speed continuous mode and a 1 hour lab I get my film shots back just as fast as digital, and I don't count looking on the LCD because my 30D has such an awful LCD you can't judge critical sharpness or exposure so I have to get my shots to the computer to evaluate them.

For me, the biggest thing I like about film is that you tend to lookat your color print film in the form of 4x6 prints. With digital,you go right for pixel peeking which allows us geeks to easily loosefocus on the fundamentals..

My OM-10 with a $50 28mm lens on 400 print film scanned and checked at 100% was WAY sharper than the same scene shot with my 30D with 17-85 @ 17mm (28 equiv)...

Comment #11

Neofx wrote:.

Hi, I've started my photography hobby about six months ago. I wentfrom a point shoot to DSLR. Now I have an Olympus E-510 + kit lens,battery grip, fl-36 flash. (someday I'd like to get a better lens)but I find myself tempted to try older film slrs, but I'm hesitant ingiving it a try because film slr's aren't really popular anymore.(the whole film processing turns me off a bit) I'm just wondering ifanybody has any advice on whether it's worth investing $100 on a usedfilm SLR plus lens, or should I just quit my wishful thinking andsave up for something more lucrative and "worth it" like a new lens.thanks in advance.

Well, it isn't just about getting a film SLR and a bunch of film. To get really good results, you want to use good film and good processing. Without that, you may be disappointed with the results. So if "the whole film processing" turns you off, you may not like the film experience at all, because good results depends greatly on the film and the processing. A good lab will produce great results from your film. A bad lab can deliver pretty poor results.



Do you have any iidea what kind of film you plan on shooting? You probably haven't given that much consideration. Film selection is a fairly pivotal part of film shooting. Different films deliver different results and different looks. Then, once you decide which films you want to use, you have to find a good lab that knows how to get good results from that film..

As a former film shooter, I know that film has a lot to offer. But it's a fairly involved "process". I used professional films, stored in my refrigerator to keep them fresh, processed fairly quickly after they were exposed, processed at a trusted professional lab that knew how to process these films for optimum results. I wasn't using cheap film and cheap processing. So you shouldn't be asking if it's "worth investing $100 on a used film SLR". You should really be asking if it's worth investing the money to use high quality films and high quality processing to get good results from film.

Buying the camera is the cheap part. The real cost is film and processing, especially if you use quality film and processing..

One nice thing about using a film SLR is having the full frame 35mm experience: big viewfinders, shallow depth of field, more creative control because you have greater DOF control. But you can get that with a 35mm full frame DSLR...

Comment #12

As a film (slide) guy forever and only now blending digital...actually the D300 is at UPS for delivery tomorrow, I would offer this. Shoot a roll of slides and take a look at what non reflected light does for colors!http://www.flickr.com/photos/southwestdreams/..

Comment #13

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This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.

 

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