Beginner Recommend a 35mm camera/system...

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Chris
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Hello Fine Film Folk,

I am considering dipping my toes into film just for some very light fun. I will most likely just be taking street snapshots and landscape/casual wildlife shots.

Also, I am interested in using some 'vintage' lenses with my Fujifilm X-mount APS-C camera (and ideally would only like to commit to one mount converter)

I have done some searching on here but couldn't really find a good 'first camera' thread. Cursory looks online seem to point to Nikon Fe2; Olympus OM and Pentax MX. However, some reliable experience from you good people would be lovely.

To that end then, is there a particular body and system of lenses that would be good for this dual purpose?
 
always a good selection of Nikon, Canon and Pentax bodies/lens on eBay - my favourites were always the Canon A1 and Pentax ME (super) which was called the Pentax Leica in it's day - it is a ;lovely size - most of the early Nikon's were quite big and heavy but then came the later FM's and similar, which were lighter and smaller - but Nikon did make some ground breaking cameras at the time.
 
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Hello Fine Film Folk,

I am considering dipping my toes into film just for some very light fun. I will most likely just be taking street snapshots and landscape/casual wildlife shots.

Also, I am interested in using some 'vintage' lenses with my Fujifilm X-mount APS-C camera (and ideally would only like to commit to one mount converter)

I have done some searching on here but couldn't really find a good 'first camera' thread. Cursory looks online seem to point to Nikon Fe2; Olympus OM and Pentax MX. However, some reliable experience from you good people would be lovely.

To that end then, is there a particular body and system of lenses that would be good for this dual purpose?

Lenses from all those systems will adapt to Fuji X most cameras.

The Pentax you mention is nice and the lenses are nice but can suffer from electrical problems., as can the Nikon FE. Having had and handled most 35mm systems, I would look for a Nikon if I was doing it again but a mechanical one like an FM/FM2, etc.
 
If you were doing some wildflife shots something like a Pentax Z-1 (modern era AF camera - still ~30 years old) will work nicely with telephoto AF lenses and still have full manual control. Cheap as well.
 
apart from Leica used 35mm Film cameras are now so cheap that you can get some of what were the best at the time for very little money - i.e. the Nikon F3 and Canon F1 - and Canon FD lens are good and not that expensive
 
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I use a Yashica FX3 that my stepdad bought me in the 90's.

I did try a Canon Av1 for a while. It was nice, but the shutter stuck on occasion and was a bit heavier than the FX3.
 
Minolta X-500.


The only thing to be wary of is the capacitor issue. But if you buy a refurbed one, this will have been done. My black one (I think) is developing this issue, the silver one I bought refurbed and it's been done. If you're handy with a soldering iron, it can be done for pennies.

The lenses are also very highly regarded. I've seen several reviews of the 35-70/3.5 saying it's the best zoom of all time.

All black or classic black and silver.

x500 Chrome by Kell, on Flickr

x500 black by Kell, on Flickr
 
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apart from Leica used 35mm Film cameras are now so cheap that you can get some of what were the best at the time for very little money - i.e. the Nikon F3 and Canon F1 - and Canon FD lens are good and not that expensive

Obviously "cheap" is a subjective term, but I wouldn't say Nikon F3's or Canon F1's are particularly cheap. Unless you're fortunate you'll likely be paying £200+ for one in good working condition.

As @welshwizard645 says, one of the more recent 35mm SLRs (from any of the main manufacturers) might be a good choice. You'll get a lot of features (including aperture and shutter priority modes) and even (in some cases) the ability to use things like modern VC lenses, which might be useful where stuff like wildlife is concerned. Unless you go for a pro model, they also tend to be quite reasonably priced (in comparison to older cameras) as they don't have the same desirable looks as a classic older camera.
 
I'm biased since I used the OM system until I moved up to medium and large format; when I use a digital camera (Sony a7r2 in my case) I normally use OM lenses as being small and light, Plus I already had a full set.
 
Minolta X-500.


The only thing to be wary of is the capacitor issue. But if you buy a refurbed one, this will have been done. My black one (I think) is developing this issue, the silver one I bought refurbed and it's been done. If you're handy with a soldering iron, it can be done for pennies.

The lenses are also very highly regarded. I've seen several reviews of the 35-70/3.5 saying it's the best zoom of all time.

All black or classic black and silver.

x500 Chrome by Kell, on Flickr

x500 black by Kell, on Flickr
This looks lovely. Theres one on eBay for £25; that is definitely my sort of price!

I’m going to shamelessly admit I do want something that looks like this - it’s going to sit on my desk at the end of the day - the more modern ones (like the Pentax z-1 previously mentioned) have a look I am not fond of.

It seems there isn’t really a consensus then, and basically you can’t go wrong…? Would it be easier to ask which cameras to avoid?
 
This looks lovely. Theres one on eBay for £25; that is definitely my sort of price!

I’m going to shamelessly admit I do want something that looks like this - it’s going to sit on my desk at the end of the day - the more modern ones (like the Pentax z-1 previously mentioned) have a look I am not fond of.

It seems there isn’t really a consensus then, and basically you can’t go wrong…? Would it be easier to ask which cameras to avoid?

don't underspend on the equipment - the cost of the film and processing, scanning etc., could soon outweigh you initial capital cost
 
Is this a hole I want to fall down… :oops: :$
Maybe buy something cheap but usable and see where it takes you
Edit: I bought some expensive cameras but ended up getting better results from extremely cheap ones.
I think it’s because I had lower expectations from the results so I wasn’t as worried about the final image instead I focused getting good images. That’s just me
 
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Would it be easier to ask which cameras to avoid?
If it's your first film camera [in the last ten years], I'd avoid anything on eBay - especially anything without a comprehensive description. I would buy something from West Yorkshire Cameras or Ffordes where you will get a guarantee, a hassle free return policy if you're not happy, and a thoroughly tested camera. It'll cost a few quid more, but you'll get good results with it - especially if you shoot fresh film and get good processing & scanning. A lot of toe-dippers buy a £20 camera & fungus filled lens off eBay, use expired film, get cheap as they can dev and scan it with an app on their phone only to decide 'film is crap'.

Have a look at the show us yer film shots thread - in particular Nige's @FishyFish work. That really showcases what you can do with a half decent camera, competent dev & scan, and a good eye for a photograph.
 
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If you are looking for a system you can't go wrong with either Canon or Nikon. I personally like Canon, but that is just for historical reasons.

Again, for what has gone before, I love the professional camera bodies - F-1 and EOS 1-v. If you want something bullet-proof to inspire you with confidence it will just work, they will deliver. You can buy cheaper! Only you will know where you feel comfortable on the quality range.

I completely agree with @Harlequin565, avoiding eBay would be a good call.
 
Is the Canon LTM thread mount the same as M39? The adapter for Fuji X Mount is very thin; and if theres any way to make a decision on which system to choose thats as good a way as any.

I assume this is slightly different to the Leica M mount, the lenses and bodies of which are a little out of my current price range...]

(Forgive me if any of these questions/reasonings seem ridiculous, as I'm sure you all know getting into any new world can be a bit overwhelming)
 
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Pentax K1000 fully manual and works without a battery, the camera that was in just about every Secondary (High) School art department introducing untold thousands of kids to a real camera and still a great camera to learn film photography with.
 
Is the Canon LTM thread mount the same as M39?
Yes they are L39 or leica screw mount as they are sometimes called.

The Canon LTM range of lenses had some very good examples easily a match for Leica lenses of the same period ( early Leica M mount) but the more unusual wider aperture versions are quite collectable as well as usable and close to Leica money.
 
I'll go out on a limb here and suggest that if you want the full film experience, you should consider one of the classic triad of top notch, fully mechanical SLRs from the 1960s...

The ultimate professional tool, the almost indestructable Nikon F...

Nikon F camera FX55 1010613.jpg

The prettiest kid on the block, the Pentax Spotmatic..

Pentax Spotmatic with Rikenon f1-2 lens Nikon F 1996-20_23.jpg

or Canon's reliable and businesslike FT QL (seen here with its successor, the AE-1)...

Cameras Canon FTQL and AE1 DSC01793.JPG
 
This looks lovely. Theres one on eBay for £25; that is definitely my sort of price!

I’m going to shamelessly admit I do want something that looks like this - it’s going to sit on my desk at the end of the day - the more modern ones (like the Pentax z-1 previously mentioned) have a look I am not fond of.

It seems there isn’t really a consensus then, and basically you can’t go wrong…? Would it be easier to ask which cameras to avoid?
I think if there’s one for £25 it might not be a goer. Or you might be lucky.

For ref, the silver one I bought was £150 fully refurbed with a 12 month warranty and packaged with a 45mm f2 Minolta lens.

That lens goes for around £50, so I’d certainly be looking at cameras in the £80-£100 mark.

The 35-70 lens I mentioned earlier was developed with Leica and Minolta were in partnership with them for a number of years.

It’s a much more niche brand, but they introduced so many ‘firsts’ that they should have been bigger. By the time they focused (pardon the pun) on the pro market, Canon and Nikon had it seen up.
 
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I think if there’s one for £25 it might not be a goer. Or you might be lucky.

For ref, the silver one I bought was £150 fully refurbed with a 12 month warranty and packaged with a 45mm f2 Minolta lens.

Buy a "cheap" film camera on eBay and most of the time they will look great as an "art" piece on your book shelf.... once you have clean all the sh1t off
 
Buy a "cheap" film camera on eBay and most of the time they will look great as an "art" piece on your book shelf.... once you have clean all the sh1t off
I think we’re saying the same thing.

You’d have to be very lucky to get a good X-500 camera for that

Film cameras do exist for that price though.

I was recently gifted a Pentax P30 and while it didn’t have the classic looks, it was good little camera. They tend to sell for about £30.

Not pretty though.
 
I think we’re saying the same thing.

You’d have to be very lucky to get a good X-500 camera for that

Film cameras do exist for that price though.

I was recently gifted a Pentax P30 and while it didn’t have the classic looks, it was good little camera. They tend to sell for about £30.

Not pretty though.

I agree - I have been saying this from my first post - that because of the (relatively expensive) operating cost of using film - spend a reasonable amount on the capital purchases ....... but others seem to disagree??
 
I agree - I have been saying this from my first post - that because of the (relatively expensive) operating cost of using film - spend a reasonable amount on the capital purchases ....... but others seem to disagree??
I imagine everyone is a little wary to recommend spending a lot upfront for someone like me, who is dabbling at best (for now). Personally for what amounts to £20 per film from purchase to having the scans on my computer, thats not really a massive amount as an occasional expenditure.

I really enjoy using my Fuji X-T20 and I doubt a film camera would overtake that; however the reason I like using it is because its modelled after these film cameras. So for me really its about experimenting with the original process, whilst also maybe getting some extra glass to use with my digital camera at the same time.
 
I imagine everyone is a little wary to recommend spending a lot upfront for someone like me, who is dabbling at best (for now). Personally for what amounts to £20 per film from purchase to having the scans on my computer, thats not really a massive amount as an occasional expenditure.

I really enjoy using my Fuji X-T20 and I doubt a film camera would overtake that; however the reason I like using it is because its modelled after these film cameras. So for me really its about experimenting with the original process, whilst also maybe getting some extra glass to use with my digital camera at the same time.

I did it the other way around.

I bought a lot of glass for my Minolta then wanted to be able to see result a lot more quickly so bought a MKI Sony A7.

I really, really like this way of shooting.

It’s an inexpensive way of getting some really good quality glass. And the results are excellent.

I'm a member of a Minolta Lens group on Facebook and it seems Sony and Fuji mirrorless are the cameras people prefer.

With the obvious caveat, that as yours is an APS-C camera, the focal lengths will all appear to be longer. But this applies to all lenses from any manufacturer. To that end, if you're interested in stuff that would normally be shot on wide angle, you'll have to choose your lenses carefully.

Easy to come by Minolta lenses go as wide as 24mm - after that they're a lot more rare, and expensive.

I don't know about other brands. but the type of stuff you like to shoot, may dictate which film camera you buy and the eco-system of lenses if you're planning to also use them on a digital body.



Have a browse of this thread to see results - not just from me btw.

I think most people have posted their camera and lens combos so you can get an idea of what people are doing.

 
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If you want to dip your toe in the water using film and something cheap, my choice would be Canon T70...the only weakness is the catch for holding the two AA batteries and needs to be checked if the previous owner was a gorilla. Also if you are long sighted then dioptres available on ebay to slide over viewfinder e.g. +1 and +2......about £15 to £20
A manual camera my choice Nikon FM as it can also take pre AI lenses
 
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A 40-year itch has been to own a T-70, it was either than or a P50 Pentax. I ended up with a C**non which has meant faithfulness to the K-mount system (CP7m ;) ),

I did eventually get a P50 a few years back, that is one itch scratched but it is the turn of the Canon. If only film and developing wasn't so expensive......

The P50 is a lovely camera but I would suggest a P30n or P30t as alternatives.
 
If you do go the Minolta route... this list will be both your best friend and your worst enemy...


All of my lenses are MD (MDII and MDIII - fairly evenly split).

From the research I did, it seems the latter MC lenses are the most highly regarded.

But they're all excellent.

This is my current line-up from L to R.

MDII 24/2.8
MDII 28/2.8
MDII 35/1.8
MDII 45/2
MDIII 50/1.7
MDIII 50/1.4
MDII 100/2.5
MDIII 135/3.5

MDIIIa 28-70/3.5-4.8
MDIII 28-85/3.5-4.5
MDIII 35-70/3.5


Lens Line up
by Kell, on Flickr

If you want any advice at all, I'd be happy to help.
 
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Because I know you're all dying to know - I'm probably going to get a Minolta X500 or a Pentax KX.

I am toying with the idea of a Fujica STX-1 (super cheap) but there aren't as many lenses for that system. Any opinions on the less common systems like Fujica?

STX1's are always cheap because you are unlikely to find any lenses for them. Fujica in general are solid, well built cameras. If you want to go that route look for something like the 605 that takes M42 lenses
 
Because I know you're all dying to know - I'm probably going to get a Minolta X500 or a Pentax KX.

I am toying with the idea of a Fujica STX-1 (super cheap) but there aren't as many lenses for that system. Any opinions on the less common systems like Fujica?
STX1's are always cheap because you are unlikely to find any lenses for them. Fujica in general are solid, well built cameras. If you want to go that route look for something like the 605 that takes M42 lenses

At one time I had an STX-1N and 2 STX-2’s - I also managed to get a 28mm lens to go along with the standard 50s, I eventually managed to source a 35mm (from Italy), nice basic cameras but as @Plain Nev says - lenses are an issue.

Personally I’d go for the Minolta, the normal lenses are great but the Rokkor ones are outstanding and will adapt very well to your Fuji.

Concentrate on the glass that you want and think about how well they will match with your Fuji. (I’m using several Rokkor lenses on the Fuji GFX, many of them give full sensor coverage) - check out Jonas Rask’s website for Minolta on Fuji cameras
 
At one time I had an STX-1N and 2 STX-2’s - I also managed to get a 28mm lens to go along with the standard 50s, I eventually managed to source a 35mm (from Italy), nice basic cameras but as @Plain Nev says - lenses are an issue.

Personally I’d go for the Minolta, the normal lenses are great but the Rokkor ones are outstanding and will adapt very well to your Fuji.

Concentrate on the glass that you want and think about how well they will match with your Fuji. (I’m using several Rokkor lenses on the Fuji GFX, many of them give full sensor coverage) - check out Jonas Rask’s website for Minolta on Fuji cameras
The trouble is I don’t really know how well they’d match with the Fuji. I’d basically narrowed it down to Minolta and Pentax because a) the adapters are about the same size and b) the known issues with the bodies are either rare or easily fixed.

However if Minolta is the best fit for a modern Fuji then that’s the one
 
And here's me thinking, stuff the Fuji mount, Nikon F100....:ROFLMAO:

Brian's got the closest to my thoughts with his T70 Blake 7 plastic shaver...(y)

could do worse I reckon.:)
 
If you do go the Minolta route... this list will be both your best friend and your worst enemy...


All of my lenses are MD (MDII and MDIII - fairly evenly split).

From the research I did, it seems the latter MC lenses are the most highly regarded.

But they're all excellent.

This is my current line-up from L to R.

MDII 24/2.8
MDII 28/2.8
MDII 35/1.8
MDII 45/2
MDIII 50/1.7
MDIII 50/1.4
MDII 100/2.5
MDIII 135/3.5

MDIIIa 28-70/3.5-4.8
MDIII 28-85/3.5-4.5
MDIII 35-70/3.5


Lens Line up by Kell, on Flickr

If you want any advice at all, I'd be happy to help.
So what about the other Minolta X cameras; XG-M, X300, X700 etc etc…
 
And here's me thinking, stuff the Fuji mount, Nikon F100....:ROFLMAO:

Brian's got the closest to my thoughts with his T70 Blake 7 plastic shaver...(y)

could do worse I reckon.:)
The T70........The secret of how I post great shots here, o_O:D out of my appx 40 cameras it's the one I've used most.....a love affair? :rolleyes:
Another Camera I like is the Chinon CP-7m... IMO better than Pentax offerings like ME etc....it can take Pentax lenses and as it's not well known should be going cheap. It is very versatile so would need checking that every thing works and have no idea if Chinon cameras are reliable compared to Canon etc, but mine still works after 10 years,
 
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The T70........The secret of how I post great shots here, o_O:D out of my appx 40 cameras it's the one I've used most.....a love affair? :rolleyes:
Another Camera I like is the Chinon CP-7m... IMO better than Pentax offerings like ME etc....it can take Pentax lenses and as it's not well known should be going cheap. It is very versatile so would need checking that every thing works and have no idea if Chinon cameras are reliable compared to Canon etc, but mine still works after 10 years,

It's a curious thing, but the Chinon really does remind me of the Canon T70. In the same way that the CE-4 reminds me of the Yashica FXD. All cameras seemed to look the same at the time.
 
So what about the other Minolta X cameras; XG-M, X300, X700 etc etc…

The X300 was very much an entry level camera and didn’t have half the features of the 500.

While the X700 had more features, the 500 for whatever reason tends to be focused by people that have used both.

I can’t really comment as I’ve only ever had the 500s. The black one I’ve had since about 1989.
 
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