Beginner Where to start with film

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#1
Hi, feel like a lucky man as a good friend is giving me two 35mm film cameras after his Granddad passed who was a camera fanatic. The cameras are coming with cases and assorted lens. The only problem is i've never shot in film. Had a browse on Youtube but was wondering if anybody had advice where to look for good advice and help in getting started. Thanks for any pointers
 
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#2
Paul, there's a whole section based around film and conventional photography, I'm sure a passing mod can move this thread in there for you.
There's a tremendous wealth of knowledge in the users in there too.

Any idea what cameras they are?
 
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#3
Hi Mads, sorry my fault thought it would be better as a beginner forum. As for the cameras my friend who is also a photographer has a Minoltas and a Olympus for me not sure models going to see him after work friday and quite excited.
 
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#4
Yep there are lots of helpful and experienced souls across in F&C - If you don't want to bother a mod to move the thread you can just start one over there. Between us we have probably made every mistake possible with film.
 
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Three bits of advice:

1) If you expose the film in the cassette to light, it will be ruined. I know this is obvious to us old people but I know youngsters who were surprised when they found this out the hard way.
2) You cannot change ISO from one shot to another. The whole film must be shot at one ISO setting - preferably the ISO printed on the film box.
3) have fun. Film is a whole lots more fun than Digital!
 
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#6
This fantastic, Paul, I'm sure you can't wait. Film can be a very satisfying medium to work with, especially colour negative, in my opinion.

One thing leads to another with it and these days you can have frames scanned, or scan them yourself and bring the TIFFs into software for lots of editing options, like Photoshop, Lightroom, ON1, or whatever you prefer... Then you can have prints done, or have a crack at it yourself.

I'd suggest that you could try doing a search on YouTube for "shooting 35mm film" or something like that. See what pops up. I've come across interesting videos on shooting film. Well worth a look.
 
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#7
Hi Paul,

I'm in the same position as you but about a week on. I recently bought my first film camera for £20 in a charity shop and I've just shot my first reel of film today, which is currently in the shop being developed. Very excited! Like you I had no experience with film cameras - I had ask the chap in the shop where I bought the film to show me how to load it! It's an old camera (Praktica Super TL) made in East Germany in the 60s and 70s so it's very basic and mechanical, which made for a really nice tactile experience. The meter wasn't working so focus and exposure was all manual. Just need to see if the photos were any good now...

Good luck with yours.
Tom
 
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Hi Mads, sorry my fault thought it would be better as a beginner forum. As for the cameras my friend who is also a photographer has a Minoltas and a Olympus for me not sure models going to see him after work friday and quite excited.
Not at all mate, I just want to make sure you get the best support and advice possible so you get off to a good start. I fluffed my first few attempts at developing because I went in without the right advice and it was disheartening.
Look forward to seeing what goodies you get, I've no doubt you'll get enjoyment out of it.

Between us we have probably made every mistake possible with film.
Noone moreso than @robhooley167 , so much so that when a roll is ruined in spectacular fashion, its referred to as "hooley'd" :LOL:
 
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#10
Welcome aboard Paul.

Buy some film, look up on the internet how to load it, then go take pictures. Best bit is that you don't need to spend hours in LR getting a "film look".
 
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#17
Shooting film is a very enjoyable experience either with older cameras or newer ones. I seem to feel more connected to what I'm doing when shooting film, I guess that's because you can't instantly see the taken image and delete it of you don't like it. I'd advise shooting a few rolls of black n white film until you get used to using the camera as can be cheap to buy and have developed.
Get out n have fun with the camera, that's what it's all about
 
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#19
The Zorki and Olympus 10 are both excellent cameras. I have and use both. Contrary to what Tilz says, I find colour film is cheaper both to buy and to get developed.
Hi John, can you recommend any favourite good-value colour film? Can @Tilz recommend any of his favourite B&W film? I presume you can get it cheaper online that in a shop? Where do you get yours?

Cheer,
Tom
 
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I am still using my stock of Poundland Agfa Vista+ - I bought over 50 rolls!

When I buy film, I use Ag Photographic. Their typical price for cheap B&W film is £3.65 (Fomapan 100) and £2.69 for colour film (Kodak Color Plus). Admittedly, the B&W film is a longer roll than the colour but if you are testing the camera and your technique, a shorter film is better.

Developing colour film at AG Photo is also about £1.00 cheaper than B&W developing.
 
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#21
This is the picture of some of the cameras my friend has, apparently still got more stuff to sort through - can't wait

thumbnail by woody174, on Flickr
That's an interesting and varied haul you have there. Here's my two-pennorth on how to approach them.

There are two Minolta SLRs which look as if they are both autofocus models, probably from the 1980s. If they work properly then these will give you a user experience which is most likely to be the closest to using a digital SLR. By that, I mean that you can use them in auto-exposure mode as well as autofocus, and they will also autowind the film. However, because they make extensive use of electronics, they have a relatively high-risk of having a fault due to circuit board failure. If you have fresh batteries of the correct type loaded, then you will get a good idea once you switch them on. If they don't switch on with fresh batteries, move on to the next camera in your haul.

The Olympus SLR (I can't tell the exact model) is of a different nature because it has manual focus only, and manual wind on. It still needs a battery but has fewer electronic parts and arguably is more likely to fully functional than the more recent Minolta SLRs. Many film camera users find these older cameras to give a more pleasing experience than the auto-everything models, but that is subjective. It looks like the attached lens is a wide-angle - perhaps there will be a standard lens to complement the wide angle.

The Zorki is rangefinder camera so you will see two superimposed images in the viewfinder, which you have to match up to focus. The lenses are interchangeable (from a small range compared to SLRs) and it looks like there are some other lenses for the Zorki behind it in the image. I've never personally used a Zorki; there are many enthusiasts for these Russian cameras but others find them a bit idiosyncratic.

The Lubitel 2 is another Russian camera, this time a twin lens reflex. I haven't used one but I do have a later model, the Lubitel 166B. The 166B is capable of taking of high quality images - it is a medium format camera, which takes 120 film and produces images about 4.5 times as large as 35mm - but it can be difficult to frame and focus the image.

Finally there is a box camera which I can't identify, possibly made by Kodak. This probably has a single shutter speed and one or two apertures. It might use 120 film or 620 film. The dimensions of 620 film are the same as 120 film but the spool has a smaller diameter; there is no 620 film made now so various hacks are used to adapt 120 film for use in 620 cameras.

There is a good chance that you will find manuals for these cameras at https://www.butkus.org/chinon/index.html. They are free to download and you can make an online donation to Mike Buktus who provides a great service for the film photography community.

My personal advice would be to start with the Olympus SLR, or the Minolta ones if you prefer, and leave the others until you have a bit more experience.

Enjoy your haul !
 
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#22
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#23
Hi John, can you recommend any favourite good-value colour film? Can @Tilz recommend any of his favourite B&W film? I presume you can get it cheaper online that in a shop? Where do you get yours?


Cheer,
Tom
I like Ilford B&W films. I normally have a roll of Ilford XP2 Super 400 in one of my cameras. I like how it looks and it's not overly expensive. I started out using Kentmere 400 which is Ilfords budget film but it still provides good results. You don't mind messing up a few shots when the film's only cost you a few quid.
I used to get my film from Amazon or eBay but I get most of it from a site called Analogue Wonderland now. They have a good selection of film and the prices are good too
 
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#25
This thread might help a bit: https://www.talkphotography.co.uk/threads/first-film-camera-ever-or-for-many-years.481985/

As the guys say, have fun. Perversely, black and white is more expensive to develop at the labs than colour film (though black and white is much cheaper for home dev). The one exception is Ilford XP2, which is a black and white film using colour film technology!

There are plenty of online places to buy film, including on eBay. 7dayshop and discountfimsdirect can be cheap, but also check out AG Photographic, Analogue Wonderland, Mr Cad, Silverprint and Wex. Postage is an issue. You might get cheaper prices from macodirect.de or fotoimpex.de, again postage is an issue. It's worth noting that if you only want a couple of films, your local Boots should have a limited range on a Buy One Get One Half Price offer, which often works out cheaper than buying from a cheaper place, once postage is taken into account.

Have fun... and don't be afraid to ask about any difficulties. The folk here are really helpful and want to see as many people as possible get into film. There are NO stupid questions here!
 
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#26
I forgot to say, quite a few folk on here get their films processed and scanned by Filmdev. They've closed for Xmas right now, but normally there's a fair chance if I post a film on Monday I'll get an email to pay and then a download link on Tuesday (sometimes a day or two longer, but often just the next day).
 
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