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Author Topic: Film body for class??  (Read 8634 times)
sxty8goats
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« on: December 30, 2005, 08:59:47 PM »
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Hi,

I'm trying to sign up for a photography class at the local college. They require film bodies and I shoot a 20D. I browsed E-bay for film bodies, canon ef mount to match my lenses, and was overwelmed with the choices. Does anyone have any opinions on a cheep film body that will be useful for class? I'm worried that I'll pick something that doesn't allow full manual control.

Thanks

PJ
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2005, 09:10:08 PM »
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Rebel TI. Cheap, but does offer manual mode. Availaable at Sam's club.

And the college needs to modernize its course offerings.
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Jonathan Ratzlaff
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« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2005, 09:24:01 PM »
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I teach  beginning photography classes.   In this day and age, if a course insists on film cameras, I would run long and hard from that course.   Digital is encouraged as it is far easier to share images from a digital camera with the class than it is with film cameras.  
Examples and practice are what you learn from.

Look for a different course.

Jonathan
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Jonathan Ratzlaff
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« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2005, 09:28:53 PM »
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You should look at another course.  A film camera for the sake of film is one thing, however that is not going to teach you with the camera you are using.

I teach beginning photography classes and if someone is saying you need to shoot with film, there is something wrong with the course.  There is nothing you will learn shooting film that you will not learn more quickly with a digital camera.  
In our classes we encourage the use of digiral cameras, even compact digitals over film because the results are more immediate and the ability to project images from a students work and project them makes it much easier for everyone to learn from critiques.
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Bobtrips
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« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2005, 09:31:23 PM »
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Hi,

I'm trying to sign up for a photography class at the local college. They require film bodies and I shoot a 20D. I browsed E-bay for film bodies, canon ef mount to match my lenses, and was overwelmed with the choices. Does anyone have any opinions on a cheep film body that will be useful for class? I'm worried that I'll pick something that doesn't allow full manual control.

Thanks

PJ
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Having done a spell as a university professor I can sympathize.  Modernization sometimes comes only when the old guard is carried out feet first.

Try visiting your local camera shops and see what they have in the used department.  For the class you probably need only one decent lens.  An Oly OM1 with a 50mm could probably be had for a few dollars (I gave two away).  Same goes for Canon, Nikon, Pentax, ....
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Sheldon N
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« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2005, 09:50:42 PM »
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My wife just took a photography class at our local community college, and they shot film. They used slide film since it was the simplest way to critique images in class - with a slide projector. I wouldn't worry too much about whether the class shoots film or digital, because hopefully it will focus more on general technique and photographic vision than on digital specifics. I got the sense that my wife learned more "technical" things from me than she did from the class, however she grew more as a photographer from having shooting assignments to do for class.

As far as a film body for class, I would buy something with the same Canon EF mount, so you don't have to get new lenses. I would recommend picking up a used Elan 7 on Ebay. It will have full manual control, but will also have the advantage of using your 20D lenses (unless they're EF-S lenses). They sell for around $130 for the body, and are comparable in features and performance to your 20D.

My wife used an Elan 7 for class (even though we normally shoot with the 20D). She also had the advantage of using my arsenal of Canon glass and accessories - when everyone else was shooting with manual focus cameras with poorly calibrated light meters. It makes a world of difference!
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DarkPenguin
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« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2005, 10:40:55 PM »
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Canon A2's go for cheap, too.  Lord knows I wasn't able to sell mine at a reasonable price.
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Digiteyesed
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« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2005, 11:22:13 PM »
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My wife just took a photography class at our local community college, and they shot film. They used slide film since it was the simplest way to critique images in class - with a slide projector.

There's nothing like shooting some chrome to keep from getting sloppy about exposures, eh? :-)
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Neutral Hills Stills
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gr82bart
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« Reply #8 on: December 31, 2005, 08:39:15 AM »
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When I was a little kid, I use to ask my parents all the time why I needed to learn the basics like math and writing using a pen and paper when I had a calculator and a computer. Seems some kids never grow up.

Like taking good pictures, it's not the equipment that teaches, it's the teacher.

Back to the question at hand. Try getting a used Pentax K-1000. Fully manual camera and dirt cheap too. Can get one on www.keh.com

Hope that helps.

Art.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2005, 11:48:34 AM by gr82bart » Logged

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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #9 on: December 31, 2005, 10:54:28 AM »
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When I was a little kid, I use to ask my parents all the time why I needed to learn the basics like math and writing using a pen and paper when I had a calculator and a computer. Seems some kids never grow up.
That's a cheap shot. There's nothing about digital photography that makes it any less suitable for learning the basics of photography than film. A Rebel with the mode dial glued in the manual position will force the photographer to think about ISO, aperture, and shutter speed just as well as a K-1000. And digital's immediate feedback is a significant advantage for learning; the immediate ability to see what went wrong and why is a huge advantage over learning with film. I did some photo training with my son over Thanksgiving with the 10D I gave him for Christmas a year ago, and being able to go over the results of his efforts immediately, especially given his somewhat short attention span, made a huge difference.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2005, 10:55:21 AM by Jonathan Wienke » Logged

boku
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« Reply #10 on: December 31, 2005, 11:39:23 AM »
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That's a cheap shot. There's nothing about digital photography that makes it any less suitable for learning the basics of photography than film. A Rebel with the mode dial glued in the manual position will force the photographer to think about ISO, aperture, and shutter speed just as well as a K-1000. And digital's immediate feedback is a significant advantage for learning; the immediate ability to see what went wrong and why is a huge advantage over learning with film.

I agree with you Jon, 100%. Let the truth be known!
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BryanHansel
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« Reply #11 on: December 31, 2005, 12:54:29 PM »
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IMHO, if you are willing to spend a little money and want one of the best manual 35mm cameras out there, you'd could hardly go wrong with a FM2 or FM3 from Nikon.  The older manual lenses are also easy to find and can be inexpensive.

A FM3a and a 24mm still feels like heaven.

Bryan
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John Camp
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« Reply #12 on: December 31, 2005, 01:29:15 PM »
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A lot of camera stores are stuck with film bodies that they can't get rid of. I'd go to the biggest local camera store and see if you could rent a camera and a lens (or two) for the duration of the course; or maybe even borrow it -- tell them that you'll buy your next 20D lens from them.  Alternatively, if you have the cash to buy a new lens now, tell them that you'll buy the lens if they'll throw in the loan of a film body. I'll bet you could work out a deal...

I've taken a couple of courses with the Sante Fe workshops, where we shot film, and film has one advantage over digital for these situations -- it projects better, unless I'm dong something wrong witih my digital projector (I'm not real experienced with it.) I find it frustrating to know that you have a great shot, but you're essentially enlarging a limited-resolution TV screen to 20 times its normal size, and the details of the shot, the pixels, come out looking like softballs.
 
JC
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Digiteyesed
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« Reply #13 on: December 31, 2005, 01:42:08 PM »
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A Rebel with the mode dial glued in the manual position will force the photographer to think about ISO, aperture, and shutter speed just as well as a K-1000.

Not quite -- there's also light temperature. I have a huge pile of Cokin filters that I carried around when I was shooting slide film. Grads, warming filters, cooling filters, red/green/yellow/blue filters, fluorescent, tungsten, etc. I probably own well over $800 worth of filters that I'm not using much now. A Rebel with its dial glued to manual still manages to kick the ass off my poor old Pentax K-1000 and Ricoh XR-1 thanks to Auto White Balance and RAW file post-processing.
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Neutral Hills Stills
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #14 on: December 31, 2005, 01:47:25 PM »
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But you'll notice color temp wasn't on the list I mentioned...  

I used to have a Pentax K-1000, and gave it away after going digital. I don't miss it.
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Digiteyesed
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« Reply #15 on: December 31, 2005, 02:13:19 PM »
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But you'll notice color temp wasn't on the list I mentioned...  

I used to have a Pentax K-1000, and gave it away after going digital. I don't miss it.
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I hear ya, it's just that paying $50 to process a pile of off-colour images is a heck of an incentive to learn how to produce a slide with the right colour tint. The truth is, I still shoot a few rolls of slide per month, but I scan them immediately (Epson Perfection 4870) and take them a few steps further in Photoshop. I've stopped packing around the bag of Cokin crud because the digital light temp fix is not only easier, but it doesn't involve hanging cheap plastic/glass in front of an expensive lens.

It'll be a cold day in Hell before I sell my K-1000s, Spotomatics, or any of my other beloved 35mm gear.  
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Neutral Hills Stills
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sxty8goats
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« Reply #16 on: January 01, 2006, 04:24:18 PM »
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When I was a little kid, I use to ask my parents all the time why I needed to learn the basics like math and writing using a pen and paper when I had a calculator and a computer. Seems some kids never grow up.

Like taking good pictures, it's not the equipment that teaches, it's the teacher.

Back to the question at hand. Try getting a used Pentax K-1000. Fully manual camera and dirt cheap too. Can get one on www.keh.com

Hope that helps.

Art.
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I will get a canon body, I already have several lenses, including my favorite 50mm f/1.4.

You seem to make the assumption that I am just a kid shooting in Auto mode. This can't be further from the truth. The only time my camera sees Auto is when I hand it off to a friend to get a picture of myself w/ other friends. I normally shoot in Program because it allows me to adjust the aperture and or shutter speed on the fly. I shoot mostly indoors and hate flashes.

I am a student, I read and research to improve my skills. The main draw of this class to me is that it is heavily geared towards BW film and the processing of the film. It also will allow interaction between myself and other armatures. Understanding exposure, like math, still may have no practical application other than the narrow field which you have been taught. Working with others reveals applications that you may not have though of on your own.

Thanks to everyone for your suggestions. I will go with a canon body if there is still room in the class. I don't belive that I will shoot film much outside of class and my lenses will all (with the exception of my sigma DG 30mm f/1.4) will work quite nicely.
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Digiteyesed
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« Reply #17 on: January 01, 2006, 05:04:33 PM »
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I am a student, I read and research to improve my skills. The main draw of this class to me is that it is heavily geared towards BW film and the processing of the film.

Have you thought of playing with toy cameras a bit as well during the class? You can do some creative stuff with a Holga 120 or a Lubitel 166. :-)
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Neutral Hills Stills
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sxty8goats
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« Reply #18 on: January 01, 2006, 07:42:45 PM »
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Have you thought of playing with toy cameras a bit as well during the class? You can do some creative stuff with a Holga 120 or a Lubitel 166. :-)
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I have a couple old 35mm point and shoot cameras from the 50's forward. Stuff my dad had in the army and as a kid. I have thought about using the kodac for a few to see what I can do with it.
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BJL
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« Reply #19 on: January 01, 2006, 09:59:26 PM »
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If the professor is really an old film curmudgeon, and you decide to go ahead with the course anyway, why not make him happy and save some money by picking up a second hand, all manual film body and lens?

For one example amongst many, the Pentax K-1000 with f=50, f/1.7 lens that I learnt on (and still use a bit) is probably fine for learning purposes, as you will probably not be using any automation including focus anyway.

For manual focusing, the viewfinder in a manual focus body like the K-1000 is better than the one in any low priced autofocus SLR. And almost any normal prime like that 50/1.7 is probably sharp enough to show up weaknesses in your focusing or hand-holding steadiness.
« Last Edit: January 01, 2006, 10:00:37 PM by BJL » Logged
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