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Beginning photography on analogue SLR?

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by Tsal, Mar 4, 2004.

  1. Tsal


    Jan 28, 2000
    Search didn't found me much info on analogue SLRs, so here goes:

    I've been thinking about taking up photography as a bit more serious hobby, and I do need something else than my basic Canon compact digi for it. D-SLR's are around 1k? range, so how about a decent old fashioned SLR instead, and if I like the hobby, then perhaps I could buy a D-SLR later.

    Canon EOS-300's seem to be around for decent prices, ?200 for a second hand one with a lense or two and a bag. Perhaps one of these, or what would you fellows recommend?

    Also, are there any good tips on beginning, especially any that would save me cash. I do understand that as a beginner, there's going to be plenty of 'trash pictures', so cheapest possible film it is.

    Also, there are three things I'm especially interested in photographing: buildings(as I study constructing and architecture), nature and live shows. What would I need for each, in camera terms? What kinda lenses are good, what kind of film, and so on?

    Also, should you like to point me to good websites, I'd muchos appriciate it :)
  2. Well, those three subjects call for different gear. For buildings you´ll need a good wide-angle lens (perspective correction lens would be nice) and slow films. A powerful flash too, if you are going photograph inside the buildings.

    Nature photography... depends on what kind of pictures we´re talking about here. For action shots of animals, go for longest and brightest tele you can afford. For landscapes, wide-angle & slow film again. Check out the superb book "Luontokuvaajan käsikirja" by Hannu Hautala et al.

    Live shows are a bit different game. You´ll want to shoot without a flash - it KILLS the atmosphere - so fast film and bright lenses are vital. Teles might be tempting, but you´ll need a bright (=expensive) tele to be able to shoot in stage conditions. And evenif you had one, the shutter speeds would be so slow that you couldn´t pull it off without a tripod. And even then the movement of the subject(s) would make the pic blurry (which of course can be used for effect, but it gets boring after a while...).

    You´ll be better off with a wide-angle or a "normal" (50mm; they are cheap, you can probably find one with a 1.4 aperture for ~€100). Just try to get close to the subject. I must admit that I prefer a digicam (even a cheap one) for live show photography though.

    A good tripod is of course essential, especially with nature and architecture shooting.
  3. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    I love analog SLRs. People dislike them because nothing's automated but the light meter, but that's the most appealing part: You get to choose your shutter speed, depth of field, your aperture and you can even mess with the ISO.

    I would recommend a Nikon FM or FM2 or F3 if you can afford it. The nice thing about them is that you can mount autofocus lenses on them and use them as manual. The mounts on other brands can be differ between manual and autofocus. Plus, used original Nikkor lenses are easy to find. I

    Another real cool SLR is the Olympus OM series. I used to have an OM-4 and it was a killer SLR. Unfortunately, Olympus has discontinued all their manual SLRs Lenses are also easy to find, but not as easy asNikon. theis factory lenses are called Zuiko.

    Beginners like the Pentax K1000. Seems like a solid little camera, but I'd go with the aforementioned ones

    On lenses, you can choose between fixed focus length and zooms. Zooms are more flexible because you can go from wide angle to telephoto with a single lens, less lens changes can mean better shots when your subject is in motion. Fixed focal length lenses can only do one thing, but they do that one thing better than Zooms. a smart move is to get a 35mm and a 50mm apertures, as they are standard and supplement them with zooms.

    While there are many aftermarket lens manufacturers (Vivitar, Tokina, Tamron, etc) I'd try to only get OEM lenses. This is the way I was taught ten years ago. maybe someone can advise you better.

    Since you're working on achitecture and lighting may vary (good luck keeping pictures sharp at shutter speeds under 1/60) you might want to get a tripod. An outboard light/flash meter might be a cool thing to get eventually also, for those mixed lighting situations.

    Finally, a nice flash would be really useful too. try finding one with a swivel head that can be detatched from the camera so you can bounce the light off ceilings and such.

    Man, I gotta get back into photography!
  4. i've got a canon rebel (it sells for ~350-500 cdn), it does everything great, my only beef with it (and the only way it seems to avoid this is get an older camera ie: pre-digital anything) is that i cant twist the lens the change the F-stops. i have to play around with a little wheel next to the shutter button. not really a big deal though. what i do like (especially when it comes to taking gig pics) is that it can use its computer, or whatever its called, to assign the best f-stop/shutter speed. it can do both, or one or the other depending on what setting you have it set at. i really like that, it makes it so you can just say you want like 1/100 and the fstop is done for you. its cool like that because you can really get some great shots on the fly you might not get if you had to get your f-stop/shutter speeds set in the dark. So, i really dig my camera. Both my parents were/are professionals(ran their own studio before i came along and did a lot of stuff for the newspapers and the like) and they both said that as long as the shutter goes when its supposed to its good. we've got cameras around the house that cost like 10x what my rebel did, in 1975, and the differences are minimal. And the canon lenses are great the one that came with my rebel is a good everyday lens, but i have an 80-300mm and a 50mm, great suff. for gig shots i like the 50mm sometimes with a polarizing filter if they have a cool light set up.

    something is really great for landscape, and architecture shots would be remote for your shutter.

    and what coolhat says ;) :D
  5. Tsal


    Jan 28, 2000
    CoolHat, thanks, I guessed pretty much as much myself. And I did notice that it would probably be bit hard to say anything on the nature part as I didn't specify anything! On nature pictures, probably some landscapes and some close-up photography on small details, flowers and such. Also, I know of Hautala's work, seen some of his stuff before.

    I have noticed that on gig photos that you shouldn't use flash, too. And that tele eats your lense speed(there's couple of live pics at www.the-rms.com live gallery, which I took with the 2mpix Canon, the 'Pics by T.S. ones :) ) So um, I guess some bit broader lens for architecture and landscapes, a bright one for gigs, and some general one. Any recommendations? For films, ISO100 for static objects, something like 1200 for live gigs?

    Anyways, I assume I'm going for the Canon EOS-300 then (aka Rebel, if the 300D is Digi Rebel), seems like a decent SLR for a beginner. And also I think I'll get some 'photography for beginners' book from local library.

    Oh, BB, I'm looking for something on student budget, so.. ;)
  6. I don´t think ISO1200 exists... ;)

    But, my experience is that modern negative color films are pretty darn good. They can be overexposed almost infinitely and I have had decent results by underexposing them as much as two stops. Experiment with some ISO400 films and see how long you can go with them. You won´t necessarily need faster films (which tend to be pricier).

    BTW, have you considered B&W for gig photos? It´s a handy way to avoid all the color problems that artificial lighting brings to the table. And it can give very dramatic results, especially if you develop your own pics.
  7. All very good advice so far, but I especially agree with Blackbird, and his advice about getting lenses made by the camera's manufacturer.

    I'll add this for now: Get a tripod, and a hand-held light meter if you can afford them. These two accessories I think will help you the most.

    Read as many photography books as you can, and WRITE DOWN the aperture and shutter speed of every photo you take while you're still learning. This way, you'll have a good clue as to what went wrong when it does.

    And never give up! ;)

  8. Tsal


    Jan 28, 2000
    Ah, right you are. It's either 800 or 1600, my bad. I like to capture the lights too, so I'd be going for color. But of course I would experiment with B&W at some point.

    Developing my own would be hard, I live in a student cell flat and don't have any access to facilities for that so.. Which means that I have to think hard about how I'm going to get my photos developed, especially for how much!

    I checked some camera prices and Canon 3000V(or N), Minolta Dynax 5 and Nikon F75 seem to be around the same price.
  9. secretdonkey


    Oct 9, 2002
    Austin, TX
    Here's a tip:

    Find a used camera shop that's near/serves a large university. You'll likely find lots of good, solid old hardware that gets bought and traded back in like college textbooks. Good gear, good prices! :hyper:
  10. FunkySpoo

    FunkySpoo Supporting Member

    Feb 6, 2002
    I very impressed with the advise you guys are giving. I've been a pro photographer for 19 years and you guys nailed it.
  11. Phat Ham

    Phat Ham

    Feb 13, 2000
    I'm going to have to second Blackbird's recommendation for a Nikon FM/FM2. They are solid bodies and a great camera to learn on, as well as for experienced photographers. I come from the school of thought that says when learning photography use a fully manual camera. Using a manual camera forces you to learn about aperatures and shutter speeds and how to focus. In the long run it will make you a better photographer. I know a few kids who shoot for my school paper, and they don't know anything other than a Nikon D1X/H. The D1s are professional bodies loaded with features. The problem is these kids are always shooting with everything auto and don't know jack about what is actually going on. Needless to say, they aren't very good photographers.

    The good thing about getting a Nikon FM body is that most of the lenses used with it are the same lenses used with Nikon's top of the line bodies. So if you decide in the future to get a digital SLR such a a D100, you can keep and use the lenses you already have.
  12. I have a Pentax K1000 that I bought when I was 13 or so. Simple, solid and it still takes great pictures at 23 years old. I also inherited an Olympus OM1 from my uncle who passed away a few years ago. Another solid camera with some real nice features. If you are patient and do your homework there are some good buys out there.


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