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11-14-2010, 02:08 PM   #1
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Film and 35mm Film Cameras Still Made?

My daughter may be taking a basic photography class at college next year which according to the class description uses a film SLR camera (they buy their own). I thought I heard a few years ago that film would not be available for purchase or for developing in 2010-2012. However, I still see posts here about film SLRs so wondering if you all could give me advice. She's good at digital SLR photography but that class comes after this one (which includes film processing supposedly). Just need to know what is really going to happen.

11-14-2010, 02:16 PM   #2
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Film is still widely available as well as locations to get it developed. She will most likely be developing her own b&w film, so something like Ilford Delta or Kodak Tri/Plus-X films will suffice.
As for a camera, i would recommend any of these: Pentax MX/KX/LX/K1000/Spotmatic series, Canon AE-1's, or Nikon FM series.
11-14-2010, 02:17 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by InStitches49 Quote
My daughter may be taking a basic photography class at college next year which according to the class description uses a film SLR camera (they buy their own). I thought I heard a few years ago that film would not be available for purchase or for developing in 2010-2012. However, I still see posts here about film SLRs so wondering if you all could give me advice. She's good at digital SLR photography but that class comes after this one (which includes film processing supposedly). Just need to know what is really going to happen.
I assume that she has a Pentax DSLR? if she does than all she would have to do is pick up any k-mount SLR that Pentax ever made and all her lens will be able to be used. Film is not going away anytime in the near future as there is a growing trend of people using film again not as much as pre-digital but it has increased in popularity as of late. I would guess that if the class is requiring a film SLR then developing the film would also be covered in the course as well.
11-14-2010, 07:33 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by gokenin Quote
I assume that she has a Pentax DSLR? if she does than all she would have to do is pick up any k-mount SLR that Pentax ever made and all her lens will be able to be used. Film is not going away anytime in the near future as there is a growing trend of people using film again not as much as pre-digital but it has increased in popularity as of late. I would guess that if the class is requiring a film SLR then developing the film would also be covered in the course as well.
Not quite true. While dslr lenses will mount on a k-mount film camera, there are at least two potential problems with using a new lens on an old camera.

First, many new lenses (all the DA series lenses), have no aperture ring. This is not a problem on the cameras that used A-series, or later lenses, such as the Program Plus or Super Program, or any of the film autofocus cameras. An older k-mount lens such as the K-1000 (famous as a student camera) or any of the M-series cameras (ME, ME Super, MX, MV, MG, etc.) will have no way to operate the aperture.

There aren't as many different film emulsions to choose from, and fewer retail locations to buy from, but there is still plenty of film available. Kodak has even introduced new emulsions in the last couple of years. Kodak and Fuji still have several color print films to choose from, plus slide film, as well. Kodak and Ilford each have several B & W emulsions.

If you are going to shoot B & W, just make sure that it really is B & W. Kodak and Ilford both make "chromagenic" B & W film that is developed in the same C-41 chemical process that is used for most color negative film. This is useful for those who want to shoot B & W, but can't or don't want to develop their own film. You just take this stuff to Walgreen's or Costco and treat it just like color film. This film is not usually used for film-based photography classes. They usually require students to develop their own film, and traditional B & W, such as Tri-X are considerably easier than C-41.

One notable loss, is Kodachrome. Kodak announced last September that the last run of Kodachrome had been produced and that when it was sold out, it was gone forever. For about the last five years or so, there has been only one lab in the entire world that could process it, Dwayne's in Parsons Kansas. Dwayne's has promised to process any Kodachrome that they receive on or before December 30 (not the 31st, they're closed that day) of 2010. After that, Kodachrome will be completely gone.

The other problem is that DA lenses are designed for the smaller APS-C sensor. When used on a 24 x 36mm frame film camera, severe vignetting may results. Not all lenses will do this, but many will, especially at shorter focal lengths. I have a K10D, with the 18-55mm DA kit lens. I tried it on my SF1 autofocus film camera. The lens functioned perfectly, but at 18mm up to about 30mm, the corners were vignetted completely. Above that focal length, the image filled the frame.

All that being said, the older Pentax cameras can be a joy to use and are available at very reasonable prices. Any lenses that she gets to work with her film camera will work on her dslr. Even screw mount lenses work, with an inexpensive adapter.

11-14-2010, 07:50 PM   #5
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There are even a few film SLR's still being sold new. The last time I looked, Nikon and Canon still had one film SLR each. Promaster makes one or two, and Vivitar sells one, as well.

I've heard that the Nikon, Promaster and Vivitar cameras are all made by Chinon. I believe that the Promaster and Vivitars are k-mounts, as well, but neither are autofocus.
11-14-2010, 07:50 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by InStitches49 Quote
I thought I heard a few years ago that film would not be available for purchase or for developing in 2010-2012.
I think perhaps you may have heard about Kodachrome being discontinued in 2009 and translated it into the above statement.
11-15-2010, 10:11 AM   #7
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And let's not forget Voigtlander, of course. I'm pretty sure they'll happily turn out some more K-mount SLRs whenever there's demand. At the moment there's so many perfectly good *old* ones out there that there's not much market, but if there were, they know what to do.

Never thought I'd see the day when I'd be cheering for the Cosina corporation, but here we are.

People who say 'Film is dead' only think in terms of the mass-market snapshooters (And also, what certain forms of 'Pros' would blaze away with) and market size that there was when automation made decent film photography reasonably-plug-and-play, as opposed to something done by relatively-fewer people. There's still enough money in serving a smaller market to keep film alive for a long time. It just isn't supporting a store in every neighborhood.

I say, 'Film's *not* dead, it just went home.'

It's not just people like us, too. My snapshooting *Mom* went back to film. Got a point and shoot, use it like a fancy Instamatic, put the film in, shoot it, drop it off, collect pictures. Baddabing.
11-15-2010, 10:27 AM   #8
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As much as I love Pentax manual film bodies, I wouldn't recommend a K/M/A/P series camera. There is too high a probability of it having "issues" (bad seals, shutter calibration, etc.)

The ZX-M would be the ideal choice, it was the designed to be the successor to the K1000 as a student camera and is compatible with all Pentax lenses including the DA series.

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-manual-focus-film-slr-camera-revie...mz-m-zx-m.html

11-15-2010, 10:34 AM   #9
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The Vivitar K mount is still available new
Vivitar V3800N 35mm SLR Camera with 28-70mm Lens 59890 B&H Photo
Vivitar V3800N 35mm SLR Camera with 50mm f/1.7 Lens 59880 B&H
11-15-2010, 10:44 AM   #10
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For 35mm i'd lean towards getting an older pentax body and send it off to Eric for a CLA and tune up, though there are plenty of good old manual focus 35mm out there (nikon and canon particularly th fd stuff since there is lens compatability issues) canikon stuff is more likely to have seen heavy pro shooter use so i'd be more wary.
I'd probably avoid the mz-m just because the plastic scares me off but users have had good things to say about it

there are some pretty amazing values out there in medium format as well and in 2nd or 3rd year these will come in handy

as for Film Lot's of it available in all formats just search freestyle photo (amongst other places)
11-15-2010, 04:36 PM   #11
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Freestylephoto.biz is a great resource for students learning film (me!). They have a huge selection of black and white film and papers WAY cheaper than I can find it anywhere else. The only thing that sucks is that you have to buy a bit of stuff, otherwise it's not worth it because of the shipping costs.

For a camera, I picked up an ME Super, a 50mm f/1.4 and 28mm f/2.8 for $100 bucks off craigslist. So deals on older MF cameras are out there. I feel that the MF/film combination is the best way to learn because it really teaches you to take your time and SEE, rather than just sit there and shoot, delete, recompose, shoot, delete, ect. Especially when using primes, too.
11-15-2010, 05:12 PM   #12
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I would figure the cost of a CLA into any purchase of an older body (<1990). For any body other than the Pentax LX, that is usually less than $75. You'll enjoy the film experience much more if the camera is functioning properly. I would also look for a body that is capable of setting the aperture (that started with the SuperProgram) so that you can use some of the newer lenses that don't feature aperture rings.

It is probably my nostalgia, but I am particularly partial to manual focus bodies from the 70s and 80s. However, the biggest bargains are from the more recent AF bodies, such as the ZX series.
11-17-2010, 12:46 PM   #13
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I'd recommend the Superprogram as the best combo of look, feel and functionality.
11-17-2010, 12:53 PM   #14
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and good users should be easy to find (don't worry about age too much, my SV is 46 years old and works well, my Fed 4 is the same age and in even better shape 9though Feds are hit and miss they are cheap mine was $24.50 with a lens and didn't need a CLA though it will eventually)
My entire Bronica etr kit (4 lenses, waist level and prism Speed Grip 2 backs minolta autometer and metz ct45 flash) has cost me a whopping $750 over the last 2 years and is a workhorse
Hope your daughter enjoys the course
11-17-2010, 04:20 PM   #15
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Ditto on new Promaster and Vivitar film SLRs still being available. The Nikon FM-10 is also. I'd heard the FM-10 is made by Cosina and is essentially at heart (but a wee bit different especially the lens mount) the Yashica FX-3 Super 2000.

Several of the NYC wholesalers still advertise these models in Pop Photo, and Shutterbug for example; and can be found on Ebay new and quite possibly Amazon.com too.
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