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05-01-2012, 01:46 PM   #1
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What film slr for a newbie?

Hey all.

I've been playing around with my k-x for a year or so now and love it to bits but I really want to try film. I have a ME super which I brought for its lovely 50mm lens but that never worked and I think its broken beyond all repair. So the main question is can you recommend a nice film slr for me? It really needs to be cheap and available in the UK. I have old manual lenses kicking around so that's not a problem.

Thank you.

05-01-2012, 01:57 PM   #2
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Have a look through the Camera Database.

Autofocus Film SLRs - Pentax Film Cameras - Pentax Camera Reviews and Specifications

Manual Focus Film SLRs - Pentax Film Cameras - Pentax Camera Reviews and Specifications

Pretty much anything from the last 25 years or so should be usable without a CLA. The only Pentax film cameras that carry a high price tag are the MZ-S and LX. Anything from the MZ series, other than the MZ-S, should be readily available and cheap. A few of the MZ series have "crippled" mounts, the database can tell you which ones. I have a MZ-7 (ZX-7) and it operates very much like a K-x but can use manual lenses without limitation.
05-01-2012, 02:04 PM   #3
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It depends on what you want and what you need. Do you want a MF body? or something with AF? I heard that the ME super is a cheap nice camera, if you like how small your ME super is, and if it fits nicely in your hands then I would get the ME super. My favorite is the Program Plus I got 1 silver and 1 black version. It fits nicely in my hands and not that much bulky I love my Pplus. In the near future when money is not that tight I would get myself a Super Program. which is a step above the program plus.
05-01-2012, 03:08 PM   #4
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As everyone else said, what are you looking to do, just use film or explore a more manual process with a camera designed with that intent or somewhere in between? What lenses do you have currently? If you have a bunch of K mounts, but no m42's and you just want to get your feet wet, stick with a K mount. Which one will depend on what you want to do.

If you want to go all manual (you make all the adjustments with guidance from a needle telling you if it is over/under exposed) then the K1000 is the standard. A little step up in function but little difference in price is the KM. I had a KM once and it was a decent camera. If you want the option to control the camera manually or let the camera decide on shutter speed, you'll have to go newer, like your ME Super (had one of those too until I gave it to my godson, very good user camera that takes a little of the thought out of it if you wish). If you go newer than that, you have a bunch of options that will add aperture control and AF. Right now, my k mount film camera is a P30t. Not hugely popular, but for a camera I purchased to get its lens, it has proved to be a satisfactory backup with Av and automatic modes. If it dies from my stupidity, I won't be heartbroken, but for a cheap camera, it seems like it will take a beating. Viewfinder is also respectable.

If you have some m42 mount lenses or are looking for an excuse to try some, that opens up a new window.

When I shoot film, it is because I want a quality black and white without sitting in front of the computer making all sorts of adjustments to a digital shot or I recognize I'm getting sloppy with my digital and I want to force myself to slow down and do the basics. I have a Spotmatic F, which is what I grab when I want to shoot film and I don't force myself to use the P30t. It just has the right effect on me because it fits what I want to do when I use film. Simple manual functionality but yet a built in meter and open aperture functionality for a nice bright viewfinder. It also enables me to use some of my favorite lenses with their full functionality SMC 55mm f1.8 and S-M-C 85mm f1.8. I only carry the P30t as a backup in case dslr batteries die or if I somehow find a situation I'm uncomfortable taking my dslr into because it came along at the right price and there's an open hole in my dslr bag. Everybody is different though. Some people want more functionality going for more modern cameras (ME Super or newer) and some people don't want a meter distracting them from looking at a scene and interpreting the light (SV). I used my Spotmatic prior to getting the meter fixed and I'm glad the meter is there as a reference since I don't shoot film enough to become proficient at the sunny 16 rule outside of sunny weather.

So, it boils down to you making a decision of why you want to go to film and that will largely narrow down the options. Once you decide that, look through the reviews or tell us what your reasoning for film is and you'll get a more pointed answer.

05-01-2012, 03:13 PM   #5
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Thanks everyone for all the advice. I'm really wanting to go more manual and with the lens I have that should be fine. I read the reviews on here and the ME super really does seem popular so I might try to find one of those that actually works. If not I'll just end up with another good looking bookend. Thanks all
05-01-2012, 03:55 PM   #6
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If you have K lenses, K1000. If you have M42 I'd suggest a SPII, though with an adapter you can use M42's on the K1000 too. If you want a really cheap K mount try a Sears one or go for a P series. People practically give those away....
05-01-2012, 04:02 PM   #7
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What are the P series like? I've seen them going so cheap and it just makes me wonder why. The reviews of it don't seem that bad but none of them are particularly glowing either. If I can't get this ME super I'm looking at I might have to get a P30 or similar just because they are so cheap. And I mainly have K mount lenses, I only have one m42 which I brought on a whim thinking I could just buy an adapter cheaply but there doesn't seem to be many cheap adapters around which I actually trust so it might just become a paperweight for a while.
05-01-2012, 04:40 PM   #8
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They're perfectly fine cameras to use, but IMHO they're not what you'd call atheistically pleasing which is why I think you see a lot of them used for less. But since you have only M42's anyhow why not go with an SPII? You can still get a chrome one reasonably cheap and they're perfect for what you have. As Pentax cameras go, I think they're top notch besides. Great looking and they're just lovely to use.

05-01-2012, 04:52 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Cat among the pigeon Quote
What are the P series like? I've seen them going so cheap and it just makes me wonder why. The reviews of it don't seem that bad but none of them are particularly glowing either. If I can't get this ME super I'm looking at I might have to get a P30 or similar just because they are so cheap. And I mainly have K mount lenses, I only have one m42 which I brought on a whim thinking I could just buy an adapter cheaply but there doesn't seem to be many cheap adapters around which I actually trust so it might just become a paperweight for a while.
One advantage the P series has is no light seals to go bad. The big disadvantage to the P series is that they set film speed by DX coding only. There is no way to set ISO manually.

I am currently using my Taks with my 25 year old K1000. Somehow it still has good light seals. I have a Spotmatic but it needs a CLA, and I'm not sure even that would fix it. The battery door is fused shut, which means there is a corroded mercury battery in there.
05-01-2012, 05:55 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Cat among the pigeon Quote
Hey all.

I've been playing around with my k-x for a year or so now and love it to bits but I really want to try film. I have a ME super which I brought for its lovely 50mm lens but that never worked and I think its broken beyond all repair. So the main question is can you recommend a nice film slr for me? It really needs to be cheap and available in the UK. I have old manual lenses kicking around so that's not a problem.

Thank you.
I would get a PZ-1. It can do everything a DSLR can do and more, it has a 1/8000 shutter with 1/250 sync speed, and can do about 3.5-4 FPS (the PZ-1p can do 5.1 FPS) It has dual dials just like the top DSLRs and with all the exposure modes, it can use every lens except HSM lenses that you can mount from your digital.
05-01-2012, 06:38 PM   #11
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The ME series is good. You set aperture on the lens, focus, point and shoot.
05-02-2012, 06:13 PM   #12
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If you want to fall in love with film get a Pentax K or M series manual focus body.
If you want an experience more akin to digital the Pentax PZ-1P/Z-1P will do.

Chris
05-03-2012, 06:18 AM   #13
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Nice name there... illustrated daily in our house





My standard advice on this topic: You want the classic SLR experience. In Pentax K mount, that is the K series, the M series, the ME and the Program (in the UK I think these are SUPERs) series. ALL of them will do the job, though some of the ME era cameras don't have enough manual controls. And sure, include the (non program) Ricoh cameras in your list.

What you do is let kismet happen. You're looking for condition, price and a good seller. Whichever model falls into your hands is the one for you. It really doesn't matter too much!

The reason I say that is this: you will learn the camera, see how you like film shooting, etc. Then based on your experience with model X, you get a sense of what you want that's different. And, if you get into film at all, and if you continue to hang out at places like this one, you will end up buying another camera. THAT camera is where the GAS really starts, as you can daydream seriously about features, looks, performance, relative merits between the early and late variant, and so on.

Last edited by Nesster; 05-03-2012 at 06:25 AM.
05-03-2012, 06:49 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Nesster Quote
...THAT camera is where the GAS really starts...
Beware the GAS! Jussi knows that of which he speaks!


Steve

(Just got done fiddling with recently-acquired Spotmatic, which is on the counter next to recently-acquired SV, which is on the counter next to nasty looking recently-acquired Spotmatic waiting for seals and new body covering...gonna need a bigger counter...)
05-03-2012, 07:09 AM   #15
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Steve, you know whereof you speak I have a brand spankin new 1 Autographic Kodak Special from 1915-1918 in my bag, loaded with film, waiting for lunch. And a OM2n with a two-three lenses on the way (I have a Zuiko 85/2 and my OM2s is fritzing with the electronics. So you see, I needed the OM2 ) Then there was the camera with 4 shutter buttons, I simply had to see what that was about... and yeah, I've actually bought a camera because I had film I wanted to use (127, I bought the Yashica 44)...

My waiting for Eric pool is 4 deep, I just had 3 fixed by him. There's a Super Ikonta 6x6 that I've decided needs a professional's touch, I spent 2 weeks trying to figure out how to put it back together

But back to the OP: actually my first classic era Pentax is a ProgramPlus aka Program A in the UK. And I bought it because I was really buying the SMC-A 28/2.8 that came with it. The two together were cheaper than either one separately, go figure. And that camera works perfectly, and really is a favorite of mine. See - Kismet!
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