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04-14-2008, 05:39 AM   #1
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Camera for new student

Howdy!

I'm sorry that this is similar to some other posts about "which camera to buy" but...

I'm looking for a film camera for a young teenage girl wanting to learn about photography. I'm leaning towards a K2 SE, because of the focusing screen, or an MX because of the viewfinder size and the robustness of the camera.

I myself have a K10d and a couple of FA and M lenses. I want something that can stand up to the abuse/neglect of a teenager, teach her about the relationship between and functions of aperture and shutter speed, has some form of match-needle metering and maybe shows the aperture in the viewfinder. I myself learned on a ME-Super but I think I'd like something a little more simple and stout.

Thoughts?

Thx
Ken

04-14-2008, 06:07 AM   #2
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Student = no money
Pentax *ist DS or DL series with a 64mb card only, to make the student stop and think.

Use a permanent marker to blacken out the Auto and Program modes on the mode dial leaving manual, Av and Tv. ;-)

Seriously, the instant feedback is the biggest help to learning. I know you said you want film but think about why you want to submit your student to the same slow process as you had to follow when he/she can master their skills so much faster. My student son is now producing better images than me with zero analogue camera experience.
04-14-2008, 06:49 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Arjay Bee Quote
I know you said you want film but think about why you want to submit your student to the same slow process as you had to follow when he/she can master their skills so much faster.
The camera might be for a class at school. I think most places are still requiring the use of a film camera. The K1000 is the classic student camera, but I think an MX might be more appealing.
04-14-2008, 12:59 PM   #4
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I am assuming the camera has to be film. These would be my picks for a first time camera:

k1000 - Easy to find at a low price and in good condition. It has all the basics a student needs. light meter is easy to use. the needle style is intuitive for most people.

ME Super - Easy to find at low prices. Great viewfinder with split screen focus. Has full manual control. Nice small size. Some plastic external parts. top shutter speed 1/2000. metal shutter

KM or KX - Harder to find in good condition. Prices tend to be higher. Same as the K1000 but with additional features like DOF preview and self timer.

Spotmatic - Easy to find at low prices. Earlier models use stop down meetering. Meters sometimes need to be checked that they still work. Uses M42 lenses.

MX - Sexy little camera. Tend to sell for premium prices (when in good condition) due to collectors. Uses the "stop light" meter system. Shows aperture and shutter speed in viewfinder. Cloth shutter. Top shutter 1/1000

Hope this is usfull.

Edit: I should mention DOF can be previewed on the K1000 and the ME's by relesing the lens and twisting the lens in its mount 10-20.

04-14-2008, 04:57 PM   #5
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I'd say the KX. Tells you shutter speed and aperature in the viewfinder, and requires no batteries to fire the shutter. You can also lock the mirror up too, which comes in handy for long exposures.

Plus, like KungPOW said, it can do depth of field preview.

You may also want to consider the MZ-M.

Your best bet to find a nice cheap camera is on this forum's marketplace, or over on craiglist.
04-14-2008, 05:12 PM   #6
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I am torn between what others have recommended here, the Kx, or spend a little more money and get a PZ-1

The reasoning is as follows.

The KX will do everything for a student will need is mechanically times so it does not even need batteries except for the light meter, and it is a tank.

The issue is lenses.

A PZ-1, on the other hand is an ayto everything camera, similar in functions and capabilities to your K10D, and can use every lens pentax made.

It has a full manual mode for those who don't want automatic functions etc.

This is a camera that a student can take, and then move into digital when they want, and even have virtually identical controls to the K10D.

It also allows her to share your lenses (not sure you want this or not)
04-14-2008, 08:53 PM   #7
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The K1000s are generally VERY over-priced since it is THE camera that is always given as an example by high school instructors. I would suggest one of the better aperture-priority w/manual option electronic SLRs from the early 1980s. These generally are compact and well-built (polycarbonate shell over metal chassis with metal mount) and use modern silver-cell batteries rather than the no-longer-available mercury cells used in the older stop-down cams. The better Pentax models have already been mentioned and I would like to add the Ricoh XR-2s and XR-7 as well as some of the various Minolta XG series cameras. These feature DOF preview and the split image rangefinder (both major failings of the K1000).

These can often be found in very good to excellent condition for well under $100. With a CLA from the local camera repair, the price would still less than your average K1000 in so-so condition on Craig's list.

Steve
04-14-2008, 09:34 PM   #8
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I have owned and loved two different ZX series cameras. The ZX-7, ZX-60, ZX-L, and ZX-5n are all stellar performers. One caution about the ZX-5n is that as far as I'm aware there is no multiple exposure mode. All would make great student cameras though, and provide plenty of room to grow while having useful auto modes. They're very light and I think they're built well. Plus there's no problem finding batteries, and most accessories are still quite cheap.

04-14-2008, 10:17 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Arjay Bee Quote
Student = no money
Seriously, the instant feedback is the biggest help to learning. I know you said you want film but think about why you want to submit your student to the same slow process as you had to follow when he/she can master their skills so much faster. My student son is now producing better images than me with zero analogue camera experience.
Whenever I hear old people say "I learnt on a film camera, that had fish-tank glass for a pentaprism with an algae stain as a focusing screen, and you had a handheld meter that took fifteen minutes to get a reading that was only accurate to four stops - and that was with film that had less than 1/4 of a stop latitude - and the only way to wind it was to was to wrap a certain part of your anatomy around the film advance wheel that was edged in razor-sharp spikes and twist. Hard. Four times. And if you were female or Jewish...well...ah, let's just say bad luck.

"Oh, and these cameras were all made from from weapons-grade uranium, so they weighed nearly seventeen pounds. Radiation would fog the film if you didn't shoot it all in six hours - one, if you shot any film faster than 64 ISO. And because of this, there was no chance of teaching your kids photography...because you weren't gonna be having any..."

...I immediately think, yeah, but that's because you had no choice. Naturally, these people think they're good photographers - fair enough - so, ergo, the only way to learn, is the exact way they learned. Even if that means popping iodine pills every time you raised the camera to your eye.

Methinks that the easier it is to learn something, at the beginning, the more someone's likely to stick with it, which is why I'm willing to bet that there're more photogs around and learning than back then - because it is easier to get into now.

The K1000, for example, was a good student camera. Not anymore.

You all heard me.

Today, if you're not a collector and if you're looking a camera that can take good pictures in a timely fashion, then it's not for you. As stevebrot said, it's expensive - for what it does. It's become more than what it was ever designed to be, and that's why it's got a slower meter, no Av, and is more expensive than an ME Super.

Most K1000's got for over a hundred AUD. You can pick up a great ME Super for about $50, 'round these parts anyway. So now it's actually cheaper to buy a more advanced camera than the K1000.

Ricoh's are great as well. A KR10M will cost you less than a sixpack of beer. Got a good viewfinder - diagonal split screen and shutter speed indication, plus motor wind. Takes 4 AAs.

The KR-10 Super is the Ricoh equivalent of the ME Super. It's even better in some cases - 1/3 stop EV compensation, and it goes to ISO 3200. And it'd be cheaper.

For digital, you're probably better off finding a K100D Super or such.
04-14-2008, 10:29 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by lithos Quote
...Most K1000's got for over a hundred AUD...
The going rate for K1000s here in the Portland, Oregon area is $100-$200+ USD regardless of condition. They might even throw in a Pentax-M 50/2 for that amount!
04-15-2008, 12:19 AM   #11
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So I've learnt something new today. K1000's Are over priced.

I had always thought of them as inexpensive. The last one I bought was from ebay. it cost $26.00 and $20.00 to ship. Its in great woking condition.

So I checked out KEH, and Craigslist. A k1000 in Seattle for $200.00??!!? and thats with a 50mm 2.0 lens. WOW!

I realy had no idea that they cost so much in some cities.

I retract my K1000 recomendation, and submit in its place the Ricoh Mirai.

Ricoh Mirai - 35 mm SLR Camera - MINT CONDITION

Eric.
04-15-2008, 03:00 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
The going rate for K1000s here in the Portland, Oregon area is $100-$200+ USD regardless of condition. They might even throw in a Pentax-M 50/2 for that amount!
I was being generous - most of them seem to go for about $150AU - but I figured $100 was enough to show it's overpriced, for a student anyway. Asahi Pentax K1000's go for more than their Chinese brothers, of course, and it depends on condition, like you said.
04-15-2008, 03:06 AM   #13
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The Ricoh Mirai was a wonderful camera. I wish I still had mine. I don't even know what became of it.
04-15-2008, 06:22 AM   #14
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Since I don't think any digital has a match needle exposure system it sounds like you are looking for an inexpensive K-mount film camera. Here are a few suggestions that might be found for under $50 shipped on ebay (usually with lenses):

Chinon: CG-5 (AW), CM-4, CM-5
Ricoh: XR-1 (AW), XR-2 (AW), KR-5 Super, KR-5 III,KR-5 Super II, XR-10 (AW), KR-10
Sears: KS-1000 (AW, same as XR-1), KSX

AW= Window

My favorites from the list is the XR-1 and CG-5 since they both have DOF preview levers and flip up the mirror at the start of the self-timer. The XR is completely mechanical and only uses battery power for the meter. I currently have an XR-1 and use it with a K/M42 adapter for my M42 lenses.

Last edited by WJW; 04-15-2008 at 04:31 PM. Reason: left out line
04-15-2008, 08:58 AM   #15
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Some of the M42 Fuji ST series - 605, 801 - can be had cheaply, and they use modern batteries. The battery situation is something to keep in mind.

The 80's Pentaxes as has been mentioned above represent a great value today, they seem reliable... and the AF's are cheap as well. As long as the body allows manual exposure...
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