Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
06-04-2014, 10:03 PM   #1
Veteran Member




Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: New Orleans
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 3,054
Economics of full frame

I am interested in the economics of trying out the mythical FF Pentax. I currently have an FA 31 and an FA 77, I would like to acquire an FA 43 as well soon so I think that is all the lenses needed to shoot film, but I do not have a film camera.

The cameras that I see which seem to be worthwhile are:
AF:
MZ-S - $400
SFX - $75

MF:
LX - $300
MX - $100
KX - $50

Sensors:
$0.08-0.22/exposure for BW
$0.07-0.31/exposure for Color

What is the good stuff, what is the junk?

Development:
$???
~$11/roll for development and CD

So if I gave myself a $200 budget, I am looking at yielding about 180-500 exposures: a KX (although MX seems like a more attractive ticket for admission), film, and development

Is this accurate? If so it is not that appealing

06-04-2014, 10:18 PM   #2
Veteran Member
OregonJim's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Willamette Valley, Oregon
Posts: 1,329
If you just want to try out 35mm format, nearly any body will do. I've seen ME Supers and various MZ/ZX bodies go for $5 at thrift stores and yard sales.

The film body I use most these days is an MZ-5n. My preference changes periodically.

If you do the development and scanning yourself, it can be quite economical (especially B&W), if done on a regular basis. The cost per roll drops dramatically if you can fully exhaust the chemicals rather than letting them expire on the shelf. B&W chemicals are dirt cheap, though. C-41 (color negative) is a bit expensive to start up, but not bad to replenish - again, IF you do it on a regular basis.

I figured the cost for color years ago, but I don't recall the exact numbers. It was something like six 36-exposure rolls per month was the break-even point (self-development vs. lab development). That included printing.

If you only shoot occasionally, home development is not economical. It's cheaper to send out. I wouldn't bother with the CDs, though - you have no control over the process, and the files are relatively low-res. Much better to get a decent scanner and do that part yourself.

NOTE: Film may sound expensive compared to digital, but consider this: with digital, you need to amortize the camera body, lenses, batteries, SD cards, Photoshop, Lightroom, all the software upgrades, your computer, and whatever else you use across the number of shots you take. Shots aren't "free", even with digital.

Last edited by OregonJim; 06-04-2014 at 11:14 PM.
06-04-2014, 10:39 PM   #3
Pentaxian




Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Southern California
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 3,181
It might be better if you start with the PZ-1 or newer (for AF). The SF cameras have an older version of the mount, and I don't think the AF works as well. The SF camera I got with a lens wasn't that great, whereas I make use of my PZ-1 (one of the better film models).
06-04-2014, 11:52 PM   #4
Site Supporter
chickentender's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Seattle, WA
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 1,870
The MX is truly a good ticket for admission. All the notes here are very good, and self development and scanning certainly do make it affordable. I have not yet gone back to developing myself but may at some point. I do however do most of my own scanning now - the payoff from that is nearly immediate. I figure I broke even on the cost of the scanner at 18 or 20 rolls (cant' remember exactly - and I have two actually a Pakon F135 and PrimeFilm XE). This brings my total cost to about $9 to $12 per roll, and less if I process many rolls at once for which I use Dwaye's Photo but need a fair number of roll for the shipping to be economical. Otherwise I use my local lab in town at $6 per roll, developed only, returned to me uncut (the Pakon scans entire rolls).

At any rate, yes there are many options since really the body is just a light-tight box in most respects. I do love the MX and use it most frequently. The metering on the LX is fantastic and I've only just acquired that body and am looking to spending more time with it. Not sure the investment in an LX is a good starting place however, while I'd say that the MX is. For my money, your initial post breakdown was pretty spot-on. You've done homework.

---------- Post added 06-05-14 at 12:00 AM ----------

In terms of whether all this is appealing goes far into other areas well beyond economics, some factors being rather intangible. It is a completely different workflow from start to finish compared to digital, and for me personally much more satisfying at every level. I've nearly sold my K-3 on a couple occasions but finally decided to hold onto it, but I certainly won't be looking to upgrade or replace it at anytime in the foreseeable future. That fact alone pays for my film.

06-05-2014, 05:13 AM   #5
Veteran Member




Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Florida
Posts: 378
c-41 at home is pretty easy, as easy as b&w... don't forget the cost of digitizing your photos (in time or in money)

i have it all down pretty cheaply now, home dev and I split my c-41 evenly between superia (cheap) and portra 400 (expensive). maybe a buck and half a roll?

for scanning I purchased a $250 old lab scanner called a pakon. I get the entire roll in the computer at noritsu quality in less than 5 minutes.

you have great glass, start off with a cheapie camera so you don't waste money if you don't like it. I went through several cameras and honestly if you don't need autofocus, the super program is a pretty great camera.
06-05-2014, 09:14 AM   #6
Site Supporter
stevebrot's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Vancouver (USA)
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 26,216
QuoteOriginally posted by Jamey777 Quote
don't forget the cost of digitizing your photos (in time or in money)
Aye, there is the rub. A decent scanner is not cheap and they are not fast. That is, unless you opt for a Pakon or something similar.


Steve
06-05-2014, 09:26 AM   #7
Lens Buying Addict
monochrome's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Kirkwood (St. Louis) MO
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 19,483
QuoteOriginally posted by mikemike Quote
The cameras that I see which seem to be worthwhile are:

AF:
MZ-S - $400
SFX - $75

MF:
LX - $300
MX - $100
KX - $50

What is the good stuff, what is the junk?

So if I gave myself a $200 budget, I am looking at yielding about 180-500 exposures: a KX (although MX seems like a more attractive ticket for admission), film, and development

Is this accurate? If so it is not that appealing
IMHO you are low on the camera prices if you take into account buying a recently CLA'ed body or paying to have a CLA done immediately after purchase. Additionally you didn't state whether you care about cosmetics, which can drive the body cost up and down in a 20%-ish range. Here's my restatement for CLA'ed bodies:

MZ-S QD = $275 - $325 with a fresh battery and all hinges, springs and attachments functioning.
SFX / SF1 / SF1n = $25 - $75 with fresh batteries and all accessories (an outdated camera, though - DSims is right about the PZ-1 or PZ-1p. There's a veteran member here who believes the PZ-1p is the ultimate Pentax film camera. Find one with a working onboard flash spring - about $125)

LX = Closer to $400, and more if it includes lugs, strap, Grip B, caps and finder caps, diopter adjustment tool or any of a host of accessories. A good CLA is $200 - $250 and a CLA'ed LX should include something money-wise for the value of that.
MX = $125 CLA'ed is about right - maybe $75 for a clean one without a CLA and $50 for a beater with a stock lens attached.
KX = more like $100 CLA'ed.

K1000's can get north of $100 BEFORE the CLA because buyers are crazy.

Last edited by monochrome; 06-05-2014 at 09:31 AM.
06-05-2014, 09:32 AM   #8
Pentaxian
LFLee's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Western MA
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 2,249
QuoteOriginally posted by mikemike Quote
I am interested in the economics of trying out the mythical FF Pentax. I currently have an FA 31 and an FA 77, I would like to acquire an FA 43 as well soon so I think that is all the lenses needed to shoot film, but I do not have a film camera.

The cameras that I see which seem to be worthwhile are:
AF:
MZ-S - $400
SFX - $75

MF:
LX - $300
MX - $100
KX - $50

Sensors:
$0.08-0.22/exposure for BW
$0.07-0.31/exposure for Color

What is the good stuff, what is the junk?

Development:
$???
~$11/roll for development and CD

So if I gave myself a $200 budget, I am looking at yielding about 180-500 exposures: a KX (although MX seems like a more attractive ticket for admission), film, and development

Is this accurate? If so it is not that appealing
Personally for me, shooting film is not just because you want the FF experience.
It is a different way of creating images than digital.

I start to shoot more film and it is a different process than digital, and I enjoyed it.

If you really want to try FF, maybe try renting a FF digital camera for a couple of days?

06-05-2014, 09:53 AM   #9
Site Supporter
stevebrot's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Vancouver (USA)
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 26,216
QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
IMHO you are low on the camera prices if you take into account buying a recently CLA'ed body or paying to have a CLA done immediately after purchase. Additionally you didn't state whether you care about cosmetics, which can drive the body cost up and down in a 20%-ish range. Here's my restatement for CLA'ed bodies:
A lot depends on what part of the country. Here in the Portland area, a CLA'd MX, body only, is about $200 with a similar K1000 priced at about $150. A P30T in the same shop* would be about $90. Portland is a little different, however, due to a thriving film photography culture. It is not unusual to see people shooting with film cameras. I would suggest KEH as a source of warrantied cameras at a fair price.

My advice is to avoid the AF and auto-wind bodies in favor of any of the manual focus options...less stuff to break. The option of manual exposure mode is highly recommended as is a full-information viewfinder. I own several bodies that meet those criteria and can recommend without reservation:
  • Pentax KX
  • Pentax Super Program
  • Ricoh XR-2s
  • Ricoh XR7

I have used my FA series lenses on these cameras with good results and did not miss the AF. I do have a preference for manual focus, however

Steve

* Blue Moon Camera

Last edited by stevebrot; 06-05-2014 at 10:09 AM.
06-05-2014, 09:58 AM   #10
Pentaxian
todd's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Basement
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 5,810
QuoteOriginally posted by Jamey777 Quote
i have it all down pretty cheaply now, home dev and I split my c-41 evenly between superia (cheap) and portra 400 (expensive). maybe a buck and half a roll?

for scanning I purchased a $250 old lab scanner called a pakon. I get the entire roll in the computer at noritsu quality in less than 5 minutes.
This is an amazing report! How long does the dev process take for you, per roll?

Is the pakon difficult to maintain/repair? Seriously noritsu quality!?

I am fairly new to film, but from my limited experience, if you're an AF shooter like I am (and I am also using the three amigos), get a used AF film body. I picked up a ZX-5 recently (for $30 total via ebay with the FA grip and an FA zoom), and so far have only been shooting badly expired film through it to test it out, but it's a wonderful experience compared to the ME Super I had been using for the last year... It's pretty ugly, but that's the only con for me... Someone recommended me to shop goodwill too and I almost scored a couple deals there too....
06-05-2014, 10:02 AM   #11
Site Supporter
boriscleto's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Liverpool, NY
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 12,300
QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
K1000's can get north of $100 BEFORE the CLA because buyers are crazy.
That's what shopgoodwill.com is for. More K1000s than you can shake a stick at, and price isn't that bad. But they all need CLAs...

Want to see insanely stupid prices. Check out what Nikon gear sells for on shopgoodwill. Especially EMs for some reason.

I just bought a ZX-5 with the battery grip and an FA 28-70/4 for less than $50 after shipping on shopgoodwill. Should be dropped off by UPS any time now...

Update: The camera arrived. The lens is so heavily hazed you can hardly see through it This is now the third time I've bought a lens from an Arizona Goodwill, and the third time I've been screwed. Never again.

Last edited by boriscleto; 06-05-2014 at 10:29 AM.
06-05-2014, 10:04 AM   #12
Site Supporter
stevebrot's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Vancouver (USA)
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 26,216
QuoteOriginally posted by todd Quote
Seriously noritsu quality!?
Hopefully, much better than Noritsu quality

It was Noritsu quality that drove me to purchase my first scanner! I have seen Pakon output and the scans are better than Noritsu or Frontier minilab scans.


Steve
06-05-2014, 10:39 AM   #13
Pentaxian
Swift1's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Oregon
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 3,808
Be careful...film photography is a slippery slope
It starts out innocently enough, you rationalize that it's fine to buy one camera to shoot a few rolls, and then before you know happened, you're opening packages that are wrapped in brown paper and came from some Ukrainian city that you've never heard of
And then you run across a medium format camera and you're really in trouble.

Seriously though,

If you just want to try it, get a PZ-1p ($59 KEH) or a ZX-L (also $59 at KEH) and shoot a few rolls. If you don't like it, you can always just sell the body and you won't be out much.
To be honest though, to get the best out of shooting film, it is a bit of a commitment IMHO.
I use a $100 Epson V500 for all my scanning. It takes so work and learning, but I find it gives me perfectly acceptable results on 35mm, and more than adequate results on 120.
06-05-2014, 10:57 AM   #14
Pentaxian
todd's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Basement
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 5,810
QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
It was Noritsu quality that drove me to purchase my first scanner! I have seen Pakon output and the scans are better than Noritsu or Frontier minilab scans
That's funny.. I wasn't impressed with my local pro lab that uses a noritsu, despite them raving about it... I just figured it was because I was getting small scans... I've been happy with their prints. I like the colors and balance of their scans but not the grain... So I just use my old Epson 4870.
06-05-2014, 11:17 AM   #15
Pentaxian




Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Seattle
Posts: 6,929
QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Aye, there is the rub. A decent scanner is not cheap and they are not fast. That is, unless you opt for a Pakon or something similar.


Steve
And a figital workflow can also mean computers and editing software too.

You can scan for final output with a scanning software. Or you scan in a wide gamut color space such as ProPhoto RGB for best editing and grabbing the most off the negative as possible, use a scanner software's histogram to see how much you are getting and ignore what the image it looks like in general. Then adjust contrast curve in post and the image can snap to life. On my BW negative scans I can pull up the shadows and pull down/recover the highlights a lot. About the same control as editing a RAW file form my digital camera. Of course this assumes you exposed for the shadows well when you took the picture.
Reply

Bookmarks
  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
body, camera, cameras, cost, development, economics, fa, film, focus, kx, lx, moon, mx, output, pentax, photography, post, quality, ricoh, roll, rolls, scans, steve
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
My interpretation of the full-frame rumors and interview responses... bwDraco Pentax Full Frame 204 02-05-2015 05:32 PM
From Full-Frame Sony... to Pentax... to Full-Frame Canon Mr_Canuck Non-Pentax Cameras: Canon, Nikon, etc. 42 01-21-2014 12:50 AM
Full frame or no full frame.... Deedee Pentax K-3 14 10-08-2013 05:39 AM
For Sale - Sold: Full frame $1600 Canon EOS 6D full USA warranty, NIB pocketrounds Sold Items 30 06-04-2013 11:43 PM
Pentax lack of Full Frame Franky2step Photographic Industry and Professionals 28 09-24-2012 07:29 AM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 03:57 AM. | See also: NikonForums.com, part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
register
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]
Top