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07-08-2014, 10:10 AM   #1
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Pentax film photography starters guide? Equipment, budget...

Hello!
I have been shooting with my K-30 for a little over a year now, and I have accumulated a small manual prime lens collection. I was recently reading about how 28mm's lose their "wideness" on a crop sensor, and I was thinking of picking up a film slr (k1000 probably) so that I could explore the lenses as they were meant to be. I took a photography class 10 years ago, so I am decently versed in how film works, what I am most curious about is the price mark. Are their any pentaxians out there that are meticulous with their money, and have tracked how much they have spent on film photography over time? I told myself I could not buy anymore equipment until I have made a little cash with photography, at least broke even on what I have spent so far.
How much does film cost? processing? prints? whatever I may need. Assuming I do not have darkroom access. Thank you!

07-08-2014, 11:11 AM   #2
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I think most of us that shoot film do it as a hobby, so probably most will not keep track of the associated costs. Same holds true for the forums digital shooters.
I only shoot film and don’t keep track, I can afford to shoot film no matter what it costs. (What I don’t know won’t hurt me!)


As for a rough idea on processing costs, check out Dwayne’s:

A trusted name in photo processing for over 50 years - Dwayne's Photo

For film costs try Freestyle:

Film | Freestyle Photographic Supplies

Phil.
07-08-2014, 12:55 PM   #3
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In addition to Phil's excellent guidance above, consider the capital outlay to be:
  • Manual Film Camera - $50 - $150
  • Mandatory CLA (Clean, Lubricate, Adjust) - $75 shipped
  • Lens Buying Addiction - $~ (Infinite)

Consider a getting KM or a KX (my favorite - I have three now) over a K1000. Both have more features and are actually less expensive because they weren't the camera everyone 'started' on.
07-08-2014, 01:14 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
In addition to Phil's excellent guidance above, consider the capital outlay to be:
  • Manual Film Camera - $50 - $150
  • Mandatory CLA (Clean, Lubricate, Adjust) - $75 shipped
  • Lens Buying Addiction - $~ (Infinite)

Consider a getting KM or a KX (my favorite - I have three now) over a K1000. Both have more features and are actually less expensive because they weren't the camera everyone 'started' on.
I was going to suggest the exact same, namely just picking up a KX rather than the K1000. Just as bulletproof, with a few more very useful features making a better camera and yes, less expensive luckily enough. Or pick up an MX - very very similar to the KX, but significantly smaller/lighter. The MX is my personal fav - I have two.

In terms of cost, it really depends how much you're shooting, what type of film you're buying, whether you're making prints, having the lab scan them or doing it yourself, etc. I personally have my local lab process only, and give me the negatives uncut which I scan myself with one of two scanners I now have. A Pakon F135 and a PrimeFilm XE.

Film is a deep well... be careful how far you try to peer inside - you may fall.

07-08-2014, 02:29 PM   #5
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Like digital photography, film photography has its own costs. Unless you're running a business I think few of us have kept detailed records of how much we spent over the years. Anyone?

You can get by with a bare minimum of a single body and a single lens plus the cost of the film and development. Film has a wide latitude and in some ways is very forgiving compared to digital. Don't worry if your shutter speeds are a little off (i.e. 1/200th vs. 1/250th). The older film bodies are robust so don't worry too much about age unless they have been abused. Relatively modern autofocus Pentax film bodies like the SF1n can be had for around for less than $20 - sometimes even with a bag and a few rolls of expired film! Older bodies like an ME Super or even older like Spotmatics can be had for even less if you shop around.

You said you have lenses so you're set there.

Film runs a wide range of costs. It can be had for as little as $5 per roll on Amazon depending on brand, exposure count, etc. Kodak Ektar is one example. You can also go pricey and easily spend $15 per roll like Fuji Velvia.

Development options also run a wide range. My local camera store offer film development for $3/roll. Otherwise, with prints it's $12 for 24 exp and $16 for 36 exp. I camera scan my own negatives and print some of my shots as part of my 100 "free" prints with Snapfish. Just pay S&H and it's $0.09 per shot. Adding a CD is an extra cost. Slides are a whole different world and that's $13 at my shop. I think they send it out to a lab on the east coast.

I think if you can go through 1 or 2 rolls per month then you're cookin' pretty good!
07-08-2014, 03:23 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by 6BQ5 Quote
Relatively modern autofocus Pentax film bodies like the SF1n can be had for around for less than $20 - sometimes even with a bag and a few rolls of expired film!
Shoot - I'll GIVE him an SF1n with a working battery and the manuals just to get it out of my closet.

Last edited by monochrome; 07-11-2014 at 08:13 AM.
07-08-2014, 03:48 PM   #7
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also good if you don't want to manually set everything

super me, super program

it is nice to shoot in A mode.....

jamey
07-08-2014, 03:52 PM   #8
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My college age daughter has a Pentax DSLR but has expressed interest in film.
When I see her finally open that Horenstein book I gave her she will receive:

Pentax KM body (Thanks Paul!)
M50/1.7 lens
M28/3.5 lens
M135/3.5 lens

This is inexpensive gear but with it she can learn most of what she needs to know.

Chris

07-08-2014, 04:07 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Jamey777 Quote
It is nice to shoot in A mode
But learning with a manual camera will teach you more about exposure.

Chris
07-08-2014, 05:21 PM   #10
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If you already have a lens or two, my recommendation would be to buy an inexpensive body ME Super or P30T),, a few rolls of C-41 film, and then have your lab give you scans. This will give you an idea weather you want to pursue film photography. If you don't like it, you can resell the body, probably for what you paid, then you're only out the cost of the film and processing/scanning costs.
If you commit to film, the basic costs might look like this,

CLA'd manual body (K1000, KX, KM) $100-$150

Scanner (refurb V500) $100

Developing - I usually pay $3.50/roll for C-41 developed only, uncut. That's about $0.10/frame. For E-6, I pay $9.50/roll developed only, uncut.

Purchasing your own scanner will drastically reduce your film processing costs, and give you much more control over the final product.
07-08-2014, 05:21 PM   #11
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Original Poster
Wow, thanks for all the responses, I will reply in depth when I'm not on my mobile.
07-08-2014, 06:22 PM   #12
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While I agree you would learn more using an all manual camera, I've helped a couple of dSLR users who found it all overwhelming at once, and almost gave up due to low keeper rate. I found they had enough to think about just with manual focus, so switched them to an ME or ME Super while they got used to focusing. Later adding manual metering was easier.
07-09-2014, 10:28 AM   #13
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Not a lot to add to what others have said. I have several film bodies but have been using the heck out of my K1000, more so than my fancier SLRs. I bought it literally the day before I was supposed to do a shoot (when my LX was taking an extended vacation at Eric H's for a CLA) off craigslist for $30 or so. It's a tank and produces great results.

I've been shooting a lot of indoor available light and having great luck with super cheap Lomo 800 film. $9.90 for a 3-pack on Amazon.

I usually drop it off at a drugstore to develop and scan. It's around $6 a roll for both. I should find cheaper options (I never seem to have the time to scan myself. Also lazy.) but it works and it's quick. I actually find that I get the best, quickest results with film. With digital, there are so many frames to evaluate, so many post-processing options - it can be overwhelming depending on the kind of shooting you do. Film (for me) is a simpler route to images I love.

Now don't get me started on 120 film...
07-10-2014, 10:29 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by alan_smithee_photos Quote
Not a lot to add to what others have said. I have several film bodies but have been using the heck out of my K1000, more so than my fancier SLRs. I bought it literally the day before I was supposed to do a shoot (when my LX was taking an extended vacation at Eric H's for a CLA) off craigslist for $30 or so. It's a tank and produces great results.

I've been shooting a lot of indoor available light and having great luck with super cheap Lomo 800 film. $9.90 for a 3-pack on Amazon.

I usually drop it off at a drugstore to develop and scan. It's around $6 a roll for both. I should find cheaper options (I never seem to have the time to scan myself. Also lazy.) but it works and it's quick. I actually find that I get the best, quickest results with film. With digital, there are so many frames to evaluate, so many post-processing options - it can be overwhelming depending on the kind of shooting you do. Film (for me) is a simpler route to images I love.

Now don't get me started on 120 film...
$6 a roll for develop and scan is pretty dang cheap! Noticed you're in seattle too - where do you take them? I'd be willing to try a drugstore option that does it right. I'm just Leary about minilab spots these days - with as little work that they get I'm just never convinced the techs know what they're doing so I always go up to Moon Photo in Greenwood, or mail off to NCPS or sometimes Dwayne's. But if the results are decent where you go, I'd like that option for more casually shot rolls.
07-10-2014, 12:12 PM   #15
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If you want AF get a SF or a PZ1 body (take monchome's offer!!)
IF AF is not your concern, the ProgramA and SuperA will work
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