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08-15-2015, 01:53 AM   #1
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What camera to get?

Since I have a ton of film sitting around doing nothing (kinda overshot how much use I'd get out of my Yashica Rangefinder) and I have plenty of k-mount lenses with an aperture ring, I figure why not get a film camera with the k mount!

The only question is which one? I'd prefer something that's a bit easy to use, but maybe not a complete hand holding experience. I'd rather not have to carry a light meter around with me if at all possible.

08-15-2015, 02:10 AM   #2
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Are you familiar with manual cameras? Do you want a large or a small camera? What is your budget?

These are the main questions, the answers can be a KM, KX, MX, LX or Super A according to what you are looking for.
08-15-2015, 02:21 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Cuthbert Quote
Are you familiar with manual cameras? Do you want a large or a small camera? What is your budget?

These are the main questions, the answers can be a KM, KX, MX, LX or Super A according to what you are looking for.
I'd prefer to spend less than 100 bucks, but the cheaper the better. Size isn't an issue since this won't be a normal walk around camera (though good ergonomics would be swell)

And no I'm not too familiar with manual cameras, though I can pick up stuff quick.
08-15-2015, 02:26 AM   #4
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Allright then my suggestion would be a KM, I assume you're American and at the moment there are some that look in good condition and go for $75 including a lens.

KXs can also be found in that price range but with more patience and luck.

Also, you should try to get a nice book of film photography that explains how to use shutter speed, f aperture and focus together, I would suggest Keppler's "the Pentax way", the last edition also included the K cameras.

It was very helpful for me.

08-15-2015, 03:51 AM   #5
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My last Pentax film camera was MZ50 (But I think it was called ZX50 in USA)
Light, AF, reliable, cheap.
Plenty for cheap on fleabay.
08-15-2015, 04:09 AM   #6
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It depends on how much control vs. automation you want. If you're happy with manual focus and film advance/rewind, and to leave some things in control of the camera, I'd recommend the P3/P30 series (see the "I love the Pentax P3 from 1988" thread).

What you get is a camera that gives you full manual control if you want it, and auto mode with Pentax-A or similar lenses. In addition, the P30N and T series offer aperture priority with K and M lenses and M42's if you have the adapter. Shutter speeds are displayed in the viewfinder, though not aperture, alas. You also get a depth of field preview. Note that even though it's manually cocked, it does need a set of batteries to fire the shutter. If that doesn't appeal to you, you're looking at a K1000 or some other of the earlier models (I started a thread on this topic, "When the batteries go dead...").

At a pinch they will work with DA lenses that don't have an aperture ring, though of course you will get the vignetting issue with those which don't cover the full frame and it's program mode all the way. But if you really need that picture of Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster and all you've got left is a DA zoom, you can use it.

What you lose is manual control of the ISO - you are entirely at the mercy of the DX coding, with default to 100 if the camera can't read it. Range is 25-1600, but I almost always shot in colour and I never saw colour film faster than 1600 in a store. This seems to be a real gripe to some people (especially those who buy bulk and load their own film cannisters, or who like B&W 3200 or push processing), and I tend to agree with them that if it had manual ISO override it would be the perfect film camera, but that wasn't the niche Pentax were trying to fill with it.

I find the ergonomics very pleasant, and the film is easy to load. The P30T I have has a nice little hinged battery compartment so you're not fumbling for a coin to open it as with the P3 (and the threads can be a pain in the butt).

Instruction manual: http://www.cameramanuals.org/pentax_pdf/pentax_p30.pdf

If you want something more buttony and less knobby, the P5 series offers a couple of extra auto modes and +/-3EV compensation. I always kept forgetting which button was shutter speed up vs shutter speed down and kept on pressing the wrong one. Mine died and I went back to digital full time, but when I had a P3 passed into my hands my joy was beyond measure. I prefer it to the fifty. For what it is - a late eighties entry-level SLR - it's not too bad.
08-15-2015, 05:38 AM   #7
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I would strongly reccomend the Pentax ME Super. It handles well, is very easy to use and is not fully manual. I had both the MX and ME Super The ME super was the one of choice most of the time. Living in the UK, I do not know what its price would be on the American Market but, if required, it is worth going a little over budget to buy one. A word of warning though. Like many cameras of that era, the foam seal may have started to deteriorate, so check it out thoroughly. It should be easly repairable by any competant camera maintaintenance company.
08-15-2015, 08:47 AM   #8
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There are several options available to you, but it's difficult to make a recommendation without knowing a little more about what you like to shoot. Landscape, macro, portraits? The second thing that would help us give direction is whether you prefer auto- or manual-focus, as well as auto aperture and shutter speed, or all manual.

Personally, my requirement for a camera is an all-manual setting, meaning I stay away from cameras like the MG, MV, and ME. However the ME Super has a manual- and an Av-mode, so I enjoy using that one. Any K-series camera would be a great starting point for you, e.g., K1000, KM, KX, K2. But I'd also strongly suggest the MX or ME Super. For a little cheaper, as suggested above the P-series would also be a great choice, such as the P30.

If you use automatic modes on your digital camera, you may really like using an all-manual camera. But first I'd brush up on how aperture, shutter speed, and ISO work. My favorite tool for this is found here (doesn't work on mobile devices): Aperture, shutter and ISO value. This site has sliders to adjust exposure for a few different photos so you can immediately see the difference each setting makes. It also defines each term really well.

Lastly, find a copy of the instruction manual online for the camera you choose. When I order a camera I like to read the manual while I impatiently wait for it to arrive in the mail so I'm ready when it is delivered. There are several sites to get free manuals, but my favorite place for high-quality manuals is here: Free Camera Instruction User Manuals!. There isn't a big selection, but it includes most K-, M-, and P-series manuals, along with a few others.

08-15-2015, 12:05 PM - 1 Like   #9
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I would say get the PZ-1/PZ-1P, it's a beautifully engineered camera (albeit not beautifully designed--what an ugly camera), with dual control dials, uncrippled mount, autofocus, fast max shutter speed, fast flash sync (if flash is your thing), and it's built like a tank. If you want simplicity, switching the power switch to "user"can set the camera to an automatic mode. If you want pure manual control, I would go with the KX or MX if you have smaller hands. The MX will cost you above a hundred bucks for a good copy it seems, though I see them go for less than fifty with a lens on shopgoodwill all the time. There's no PZ-1/PZ-1Ps on the bay at the moment, but I just saw one go for something like 12 bucks on shopgoodwill, so it could be worth a gamble with Goodwill.
08-15-2015, 12:10 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by ZombieArmy Quote
Since I have a ton of film sitting around doing nothing (kinda overshot how much use I'd get out of my Yashica Rangefinder) and I have plenty of k-mount lenses with an aperture ring, I figure why not get a film camera with the k mount!

The only question is which one? I'd prefer something that's a bit easy to use, but maybe not a complete hand holding experience. I'd rather not have to carry a light meter around with me if at all possible.
I generally recommend the Super Program / Super A for manual focus use and the PZ-1 for AF lenses. The super program in particular is a great value and lets you shoot in P mode if you want the automation. But it also supports Av, Tv, and M, which is nice.

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08-15-2015, 01:08 PM   #11
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Although I love the size of the MX, the KX is in some ways slightly more versatile due to the 6400 ASA setting, a two stop advantage over the MX.

There are also good reasons to consider the MX, however, since can use interchangeable focusing screens, has 2% more VF coverage, and some might say the GPD metering is better. There is also an auto-winder available that, when attached, makes the MX about the same size the KX.

As usual, horses for courses. I have both and if I want to push TriX over 1600 I'll take out the KX. If I want to pack smaller and not take a rangefinder or want to be able to shoot quick single frames I'll take the MX with the winder.

Don't underestimate the winder, I bought mine after missing the opportunity to get a few extra shots of a rare exotic motorbike when the owner briefly stopped for me as he was leaving an event. It was indeed a brief moment and I would not have had any problems firing off a few extra frames under those circumstances if I'd had the auto winder then. As it was, I only got about three shots off.

I do like the more relaxed and considered approach film lends itself to but there are those occasions, even shooting film, when a rapid fire approach is preferable and the split second it takes to manually advance film can mean a missed opportunity. That motorbike will not be seen again for a long while.
08-15-2015, 01:13 PM   #12
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Personally I have a K1000, P30t, ZX7, ZXL, and a couple of Nikon film bodies. Of the bunch my favorite one is my old K1000. Fully Manual with a simple needle light meter. Next would be my ZXL, I could recommend anyone of them .
08-15-2015, 02:15 PM   #13
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KM/KX/MX. All 3 are superb.
08-15-2015, 05:10 PM   #14
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I've tried numerous models of Pentax film SLRs.
The KX is my favorite, so that's my suggestion.

Chris
08-15-2015, 05:10 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by ZombieArmy Quote
Since I have a ton of film sitting around doing nothing (kinda overshot how much use I'd get out of my Yashica Rangefinder) and I have plenty of k-mount lenses with an aperture ring, I figure why not get a film camera with the k mount!

The only question is which one? I'd prefer something that's a bit easy to use, but maybe not a complete hand holding experience. I'd rather not have to carry a light meter around with me if at all possible.
Which Yashica RF were you using and what did you like - or not like, about it? May give us a hint.
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