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12-20-2015, 01:55 AM   #1
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Help buying my first film camera


I'm buying my first slr film camera, I have never used it before. I guess Pentax K1000 is good for beginner, what do you think? How to choose camera while buying online? how to choose film for camera?



12-20-2015, 03:06 AM - 2 Likes   #2
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The Pentax K1000 is the classic camera that a generation of photographers first used often in school. It is a very simple manual focus, manual exposure camera but very reliable. It's good to learn with a manual everything camera so that when you may eventually upgrade to more automation, you'll have a better understanding of what is being compromised for convenience or speed.

Buying online from a reputable source like KEH, B&Hphotovideo, of Adorama gives you some assurance that the camera has been tested and inspected. Buying from individuals is more problematic and hopefully there is some rating system that you can check on to see their reliability. If you're lucky enough to live close to a film camera store, then they will usually have a selection of used cameras.

IF you have access to a darkroom and were going to develop the film yourself, usually an ISO 400 black and white film like Kodak Tri-X or Ilford HP5+ is a good film to start with. If you have access to a photo lab that develops film and prints or scans them, then again, I'd suggest starting with an ISO 400 color negative print film. Kodak and Fujifilm are the two most popular. Each film has its own tonal response, color rendition, etc, so this is always a decision for the photographer balancing needs for the right price, quality, availability and ISO.
12-20-2015, 06:52 AM - 1 Like   #3
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What about KX or MX? I have MX myself and I like it. only downside may be a more difficult setting the shutter speed,

MX HAS mirror lock up XD it just need a trick of flicking over the shutter button
12-20-2015, 07:26 AM - 1 Like   #4
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I'd say get a KX or KM, K1000s are often indiscriminately recommended to beginners and students so prices are inflated beyond KXs and KMs. Or better yet, grab one of the Cosina-made K-mount film cameras like the Promaster 2500PK. They're pretty much a K1000 with a 2000 max shutter speed. Plus, they're all relatively recently made, so you don't have to worry about sticky foam and degraded light seals ruining your pictures. You can find them for peanuts on certain auction sites at times, just don't pay more than twenty bucks for one. I got one for about fifteen including shipping on shop goodwill.

Last edited by Dipsoid; 12-20-2015 at 07:36 AM.
12-20-2015, 07:27 AM - 1 Like   #5
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Nothing at all wrong with the K1000, except that if you leave the lenscap off, the batteries tend to run flat. My choice for a beginner would be the P30 (or P3; same model for different market), preferably the N or T model. Then you get full manual, but you also have depth of field preview, and the choice of aperture priority with any lens (if you want it) and program mode with A-type or later lenses, and film loading is a lot easier.

The downside of the P series is that you can't manually set the film speed, and if the batteries are dead, so is the camera. K1000 shutter is completely mechanical, so if you have a light meter or are willing to guess the exposure (see "sunny 16 rule"), you can still keep shooting even if the batteries or the meter don't work.

It depends on how much you're willing to take on. If your heart is set on a K1000 you're not choosing badly at all, especially if you're already experienced in digital photography.
12-20-2015, 07:29 AM - 2 Likes   #6
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I like MX because the's all mechanical and cheap
12-20-2015, 08:35 AM - 1 Like   #7
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Really, any camera with full manual control will do. Everyone has their favorite, of course, but you won't know until you have one in your hands.
I don't know if you have a Pentax DSLR, but I'd recommend making sure the lens attachment is K-mount and not screw mount. There's nothing at all wrong with screw mount, but it could prove to be a hindrance depending on the direction you want to go. Of course, the opposite may be true.
Otherwise, the advice from Alex645 is very good.
Good luck and have fun with it!
12-20-2015, 08:45 AM - 3 Likes   #8
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K1000 - Amateur to Professional - will use all the finest of Films ;all the very Best of K mount lenses, Very reliable simple light meter, Simple easy and smooth 3 Finger Multiple exposers.Film compartment sealed very well. Would handle all of the portable lighting needed. An understated platform to shoot from. No wonder so many were sold. Snobs called it a beginners entry level camera Professionals called it an indispesable tool. And the price was right so you could afford multiples with a varity of films - the very beginning of multiple recording possibilities in modern DSLRs. You can bang nails with it just like the K3 . But unlike the K3 you needed a lot of trunk space to hold all the K1000's to have the same exposure possibilities.

I kept 4 in the trunk of my car for years with different films and I still have them;but you cant have them because they are under my pillow. You can have my ME Super and my Bronica ETRS. One of the major accomplishments of my K1000's was they bought me a Dark Room second to none where I was able to generate more $$$$ for more stuff!

12-20-2015, 09:10 AM - 2 Likes   #9
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You should decide how much (or little) automation you prefer in your camera before you chosse one.

As written above, the mechanical (the meter requires a battery) K1000 was used in film photography classes principally because it cost so little money. It was essentially a light-tight box, a mirror and shutter and a meter. Today it has a cult-ish price premium. A KM or KX, both also mechanical cameras released at the same time and built on the same chassis, have more features And often cost a bit less money.

Some prefer the smaller 'M' body cameras and 'M' lenses to the larger 'K' series bodies and lenses. In that range the MX and MESuper (which requires a battery to power many of its features) are very popular. Note that all K-mount lenses aside from DA and FAJ are backward and forward compatible, with some automation limitations, across all the K-mount film cameras and M42 lenses can be adapted to fit all the cameras.

A bit later the 'A' series lenses were introduced which feature electronic contacts to enable shutter priority and program operation. The SuperPROGRAM camera was introduced with the 'A' series lenses.

The 'PZ' and 'MZ' series cameras and F and FA lenses featured autofocus and more automation.

The fully-featured, semi-professional and professional cameras still cost quite a lot of money used - LX, PZ-1P, MZ-S and the *ist series.

The links on the K-Mount Page describe the relative features and benefits of each body, though you'll need to invest some time in reading them. The best way to distinguish the camera body capabilities is to understand the lens terminology. I understand why you ask - it is complex!!

This page is a 2000-2001 survey of Pentax users' favorite film cameras. You really can't go wrong picking one of the cameras described there.

Last edited by monochrome; 12-20-2015 at 09:18 AM.
12-20-2015, 09:15 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lanna.O Quote

I'm buying my first slr film camera, I have never used it before. I guess Pentax K1000 is good for beginner, what do you think? How to choose camera while buying online? how to choose film for camera?


The K1000 as many have written has been the standard camera for a beginner for decades, but in the last years its reputation made the prices skyrocket, originally it was the cheapest Pentax offer in K mount, today a good one would cost you more than an "advanced" model like the KM, KX and K2.

All of them have the same rugged quality of the K1000, but you will be better off with a KM (same camera with DOF) or a KX (more sophisticated lightmeter, aperture and shutter speed visible in the viewfinder). The K2 is electronic so if you want a totally manual camera that might not be your first choice.

If you also consider S mount cameras (M42) my recommendation would be a Spotmatic F, same quality of a KM but IMO a more refined camera in the operation.
12-20-2015, 10:29 AM   #11

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As has been pointed out, there are many fine and capable cameras to choose from and some eventually pick up more than one . . .

Depending on which ones you decide on, it may need a bit of maintenance due to age and/or service. Depending on where you are, we Pentax users also have the benefit of great service. See the thread -> Pentax repair by Eric Hendrickson

Regarding choice of film, I would suggest trying a variety so that you can experience their differences. I would suggest Fuji Velvia slide film - available as ISO50 or 100, which require E6 processing. For negative film - more readily available C41 processing, Kodak Ektar 100 is almost as vivid as Velvia or the extremely wide latitude Kodak Portra 160, 400 or 800 provide excellent results. In B&W, there are many combinations of film and developers to choose from.
See threads Lets see those ''film'' shots 8-) and Post your B&W Film shots

Last edited by LesDMess; 12-20-2015 at 10:40 AM.
12-20-2015, 11:05 AM   #12
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used and online is great. i'd look for one that's been CLA'd recently (cleaned, lubricated, adjusted). sometimes the light seals are replaced as well. if it's an untested camera, your shutter speeds might be slightly off, the light seals could leak light into your undeveloped film (or are gummied), the battery compartment might not be cleaned (i.e. leaked battery in the past), etc etc.
12-20-2015, 11:27 AM   #13
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The Pentax SF1 & SF1n (aka SFX & SFXn) give you everything you could want in a film camera and are usually less expensive than their older cousins.
12-20-2015, 12:38 PM - 1 Like   #14
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If you like the K1000 suggest you look for a Pentax KM, the same camera with depth-of-field preview (a very useful feature) and self-timer.
Since this model is not as well-known it often sells for less than the K1000. It's not as common but well worth seeking out IMO.

Buy something fully working. Even then any older camera will likely need service to perform well.
If it's a Pentax and you are in USA I strongly recommend you send it to Eric Hendrickson
For very modest cost you will have a camera that works reliably for many years.

12-20-2015, 02:55 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by AquaDome Quote
The Pentax SF1 & SF1n (aka SFX & SFXn) give you everything you could want in a film camera and are usually less expensive than their older cousins.
I agree. I have an SF1. It is built like a tank. Has several operation modes, from full manual to fully auto, autofocus, DX film encoding and several metering modes.

On the other hand, the K-1000 is a joy to hold and use. Its simplicity is its strength. It will work without batteries, which the SF1 will not.

I quick search of eBay completed listings show several K-1000's (some with, some without lenses) in the $50-75 range. The SF1 goes for even less than that. One sold for $5,00 with $12.20 shipping. Several were unsold for $20.

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