Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
12-23-2015, 08:01 AM   #1
Pentaxian
bobbotron's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Ottawa, ON
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,865
Mission - a film camera for the Canadian North

A good friend of mine has become an aircraft mechanic in the Northwest Territories, around 65 N. I'd like to send her a care package, and include a film camera for her to document some of the things she gets up to up there. This will probably be a one way mission for the camera, so I don't want to send anything to precious, but thankfully there were so many 35mm cameras made I think I can find something that will take decent photos for not too much $$$. Suggestions? I'm thinking either a cheaper point and shoot 35mm like a PC35 AF-M SE, a pentax ME, a old spotmatic, or some other brand's cheap and cheery SLR.

I'd send her my Petri Racer, but it is SO annoying to load. :P

Thoughts?

12-23-2015, 08:41 AM   #2
Site Supporter
gofour3's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Posts: 5,196
The minimum recommended operating temperature for the older manual focus Pentax film bodies was -20C. So if the body is to be used outdoors in the winter that may be an issue.

The Pentax 6x7 and 67 bodies had a cold weather remote battery option, where the battery was kept warm inside your jacket, so that may be a better option.

Phil.
12-23-2015, 08:47 AM   #3
Loyal Site Supporter




Join Date: Mar 2015
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 5,494
A Spotmatic may be a bad idea unless your friend is familiar with the stop-down metering thing. Points for ruggedness and power-independence, true, but in that sort of environment you want her to be able to point and shoot in something resembling a hurry. An ME would be perfect from that perspective, but I'm not sure about the ruggedness there. A P30N or P30T might be the ticket - selectable aperture priority, or even full auto exposure with A series lenses, and plenty of glass to choose from. And the film loading is easy as can be, much more so than the Spottie, K or M series, and possibly even doable in gloves.
12-23-2015, 08:53 AM   #4
Pentaxian
bobbotron's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Ottawa, ON
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,865
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by gofour3 Quote
The minimum recommended operating temperature for the older manual focus Pentax film bodies was -20C. So if the body is to be used outdoors in the winter that may be an issue.

The Pentax 6x7 and 67 bodies had a cold weather remote battery option, where the battery was kept warm inside your jacket, so that may be a better option.

Phil.
Yeah, I'm aware they may die on her/stop working. The reality is, I don't expect her to do a lot of shooting, more likely it'll be bring the camera along, pull it out for a shot, toss it back in the bag. It hopefully won't have time to freeze up in that period of time.

It would be interesting to modify an old camera body to make an external battery pack - if you were ok with a soldering gun and not afraid to drill a hole in the camera body, it probably wouldn't be that difficult of a task. You could even put a mini plug on it for easy connection. Huh.

---------- Post added 12-23-15 at 10:54 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by pathdoc Quote
A Spotmatic may be a bad idea unless your friend is familiar with the stop-down metering thing. Points for ruggedness and power-independence, true, but in that sort of environment you want her to be able to point and shoot in something resembling a hurry. An ME would be perfect from that perspective, but I'm not sure about the ruggedness there. A P30N or P30T might be the ticket - selectable aperture priority, or even full auto exposure with A series lenses, and plenty of glass to choose from. And the film loading is easy as can be, much more so than the Spottie, K or M series, and possibly even doable in gloves.
Yeah, that's what I was thinking too about the spotmatics. Auto exposure would be really nice.

12-23-2015, 10:50 AM   #5
Site Supporter
Alex645's Avatar

Join Date: May 2015
Location: Kaneohe, HI
Photos: Albums
Posts: 1,224
Extreme cold is much more problematic with film than with digital. Nat Geo photographers back in the day, and anyone shooting outdoors in extreme cold would send their cameras into a repair station for it to be "winterized". Most of these cameras (and lenses) had their weather-sealing compromised, but the idea is that the normal grease and lube on the gears are replaced with a lighter viscosity that had a lower freezing temperature. When I lived in Switzerland, you sort of went through that routine with your car every winter.

The other issue is battery life, so an all mechanical like the Pentax MX or K1000 (if she knows the Sunny 16 rule). Many of these die hard cameras, like the Nikon FM2, are not cheap.

And a couple more problems include static discharge of film in very cold conditions, creating internal spark exposures....usually more of a problem if the film is rewound too quickly. Finally there is the issue of the viewfinder fogging up when you put your face and eye and breath up to the camera.

For all those reasons, assuming she's shooting outdoors in extreme cold this winter, I would recommend either a used Olympus TG-4, or a new Nikon Coolpix S33, Fujifilm FinePix XP80, Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX30 or Olympus Stylus Tough TG-860.
12-23-2015, 11:06 AM   #6
New Member
fzrcraig's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 16
As mentioned, Nikon FM2 has a reputation for working in the harshest applications.
12-23-2015, 12:21 PM   #7
dms
Site Supporter




Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: New York, NY
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,607
I also use/used the FM2 for very cold conditions. With that the lenses I use/used (all AI):
-- 35mm f/2.8
-- 50 mm f/1.4
-- 55mm f/2.8 (micro)--just be sure the diaphragm blades are oil free on the 55mm (a common problem w/ that lens)
Most Nikon (non-consumer zoom) lenses are generally considered to be excellent.

I would suggest the 35mm and 55mm will do an awful lot--the 55mm f/2.8 is superb at all distances. Add a 2x TC to the 55mm and you have macro to 1:1 and telephoto.

But the main thing in cold weather is to decide what you plan to shoot--as changing lenses is problematic.

In line with this--there are cheap zooms in the 35-70 or perhaps a bit wider (28---), I just have no experience in cold w/ them. Nor do i like wider zooms for outdoors/scenery--so I am prejudiced about them. But the VS1 70-210mm (owned Ver 2 and 3, I prefer ver.3) is excellent and has useful macro (ver.3 has m=.4 as I recall), and works well with (2 element) diopter add on.

Last edited by dms; 12-23-2015 at 12:34 PM.
12-23-2015, 02:38 PM   #8
Senior Member




Join Date: May 2014
Location: Pugetopolis, WA
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 262
Any particular reason for film?
I would imagine it will be difficult for her to get processing and replacement film up there, and an extra challenge to share her work.
As much as I like the look and nostalgia of film, It's really a nuisance, unless there is a specific goal in mind.

I would think a good, simple, rugged P&S digital would be a better alternative, If a person can survive in the climate, a decent modern camera will do well too.

12-23-2015, 02:39 PM   #9
Pentaxian
pete-tarmigan's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Conception Bay South, New-fun-land
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 997
QuoteOriginally posted by Alex645 Quote
Extreme cold is much more problematic with film than with digital. Nat Geo photographers back in the day, and anyone shooting outdoors in extreme cold would send their cameras into a repair station for it to be "winterized". Most of these cameras (and lenses) had their weather-sealing compromised, but the idea is that the normal grease and lube on the gears are replaced with a lighter viscosity that had a lower freezing temperature. When I lived in Switzerland, you sort of went through that routine with your car every winter.

The other issue is battery life, so an all mechanical like the Pentax MX or K1000 (if she knows the Sunny 16 rule). Many of these die hard cameras, like the Nikon FM2, are not cheap.

And a couple more problems include static discharge of film in very cold conditions, creating internal spark exposures....usually more of a problem if the film is rewound too quickly. Finally there is the issue of the viewfinder fogging up when you put your face and eye and breath up to the camera.

For all those reasons, assuming she's shooting outdoors in extreme cold this winter, I would recommend either a used Olympus TG-4, or a new Nikon Coolpix S33, Fujifilm FinePix XP80, Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX30 or Olympus Stylus Tough TG-860.
I agree with the lubrication and battery issues. Back in the 1970s in Saskatchewan I found that all moving parts on film cameras (shutter release, shutter, film advance) became very turgid and soon inoperative below -20C unless the grease was replaced with powdered graphite. Also, batteries ceased to conduct sufficient electricity after 15 minutes. Temperatures in NWT may be below -20C for much of October through April. Fogging up the viewfinder was the least of our problems.
12-23-2015, 02:58 PM   #10
Pentaxian




Join Date: May 2011
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
Photos: Albums
Posts: 1,990
QuoteOriginally posted by K-Three Quote
Any particular reason for film?
I would imagine it will be difficult for her to get processing and replacement film up there, and an extra challenge to share her work.
As much as I like the look and nostalgia of film, It's really a nuisance, unless there is a specific goal in mind.

I would think a good, simple, rugged P&S digital would be a better alternative, If a person can survive in the climate, a decent modern camera will do well too.
Maybe you didn't realize that this is posted on the Pentax Film SLR Discussion forum hence the use of film.

---------- Post added 12-23-15 at 06:04 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by gofour3 Quote
The minimum recommended operating temperature for the older manual focus Pentax film bodies was -20C. So if the body is to be used outdoors in the winter that may be an issue.

The Pentax 6x7 and 67 bodies had a cold weather remote battery option, where the battery was kept warm inside your jacket, so that may be a better option.

Phil.
Depending on which camera, lithium batteries may be available and they have very wide operating temps down to -50C and possibly lower.

---------- Post added 12-23-15 at 06:14 PM ----------

Apparently, there were extreme testing done on cameras before. This one is for the Olympus OM4 that was successfully subjected to freezing (-20C) as well as heat (75C) -> OM4 T/Ti crash test

I haven't been able to find others that they may have tested.
12-23-2015, 03:23 PM   #11
dms
Site Supporter




Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: New York, NY
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,607
With a selenium cell lightmeter (I use sekonic L398--currently available for likely $30 or so) and something like the Nikon FM2, Pentax K1000, etc., you are totally independent of batteries.

BTW I don't agree about digital camera in cold--when I go expecting low temperatures (say 20F and below) I only take a film camera--my FM2. I took a digital SLR once winter backpacking in the Catskills (a K20d) and after that "fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me." But I advance the film slowly and don't expect to change the roll of film except under optimum conditions.

Last edited by dms; 12-23-2015 at 03:33 PM.
12-23-2015, 03:29 PM   #12
Veteran Member
Cuthbert's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2013
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,573
The Canon F-1N was designed for cold weather. I also think the LX is suited to cold operation.
12-23-2015, 03:30 PM   #13
Site Supporter




Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Gabriola Island
Posts: 588
QuoteOriginally posted by K-Three Quote
Any particular reason for film?
I would imagine it will be difficult for her to get processing and replacement film up there, and an extra challenge to share her work.
As much as I like the look and nostalgia of film, It's really a nuisance, unless there is a specific goal in mind.

I would think a good, simple, rugged P&S digital would be a better alternative, If a person can survive in the climate, a decent modern camera will do well too.
I largely agree with this comment. I worked as a professional photographer in Yellowknife for 20 years as well as part-time free-lancing in the North for quite a while prior to that.
I'll add that small camera batteries do fade pretty quickly in the cold, so it would be best to keep it in a warm pocket most of the time and just pop it out when taking pictures. Lens fogging when the camera is returned to the pocket can be a problem if this is done repeatedly over a short period of time, but it can be worked around.

As for film cameras in extreme cold in general, I'll offer a few opinions.

Most film cameras are getting fairly old. Lubricants may have deteriorated, which tends to affect cold weather performance quite a bit. The degree of deterioration is affected by the camera's history, so it is almost impossible to predict the cold weather behaviour of a particular body.

There is a good deal of variability in the cold weather performance of cameras with lubricants in as-new condition. For example, one commenter reported that in his experience bodies and batteries tended to crap out by -20. This was in the 1970s. The lubricants in those cameras were probably not the best.

I have a great deal of experience shooting film at -40 and colder. I had no mechanical problems with the cameras that I chose to use long-term. Some other cameras did tend to quit at about -20 to -25. The keepers received no special winterization. I did once have a Pentax MX "winterized" by what was supposed to be a top-notch service. Its cold weather performance worsened by 5 degrees versus the OEM lubricants. The shutter gummed up at about -30 instead of -35.

The meters worked most of the time to below 40, although they were unreliable enough that I carried a Sekonic selenium-cell meter as a backup.

Pentax has historically used very good lubricants in their lenses. Apart from moderate stiffening of focus, I have never had a problem with an MF Pentax lens even in the coldest weather.

My most reliable mechanical SLRs have been bodies with Copal Square shutters. I have a Ricoh XR1-s that worked beautifully below -40. It was my main cold weather body for 15 years and is still in good working order. My coldest temperature record was -52C, with a screwmount body using a Copal Square.

I've also had good results shooting Pentax Super Programs with external battery packs. They kept going happily to below -40.

My experience with AF film cameras has been mainly with midrange Nikon bodies. The coldest I've used them was the low -30s. They were fine as long as I kept changing batteries every half-hour or so. Lenses were no problem.

Hope you find this useful.

Last edited by John Poirier; 12-23-2015 at 04:33 PM.
12-23-2015, 03:41 PM   #14
Pentaxian




Join Date: May 2011
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
Photos: Albums
Posts: 1,990
As a point of reference, possibly the p&s digis for extreme weather are listed only down to -10C -> Pentax WG-3 and Olympus TG-860
12-23-2015, 04:02 PM   #15
Site Supporter
ChrisPlatt's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Queens NYC
Posts: 4,687
Back in the glory days of film SLRs the top manufacturers offered professional services.
At Olympus my trainer would drop everything and repair a pro's jammed up OM-2 etc. while he waited.

If required a cameras lubricants could be replaced with lighter ones for extreme cold duty.
Leica might still be able to do this for some of their models, but I doubt anyone else does.

Eric could probably do this with a Pentax LX, which IIRC can be used with an external battery pack.

Chris
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!
35mm, ae, auto, battery, bodies, body, camera, exposure, film, film camera, fn, leader, mission, mission a film, option, pentax, pentax film bodies, pm, post, roll, ruggedness, series
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Please recommend a Pentax film camera for DA AF lenses . pentaxway Pentax DSLR Discussion 12 12-18-2015 11:58 PM
What made for a good FILM camera? MadMathMind Pentax Film SLR Discussion 23 03-25-2014 03:14 PM
Looking for a(nother) film camera (Or, feeding the CBA) summonbaka Pentax Film SLR Discussion 32 05-16-2010 08:40 AM
Looking for recommendations for a film camera RichyX Pentax Film SLR Discussion 21 10-07-2009 09:23 AM
greetings from the Canadian North saosborne Welcomes and Introductions 5 01-29-2007 10:33 AM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 08:51 AM. | See also: NikonForums.com, CanonForums.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