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01-22-2009, 11:23 PM   #1
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Film SLR for intro photography class

Hello everyone, I've been reading from these forums for awhile now, learning as much as I can about photography. This site has been very informative, and influenced my decision greatly to buy my first SLR camera, a pentax k200D. I was going to use the camera in the photo class I've just begun. However, as I arrived at the class for the first day, I was suprised to learn that I was enrolled in a black and white film class! After just purchasing my digital SLR, I now have to buy a film SLR for this class.

I need the camera as early as possible, technically by this monday, but I think the professor will let it slide since he knows my situation. However, I need to make a decision on a camera ASAP! Since I was thrown for a loop, I've had almost no time to research film SLRs. However, I think I'd like to stick to Pentax. I plan on using my k200D as my main camera and plan to stick with digital after the class, but for now I will be learning on a film camera (which is probably good to develop my skills as a photographer).

So, any advice on a student looking for a good intro film camera? I'm looking to spend less than $200 for the body+lens. With the little research I did, the K1000 seems to be a standard recommendation for a student. I also read about the ME Super and the MX. However, I feel like I'm starting my search all over, and I spent about a month choosing my digital SLR! But, I just don't have that kind of time, so any suggestions would be amazing. Even something like cameras to avoid would be nice. Thanks all for your time!

01-23-2009, 12:06 AM   #2
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film cameras you might consider:

k1000 - clasic student camera. least features of all of them. Tend to be over priced due to their semi-cult status

KM - same as the k1000, but with depth of field preview and timer. often overlooked, and often cost less then the k1000

KX - Same as the KM but with a better meter, mirror lock up, and aperture visable in the viewfinder, as well as shutter speed in the view finder

K2 - like the KX, but no aperture in the view finder, and has the addition of aperture priority auto exposure

ME Super - (not the ME), one of the best view finders ever made. slightly smaller viewfinder then the LX, or the MX. Aperture priority auto mode, shutter speed visable in the view finder, small and light, top speed of 1/2000, metal shutter. shutter speeds controled with up/down buttons.

MX - like a small KX, but more pro features like changeable focus screens. A very popular camera. Also has a semi-cult following. One of the largest view finders.

PZ-1p - a full modern autofocus camera. very similar controls to the K10D/K20D. might be able to find one for under 200.00. maybe.

Also consider K mount Ricoh cameras. I'm not too familiar with them, maybe some one could add a list of their favorites.

I am a big fan of the ME Super. They are cheap, plentiful, and often get sold with a bunch of lenses.

Here is a website with most of the manuals. Have a look and check out the features:

Pentax camera instruction manuals, Pentax professional instruction manuals

Oh, I almost forgot about the Spotmatics. They take screw mount M42 lenses. And Takumars.

You might want to get the camera from a shop that has confirmed it works if you need the camera right away for a class.

Good luck with your class!
01-23-2009, 12:24 AM   #3
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The PZ-1p runs for a lot more than $200 (I believe). If you'd like to have a well-built, compact camera that features auto aperture and auto shutter speed in addition to fully manual modes, consider the Super Program. Easily obtainable for under 200.

Also see: The Pentax Camera Comparison Chart

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01-23-2009, 12:30 AM   #4
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There was a Pz-1p bought for much less then $200.00....

Lucky me.

01-23-2009, 12:51 AM   #5
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Pity you did not post your request earlier. A Ricoh XR7 in reasonably good shape went on eBay today for $26 with Rikenon-P 50/2. Even with the cost of having the seals redone, you would have been well under $100.

Some suggestions in addition to those noted above:

A second vote for the Spotmatic. For all practical purposes it is a screw-mount K-1000 with DOF preview and self-timer.

Screw mount of similar vintage to the Spotmatic:
  • Ricoh Singlex TLS (aka Sears TLS)
  • Mamiya 1000 DTL
  • Fujica STxxx (various similar models)
  • Yashica TL Electro-X

More Pentax K-mount
  • P3n, P30n (attractive and solid and cheap too...my local repair guy has a body for about $80)

Other reasonably-priced K-mount
  • Ricoh XR2, XR2s (highly regarded value champion)
  • Ricoh XR7 (see above, only more so...)
  • Sears (all re-branded Ricoh, features vary by model)
  • Chinon (various models)
  • Cosina (various models)

Non-Pentax, non-k-mount...all solid good value...
  • Canon FTb
  • Minolta SRT-101, SRT-102
  • Minolta XG-7 (or any number of other '80s Minolta)
  • Nikon FM, FM2, etc.

Any of the above (with the possible exception of the Nikons) can be had for $100 or less with lens and many for less than $50 when purchased from a private party or at auction. Add another $50 to $80 if bought from the used counter at the camera store.

One thing to consider about used/vintage gear. Unless you are buying from a camera store or from an enthusiast, the light seals and mirror damper foams will likely have to be replaced. There may also be various functional issues. A general CLA (clean, lube, adjust) runs $50+ and will generally take care of the minor stuff.

You might also want to consider a new cheapo, made-in-China Cosina CS1 or Vivitar V3800n.

Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 01-23-2009 at 10:36 AM.
01-23-2009, 01:01 AM   #6
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Another thing to consider...My local repair guy rents student cameras for class use on a per-month, per-term basis. Might be worth checking into.

Steve
01-23-2009, 03:00 AM   #7
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Besides de ME Super I would consider a Pentax ZX/MZ camera for you since the lenses will be fully compatible and you'll have autofocus (The MZ-6/L or the 60 or the 7)
01-23-2009, 04:08 AM   #8
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You need something that works, quick, no risk. Unless someone on campus will sell you their camera (or let you borrow) I recommed KEH... they have 'packages' already to go.

KEH Camera: Pentax Manual Focus - Camera Outfits

(of course you can buy the body and lens from separate listings, these packages are just to give a quick idea)

Because you're in class you have a requirement to be able to set manual exposure. (This is a good thing to have regardless, even if you end up rarely using it). I recommend calling KEH to make sure.

While the K1000 is a fantastic camera, it is probably over priced in the market relative to other Pentax bodies.

Finally I'd be neglecting my duty if I didn't recommend the Spotmatic as the absolute coolest best most forward compatible camera. Yeah, screwmount.

01-23-2009, 04:14 AM   #9
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And I would explode if I tried to keep myself from seconding Nesster's recommendation of the Spotmatic. I use mine on a regular basis. Not just because it is retro-kewl and I love old cameras, but because it is a damned fine camera. I have Pentax's (current) top-of-the-line model K20D digital and I don't feel it any compromise of quality or performance whatsoever to leave it home and take out my 35 year old Spotmatic ESII (or 46 year old SV) instead. (And they all share fine Takumar lenses as effortlessly as teenaged twins swap sweaters).
01-23-2009, 07:15 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Deis Quote
Hello everyone, I've been reading from these forums for awhile now, learning as much as I can about photography. This site has been very informative, and influenced my decision greatly to buy my first SLR camera, a pentax k200D. I was going to use the camera in the photo class I've just begun. However, as I arrived at the class for the first day, I was suprised to learn that I was enrolled in a black and white film class! After just purchasing my digital SLR, I now have to buy a film SLR for this class.
Did the instructor set any limits on the camera? I ask because one local film class used to require a camera that DID NOT have any Program settings and had to have a shutter speed dial.
01-23-2009, 07:22 AM   #11
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I love my spotmatic so far, mostly because I have an unreasonable love affair with takumars. That and I love the engineering and mechanics behind all analog switches and displays. Guess that is the electrical engineer in me paying my respect to those before me. Be sure to check local craigslist ads, you can sometimes find a steal. Even in the marketplace there are a few kits ready to go for reasonable prices:

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/photographers-marketplace/47744-bodies-le...cessories.html
is one that just went up yesterday or so.

Don't be afraid of the older cameras, I'm sure you'll get some extra street cred and the lenses still mount with your newer pentax. I can only imagine that if you're doing flash photography in your class, it might be a little more difficult with the older cameras.


Good luck!
01-23-2009, 07:27 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by titrisol Quote
Besides de ME Super I would consider a Pentax ZX/MZ camera for you since the lenses will be fully compatible and you'll have autofocus (The MZ-6/L or the 60 or the 7)
i suggest this too, a ZX-5n, looks like a manual body and and can function like one but has full compatibility with most Pentax lenses and gives AF, and easy selection of the three AE modes. the build is a bit cheap and the viewfinder a bit smaller than the older cameras but the price is low.
01-23-2009, 07:41 AM   #13
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I'll probably throw my weight (not that there's a lot of it - I'm no big shot ) behind Mike and Nesster. The screwmount is the closest one could get to a widely-universal mount. Not only are there many screwmount lenses you could have for cheap (even Russkie screwmount lenses are good), if ever you decide to drop Pentax (it happens), you can still use it on other mounts via an adapter.

Another plus factor for the Spotmatics: it's a really beautiful design.
01-23-2009, 08:53 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mike Cash Quote
And I would explode if I tried to keep myself from seconding Nesster's recommendation of the Spotmatic. I use mine on a regular basis. Not just because it is retro-kewl and I love old cameras, but because it is a damned fine camera. I have Pentax's (current) top-of-the-line model K20D digital and I don't feel it any compromise of quality or performance whatsoever to leave it home and take out my 35 year old Spotmatic ESII (or 46 year old SV) instead. (And they all share fine Takumar lenses as effortlessly as teenaged twins swap sweaters).
Nicely said. My first vote also. I actually learned on an original Asahi AP as well as a Spotmatic. That experience has always stood me in good stead AND I still use both in addition to my K10D. Without hesitation or reservation.

And I will put in an alternative plug for getting a ZX-M and some manual lenses, as in essence this ends up being very much a modern equivalent of the Spotmatic ESII (with a split foucs screen to boot). Inexpensive too. Got my body for less than $40.00.

Seaain
01-23-2009, 08:55 AM   #15
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another weird side effect of spotmatics:
people actually ask you about your photography when you use an old metal camera. no one ever talks to me when I use my dslr, but the spotmatic makes me more approachable I guess . you decide if that is a plus or a minus
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