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Thread: Photography - Recommendations

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    Senior Member Williamsmith's Avatar
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    Photography - Recommendations

    It's been 37 years, I figure, since I took a Photogrpahy 101 class in college so I remember very little about it. What I do recall is that I liked working in black and white and I enjoyed the challenge of creating an interesting photo which illicited a response.

    Yesterday, I was bumming around in a few antique stores and ran across a Canon AE1. I recalled that this was the camera that I used back in the day. I want a manual 35 mm camera. There are others of that vintage out there ....any suggestions?

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    Senior Member Ultralight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Williamsmith View Post
    It's been 37 years, I figure, since I took a Photogrpahy 101 class in college so I remember very little about it. What I do recall is that I liked working in black and white and I enjoyed the challenge of creating an interesting photo which illicited a response.

    Yesterday, I was bumming around in a few antique stores and ran across a Canon AE1. I recalled that this was the camera that I used back in the day. I want a manual 35 mm camera. There are others of that vintage out there ....any suggestions?
    While I can't help with the gear question, I will say: Please share photos you take on here!
    I came from a real tough neighborhood. I put my hand in some cement and felt another hand." -- Rodney Dangerfield

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    Senior Member Williamsmith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ultralight View Post
    While I can't help with the gear question, I will say: Please share photos you take on here!
    I will. I regret that I was not armed with a vintage 35mm on my recent tour of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Savannah GA and Charleston, SC. Lots of great opportunities were missed. The iPhone 7 did fill in admirably.

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    Canon, Nikon or Pentax (later was typically used as the training camera around here).

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    DH is an old camera buff and has at least a hundred of them. I will get his opinion and report back.

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    Moderator Float On's Avatar
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    I have a collection of vintage cameras but I am so bummed that I didn't keep the canon I cut my teeth on. I think I was just so excited when digital came along and my studio photography results could be viewed instantly that I was pretty quick to trade in the 35mm (I did jury slides, catalog, promotional photography for our business and others). I'm sure I sold it for $25 along with several lens and bag and extra film at a yard sale. So wish I could have it back.
    Float On: My "Happy Place" is on my little kayak in the coves of Table Rock Lake.

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    Senior Member Rogar's Avatar
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    The AE1 is not a bad camera. If you have decent Canon lenses there are advantages to sticking with Canon. When I went totally digital I sold my Nikon F3 which I considered to be a mighty fine modern film camera. If you really want to go vintage there are some fun cameras from the 1940's on up that are really manual.  The Kodak Retinas are some of the more common high quality consumer cameras. Film cameras can be had for cheap these days off eBay. I have shopped KEH many times for used gear, too. https://www.keh.com

    I've owned a number of vintage cameras, but just have digital now. I could see getting into it again. Film is fun. It's sort of like opening birthday presents when you get developed film back and the manual process is rather meditative. However, if I were to get back into film, I'd probably go with medium format. Maybe an old Zeiss bellows folder or a twin reflex.

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    Senior Member Geila's Avatar
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    I've always preferred the manual cameras with film. I finally gave in and bought a digital and I never use it. The instant results are so anti-climatic! And I miss the serendipity of a good shot. With digital you can just keep taking shots until you get what you want. The art has been taken out of the equation.

    I hope you find some good equipment and enjoy using it.

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    Senior Member SteveinMN's Avatar
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    The AE-1 was a landmark camera, and deservedly so, IMO. Minolta, Nikon, Olympus, and Pentax also offered excellent cameras in the 80s and 90s and even into the 21st century. Really, toward the end of the film era (the early-to-mid 2000s), there were no truly bad 35mm SLRs from the main manufacturers. I still think fondly of my Olympus OM-1 and lusted after an OM-4 for years. Digital changed all that (for lots of reasons).

    n.b., the AE-1's primary claim to fame was its autofocus capability, being one of the first widely-sold cameras to offer that level of automation. If you are looking for a completely manual camera, the OM-1 is completely manual, as is the Pentax K-1000 that has been a staple of photography courses for years. Of course, even the fully-automatic cameras of the late film era can be used manually. But there are reasons you might want to go "simple".

    One key to buying a film camera now is its condition. Many of the parts are "NLA" -- no longer available -- which means you (or whoever maintains it) will have to have access to new old stock or will have to cannibalize broken cameras of the same model. Obviously the more popular the model, the easier it will be to find parts.

    Another key is who can maintain it. The techs who were trained by the camera manufacturers themselves are dying of old age. The demand for fixing older cameras -- particularly "common" 35mm SLRs -- declines continually (though there always will be a market for a Leica tech or techs who can repair medium- and large-format cameras). Fortunately, there are troves of information on the Internet and it's no big deal these days to send a camera across the country for repair or even a CLA (clean/lube/adjust). I strongly recommend a CLA for a camera that's been minding an attic or garage for years; lubes stiffen up and rubber decays. It's not hard, though, for a CLA to exceed the cost of the SLR you purchase today.

    The nice thing about most of these cameras is that they can be had for a song now -- and they still can take marvelous images!
    If Americans expended even a fraction of the energy on civic engagement that we spend on consumer ideology, our democracy would be much healthier. Can you imagine people camping out to vote? -- Charles Roberts, Amherst, Mass., Nov. 25, 2006

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    Senior Member Williamsmith's Avatar
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    I appreciate the responses. The Canon AE-1 I had in my hands yesterday had a larger than standard lens, a flash that needed a battery and looked to be in fine shape. $80 would have brought it home. Still, I was not sure of the cost of having a tech service it. I'm looking for a steal. I believe I do want to go completely manual as the art of photography is the main draw for me. I don't want to point and shoot.

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