Getting into Film Photography II – Cameras




Ok, you have made the decision to go and shoot film, now the question is what camera do i want to use??  This makes decisions rather tough, as there are so many different cameras out there that do so many things and so many legendary cameras.  Rephrase the question & it will help your decision making.  Also what film format will also dictate camera choice too..

A better question to ask yourself, what sort of photography do i want to use this camera for?

The Choices:

SLR, TLR, Compact, Rangefinder, Interchangable lenses… Just some of the choices

Personally, when stepping back to film, i had decided to shoot medium format film, but then i also decided i wanted to shoot either 6×6 or 6×4.5,  and use it for landscape and or portrait, this narrowed my choices quite a bit.

The next  question would be do i want to have the ability to change lenses? Have changable film packs?

for me, i wanted Interchangable lenses, and the ability to have swappable film packs, again this narrowed down my choices, and took out cameras like Pentax 67, Fuji GX. Roleiflex & YashicaMat TLR’s.

This left me with still a large range of cameras to choose from, including Mamiya, Bronica, Pentax 645, Hasselblad.

The other major question to ask yourself, budget.. How much do i want to spend?

This is also a critical question, as setting your budget will also eliminate particular models and or brands from the search field.

For me, when i set my budget, it took out late model Pentax 645N & 645NII cameras, late model Mamiyas with AF,  and RZ cameras, plus pretty much every Hasselblad.

I ended up getting super lucky when a customer offered a Bronica S2a kit, it had everything i was looking for, multiple lenses, multiple backs and the price was right where i was looking.


Bronica S2a

The big thing with the Bronica, its a big heavy camera that while portable, still took a bit to move around.
Asking yourself questions about how you want to do things, what specs you want to have, all make searching for cameras easier.
If i wanted to get into street photography, a big MF camera would not be a good thing as they are pretty conspicuous,  so a 35mm camera can be a much better option, and again going down the 35mm route, there are plenty of questions, Changeable lenses? built in metering? Auto Focus?  Auto wind? SLR or Rangefinder or Compact? do you want to be discrete or not?


Minolta Dynax AF SLR

Answering these questions, in any combination could give you a really good camera, and again the budget thing will play a critical part in the decision making,  no point in looking for something like a Leica M6 and Summicron glass when your budget is in the low to mid hundreds range. ( a quick look on ebay revealed M6’s sell anywhere from around $1500NZ up! and good summicron glass is similarly price) but if you are wanting a rangefinder and prepared to hunt around, then take a look at Voigtlander Bessa cameras? many were built with the Leica Screw mount or even the Leica M mount,  and prices are not as expensive as the Leica’s.m3

wanting a 35mm SLR, then the choices are massive, but you generally cannot go wrong looking at classic’s like the Pentax K1000, Pentax ME Super, Pentax LX, Nikon FM2, F2/F3/F4, Original Olympus OM-1/2/4/10 Canon AE-1,  Minolta X300, XG or any number of other cameras.


Pentax K1000

Compact cameras are the same, the choices are vast, everything from Olympus Trip to compact Leica’s and Contax’s  it all depends on what you want to use it for, and how much you want to spend.

Personally, i started looking for a discrete camera but didnt want to shoot 35mm, luckily i discovered 110 cartridge film was back in production, so i started looking, and found a Pentax Auto 110, this is cool, it is a proper interchangable lens SLR and the kit i eventually found had 2 lenses and a flash…  this is the ultimate in discrete cameras as the whole camera with 24mm lens fits in the palm of my hand, i can put it in a pocket, and shooting with 2 lenses and the whole kit weighs under 500g.

There are heaps of choices, many many many good ones, it all comes down to the questions you ask yourself for what you want out of the camera, what style of photography you want to try.

So ive made the choice of what i am looking for, found the camera and its here…

What film do i use?



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