Which 35mm camera should I use for my first BW film?

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Lumipan

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Hi, I'm a new member did my introduction at the appropriate spot.

I have a question as I'm quite new with film photography, apart from using simple cameras in the 90s...

I bought myself my first BW film, the Ilford FP4 PLUS (ISO125) 35mm and have 3 cameras. 😊 Not sure which should I put it in, as I wouldn't like to spoil my first film. I'm used to digital photography, which apart from buying a camera and using electricity to charge is a completely free type of photography 😏

I have an Olympus SC35 Type 12 with Zuiko 50/1.8, it has a manual and auto mode, but the focusing in the viewfinder is kind of weird, I'm not sure if I'll be able to focus right. It has some kind of crosshair in the middle and it is called "Focusing Screen 1-12". Also I'm not quite sure it knows how much is the aperture open, or closed. So it can't really know how long to keep the shutter, automatically or can it? I suppose it reads the ISO rating automatically?

The other camera is a Zenith with a Helios 44M-4. It seems to be working properly, but I'm not sure about the lightmeter. I think I understand how it works, but don't know how in(precise) it is. I could fit my Zeiss Jena 50/2.8mm or 135/3.5mm on it, but I'm quite sure the lens flange distance is different for these.

And the thrid one is a Cosina CT-1A, with 50mm/1.8 Lens which does work and has a working lightmeter, I shot my last film with it so I'm more into other options, also the objective is my least favourite of the bunch...

I'll go to a few day trip tomorrow so, I'll bring one of these with me.

Please share your thoughts and some advice.... Thanks
 

Huss

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The Olympus is meant for photography with a microscope so that rules it out as a regular camera


The lightmeter on the Zenit will most probably by inaccurate. I've had three Zenit SLRs, and none had an accurate meter. But you can download a lightmeter ap for your phone and use that to get a reading, then apply those settings to your camera. Or you can use the Sunny F16 rule.

The Cosina is by far the best of the bunch. Sorry... :wink:
 
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Lumipan

Lumipan

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The Olympus is meant for photography with a microscope so that rules it out as a regular camera


The lightmeter on the Zenit will most probably by inaccurate. I've had three Zenit SLRs, and none had an accurate meter. But you can download a lightmeter ap for your phone and use that to get a reading, then apply those settings to your camera. Or you can use the Sunny F16 rule.

The Cosina is by far the best of the bunch. Sorry... :wink:

I think you're right...

I got the Olympus with my microscope, but it is too much of a hassle to do film photography on a microscope. It is a shame to sell it, but I'm not sure I'll ever use it. Although it might make sense to swap it for something I'll actually use, maybe a proper Olympus SLR

Zenit I bought cheap on the flea market, actually I wanted just the lens, which I actually like using...

Cosina was given to me by someone not using it... I have a 50mm/1.8 and Auto Revuenon 135/2.8 with Pentax mount (for Cosina)... I'll put the film in Cosina and see what happens. Thanks
 

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Welcome to APUG Photrio!!
 

Don Heisz

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I agree with Huss.

The important thing is not wasting the film. So use the camera you know is reliable.

If you want great results all the time, spend 20 bucks on a newer Canon, Nikon, or Minolta autofocus plastic slr with a kit lens. Pretty much guaranteed to give you great results.
 
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Lumipan

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I agree with Huss.

The important thing is not wasting the film. So use the camera you know is reliable.

If you want great results all the time, spend 20 bucks on a newer Canon, Nikon, or Minolta autofocus plastic slr with a kit lens. Pretty much guaranteed to give you great results.

Thanks, I'll probably buy something eventually. I like the looks of Olympus OM, but I'll see which one pops up first around here.
 

BrianShaw

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FP4+ is best when used in a Nikon. You need a Nikon (repeat that 40 times with your eyes closed). :smile:

Welcome to Photrio!
 

Don Heisz

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I'll probably buy something eventually.

I was mostly implying it doesn't really matter which camera - that truly undervalued slrs with "boring" lenses take perfectly good photos. The camera has to work properly, though.
 

Donald Qualls

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For your first B&W, I'll agree -- use the camera you know works correctly. Over time, the Zenit might be interesting -- some of their lenses are exceptional and you can use an external meter or smart phone app either to check the meter in the camera or instead of the camera's meter -- but a known good camera is always preferred for "first time" of anything.

truly undervalued slrs with "boring" lenses take perfectly good photos.

The same is true of undervalued rangefinder cameras. I have seven or eight 35 mm RF cameras -- Canon, Petri, Kodak, Welta, Kiev/Contax -- and aside from the sticky shutters in the Kodaks (need cleaning) and various malfunctions in most of the Kievs, all make good photos.
 

guangong

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Rather than using a light meter, download an print an exposure calculator from the internet. The old Leica Manual has an exposure calculator that only requires memorizing four weather conditions and four subject conditions and the ability to do multiplication up to 4x4. Putting the light meter into you head cultivates a way of seeing.
 

Don Heisz

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The same is true of undervalued rangefinder cameras

I agree. But for someone coming from digital, a relatively recent slr is probably a better gateway into using film. They also tend to be cheaper than working rangefinders.
 

Donald Qualls

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They also tend to be cheaper than working rangefinders.

Haven't been shopping for SLRs recently (got M42 and Nikon in sufficiency). Got all the RF cameras I'll need any time soon, too, so I'll take your word on relative costs.
 

Film-Niko

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The Cosina is by far the best of the bunch. Sorry... :wink:

+1.
It is a very good camera for a film beginner and for learning.
And as it is flawless working as you say.....go for it.
Keep things simple at the beginning 😀.
 

faberryman

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Obviously, you'll need to buy a new camera to go with that new roll of film. I recommend any of the limited edition Leicas.
 
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Lumipan

Lumipan

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The film is loaded and we're off shooting. I wouldn't say it works flawlessly, but it will do the job probably. The lightmeter seems to work, although I can't seem to focus to infinity. Maybe the viewfinder is a bit off, or the lens. But the lens came with the camera and has not been fiddled with. Photos should come out interesting anyway 🙅‍♂️

Thanks everyone for the suggestions. I'll probably try the Zenit next time, or buy a limited edition Leica.


20230105_164052.jpg
 
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Zenit are fun cameras. They are very uncomplicated and, aside from the light meter, quite reliable if you treat them well (no changing shutter speed before advacing film :smile: ). In a sense they follow the principle of Leica, quite uncomplicated cameras that do the job (most of the time).

Cosina's cameras are quite reliable and lenses are good.
 

momus

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I'm used to digital photography, which apart from buying a camera and using electricity to charge is a completely free type of photography 😏

Might want to revisit that idea. Photography, especially film photography, is about putting prints on the wall at some point. If they're just on a computer monitor, it's like Gertrude Stein's comment about viewing the Oakland skyline....."There's no there, there" Apologies to Oakland residents, maybe it's there now :<}

An image on a computer monitor disappears the moment you turn the computer off. So it's not a real image in the usual sense, sort of a simulacrum. When you switch the lights off in your place the print is still there. You can touch it, smell it, use a candle to see it, all that. The monitor image goes poof. Try lighting a candle in front of a dark monitor, nothing there to see folks.

That's because the photograph was never "there" in the first place, it's an illusion of a photograph. So while digital photography may be free (minus the cost of the camera, lens, battery, computer, monitor or phone, the electricity that you mentioned, etc) there is still one little thing missing. The photograph.
 
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Don Heisz

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Actually, feel free to keep your pictures on a computer or phone or whatever you want. The ontological status of an photo is nothing to seriously worry about....

If you can't focus to infinity, the camera or lens has a serious problem and should not be used. It pretty much guarantees that all your photos will be out of focus.
 

Donald Qualls

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It pretty much guarantees that all your photos will be out of focus.

Depends what's wrong. OP has been using this camera with color film, so if those photos were in focus, these should be.
 

Don Heisz

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Depends what's wrong. OP has been using this camera with color film, so if those photos were in focus, these should be.

That is true. He does say the lens is his least favourite, though - and that might be because it's always out of focus.
 

Sirius Glass

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I am wandering if "." is a comprehensive enough answer, Sirius?😄

pentaxuser

[Technical note: a punctuation key stroke is needed to but in blank lines. About time someone noticed.]
 
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