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Thread: Film Camera Vs Digital Cameras

  1. #1

    Default Film Camera Vs Digital Cameras

    Am really interested in starting photography but i don't know which type of camera i should get in order to pursue my interest. however i have a tight budget of just about $400 to start off with.

    have a deal of a second hand sony 707 - is that a camera to start of photography?

    or should i just get a film SLR with that kind of money to start of photography??

    my thoughts are that using digital cameras i do not have to waste money on developing films and i could actually see if i have made mistakes while taking pictures immediately after taking them thru the lcd on the digital camera.

    but i'm afraid that by using a digital camera i would lose basics of photography that is compromised because the fact that i don't have a DSLR and personally i feel that taking pictures using film cameras are better than digital cameras.

    correct me if i'm wrong in anything. suggestions and recommendation would be deeply appreciated. thanks .

  2. #2
    Senior Member The_Cheat's Avatar
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    There are people who started off with film cameras and didn't get the basics of photography too, you know. Conversely, I also know a number of people who'd done only digital photography, and have quite a good grounding in their fundamentals too. Ultimately it depends on you.

  3. #3

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    Learning lies in the heart, not with the camera. Get a digital camera and saves the cost. If you want quality, be prepared to spend more.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by LustForLife
    Am really interested in starting photography but i don't know which type of camera i should get in order to pursue my interest. however i have a tight budget of just about $400 to start off with.

    have a deal of a second hand sony 707 - is that a camera to start of photography?
    answer to this at the bottom...



    Quote Originally Posted by LustForLife
    or should i just get a film SLR with that kind of money to start of photography??

    my thoughts are that using digital cameras i do not have to waste money on developing films

    You get to develop only those you really want as prints (and I don't think that digital prints are that much more expensive than prints these days - haven't printed from film in years ). And you'll recover your cost for the camera from savings from development - that can happen pretty quickly if you use your camera a lot - do the math.



    Quote Originally Posted by LustForLife
    and i could actually see if i have made mistakes while taking pictures immediately after taking them thru the lcd on the digital camera.
    That's another (big) plus point.
    And you'll have the chance to re-take the picture as well



    Quote Originally Posted by LustForLife
    but i'm afraid that by using a digital camera i would lose basics of photography that is compromised because the fact that i don't have a DSLR
    Basics of photography? Shutter speed, Aperture, ISO. That's all they used to have control over on a camera. If the camera you're getting lets you control all that, you've got the basics (basics for digital these days should also include White Balance... you need to use different types of film for different lighting or use filters - with digital white balance, that's easier to handle)



    Quote Originally Posted by LustForLife
    and personally i feel that taking pictures using film cameras are better than digital cameras.
    In most cases it sure feels better to use a film SLR, and faster to react (change settings) excepting the higher-end DSLRs, but with film there's less control - e.g. you're stuck with one ISO speed with the film in your camera (you could do push processing, but that's not basic ).


    Last 2cents

    I personally prefer a Canon digicam - was going to get a Fuji for my first digicam but the person at Alan Photo then recommended a Canon and let me test both. Got the Canon and have been using Canon digitals ever since (had a Minolta A2 for a short week though ).

    Every camera and manufacturer has advantages and disadvantages. Best way to find out what suits you best is to go have a test and compare (but you can also get detailed reviews at www.dpreview.com)

    And if you really want to use a film SLR, you may just be able to get an older one with a lens for less than SGD100 (i.e. search for 'nikon f50', 'canon eos 2000' (or any other camera) on www.eBay.com , if you're willing to take a risk), or just borrow an old one off a friend.

    If you can, get a feel, then buy. That way you won't be in for too many surprises

  5. #5

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    Both are good ways to start learning photography, and in the long run (running costs, maintainence and depreciation) I believe both the digital and film costs will work out to be the same.

    There are people who started off with digital and eventually "move on" to film--just ask around here in CS. Digital do make the learning curve of photography much gentler, however a film SLR will give you better creative control over a compact digicam (DSLRs will blow your budget big time).

    As a starter I do encourage you to get a digicam, and then move on to SLR if you have the money and enough base knowledge and experience on photography--and if your interest last you long enough.

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    Personallly i would recommend starting off with a digital compact. I think the good thing bout digital is it really encourages you to try out new things and different styles/effects and so on.

    Regarding learning the basics...yeah if u get a cam with manual and aperture and shutter priority, you can learn most of the technical fundamentals from these modes. Besides technical fundamentals, i think aesthetic fundamentals such as compostion etc are equally important.

    For my own personal experience, i'm still using a compact canon a70, I find that there are already many things you can learn from it. Sure it is limiting in some ways (eg. depth of field control), but many basics of taking a good photograph remains the same. Of course, it also depends on what type of photography ur into...some such as sports and wildlife are only almost possible with the speed and capabilities of an slr/dslr.

  7. #7

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    thank you for all your advices

    lol i'm so fortunate to have know about this forum...

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    First, start off what is those terms like exposure, shutter speed etc. Then get to know how they can affect a picture. Further than that move to viewing other people's work. See what equipment they use to create what crap or great stuff. Learn the mistakes and good things. Think about what pictures you like to take. Then go further into that few topics, read more, see more. Now you know what you want to take, next look at the equipment that can help you make these pictures. Try them out in Courts/Harvey Norman, then buy second hand or new at MS Color/CP/AP.

  9. #9

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    ideally u should go and use film body first.. because if u want to end up inthe dslr game, since dslr evolve from film slr

  10. #10
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    IMO, go for full manual camera + 35 and or 50mm lens + manual flash gun. Really force you to get the basic right. Pentax K1000 is a good choice. Shoot slides will even push you a step further.

    Compact digital does not give you the full range of control as per a/m. They have limited aperture range and shuttle speed.

    True it give you instant feedback. But you most likely will end up looking @ the LCD after every shot, as per commonly seen nowaday. And of cause, less sure of yourself when switch back to film.

    Than again, it only my opinion, I am sorry if a/m offend anyone.
    photography makes one sees things from all angles.

  11. #11

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    If you are more interested in the results, or are not sure whether you are interested in the more technical sides of negative/slide photography, then you should try digital first.

    Why? Because I observe beginners take more pictures with a digital camera, and I believe there is no substitute for more practice coupled with a good theory book to take good photgraphs. With digital, you are less likely to be discouraged by your initial results, and are more likely to push on.

    Some subset of photography skills can only be gained by shooting films and/or manual focusing cameras, but they are not compulsory knowledge to take good pictures. Other skiils such as using filters, lighting, composition, posing, people/stealth skills, etc., can be learned with digital equipments. Some branch of photography such as Sports Photography which requires quick focus are almost impossible with a manual camera.

    When you gain confidence, you can move to negative and then slides which demands more skill from the photographers and can be more rewarding if properly executed. Or you may decide to stay with the digital compact because it delivers the photos you want. So start worrying about being less sure with film only when you want to use them.

    If you search hard enough, $400 can buy you great second hand cameras such sony 707, Minolta Dimage 7, Canon G2, etc. These cameras give you control over aperture, shutter speed, and allows you to experiment with filters and external flash.

    Or you can even go for a second-hand Canon A-series starting from the A70's onwards.
    Last edited by taku1a; 13th February 2005 at 12:37 AM.

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    My reccomendations:

    Nikon: FM2, FG (much cheaper)

    Canon: AE-1

    Lense: 50mm prime. can go off brand if u want 50mm corsina 2.8 = 50$ TCW.

    Yah la... u don't get instant results with these cameras... but then again, i'm old school, and most of the photog / journ majors in the Universities here start with these cameras.

    Shutter spd, Aperture, etc... all these can be learnt via digital and film.. BUT, the results will vary. Eg: you can't compare the shallow depth of field from a Canon G5 vs a Nikon FG ($150 sing) + 50mm cheapo lense (60$ sing)

    Costs of learning: ok la... that one, digital will win.. u save money. But if u wanna learn.. why stinge? learn well once and for all.. tahan the slowness and anticipation of film, from that, you'll build up your appreciation for faster SLRs (eg: f100, 1v) or even the DSLRs.

    For film: shoot slides. Best way to learn in me honest opinion.. and what's more... the quality of your shots, if done right, will BLOW the stuff u get from your sony or canon digi cams. That's IF u do decide to blow it up.

    Let me nag on a bit here... i started off with a Nikon F when i was in college a loooong time ago. Learnt a helluva lot from it. now, i'm still using the same body for work/family outings. (30 plus yrs i think) The same lense, an old tessar from my father with a hybrid nikon mount, still captures amazing pics with that body.

    My son got the Canon G4 to start off with photography too 3 yrs back... now, he's simply been spending $@!$@!$@! amounts of limpeh's $ on Dslr equipment (bodies alone) and continually wants to upgrade.

    Pt is: learn to appreciate photography, through whatever medium you decide to choose from. Importantly, analyze your results and the process u took to get them. Don't be discouraged by your results from film/chrome if u choose that path. Honestly, it'll teach u to be more discerning about your shots, FORCING you to compose and to analyze the technicalities of photography as a whole; something u don't really see much nowadays with Digital shooters (ratatatata)

    If your budget's $400, get yourself a film camera as mentioned above, a cheap lense, a nice loupe (30$) and shoot slides (3$ per roll online, fuji sensia) Development's 4$ at Ruby's, and you'll be amazed with the results you get.

    Do feel free to let us know if u need further help, or message me anytime for reccomendations.


    Good Luck!
    Last edited by F5user; 13th February 2005 at 05:48 AM.

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    just blow your budget 1 time on a dslr its worth it.
    I did the same and now take an average of 300+ photos a week.
    Im just a begginer like u, but without digital, youll be hesitant to try sometimes for fear of wasting film.

    Then again film forces u to really learn and make every shot count. Developing photos isn't cheap.

    Ask around, the only way to really learn is to take lots of photos.
    We learn and remember more from our mistakes then anything else.

    Its up to u really.

  14. #14

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    Does compact dcam really eat battery for breakfast? I bought 1 for my sister and it seems like the thing eat batteries like nobody business. Make me think that instead of spending money on film, she is now spending more money in rechargeable batteries and charger. Bring along heavy spare batteries and it is harder than bringing spare films and atleast you can know how many shots left before u need to change to a new roll. Battery just went off without much warning after the battery low warning. I wonder how many spares she need to bring for holiday especially when using flash and LCD.

    She has been spending time tweaking with photo software for better result. No, she doesn't seems to enjoy that experience. I guess she will probably use it to shoot casual snapshoot or maybe small objects around the house.
    Last edited by FIR; 13th February 2005 at 01:11 PM.

  15. #15

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    ok any has any recommendation if i wanna buy a manual SLR?

    and a recommended setup for a beginners? and how much would it cosT?

  16. #16
    Senior Member The_Cheat's Avatar
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    Think there's already a few recommendations from the past few posts already, like Canon AE1, Nikon FM2, Nikon FG and Pentax K1000. Just recently, someone gotten a working Yashica FX3 from Yahoo Auctions at less than S$100 too! Think there's Ricoh SLR there as well...

    Anyway, don't jump into decisions out of impulse. Think the best way to judge what camera for you is to try them out first. As given by so many people in this thread there are both pros and cons in digital and film cameras. Think of what you need, talk to people more. Go for SEED if there's any coming (don't know when!), or go to outings with people, just to get to know people and get to talk to them.

    Just take note that everyone have biases on something! Hear from all sides, and then make the decision for yourself.

  17. #17

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    thanks. ermm another question is there any camera shops that sells second cameras?

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by LustForLife
    thanks. ermm another question is there any camera shops that sells second cameras?
    There are TCW, P&G, Prime, etc etc .... then there is Clubsnap Buy and Sell.....

    But if you are really looking for a manual Camera, I can lend you my Pentax KX with 50mm lens for a month so you can use it. Wait till you feel comfortable with cameras then you can buy one which you will like (And return me the KX, of course).

  19. #19

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    Additional thing to note.

    1. Manual camera still have mechnical and electronics variants. Mechincal require battery for metering only, the camera will work even when the battery is dead. Normally under normal usesage, the battery can last few years no issue. Electronics will not work w/o battery but being electronics, I belief the shutter is more accurate but probably not enough to make that much a differences.

    2. Some older slr uses mecury battery that no longer been produce due to enviornmental issues. Substitue may not be 100% the same for the meter voltage unless modify it. I suggest to *get a model that take standard battery like the LR44.

    3. Many of the older model uses CdS cell, while ok it is less responsive in low light and less accurate then the modern SPD or CPD. Since the price is the same, *get one that use modern metering cell.

    Depending on your need. These camera has lotsa character and being "u do every thing" it is fun to use. But then u must be that kind of person which like to "do it yourself". Otherwise if you just wanna do photography, a cheaper modern slr is easier to use and more then enough for 90% of people doing photography. High-end only mean better built tolerance and more addable options etc. The matrix metering today on entry models are capable to producing technically perfect exposure 90% of the time.

    Very much depend on your personality. Someone favourite might be another person poison. Very much like beer.
    Last edited by whoelse; 13th February 2005 at 03:12 PM.

  20. #20
    Senior Member The_Cheat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by whoelse
    Additional thing to note.

    1. Manual camera still have mechnical and electronics variants. Mechincal require battery for metering only, the camera will work even when the battery is dead. Normally under normal usesage, the battery can last few years no issue. Electronics will not work w/o battery but being electronics, I belief the shutter is more accurate but probably not enough to make that much a differences.

    2. Some older slr uses mecury battery that no longer been produce due to enviornmental issues. Substitue may not be 100% the same for the meter voltage unless modify it. I suggest to *get a model that take standard battery like the LR44.

    3. Many of the older model uses CdS cell, while ok it is less responsive in low light and less accurate then the modern SPD or CPD. Since the price is the same, *get one that use modern metering cell.

    Depending on your need. These camera has lotsa character and being "u do every thing" it is fun to use. But then u must be that kind of person which like to "do it yourself". Otherwise if you just wanna do photography, a cheaper modern slr is easier to use and more then enough for 90% of people doing photography. High-end only mean better built tolerance and more addable options etc. The matrix metering today on entry models are capable to producing technically perfect exposure 90% of the time.

    Very much depend on your personality. Someone favourite might be another person poison. Very much like beer.
    Well said... I prefer lager!

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