Old film cameras

Techniques and equipment.

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Re: Old film cameras

Postby NZcaver » Jul 8, 2011 1:18 am

Sungura wrote:I only have one lens built for a dSLR, kinda an "all-in-one" lens, Nikor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 with VRII (the later type of vibration reduction on their lenses). I kinda doubt it's a pro lens? but maybe, it was $750 on sale.

A reasonable lens, but like virtually any lens there's always a compromise. "Super zooms" like this (which range from wide/super wide to super telephoto) are highly convenient but often at the expense of optical quality and build quality. I once bought a Tamron 17-270mm which was a little cheaper than your lens, but the image quality sucked and the zoom mechanism failed after 3 weeks. I got a full refund, and learned my lesson. That said, if yours does what you need - then that's all that really matters. Technical reviews on the lens are fairly positive, and this review compliments the autofocus performance.

Your other lenses sounds interesting. Do you have friends with Nikons? The best way to play is to try shooting with a range of other lenses, even if only inside (or outside) your local camera store. I do it all the time. Last week camping in Denali, I encouraged an Australian guy to try my lenses on his Canon so we switched for a while. Most people who are really interested in photography (not just taking snapshots) generally enjoy talking shop about it, and checking out each others gear. Just like a few other interests I have. :big grin:

flashguns...yeah I think I need to get one of those...I've tried reading about them but I can't figure out shit about them, something isn't making sense. I thought they'd just be something I could press a button and BAM light from it but everything seems...so much more complicated than that. Wire cables or sensors or needing to change bulbs every time like they only work once or something and then die? this and that and everything else....what, there's not just a magic button to press and make a big flash o' light so I have a great off-camera source without lightpainting? Is that so hard to ask?

Virtually all flashguns do have a test/fire button. You can just put your camera on a tripod (or handhold it in the dark) and hit the button on your flash for instant illumination. Or you can synchronize it with your camera via a cable or by adding a light sensor which picks up a sudden flash and instantly triggers your flash.

Also you may be experiencing some confusion between flash bulbs and flashguns. Flash bulbs are those old-fashioned antiques :wink: that are one-shot deals. Hit the button (or shutter release) and POW! A huge flash of light and then you throw it away and get a fresh one. Electronic flashguns go POP, with a faster, less-intense flash. But you can usually control how bright they are (duration of flash pulse), and one flashgun unit will usually last you tens of thousands of flashes.

Any night school photo classes offered near where you live?
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Re: Old film cameras

Postby LukeM » Jul 8, 2011 6:56 am

Bob Thrun wrote:
LukeM wrote: Light painting seems like more of a digital technique since it's hard to estimate what your total light output will be and with digital you can always waste a bunch of shots experimenting.

To the contrary, the inability to do light painting is a major weakness of digital photography. A prime example is my photo on the cover of WVASS Bulletin 6, Caves and Karst Hydrology in Northern Pocahontas County. The picture was wider than printed on the cover. I walked around behind the camera and fired 6 M3B bulbs, plus Peter Sprouse fired an electronic flash. A digital camera does not have a long enough shutter speed before electronic noise sets in.


Bob, I have to completely disagree. I have seen many many professional examples of long exposures and light painting using digital cameras. Open any modern photo magazine for examples. Noise is sometimes encountered, but modern digital cameras feature "long exposure noise reduction", and when you include what can be done in post-processing (as Jansen mentioned) it's really a non-issue. Anyway, to bring this back to Amy, she already uses her digital camera for light painting.

Also, in the context of this conversation Amy is using light painting to mean waving a flashlight/headlamp back and forth until the photo is sufficiently illuminated, not firing multiple bulbs/flashguns. The major difference with that is that with a flashbulb you have a very good idea of the amount of light you're releasing in a particular area, and since the flashes aren't likely overlapping much you can set your aperture with some accuracy. In the case of waving a flashlight around my guess is you'd have a lot harder time getting the exposure right than with a digital camera where you can simply delete and try again.

Sorry to derail your topic Amy. If you like Nikon digital SLR's maybe you could look for an old Nikon or Nikkormat SLR.
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Re: Old film cameras

Postby self-deleted_user » Jul 8, 2011 10:52 am

No probs, derailing is cool I"m learning stuff =)

Jansen - yeah maybe I"m confusing stuff. I have no clue...I wish someone would just tell me "hey get x flashgun it works great and does what you want" haha. I never thought to look for a photography course...but then again, that costs $$ which is something I really don't have. If I had thought of that at the start of summer I might have been able to find a photography class at WSU (As a WSU employee I can take up to 8 credits a semester for free) but too late for that now.

All my friends locally have Cannons so can't play trade lenses. Except for one, and she got her Nikon last summer but I think she still just uses it on auto, and only has the basic cheap lens that comes standard. And funny you mention that Tameron lens, I just entered a photography contest winner gets that lens!

As to light painting, it's funny peeps think that is what is hard to set exposure for especially how I do it...I've not had problems with it at all. The first few tries were kinda fail but after that, it's about the only way I take photos now and about 80% of the time I get the shot first try, other 20% change something a bit and reshoot. Maybe I just have a knack for it. If something screws up right now, usually it's focus, because autofocusing underground sucks and again I just want my manual ability back hah.

I mean, all these shots were lightpainted....I'm not seeing grain issues...am I blind?
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Limrock Panoramic - Formation Room by Sunguramy, on Flickr

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Big Bat Cave 08 by Sunguramy, on Flickr

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Cedar Ridge Crystal Cave 09 by Sunguramy, on Flickr

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Cedar Ridge Crystal Cave 08 by Sunguramy, on Flickr
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Re: Old film cameras

Postby Bob Thrun » Jul 8, 2011 12:54 pm

LukeM wrote:The major difference with that is that with a flashbulb you have a very good idea of the amount of light you're releasing in a particular area, and since the flashes aren't likely overlapping much you can set your aperture with some accuracy.

In the example I gave, all the flashes were overlapping. I like to have flashes on both sides of the camera and maybe above and below. The side lighting brings out the shape of the rocks. At the same time, there are no deep shadows like you would get from single flash.
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Re: Old film cameras

Postby NZcaver » Jul 8, 2011 4:58 pm

Sungura wrote:I have no clue...I wish someone would just tell me "hey get x flashgun it works great and does what you want" haha.

- If you want to go with the high end option (best results with least effort), x flashgun = the highest guide number (intensity) Nikon brand flashgun dedicated to your camera model.
- Slightly cheaper options = lower guide number and/or knockoff brand dedicated flashgun.
- Alternative cheaper options (what I do) = reliable generic flashgun(s) like Sunpaks or Vivitars (with high guide numbers), preferably used if you can find them. Also DIY or other cheap wireless slave units to trigger them.
- Total cheap bastard option = light painting with headlamps or other fixed lighting. :big grin: But this can sometimes produce very nice results, as you've discovered.

I never thought to look for a photography course...but then again, that costs $$ which is something I really don't have. If I had thought of that at the start of summer I might have been able to find a photography class at WSU (As a WSU employee I can take up to 8 credits a semester for free) but too late for that now.

Missed opportunity. Do not discount the value of education. Some classes will be better suited to your needs than others, and/or better value for money. I'm spending a whole $10 to attend the day-long photo class at the NSS Convention. I like the guys who are teaching it, and I'm always interested in learning more.

All my friends locally have Cannons so can't play trade lenses.

You know the easy solution to that, right? :shhh:

And funny you mention that Tameron lens, I just entered a photography contest winner gets that lens!

If you win it, you can always sell it. In all fairness, I heard they fixed the mechanical failure issue with the zoom (it didn't just happen to me), and the image quality is probably almost comparable to the lens you already have.
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Re: Old film cameras

Postby self-deleted_user » Jul 8, 2011 5:08 pm

Aww Jansen you're awesome, thanks. Hahaha yes I know the easy solution to that... :P and thanks for the info too! Yeah I meant to try and take a class in Portuguese if offered but forgot about that too. See, you barrel through undergrad in 3 years doing 20-24 credits a semester + classes throughout the summer, and then do another 2.5 yrs graduate school on top of that...eventually you get sick of the whole coursework thing! I'm burned out and I know it, even classes for fun I lack desire to do. I'd rather learn Portuguese by translating the capoeira songs and just slowly getting the hang of it. I'd rather learn photography by going on a trip underground with someone who knows way more than I and helping/learning that way. The best I ever did for learning photography was join the Photo Fun Group on Facebook (the only reason I got Facebook haha) every week is a new theme, a photo a day. This week is Name That Tune. Sure I miss weeks/days but I do pretty good, just having a theme and needing to play with my camera every day has taught me trial/error for what works, I look at what I was taking a year ago and it's shit compared to what I take now but I don't know what I'm doing different, just practice I guess. Oh, and a lot of /those/ photographers use nikons :P
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Re: Old film cameras

Postby captnemo » Jul 8, 2011 6:36 pm

Saddly- there's no single flash for every situation as different flashes will fit different caves/ situations better.
flashguns (aka strobes) come in several sizes/power outputs and while some are quite powerful they weigh a lot with the batteries they require. A flash bulb (single use each) generally puts out more light especially if you look at it in relationship to weight, and the light is longer so in cave photography where the shutter is open you get more exposure. Since they don't make the bulbs anymore they're getting harder to find.
Going back to your original question- I'm not a fan of the common trend of 'lomography' where people try to take 'artistic' pictures with junk cameras- Take a good picture and play with it in photoshop if you want an artsy effect work quite well.
There's nothing wrong with taking pics with film though, many photography classes ask students to get a manual camera such as a pentax k2 so something along these lines would be good for practice http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/buy/35mm-Cameras/pn/3/ci/3017/Ns/p_PRICE_2%7C0/N/4294247087of course these are slr's so you also need a lens so perhaps just an inexpensive nikon that you could use with lens you have would be good?
Then, for shooting film you have a good advantage in starting with digital- take a look at the exif of a picture you took that you like, the iso is supposed to be equivelent(roughly) to film speed, if the iso is 800 or above though you'll have problems duplicating it as all the films I've used at that speed were very grainy(like the noise you experience in some digital cameras)
For this picture Imagethe exif is exposure 1s, aperture f10, iso 200.
To recreate that on film with the same lights all I need is 200 speed film set the shutter for at least a second , the apeture for f10 and I should get the same picture. I won't because there's other variables but it'll be close and it'll be interesting and thats the fun part.
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Re: Old film cameras

Postby self-deleted_user » Jul 8, 2011 6:52 pm

Yeah I usually shoot in iso 200 or 400 on my digital cameras. I use manual settings 90% of the time or more, and a year of photos underground and 1.5 yrs with my dSLR above ground I'm finally feeling like I'm getting the hang of what light needs what settings, the thing that tends to throw me most is just how much light outdoors in the sun really gives! But that's not an issue underground. :P When I first got my dSLR and I was asking some photographer friends for advice for learning it, the best I got was from a friend of mine's dad (who is now my friend as well) who is a professional photographer. He said "Use manual. Don't let yourself use anything else. It'll force you to learn how it all works together." So right. He gave a quick run-down on f/stop and iso and shutter speed, the pros/cons of those and how to try and balance them for images too of course so I had working knowledge to start with. I'm still learning it all =) but I'm to the point I'm feeling a lot more confident. I mean, just look at photos from trip reports I used to do, like from the UK last year, and compare the photos in there with more recent ones! I giggle now at photos I thought were really good back then haha. Especially things I shot in the UK...I can't help but look at the photos "ok I need to do this and that next time, and oh that'd be a better spot to take the shot from" and all that sort of jazz. Ahhh Les will hate me next time he hates faffing around for photos! hahaha

I'm not trying to get a picture with a junk camera, I just like the look of older photos. Sure I can photoshop that if I want and have no issues with doing so or with people who like doing that. Digital definitely has some advantage...could desaturate, b&w, sepia, oversaturate certain colours, add grain or even put borders to make it look like a polaroid or whatever, and still have the original image to boot. I'm definitly one who likes to play around a bit, like this one I just left the yellows/greens but desaturated the rest... But I'd like to learn the artistry of doing it from the start. An older film camera =/= junk camera.
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Re: Old film cameras

Postby sathi_sms » Jul 25, 2011 11:27 pm

thnks phil winklar. nice picture . awosome. i like it
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Re: Old film cameras

Postby self-deleted_user » Aug 31, 2011 5:29 pm

Well I've been looking and not many film cameras are light/small enough for me to want to carry underground that have manual abilities...kinda seem stuck with SLR's for that, and I'm not carrying that underground. I don't like heavy bulky stuff in my pack :P

So instead...I made a "cheat". Figured out the whole "action" thing on photoshop and made my own program to run and turn things various vintage looks with the use of various filters and such.

Then, I found an old card that had some photos back from when I started caving that I'd not processed yet. Oopsie!

I think I like the results though....

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Re: Old film cameras

Postby LukeM » Aug 31, 2011 6:56 pm

Hey, that looks pretty filmy! I just wanted to suggest that if you're still interested in film photography to look into old rangefinder cameras. Because they don't need the room for a mirror, prism, etc they tend to be a good bit smaller and lighter than an SLR, but still have manual adjustments. Look for brands like Nikon, Yashica, Zeiss, Konica, Contax, and so on. Some have interchangeable lenses, and the older ones are built like tanks.
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Re: Old film cameras

Postby JR-Orion » Sep 13, 2011 2:21 pm

Wonder if they still make the Pentax K1000? An old school, 100% manual 35mm camera. I always wanted to try one.
Letting the days go by / water flowing underground
Into the blue again / in the silent water
Under the rocks and stones / there is water underground.
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Re: Old film cameras

Postby self-deleted_user » Sep 13, 2011 3:24 pm

I'm sure you could find one on ebay or such. Fact here you go, $1.50 right now. http://www.ebay.com/itm/Nice-Vintage-PE ... 564604b415
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Re: Old film cameras

Postby RobertSzabo » Sep 25, 2011 9:27 pm

If you have a Canon dSLR you can use almost any manufactures lens on it with an adapter. The Canon has the longest back focus of all the digital slrs, so there is room for an adapter and the lens will still focus at infinity. You will have to use manual focus and use manual exposure. I have some old glass that is very good and I got it for a song. Check out an Olympus 24mm 2.8. I got mine like new for 150.00. It is a fantastic lens on my Canon 5D. Very sharp from edge to edge. I picked up an older Nikkor 55mm Macro lens that is also a great lens on the 5D. Ive got a couple newer Canon pro lenses but no way could afford a bunch of new canon prime lenses for what I paid for the older glass. You need to do your research though. Not all the old glass is good. Some are as good or better than the new glass. When I started buying these older lenses they were dirt cheap. Now with everyone using the 5D for HD video work a lot or people have caught on and in some places the prices for the older lenses have gone up. I still see them at camera stores for cheap though. Not as often but they are still out there.

I know this thread is about film cameras but I thought Id chime in with the talk about lenses that was added and the lenses Im talking about were actually made for film cameras.
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Re: Old film cameras

Postby self-deleted_user » Sep 26, 2011 2:13 pm

Indeed, I've had luck with using old glass (I have a Nikon D60 though, not a Canon) - I don't dare take my dSLR underground though haha. I have an older Nikor 50mm f/1.8 lens I picked up for $50, and an old Vivitar series 1 lens I got for $20 - my only lens that does macro focusing! my kind of prices, haha. Both were built for film cameras and don't work with any of the settings on my digital so I just work with them in manual settings only. It works, I don't mind!
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