Decent film camera?

Started Jan 5, 2013 | Questions thread
ryan2007 Forum Pro • Posts: 12,001
Re: Decent film camera?

skpman wrote:

I'm interested in buying a cheap film camera to toy around with... but have no knowledge of film cameras.

I'm not looking to build a whole new lens set or anything.. hopefully stay under $100 max.

Can somebody recommend a few good models I can look up on ebay?

thank you!

I'll reiterate. No point to buy the film camera and film if you can not develop yourself or find a lab that can do it. Developing film usually costs double what you paid for the roll and it can take shipping time depending.

If this is solved than you need to decide if you want an autofocus capable camera or full manual everything, metering and focusing. Some manual focus cameras had the ability to add a motor drive meaning you did not have to use your thumb to advance the frame. Some manual cameras had a built in meter and some you needed to change the viewfinder to get said light meter.

On top of that now have a camera that has some more things to review. For manual cameras you need to be sure the light seal is in tack or you will expose the unexposed film and no way to tell until you develop a roll.

Then decide if the camera should have a hot shoe for flash. Manual cameras are not TTL they just fire the flash and the flash sets the output.

Of course if you go autofocus with a body like Nikon N90s, mind you the Nikon N90 was a different model where you can not change film backs or add the vertical grip. The F90s and F90 are the same as the "N" cameras but these like the many the "F" designated overseas or grey market camera and the "N" was for US distribution. The exception would be a lot more to get into and I am not going there FE, FM, FM2 etc F100, F4s, F5 are pro bodies.

Drawing some blanks on Canon, they had the AE-1 and AE-1 program and I think the program was also a manual camera but had a meter built in, but I am not 100% now. I would stay away from ANY autofocus Minolta film cameras where you start comparing Nikon and some of the Canon options.

Now for lenses. To a point Nikon is the ONLY manufacture where the F lens mount did not change and everything is backwards compatible. Nikon had the AI and Non-AI and one had a small coupler built into the lens that matched the body so you could control the mechanical aperture. The others you just set the F-stop on the lens just the AF film cameras to F22 or the smallest f-stop and lock that since its all internally done.

Minolta had a proprietary hot shoe mount shaped like a horseshoe for the AF cameras. Canon's lens mount changes from the manual to AF bodies.

Check KEH, Adorama, B&H for used. I would not buy a used manual or any film camera from Ebay or even a digital one without inspection. I can tell you 100% the $100 you spend for a film camera will be a waste since the ONLY way to test a film camera, 90% of the time is run film and process it.

Stick to the known major film shops and KEH or B&H I know you should be just fine with the same $100 or even if its $150 you know it works from them.

One more point, Batteries are usually button cell and depending you have to find a mercury cell substitute.  Their is a method to remove corrosion from the battery compartment.

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