Nikon D3500 or Sony A7 III ? (Also Sony A6600 or Nikon Z50) for absolute beginner

Started 4 months ago | Discussions thread
Autonerd Senior Member • Posts: 1,354
Re: Nikon D3500 or Sony A7 III ? (Also Sony A6600 or Nikon Z50) for absolute beginner

sonic123 wrote:

Thank you all very much. I've made my mind and bought a NIKON Z50.

Congrats! Marvelous camera.

I don't like the idea of post-processing. I mean, if I have a whole of things yet to learn about using the camera, I don't even want to begin thinking about the big learning curve of programs like Lightroom.

Don't sweat it, like most things it's not too difficult to achieve basic competence. You'll get there.

BONUS CURIOUS QUESTION: In the responses to my post, I've read someone saying that one of the photos he was most proud of when young, was a b&w photo he took with a basic film (not digital) point-and-shoot camera. The QUESTION is: Back in those days, when you had to take the negatives to the shop for them to print them, how did you got a b&w photo? Do they have to use a special paper? A special program? Or was that you actually had to buy a special b&w film so all photos you take with that film were going to be b&w ones? Thank you.

Short answer:

I was taking film classes, and we used to develop our own B&W film and make the prints in the (school) darkroom. I still shoot B&W film and develop it myself, but I now scan instead of printing in the darkroom.

Longer answer:

B&W uses a different film and development chemistry (and, for prints, different paper) than color film. You either loaded color film or B&W, and in fact many photographers (myself included) sometimes carried two compatible camera bodies, one loaded with color and one B&W. You also couldn't switch ISO on the fly!

They used to teach photography with B&W because it was simple to develop (it could be done at room temperature and the process was fairly forgiving of slight errors). Printing could be done in a room lit with red safelights, so you could see what you were doing, and print developing was done in trays. (The photo really does magically appear, just like in the movies.)

Contrast (heh) this with color -- I took a color print class we didn't develop our own film (it requires higher temps and stricter control, though they now make easy-to-use home kits). Printing had to be done in complete darkness -- you'd get everything set up, then kill the lights, take out the paper, make the exposure, put everything away and bag up your print before turning lights on. We had a machine to process the prints, not trays. It was fun but a much bigger pain in the buttocks.

You could have B&W developed/printed by labs and specialty shops, though, and IIRC it wasn't much more expensive than color. Today I believe the big B&W machines are largely gone and most commercial B&W development is done by hand.

They did (and still do) make black and white film that uses the color C-41 process which is much easier to get developed nowadays. But B&W developing is so cheap and easy that it's well worth doing.

There are still lots and lots of different B&W films available today, all with slightly different characteristics. Trying out new film stocks is (for me) one of the joys of film photography. Most of the time when I go to buy film, I pick up an extra roll of something new, just to try it. Just did that today, matter o' fact.


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