Just come into possession of an old camera - anyone know any info about it?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Cromulent, Aug 15, 2008.

  1. Cromulent macrumors 603

    Cromulent

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    #1
    I've just come into possession of an old camera and a couple of lenses. The camera body says Canon AE1 on it. One of the lenses is a telephoto lens and says Miranda 35 - 135mm 1 : 3.5 - 4.5 on it. The other lens says Canon FD 50mm 1 : 1.8 S.C.

    I'm pretty clueless about cameras, does anyone know anything about this at all? I guess they are probably about 30 years old or so, but I think they were pretty high quality when they were new. Any info is appreciated.
     
  2. costabunny macrumors 68020

    costabunny

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    #2
    I had an AE1 in my early photography days, its a nice manual focus 35mm SLR body.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canon_AE-1

    The lenses - 50mm is the standard optic that nar all filmSLRs were shipped with. The canon 1.8 units were not too bad. I dont know much about the Miranda brand of lenses (I am not even sure Miranda is about nowadays). Id say it was a budget third party lens at the time, but most likey usefull still.

    If you intend to use the camera (and its a great experience to use and old manual like that), I advise taking it to a good dealer for a quick service (to check the mirrorshutter and for fungal growth inside the lenses and/or camera body.

    Have fun with it (I am almost envious of the learning tree you have ahead)
     
  3. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #3
    Yes, the AE1 and 50mm and good quality. The Miranda lens was a low-price lens third tier brand.

    The camera can still do professional quality, publishable work. In fact film still wins in terms of image quality. But digital is quicker.
     
  4. Cromulent thread starter macrumors 603

    Cromulent

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    #4
    Cheers for that, interesting information. I've always wanted to get into photography but money always held me back. I guess now is a good time to start seeing as I got this for free.

    Just need to work out the best way to get images into the computer and where to get some black and white film now.

    Plus, I need to learn how to use a proper camera and not just a point and click :).
     
  5. sahnert macrumors 6502

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    #5
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 2_0_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/525.18.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.1.1 Mobile/5B108 Safari/525.20)

    I have been learning with an old Olympus OM camera and black & white film. I had good results with Kodak tri-x film. Unfortunately a lot of places will not develop true black and white film. But any proffesional or custom shop should be able to do it.
    As an alternative, look for B&W film that says C41 process. This can be developed anywhere.

    For putting them on the computer most places will also make a CD of scans for you for pretty cheap. I usually tell them I don't need prints, just the negatives and the CD. A pro photo shop will give you better results, I've had mixed experiences with places like walgeeens. Sometimes good sometimes bad.

    Hope that helps!
     
  6. Consultant macrumors G5

    Consultant

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    #6
    Actually as few years ago professional digital cameras have been better than film.

    Consumer stuff is still debatable.

    Ad to film, they have different quality, from cheap consumer film to pro film that is kept in temperature control storage.

    Anyway, shoot with the 50mm. That should be a decent lens. Learn how to move around to frame your subject.
     
  7. Cromulent thread starter macrumors 603

    Cromulent

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    #7
    Well what is a good amount to spend on film? I don't want ultra cheap stuff, but then likewise I don't want stuff that costs tons.

    I'll have to look around and see what kind of film developers and camera shops are available in Surrey, shouldn't be too hard. This area probably has lots of them.
     
  8. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #8
    I've tried the C41 process B&W film. Not great. You may as well just shoot color negs, scan them and them convert to monochrome in photoshop. "Real" black and white film has a distinctive tonality and dynamic range. the C41 stuff is only as good as other color films

    You can shoot B&W cheap. It is easy to process at home. Equipment can cost under $30 and the chemical are less than a buck a roll and can mostly be re-used. Not many people would do darkroom printing any more. Just scan the film.

    If you have a projector, slides are great. They hve a quality that you can't get with a digital projector.

    Shipping from Hollywood, California may be to expensive. But if you were closer I say go to "Freestyle" in Hollywood. They still cater to art students and will sell you black and white film on 100 foot rolls. re load the stuff yourself into reusable 35mm cartridges and it costs almost nothing. I've shot dozens of 100 foot spools of film over the years.
    http://www.freestylephoto.biz/sc_prod.php?cat_id=402&pid=1000000828
    The above is enough film to shoot about 800 frames
    Most people will spend $250 on a digital P&S camera and only shoot a few thousand frames before replacing the camera. Film can be a LOT cheaper than digital.
     
  9. Cromulent thread starter macrumors 603

    Cromulent

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    #9
    Probably a tad expensive to get that stuff shipped to the UK, but at least I know the kind of thing to look out for now. Cheers.
     
  10. OllyW Moderator

    OllyW

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    #10
    I'm sure Miranda was a Dixons own brand back in the seventies and eighties.
     
  11. Everythingisnt macrumors 6502a

    Everythingisnt

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    #11
    I found one of those (AE-1's) too and the quality with the 50mm is great.
    Get some Ilford HP5 or some Fuji Neopan (more expensive) and process it yourself.
     
  12. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #12
    But then you have to describe how you measure and what is a pro camera.

    I've been scanning film for a while now. My better shots done on a Nikon SLR onto good quality film (I liked the 160 ISO Agfa portrait films) will hold up well when scanned as 24 megapixel files. I think it's safe to say my Nikon film camera is about as good a "full frame" 24MP digital camera. The film is not as sensitive to light but has a better tone curve and dynamic range.

    But if we are comparing "pro" cameras we should compare the camera a (say) wedding photographer would have used in 1988 to the camera he uses now in 2008. Back then he'd be shooting VPS with a Hasselblad. Today the same guy might have a full frame Canon or Nikon. Only an entry-level low bidder used a 35mm camera for weddings in 1988.

    The answer to which is best depends on how you do the comparison. Let's say you ask "I have $1500 to spend. I like to shoot landscapes, I don't backpack". Film (4x5 sheet film) will win that one big time. Change the subject to sports and you get a different answer
     
  13. Everythingisnt macrumors 6502a

    Everythingisnt

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    #13
    I actually think film wins out in high-ISO situations. 3200 or 1600 speed film looks way nicer then high ISO digital (except for the Nikon d3/d700) because digital has ugly artifacts and noise at higher ISOs.
     
  14. bootedbear macrumors 6502

    bootedbear

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    #14
    I loved my AE1 when I had it back in the 70's and early 80's. It was stolen in a break-in and I never was able to find another film camera that I liked as well.

    I mourned that camera.
     
  15. Consultant macrumors G5

    Consultant

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    #15
    Calumetphoto has some stores in UK I think. It's a pro store, at least in the US.

    They can probably suggest a film processing place.


    Kodak Pro DCS 14n, 4? years old. $5000 at the time.
    About Medium format quality for well lighted subjects
    (but not great for low light, but I have a different camera for low light).
    Yes I have a hasselblad. Have not touched it for years.
     
  16. Cromulent thread starter macrumors 603

    Cromulent

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    #16
    I think I'll try out some Kodak 400TX Tri-X 135-36 Film then based on the recommendations. For a first try I'm sure I'll be the one making the shots look bad rather than the film anyway, so I doubt I can go wrong with it. Reading the description it sounds okay too.
     
  17. Consultant macrumors G5

    Consultant

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    #17
    If you shoot
    negatives, over expose for 1/2 stop.
    slides, under expose a little bit.
     
  18. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    #18
    Really?
    In my experience, even high-res ISO 125 bw film (my favorite, Ilford FP4 Plus) seems grainier than my D80 at much higher ISO. (Not that grain/noise is always a bad thing, I like it.) Especially Nikons have a reputation of `more film-like noise', but in any case, I wouldn't claim that quality-wise, film is better than digital in the high ISO range.
    [​IMG]
    The negative (shot on Ilford FP4 Plus) was scanned in a professional lab at 16 MP. I've cropped it a bit, fiddled a little bit with the settings in Aperture and added a sepia tone to make it warmer. Obviously some of the grain is obscured by jpg artefacts a little (click to download the full-res pic).

    I love the grain and the texture. I've printed it poster-size for my parents and it's now hanging in their living room :)
     
  19. Cromulent thread starter macrumors 603

    Cromulent

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    #19
    I saw that available as well, why is it your favourite? Nice shot by the way :).
     
  20. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    #20
    There are tons of different films with different characteristics (e. g. Technopan, a high-res, high-contrast, low-ISO bw film), but I don't see an advantage in terms of dynamic range, for example. Modern dslrs (á la Canon 40D or Nikon D300) have a dynamic range of over 9 EV (afaik the S5 Pro holds the record with a dynamic range of 11.8 EV) while slide film has 10 (negative film is a bit higher). If you take into account that you still need to scan the film, the dynamic range is limited by the dynamic range of the scanner. And by the dynamic range of the printer.

    IMO the advantage of shooting film is more psychological: you think a lot more before pressing the shutter release.
     
  21. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    #21
    It's hard to explain: basically, I like the tone curve, the grain and the robustness of the film (you can push it quite a bit). I also tried HP5, but I didn't like it so much. On the color side, I preferred Fuji Superia. I would avoid professional films in the beginning, professional film is more sensitive (some pros used to store their films in the fridge) and more limited, because often they are made with a specific application in mind.

    Up until a few years ago, I would always have my dad's Zeiss Contessa loaded with bw film sitting somewhere (and that 50 year-old camera still works flawlessly!). These cameras are not as `easy' as modern cameras are. You have to learn to expose pictures properly (on older cameras, the meters are merely suggestions).

    I've had to learn that lesson again last year when I had to use a loaned Nikon F301. The meter was, well, not quite reliable in high-contrast situations.

    So just give it a try and you'll learn quite a bit. Plus, you'll appreciate the creature comforts of modern cameras.
     
  22. Cromulent thread starter macrumors 603

    Cromulent

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    #22
    Cheers, I think I'll lurk on some photography forums for a little bit and see what I can pick up in passing. I really appreciate the help in this thread, thanks.

    Photography is an area which I'm really ignorant of.
     
  23. jbernie macrumors 6502a

    jbernie

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    #23
    So very true, these days you just take a shot with digital for the fun of it, don't care about how many shots you take and all, lets shoot off a whole stack at 6fps etc etc.

    Though the counter to film is that on digital you switch between what would in effect be different film types with a few button presses.

    I had my film camera (pentaz mz-50) repaired, probably for the cost of a used body ($125) just to be able to use it when I get the urge. No major use for it, but you can do more with a working camera than a non working one :)
     
  24. Everythingisnt macrumors 6502a

    Everythingisnt

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    #24
    Try Fuji Neopan 1600
    It totally blows my d300 away at 1600 iso..
     
  25. bocomo macrumors 6502

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    #25
    ilford was always my fav for high iso films. their 3200 is really nice

    have fun and don't worry about it too much
     

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