Which Canon EOS Film Camera?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by atari1356, Aug 12, 2007.

  1. atari1356 macrumors 68000

    atari1356

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    #1
    I have a Canon 350D and an assortment of EF lenses (no EF-S) - and while I'd love to get a 5D to have a full frame camera, I'm not sure I can justify the expense right now.

    So... my next best option is to get a Canon film camera since it will be compatible with the lenses I have.

    It looks like I can get one of these pretty cheap:
    http://www.canon.com/camera-museum/camera/1992-1996/data/1995_eos55.html

    Is there much benefit to getting something newer (but more expensive)? Continuous shooting speed is unimportant, and I'm not very concerned with focusing speed either since it would mostly be used for landscape/cityscape work - and just general experimentation.
     
  2. SWC macrumors 6502

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  3. seenew macrumors 68000

    seenew

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    #3
    Get an Elan. I have an Elan 7E, and it's really great. Lots of features.
    [​IMG]

    I just got the 7E version to try out the "Eye Control Focusing" for fun. It tracks your eye's movement and focuses where you're staring, haha. It works only half the time though, and I never use it. It's just a novelty to show off to friends. But yeah, the Elan is a nice big, sturdy body.

    edit: I got mine off eBay for $100.
     
  4. valiar macrumors regular

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    #4
    A film camera is always fun to experiment with.

    However, one thing you should realize is that you are not going to make any better photos with it than with your 350D.

    Depending on what you do with your film, you can get results that are almost the same, or worse... But it is higly unlikely you can even remotely approach the 5D - to do that, you will need to shoot medium format, and have absolutely flawless scans.

    If you want to go the "hybrid" route, first you will have to get a good film scanner. Forget about that $200 flatbed scanner with a transparency attachment - it will not have the dynamic range necessary, and, most importantly, it will not have an autofocus lens.

    You will need to get a real film scanner with AF and Digital ICE. Only Nikon makes good dedicated film scanners nowadays (Minolta and Canon used to make nice scanners, but no more). A good dedicated 35mm film scanner will cost you about $600-$700.

    After you spend that money, and scan your first film, you will realize that:
    *scanning a frame of film takes 2-4 minutes, and a lot of settings need to be tweaked - it is hardly plug-and-play
    *every frame of film you are scanning is a 135 MB (or larger) TIFF
    *that 135 MB TIFF does not contain any more real detail than a 8 MB raw file from a 6 MP DSLR does
    *unlike that 6 MP DSLR raw, your scanned film frame has plenty of film grain and noise - even though your film was 100 ASA
    *your film is really dusty, and if you turn Digital ICE on, you lose some of the sharpness and your scan time quadruples

    As you might have guessed, I am no fan of the "hybrid" process.

    Of course, you can print your final product directly from film.

    In that case, you can probably approach the quality of prints you can get from your 350D on a good inkjet (such as R2400). However, the cost of enlagements - and even ordinary 5x7 prints you will have to order from each of the 36 frames of every film - will be quite appreciable.

    What I have described has not been only my experience...
    See the following links for more information:

    http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/shootout.shtml
    http://www.photographical.net/canon_1ds_35mm.html
    http://shortwork.net/equip/review-1Ds-SQ-scantech/
     
  5. seenew macrumors 68000

    seenew

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    #5
    that's not all true. I print 35mm at 16x20" all the time, and it looks great... You could always get the negatives and a cheap photo CD with them, pick the ones you like most, and print them larger.
     
  6. valiar macrumors regular

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    #6
    I have no doubt you can print a nice 16x20 from 35mm film (I used to do it myself).

    However, that 16x20 will not be any better or more detailed than a 16x20 inkjet print produced from the OP's EOS 350D. This has been my personal experience - and the experience of other people (see the links I have posted).

    As far as I have understood, the OP was looking for a film camera as a "poor man's 5D replacement". A 35mm camera will not make for such a replacement. A used Bronica or Mamiya will definitely outdo the 350D. However, these cameras weigh a ton, accessories and film for them are quite expensive... And a MF-capable film scanner costs like 2/3 of a 5D.
     
  7. -hh macrumors 68020

    -hh

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    #7

    Your eye control system doesn't work? Did you run the calibration for yourself?

    I've had an Elan IIe for years. The eye control works fine, although I did find that it can't 'see' through extremely dark eyeglasses (clip-on's worn over PhotoGrey's), and it took awhile for me to learn how to eye-trigger the Depth-of-Field preview reliably (trick: look way beyond its corner), but overall, I'd be happy to have it on my 20D.

    The Elan was essentially Canon's top "serious amateur" body, and its EF mount is metal instead of plastic, etc.

    The next step up would be the EOS 3 (which also has eye steering), but which lacks a built-in strobe. These are also going at affordable prices used; I picked one up last year.


    -hh
     
  8. pdxflint macrumors 68020

    pdxflint

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    #8
    Personally, I think there is a certain look for landscapes that can be achieved with Velvia slide film, or Ilford Delta B/W film or T-Max 400 that is hard to achieve with digital. I've seen 20 year old Tri-X 400 negatives (35mm) printed at 16x20 that kick serious butt. Of course, they were printed with an enlarger in a darkroom, probably not practical these days, but clearly fine art quality. A lot of the digital stuff I've seen which is really gorgeous... seems to have a bit of an artificial color look to it, almost candy-like effect to it - while very eyecatching, still unable to match the best of film. Also, especially in B/W, there are many methods of exposing/developing for shadows vs. highlights using various techniques, including various developers, dilutions, temps and times for different effects on the negative before even printing, which then offers it's own ballgame, giving much more latitude for extending the "dynamic range" of the total image. And, sometimes the grain characteristic makes the picture work too, something you can't really get with digital (noise ain't grain.) In the end, film is a much more artistic medium, with so many variables and unique personalities, thus interest. I just don't believe anything really great can be convenient, and so much of digital imaging looks generically similar and "plastic" in comparison.

    This doesn't mean I'm giving up my dSLR, however... I love convenience and the ability to shoot on an unlimited "film" budget as much as the next person, but I really do miss the technical part of photography, which is what separated the serious students of the medium from the snapshooters. And, I miss the anticipation of seeing my film come out of the fixer, and seeing the images for the first time. It was always full of surprises, and delight. The suspense, and need to trust your instincts about getting the shot is obsolete when you can just review each shot on the lcd screen. Anyway, I'll shut up now....:)
     
  9. pdxflint macrumors 68020

    pdxflint

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    #9
    Oh, I forgot to mention this in my previous rambling post...

    I'd say if you can find one in good shape, get an EOS 630 - a really tough workhorse camera that'll crank out 5fps when needed. Or, look for an EOS A2 (skip the A2e version... too gimmicky with the eye-control focus crap.)

    Here's one photographer's personal review of the Canon A2.

    http://emedia.leeward.hawaii.edu/Frary/canon_eos_a2.htm
     
  10. atari1356 thread starter macrumors 68000

    atari1356

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    Feb 27, 2004
    #10
    Thanks for all the advice! I think I'll look for one of the Elan models.

    "poor man's 5D replacement" is an accurate description in that I want to try my lenses at their true focal length... specifically the 17-40mm lens I have. I'm not so concerned with trying to match the detail level / low light abilities of the 5D though.

    I know I could buy a 10-22mm lens to get a similar focal length on my 350D... but I'm not interested in investing in a lens I'll end up selling in a year or two. Plus, I haven't really used film since I got serious about photography - so I want to give that a try just for fun.

    Thanks again.
     
  11. seenew macrumors 68000

    seenew

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    #11
    I calibrated it myself, yeah. I mean, it works okay, but it's not something I use regularly. It just makes me feel like the terminator. :D

    To the OP: I have the 17-40 as well, and a 350D, and I can tell you there is a great difference in using the 17-40 on the 350D and the Elan (or any 35mm body). It's like a new lens.
     
  12. milozauckerman macrumors 6502

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    Jun 25, 2005
    #12
    Elan 7e or whatever the newer replacement is. It was the first 'real' film camera I ever purchased and works as well as anything I've tried since. Every now and then I think about buying an EOS 3, but can't see that it offers me a great deal.

    As far as "poor man's 5d" - that's basically what it is, a "film 5d" - the viewfinder in the 5d and the weather sealing, etc. are all closer to the Elan 7 series than to the EOS 3.
     
  13. jlcharles macrumors 6502

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    #13
    Get an A2. Someone suggested an AE-1, but I think those are FD mount.
     
  14. M@lew macrumors 68000

    M@lew

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    #14
    The EOS300 is pretty much the same as the 350D only film, but if you really want to experiment with film, I suggest getting a really old film camera that has no "modes" and you control the aperture, shutter speed etc. all from the lens. I find this is more "rewarding" as shooting with the EOS300 is pretty much the same as digital, only slightly more hassle.
     
  15. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #15
    I've printed various Delta films in the dark room, and some T-Max and I can't remember a single print at 11x14 from a 35mm negative where I thought "Hey, that print kicks serious butt!" 16x20's? Not in my experience from a small format negative enlarged in the dark room.

    I've seen fair prints, from the correct viewing distance that worked, but I wouldn't call them stellar- digital scanning has improved the sizes you can print small format from, but in the darkroom 8x10 is about the high-quality ceiling. At 11x14 you're starting to lose detail from a 35mm negative if you evaluate it critically, or if you're used to dealing with even 645 negatives.

    I tend to hit the photography exhibits at the Smithsonian pretty often, so I've seen a good range of prints over the years, and when they do more modern photographers shooting 35mm, I don't think they generally show large prints because most photographers who shot 35mm realize its limitations size-wise.

    When I shot B&W film, I shot about 5% 35mm, 70% 645, 5% 6x6 and 15% 4x5 with negligible amounts of 6x7, 6x9 and 5x7. Pretty-much all landscapes/cityscapes or nature developed in PMK and printed on various Ilford papers, normally good fiber ones though.

    I never tried Velvia above 8x10 because Ilfochrome material got pretty expensive and was difficult enough to handle at 8x10, but I can tell you that you can clearly see the quality difference between 35mm and 645 prints at 8x10, and it's about the same as the difference between B&W prints from the same size negatives. Most of my Velvia was shot around EI 40 and pushed one stop (extra time in the first developer, full time in the color developer) in a 6 bath Kodak kit when I developed it to get that extra saturation look that was all the rage. I can't imagine printing even 11x14 and not thinking "I wish I'd shot that with a bigger format camera."

    You should look at the chart at the bottom of http://nealcurrie.com/t-comp0.html and then the subsequent pages to see the differences. Even Tech Pan doesn't do really well uber-enlarged.
     
  16. Sdashiki macrumors 68040

    Sdashiki

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    #16
    /signed
     
  17. JeffTL macrumors 6502a

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    #17
    The AE-1 and other A-series cameras from the 70s and 80s take FD lenses rather than EF.

    If you're shooting a lot of very wide angle photographs, full-frame can definitely be beneficial. Film is certainly the economical way to do this, unless you wind up spending as much on it as you would on a 5D body.
     
  18. milozauckerman macrumors 6502

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    #18
    Correct viewing distance for a 16x20 is farther back than you think.

    Tri-X and HP5+ (and other old-style films) are, IMO, actually more suitable to large enlargements than 'new tech' films (Delta and TMax). The way the grain breaks up with Tri-X gives a much more textural feel than the higher-resolving but blobbier (and often 'softer') Delta/T-Max.
     
  19. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #19
    No, I know the correct viewing distance- which is *exactly* why I said
    When I'm critically evaluating a print, it's from the correct viewing distance then inside it up to the print itself. In my opinion, there's no such thing as a stellar 16x20 print from a 35mm negative via a traditional enlarger. There's just too much magnification happening to get a stellar print. You can certainly get an acceptable print good for viewing a few feet away, but when you contrast that with a 16x20 print from say a 4x5 negative your definition of "stellar" is likely to change if you're not kidding yourself. The print still (arguably[2]) has the same viewing distance- but the quality of the detail in the print will be significantly different- I'd expect stellar prints even from 645 negatives at 16x20, but not from 35mm film.

    I've shot more than my fair share of HP5+, and in my *opinion*, developing in PMK takes away the disadvantages of any t-grain film because of its staining action- my experience is only with the Gordon Hutchins formulation of PMK[2], but I've also been through several other Photographer's Formulary developers and liked the results for PMK better than the others for general work. The staining action gives you much better texture and tonal transitions than a standard developer.

    [1] There are those who factor focal length into viewing distance calculations.
    [2] These days, I'd go with PyroCat HD if I did it again, just because PMK is uber-toxic. The tests I've seen show PyroCat has slightly better staining and gives you about a third of a stop over PMK- but honestly just not having to deal with PMK's toxicity level would be worth the switch even if it were slightly inferior.
     
  20. dodong macrumors member

    dodong

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    #20
    I have bought a Canon EOS Rebel T2 film camera four months ago and I think it's a good camera. I wasn't able to explore it that much because I'm a newbie and still learning the ropes of photography. My confidence level is not yet very high so I seldom take that many shots yet.
     
  21. pdxflint macrumors 68020

    pdxflint

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    #21
    Well, your experience is different than mine. Actually, the 16x20 prints I'm referring to were custom printed by Click in Portland, OR from 35mm tri-x negs, and were on display for a 25th anniversary of a huge clash at Portland State between police and antiwar protesters. They were more in the category of photojournalism, but they definately were dramatic, and made a huge impact on viewers. Yes, they were sharp, but that's not the point. No one was walking up to them with a loupe or magnifying glass. So, from my perspective, as a photographer who commonly printed on 8x10 paper, they "kicked serious butt." My opinion, and I'm sticking with it.

    A lot depends on what qualities you feel have to be there to contend as "stellar." I'm sure 4x5 negs, or even 8x10 negs would look astounding, but let's compare apples to apples... I think most of us realize the difference between 35mm and medium/large format, and when it's practical to use either one.

    Well, sure there are limitations to 35mm... but thanks for pointing it out. Recently I took in a show at the Portland Art Museum featuring many Dutch painters from the late 1500s and early 1600s. Some were huge, some fairly small. The large ones didn't have the minute details that the smaller ones did when viewed close up, yet they worked. Even the artists knew the illusion of detail which can be created with texture and light - and as you mentioned, the right viewing distance. It's not all about sharpness and detail to be "kick butt" but there has to be a certain quality, and that's what I was originally talking about in comparison to digital (lest we forget...:) )

    If I were shooting landscapes of any type as my main "genre" I think I would have mirrored your experiences - my background was in journalism/storytelling. Mobility was important, and rapid response if necessary.

    Most folks I know who shot velvia were doing it for publications (magazines, etc.) Granted, if you wanted to print landscapes big, the bigger the transparency/negative the better. I won't argue with that point at all. :cool:
    I'm not sure what got us off into this "little negatives don't enlarge as well as big negatives" discussion, since my whole point had to do with my personal preference to the way film looks vs. digital. But, you make many good points, so I appreciate it.
     
  22. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #22
    All of my prints were "custom," however I'm not taking away your right to your opinion, just offering an alternative viewpoint. I'll just add that I think there's a *huge* difference between evaluating a picture and evaluating a print- and I've never louped a print that didn't come off a 4x5 or 5x7 negative or positive- where even at 11x14 you're able to see *more* detail with the loupe than without. FWIW though, I'm not just talking about actuance.

    I think a lot of folks get caught up waxing nostalgic too, which is why I offered a different view of the same general experience and specifically mentioned critical evaluation. But for me, stellar in a print is more than just actuance, it's tonal range, contrast, detail, craft, etc., all in balance to produce the best print. To me, it also doesn't just imply a straight print, but all the manipulation to produce something that transcends the negative, or retrieves the maximal information from parts of it and the minimal from other parts depending on the scene.

    I'm not at all big at hauling St. Ansel up the flagpole, but "The Print" covers about as much ground as you can cover outside of a darkroom in what a print should be- and while I'm not sure his exposures always merited master status, Adams was indeed a master printmaker.

    If you're shooting fine art, you always want to be able to publish as well- so going with positive film works pretty well for color work- or if you're all anal and want complete control over your production process- E-6 is remarkably easy to do at home and remarkably inexpensive (even adding in a Jobo when you go to higher-volume.) C-41 wasn't ever cheap to do at home. You lose some tonal graduation, but gain some detail. Velvia in 5x7 is indeed something to behold. Badger in Michigan used to be the only place to import it in 5x7, as Fuji USA wouldn't import sheets other than 4x5 and 8x10.

    As Hume said so aptly, "Reasonable men differ."
     
  23. Sdashiki macrumors 68040

    Sdashiki

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    #23
    Just had to chime in with a vintage standpoint on publications.

    When it comes to architecture and landscape photographs, basically anything that doesnt move, many magazines wont accept anything smaller than a 3x4 negative.

    Digital is out completely.
     
  24. pdxflint macrumors 68020

    pdxflint

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    #24
    Touche! (Wish I could find the little accent mark..)

    Now, back to the subject of 35mm film camera... I still recommend the Canon A2 from personal experience, but the original Pentax Spotmatic II was a classic manual intrument with a 50mm f/1.4 lens attached. The screw mount was long discontinued, but was definately sturdy, and not that slow to change. I had a 135mm f/2.5 prime SMC Takumar as a companion lens, and it was really nice. In those days, available light was all I ever used. Okay, so I plead guilty to "waxing nostalgic..." ;)
     
  25. pdxflint macrumors 68020

    pdxflint

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    #25
    Certainly for architecture photos, and large, glossy magazines that makes perfect sense. But a lot of publications certainly do publish 35mm (or did...) such as auto magazines, surfing magazines, outdoor magazines, photography magazines, news magazines, celebrity magazines. I think many of them have indeed switched to digital for the most part by now. Advertising, and anything that is studio derived or set up - large format all the way, whether digital or film. Some of those 8"x10" large format digital backs are pretty amazing, but pricey.

    I just re-read your post and now realize you were speaking about things that don't move...! Sorry, I'll try to be more careful in reading next time...:eek: I totally agree with your point... other than the "digital is out completely" part... :)

    In keeping with the original topic, my choices for EOS film bodies: A2, 630, later Elan versions, in that order.
     

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