Students first film SLR in this digital age?
Since I am new to photography myself, I thought I'd post here looking for help and suggestions.
My 18 year old daughter just started a photography class in High School. She really likes my D300 but knows I can't afford to get her a digital outfit yet. Plus she said that she wouldn't mind starting off with a film SLR since she's learning those first in class.
Will she stick with photography? Maybe.
Will she really want more than a P & S? She says so.
Since I have a Nikon outfit, I figured I'd look for a Nikon for her. I started my research at my local Ritz Camera shop. One sales girl loves and uses her old N55. The manager loves his N90s but also suggested the F100. He didn't know anything about the N75, but said people weren't happy with the control layout on the N70. He did say that the N80 wouldn't be bad either from the specs.
I then researched on the internet every review I could find in the last couple of weeks. I thought at first about the N75, then decided maybe the N80 might be better. I turned away from the N90s and F100 due to a few bad/problem comments in some reviews. Not so much a factor, is I can find an N80 cheaper than either the N90s or F100.
I don't really want to spend too much on the body just in case she develops a few roles of film and decides she'd rather go digital right away. So I thought at least the lenses she could use on the N80 could also be used on whatever DSLR she'll get. Plus I don't want to get her some really old antique body. I'd like to get something kind of recently released.
Do you think my choice of an N80 is a good one?
Have I overlooked any other possibilties?
Would the N90s or F100 REALLY be a better choice?
Christmas is getting close and I don't want to get her the wrong thing. I'd appreciate any and all suggestions, recommendations and comments.
#1. "RE: Students first film SLR in this digital age?" | In response to Reply # 0Narsuitus Registered since 22nd Dec 2003Wed 10-Dec-08 04:30 PM
“…I figured I'd look for a Nikon for her.”
“Have I overlooked any other possibilties?”
Since how a camera handles is one of the important factors to consider, taking her shopping with you and allowing her contribute to the decision-making process is another possibility.
#2. "RE: Students first film SLR in this digital age?" | In response to Reply # 1Wed 10-Dec-08 08:29 PM
Thank you for that idea.
I have thought of that but we have a problem in our area... There's no place to purchase a film camera. Oh, I'll take that back. Ritz Camera can order me one but I can't remember the model, just that it was very expensive.
I took her to try out holding and playing with the buttons on the digital camera's. She likes the feel and layout of the D80 and my D300. So I thought if I could getting something similar but in film she might like it. Plus the control layout wouldn't be to different when she turns digital.
At least that's what I'm hoping!
#3. "RE: Students first film SLR in this digital age?" | In response to Reply # 2James23p Nikonian since 25th Apr 2004Wed 10-Dec-08 10:57 PM
I bet the one they can order is a F6 and that is the Pro level film SLR. I would go with a N80 they are full featured and will serve her well the N80 is similar to the D80 in size and function. The F100 is close to the D300. I have a F100 and a good used one is only around $250-350 and this is a pro type body but heavy like your D300. The N80 can be had for around $150 and is great I had one for years and passed it down to my daughter.
A good place to buy one is www.keh.com they even have a warrenty on their used gear and they are super reliabe with a very forgiving return policy. If not place an add in Nikonians I want to buy forum for a N80 or F100 they pop up all the time.
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#4. "RE: Students first film SLR in this digital age?" | In response to Reply # 37ecapilot Nikonian since 08th Nov 2008Thu 11-Dec-08 02:21 PM
Why not think about a manual focus camera? I bought my high school daughter a used FE with a 50mm f1.8 off of eBay for around $75. It is very simple, all metal, there are still plenty of accessories available and parts for repairs. I got lucky and got a really nice example (you take your chances on eBay). We then bought her a wide-zoom from KEH for around $75 (Tokina 28-200). That was last year and she is still using it. If she stops shooting then I haven't lost much money. She uses a digital P&S for snaps. When the itch strikes, we will go on a local film shooting adventure. We buy late date color film and I bulk load B&W. Then we will process the B&W ourselves. We will take our color film and B&W negs to Costco for color processing and scanning. After a piece of pizza we get to see how they came out. Your daughter will most likely get to print her own stuff. I don't have a darkroom setup yet (working on that). Fun father/daughter activity.
Look at the: FE, FM, FE2, FM2, FM10. Except for the FM10, these are all metal.
If you want to go all out, you can get an old pro camera. F, F2, F3, F4 are all very reasonable used.
Gotta second the props for KEH. I have even sent a lens to them for repair. It came back perfect. I like Adorama for deals also.
#6. "RE: Students first film SLR in this digital age?" | In response to Reply # 5Fri 12-Dec-08 05:14 AM | edited Fri 12-Dec-08 05:20 AM by avm247
I would suggest an N80...but you will not be able to meter with MF lenses...if you have any. There really is no problem with the F100, reports of the rewind fork are, in my opinion, overblown, due to the internet, I have no number but I suspect that is rather small with respect to the number of bodies produced. The F100 is my main body.
The N80 is compatible with all current AF lenses (except those made for the F3AF) including AF, AF-I and AF-S lenses; D and G-series lenses; and VR. You cannot use DX lenses on film bodies...the image circle is too small. With Accessory speedlights, you can use an SB-600 or SB-800 on both your D300 and the N80, no problem.
For shooting in Manual Mode, I did not have a problem with my N70, but it is the black sheep with respect to User Interface in the Nikon system.
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#7. "RE: Students first film SLR in this digital age?" | In response to Reply # 6Sat 13-Dec-08 01:41 AM
Thank you Anthony!
I was/am still leaning towards the N80 for my daughter. Since I just recently got involved in photography, I only have a couple of AF lenses. Plus I don't really plan on buying any MF anyway.
Glad to hear the breaking rewind forks in the F100 might be an overblown issue. I did however hear that it sometimes will early rewind and it's a bug in it's software.
I just had another long heart-felt discussion with my daughter. Although she is intrigued with learning how to take control of the camera, she would also like the option to quickly P & S when needed. So much for a manual focus camera!
She is really excited about what is coming next in class (ok, I'm more excited) - film developing. They have a dark room and are going to process the B&W negatives and then print out some actual photo's. WOW to actually go from a roll of film to 4x6 prints, that's something I always wanted to see done. Guess what? I'm invited to watch her class of 5. Boy do I have some questions for her teacher. Just hope I don't get suspended LOL.
#8. "RE: Students first film SLR in this digital age?" | In response to Reply # 7Sat 13-Dec-08 02:27 AM
I did however hear that it sometimes will early rewind and it's a bug in it's software.
I have not had any problems with my F100. I have not really heard of any problems with the F100, though one member did have a problem where the On/Off switch had some issues (due to his environment) where it no longer turned off, he simply removed the batteries when not used...and he had no other issues with it...it performed as it should.
The N80 is an excellent camera, the F100 adds more robustness, manual lens metering and a faster AF motor; and a brighter viewfinder. If you don't mind spending a bit more, the F100 is a great choice. Having said that, starting off with an N80 isn't bad...and if she gets hit with NAS, then she can move up to an F100 or straight to a DSLR.
Developing that first roll, printing that first image, and seeing it come out for the first time in the darkroom is priceless!
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#9. "RE: Students first film SLR in this digital age?" | In response to Reply # 8Sat 13-Dec-08 07:11 AM
Thank you Anthony, I appreciate the info.
It is difficult when reading reviews online. There aren't many by so-called professionals. Sometimes those professional reviews are tainted with supposedly what was told to them by who-knows-who.
I'm so glad I found this forum. It really helps getting honest information from actual product users.
#10. "RE: Students first film SLR in this digital age?" | In response to Reply # 8Sat 13-Dec-08 01:39 PM
If you look at the Nikon film line up at the time that these cameras were in production you will see the following:
Entry level camera: N65
Advanced level camera: N80
Semi-Pro/Pro: F100, F5
The N65 is a great entry level camera; has all you need to take photographs, but has fewer user changeable settings. Built in flash helps.
The N80 adds more user changeable settings (manual overrides), and a built in viewfinder grid line setting that can be turned on and off. However, this makes for a dimmer viewfinder than the F100 or F4. Build quality is good if not very good, if you take care of your camera then you should not have any problems with it. Has a built in flash. A person can quickly grow into the N80...it was by far one of the most popular film cameras we have seen at Nikonians when it was released...only the D70 surpassed it as far as popularity goes, in my opinion.
Stepping up to the F100, you have a more robust camera, with better dust sealing, faster AF motor, slightly better metering, accessory vertical grip has a vertical shutter release and provides a slightly faster frame rate. NO onboard flash...you'll want an SB-30 (small and light) but because you are in the Nikon system, every current flash up to the SB-800 will work on it (the SB-900 does not provide for film TTL flash, I think, I could be wrong.)
The F5, King of the Mountain, had an 8 year run and was a quantum jump from the F4s that preceded it. It was the foundation camera that laid the groundwork for the F100, the F80 and the N65 as far as user interface and technology goes. Definitely pro caliber able to take the abuse of a pro shooter and keep on functioning.
Each and every one of these cameras can be used in Point and Shoot simple mode; offer a variety of metering options (Spot, Center Weight, or Matrix), are compatible with all current AF lenses (except DX and F3AF lenses). Every one has Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority and Manual exposure Mode.
From my experience in taking a photography class in college years ago with an N70, I think an N80 on up would be great...for a film based photography class.
Your mileage may vary.
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#11. "RE: Students first film SLR in this digital age?" | In response to Reply # 10Sat 13-Dec-08 07:20 PM
Thank you again Anthony.
I have my eye on a N80 but I'm also talking with someone regarding a F100. If the price doesn't come down a bit on the F100, I'll probably pickup the N80.
If my daughter does in fact want to step up in the future with a more pro-level film camera, then I could always get her that later and maybe take over the N80.
Oh yeah I forgot...
I'll probably sit in on her second film developing class (let her have fun without Dad the first time LOL). She has already practiced loading bulk film onto the canister and removing the film (B&W) and feeding it into the reel. She thought it was neat having to load the reel in a black bag. I can't wait for my turn...
#12. "RE: Students first film SLR in this digital age?" | In response to Reply # 0
I'd look at the N90 (F90 in the UK) or preferably the N90S (F90X) in preference to the F80 purely because it is a tad more rugged and I think it handles better. I used one as a pro for years and loved it. They are pretty cheap now and loads of camera for the money.
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#14. "RE: Students first film SLR in this digital age?" | In response to Reply # 13Wed 17-Dec-08 05:27 AM
Just thought I'd update this post to let everyone know where I'm at now.
Just bought my daughter the N80 and Lowepro Nova 4 (blue) camera bag. Both are in really excellent condition as the sales girl from Ritz takes good care of her stuff.
I'm looking over the list of lenses the same girl has and will choose one of those to get my daughter setup and started. Then eventually I'll get her the Nikon 50mm f/1.8D.
All that's really left is finding the user's manual and a camera strap.
I want to thank everyone for their input.
I just couldn't resist the bargin price for a camera on my list from someone I can trust.
#15. "RE: Students first film SLR in this digital age?" | In response to Reply # 14Wed 17-Dec-08 05:36 PM
Nova 4... that was my first bag...its a great bag for a beginner. The AF 50mm f/1.8D is a great sharp first lens, though you may want a zoom for more variety...24-85, 28-105 (my main zoom), and maybe an inexpensive 70-300 (all versions are pretty good).
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#16. "RE: Students first film SLR in this digital age?" | In response to Reply # 15Wed 17-Dec-08 10:13 PM
At Ritz Camera they had a Nova 1 that at first I wanted for myself until I seen the Nova 4. It looks like there will be plenty of room for extra's for awhile. I spotted the Off Road and that's the one I had to have since I mostly walk around and take landscape/wildlife pics.
Although it seems not many people like the Quantaray brand, so far I love my 18-200mm VR and it's my main walk around lens.
I was looking at getting her maybe the Nikon ED 70-300mm f/4-5.6D AF and the 28-80mm f/3.5-5.6 AF-D for starters.
Will see, still checking through the list.
#17. "RE: Students first film SLR in this digital age?" | In response to Reply # 147ecapilot Nikonian since 08th Nov 2008Thu 18-Dec-08 01:50 PM
I have ordered film camera manuals from this guy:
He sometimes does not have the original, but will have a copy. All of the "copies" that I have ordered have been first rate. They are not some bad photocopy of the original.
There are some others on the web, but a couple that I have seen are really bad scans.
Sounds like you and your daughter are on your way.