View Full Version : SLR Camera needed for a class - recommendations please?
I'm going to be taking a photography class starting in September, and I have been advised to find a "low cost 35 mm single lens reflex" camera ahead of time.
I would appreciate any recommendations on brands, models, and features to watch for. I'd like to buy one used if possible, as funds are tight, but staff at shops that sell such used items don't often know much about cameras.
Thanks for your help,
07-29-2001, 11:27 PM
35mm SLR covers a lot of ground. You should buy a name brand camera. You have two basic choices- mechanical or electronic.
Late model Nikon, Canon, or Minolta entry level SLRs you will find to be electronic. They use autofocus lenses. Newer nikon cameras can use both manual focus or autofocus lenses. Other brands can't, i.e. manual focus Minolta or Canon lenses won't fit on aotofocus minolta or Canon cameras and vice versa.
Pentax, Olympus and Minolta offer new low cost (under $200)manual focus SLRs.
The Pentax K1000 is an old mechanical camera that is very popular among students, but I don't know how available it is.
You will also need to get at least one lens. The old standby is the "normal" lens with a focal length of about 50mm. A general purpose zoom lens, say from about 28 to 35mm at the wide angle end to about 70 or 80 mm at the long end might be more versatile for you.You can get lenses from independent manufacturers but it's probably best to get a lens by the camera manufacturer. If you do get an independent lens, Sigma, Tamron, Tokina, to name three, make sure it will fit the brand of camera you have.
The one feature you need to make sure the camera has is the ability to switch to manual exposure, not to be confused with manual focus. Remember you can use autofocus or manual focus, but make sure your camera is capable of manual exposure.
If the camera has icons on it that show a picture of mountains and one with a picture of a group of people and another with one person - that camera is intended for somebody who won't take a photography course -don't buy it.
Is this confusing enough? If you have specific questions, email me.
You can shop around at this website: http://www03.bhphotovideo.com/default.sph/FrameWork.class?FNC=StartLink__Aindex_html
Thanks so much for your reply. I've printed it out and will take it with me while shopping around.
Sorry I didn't reply sooner! What a busy week...
08-07-2001, 09:07 PM
I bought a Canon T70 SLR around 12 years ago and it is the best camera I have ever had.
My sister has one also and we both love it.
08-14-2001, 01:44 AM
Hi, I have a couple of older Minoltas that I love very much. I think when you choose a camera, the fit of the camera to your hand and face is important. Keep the thoughts by Spetru in mind, but also hold the camera as if you are taking a picture. The comfortable grip will make it easier to hold, make it more an extension of your hand/self. I have a few friends who swear by Cannon cameras, but they do not feel right in my hand and I never seem to take a great photo with them. I also have a good combined lens that I keep on my older Minolta XGM - that is a 28-210mm Lens. This can be nice for outtings that may present several different types of photo opprotunities. Look for a large frontal lens at least 68mm for good light gathering, multi-coating for glare reduction. The lower the F-stop rating the better on these lenses. One other option that is great for creativity is a "Depth of Field Preview Button". This allows you to see what the photogragh would look like to the film, exposure, and the clarity or softness of the foreground, subject, and the background planes. Adjusting your aperature settings can have dramatic effects on any or all of those. Hope this isn't too late. Good shopping too you.--Dan
09-11-2001, 12:42 AM
I know this reply is probably much too late, but I have to say I got a Minolta X-700 for my first photography class and if I ever shoot 35mm, I still use it. I also ended up getting a Minolta Maxxum 9xi and pretty much always use it on the manual settings anyway. I am pretty sure I can program the thing to make me coffee in the morning if I read the manual right, but the fancy features generally go unused. Go simple because when you get good at exposure and such, you will generally override what the camera is telling you to do.
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