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  1. #1
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    Film SLR vs Digital SLR

    Hello. I know very little about photography but I am planning to learn as much as possible. I want to learn how to take real photographs, not just operate a point and shoot camera. I was thinking of getting a digital SLR but they are a lot of money. I read that the fully manual cameras are the best to learn everything about photography on, so I was thinking about buying a film camera first then waiting until the Digital SLR come down to <$500 before buying one. Would I be spending nearly as much on a decent manual film SLR as I would be on Digital Rebel or *ist DS? Danke.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by asdasd12345
    Hello. I know very little about photography but I am planning to learn as much as possible. I want to learn how to take real photographs, not just operate a point and shoot camera. I was thinking of getting a digital SLR but they are a lot of money. I read that the fully manual cameras are the best to learn everything about photography on, so I was thinking about buying a film camera first then waiting until the Digital SLR come down to <$500 before buying one. Would I be spending nearly as much on a decent manual film SLR as I would be on Digital Rebel or *ist DS? Danke.
    It was my understanding that DSLRs can be had fairly cheaply now. But why spend loads of money on an SLR when anall-in-one will take great photos and will cos less? Look at the Panasonic FZ10, FZ20 etc and at the Canon S1 IS etc.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by asdasd12345
    Would I be spending nearly as much on a decent manual film SLR as I would be on Digital Rebel or *ist DS? Danke.
    Short answer: no, these days you should be able to get a decent (maybe used) film SLR for not too much. Actually, that may be the best way to start if you're serious: get a film camera and take an introductory course in photography at a community college (in US) or whatever continuing education centers you have where you live. That will give you a background in b/w film developing and what's involved with capturing light from the get go.

  4. #4
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    If you are going to get an SLR type camera, the body will be the least part of the expense. In the long run, you will spend more in lenses than you will on the body. There are also flashes, tripods, accessories, bags, memory cards (or film), batteries and chargers, and so on.

    Film has its advantages and its drawbacks. You can still get better quality on film than you can on digital, no matter what some say here. If nothing else, film has more dynamic range than digital, so you can get more shadow detail while still capturing the bright areas accurately. The drawbacks to film are cost and immediacy. While you will spend more for a digital camera, it will pay for itself in the long run because you don't need to continuously pay for film and processing.

    Digital is actually a really good way to learn. There is immediacy. You can see the results of your shot on the LCD on the back of the camera. If it looks wrong, you can take another shot. Of course, it won't help much with sharpness, because the screen is too small to make a judgment about that, but the basics of lighting and framing are easier to learn on digital.

    As Rhys says, you may want to learn on a single lens camera. Just make sure it has a full range of capabilities, including manual modes. If you later decide to go the SLR route, it makes a good backup. If you get one of the super zooms (10-12x), it makes a good camera for the long zooms until you can afford good telephoto glass, and it makes a good backup camera (I said that twice, just as George Riehm). Some serious advantages to the single lens camera are the initial investment is not nearly as high, you may decide you don't want to learn so much after all, and you delay tying yourself to a system. By that, I mean that if you buy a Nikon, and a bunch of Nikon lenses, you will have to sell them at a loss if you decide later that you really should have been a Canon man. SLRs have a built in brand loyalty, because the lenses continue to work on future bodies.

    Of course, you still have to make your own decision. If you just know that photography is for you, then you may rightly choose an SLR now. Before deciding on a system, read this site and others that are linked here. Get the pros and cons of each system. You don't have to ask the generic question, "Which camera is best for me?" It's been asked a zillion times. Just start reading.

    Cheers,
    Eric

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by erichlund
    Film has its advantages and its drawbacks. You can still get better quality on film than you can on digital, no matter what some say here. If nothing else, film has more dynamic range than digital, so you can get more shadow detail while still capturing the bright areas accurately.
    Cheers,
    Eric

    hmmm... i'm sure there can be a lot of debating about this issue. here is a link to an article about film vs. digital. keep in mind that the D30 camera used in the comparison is a couple of years old and is only 3.3 mp and that the film used in the test is a lot better than your typical film.

    luminous-landscape.com/reviews/cameras/d30/d30_vs_film.shtml

    either way you see it, let's not let things get out of hand.

    asdasd123:

    learning from an introductory class at school is good because you get to learn a little bit of everything, but depending on the instructor, you may not get an in-depth understand of some of the subjects. most likely, you also won't be required to have anything but a basic SLR with a cheap lens. digital is good because you can correct yourself while you learn. you can experiment and fine tune to your heart's content. you'll probably also get a better end result from digital because editing is powerful, easy, instant, and redo-able(for mistakes) in the computer. if you want to use film AND edit on the computer then you have to factor in the cost of a good film scanner, which is expensive and the process is time consuming. i think going digital will save you money in the long run, especially if you shoot a lot. another area that can get expensive with film is shooting at night and in infrared. buying a good all-in-one (G6, Fz20) is cheap to begin with, but might seem like a waste of money if you end up feeling the need to upgrade to a D-slr. D-slr's are cheap at the moment (300D, 350D, D70, *ist Ds are all available between $500-$900, used or new) and although all digital cameras will be outdated sometime, who says you have to upgrade to what's new? most people are never going to need more than the output they get from a 6mp d-slr. lenses can also get expensive but nobody said you HAVE to get a bunch of costly lenses. get a sigma 18-125 and you'll be set. i think the reason people spend $$$ on different, expensive lenses is because they are making use of the full potential of SLRs to fit their specific needs.
    since your main concern seems to be cost, i'm going to add that the main reason i bought a d-SLR instead a film SLR or medium format camera is that it is cheaper. seriously, i calculated the costs and shooting in 35mm film would cost me several hundred dollars more in film and developing. digital just seems more expensive because all the costs are up front.

    one last thing, if you plan on not upgrading your camera for a long time go with a camera that is AA based like the pentax or a camera that can accept AA battery grip. seems that lithium batteries wear out after a certain number of years, whether they get use or not. it's possible to get an unopened lithium battery that's already dead because it is 3 years old. on the other hand, canon's BP-511 found on the 300d, 20d, and g6 has been in use in their camera line (even in their camcorders!) for some time and will probably continue to be used in future models
    Last edited by ReF; 02-26-2005 at 09:32 PM.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by ReF
    one last thing, if you plan on not upgrading your camera for a long time go with a camera that is AA based like the pentax or a camera that can accept AA battery grip. seems that lithium batteries wear out after a certain number of years, whether they get use or not. it's possible to get an unopened lithium battery that's already dead because it is 3 years old. on the other hand, canon's BP-511 found on the 300d, 20d, and g6 has been in use in their camera line (even in their camcorders!) for some time and will probably continue to be used in future models
    Just a note: Nikon EN-EL1,2,3,&4 have also been used in many cameras and should be around for many years to come. Similar to Canon.

    Lithium AA's have a shelf life of 7-10 years.

    In my experience single piece LiIon batteries (like the EN-EL3 and BP-511) are a lot more convenient than AA's when it comes time to do a running (sometimes literally) change. Additionally, unused rechargeable NiMH AA's only have a charge life of 30-45 days, so you will need to keep the spares on charge instead of in your bag.
    D7000, D70, CP990, CP900, FE.
    50mm f/1.8, Sigma 18-125, Sigma 24-70 f/2.8, Nikon 18-105 VR, Nikon 55-200 VR, Nikon 43-86 f/3.5 AiS, Vivitar 28-90 F/2.8-3.5 Macro, Vivitar 75-205 F/3.8-4.8, SB800.
    Ha! See, I can change...


    http://d70fan.smugmug.com/

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by George Riehm
    Just a note: Nikon EN-EL1,2,3,&4 have also been used in many cameras and should be around for many years to come. Similar to Canon.

    Lithium AA's have a shelf life of 7-10 years.

    In my experience single piece LiIon batteries (like the EN-EL3 and BP-511) are a lot more convenient than AA's when it comes time to do a running (sometimes literally) change. Additionally, unused rechargeable NiMH AA's only have a charge life of 30-45 days, so you will need to keep the spares on charge instead of in your bag.
    That's very convoluted. It appears that apples are being compared to pears.

    A Lion battery is not the same as a Lithium battery and not the same as a NiMh battery.

    Lithium batteries are excellent replacements for exhausted Lion and NiMh batteries.

    It was a neat idea that the ENEL1 was interchangable with the 2CR5 but it's a pity that the ENEL2 - 5 don't do the same kind of thing. That's partly why I went over to AA-based cameras.

    I do like the fact that one can slip a single-unit battery in, easily but I value availability more highly. I remember my Metz 45 Ct1 battery. That was a holder that would hold 6 x AA batteries. I had two - both loaded with batteries and could swop them over in a trice. What we need is a camera that does the same thing but with AA or AAA cells.

  8. #8
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    Feb 2005
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    STL, MO
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    If you want to learn photography, take pictures! The camera is NOT the expensive part of taking pictures. It is not unusual for a digital photographer to take 200-300 pictures in and afternoon. Would you spend $2 to take a foto of a crack in the sidewalk? You might think twice with film but digital cost nothing! That picture might become one of your best fotos after a little work in the darkroom. The digital darkroom is programs like photoshop.

    I would suggest you buy a camera like the Canon A90, a large flash card and couple sets of good nicad batteries. It allows you to point and shoot and concentrate on composing the picture or you can set shutter speed or aperature or both. It is small and easy to slip in your pocket. Cameras sitting at home will not help you. It also uses compact flash cards, so any purchases can be used when you decide to upgrade to a dslr.

    You can upgrade to a different camera when the current one will not take the pictures you want. There is no one perfect camera so if you continue if photography you will probably buy several cameras as your interest change.

  9. #9
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    Jan 2005
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    Hong Kong
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    Quote Originally Posted by fotobydave
    If you want to learn photography, take pictures! The camera is NOT the expensive part of taking pictures. It is not unusual for a digital photographer to take 200-300 pictures in and afternoon. Would you spend $2 to take a foto of a crack in the sidewalk? You might think twice with film but digital cost nothing! That picture might become one of your best fotos after a little work in the darkroom. The digital darkroom is programs like photoshop.

    I would suggest you buy a camera like the Canon A90, a large flash card and couple sets of good nicad batteries. It allows you to point and shoot and concentrate on composing the picture or you can set shutter speed or aperature or both. It is small and easy to slip in your pocket. Cameras sitting at home will not help you. It also uses compact flash cards, so any purchases can be used when you decide to upgrade to a dslr.

    You can upgrade to a different camera when the current one will not take the pictures you want. There is no one perfect camera so if you continue if photography you will probably buy several cameras as your interest change.

    The art of Photography is somehow think and shoot; so no matter you're using point and shoot DC or DSLR or a film camera, think before you press the shutter release (Think about the picture you are going to take, not anything about money please). It is what the life of the picture comes from, a picture is not just a snapshoot, but with your impression.

  10. #10
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    Nov 2004
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    Quote Originally Posted by George Riehm
    Just a note: Nikon EN-EL1,2,3,&4 have also been used in many cameras and should be around for many years to come. Similar to Canon.

    Lithium AA's have a shelf life of 7-10 years.

    In my experience single piece LiIon batteries (like the EN-EL3 and BP-511) are a lot more convenient than AA's when it comes time to do a running (sometimes literally) change. Additionally, unused rechargeable NiMH AA's only have a charge life of 30-45 days, so you will need to keep the spares on charge instead of in your bag.
    nice to know that nikon also doesn't force you to buy new batteries everytime you change cameras.

    i guess i wasn't being very clear. one-time-use lithium batteries have a very long shelf life, yes. but the rechargeable Li-Ion batteries commonly found in portable electronics today seem to have a much shorter life span. most people i've met feel the need to replace these after about three years of ownership. who knows when they were actually made

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