What analog film camera should I buy?

 If you want to know what camera to buy, you might want to read the following guest post by Thom (theothercameraguy). I have asked Thom to share his wisdom with the analog community and Thom’s words can be an eye opener for you, the beginner or might help you the seasoned photographer to get rid of your G.A.S.
_________For me, personally I am still not cured from G.A.S.

Do you got your own article or post about analog photography to share? don’t hesitate and contact me AnalogClubAmsterdam or send an email to info[at]analogclubamsterdam.nl

I Dare You!

I dare you to ask this question in a group of photo enthusiasts. Chances are you will be bombarded with various “best choices”, brands, models, geekery, and not long after this, the name of the famous red dot will be the elephant in the room.
It seems extremely easy to lose yourself on the path of temptation, statistics, and ‘holy grails’. Reading the endless reviews make you soon travel the very long ‘nerd isles’ comparing lens coatings and counting aperture blades. This amount of information combined with loads of professional deformation, leaves you confused and even more uncertain about your next camera purchase.

From my experience as a salesman a long time ago and analog enthusiast and camera collector I can confidently say; It doesn’t have to be this hard. You see, It never is the answer to the question but the route towards it which makes you either be disappointed or satisfied with the result. When you are buying your first camera, don’t be afraid. Curiosity brought you here in the first place, don’t forget about this.

Thom -theothercameraguy- private collection Olympus Pen F

Budget

First things first. Get a budget in mind and stick to this. Then the confronting part. There will always be a faster, better, brighter, older, sharper, classier and better-looking camera than the one you are about to buy. Accept this and move on.

spending thousands of (any currency)

It avoids you spending thousands of (any currency) on either a brick in a box or a centerpiece on a dining table. After you get yourself a budget, narrow the choice down to a few questions you should ask yourself.

© Leica + Scarlett

Hobby or looks?

How likely is it that you want to understand photography and practice it like a hobby? Are you an autofocus person who is mainly after the film look or someone who loves to discover the relation between aperture and shutter speed?

 Depending on the answer to this question, you can look into more- or less advanced camera’s. Camera’s which are fully manual and demand knowledge about photography or (partly) automatic cameras that do the work for you so you can focus more (no pun intended) on composition.

The sacrifice

One of the most important questions in narrowing down the endless list of camera’s is: Are you willing to sacrifice mobility for image quality?

Carrying a massive bag of lenses can certainly bring you the best image results in every situation BUT, we all know the weight on our shoulders can chop a few hours off a photowalk, as your feet will give up at some point. – I won’t get into too many details here but In general, the more light hits the film, the more detailed and sharper your image can be. To obtain this, film stock, lenses and camera’s can be made larger and logically are heavier. For example, a big lens with the ability to let a lot of light through, might be extremely heavy to carry around. This in contradiction to a point and shoot camera, which often has a tiny little lens, losing light, but made for portability. The camera’s which prove the opposite, being small and have very good lenses, are often very, very expensive. So besides your budget and the camera-nerds which might find workarounds, you get the idea right?

Answering this question might make you eliminate some camera’s or lenses. If it is the first camera you are about to buy, you might consider buying a prime lens (no zoom) or zoom lenses which are often more versatile. Besides camera’s with interchangeable lenses, have you ever seen a fixed lens camera instead?

Thom -theothercameraguy- private collection Canon AV-1 | Minolta Hi Matic | Konica C35 | Ricoh

Body types

As you are asking yourself questions you must already have a better idea of what camera you are after. Now you know your budget and the weight you are willing to carry around, we can zoom in on the camera itself.

Cameras Nikon F75 | Zenit 22 | Bronica S2A | Olympus Pen HF | Konica MT7

It’s almost time to hit your online marketplace, thrift your heart out or visit a more reliable (online) camera store.

Research on the Various body types.

Before you do so, why not do a little more research on the various body types? For example, does it NEED to be an SLR or do you love the looks of the vintage 1950’s or 1960’s rangefinders? Do you know what rangefinders are? Here are some keywords to search for online: Rangefinder, SLR, TLR, Medium format, point & shoot.

GAS

My last piece of advice kind of mows down all of the above but: don’t be bothered by other people’s advice & reviews. Get the cheapest camera in your scope and don’t pixel or grain-peep. Just make sure the camera is reliable and in working condition and go out and about.

Photography is a dynamic sport. Not static. Whishes and needs will change over time. I started willing to carry two whole bags of gear during my travels and eventually try to keep my equipment as simple as possible. It is incredibly fun to get a camera of the shelf, explore photography and discover what your wishes are. When you find out your wishes have changed, you can always sell your camera after a couple of rolls and get the one which suits your needs better…
Or become like most of us and develop severe Gear Acquisition Syndrome…

–Thom (thercameraguy)

I hereby want to thank Tom for taking the time and providing me with all the necessary photos as well (Tom assured me no animals were hurt 😉 ). Don’t forget to follow the guy on instagram theothercameraguy and AnalogClubAmsterdam as well. Share this article with all you analog friends and we will see you at our next analog event

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