Film Camera

Our primary family camera is still a Film Camera.

We use a Nikon N65. My father had bought a nice Tele Photo/zoom lens for Nikons, so when his old camera body broke down I chose to buy something I could use with the lens.

Previously we had a Minolta, which we were quite happy with. We never had complaints about the quality, and it was always very fast at doing its AutoFocus job.

We get a Cd-Rom for every roll of film we develop, so we're forward-compatible.

I also have a Point And Shoot Pen Tax I Q Zoom 115M. We've never been thrilled with the quality. And if we're going for size-convenience, the Digital Camera is winning that race now.

Ken Rockwell on film vs Digital Camera. Most people get better results from digital. Artists print their own work, but if you use a lab for prints you'll have more control and get better results from digital... Digital cameras give me much better and more accurate colors than I've ever gotten with print film. If I can spend all day making a custom print from a large transparency I'll use film, and if all I need is a 12 x 18" print (small for me but big to most people) then a print from my D70 is better and faster.

  • I try to buy my film cameras and lenses used.

  • 200 years from now anyone can look at a black-and-white print. People may or may not have the ability to play back JPG files, and probably no ability to play back any of today's proprietary RAW digital formats in 20 years.

  • With digital you can use standard computer methods to Back Up and store exact copies of your original images in multiple physical locations.

  • Color film fades. Digital files don't.

  • Digital still has a huge problem with highlight reproduction, presuming you, like me, shoot into the sun or other sources of light. Film for hundreds of years has naturally had "shoulders" in its characteristic curve. This means that even with severe overexposure in places that the highlights are rendered naturally on film, even contrasty slide film like the Velvia I love. On the other hand, at the dawn of the 21st century digital capture is more linear than logarithmic as film is. This means that digital cameras often have better shadow detail than my Velvia, but can have horrid, unnatural highlights if overexposed even a third of a stop.

  • Since the only legitimate professional application of 35mm film has been for news, action and sports, 35mm film for professional use is becoming obsolete as more and more people and organizations move to the Nikon D1 series digital cameras. For instance, the big newspaper here in San Diego got rid of their darkrooms in 1999. Even printing presses have forgone plates and now many take just digital inputs. Film is just a pain to have to use for publication. The only high-end pro use of 35mm today is for sports on posters and magazines, since larger format cameras are not fast enough.

  • film is not going away, so you don't have to fear that

In Jan'2006 Nikon discontinued most of their Film Camera-s. Importantly, Nikon's film camera business will continue with our flagship model F6(TM) and with the FM10(TM), allowing the Nikon brand to continue serving the two strongest segments of the 35mm film camera market.

  • The FM10 is manual focus. Nikon doesn't even make the FM10; it's made for them by Cosina.

  • B And H carries the F6 for $1800 just for the body - that seems crazy

    • Ken Rockwell says My first impressions are that the F6 is a refined F100, which was my favorite 35mm film camera. My F6 is even better, but still a lot more expensive today. A good used F100 runs a few hundred dollars, while an F6 still runs over $1,000 more, even used. A used F6 seems to go for about $1,600, while new ones are $2,000.
  • B And H has the F100 new for $800 (body only)

    • I see used F100's there for $400. Adorama has demo units for just a little more.

    • After noticing the below stuff on Canon, I went back and discovered that the F100 has no built-in flash!

Canon has the more-midrange EOS Elan-7ne for $350 (body-only).

  • the more-expensive EOS-3 is comparable to the F100 in price.

    • Philip Greenspun's second complaint is that Canon did not license the Nikon D system for fill-flash. The EOS-3 has some slick flash stuff that is useful if you're willing to buy lots of new flashes, but to work accurately the Canon flash system still depends on having a subject that is 18% gray (or a photographer vigilant and lucky enough to dial in the correct flash exposure compensation). My third complaint is that there is no built-in flash. These are nice to have in emergencies! (Given that the EOS-3 is water-sealed (see below), it probably would have been tough to do this.)
  • ah, the Elan-7ne does have built-in flash

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