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Film Cameras

Lesson 5 from: Introduction to Black & White Film Photography

Daniel Gregory

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Lesson Info

5. Film Cameras

Lesson Info

Film Cameras

Okay, the next thing, we take a look at film cameras. If you're in the digital space, and you want to get into film, it's awesome. Because most photographers have a film camera laying around that they will give you to get out of their house. They're like, "Oh you want to get into film? "You know, film's dead. "Nobody uses film anymore." And you're like, "Cool, can I have that camera then?" And they'll be like, "Yes, yes you can." The only people who don't do that are Leica people. They're very stingy with their Leicas. Nobody has yet to give me a Leica. And I've told them, "I'll take very good care of it." They don't want to give it to me. So you can pick up a film camera pretty cheap. And some cameras, like if you, if you're shooting a Nikon, your lenses from your digital work on your film camera, vice versa. Canon had a lens change when the auto-focus came out, so you gotta kind of pay a little attention to that. But you can pick up a great used film camera even if you're buying in t...

he used market, for somewhere between $10 and $200, depending on the size. This is my very first film camera that was mine, that I didn't steal from my dad or my mom or my next door neighbor. And I mowed a lot of lawns. (sighs) It's got the classic 50mm lens on it. And this is a Pentax ME Super. This weighs nothing, that was the other piece. You can get a lightweight film camera, take a picture. The other piece is, there's no LCD on the back. And the reason I bring that up is I do some street photography, and when people get mad at me they're like, "You can't take my picture. "You need to delete that." I'm like, "Oh, it's film." And they're like, "Oh film, cool!" And then they want to have a conversation about it. So it's a great way to avoid a little bit of issues with that. The cameras work the same, so there's no difference there. You're going to meter, you're gonna use the camera meter, F-stops are the same, shutter speeds are the same, we're going to talk about ISO being the same, but thought about a little differently. The cameras are the same. They're gonna focus the same. Everything's identical. But what I wanted to do is show you medium, this is 35mm. This is one of the larger medium format cameras. This is a medium format camera, so the size of the negative is six centimeters by seven centimeters. Versus about one by two. So, bigger negative, more detail, more information. But this thing is a tank. I mean, the shutter fires. Oh, there's no film. (laughs) So, it goes, ah-ca-conk. It makes this tank of a noise. So different size formats you can play with. This camera used to be thousands and thousands of dollars. With the lens and the body it's under probably 500 now, right at $500.00. So you can pick 'em up. You will find certain film cameras are expensive in the used market. It's because people have started to return to film, and they've been snatching up certain types of film cameras. So they'll be harder to get, too. A little bit more expensive. So when you pick up the camera, you're gonna get it back. The thing to really watch for, is you just wanna make sure that the shutter actually still moves. 'Cause you have to advance the film. So the film advance is something you wanna check. You wanna make sure it doesn't have a light leak. So there's no weird cracks. Weird dents to look for along the back, because basically what happens is the film gets loaded back here. And if there's any dents along the edges here, that would allow light to leak in, and ruin the film. So you wanna just make sure there's no weird dents like that. And pretty much, if you can buy one, and get any kind of, it's a 30 day warranty, you literally just need to run a roll of film through it, and you'll know if there's any significant problems with that. So picking up a film camera, pretty easy. If you're just starting out, and you're ... Just a 35mm camera, like I said, somebody's gonna give you one to work with. And then eventually you may want to step up into a larger format.

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Film Resources
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Ratings and Reviews


I am really fond of Daniel Gregory as a teacher. He does a great job. To me, his enthousiasm, his passion for and his dedication to film photography are infectuous. It's great that CreativeLive makes place for film photography and for such a pro teaching it. It can never do so enough for me. Thanks. I am a fan.

Texas Beauty Photography

Great class!! It's jam packed with usable information for anyone wanting to shoot, process, and print black and white images. There is so much detail presented in this class, I can practically guarantee you'll come back to it again and again. I successfully used this class to capture b/w photographs, process the negatives, capture them digitally, and finally, produce beautiful prints that I'm proud to show my friends and clients. This may well be one of the best classes on all of CreativeLive. Highly recommended!


This is an excellent course and Daniel is a great teacher! I'm coming back to shooting film and darkroom work after 20 years away. I have some wonderful film cameras sitting in my cabinet and I decided I wanted to use them--so I have decided to shoot BW with film, and shoot color with my digital cameras. I will develop the BW film myself and scan and print digitally. This class is perfect for me!

Student Work