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Shinnen May 19, 2018 7:16 PM

Film Photography Forum
I bought a Yashica FX-3 recently, for next to nothing ($6). Now that I look at the camera I'm interested in learning; but know nothing about film photography, so I need some advice wrt how to use it.
Any suggestions are appreciated.
.... john

TCav May 19, 2018 8:49 PM

First, find some film.

VTphotog May 19, 2018 10:33 PM

You may have to purchase film online, as not many places stock it anymore.
Ditto for processing. Gone are the days when every corner drugstore had a 1 Hour film processing lab.
If you do this, I would suggest you just try a few shots and develop them to check the camera for light leaks, before making a big commitment. The seals deteriorate over time, and the shutters can get sticky, as do aperture controls. Some of the built in exposure meters operated on mercury cells which are no longer available.

Film isn't too hard to find:


Shinnen May 20, 2018 9:08 AM

Yes, that's what I was afraid of. I have a couple of rolls here, that I may just try, and get developed; I'm not sure where though. I have a roll of Kodachrome 64, but there is no tab sticking out, so I'm assuming that it's been used? I also have a roll of 200 iso Black's Astral, which has some film pulled out of it, so it may serve for a test.
I'm not sure how to set up the camera though. The lens is a Sigma Zoom-Master 1:2.8~4 f=35-70mm, with lots of rows of numbers.
The row closest to the camera appears to be the aperture 2.8 - 22 (22 is in green)
Then there's a wide band 22 16 11 8 5.6 I 5.6 R 11 16 22 with lines that flares out from 8 (on one side) and R (on the other side) to the Macro band, which rotates and has two rows of numbers, one in red, then green, and the other in white.
Then there's the circle that one sees when looking though the viewfinder. It's composed of a centre circle with a diagonal line, which is usually darker on one half then the other. This circle has a speckled band around it. The alignment of objects in the centre circle wrt to the two halves, seems to change as the macro ring is rotated, as does their focus.
As you can see I know nothing about film cameras. Can you provide some insight as to what I'm seeing?
Also, is this a good, average, or poor lens/camera combo?
... john

VTphotog May 20, 2018 1:15 PM

The viewfinder ring is for manual focus, of the 'split prism' type. When the subject is in focus, the two halves of the split ring will be in alignment and the split will be difficult to notice.
You are correct about the aperture ring. You can manually set it. The fixed band with the aperture numbers shows DOF for each aperture, and the other moving ring markings are for distance. One set should be in feet and the other in meters. (The '8', is likely sideways, and is the symbol for infinity) Red markings are probably the macro focal distance when 'macro' is engaged. There should be some sort of indicator for exposure settings.

(OK, found this page: with more info)

Shinnen May 20, 2018 4:44 PM

Hi Brian,
Yes, that helps a lot. I like the spit split prism idea. I'm sending you a link to a photo. I don't think I see anything about exposure settings except at table relating the f number at 35mm to 70mm.
35mm 2.8 --4 - 5.6 - 8 --11 - 16- 22
70mm -4 - 5.6 - 8 ---11 -16 - 22
Here's the link
..... john
P.S. I tried to fix the table but it ignored the spaces.

Ozzie_Traveller May 20, 2018 6:52 PM

G'day John

It's beaut to see you exploring stuff from yesteryear :)

The stuff you're talking about is not just film camera lenses - it's all lenses ... just that in today's cameras with electronic this 'n that, these settings are no longer displayed

What you've got is a pretty standard lens with its Aperture ring outlined - the green "A" is where it is locked for the camera to operate on Aperture Priority mode.

The 'funny lines' are the representation of Depth of Field - as the aperture in use goes from 'wide open' to 'stopped down' the DoF increases - AND as you zoom and the image becomes larger, the DoF becomes a bit smaller as well

Here is a sketch I made some years ago for my students

The LHS scale shows camera to subject distances and lens apertures in use, while the horizontal scale shows how the DoF rapidly decreases as the amount of zoom increases

On a fixed focal length lens the DoF scale is shown as ... [from Google images]
ps: the red "R" is focus change for Infra-Red film use

and on a Zoom lens, it is shown as ... [from Google images]

Hope this helps

VTphotog May 20, 2018 9:20 PM

According to the page I linked to, the exposure meter is just three LEDs in the viewfinder. I think back then they used green for correct exposure, which would be the middle LED, and the over-and-under LEDs were generally red. There is a button to check the metering, which should light up one of the LEDs. If it doesn't work, look on the bottom of the camera for a coin slotted cover which should have the battery.
I should have mentioned, to check for light leaks, take an exposure with the lens cap on and the viewfinder covered, using a fairly long shutter opening in a well lit room or outside. If the developed frame is an even black (or really dark), the camera is OK for leaks. If there are bright areas around the edges, or the whole thing is light, You've got leaks.

Shinnen May 21, 2018 10:02 AM

Hi Phil,
Yes, it's kind of interesting to see the forerunner of cameras I've been using for years. Digital doesn't really give one a feel/appreciation for these basics. And, as I've often discovered, over my life, these technologies don't just blosom full blown from the head of Zeus; they're the result of a lot of history and research.
I don't have a green 'A' on my lens, but the '22' on the aperture ring is green. I can't figure out why though.
What does 'LHS' stand for?
Ah, so that's what the red 'R' means.
Yes, this helps a great deal.
Hi Brian,
Yes, the LEDs show in my camera. From top to bottom ..... red cross, green dot, red dash. I imagine this stands for 'over', 'properly', and 'under' exposed?
Man, this thing is tricky to get right wrt to exposure, not like my FZ150 ;-)
Yes, the coin slot opens up to two button cells.
I finally read the link you provided, and it is helpful. I have the second generation, the 'super' model, on which I have covered the faux leather with duct tape.

I've notice a very fine grain pattern, especially when I view well lit uniform surfaces. I was afraid it might be the dreaded fungus; but a website I went to seemed to indicate that it's more likely dust, and won't significantly effect the images?
Oddly enough (or maybe not) this pattern does not show up on the bright half of the focus ring?
Well, that's about it for now. The camera seems to function well, so I think I'm ready to try a couple of shots to see if it's leaking light. I have NO idea where I'm going to get it developed though. A few year ago I wanted a piece of exposed film to see if it would be a satisfactory visible light blocker for a camera I had removed the IR blocker from; and I had to solicit a group in the States for a sample, which they were kind enough to provide.
.. john

VTphotog May 21, 2018 12:11 PM

The fine grain pattern is a slight frosting on the view screen of the finder, which aids in focusing. Sometimes, the split prism isn't useful, when there isn't sufficient light, or at times, when using a polarizing filter. If you take the lens off, and shine a bright white LED through it, you should be able to see any dust or fungus.
One thing you won't have to worry about is dust on the sensor. Every time you advance the film, you have a new, clean sensor.

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