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xunzx Apr 23, 2011 5:59 PM

getting my feet wet with an SLR?
Hi all,

I've been toying with the idea of getting into photography. The cost of getting a dslr has been the biggest deterrent. I recently came across an SLR in my parents basement. Is shooting with this a good way to learn the ropes? Would the skills transfer to a dslr?

The camera is a Canon AE-1 Program.
It has three lenses:
50mm 1:1.8
135mm 1:2.8
80-200mm 1:1.45

Also has a auto teleconverter that has something lose on it. Still trying to see if I can fix that.

Thanks in advance for any feedback!

shoturtle Apr 23, 2011 6:08 PM

you will find that film and development and prints that it will get pricey pretty quickly. And you really can not experiment as much as it is film. As 100 shots will cost you a pretty penny at the end. You will easily go through enough film and processing in the first year if you get serious if you really want to get into photography. Unless you take good notes of each shot, you might not remember the setting that got the results on each shot.

I still shoot film, but more rarely as the price is high.

Bob Nichol Apr 24, 2011 9:05 AM

I might shoot 60-70 photos of my toddler grandson in the course of a visit of which only 1/4 to 1/3 are postable. The rejects are due to poor composition, unflattering facial expression or pose and other reasons. Now translate the failure rate into paying for wasted film and processing and you get an idea of the cost of film. Add to this a projector and screen if you shoot slides or albums if you shoot prints. Even getting the film scanned to a DVD will cost something and will rarely be as good as a digital camera shot due to dust, technique and equipment weaknesses.

max_allan May 2, 2011 3:39 AM

The problem you'll have "learning" with film is the time delay.
Suppose you go out today with a new film and take some shots, trying to experiment with different settings. Lets say you take 15 shots today. Another 15 next weekend and assuming a 36 shot film, a few next weekend. Then you go in to get them processed and pick them up the next day. In 3 weeks time are you going to remember what settings you were using today on 15 different photos?
Of course, you could shoot a whole film or more every weekend. Then the cost really racks up quickly!
Whereas with a digital, you click the button and the image pops up on the screen. You can zoom in and check some of the detail and when you get home and download the image the EXIF information will have the settings you chose.

If you add up the cost of film and processing and your time / effort in getting it processed etc... and compare that with the price of a reasonable secondhand DSLR and you're not going to see much cost difference, but the "fun" factor of digital will make you much happier.

If you buy a canon you can maybe reuse those old lenses. Without checking I would think they are FD not EF so you need a converter and they won't do autofocus.

I have just upgraded my old 300D to a 550D and apart from more pixels and ISOs the differences are not huge.

There are some point and shoot digital cameras that still allow you to change settings independently (like ISO, aperture and speed, which I play with the most. NB to change ISO on your film camera, you need to wait until you shot the whole film. Digital can do it any time.)


Theobold Jun 2, 2011 12:02 PM

I am very new to this plate forum. I hope that it will provide me a great information.. I will find out the solution of number of problem in respect of camera.

VTphotog Jun 2, 2011 6:12 PM

Since you sound as if you aren't really committed to photography as a hobby, then I would say, 'yes', start with the equipment at hand. There can be advantages to being limited to 36 exposures and not being able to instantly review results. It requires that you take a little more time with each individual shot. The difference is much like that between the sniper and the machine gunner.
Good luck with the beginning of what could become a lifetime of fun.


tizeye Jun 3, 2011 9:54 AM

I also have a Canon AE1 with 28, 50, and 135 FD lens.

Certainly no harm in using, assuming the battery is still good (and didn't leak during storage). It does use a realtively expensive and hard to find 6v battery.

Shoot a few rolls through it...but set a budget. Also, do something you can't do with DSLR. Open the back (without film) and understand the movement of the shutter - which is similar, but you can't see it in DSLR. When people talk about high speed flash sync, you will understand the issue that causes it. Likewise, hold the shutter open with "B" and turn the aperature ring on the lens while looking through the back. Understand how that impacts the amount of light reaching the film (or digital sensor). Likewise, you may be able to see how it affects depth of field (or at least calculate it with the lens markings). Most current day DSLR lens no longer have the aperature ring (set electronicaly) and the corresponding DOF scale. The very simplistic formula Exposure = Aperature opening + shutter speed + film/digital (ISO) sensitivity. Essentially, at the same ISO, f2 @ 250, f4 @ 125, f8 @ 60, and f16 @ 30 would all equal similar exposure but the depth of field would be significantly different. Likewise with the declining shutter speed's impact on motion blur (either intentional - like a flowing stream, or unintentional - camera shake) increases when you compare 1/250 sec to 1/30 sec. You begin to understand the advantages of manual control and creativity to get the type of shot you want rather than what the camera dictates.

Oh, one other thing. Canon FD lens will not work (without an adapter that has compromises) on Canon's DSLR cameras so feel free to look at other brands when shopping. I did and ended up with a Nikon.

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