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  1. #1
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    Question Thinking of Going Film..Need Help Please !

    Hello Everyone

    I have been shooting digital SLR for a year now. I was looking around flickr and i saw a set shots taken by a film camera. I started looking around this persons photostream and im amazed by the type of shots you can get with a film camera. I searched around the web and found out that there are many film cameras that are cheaper than 100$ (used). Like the Canon EOS XSN or the Yashica G. I was wondering what type of body should i get? are these cameras i listed any good? im also limited on my budget. Is it costly to shoot a film? Like i know you have to get rolls and im not sure how much a lens would cost but overall how costly is it? Im not sure about the lenses for these cameras? How do you i find out about what lenses do each use and etc?

    The photos i was looking at were shot by the Canon EOS XSN i think i was amazed by them. And the price for this camera is very reasonable. But im not sure about the lens.


    I would appreciate if someone could help me here
    thanks

  2. #2
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    Re: Thinking of Going Film..Need Help Please !

    Depending on what dslr you have now you may be able to get a film camera with a lens that is compatible using the appropriate adapter. But if this isn't a concern, any Canon, Nikon, Pentax or Olympus SLR should be suitable. Just make sure that it doesn't use the mecury batteries. Sometimes you can get a camera and lens for under $100 depending on the model. I paid $220AU for an OM4 body recently, but it was a beauty and I already had the OM lenses.
    Cameron665

    Mamiya RZ67, Zeiss Ikon Nettar, Voigtlander Bessa 66
    Olympus OM1 x2, OM4 x2, OM10
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  3. #3
    light wait photophorous's Avatar
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    Re: Thinking of Going Film..Need Help Please !

    The cost can vary a lot depending on several things. What do you shoot? Do you want to make large prints? Do you want to shoot color or develop your own B&W? Do you require auto-focus and zoom lenses, or do you like manual focus and prime lenses? What kind of gear do you already own? Some lenses can be used on digital and film cameras.

    Tell us what it was you like so much about the photos you saw, so we have a better idea of what you're trying to achieve. There are a lot of different things you can do with film. Some are very cheap and some are not.

    Check out my reply (post #5) in this thread for a sampling of my film cameras: benefits of film over digital?

    Paul

  4. #4
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    Re: Thinking of Going Film..Need Help Please !

    thank you both

    well what i saw was some beautiful nice shots and some beautiful street shots and some portraits as well.

    right now i have a Canon 350D with a 50mm EF 1.8 and im also getting a Tamron lens this week.

    this is the set i was talking about

    film set on flickr

    im thinking of shooting both digital and film. Using film mostly for street shots, candids, trees and the things you see around when your walking in a downtown street. I dont know if i would print the pictures but i would surely develop them and upload them on a CD so i can later on use Photoshop to add a final touch to it. Not sure how much that would cost (to upload a film on a CD)

    any ideas on what i should get? camera & lens? and any good articles or books about how to use a film camera?

    i sent him a message last night and he replied back telling me he shoots with a canon AV-1 and a FD 50mm 1.8

    here are some used film cameras being offered in my city. I dont even know the difference between some of these.

    Craiglist

  5. #5
    light wait photophorous's Avatar
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    Re: Thinking of Going Film..Need Help Please !

    Quote Originally Posted by AmirVscas
    thank you both

    well what i saw was some beautiful nice shots and some beautiful street shots and some portraits as well.

    right now i have a Canon 350D with a 50mm EF 1.8 and im also getting a Tamron lens this week.

    this is the set i was talking about

    film set on flickr

    im thinking of shooting both digital and film. Using film mostly for street shots, candids, trees and the things you see around when your walking in a downtown street. I dont know if i would print the pictures but i would surely develop them and upload them on a CD so i can later on use Photoshop to add a final touch to it. Not sure how much that would cost (to upload a film on a CD)

    any ideas on what i should get? camera & lens? and any good articles or books about how to use a film camera?

    i sent him a message last night and he replied back telling me he shoots with a canon AV-1 and a FD 50mm 1.8
    Since you already have an EF 50mm f/1.8, you could get a Canon EOS autofocus film SLR and share lenses with the digital. I'm not the best person to advise on exactly which one, but there are many that are affordable. Check out KEH.com for good used gear. You could add a 28mm f/2.8 for about $140 and you'd have a couple of very useful prime lenses. Any EF-S lenses you have for your digital will not work on the film camera, but all EF lenses will work.

    If you are willing to go with manual focus, there are many cheap options. I think Minolta is one of the best values. The prices are low because there is no way to adapt Minolta manual focus lenses to digital cameras, but the lenses are very good. Same is true for Canon FD, but the Canon name makes them a little more expensive. Olympus is also very good and known for being one of the smallest SLR systems, but they are even more expensive. Contax-Zeiss is very high quality and still more expensive. Nikon, Olympus, Pentax screw-mount, Contax, and probably some others can all be mounted to your Canon digital with the correct adapter, but they are not easy to use this way. Focusing is very difficult and you have to stop down the aperture before taking a photo, which makes the image dark in the viewfinder (like using DOF preview). Ok for tripod work, but not practical for much else.

    You could also try a fixed lens rangefinder, like a Yashica GSN, Canonet QL-17 or one of the Konica, Olympus or Minolta models. They can produce excellent quality, but you are obviously limited to only the attached lens. The advantages are that some of them are very cheap, they are smaller than SLRs, and they have leaf shutters, which means they are quiet (discrete) and you can shoot at slower shutter speeds hand-held. A good place to shop for rangefinder deals is the classifieds section on rangefinderforum.com.

    Most places will sell you a CD of scanned film images when you get your film developed, but the quality varies a lot. You should probably try a few different places in your area to find out which one does the best job. Ask what the resolution is. Pixel count works pretty much the same for scanned film as it does for digital, in terms of how big you can print. But, that's not everything. Some places will give you high-resolution images that are not very good. Most pro photo labs will offer high quality scans, but they're not always cheap. It's usually cheaper to get the film scanned at the time of developing than it is to bring it back later. To save a few bucks you can get the film scanned onto a CD with out buying any prints. That's what I did before I bought my scanner...which is the next option.

    If you want to get the best results from your film you will need to scan it yourself. If you do this, you can save a little money by not purchasing any prints at the time of development. You can get a decent flatbed scanner starting at around $150, which will work fine for small prints or web display. If you want to get the best quality from your film, so you can make nice large prints, you need a dedicated film scanner or at least a high-end flatbed. High-end flatbeds start at around $500 and dedicated film scanners are closer to $1000. You can shop for a used one, but they're not easy to come by. Some people just use one of the cheaper flatbeds and pay a lab for high quality scans when the need for a large print comes up. That could work for you if you don't make many prints.

    Hope this is helpful.

    Paul

  6. #6
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    Re: Thinking of Going Film..Need Help Please !

    Quote Originally Posted by photophorous
    Since you already have an EF 50mm f/1.8, you could get a Canon EOS autofocus film SLR and share lenses with the digital. I'm not the best person to advise on exactly which one, but there are many that are affordable. Check out KEH.com for good used gear. You could add a 28mm f/2.8 for about $140 and you'd have a couple of very useful prime lenses. Any EF-S lenses you have for your digital will not work on the film camera, but all EF lenses will work.

    If you are willing to go with manual focus, there are many cheap options. I think Minolta is one of the best values. The prices are low because there is no way to adapt Minolta manual focus lenses to digital cameras, but the lenses are very good. Same is true for Canon FD, but the Canon name makes them a little more expensive. Olympus is also very good and known for being one of the smallest SLR systems, but they are even more expensive. Contax-Zeiss is very high quality and still more expensive. Nikon, Olympus, Pentax screw-mount, Contax, and probably some others can all be mounted to your Canon digital with the correct adapter, but they are not easy to use this way. Focusing is very difficult and you have to stop down the aperture before taking a photo, which makes the image dark in the viewfinder (like using DOF preview). Ok for tripod work, but not practical for much else.

    You could also try a fixed lens rangefinder, like a Yashica GSN, Canonet QL-17 or one of the Konica, Olympus or Minolta models. They can produce excellent quality, but you are obviously limited to only the attached lens. The advantages are that some of them are very cheap, they are smaller than SLRs, and they have leaf shutters, which means they are quiet (discrete) and you can shoot at slower shutter speeds hand-held. A good place to shop for rangefinder deals is the classifieds section on rangefinderforum.com.

    Most places will sell you a CD of scanned film images when you get your film developed, but the quality varies a lot. You should probably try a few different places in your area to find out which one does the best job. Ask what the resolution is. Pixel count works pretty much the same for scanned film as it does for digital, in terms of how big you can print. But, that's not everything. Some places will give you high-resolution images that are not very good. Most pro photo labs will offer high quality scans, but they're not always cheap. It's usually cheaper to get the film scanned at the time of developing than it is to bring it back later. To save a few bucks you can get the film scanned onto a CD with out buying any prints. That's what I did before I bought my scanner...which is the next option.

    If you want to get the best results from your film you will need to scan it yourself. If you do this, you can save a little money by not purchasing any prints at the time of development. You can get a decent flatbed scanner starting at around $150, which will work fine for small prints or web display. If you want to get the best quality from your film, so you can make nice large prints, you need a dedicated film scanner or at least a high-end flatbed. High-end flatbeds start at around $500 and dedicated film scanners are closer to $1000. You can shop for a used one, but they're not easy to come by. Some people just use one of the cheaper flatbeds and pay a lab for high quality scans when the need for a large print comes up. That could work for you if you don't make many prints.

    Hope this is helpful.

    Paul
    Thank you Paul for you great and detailed response...it was very helpful

    I think i will go with the smaller film cameras not the Canon Auto Focus mainly because it is more costly and this is my first film camera so i want something cheap and good to start with. From the ones you listed or from your experience which manual focus do you think is the best? I saw some pictures taken by the Canon AV-1 and they looked great. Whats a good film camera in your opinion?

    Also this will be my first time using a film camera. Is there any articles i can start reading until i receive the camera? I dont know anything about rewinding the film and i have heard that you can ruin the film if you expose it to light and some other things and im not sure how you work with one properly to avoid any problems. I also have no idea how the focusing on a film works and as for the aperture and everything i have always been using digital and well with SLR the camera does it all but with film is different. I need to know what im doing so i guess i need some reading to do.

    By the way im not planning on printing any of my pictures. I usually display them on my website or on my flickr account. And i also want to give my photos a little touch on photoshop so im not really looking into printing any of pictures.

  7. #7
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    Re: Thinking of Going Film..Need Help Please !

    I made a list of cameras i saw on ebay that i can afford both SLR and non SLR. From this list which one would you go with? I want to be able to take some clear shots that look as high res as the digital SLRs. There might be better ones and i would appreciate it if you guys could inform me about em.

    Canon AE-1
    Canon EOS 500
    Canon A-1
    Nikon FM2

    Olympus OM-1
    Holga 120cfn
    Canonet G-III, QL-17
    FED 2 Leica

    ****mamiya C330**** = I just saw couple of shots taken by this camera. Man this is amazing. Whats the difference between this one and other film cameras? is it a good idea if i get this one?

    How much would it cost just to get them uploaded on CD with the best quality available? (no prints)

    one more thing i forgot to ask..is how does a scanner work..like lets say the Epson Perfection V500 Photo Scanner..Do you just put the roll inside and it scans it for you? sorry i just dont know anything about film so my bad if the questions sounds stupid

    by the way i looked on into the Pentax spotmatic. Seems like a great camera with beautiful shots. would u recommend it?
    Last edited by AmirVscas; 07-05-2009 at 12:44 PM.

  8. #8
    Senior Member AgingEyes's Avatar
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    Re: Thinking of Going Film..Need Help Please !

    Quote Originally Posted by AmirVscas
    I have been shooting digital SLR for a year now. I was looking around flickr and i saw a set shots taken by a film camera. I started looking around this persons photostream and im amazed by the type of shots you can get with a film camera.
    It's fine and dandy to shoot films, but I hope you are not thinking that films can do magic for you, suddenly makes your photos better. What you see are shots on the net. They can be the results of more than just the use of films to shoot them.

    Myself? I still have film cameras and films with me.

  9. #9
    light wait photophorous's Avatar
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    Re: Thinking of Going Film..Need Help Please !

    Quote Originally Posted by AmirVscas
    I made a list of cameras i saw on ebay that i can afford both SLR and non SLR. From this list which one would you go with? I want to be able to take some clear shots that look as high res as the digital SLRs. There might be better ones and i would appreciate it if you guys could inform me about em.

    Canon AE-1
    Canon EOS 500
    Canon A-1
    Nikon FM2

    Olympus OM-1
    Holga 120cfn
    Canonet G-III, QL-17
    FED 2 Leica

    ****mamiya C330**** = I just saw couple of shots taken by this camera. Man this is amazing. Whats the difference between this one and other film cameras? is it a good idea if i get this one?

    How much would it cost just to get them uploaded on CD with the best quality available? (no prints)

    one more thing i forgot to ask..is how does a scanner work..like lets say the Epson Perfection V500 Photo Scanner..Do you just put the roll inside and it scans it for you? sorry i just dont know anything about film so my bad if the questions sounds stupid

    by the way i looked on into the Pentax spotmatic. Seems like a great camera with beautiful shots. would u recommend it?

    Wow, where do I start? An entire book could be written about all of this stuff, so I recommend you google some of the general topics Iím going to mention so you can find more detail on them. As long as this post is, Iím only touching the surface here.

    First off, I want to add to what Aging Eyes said. Donít expect film to magically give you great results like youíve seen on flickr. There is a lot that goes into it and just like anything else, you will have to work at it to learn how to get the most out of film. I recommend starting with a relatively cheap camera to give it a try before investing in a lot of lenses and a scanner.

    Cameras:

    There is no ďbestĒ camera. There are many good choices and which one is right for you probably depends more on your personal preferences and budget than anything else. However there are a couple of problems with buying old cameras that you need to look out for.

    Some older cameras use mercury batteries that are no longer available in the US. There are a few solutions to this problem, but none of them are perfect. You can google ďmercury camera batteryĒ to find more details and you can google a specific camera to find out what kind of battery it needs.

    Another common problem is the deterioration of light seals. Most of these old cameras have tiny strips of foam around the film door seal that can deteriorate over time. It turns into a sticky gooey mess and allows light to leak into the camera and ruin your film. On SLRs thereís also a little piece of foam that cushions the mirror as it flips up. If you like tinkering with things, you can probably replace the seals and mirror foam yourself. It takes an hour or two and itís messy, but itís not hard. Thereís a great little kit you can buy on Ebay that has everything you need to do the job for about $10. The sellerís name is John Goodman and his ebay username is ďinterslice.Ē

    There are always risks with buying used cameras and lenses on Ebay. You can get some great deals, but you can also get burned. If you want to avoid the possibility of getting burned you should consider buying from KEH.com. It may cost a little more, but they are a highly regarded dealer of used cameras and if something is wrong theyíll let you return it. You probably wonít have to worry about the light seals if you buy from a dealer like KEH.com. If you call them and ask for details they can tell you exactly what might be wrong with a BGN grade item. Usually BGN items are fine, but they may have a few cosmetic issues. EX and above is always very good.

    And last but not least, not all older cameras have built-in light meters or automated exposure modes. If youíre accustomed to a DSLR set on auto-mode doing everything for you, you will want a film camera that has a built-in light meter, at the very least. You should also consider whether or not you want auto-exposure modes like Aperture Priority or Program mode. You might want to learn how to use the manual mode on your DSLR to get a feel for it first. The older the camera, the less likely it will have these automated features.

    A couple of the cameras you mentioned, the Holga and the Mamiya C330, use medium format film. Medium format film is much larger and thus records much more detail, has smoother tones and colors, and is generally superior to 35mm film. But buying and developing a 12 exposure roll will cost you about the same as 36 exposures on 35mm film. Itís also harder to find a place that sells and develops it. The cameras are generally bulkier, slower to operate and less likely to have any kind of automation. You should probably start with 35mm and then decided if you want to try medium format later.

    The Holga is a toy camera with a plastic lens. Many people, including myself, like them for the unique effect they have on photos, but itís not going to make normal, sharp, high resolution images like youíre used to. Revisit this later.

    Before deciding which camera to buy I recommend you research the entire system. Lenses have a larger impact on the look of the image than the camera does. Consider that if you buy a Canon manual focus body you will only be able to use Canon manual focus lenses. Think about which lenses you will want (wide angles, telephotos, portrait, fast lenses for low light, prime lenses vs. zoom lenses), now and in the future, and read reviews for those specific lenses. For example, make sure that the brand youíre going with doesnít have the worst portrait lens if youíre real serious about portraits. Google is a powerful tool, but you should also search through websites like apug.org, photo.net, rangefinderforum.com, photoethnography.com, rokkorfiles.com, and Iím sure there are others.

    Scanning:

    The cost of having photos scanned onto CD can vary a lot. This is something youíll just have to research yourself, in your local area. At the professional photo lab in my town, they have great prices. I can get a roll of 36 exp film scanned for about $5 (plus $5 for developing) and I get quality good enough to make 8x12 prints. However, Iíve heard a lot of people say they pay more than that for much worse quality.

    You said you donít make prints, but you also said you want a camera that can take good clear shots that look as high res as a digital SLR. Just so we are clear, the amount of resolution needed to view a photo on your computer screen is much lower than what is needed to make an 8x12 print. If all you want to do is view it on the computer, any of these cameras and almost any scanner is capable of doing that, if you know how to use it.

    How does a scanner work? A flat-bed, like the Epson V500 has negative holders that you place negative strips in and then lay on top of the scanner glass. Most flat-beds have separate film holders for 35mm negative strips, 35mm slides or medium format strips, but not all of them do medium format. The scanner has software that will reverse the negative image to give you a positive. They have automated scanning that usually works pretty well, but you will have to adjust the exposure settings and color settings sometimes to get the best image. Most of them are slow. It could take you a few hours to scan an entire roll of film. There are also problems with dust getting on the negatives and showing up as tiny little spots all over the digital image. You have to learn how to get the best out of the scanner just like you have to learn how to get the best out of the camera. I donít mean to scare you away, but I donít want you to have false expectations either. If you really like film, youíll figure it out.

    General Film Information for a beginner:

    Donít forget that your parents and grandparents used film all their lives. When it comes to the basics of loading, unloading, and just handling film, they probably know plenty to get you started. A lot of old camera manuals can be found in PDF form online. Some you may have to pay for. Once you pick a camera use google to search for a manual. It will show you most of what you need to know in order to operate the camera. The fundamentals of exposure, film speed, shutter speeds, apertures and depth of field are all pretty much the same as with digital.

    Good luck. Let us know what you decide to get.

    Paul

  10. #10
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    Re: Thinking of Going Film..Need Help Please !

    Quote Originally Posted by photophorous
    Good luck. Let us know what you decide to get.
    Thank you Paul for the your great detailed response

    I ordered a Mamiya C330 + 80mm yesterday from Ebay. The camera is warranted for 3 months and has been checked by a technician. And i got for 275$ US. Seemed like a good deal to me and it was cheaper than the other ones on Ebay. It should be here in couple of days. I also found the manual for it in PDF format and have been reading it in the past couple of days so i know what to expect when i receive the camera.

    as for the scanner i decided to first try out the camera and shoot few rolls until i decide to go further with it and get my own scanner. You also mentioned that Itís harder to find a place that develops the medium format rolls. I think Blacks does it here in Canada. But i think im gonna call them tomorrow just to make sure. If not i have to find a place before i get the camera and start shooting.

    i agree with you when you said "Donít expect film to magically give you great results" but i have seen some great results, quality wise with medium format cameras, like shooting portraits and i think if i learn how to use it properly and get the best of out of my rolls it would be much better than my Digital SLR shots both quality wise and also the tone that film cameras give the pictures are just amazing.

    One last favor Paul. Do you know any good websites that explain the aperture and everything with a medium format? i guess the bad thing about using a Digital SLR is you never learn these things because the camera does it all for you. Do you know any articles i can read until i receive my camera? I have heard that i need a handheld meter as well. Are there any articles explaining how i should use one and whats the benefits of having one? i didnt order the meter yet. I just want to make sure that i really need it.

    Thanks again

  11. #11
    light wait photophorous's Avatar
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    Re: Thinking of Going Film..Need Help Please !

    Quote Originally Posted by AmirVscas
    Thank you Paul for the your great detailed response

    I ordered a Mamiya C330 + 80mm yesterday from Ebay. The camera is warranted for 3 months and has been checked by a technician. And i got for 275$ US. Seemed like a good deal to me and it was cheaper than the other ones on Ebay. It should be here in couple of days. I also found the manual for it in PDF format and have been reading it in the past couple of days so i know what to expect when i receive the camera.

    as for the scanner i decided to first try out the camera and shoot few rolls until i decide to go further with it and get my own scanner. You also mentioned that It’s harder to find a place that develops the medium format rolls. I think Blacks does it here in Canada. But i think im gonna call them tomorrow just to make sure. If not i have to find a place before i get the camera and start shooting.

    i agree with you when you said "Don’t expect film to magically give you great results" but i have seen some great results, quality wise with medium format cameras, like shooting portraits and i think if i learn how to use it properly and get the best of out of my rolls it would be much better than my Digital SLR shots both quality wise and also the tone that film cameras give the pictures are just amazing.

    One last favor Paul. Do you know any good websites that explain the aperture and everything with a medium format? i guess the bad thing about using a Digital SLR is you never learn these things because the camera does it all for you. Do you know any articles i can read until i receive my camera? I have heard that i need a handheld meter as well. Are there any articles explaining how i should use one and whats the benefits of having one? i didnt order the meter yet. I just want to make sure that i really need it.

    Thanks again
    I'm not sure what you mean about "explain the aperture..." The aperture does two things. First, it controls how much light comes through the lens, which is one aspect of exposure. Second, it determines how much depth of field the image will have, which determines how much of the image is in focus.

    In regards to getting a good exposure, there are also two other factors. Aperture, shutter speed, and film speed all need to be set correctly, depending on how much light is available. The light meter will tell you how much light is available. I'm not sure the best place to read about this. Just search for something like "learning proper exposure settings." These fundamentals are the same for all cameras, regardless of film type or even if it's digital. Some cameras are just automated and do this all for you. The Mamiya will not. Old school photographers can judge light levels with the naked eye but that takes lots of practice. You will want a meter, but you could try using your digital camera as a meter to get started.

    Depth of field is a different issue, which effects the look of the image. You can google this too. Greater DOF is when foreground and background elements are all in focus and this is achieved by using smaller apertures. Larger apertures result in only the point of focus being in focus and foreground and background elements are out of focus. This happens with larger apertures. This is a simplified explanation, but it is generally true for all cameras/lenses. However, there are other factors, such as focal length, distance of focus, and format (film) size that also effect DOF.

    Paul

    Edit: I forgot to say, Congrats on the C330! That's supposed to be a great camera and it sounds like you got a good deal.

  12. #12
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    Re: Thinking of Going Film..Need Help Please !

    Quote Originally Posted by photophorous
    I'm not sure what you mean about "explain the aperture..." The aperture does two things. First, it controls how much light comes through the lens, which is one aspect of exposure. Second, it determines how much depth of field the image will have, which determines how much of the image is in focus.

    In regards to getting a good exposure, there are also two other factors. Aperture, shutter speed, and film speed all need to be set correctly, depending on how much light is available. The light meter will tell you how much light is available. I'm not sure the best place to read about this. Just search for something like "learning proper exposure settings." These fundamentals are the same for all cameras, regardless of film type or even if it's digital. Some cameras are just automated and do this all for you. The Mamiya will not. Old school photographers can judge light levels with the naked eye but that takes lots of practice. You will want a meter, but you could try using your digital camera as a meter to get started.

    Depth of field is a different issue, which effects the look of the image. You can google this too. Greater DOF is when foreground and background elements are all in focus and this is achieved by using smaller apertures. Larger apertures result in only the point of focus being in focus and foreground and background elements are out of focus. This happens with larger apertures. This is a simplified explanation, but it is generally true for all cameras/lenses. However, there are other factors, such as focal length, distance of focus, and format (film) size that also effect DOF.

    Paul

    Edit: I forgot to say, Congrats on the C330! That's supposed to be a great camera and it sounds like you got a good deal.
    thanks Paul

    this is the camera i got from Ebay..

    **Mamiya C330 Pro w 80mm f2.8 blue-dot lens & Prism Exc**

    Not sure what blue dot lens is and prism exc no idea either.

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