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  1. #1
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    Smile Neophyte to Film (Total Moron in other words)

    I have a pentax Spotmatic (IB). I don't know the first absolute thing about film or even where to start. I've shot digital most of my entire photography learning curve and I know enough to perhaps call myself an adv. amateur in digital photography. I've recently unearthed this thing and it comes with it's original (and very high quality condition this camera is in too, from what I can see there's not a scratch on it) kit lens (the 55mm 1.4 zakumar i think). I think there might still be film in it, so I have a few ultimate newbie questions.



    Just to note I HAVE searched google a bit on it but I want to know the following if anyone has exp with this particular camera just so I don't @#$% it up..


    1) How do I remove the film?
    2) What do I do to store the film? Can I store it in anything?
    3) From what I read on google and various websites it uses a mercury something or another battery. Can I still use this battery (if not what else can I use)?
    4) This should probably be first but can I still use this camera? Is it a good learning camera for doing film? Is it a pro or entry level camera? Basically I'd like to know more background on it.
    5) Anyone got favorite websites for learning more about film?


    I just realized this might be in the wrong forum. That said it would explain why searching through this forum I realized there wasnt bugger all to do with film. Oh dear. Now I just remembered pentax makes DSLRs too. Doh.
    Last edited by Kajuah; 07-23-2008 at 09:52 PM.

  2. #2
    Too square to be hip. almo's Avatar
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    Re: Neophyte to Film (Total Moron in other words)

    1) How do I remove the film?
    2) What do I do to store the film? Can I store it in anything?
    3) From what I read on google and various websites it uses a mercury something or another battery. Can I still use this battery (if not what else can I use)?
    4) This should probably be first but can I still use this camera? Is it a good learning camera for doing film? Is it a pro or entry level camera? Basically I'd like to know more background on it.
    5) Anyone got favorite websites for learning more about film?
    I have never used a spotomatic, but I would assume it is like most other manual SLRs from the time. Just pull up on the film advance lever and it should pop the back open.

    If the film is past a few years then it is almost not worth the money to even try salvaging it. Film, like most things, goes bad over time. If you are set on saving it then buy a new roll of film, make sure it comes in a light proof case and not one of the clear/opaque ones, and in the dark, I mean complete dark, take it out of the camera and place it in the canister. This is really important, as film cassettes can break down over the years and light leaks can be a real problem. Store it in the freezer, in a baggie until you decide to have it developed.

    As long as you can find one in the same size, a modern button battery should work fine.

    As long as it is light tight and the mechanics are sound then you can use it. Hard to call it pro or entry, as in those days there really was not a clear line in 35mm SLRs. Pros used what worked for them, and most cameras back then were built to pro standards.

    There are various sites out there. I learned on film and switched to digital later, so my learning was in real life. I read books and took classes. I also worked for years at a pro lab where I learned to handel film in every step of the process, from box to prints.

    BTW.. that is no kit lens. There was no such thing back then. That is a real solid piece of glass. Likely the best you have ever used. Call it a standard lens.
    John Cowan
    Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.
    ~Ernest Hemingway~

  3. #3
    Film Forum Moderator Xia_Ke's Avatar
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    Re: Neophyte to Film (Total Moron in other words)

    Congrats on the "new" camera John pretty much summed things up. I just wanted to add that if you need a manual to learn how to use the camera, click here:

    http://butkus.org/chinon/pentax.htm

    Quote Originally Posted by Kajuah
    5) Anyone got favorite websites for learning more about film?
    Cough...Cough... PHOTOGRAPHY REVIEW FILM FORUM ... Cough... Cough...
    Aaron Lehoux * flickr
    Please do not edit my photos, thank you.

  4. #4
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    Re: Neophyte to Film (Total Moron in other words)

    Thanks for the help, both of you I'll be sure to check those links out. It looks like I have a ton of reading to do. I'm especially honored to be holding some real glass, there's some sort of reverence between me towards this camera and I'm not sure if that's ignorance or not but I feel a LOT more satisfaction holding it than anything digital. I'll ebay the battery and hopefully make out my own space for a darkroom soon. Cheers!

  5. #5
    Too square to be hip. almo's Avatar
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    Re: Neophyte to Film (Total Moron in other words)

    Quote Originally Posted by Kajuah
    Thanks for the help, both of you I'll be sure to check those links out. It looks like I have a ton of reading to do. I'm especially honored to be holding some real glass, there's some sort of reverence between me towards this camera and I'm not sure if that's ignorance or not but I feel a LOT more satisfaction holding it than anything digital. I'll ebay the battery and hopefully make out my own space for a darkroom soon. Cheers!
    It certainly is not ignorance. Just think of how it would make you feel to hold an M1 Garand, or sit on the back of a '52 Harley. It's the same thing in the camera world. They don't make cameras like that anymore. You know, something you could use for a murder weapon, then use to take pictures of the crime scene.
    John Cowan
    Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.
    ~Ernest Hemingway~

  6. #6
    Film Forum Moderator Xia_Ke's Avatar
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    Re: Neophyte to Film (Total Moron in other words)

    Quote Originally Posted by Kajuah
    ...and hopefully make out my own space for a darkroom soon. Cheers!
    Does this mean we'll get you printing too?
    Aaron Lehoux * flickr
    Please do not edit my photos, thank you.

  7. #7
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    Re: Neophyte to Film (Total Moron in other words)

    About the battery. It probably takes a PX 625, very common back then. WeinCell makes a replacement, but they aren't cheap. I recommend you try a zinc-air hearing aid battery first, because I think it's the same thing. They can be bought at your local drug store for about $5 for a pack of 6 or 7. Find the one that is the right size and voltage...probably 1.4V. Some cameras work fine with an alkaline replacement, but some don't because alkaline battery output drops as the battery is used up and that can make your meter readings change as the battery dies.

    Is the glass in your lens yellow at all? You should check by looking through it (just the lens w/o the camera) at a white piece of paper. If so, you might want to read this. http://www.flickr.com/groups/spotmatic/discuss/121461/

    Using an old heavy metal manual camera like your Pentax is a completely different experience from the auto-everything cameras of today, and many of us find it to be very rewarding. It makes you think more about what you doing, which is always a good thing. In my opinion, this is a great way to improve your photography. I've never seen a modern digital camera lens than can duplicate the look of lenses from that era.

    Paul

  8. #8
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    Re: Neophyte to Film (Total Moron in other words)

    Thanks paul, I agree I'm overwhelmed already it's like learning a totally different art form and doesn't feel the same by far as digital does. The glass is a slight red/purplish, no yellow tints to be seen. It's very pretty lol

  9. #9
    The red headed step child jgredline's Avatar
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    Re: Neophyte to Film (Total Moron in other words)

    Quote Originally Posted by photophorous

    Using an old heavy metal manual camera like your Pentax is a completely different experience from the auto-everything cameras of today, and many of us find it to be very rewarding. It makes you think more about what you doing, which is always a good thing. In my opinion, this is a great way to improve your photography. I've never seen a modern digital camera lens than can duplicate the look of lenses from that era.

    Paul
    I could not agree more....
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  10. #10
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    Re: Neophyte to Film (Total Moron in other words)

    All right thanks for the links, at least now I have the basic steps on what i'm looking at ! One more question, though;

    1) can i use any kind of film with the camera? What kind of specifications do I need to be aware of when buying film at the store? Is there a particular size or brand I have to use with this cam? I'm reading up on how to choose film and the fact that ISO is dependent on your film. It's all very interesting,.

    Sorry to be a bother like i said, "total moron"?

  11. #11
    Too square to be hip. almo's Avatar
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    Re: Neophyte to Film (Total Moron in other words)

    Quote Originally Posted by Kajuah
    All right thanks for the links, at least now I have the basic steps on what i'm looking at ! One more question, though;

    1) can i use any kind of film with the camera? What kind of specifications do I need to be aware of when buying film at the store? Is there a particular size or brand I have to use with this cam?

    Sorry to be a bother like i said, "total moron"?
    Any 35mm roll of film will work fine. Make sure you set the ISO/ASA rating on the camera. It will be a manual dial, most likely around the rewind lever.

    I prefer Ilford HP5 myself, but there are so many kinds. I suggest you shoot slides, or as we call them in the biz, transparencies. Unlike print film, slide film is a one shot, one kill proposition. With prints your images will be adjusted buy the printer and you will not learn as easy. You only get one chance with a slide. If you keep records of your shots you will learn very fast.
    John Cowan
    Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.
    ~Ernest Hemingway~

  12. #12
    Film Forum Moderator Xia_Ke's Avatar
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    Re: Neophyte to Film (Total Moron in other words)

    If it's 35mm than you're good to go. A couple things to keep in mind:

    A.) Developing Process- There are a few different processes, the main ones being C-41 (color negative and C-41 B&W), E-6 (slide film), and traditional B&W. If you're not developing your own film, you'll want to keep in mind what your local labs are capable of developing. Any lab should do C-41 and quite a few will do E-6 but, you may be hard pressed to find a lab that will do traditional B&W.

    B.) Film Speed - make sure you get a fast/slow enough film speed for what you want to shoot.
    Aaron Lehoux * flickr
    Please do not edit my photos, thank you.

  13. #13
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    Re: Neophyte to Film (Total Moron in other words)

    Right ! Yay so I got the film and the battery, and they're both appropriate for C-41 developing. I live in the middle of the arctic, so I'll likely have to send off the film to the city, anyway, for developing and order it back.
    Thanks very much, hopefully I'll look into scanners too and see what I can do to post online. There's a lot to learn here. I think film is entirely a different genre of art seperate from digital now, I thought I had some idea of photography but now..i'm not so sure. We're too easily spoilt by the digital generation that we forget just how flipping amazing Ansel Adams was in the old days. I can't even figure out how to load film yet ! lol Reading over the manual, however

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