How To Buy An Old Timey Camera

Some photographers prefer to shoot on film. It gives your images a grainy, gritty texture that many modern-day filters try to reproduce. This creates images that have a specific tone, which can help the artist tell their story. As a result, some companies have started bringing back older film cameras. For example, Kodak announced in February that it would bring back its TMax P3200 camera. This model is one of its classic black and white cameras that shoots on the light-sensitive monochrome film allowing the camera to shoot well in dark locations. The company also plans to bring back Ektachrome film and a new film SLR is being produced by a company called Reflex. So, if you’ve been itching to try out film cameras, now is the time to do it!

Find Your Camera

The first thing you will need is an old camera, so go forth and scour the thrift stores, garage sales, and eBay to find just the right camera for you. The first thing to figure out is the type of camera you want. Choose between an SLR camera, compact cameras, and rangefinders.

An SLR is the classic, manual, analog camera and it stands for single-lens reflex. It is the most durable of the three options and you can switch out this camera’s lenses to increase its function. Most SLR cameras don’t have great zoom so it is a good idea to get a lens that compensates for that. These cameras are also the biggest of the three.

Compact cameras are point and shoot camera that is not manual. It allows you to get the film look without having to learn photography specs. They are much smaller and use common batteries that are cheaper and easier to find. The camera relies on flash to provide light since the lens is not interchangeable. However, while the lack of manual controls make these cameras easier to use, they do not allow you to adjust the specs and therefore images end up being of lower quality.

Lastly, rangefinders fall in between the SLR and compact cameras. This camera combines the lens with the viewfinder in order to get the correct focus. You can change the lenses on some rangefinders while others have fixed lenses. They are smaller than the SLRs with fewer controls but they do have more controls that a compact and are bigger than them as well. However, these cameras are a little hard to focus.

Does it Work?

Once you have bought the camera of your choice it is important to make sure that everything is in working order. Older cameras that have been neglected for a long period of time can have parts malfunction. Make sure that you check the battery compartment to make sure that batteries weren’t left in there to corrode.

Next test out all of the camera’s moving parts to make sure everything from the shutters to the trigger button are in working order. Lastly, use a light and shine it through your lens to check for lens discoloration and fungus. The fungus looks like tentacle-like streaks on the inside of the lens and it is difficult to remove and will negatively affect your photos.

And Now The Film!

As you know, film development places are not as readily available as they were in the 80s and 90s so if you cannot develop your film yourself you will need to send it away. There are development companies like The Find Lab and The Darkroom that you can mail your film to for development. Rolls of film for color cost around $4 and cost $11 to be developed while black and white film and development cost a little bit more.