How to obtain a film camera and what kind, depends on what the student wants to get out of the course:
Brand new 35mm SLR Film Cameras are still available for those who wish to buy new:
Nikon FM10 35mm SLR Film Camera with 35-70mm Lens, link below
Ideally, students would look for a basic 35mm manual film SLR camera. (35mm stands for the size of the film, SLR stands for single lens reflex which means it is the type of camera with a mirror in the lens so the photographer can see the view the lens sees.) Completely manual means the photographer must adjust the setting themselves, some cameras are both manual and automatic, some are completely automatic. The student will be learning about settings in class so a camera with some manual ability is preferred, but an automatic will be acceptable. Semi-automatic is the best of both worlds. Again, how do you know any of this if looking at a used camera in a store or garage sale? Search the web for the camera's make and model and read about it. Never buy a camera that doesn't work. Never buy a camera that says no return. The camera to the left is a Minolta SRT series 101 (SRT-100/101/102 line was the most popular SLR produced) and has a 50mm lens which is great for starters. It is from the 1970s, completely manual but it does need a small battery for the light meter, but his camera will work without a battery and is an example of a perfect used camera for the class. I have purchased this same camera for $20 on Ebay, of course if the owner had paid $85 to have the parts changed and cleaned, etc., the same camera could be $100, and worth it. You have to be the judge by comparing similar cameras- How much effort should you put into finding a camera? how much to spend? and what type of camera is dependent upon the kind of experience the student wants to get out of the class; are they just taking it for fun and probably won't continue with art after this year? Or, is the student going to pursue photo 2 and 3, or perhaps they want to use some of this photography for a portfolio to show a college or visual arts school? A basic traditional black and white film photography experience is a valuable foundation for anyone interested in a career in the visual arts, whether it be video games, fashion, illustration, art direction, advertising, or publishing, so a better camera is a good investment. SEE BELOW FOR ADDITIONAL DESCRIPTIONS:
35 mm SLR Film Cameras; manual, semi-automatic
The ideal camera for a student to get is a camera with manual ability. A camera that lets the photographer set the aperture and speed of the shutter is called manual. A camera with semi-automatic features is also a good idea, because the photographer can choose the aperture and the camera will set the speed to attain the correct exposure. A completely automatic camera takes away choices from the photographer, but it is still acceptable for the class. An example of a great semi-automatic camera is a Minolta Maxxum 50. These can range in cost on Ebay from $12. or $20. to $40 or more all depending on the condition. A new camera that is still being manufactured today is the Vivitar 3800n and is roughly $200. We do not need a new camera for the class, but they are out there.
Point and Shoot types
Point and Shoot cameras are acceptable for the class, they are called this because they don't require you to set anything, you just look through the viewfinder and press the button to take a picture. Point and shoots can be anywhere from $6.00 and up depending on the quality and the automatic abilities of the camera. For instance sometimes they can zoom in on a subject. Examples of a range of these cameras can be found at Photo Warehouse
Some old plastic cheapie point and shoot cameras are valuable because they are "collectables", such as the Diana Camera. They can be $50 or more just because they are from the '60's and "in" right now, -please don't buy that or see that and get discouraged; Lomography cameras are pricy because they are marketing to a niche of enthusiasts, it is a wonderful movement in photography we will look into later, for more on that see
Where to look
The film camera you use for this class can be borrowed from a relative. It can be old, used, as long as it works. Other places to look are garage sales, antique stores, second hand stores or pawn shops. The internet is an excellent place to look, such as Ebay, etsy, Craig's list, and Amazon. Camera stores sell used cameras, places nearby are Camera Concepts of Patchoque, Cameta Camera and Burger Brothers both in Amityville.
Photo Warehouse is an online outlet for cameras and photo equipment