What to Look for When Buying a Vintage Camera

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What to Look for When Buying a Vintage Camera

While digital cameras have taken over the photography world, some lovers of the art still enjoy collecting and taking pictures with vintage film cameras that offer creativity many modern cameras cannot. Finding the right vintage camera can be difficult, but when you know what to look for, it makes shopping all the easier.



Selecting a Camera

You can find many available camera types if you want a bit of nostalgia or just want to take photos with something different. Some of these types include SLR cameras, aerial cameras, and rangefinders. Single lens reflex (SLR) cameras are the most common and their modern versions are DSLR cameras, which work with a single lens. You can learn what each camera does and look for brand names like Canon, Nikon, Contax, and Olympus. These brands feature solid construction and materials that photographers and collectors value.



Ensuring the Camera Works

Just because it comes from a quality brand does not necessarily mean all parts function. The flash may need a bit of help, or the shutter could stick. Make sure the speed settings also work, as well as any special focus settings. If you want to experiment with photographs the old-fashioned way, you need a working camera. However, some people choose just to buy the bodies of vintage cameras as collector pieces.



Understanding the Film

Younger generations ask what film is, but older generations know. The most popular type of film for most vintage cameras is 35 millimetre, which owners roll into the camera. Older cameras have manual film loaders and the owner needs to be careful when loading it so the film does not bend or get scratched. Film speeds also affect the quality of the photograph. Low light areas or high action photo shoots need a higher speed of anywhere from 800 to 1200. Still photos with a lot of artificial light or sunlight can use film of 100 or 200 speed.



Finding the Film

If you want to use your vintage camera and not just have it as a collector's item, then you need film. While all types of film were once widely available, you can mainly find disposable and digital camera accessories today. However, 35 millimetre film is still widely available, as is instant film like Polaroid film. You can also find 110 film, which is a snap in type of film used in smaller vintage cameras that do not have focus mechanisms. When you want to work with the right light, with the right amount of action in a shot, and have the correct speed film, a 35 mm camera with 35 mm film is your best bet.

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