35mm film camera

I just acquired a Minolta SRT 101 35mm film camera.
With standard 55mm lens plus a Vivitar Automatic Tele Converter, plus a Vivitar 80-250mm zoom lens and a NICE tripod.

I haven’t shot film in decades. My last 35mm cameras were Olympus OM-1’s, which should tell you that I am an old fart.
I want to go retro, but film vs digital is beyond my reach. So many things have changed since then.
I have two Canon digital cameras plus my Samsung smartphone, in addition to a Sony digital video cam, but I would love to explore actual film again.

Any 35mm film buffs out there? Where to buy film? Processing?
All advice appreciated.

My sister still uses film. Nobody in town carries it, that we’ve been able to find, so I buy it for her online (she doesn’t have a computer either! A true Luddite!) It’s still available on Amazon for reasonable prices.

Developing, there’s a Fromex store-front here in San Diego, and I just walk it in to them. There are places where you can mail the cannisters and they’ll mail you back the prints.

I just Googled, and apparently Wal-Mart develops photos. So you should be able to find a place.

I switched to digital…and kinda regret it, especially after all of my photos of Carlsbad Caverns came out blurry and dull. (I could have adjusted the manual settings on my point-and-shoot – something I didn’t know at the time.)

There are still a ton of film buffs out there!

Thanks Trinopus.

There is a Walmart in my town. I will check it out.
Ideally, I would like to just have negatives processed and also have them transfer the pictures to CD or DVD.

I suspect film vs digital wasn’t the problem here, but simply not understanding the proper exposure. Underground photography is difficult in the best of situations. At least with digital you can check your shots and retake if they don’t come out properly.

Understanding you cameras capabilities is key, but all the adjustments mean nothing if you have a slow lens and poor ISO selections.

Good luck with the film adventure. I gave up film years ago and haven’t looked back, but you’ll certainly find some other enthusiasts. You can pick up film SLR bodies for essentially nothing these days. I sold mine off for under $100.

Yeah, that’s what I was thinking when I read the post as well. If focusing is an issue due to bad eyes or something, and you have a DSLR, look into the “Magic Lantern” set of mods. At least on my Canon T2i, they don’t actually modify the camera, but load from the micro-SD card and stay resident, so you can wipe the sd card and get rid of it entirely (which I did by accident once).

It helps focusing by showing on the LCD with little red (or whatever color you choose) dots showing EXACTLY what’s in focus in real-time. So you can do things like flip your lens to manual focus and watch the little red dots highlight/outline what’s in focus as you move the focus. It’s very handy, especially for close-in short focal length stuff where it’s really easy to focus 2" behind or in front of what you’re looking at.

Freestyle Photo

Is a good source of photographic supplies, especially if you get interested in film formats beyond 35mm, developing and printing on your own, etc.

Developing your own B&W film is pretty easy to do. Color negative film / slide film is more of a pain because the chemicals need to be a very precise (and warm) temperature.

There is a lot of fun to be had in developing and printing photos using chemical processes. On the other hand, a good digital camera will give better and much more reliable results.

IMHO, if you shoot film and pay to have it developed and scanned, you are missing out on the fun part.

Exactly the problem: I wasn’t sufficiently familiar with the camera’s functions.

Alas for your last point, in the little thumbnail display screen, the pics looked okay; the display is so small, the blurs didn’t show. Only when I blew things up to computer monitor size could I see how crummy they were.

(Just a pretty basic Canon point-and-shoot model, not a SLR.) The display is good for very little more than basic framing. (Have I cut off anyone’s head lately? They don’t call me Marie Antoinette for nothing!)

Cabin_Fever: You’re in luck, as nearly all developing services will also scan and copy the results to a CD for you, for a very small additional charge. This is a good idea, just in general, so you have backup copies in case you ever (avert the evil day!) lose your physical photo albums.

Thanks for the replies.
All good advice.
I just want to develop the richness, the color, the B&W balance that my digital cameras don’t do.
Plus I LIKE manually setting the F-stop, the focus, etc. Call me old-school, but there you go. (Tired of point-and-shoot photos).

Don’t forget that your meter is likely off. The battery the camera was designed for is 1.35 V and you can’t get that any more. A 1.5 V will make the meter slightly off. There are ways around it, though.

Did you get a black body or chrome? I love my old Minolta 202, but I’ll never go back to it. Digital just has so many advantages.

Actually, you can. There are PS plug ins and stand alone programs (like DxO Film Pack) that do just this. They emulate the unique characteristics of certain specific films. Colour and B+W, neg and chromes. Pretty nifty. Of course, it’s still hard to catch all the little nuances, like using a different developer, using it undiluted or diluted, varying temps, printing on different papers (Ilford vs Seagull anyone?), using different color filters on camera while loaded with B+W, etc…

Yes, I am a firm Digiman, I also still shoot film. Been doing the latter for 46 years, even taught photography at a Jr college in the 80s.

With some practice, you can get nearly the same feel to your results in digital as you were used to in film.

A side point, I read on FB (no cite at all) that some film developing outfits (the cheap ones, maybe) are not sending you back your negs. Just prints and a photo CD. No idea if this rumor is true, but it pisses me off if it is. :dubious:

Apparently, I have over $100,000 worth of equipment I need to get rid of.

The 6x7 LPL enlarger is now $4K+.

I wonder what the D5 and D2 are worth?

Not to mention the roller transport processors.

Anybody want a darkroom? I’ve got about 2 or 3 here.

Those Minolta SRT cameras were rugged little beasts.

The good news on that is that negative film has a pretty decent latitude or tolerance to incorrect exposure, so you may be able to use a regular size 386/301 watch battery (or maybe a 375) and get perfectly good exposures.

If you want the metering to be more accurate, some people slip a #9 o-ring around a #675 hearing aid battery to keep it centered in the compartment. This has been the most popular “fix” as the 675 puts out the right voltage (or at least much closer to right than a watch battery), they’re available at any grocery store or drug store and they’re cheap.

For the sake of completeness, you can also buy Wein MRB625 cells, but their price has risen to about six bucks each.

Truth be told, as the camera is 40-50 years old, there’s a pretty good chance that the shutter is a bit off, and probably to a degree that will overpower any minor inaccuracies in the meter.

Also a good chance the meter won’t work at all, if the battery was left in all these years, corroding the compartment.

Luckily for B+W or for colour negs the Sunny 16 Rule still works. Remember film data sheets?

You can also find hand held meters used. My Android phone even has an app for that

Hey - I lucked out on the meter!

I ebay’d (remember when ebay was fun?) the Gossen Luna Pro in 1999.

I now have several old Maxxum’s (and the AA battery grips) for metering, should I ever drag out the Sinar.

You can do all that with digital, in fact you can do it much easier with a modern DSLR. Shoot in RAW, do some post-processing, and you’ll exceed what you can do with film that you send out to be developed.

Film is lots of fun, but I honestly don’t feel that there are any advantages today over digital.

I have a black body.
As mentioned, I just want to retro to film for fun.
I have no problem with f-stops, shutter speed, focusing, etc.

Thanks for the tip on the battery. That fought my ignorance. :slight_smile:
A 1.5v battery would make the meter go high? or low? Curious.

Thanks for the link!
I have had my own darkrooms in the past. I am just playing right now, but since I intend to use B&W in this camera almost exclusively, I may try setting up another darkroom.

Yes. Digital is far more versatile. I have two Canons, one point-and-shoot and one DSLR which is set to RAW for everything.
Since the Minolta and the lenses were a gift, I started remembering my beginnings in photography and how much I have forgotten.
Thanks all. I will take any and all advice out there.
I am beginning to remember why film photography was so expensive, These days, digital, take as many shots as needed. With film, one needed to be more disciplined.

Cooleo! Which app do you use? Color me curious.