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Five Best Medium Format Cameras for Beginners

5 best medium format film camerasIt happens to the best of us. At some point in the photographic journey, every photo geek is going to run into a wall. Things get stale; you’ve plateaued. You’ve been shooting the same subjects with the same camera for too many years, and there’s no way to avoid the truth that you’re getting bored with photography.

But it doesn’t have to stay this way. There are things we can do to stave off the inevitable onset of photographic ennui. Traveling, shooting with friends or alone, and taking a break from the camera are all useful tools in the toolbox of every happy photographer.

But if you’ve tried all this and you’re still finding yourself a bit distracted, a bit blasé about this whole photography thing, the problem may just rest with your format. Crop sensors? Full-frame? 35mm film? Get real. That stuff is so dull, and puny, and pathetic. You need a bigger format! You need something with depth and charisma! You need to shoot medium format.

But with so many cameras to choose from, how do you know which is right for you?

It’s cool. We’ve got you covered.

Here’s a list of five excellent medium format film cameras for shooters new to the vast frontier of medium format.

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Five Best Cameras for Photography Students

Five best student cameras (3 of 5)

There’s a certain question that I get asked virtually every single day. People need to know what camera they should buy for their upcoming high school or college photography class. It’s a great question, and one that I’m always happy to answer, as it means that someone’s about to begin a process of discovery that often grows into a lifelong passion for the medium.

After fielding this question three times today, I’ve put together a quick article showcasing what I believe are five of the very best cameras for new students of photography. These cameras provide everything that most high school teachers and college professors insist their students’ cameras offer, while being affordable, quality machines.

Take a look, pick the one that suits you best, and get shooting!

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Minolta XE-5 – Camera Review

Minolta XE-5 Camera Review (5 of 16)

I began my photographic journey with a Minolta DSLR, the rather fantastic-in-its-day Maxxum 5D, so when I felt the urge to try some film shooting more than a decade later, Minolta became my launching point. After careful research, I purchased the XE-7, and it turned out to be one of my favorite buys of all time.

This camera was so special to me, in fact, that it’s entirely responsible for spawning the germ that would become CASUAL PHOTOPHILE. It was the XE-7 that showed me the incredible value of quality vintage cameras, the charm of analog photography, and the importance of experiencing the world through a lens (a truth that I’d somehow forgotten during the previous ten years).

Recently, with the site about to enter its third year, I’d been feeling the urge to get back to basics; to get out and shoot with a camera that just felt right. The XE-7 would have been a strong candidate, but with the new year and omnipresent deadlines fast approaching, it was important to shoot a camera that I’d not yet reviewed.

With this in mind, I chose to spend the holiday break shooting a Minolta XE-5, a 35mm film SLR made in 1975. Would the XE-5 be any good? Or would the ‘5, as many commentators might have us believe, be naught but a low-rent knockoff of the lauded ‘7? Let’s find out.

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The Best First Film Camera for Any Shooter

how to choose first film camera

It’s one of the questions we’re asked most often here at CP, across our social media accounts, and through our online shop. Every day, new shooters and experienced digital photographers ask us to help them choose their first film camera.

It’s not an easy task. Often we don’t know the shooter’s goals, experience level, or budget. What we do know, is that there’s a film camera out there for everyone. They just need to find it!

With this in mind, we’ve put together a list of recommended cameras for people looking to buy their first film camera. From totally inexperienced shooters to those seeking the ultimate film camera, we’ve taken the time to curate a list that’ll help any first-time film shooter find the film camera that’s right for them. We’ve even included links to our full reviews where applicable!

We should add that there are many more cameras out there that could’ve made this list. We tried to focus on cameras we’ve reviewed.

Check out the list, and if you’re a veteran film shooter let us know in the comments which camera was your first!

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Minolta MD 50mm ƒ/1.4 – The Ultimate Standard Legacy Lens?

With the runaway success of today’s mirror-less digital cameras has come another photo gear boom. And while the products in question are neither new nor novel, they’re essential and seem almost tailor-made to the mirror-less machine. We’re talking about legacy lenses. With impressive performance and value, legacy lenses have become a real passion for more and more in-the-know shooters.

And it’s easy to see why. Cameras like Sony’s A7 and Fujifilm’s X-Series have never looked better than when fitted with a classic, manual-focus lens. These modern, mirror-less marvels provide a perfect platform for the stylish and technically masterful lenses of yesteryear.

But with so many brands and models stretching back more than fifty years, which is the lens to choose? Especially in the standard 50mm focal length, the sheer quantity of available glass can be pretty overwhelming.

So, today we’ll make a case for what may just be the very best standard, 50mm legacy lens. With an ideally balanced combination of performance, build quality, versatility, and price, this lens is the perfect complement to your new mirror-less camera or classic film SLR.

It’s Minolta’s MD 50mm ƒ/1.4, and if you’ve been looking for the best legacy fifty, you may have met your match.

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