For anyone who is looking to finally take the plunge for a quality camera setup, there are some pieces of photo film equipment (PFE) that must not be overlooked.
The most important piece of equipment in any film setup is the camera. Your shots are only as good as the camera you take them on, no matter how talented you are as a photographer. There are plenty of great analog cameras on the market, many of which can be purchased rather inexpensively. The best way to get set up with a new camera that is right for you is to go to a camera shop and explain to the clerk what you’re looking for, including what type of shots you plan to take, your price range etc.
Just as important as the camera you use is the film you put in it. Film can range from low to high quality, and its prices usually follow accordingly. While budget film can be useful for test shots, one should never use cheap film for a final product, as it will almost always develop poorly compared to a more expensive, higher quality film. Use cheap film for tests, and good film for the actual shot.
Chances are the camera that you purchase will come with an adequate lens to get started with. However, you may want to purchase a second or even third lens to add to your repertoire. While all-around lenses can be used in most lighting situations, they don’t handle any of them perfectly. That said, it is wise to have on hand specialty lenses, such as one meant specifically for nighttime shots. The more you can do to perfect the shot, the happier you’ll be with the final result.
Like lenses, different flashes are usually necessary for different situations, and chances are the flash that comes standard on your camera is not nearly as high in quality a the one you purchase separately. Build your bag up with at least one extra flash; two or three if you can afford it.
A tripod is practically necessary for certain shots, and can help you to achieve monumental clarity and focus in your work. Fortunately, tripods can be purchased very inexpensively, and come in a variety of different shapes and sizes. Choose the one that you feel best fits the scenarios you like to shoot.
Without a bag, carrying all of your equipment becomes cumbersome. It’s not worth the hassle, so do what you can to purchase a high-quality, durable bag for your equipment.