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I'm a complete beginner at proper photography. I recently was given a Praktica BC1 camera and I have absolutely no idea how to use it really. I've never really used a film camera and would appreciate any advice anyone can give me!
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OMG, where to start! Assuming that the Praktica came with an instruction book, you'd be well advised to read that thoroughly if you haven't already done so. If it didn't come with an instruction book, there must be somewhere on the 'net that you can download one.
You say that you've "never really used a film camera", so does that mean you've used a digital one? If so, you must already have some idea of what photography involves. One important difference is that the Praktica is a manual focus camera, so you'll have to twist the focusing ring on the lens to get the image sharp in the viewfinder before taking each picture. Also when you load, say, an ISO 100 film, you're stuck with that film speed for the whole 24 or 36 exposures on that film; you can't change ISO setting from one shot to another the way you can with a digital camera.
I could go on for longer, but if you have any specific questions or problems, you could always post them on here!
Given that the BC1 is actually still working, they had a failure rate of around 50%, it could produce some pretty decent results. As mentioned, it is a manual focus, aperture priority auto with manual over-ride. If you have never used an slr before then it will take a little getting used too but worth a punt for sure.
With a fresh battery, open the back of the camera and operate the shutter release as it was generally the shutter blind that failed. Pop a film in and have a go. You can get a manual online if you don't have one and this site will give you some technical spec'.
Here's the manual online
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