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So my mom just got this effing awesome digital Nikon, and she gave me her old (old!!!!!) film camera. It's a Minolta Maxxum 3xi, not sure if it's any good, and I can't find any good information on google about it, so I'm wondering if anyone here knows anything about it. Its in pretty good condition, except for a small missing/cracked section near the film bay spring, but it still takes pictures fine.

The lens is a Minolta AF 70-210 Zoom, and it says on it, "70-210mm 1:4.5 (22) - 5.6. I don't know what that means, so if someone could tell me that I'd be appreciative.

I'd like to know what I could do to make this work as best as it can (I.E. how to clean it, etc). I'd also like to know if there is such thing as a good fisheye that is cheap, which one's the best, stuff like that. I figure that if I'm going to get started with photography, then this will be my way to do it. If someone could also tell me a little about film cameras/taking good pictures in general that would be great too.

Also, what's the best film to use?
 

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70-210mm is the zoom distance of the lens. you have what's considered a telephoto lens because it zooms a lot further than your standard lens. for instance, i would use my 50mm or 18-55mm lens to take portrait shots of people that are standing pretty close, or of cars or something that you want to get close to in order to get the real detail of it.

a telephoto lens is usually used in sports and in nature. in sports its good because you can be on the sidelines, but take a photo closeup of the action. in nature it helps to get shots of animals without scaring them away, as well as taking pictures things that are further away and inaccesible. the other numbers (im pretty sure, because they are kinda wierd and i dont have those on my camera) that they mean you have an minimum aperture of f22 and a maximum of f4.5. in english, that means that the largest your lens will open up is at an fstop of 4.5 and the smallest is at f22. In general, you use a large aperture (small fstop) to either shoot in lower light conditions (because you need light for photos, and a larger aperture=more light. Large apertures are also used to have a very shallow depth of field, meaning whatever you are focused on will be your main subject, and everything else in the background is blurry. As you increase your fstop (decrease aperture size), your depth of field increases, and the background becomes more and more clearer.

because your largest aperture is 4.5, id say that you'll want to shoot outside on sunny days. you'll also want to use a high speed film. film is measured in iso ratings. a low iso such as iso100 means that it is less sensative to light, meaning it takes a longer shutter speed or larger aperture to take a certain picture (or both). a larger iso rating such as iso800 or 1600 means that it is very sensative to light and therefore you can shoot at higher shutter speeds. however, as you increase iso, you decrease photo quality. iso100 will give you the smallest amount of grain and iso800 will give you grainy shots.
 
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