Are you new to the world of film photography and wondering what are the best film cameras?
With digital cameras becoming the norm in the 21st century, film cameras seem like they are part of a bygone era.
For many people, however, a vintage camera is what truly represents the core of photography, and makes their heart beat quicker. As a result, the film camera community continues to thrive today, with thousands of photographers and collectors across the world collecting and selling these incredible vintage devices.
Here are the best film cameras available on the market.
Best Film Cameras: Top Three
Best Film Cameras: Comparison Table
Why Buy a Film Camera? (Why Shoot Film?)
Film may be unpredictable, slow, and expensive, but it has that old-world charm that is irresistible to photographers and artists who enjoy its imperfections and unpredictability. Here are a few more reasons why you must consider a film camera.
Medium-format digital cameras can run from around $15,000 for a mid-range one to $30,000 for a great high-end model. On the other hand, medium-format film costs about $10 to buy and develop for 12 frames. A film-based camera will cost a fraction of its digital counterpart. Of course, you need to invest in a good scanner to make the best of your film photographs, but you’ll still save a large chunk of what you may have spent with a digital equivalent.
Using a fully manual camera will force you to be well-versed with all aspects of photography. Moreover, you will truly understand what is happening inside your DSLR when you autofocus or use auto exposure. You also have the ability to change settings exactly as you desire, without being limited.
Some of the cheapest available film cameras are disposable ones. They are great to encourage kids to get into photography, or for a one-off event such as a party. You can then crack open the case and have the film developed in some high street shops for some unforgettable memories!
What’s so great about film is that photos look fantastic right out of the camera. Companies like Fujifilm and Kodak have spent years and millions of dollars in R&D to ensure that films produce excellent levels of grain, color, and contrast so that all photographers have to think about is expose and focus. With modern digital cameras, however, the story is completely different. Post-processing is a very necessary part of modern photography, especially when shooting in RAW. It is impossible to expect a modern photograph to look perfect right from the get-go.
A Paradise for Camera Nerds
Being able to buy multiple legendary cameras that cost less than a single high-quality Canon lens feels amazing. It is impossible to get a better bang for your buck than vintage film cameras. An example is the iconic Leica M6, which can be bought for around $1500 in good condition, an absolute steal for what you’re getting.
Best Film Cameras
Main features of Lomography Diana:
- Variable Shutter Speed (Unlimited Exposure or Daylight)
- Film Format 120
- 3 Aperture Settings
- 2 Image formats (16 or 12 Square Shots)
Main features of Holga 120:
- Plastic 60mm f/8 Lens
- Shutter Speed of 1/100 Seconds
- ‘Cloudy’ and ‘Sunny’ Aperture Settings
- Modest Design and Minimal Control
Main features of Canon AE-1:
- Electronically controlled Automatic Exposure and Focal Plane Shutter
- Canon Breech-Lock Mount
- Fixed Eye-Level Pentaprism Viewfinder
- Aperture Scale with Meter Needle and Battery Indicator
See also: Contax T2 Review
Main features of Contax T2:
- Aperture Range from f/2.8 to f/16
- Shutter Speed from 1 to 1/500th second
- ISO 25 to 5000
- Autofocus and Manual Focus Available
Main features of Nikon FM2:
- Optical TTL Viewfinder
- 1/4000 sec Shutter Speed
- Tough Copper-Silicon-Aluminium Alloy Construction
- Battery-Less Operation
Main features of Canon A2:
- Eye-Controlled Autofocus
- Shutter Speed of 30 to 1/8000sec
- Built-in Flash
- Multiple Programmed Modes (Sports, Macro, Portrait etc.)
Main features of Leica M-A:
- Manually Controlled Focus, Aperture, and Shutter Speed
- All Metal Body with Chrome Brass Top
- Direct Vision Rangefinder
- 35mm Film Format
Main features of Konica Hexar AF:
- Compact Design
- Autofocus Capabilities
- Silent Shutter
- Built-in Light Meter
Main features of Nikon F6:
- 11-point Auto Focus System
- 5.5 FPS Continuous Shooting
- Multiple Exposure Modes – Manual, Flexible Program, Shutter Priority
- Fixed Eye-Level Pentaprism Viewfinder with Built-In Diopter Adjustment
- Built-in Battery Backup
Main features of Fujifilm Quicksnap Flash 400:
- Single Use Camera
- Contains Fujicolor 400 Film
- 27 Exposures Possible
- Simple Operation
Now that you’ve seen the appeal of some of the best film cameras, give these a try! Before long, you too may find yourself utterly fascinated by these incredible devices!
Stefano Caioni is a photographer from Sydney, Australia. Founder and editor of Pixinfocus, his passion for photography helps him explore new places and live new adventures. Thanks to photography he reconnected with the outdoors and was able to travel the world and take photos of some of the most beautiful places on Earth.