If you are in a hurry and just want to find out what the Best 35mm Film Camera is, then I’d recommend the Canon AE-1 as the best one.
Remember back in the days when photography was achieved on vintage 35mm SLR film? No doubt, the present photography industry has embraced the use of digital in every photography activities. But, there are those that still appreciate the vintage method and their good old benefits.
Whether in digital photography or film photography, choosing the right camera for you is usually a daunting task and experience. With loads of film cameras, you are likely to be overwhelmed in your decision-making process.
What do you intend to achieve?
Before making your choice of a film camera, one of the most important question to answer is what you intend to achieve with it. Your answer to this question not only helps you to determine your priorities. And every other consideration you’re going to make is going to be a follow it.
Types of 35mm Film Cameras
This is the most common of them and is usually the picture most people have when they think about film cameras. This type of film cameras otherwise referred to as single-lens-reflex come with interchangeable lenses in front. And a viewfinder that allows you to make your gaze with the help of a lens.
Typically these are the most durable of all forms of the film camera. It allows for manual control, for swapping of their lenses anytime it is necessary. These lenses are peculiar to each; that is, a Nikon lens will most likely not be compatible with a Canon camera. The SLRs cameras are mostly big and somewhat cumbersome.
Also most models, particularly the older ones use manual focus and provide little to no help with exposure controls. They are designed for simple operation.
2. Compact Cameras
From the name compact, it implies that they are small and very portable – as small as your usual bars of soap. They are otherwise known as point and shoot cameras, because of their limitations when it comes to manual controls.
These are a great solution for people that are enthusiasts of the film look and not into learning photographic concepts like exposure and the rest. Compact cameras were generally designed for the mass audience and so may not come along in terms of quality and build. These cameras also don’t allow the option of changing between lenses.
This types of film camera are somewhere between the SLRs and compact types. They employ the use of a viewfinder for composing and focusing, instead of the lens (the lens is usually coupled to the viewfinder). This also implies that you can’t see through the lens like you would with an SLR.
Some rangefinders allow for interchanging of lenses, while others don’t. Generally, they offer the most manual controls.
How to Choose The Best Film Cameras
A common question, especially amongst beginners about film cameras is how to choose the best. Below are important considerations to make before opting in for any purchase.
1. Manual Controls
This is one feature that allows you full control over the image exposure. The opposite of this will be an automatic control. Where the shutter speed, ISO and aperture is pre-set for you.
Manual control allows you to determine the levels of these functions thereby determining the outcome of your image. Anything other than manual control may be ideal for a beginner, who will likely not be knowledgeable about how to control those three vital functions. For a professional, you want your images to look the way you want.
2. Choice of Model
My common advice for those who are looking to buy film cameras is that they choose a common model. So that repair and maintenance will be easy.
One of the challenges with obscure cameras is that despite their beautiful exterior and maybe performance, their repairs and maintenance is somewhat pricey.
A popular brand means they can be found in most part of the world, plus finding their instruction manual is usually easy.
3. Built-in Light Meter
This is an important consideration to make if you want to save money. Getting correct exposure always takes time and practice. Since this is not a digital device to come with a screen to check your work, you’re likely to waste a lot of films in the process if shooting.
The light meter is there to examine the light coming in and evaluating the scene’s brightness. This way, you can adjust the camera settings to your desired exposure, and avoid any form of guesswork.
Different film cameras come with a different level of weight. Generally, cameras of the same types tend to weigh almost the same. A beginner or adventurer may likely go for a lightweight camera.
This way you can with less hassle take your device anywhere you want to. If you intend for your camera to stay home most of the time, then it won’t matter how weighty it is then.
Best 35mm Camera Reviews
- 35mm SLR (Single-Lens-Reflex) camera with electronically controlled AE (Automatic Exposure) and focal plane shutter.
- Canon FD series interchangeable lenses with full aperture metering and AE coupling. Canon FL series with stopped-down metering.
- Standard lenses for the Canon AE are Canon FD 55mm f/1.2 S.S.C, Canon FD 50mm f/1.4 S.S.C, Canon FD 50mm f/1.8 S.C.
- Canon Breech-Lock mount, Canon FD, FL and R lenses can be used. The viewfinder is fixed eye-level pentaprism with a field of view that is 93.5% vertical and 96% horizontal coverage of the actual picture
- Viewfinder information includes aperture scale with meter needle and stopped-down metering which also serves as a battery charge level check mark.
Are you looking for a wonderful addition to your collection of film or vintage camera? This might be what you need – Canon AE-1 35mm Film Camera.
When it comes to SLR cameras, the canon Canon AE-1 35mm Film Camera is known as a best seller. And one of the best 35mm film cameras ever made. One of the first observations to make of this device is the simplicity and eloquence of its design.
One of the amazing functions featured on this device is an electronically controlled, electromagnet horizontal cloth focal plane shutter. This shutter, in turn, features a speed range of 2 to 1/1000 second allowing enough time for the light to hit the sensor or film for a good quality image to be captured.
Also featured is a flash X-sync of 1/60th and this provides adequate ambient illumination to complement the image quality.
|It is lightweight||Maybe too small for those with large hands|
|It is compact and pocketable||Quality is good, but can be better|
|Easy replacement of its parts||It is always expensive to repair|
|Its light meter is efficient|
|Its manufacturers are a popular brand|
- The Pentax K1000 35mm SLR is one of photography's greatest, most popular and longest-lived cameras.
- This Pentax film camera is completely mechanical and needs no battery to run, however, you must purchase an A76 cell battery to run the light meter.
- Unlike other SLR and DSLR cameras, the K1000 is simple and has little to no learning curve. There is three shooting controls: aperture, shutter speed and focus. You set the film speed when you load it.
- An extraordinary simple camera that forces you to think about your picture instead of your camera. As a result, it's recommended by most photography teachers, instructors, and professors to be used in their classes.
- The Pentax K1000 is so brilliant that you never need to turn the meter or camera on or off: both are always on for instant picture taking
Are you looking for a practical, simple and yet lovable classic vintage camera? You might want to consider Pentax K1000 Manual Focus SLR Film Camera.
The Pentax K1000 is another SLR camera that has over the years earned a reputation as a sturdy and reliable manually functioning camera. It is equipped with everything a photographer requires to produce images of high-quality.
The Pentax K1000 is one camera made with materials that have proven to stand up to all kinds of conditions. With its f/4 settings, you can be sure of the full aperture potential reached by many common motifs.
It features an in-built light meter that helps you gauge the right lighting level required for any photo. It also features a powerful 1.5-volt alkaline battery, and this provides more than required energy it takes to set up shots.
|It is very affordable||Its battery likely to drain easily|
|It is completely mechanical and manual controlled||It produces a spring-like noise under low shutter speed|
|Finding spare parts for replacement is easy|
|It has a sturdy design|
|It has a shutter-ready indicator for reduced guesswork|
- Type of Camera - Integral motor autofocus 35mm SLR (Single Lens Reflex) camera with electronically controlled focal-plane shutter.
- Exposure Modes - Programmed Auto, Flexible Program, Shutter priority, Aperture Priority and Manual
- Picture Format - 24mm x 36mm (standard 35mm film format)
- Viewfinder - Fixed eyelevel pentaprism, built-in diopter adjustment (-2 to +1m-1)
- Eyepoint - 18mm (at -10m-1) ; Power Source: Battery Holder MS-41 provided (two 3V Lithium batteries) Optional Multi Power Battery Pack MB-40 and AA type battery holder MS-40 available (for eight alkaline manganese, lithium or NiMH batteries or one rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL4); built-in battery back up
The Nikon F6 AF 35mm Film SLR camera is one camera that was known to use the latest digital technologies. This camera came out incredibly sophisticated with amazing and exciting features and functions.
This camera was meticulously engineered for absolute minimum vibration and frequency attenuation. To a point where the camera’s operational sound was minimized to the minimum.
One of the major high points of this camera is the high-precision shutter unit. In fact, it is believed that no other camera compares to this camera’s assembly.
|It has a reasonable size||Its display updates are slow|
|It sounds quiet and precise|
|It feels good in the hand|
|It works work with a wide variety of flashes|
|Its exposure is clear and perfect|
This is one camera you want to consider if you’re up for the purest and simplest photographic SLR experience possible. The Olympus OM-1 35mm Film Camera is as good as it can get with image quality – there’s no need for further praises.
It features a full manual exposure system and this is not reliant the battery. That is the battery only operates the light meter.
The placement of its function buttons is brilliant. A perfect example is the shutter speeds placed on the face of the camera behind the lens mount. This allows for easy changing of the focus, f/stop and shutter speed using your left hand, while the right is used to fire.
While its film loading is no different from its counterparts, you don’t have to remove the motor drive or winder to change film since it is on the face of the camera.
|It metering is easy to use||Being very small can be a problem|
|Awesome placement of shutter speed button|
|It is very compact and portable|
|It feels good in the hand|
|Its focusing is super easy and intuitive|
|Its lens quality is impressive|
|It works fine without light meter|
- Programmed automatic or manual exposure
- Camera body only; lens sold separately
- Programmed auto flash
- Date/time imprinting
- Exposure override up to 2 stops
The Minolta X-700 35mm SLR Camera not only feels great but with its fantastic array of accessories. It’s no doubt an excellent investment for any SLR enthusiast.
Whether it is outdoor or indoor photography; portrait or landscape photography, this camera works. It’s flash system features a separate light cell in the compartment of the film. And this light, in turn, measures the film reflected light; plus it controls the aperture. The result of this is a sophisticated exposure.
One of the awesome features of this Minolta cameras is its quick touch button. This function is built into the shutter release, thus the moment you touch the button is when metering begins. This consumer-level camera also features a high shutter speed that ensures high-quality images.
|It comes with a fantastic array of accessories||It is excessively reliant to electronics|
|It is strong and durable||It is robust|
|It lenses are amazing|
|Its adjustments between controls is easy and effortless|
|Its easy to understand and operate|
Final Thoughts On The Best Film Cameras
It’s no news that one of the areas that the digital revolution is coming on strong is the photography industry. But the film still has certain important advantages that a digital counterpart cannot overrule.
So, I’m a stern believer that knowledge and use of film cameras and photography remain important and valid. With the number of cameras available out there, it is usually difficult to decide on which is best. But, from the five film cameras reviewed above, my pick goes to the Canon AE-1.
The reason is simple, Canon AE is one brand name that has earned a reputation for quality and reliable products and Canon AE-1 35mm Film Camera is no different. Whatever it takes to achieve a high-quality image, this camera is up to it.
Another reason this product works for me is its light meter. This is another important need for the best film camera. With such an effective light meter, you can never miss out on the right lighting level. The result of this is again a high-quality image. Best of all is that it is manually controlled.
This allows for creativity in manipulating the basic camera functions. And achieving your desired image output. So if you’re looking for a film camera that has proven its worth over the years and can stand up to all kinds of conditions, it might be the Canon AE-1.
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Last update on 2019-10-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API