The 5 Best 35mm Film Cameras for Beginners

The current photography industry is heavily influenced by the use of digital equipment. Yet, even with this reliance on innovative camera setups, many photographers are still embracing the classic method of film photography. With a distinctive look and feel, integrating the use of film with your digital imagery can give your work a creative and personal touch. Here are 5 film cameras that are affordable and easy-to-use for the beginning analog photographer:

Canon AE-1 Program

One of the most highly regarded SLR film cameras is the Canon AE-1 Program. With a sturdy build and interchangeable lens structure, this camera has everything you need to start shooting right away. With this camera, you will find that the simplicity of the setup drastically differs from Canon’s digital counterparts. All you really need is to add the battery, load the film and start shooting. It contains a built-in light meter, for those who want to shoot manually or the ability to set the camera to Program, the lens to the A function allowing the camera to thrive automatically.  

Olympus OM10

Another great option for an SLR film camera is the Olympus OM10. Comparable to other film cameras of its time, the Olympus is equipped with a built-in light meter that allows you to fully control your exposure, ISO and shutter speed for manual shooters. Even in the instance where your battery dies, the camera can still be used and functions properly – you will just need to manually determine your own lighting situation. The Olympus is also compatible with Zuiko lenses, which are known to produce crisp, high-quality images. 

Contax TVS 35mm Point and Shoot

The next film camera on our list is a bit different from the rest. As a traditional point and shoot, the Contax has a zoom lens of 28-56mm with an aperture of F/ 3.5-6.5. The Contax has a solid build and is a high performing camera that creates prime film snapshots. Whether you decided to shoot in Program Mode or manually adjust your settings – it is perfect for a wide variety of photographic projects. This line is known for its high-quality glass, which makes the price a bit higher. Although more of an investment, the images it produces have a truly recognizable aesthetic and appeal.

Nikon FM2

The Nikon FM2 continues to be a leader in the 35mm SLR film market. Back in its conception, it was often revered by street and journalistic photographers as their go-to choice for creating high-quality images. As a fully manual camera, it also has the ability to function without a battery – making it compact and easy to use. 

Minolta X-700

The last camera on our list is the Minolta X-700. The camera offers an ISO range from 25 to 1600 and a shutter speed of 1/1000s to 1s. It is fairly straightforward to use with both program and manual options, but it does need a battery in order to operate properly. The main draw of this camera is its simplicity, perfect for a beginner in the analog world looking to compose quality images. It is one of the more affordable SLR options.

If you’re a film photographer, what was the first camera you began shooting with? Share with us in the comments below.

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