Film cameras are widely used because of their convenience and functionality. This format is ideal if you’re getting started on photography. However, with their growing popularity, the prices of most 35mm film cameras keep increasing day by day. Therefore, knowing the best cheap 35mm film cameras available is advisable before pouring your hard-earned money into one.
Read this ultimate review of the best 35mm film camera for beginners to discover which one best fits your budget and shooting demands.
As a photographer, a restoration, and a designer, Emily isn't just a jack-of-all-trades, she's a certified expert. She's a tech junkie, and the most screen-addicted member of the IRC team. When it comes to product reviews, her insights and recommendations are second-to-none.
35mm file format type
Automatic exposure control
Zoom 28-80mm Lens
AF2000xi Flash power
The Minolta SPxi is one of the best 35mm rangefinder film cameras available. If you’re wondering what a rangefinder is, it’s a vintage point-and-shoot film camera popular from the 1960s until the 1980s.
The term rangefinder applies to the focusing mechanism. Because there is no autofocus, you must use the viewfinder and twist the focus gear on the lens. The focus is determined by a little dot in the middle of the viewfinder.
If you want to try your hand at street photography, the Minolta 35mm film camera is ideal. Because the aperture and shutter speed are both automated, the only thing you need to worry about is adjusting the ISO. After that, you have to choose your range and begin shooting.
A rangefinder can be challenging to get used to, especially for those unfamiliar with vintage cameras. But don’t be alarmed because this Minolta is quite simple to use. It’s also tiny and light, making it ideal for carrying around for your everyday photography needs.
✅ Manual ISO and shutter speed
✅ The focal length of 45mm
✅ Low-light photography is possible
✅ Strong and durable
❌ Smudgy Viewfinder
35mm film format
30-1/8000sec shutter speed
Autofocus, manual focus type
Dimension: 2.92 x 6.08 x 4.78 inches
The Canon EOS A2 was at the pinnacle of Canon’s EOS camera range at the time of its release. As one of the best canon 35mm film cameras, it includes two dials to modify the shutter speed and aperture settings.
If you’re a Canon DSLR photographer, you’ve probably got a few lenses lying around. The good news is that this camera has a Canon EF lens mount. So all of your lens collections will be compatible with this one.
This rangefinder has an auxiliary focusing pane through which you can line up your shot and take it. This implies that you can focus your image faster, but what you see via the viewfinder isn’t always the same as what you get through the lens (TTL).
When it comes to candid photography, it’s fantastic, but when it comes to lining up the ideal composition, it’s a nightmare.
✅ Great image quality
✅ Small viewfinder
✅ Easy to use
❌ Battery type is challenging to find
As one of the best Nikon 35mm film cameras, the Nikon 35 Ti, a 1990s model has endured the test of time.
You may be curious what the ‘Ti’ stands for. It references the titanium utilized by Nikon camera makers for their original models. So, this is a good and long-lasting camera option if you’re looking for something durable for your long-haul shooting projects.
One of the best features of this camera is the ability to disable autofocus, letting you experiment and be more creative with your images. This is something that not many cameras will enable you to accomplish.
This camera can create excellent photographs with great contrast and crisp details.
✅ Great build quality
✅ High-quality images
❌ It is premium-priced
35mm file format
Manual exposure control
Detachable flash unit
2 LR44 batteries
Olympus has built a reputation for producing some of the finest compact point-and-shoot cameras. And the Olympus Zuiko XA2 tops that list. Given its excellent image quality, it’s one of the best vintage 35mm film cameras you should consider investing in.
This XA2 comes with a 35mm lens, and you can adjust the focus distance using the switch mounted on the front part. This film camera offers three distinct focal ranges: 1.5m, 3m, and infinity.
If you’re looking for the best beginner 35mm camera for your street, portrait, and landscape photography, this is it!
It’s tough and durable, with a thick plastic casing. It’s also small enough to slip into your pocket and travel around with. It is ideal if you’re new to filming because it has simple camera controls. However, this shouldn’t discourage you if you’re a serious photographer because its excellent shooting results will appeal to you.
This best small and compact 35mm camera is also quite popular among fashion photographers as it shoots excellent portraits where the model is the main focus of the scene,
Because compact 35mm slr cameras are so popular right now, they cost a little more than other cameras. But regarded as storytelling lenses capable of shooting more than just a primary photo, digging deeper into your pockets shouldn’t be a problem.
✅ It is perfect for beginners
✅ It has a self-timer
✅ Functional exposure and ISO dial
✅ Compact and lightweight
❌ The LR44 batteries do not last longer
1/120s shutter speed
1.1m to infinity focus range
31mm focal length
f/11 aperture size
35mm negative film
If you’re on a tight budget but interested in investing in the best affordable 35mm film cameras, you’ve hit the perfect spot with this Yashica. This MF-1 35 is a low-cost choice that feels like a high-end camera when you hold it, although composed of a plastic build. It is a lightweight unit because of its plastic material, therefore ideal for photographers who shoot in distant locations.
The camera boasts a big aperture size (f/11), perfect for capturing crisp photographs. Furthermore, this Yashica is ideal for everyday photography, including food, street, and events photography.
In terms of visual quality, it’s excellent, and if you’re working in limited light conditions, you have the inbuilt flash for extra lighting on your subject.
However, there are a couple of downsides to this 35mm film camera. For example, the difficulty you might experience when loading your film into the camera. And, because it’s made of plastic, it won’t survive much longer. Also, if you like your images to have a blur background effect, you might have to pass on this Yashica because it lacks bokeh settings.
❌ It lacks a bokeh background effect
❌ Plastic build quality
f/2 aperture size
1.36v mercury battery
1/1000s max shutter speed
External hot shoe mount
The Minolta 201 is yet another best vintage 35mm camera on this list that will serve you with a nostalgic vibe and the learning opportunity you need. Because the camera is primarily metal-made, it is a bit heavy, sturdy, and durable.
Using its timer, you can quickly steady the camera before taking the shot. Furthermore, you can quickly modify the frame rate and the ISO film speed using one dial.
This camera offers you the functionality of mounting it on a tripod to support the camera. This provides a solid base for it, which is beneficial for capturing shake-free images.
Additionally, if you’re looking for a perfect focal length for your casual day-to-day photography, this Minolta has you covered. With its extra 45mm (normal range) focal distance, you get the perfect field of view.
It has a low aperture (f/2), which favors you if you shoot in limited light conditions. Additionally, with a bigger opening from such a small aperture, you’ll be capable of shooting images with a bokeh background effect.
The only issue with this vintage 35mm camera is getting a couple of streaks because it’s not a new set.
✅ Superb image quality
✅ It is cheap
✅ Excellent build quality
✅ Adjustable ISO and shutter speed
You’re probably familiar with the Leica brand if you’ve been into photography long enough. This classic brand was cherished by legendary photographers, the likes of Cartier-Bresson, who made it into a sensation.
When the M6 initially debuted in 1983, it was particularly renowned among street photographers and photojournalists. Its small size and durable magnesium alloy body make it an unobtrusive companion in harsh conditions. It finally became the best Leica 35mm rangefinder film camera with the longest production run.
The Leica M6 is a purely mechanical gem that allows you to photograph from 1/1000 to one second at any frame rate. It has two LR44 batteries concealed behind a circular cover on the front of the camera that serves to power the inbuilt light meter.
Being the first 35mm rangefinder camera, it has a lovely design. It is also small and has a quiet shutter sound, ideal for candid shots.
Being a proud Leica owner feels like you’re a part of a social benefit group. This includes perks like this brand’s fantastic service and repair plan, which allows you to return your 35mm and other Leica cameras to an authorized store for repairs. That is something that no other brand does.
✅ Clear viewfinder
✅ Sleek design
✅ It has a bright light meter
✅ Sharp image quality
❌ Lacks bokeh effect
❌ It is expensive
24mm x 38mm picture format
35mm film format
AA battery powered
The Nikon F6 SLR camera is built to last and is appropriate for indoor and outdoor use. It’s simple to use, making it ideal for people just getting into photography.
The camera also has a rapid and precise focus. And, if you’re looking for a traditional film camera that’s comfortable to carry, the Nikon F6 won’t let you down. Furthermore, the build quality is excellent. It is, however, a little heavier than a conventional DSLR camera.
The camera settings are simple to set and adjust, and the viewfinder is bright and large. Furthermore, the metering mechanism is excellent, allowing you to record things clearly. If you’ve never used a Nikon camera before, you’ll feel right at home with this one.
It may, however, be a little pricey, and it also requires an extra Nikon lens.
✅ Sharp and quick auto-focus
✅ Easy to operate
✅ A large and bright viewfinder
❌ A little expensive
❌ No lens included
The learning curve for the Pentax K1000 film camera is short. Anyone who wants to learn photography can do it in a short amount of time using this film camera. As a result, if you are a novice looking for a 35 mm film camera to taste the waters, the Pentax K1000 is excellent.
In addition to the three shooting controls – aperture, shutter speed, and focus – you can alter the film speed depending on the light available. The greater the ISO setting, the greater the camera’s light sensitivity.
Furthermore, it is entirely manual. So, whether you’re a newbie to photography or simply want to perfect your manual photography skills, this one’s for you!
The ability to manually control the aperture and shutter speed allows you to fine-tune the light intensity and exposure. On the other hand, the light meter is not functioning efficiently, which is discouraging given that it’s a touch costly.
✅ Easy to use
✅ Great manual controls
✅ Sturdy and compact
❌ The light meter is not functioning well
35mm file format
Manual and automatic exposure control
1/2000 shutter speed
This Nikon has a beautiful design and a comfortable feel in your hand. It is suitable for both indoor and outdoor uses. When filming indoors, it offers you the functionality to use a tripod to mount the camera. It also features a timer, which allows you to shoot vibration-free photographs if you’re just starting.
It’s also ideal if you’re looking for an excellent 35mm unit for your portrait shoots. The centered meter function adjusts the brilliance in the middle, ensuring that the subject is exposed correctly. Furthermore, it is made of plastic and aluminum, making it sturdy and lightweight.
Depending on the lighting and your needs, you can also modify the frame rate up to 1/3000th of a second.
It’s ideal for individuals who wish to learn the skill of photography the old-fashioned way. You can maximize its manual control feature if you want to enhance your creative skills while learning the ins and outs of filming with this unit.
✅ Inbuilt light meter
✅ Strong and durable
✅ Lightweight and compact
❌ Difficult manual focus
This teensy point-and-shoot 35mm camera, vibrant in the 1990s, is still popular among photographers today. In reality, the price of Yashica models, like the T4 and T5, has risen steadily, rendering them some of the most costly film cameras available today.
The Yashica T5 may not appear to be much with its plastic body, but it’s a fantastic tiny camera and an excellent piece for a street photographer. Yashica added an exciting feature to this model that presents the image via the finder on the camera’s surface. This allows candid filmmakers to frame and shoot incredible photos at waist height.
The Yashica T5 boasts an excellent 35 mm Zeiss lens and flawless autofocus. It’s also waterproof so that you can use it in any weather. With this unit, you’ll capture clear, high-quality photographs!
✅ Weather sealing
✅ Crisp images
✅ High-quality shoots
❌ Plastic coating
35mm focal length
f/2.8–22 aperture size
10s shutter speed
0.8 m rangefinder
25mm x 38mm picture size
This is a one-of-a-kind 35 mm film portable rangefinder camera. Mattani Yoshihisa, Olympus’s chief of design, produced the Olympus XA, first unveiled in 1980. It achieved an iconic reputation among photojournalists because of its brand new lens and elegant appearance (at the time). The XA was a game-changer that affected camera innovation for decades.
It came with a redesigned clamshell cover that simplified the body and covered the lens, the ISO adjuster, and the focusing system. A linear aperture dial, a shutter key, and an exposure correction lever were also included. Sure, these are essential components, but the XA executes them like no other model on the market.
The XA was designed to fit into a coat pocket while maintaining its full functioning, which necessitated a thorough redesign of practically every element in compactness. The shutter button is flush with the camera’s top, the focus lever is nestled in a small fissure under the lens, and the aperture dial protrudes only a few millimeters from the camera’s front.
If you’re searching for the best point-and-shoot 35mm camera appropriate for your advanced shooting skills, the Olympus XA is a fit for the bill. It’s small, yet it has all the features that a point-and-shoot camera should possess. You can also quickly bring it with you during your travels, allowing you to snap even more photographs.
The XA is perfect if you’re setting out to capture candid photographs. It is also ideal if you’re looking for more control over the camera depth of field.
✅ Excellent candid images
✅ Lightweight and portable
❌ No image stabilization feature
35mm film type
35 mm focal length
f/2.8 max aperture
1/1000 s to 1/2 s shutter speed
The Fujifilm Klasse W was introduced to the Japanese industry in mid-2008. As a result, it is one of the most recent premium compact film cameras created; it is newer than the Contax T3.
It sports a Fujinon 38mm f2.9 Ultra EBC lens. It has an aperture control with a programmed range from 2.9 to 16. It offers two different shooting settings: the AE Exposure Priority and Program AE. This model has 1/3s to 1/600s (for f2.9) and 1/1000s (for f16), shutter speeds, and an exposure correction dial. These options give you more flexibility over your settings.
The Fuji Klasse W model performs well and takes clear images with superb contrast and detailing. It’s easy to switch from its automatic mode to the advanced Aperture Priority mode.
This fantastic camera outperforms even the most recent digital cameras and is an excellent pick for your street photography needs. You’ll get fantastic street shooting effects with the Klasse W, and it’s also lightweight so that you can carry it to your distant on-location shoot sessions.
❌ It is expensive
❌ No image stabilization
2s-1/760 shutter speeds
Automatic aperture sensitivity
Bright Albada viewfinder
CDS exposure meter
Two S76 silver oxide SR44 batteries
The Olympus XA2 isn’t as well-known as its predecessor, the XA, but it’s a friendly, easy-to-use camera. Its highly intriguing flash design, tiny size, and decent image quality distinguish it from the XA. We highly suggest this compact film camera if you enjoy street photography or simply want something small and portable. The Olympus XA2 lacks aperture sensitivity control, which the XA has. So, with the XA2, only you have the zone focusing and the ISO.
The Olympus XA2 is made entirely of plastic, so you should be careful not to break it. It’s also inconvenient to use with a camera belt unless you have something that fits into the tripod adapter.
The Olympus XA2 is relatively straightforward to operate, as long as you keep in mind that you don’t have complete control over the exposure most of the time. It has a built-in meter, and you must note the max aperture of f3.5. It makes a lot of sense to have the flashlight on and track how much further you’re focusing with this camera.
It has a switch on the side that you can use to focus on your subjects. Its three preset settings allow you to focus on certain zones: one preset displays the entire body, another half the body, and a third for infinity. You gradually learn to determine how far out the camera will focus depending on these settings as you gaze through the lens.
✅ Simple to use
✅ Tiny and compact
✅ Efficient aperture priority
❌ Made of plastic
❌ Light leaks on images
Purchasing a camera is easily confusing. Like everything else, the more alternatives you have, the less inclined you are to decide which one to choose.
There are several factors to consider when choosing the best 35mm film camera. Most current film cameras have features like depth of field previews, aperture preference, and burst rate priority. While these characteristics are desirable, you must also consider your budget.
This must-read buying guide contains everything you should consider when selecting the best professional 35mm film camera for your shooting projects.
When purchasing anything, budget and costs should be your top consideration. You’re free to always pay a little extra cash for advanced features, but this does not necessarily guarantee a superior product. Before making any decisions try and compare the price ranges of the camera you’re interested in. Then be realistic about how deep you’re willing to dig into your pockets to get it.
Remember to think about the resale price of your desired camera type. Buying a cheaper gear can result in you having something you can’t resell if you encounter something better. Purchasing camera equipment with a high resale price allows you to own and test a good camera while knowing you can resell it for some profits if you change your mind.
If you’re looking to buy a high-end camera with a good resale value, we suggest you grab the Leica models. If you’re trying out film cameras for the first time, it’s best to go with the affordable ones, just for starters. This prevents you from buying expensive film cameras that won’t do your shots any good!
Do you want a rangefinder or an SLR? Or perhaps you want to try your hand at extensive format shooting. You should start by determining what kind of photography you want to accomplish with your newfound camera.
Due to the high cost of most film cameras, you can buy a rangefinder for shooting your candid photos. But if you’re a nature photography guy, go for an SLR film type for crisp shots. There are several low-cost possibilities in the $100-300 area, and you’re bound to discover anything that meets your requirements.
Do you want an entirely manual camera, or do you like part of the exposure parameters computed? We recommend manual cameras since they do not rely on batteries or electronics and because vintage camera batteries are rigorously hard to come by!
For film photography, the camera body is the most significant starting point. If you’re looking for the latest upgrades and automatic settings, you’ll need to check particularly in the camera body. It is entirely up to you whether or not you want to go for a camera gear with automatic settings. However, if you’re a film photographer, your hands are tied to manual mode configurations for your exposure.
When selecting a camera body, one of the most critical factors to evaluate is the brand. While Canon, Nikon, and other brands make comparable model bodies, you must keep in mind that you are purchasing the full camera system and not just the camera body. Getting the right camera body ensures you buy compatible accessories and additional lenses that correctly function with that specific brand.
Mold is the biggest killer of any lens or camera. Keep a watch out for mold, and if you find it in any lens components, do not purchase it! You should also look at the general physical appearance of the camera for any signs that indicate it was thrown or dropped on a hard surface.
Check to ensure all camera switches and dials function correctly. Try to capture a photo of yourself by opening and closing the film loading system to test this. Finally, please give it a quick shake to check for any damaged pieces inside the camera.
You should pay close attention to the frame rate settings on your camera. Having a broad range of shutter speed settings is preferable since it gives you more leeway to work with. Some outdated versions may only have a few speeds available, but modern systems have twice as many. For first-time purchasers, having the most options available will most likely be beneficial.
Most newer cameras also include an in-built light meter to help with appropriate exposure. However, when purchasing old or secondhand equipment, you should check if the camera body consists of a built-in meter. This eliminates a great deal of guessing with exposure preferences.
If it doesn’t, you might think about getting a portable light meter to aid with exposure.
The greatest antique camera is determined by the type of photography you want to venture into with it. A rangefinder is ideal for candid shooting, whereas a medium format camera is ideal for shooting fashion models.
There’s no easy way to pinpoint one camera as the best one to buy. To find an incredible camera, you need to consider certain specifications and functionality, as discussed in our buyer’s guide above. To choose which film camera is ideal for you, you must first determine your cost limits and what you want to shoot.
Yes. The film is still used by a few photojournalists today. While there are few reasons to choose film over a DSLR, most people have never-ending projects that require a specific film stock.
You can only find a few newly manufactured 35mm film cameras in a few official stores. However, most of these film cameras are second hand but are still in great functional shape.
Film cameras are making a comeback. The millennial reaction has resulted in a spike in film companies manufacturing 35mm and medium format film material for vintage cameras.
Film cameras are superior to DSLRs for several reasons, but not in most circumstances. If you’re just starting in photography, film cameras might be a terrific path to force yourself to grasp the fundamentals of exposure.
Unlike a digital camera, a point-and-shoot film camera is meant to be simple to operate. Although film cameras are less widespread than they once were, capturing film photography is a rewarding experience. Because of functions like autofocus and automated exposure adjustments, anybody can operate a point-and-shoot film camera.
An automated film camera is simply another name for point-and-shoot film cameras. They choose the proper exposure and focus on their own. All you have to do is aim your camera, press it, and the moment will be captured forever!
Several options are available, ranging from the simple point-and-shoot 35mm cameras to the more complicated SLR film format types. Whether you’re a novice or a pro, you’ll be able to locate the ideal camera for you no matter where you fall on the spectrum.
Point and shoot cameras are appropriate for amateur photographers, while rangefinders and SLR film formats are better suited for experts in the photography industry. Most 35mm film cameras are long-lasting, lightweight, and simple to operate, potentially capturing high-quality, eye-catching photos.
If you’re unsure, our rundown list of the best 35mm film cameras should help you pick the best alternative for your photography needs! 35mm film cameras are available at various price points, ranging from low-cost to high-priced, including the original versions from the 1970s-to 80s. You can’t go wrong with these top-rated best film cameras if you’re looking for a compact, simple 35mm camera for your adventure or street photography. Grab one, head out, and start shooting!