A Beginner's Guide to 35mm Film Cameras
Explore photography with analog models from Canon, Nikon and more.
According to the photography community’s founder Mathis Clamens, when shopping for a film camera online, it is crucial to check the seller’s reputation first. This can be done by looking at their ranking and reviews from previous customers. Additionally, do your own research on how cameras age over time to determine which model suits your lifestyle best. “Electronic cameras have more issues than mechanical ones due to the fragility of the electronic components,” Clamens tells us. “If you purchase a camera in person, be sure to check if the foams of the camera are of quality, and if it can prevent light from passing through the case.”
Below, Clamens rounds up some of the best 35mm cameras and films for beginners.
For more camera recommendations, here’s list of the best point and shoot models.
Best 35mm cameras for beginners
This mechanical camera is very simple to use and it’s durable. It has speed priority, aperture priority and an automatic mode. It also has a great range of lenses, and you can capture great double exposures with it.
Just like the Canon A-1, this beast is very simple to use and almost immortal.
Olympus MJU ii
The Olympus MJU ii is very small and compact. It features a quality lens, but comes at a hefty price point nowadays.
Average price range: $170 to $545 USD
Where to buy: Sellers on Etsy.
Capturing images with this model will produce content with a vintage look. Compared to other compacts on the market, the Rollei 35 is the most affordable.
Average price range: $120 to $395 USD
Where to buy: Sellers on eBay.
Best 35mm films for beginners
Kodak Portra 400
This film is great for portrait and skin colors.
Kodak T-Max 400
The T-Max 400 is great for contrast in black-and-white.
The CineStill 800T is ideal for cinematographic shots at night.
How to maintain the condition of a film camera
It’s important to clean your camera from the dust quite often. Also, one of the biggest issues is that few brands don’t offer cleaning services anymore. Brands like Nikon, Leica or Canon can still repair your gear and provide spare parts.
Take the time to observe and be present with your surroundings. At some point, you will feel this magical moment where you’ll have the urge to capture what you’re witnessing.