Best Film Cameras For Beginners

Are you new in photography? If yes, then you are in the right place. This guide will be helpful in finding the best film cameras for beginners like you.

A good film camera designed for beginners is that which features a fully manual function that is easy to operate. More importantly, it should be easy to maintain and repair.

Film Cameras For Beginners Reviews

Minolta X-700

The Minolta X-700 is a well-built SLR camera. It has aperture priority, shutter priority, and automatic modes. Its durability and size are ideal for people who love to travel to a lot of places.

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Canon AE-1

The Canon AE-1 is a fully manual SLR and is ideal for users who are studying film photography. This 2.5 pounds camera goes with the Canon FD 50mm f/1.8 Lens.

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Pentax K1000

The Pentax K1000 is often called “workhorse” because of its durability. Autofocus lenses works with it but the user must focus it manually. This metal and manual camera is one of the longest produced 35mm SLR models in the market.

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Canon A-1

The Canon A-1 has more features compared to its known cousins like Canon AE-1. It has full automatic modes, manual, aperture priority, and shutter priority features.

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Nikon FM

The Nikon FM is compatible with Nikon F bayonet mount lens. It is, however, not compatible with autofocus. It is easy repair and is also produced for quite some time now.

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Olympus Trip 35

The Olympus Trip 35’s 40mm lens enables this camera to take sharp images. It is quite a decent device despite its price which is lower compared to other cameras in the market. One of its setbacks is that it is zone focus.

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Nikon F3

The Nikon F3 is a user-friendly camera suitable for those who have no experience in photography. Lenses and other accessories are also not hard to find. It lets the user capture professional-quality images.

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Mamiya C33 TLR

The Mamiya C33 TLR is for people who do not mind using a large camera. Its lenses are known for producing sharp and beautiful photos. You can also customize it based on the preferences of the user.

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Yashica 124G

The Yashica 124G is a lightweight camera that can be handy for a lot of users. Its control layout is also direct to the point so any complications in using it are avoided.

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Bronica ETR

The Bronica ETR is a portable medium format camera that can be used by people who are into wedding and portrait photographs. It is also ideal for traveling because of its portability.

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Types of Film Cameras

Film cameras, though popularly known as “ancient art” today, is still prevalent in the world. 35mm cameras are the most common and most popular type of film cameras. The 35mm cameras can range from manual, automated point-and-shoot, and fully automated.

Professional Manual: Manual cameras are designed for most professionals who already know their way around photography. Manual cameras have more dials and gears that may need adjusting than the other two.

Manual cameras can range from double lensed – with two lenses at the front of the camera – one for exposure and one for the viewfinder, single lensed – through-the-lens view – with one lens for the viewfinder and exposure.

Beginner Point-and-Shoot: Automated point-and-shoot cameras are designed for beginners as the camera would do most of the work for you. Point-and-shoot cameras allow the user to spend more time with the composition of the shot rather than the technicalities of the photograph.

Medium/Large-Format Cameras: Medium/Large-format cameras are the bulkier and more expensive cameras. They provide larger and higher resolution photos. They are usually tighter-angled cameras (from 40mm up) and may come in a wide array of subtypes: they can be double lensed, single lensed, and point-and-shoot!

It’s also mentioned above that 35mm cameras are the most common models. While most film cameras are in the 35mm range, please note that all film cameras aren’t only limited to only 35mm lenses! Several cameras have lenses that can range from wide-angled 24mm, up to the tightest shots of 75mm!

How to Select Film Cameras for Beginners

It’s time to know how to select the right film camera for you. Here are certain factors that might help you in considering which film camera to use:

Purpose: Do you plan on doing mostly portrait shots, or mostly scenic landscapes? If you opt for a generalist feel, go for 35mm point-and-shoot cameras.

Portraits are excellent products of 50mm medium/large formats cameras. Landscapes require wider-angled lenses that are 35mm and lower!

Convenience: How easy it would be for you to use? For beginners, 35mm cameras are always the best entry-level models for film photography. Why? 35mm film is always readily available and easier to develop unlike its larger cousins.

Price: Budget is extremely important. You don’t want to buy a film camera that you think would suit you but you’d find that the other camera would have been easier.

Take some time to think about what you really want to do with your photography. But if you’re seriously too excited and in a rush to get just about any film camera, try getting a toy camera that would mimic an original film camera’s focal length, and then decide.

Frequently Asked Questions About Film Cameras

Why choose film over digital? With the incomprehensible speed of the rise of technology, most people would think that getting a digital camera would be the most ideal. But film cameras are able to teach you the authentic art of taking photographs.

Digital photography gives you numbers, automated settings that do all the technical work for you, but film photography allows you to learn of the real technical factors of photography, what adjusting exposures, apertures, and ISO would really look like.

Film cameras also give importance into thorough composition. With digital cameras, people tend to take a photo, look at it, and then try again if they want any changes. With the limited rolls of film that you have, it tends to teach you to get the real, perfect, shot.

Are film cameras for professionals only? Not at all! Film cameras can be as easy as your digital point-and-shoot cameras of today. Try using a toy camera to get the feel of authentic film photography and see for yourself that there’s no reason to fear the technicalities!

How do I choose the right camera? Choose your camera according to your purpose, your convenience, and your own budget. It’s important to know what you want to do when you get your film camera, how easy it is for you to service or what type would most benefit your purpose, and if it’s right along your budget. If you haven’t satisfied all three, you haven’t found the perfect camera!

How do you develop film at home? Developing film is a sacred art and requires a thorough step-by-step guide that must be followed to the dot. You can search for how-tos and guides online. Always remember to wear protective gear since you’ll be handling chemicals!

Why shouldn’t you expose film? Exposing film to light is a bad idea because film is photosensitive: the chemicals/materials made with the film need darkness to develop the photos. Prolonged exposure will cause your finished photograph to distort the image or turn into a blank white overall.

How to Use Film Cameras for Beginners

You finally decided on what camera to get and you’ve bought it! Now it’s time to prepare and practice until you get the perfect shot. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do so.

Prepare. Charge your batteries, make sure there isn’t an already loaded film, and familiarize yourself with the controls of your new camera. Befriend your brand-new camera.

Your basic controls should include an aperture ring, which measures how much light you want to pass through the lens, your shutter speed dial (how long you want the light to pass through the lens), and the ISO dial, which measures the speed of your film.

Be aware of the other parts of your camera: read the manual to know how to load the film correctly, and search for any accessories you think would help make your photography better.

Take a shot! It’s time to take a shot. Your very first rolls of film can be used as testing shots. Focus on a still shot to make your first shot easier to maneuver around on. Frame it, and shoot! Keep shooting until you reach the end of the roll. You’ll know the roll’s empty when your shutter stops clicking.

Develop. Have your film developed or do it at home on your own. If you really want the full-fledged experience of owning, maintaining, and producing your own film photographs, it never hurts to try doing it yourself.

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