8 best film cameras

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by David Em
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Film cameras may have been around longer than digital cameras. However, they’re still great cameras, and thrive in natural light.

Close-up of a person holding a Rolleiflex camera.

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1. Olympus OM-1

Olympus OM-1 35mm film camera.
Photo courtesy of Olympus.

The Olympus OM-1 is a manually operated 35mm single-lens reflex camera, which has incredible quality and is compact.

It was originally released in July 1972 as the first product in the OM Series. The name was the M-1, however, Leica asked them to change it since Leica cameras begin with an M.

Due to its lightweight and compact body, the OM-1 is an excellent film camera to take with you on the road.

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2. Canon A-1

Black Canon A-1 film camera.
Photo courtesy of Canon.

The Canon A-1 was released in April 1978, and it was the top-of-the-line cameras in the A-series. It had a fully automatic program mode, aperture-priority, and shutter speed-priority.

Additionally, the AE-1 was released a couple of years earlier (Source: Canon), and is more popular.

Although the AE-1 is more popular, the A-1 has incredible specifications and abilities. It was a sophisticated camera that had all digital controls.

3. Leica MP

Leica MP film camera.
Photo courtesy of Leica.

Leica is known for its superior quality, incredible photos, and beautiful design. The Leica MP is known as the best of the best.

It’s a 100% mechanical camera, as the battery is only required to operate its internal light meter.

It has a clean, all-black look, is compact, and has a quiet shutter. The camera is made of metal, which makes it able to withstand extreme conditions. It’s the perfect camera for street and travel film photography.

4. Minolta X-700

Minolta X-700 film camera.
Photo courtesy of Amazon.

The Minolta X-700 is a 35mm single-lens reflex film camera that was released in 1981. It was the top-of-the-line and last fully manual focus camera by Minolta.

The X-700 has a bright viewfinder, which makes it easier to shoot with. Its only downside is that it doesn’t do well in low-light. So, you’re better off using it during the day.

If you’re new to film photography, or would rather spend a couple of hundred dollars instead of thousands, the Minolta X-700 is an excellent choice.

5. Rolleiflex 2.8E

Rolleiflex 2.8 camera.
Photo courtesy of Amazon.

The Rolleiflex 2.8E is a twin-lens reflex (TLR) camera, which means it has two lenses of the same focal length. One lens is used to take the photo, and the other is used for the viewfinder system.

It has a wide and bright screen, which will help you capture excellent photos. It’s also lightweight, has incredible TTL metering, and is simple to use, as it has three controls.

6. Pentax K1000

Pentax K1000 camera.
Photo courtesy of WikiMedia Commons.

Released in 1976, the Pentax K1000 is one of the most widely-known and used cameras. It has a great reputation and can be used with ease due to its simplistic design.

It’s completely mechanical, which means it doesn’t need a battery to run. Since it was stripped down to the necessities to save costs, it’s missing features, such as self-time and viewfinder information.

Although it doesn’t have some features that other film cameras have, it’s an excellent camera to have and is recommended by many instructors.

Additionally, it’s a great camera to learn manual focus with.

7. Nikon F6

Nikon F6 camera.
Photo courtesy of Nikon.

Nikon connects old-school with modern through the Nikon F6, which is its flagship film camera. If you haven’t used a film camera before, the F6 is a good choice because many of the features are similar to that of a DSLR.

It’s also equipped with an 11-area autofocus system for high-speed and accurate autofocus.

The F6 feels comfortable to hold, and is quiet. It’s beautifully designed, and can still be purchased as a new item in some places.

8. Polaroid SX-70

Polaroid SX-70 instant film camera.
Photo courtesy of Polaroid.

Polaroid’s SX-70 was the first instant single-lens reflex camera and is one of the most iconic cameras.

With the SX-70, you’ll be manually focusing with the focus wheel. You can get as close as 10.4 inches to your subject, which is a great feature.

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Featured image courtesy of Unsplash.

About David Em

David Em.

David Em is the founder of Portraits Refined. He’s a published portrait photographer dedicated to helping photographers develop skills, capture incredible photos, and build successful businesses.

About Portraits Refined

Portraits Refined (PR) is a media company that publishes the latest expert-backed portrait photography tips, in-depth camera gear reviews, and helpful advice to grow your photography business.

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