The Best 35mm Film Cameras in 2021

When I bought my first film camera, I realized this:

Everyone can create those stunning nostalgic pictures which is pretty awesome.

Who would have thought film cameras would make a comeback?

However, landing on a great film camera may take some research.

Luckily:

After reading this article, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge to make an effective, confident decision on the best 35mm film cameras.

The Best 35mm Film Cameras

We’ve picked out eight classy and reliable film cameras you can still find in good working condition today.

A photographer worth his or her salt can produce exquisite images with stunning bokeh using the good old “film camera”.

Let’s get into the details.

Canon AE-1

Canon AE-1 35mm Film Camera w/ 50mm 1:1.8 Lens
  • 35mm SLR (Single-Lens-Reflex) camera with electronically controlled AE (Automatic Exposure) and focal plane shutter.
  • Canon FD series interchangeable lenses with full aperture metering and AE coupling. Canon FL series with stopped-down metering.
  • Standard lenses for the Canon AE are Canon FD 55mm f/1.2 S.S.C, Canon FD 50mm f/1.4 S.S.C, Canon FD 50mm f/1.8 S.C.

The Canon AE-1 is an easy-to-use film camera; you can take the help of the online manual to get comfortable with it quickly.

It’s a great film camera for beginners and is quite popular as well. You can learn all the photography basics on it.

You can adjust the ISO of the camera based on whatever film you are using, keeping an optimum light exposure.

Moreover, there is a 10-second shutter timer, allowing you to stabilize the camera for a perfect snap.

The Canon AE-1 also has quite a sturdy build. So, even when you get it second-hand, there won’t be any problems with its basic functionality.

The camera has a 55 mm focal length, making it suitable for portrait photography and for capturing close-ups. And, the 1.8 wide open aperture permits more light in and delivers a shallow depth of field.

However, it’s a little pricey, so if you are not experienced, it would be better to get your feet wet on a cheaper alternative first.

Another thing that could be problematic is the smudges on the viewfinder. However, it shouldn’t be a deal-breaker. 

Pros and Cons

Pentax K1000

Pentax K1000 Manual Focus SLR Film Camera with Pentax 50mm Lens
  • The Pentax K1000 35mm SLR is one of photography's greatest, most popular and longest-lived cameras.
  • This Pentax film camera is completely mechanical and needs no battery to run, however, you must purchase an A76 cell battery to run the light meter.
  • Unlike other SLR and DSLR cameras, the K1000 is simple and has little to no learning curve. There is three shooting controls: aperture, shutter speed and focus. You set the film speed when you load it.

The Pentax K1000 film camera has a shallow learning curve. Anyone with a desire to learn photography can get the hang of it in a short period.

So, if you are a beginner and want a 35 mm film camera to get your feet wet, the Pentax K1000 would be a great choice.

Plus, in addition to 3 shooting controls – namely shutter speed, aperture, and focus – you can set the film speed (ISO) based on the availability of light. The higher the ISO you set, the better will be the camera’s sensitivity to light.

Moreover, it’s completely manual. So, whether you are new to photography, want to get the nostalgic feel of classic photography, or just want to hone the craft of manual picture taking, this one is for you.

To be able to manually set the shutter speed and aperture help you adjust the exposure and light intensity.

However, it’s likely that the light meter won’t work on this camera. Considering that, it’s a little pricey.

Pros and Cons

Yashica MF-1

YASHICA MF-1 Snapshot Art 35mm Film Camera Set (Black)
  • CAMERA TYPE: YASHICA MF-1 Snapshot Art is a simple 35mm film camera with a shutter speed of 1/120s
  • FOCUSING RANGE: It offers a focusing range from 1m to infinity
  • LENS: YASHICA MF-1s lens offers a focal length of 31mm with f/11 aperture

The Yashica MF-1 35mm film camera is a cheap option that will feel great in your hands although it’s made of plastic. The material also makes it lightweight.

A unique thing about this camera is that it’s available in a variety of colors. And, you can put it in your pocket, which makes it great for travelers.

Plus, the camera has a large f11 aperture, which means it is ideal for snapping sharp images. So, if you want to capture bokeh in your pictures, this may not be the one for you.

Moreover, the Yashica MF-1 is ideal for routine photography. It’s the sweet spot when it comes to event, food, and street photography.

As far as the image quality is concerned, it’s pretty decent. You can use the internal flash of the camera if you want to capture something in a low light condition.

However, it may be a little hard for you to load the film into this camera. And, as it’s made of plastic, you won’t find it very durable.

Pros and Cons

Minolta SRT 201

Minolta SRT 201 SLR 35mm Camera w/ Minolta MD Rokkor-x 45mm 1:2 lens
  • Minolta SRT 201 SLR 35mm Camera w/ Minolta MD Rokkor-x 45mm 1:2 lens

The Minolta SRT 201 is another classic camera on our list that’s going to give you the nostalgic feel and learning experience you desire.

The camera is mostly made of metal, which makes it quite durable and long-lasting.

It has a self-timer that allows you to stabilize it before snapping the picture. Moreover, you can change the shutter speed as well as the film speed (ISO) from the same dial easily.

You can also mount the camera on a tripod if you want. This gives you a stable platform for your camera, which can be helpful for beginner photographers.

Moreover, the camera comes with a 45mm focal length, making it ideal for routine photography as it falls into the normal range. The field of view if offers is neither too wide nor too narrow.

Plus, the f/2 aperture of the camera allows you to take pictures in dim light situations. The low aperture size means a larger opening, enabling you to capture bokeh in your images.

However, it’s not new, so it’s possible to encounter a smudge or two.

Pros and Cons

Canon EOS Rebel 2000

Sale -76%
Canon EOS Rebel 2000 35mm Film SLR Camera Kit with 28-80mm Lens
  • Autofocus 35mm SLR with full manual options
  • 28 to 80mm Zoom lens included
  • Retractable built-in flash

The Canon EOS Rebel 2000 is an automatic, lightweight SLR camera that offers everything you would want as a photographer.

The camera has a small LCD screen at the top where you can adjust the basic settings. And it’s quite easy to use.

The body of the camera is plastic, so it’s better to use it carefully. Its mount is also plastic; be careful if you want to use a metal lens with it.

What’s more, the viewfinder is a little small, but perfectly usable. This is mainly because the camera uses a pentamirror instead of the pentaprism.

Moreover, the batteries of the Canon EOS Rebel are lighter than their AAA counterparts. The batteries aren’t that common, so you may have to do some searching for them. The best thing to do is to buy some extra with the camera.

The 35mm film camera brings out the best in images, however, although the camera is equipped with an in-built flash, it’s not great in darker settings.

In addition, you can switch between the automatic and manual mode whenever you want.

Pros and Cons

Olympus OM-10

Olympus OM-10 OM10 35mm Manual Focus Film Camera And Lens Combo
  • Olympus OM10 35MM SLR film Camera
  • Hot shoe mount flash compatible
  • Custom ISO, Speed and Aperture settings.

The Olympus OM-10 is a manual-focus easy-to-use film camera with a lightweight build and affordable price.

It uses the OTF (off the film) metering system, which allows it to measure the objects’ brightness effectively.

Moreover, you can use the self-timer feature to ensure vibration-less snaps.

The camera offers a manual ISO dial, allowing you to set its value based on the film. You can also adjust the exposure using the exposure compensation dial.

What’s more, you can switch between the auto and manual exposure modes. Auto exposure is ideal for newbies who are just starting with photography. In auto mode, the camera essentially adjusts the shutter speed itself.

The Olympus OM-10 isn’t going to be a burden for you either. It’s lightweight and you can carry it around easily.

Plus, the LR44 batteries that the camera uses, are readily available in the market. However, the camera doesn’t work without the batteries, which may die out relatively quickly.

Pros and Cons

Nikon FM-10

Nikon FM-10 SLR Camera with 35-70mm f/3.5-4.8 Zoom Lens
  • In this kit, the FM10 body is fitted with Nikon's 35 millimeter to 70 millimeter lens
  • Full manual control
  • Selectable shutter speeds up to 1/2000th of 1 second

The Nikon FM-10 has a great design and feels great in the hand. It’s perfect for indoor and outdoor use. 

For indoor use, you can set the camera on a tripod. It also has a self-timer, allowing you to take vibration-free pictures if you are a beginner.

And, it’s great for you if you want a classic 35mm film camera for portrait photography. The center-weighted metering feature adjusts the brightness in the center, ensuring good exposure of the subject.

Moreover, the camera is built from plastic and metal material, which makes it durable as well as lightweight.

In addition, it comes with a zoom lens, so you can also capture objects from afar. And, the focal length of the lens varies from 35mm to 70mm.

What’s more, you can adjust the shutter speed up to 1/2000th of 1 second based on the surrounding light and your requirement.

It’s great for those who want to practice the art of photography manually. The manual control lets you be creative and learn more effectively.

However, it may be a little difficult for beginners to adjust the focus.

Pros and Cons

Nikon F6 AF

Nikon F6 AF 35mm Film SLR Camera (Body Only)
  • Type of Camera - Integral motor autofocus 35mm SLR (Single Lens Reflex) camera with electronically controlled focal-plane shutter.
  • Exposure Modes - Programmed Auto, Flexible Program, Shutter priority, Aperture Priority and Manual
  • Picture Format - 24mm x 36mm (standard 35mm film format)

The Nikon F6 SLR camera has quite a sturdy build and is suitable for outdoor as well as indoor use.

It’s easy to use, which makes it suitable for those who are just starting to learn the art of capturing. In addition, the camera offers a quick and sharp focus.

And, if you want a classic film camera that feels great to hold, the Nikon F6 will not disappoint you.

Moreover, the build quality is great. It’s a bit heavier than a typical DSLR camera though.

In addition, the camera settings are easy to use. If you have ever used a Nikon camera, you will instantly get comfortable with it.

What’s more, the viewfinder of the Nikon F6 is quite large and bright. The metering system is great too; this will enable you to capture the objects clearly.

However, it may be a little expensive. And it needs additional Nikon lens.

Pros and Cons

How to choose the right film camera for your needs?

The right film camera for you is the one that satisfies your needs. Normally, a lightweight camera is easy to carry around, making it great for outdoor photography.

Plus, you don’t want a complex camera if you are a beginner. Learning on a manual camera is a good idea, but it should be easy to use.

It goes without saying but your film camera should be durable. Also, ensure the camera has the self-timer and auto-focus if you want.

Are 35mm film cameras becoming popular again?

35mm film cameras are becoming popular again because they are ideal for people who want to learn the basics of photography.

Digital cameras are great as they do all the work for you, but a film camera can hone the skills of a photographer. Also, there is a nostalgic feel associated with film cameras.

Where to buy a 35mm vintage film camera?

While a 35mm vintage film camera may seem like a difficult-to-find camera, you can buy a used one in good condition on Amazon.

Best 35m Film Cameras: The Verdict

With digital cameras, photography is quite easy; you don’t even need to be a skilled photographer to capture good photos courtesy of the latest technology.

Anyone with a DSLR camera is a photographer they say. The fact that there is a greater requirement of skill when it comes to film cameras is part of the reason why film photography is making a comeback. Moreover, photography is a great way to improve our health

We have covered the best 35mm film cameras out there. You can choose the right one for yourself based on your requirements and the factors discussed above.

Film cameras are making a comeback because they require focus and patience, which is great for learners. Plus, they are associated with the nostalgia of classic photography.

So, if you are looking for a high-quality film camera, use this article as a guide and make an informed decision.