Buying a film camera in 2023?

3 months 1 week ago #758526 by Red Wing Photography
If you were going to buy your first film camera, which camera would you buy?  I'd like to get a film camera and looking for some ideas on what to look for.  Thank you.


3 months 1 week ago - 3 months 1 week ago #758532 by db3348
G'day Tim,
great that you are thinking of trying out the world of film and making the effort to learn some of the 'old school' ways .

Thinking back to when I first started learning photography (1970s) , I learnt the most amount by not necessarily buying the most expensive , most sophisticated gear, but  a camera that just had the essential learning means to show me what could be achieved  and gave me an insight of how photography worked .
By that I mean it had just enough settings and controls that gave me the power and flexibility to control the basic functions of ASA/ISO , aperture and shutter to deal with different lighting scenarios ,  not be overloaded with unnecessary gadgets and gimmicks to confuse .  You have possibly already thought of this ?

Anyway ,  you don't necessarily need  latest state-of-the-art , top line Nikon or Leica or Hasselblad ,  but just a simple rangefinder , compact camera , with :
  • a selection of different dials for ASA/ISO (film speed) , aperture settings (f/numbers) and shutter speeds ,
  • perhaps a working , reliable , built-in exposure meter to guide you in selecting those exposure settings ,
  • a means of loading and advancing the film , 
  • of course , a button that enable you to take the photo when you choose to
  • a viewfinder through which to look to frame up  your subject
  • a means of retracting the film back into its cassette ('rewind') ;
  • a means of focusing the lens to achieve a sharp focus of detail .
I had a nice ,  affordable ( 200 $ in those days ), simple Canon "QL19" rangefinder camera which had all those things . 
And there is a more recent vintage version of these  called the GIII series .
But there were other , similar cameras on the market such as Minolta ( "Himatic" ) , Konica , Olympus ( "Pen" and "Trip" ) , Yashica ( "FX" and Electro" ), Rollei 35s , of similar capabilities  just to mention a handful . Such device should easily enough get you on your way ,  if you  obtain and read the instruction manual to learn the workings of the camera .

Of course , if you wish , you can go the more expensive, more sophisticated route of the SLRs ,  such as Nikkormats , FM or FE , or  the classic F1 or F2 or F3 or F4 ,  Minolta SRT...s  XDs and XGs , Canon  FTBs and A... series , EOS series ,  Olympus OM1 or OM2 or OM3 .... ,   Pentax Spotmatics and M/K series ....
Up to you . 

And  I also had a means of learning photography in general – books  that covered  important  things like exposure, focusing, camera parts and controls , composition , etc , and some which inpsired me to try new ideas and types of photography .  For the life of me, I can't remember the name of the best one , which taught me  most of the 'technical' stuff ,  but there were plenty of decent books around .  You should be able to find some such books in a library or 2nd-hand book shop , and online info (no shortage of videos on YouTube) .  And perhaps doing a short face-to-face in person course in a local school or club , or think of joining a camera / photography club .

Any other questions you have,  I may be able to assist with , and  so too some of the others on this forum , with general tips on basic concepts and technique .   
Dave B. 

Photo Comments
3 months 1 week ago #758533 by db3348
Forgot to mention, these days there are  'toy'-like cameras such as the Lomography film cameras ,  which don't have as many controls , and definitely a more intentionally crude , low image quality .
And the "Instant"-picture type film cameras such as the Fuji Instax ,
if you want the more simplistic camera .

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3 months 1 week ago #758563 by Frisco
Canon AE1

Nikon 18-55mm VR, Nikon 70-200mm VRII f/2.8, Nikon 50mm f/1.8, Nikon 10.5mm Fisheye, Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8, SB-700 & SB-800
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3 months 1 week ago #758580 by TCav
Whatever you get, do you have a place to get your film developed?

3 months 1 week ago #758626 by Mason Latka
Where you all finding film at reasonable price? 

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3 months 1 week ago - 3 months 1 week ago #758682 by Carter Gledhill
Hey there!

Jumping into the world of film photography is super exciting! If I were picking out my first film camera, I'd definitely go for something user-friendly but with enough features to let me experiment and learn.

A lot of folks start with a 35mm SLR, like the Canon AE-1 or the Pentax K1000. These cameras are classics for a reason - they're pretty straightforward to use, durable, and you can usually find them at a decent price, especially if you're cool with buying second-hand. Plus, there's a good selection of lenses out there for them.

If you're leaning towards something more compact, a point-and-shoot like the Olympus MJU-II or the Yashica T4 can be a lot of fun. They're super easy to carry around, so you'll never miss a spontaneous shot.

But hey, if you're feeling a bit adventurous and don't mind a bit of a learning curve, medium format cameras, like the Mamiya RB67 or a TLR like the Rolleiflex, offer an entirely different experience. The image quality and the depth you get with these are just incredible. They're a bit bulkier and usually pricier, but totally worth it if you're up for the challenge.

When choosing, think about what you want to shoot. Street photography? Portraits? Landscapes? Different cameras can suit different styles. Also, consider how much manual control you want. Some enjoy the hands-on feel of fully manual cameras, while others might prefer a bit of automation.

Most importantly, have fun with it! Film photography has this unique charm and a bit of magic to it. Each roll of film gives you a limited number of shots, which really makes you think about and connect with what you're photographing. Can't wait to see what you end up choosing and the awesome photos you'll take. Happy camera hunting!

3 months 6 days ago #758763 by Tony Imaging
If Nikon - then F3
If Canon - then AE1

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3 months 3 days ago #758894 by Kenta
Where are you all getting the film developed and how much is it to do so?   I thought it was crazy expensive to get film developed?  

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