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Film camera: Top 10 best film cameras for beginners

Film camera: Top 10 best film cameras for beginners

In an era of digitisation, one would think that a film camera is a thing of the past. On the contrary, film cameras are becoming more popular among today’s photographers primarily because there exists a nostalgic allure towards film photography. A film camera is known for clicks and whirls but it gives a thrilling shooting experience, something not found in digital megapixels.

Again, why do people still love using this analogue device? First, it feels physically permanent. Second, the excitement of trying different film stocks and seeing how different they turn out. Third, the delayed gratification gives you something to look forward to. Then, there is also the fact that these cameras do not only look cool but they are made with metals, which makes them superior to the disposable plastics we have today.

In other words, there are a lot of things to be excited about using a film camera. However, choosing the perfect film camera out of the numerous ones out there can be understandably daunting, especially for a beginner.

Therefore, this article presents the top 10 film cameras, especially for beginners.

Top 10 best film camera

1. Canon AE-1

Canon AE-1

Canon AE-1 is a 35 mm single-lens reflex (SLR) film camera for use with interchangeable lenses. no doubt one of the most successfully used film cameras of all time. Introduced into the market in April 1975 in Japan, it was designed from the ground up with five major units and 25 minor units. Hence, it is one of the first cameras to use a microprocessor. Canon AE-1 still has easy-to-use manual controls, allowing beginners to learn the basics of photography. It is also compatible with a wide range of FD lenses, making it a versatile tool for various shooting scenarios.

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2. Fujifilm Instax Mini 11

Fujifilm Instax Mini 11

Fujifilm Instax Mini 11 is an instant film camera if you are looking for immediate results. It is easy to use, making it the perfect choice for even kids. All you have to do is press the button next to the lens to pop it out, switch the camera on and hit the shutter button by the viewfinder to take a photo. When you are done, simply push the lens back into the body to turn it off.

The camera also has a selfie mode and a small selfie mirror on the front of the lens. Its flash and exposure process is automatic and it also runs on batteries.

3. Nikon F series

Nikon F series

The Nikon F series has been around for decades. It is a versatile and reliable 35mm film camera, a professional film SLR with a DE-2 viewfinder. Also, this model is famous for its ergonomics, with a built-in exposure meter which does not require a huge viewfinder. In addition, it runs solely on batteries. In other words, the Nikon F series is one of the best film cameras to have in your collection.

4. Leica M series

Leica M series

The Leica M series is also considered to be one of the best film cameras of all time. The ‘M’ stands for Messsucher or rangefinder in German. It is available in vintage models from the 1980s and the new models which were released in 2022. The Leica M6, in particular, is perfect for a beginner with a robust body, easy-to-use features and classy design. However, it does not come cheap but you will not regret getting it.

5. Mamiya RZ67

Mamiya RZ67

If you are looking to step up from the classic 35mm film format, then the Mamiya RZ67 is a perfect choice. Introduced in 1982, the RZ67 is a modular camera with interchangeable lenses, viewing systems and backs. It is also known for its sharpness and versatility. However, note that this film camera is a bit big and heavy for extended use. But it remains the best medium format film camera for studio work.

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6. Canonet G III QL17

Canonet G III QL17

The Canon Canonet G III QL17 is popular for its compact size. It was introduced in 1972 and has since been regarded as one of the best-selling film cameras of all time. The camera is simple to use, offering superb image quality, and a stunning high-quality build for a reasonable price. Also, it is one of the prettiest rangefinder cameras out there, with a classic design in a small compact body. The fixed lens with f/1.7 aperture provides sharpness even in low light situations and the best part is the fact that you can easily customise the camera to suit your needs.

7. Fuji GW690

Fuji GW690

Fuji GW690 was introduced into the market in 1978. It is a medium format 120-roll film, which is known for its flexibility. Although it is 120mm wide, it is up to you to decide how much width you want to use. Also, it has got fewer exposures on a roll, but extra-large negatives and transparencies. In addition, you will not need batteries for this film camera.

8. Polaroid SX-70

Polaroid SX-70

Polaroid SX-70 is an instant film camera known for its unique and iconic design. It is popular among amateur and professional photographers who want instant results for their shoots.

9. Canon AF35ML

Canon AF35ML

Canon AF35ML is a cheap 35mm film camera for taking some quick snapshots without stress. The camera is fully automatic, including the focus, so you do not have to worry about the settings except to put the flash on or off. It is the go-to camera to use around at a party, on holiday and doing shooting tutorials for a child. With an f/1.9 aperture lens, this film camera is better than most point-and-shoot cameras in this class with higher quality and performing better in low light. It may not be best for capturing professional photos, but it is one of the best to capture fond memories with ease.

10. Pentax K1000

Pentax K1000

Pentax K1000 is arguably the cheapest of Pentax’s DSLRs, especially after having the self-timer and depth of field preview on other models removed. It is an entirely manual film camera. But young people, particularly students, have come to love this camera for its low cost, simplicity, and durability. You do not need batteries to operate this camera and there are no advanced settings. With its built-in meter, you get to find out how dark or bright your photos are. Also, the camera’s manual features force you to learn how to take great photos.

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Nonye is a Thespian, screenwriter, creative writer and an unapologetic lover of books, great movies and sports. She has over 10 years experience in content writing on entertainment, movies, sports and lifestyle. Nonye is currently a content writer at Blackdot Media and founder of

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