In an increasingly digital world, many photographers get the urge to try film photography. This could be due to the aesthetic, the fact that it’s a more hands-on process or simply because it offers a different experience from digital.
35mm Film Cameras come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and quality levels. These include point and shoots, SLRs and rangefinder cameras.
1. Olympus OM-1
One of the most desirable and sought-after 35mm film cameras in existence, the OM-1 is an iconic design and remains a popular choice among photo geeks. It’s also a camera that offers a lot more than you might expect, from high-resolution JPEGs to advanced AF options and a host of other features.
As with other models in the OM-D series, the OM-1 is built around a compact DSLR-style body with a pleasantly comfortable hand grip and control layout. The OM-1’s curved edges and concave AF/ Drive mode buttons make the camera easier to use in all but the most clumsy hands, and the shutter button is a new addition that fits perfectly with its rounded shape.
The OM-1’s menus have also been given a refresh, pulling together more of the connected features in a color-coded layout that’s easier to navigate. The main menu has also been updated to make it clearer when a feature is greyed out, and the Super Control Panel that appears when ‘OK’ is pressed has been improved too.
2. Olympus XA
The Olympus XA is an interesting little camera with a host of features that aren’t found in most 35mm Film Cameras. It’s also a very popular camera with an active community on forums like Reddit.
The XA isn’t a conventional camera and it has a few features that aren’t commonly seen on other cameras such as rangefinder focusing. It also has a +1.5-stop backlight compensation feature that is very useful for taking photos of night scenes.
Another useful feature is the film advance which is operated by a thumbwheel. You can set it to any one of three settings and there’s a small lever on the bottom that is used for a 12 second self-timer or battery check.
The XA is a very reliable, well designed and built camera that has stood the test of time. However, it does have some issues that you need to take note of when buying a used XA. For example, it has an electronic shutter that takes only a feather touch which is meant to prevent camera shake but sometimes it will stop working.
3. Canon AF35ML
The Canon AF35ML is a great 35mm Film Camera that has a number of features that can make it stand out from the crowd. Firstly it has a fast lens that can go down to f1.9 which is quite a lot for a point and shoot.
This is a feature that can be useful for photographers that are looking for a camera that is able to produce some great shots in low light. As well as this, it also has a passive triangulation system for auto focus which is a bit different to the active infra red system that we are used to seeing on a 35mm Film Camera.
The manual for the camera explains that the AF35ML can struggle in certain situations such as; subjects without vertical lines, subjects with objects in front of them or back lit. This is because the auto focus may not be able to get the exposure right and will most likely be confused by the situation.
4. Kodak K1000
The K1000 is one of the most popular 35mm Film Cameras in the world. It is especially popular among beginners and new-coming amateur photographers.
The Kodak K1000 is an affordable 35mm SLR with manual controls and an intuitive built-in light meter. It was produced from 1976-1997 and has a design that descended from the original Spotmatic series of screw-mount SLRs introduced in the 1960s.
It is an almost-all metal, mechanically (springs, gears, levers) controlled, manual-focus SLR with manual-exposure control and a fully operational shutter mechanism which can be fired without batteries. It uses a cadmium sulfide battery-powered light meter to take average readings across the viewing field which is indicated on the viewfinder in front of the microprism spot focusing aid.
The Rangefinder 35mm Film Camera is a compact and lightweight camera that uses a lens without a mirror, making it smaller than most SLR cameras. The lack of a mirror also allows the lenses to be designed smaller and lighter, creating sharper images.
Another advantage of the rangefinder is that it can be used with a wide open aperture, allowing the photographer to use slower shutter speeds handheld, especially useful when trying to freeze a moment. This is a great feature for street photographers as it allows them to freeze the decisive moment while avoiding any blurry backgrounds due to light pollution.
Fixed-lens 35mm rangefinders are a very popular option for many photographers. They are often cheaper than their SLR counterparts and are easy to operate 100% manually with no menus or buttons to click through.
A disposable 35mm film camera is a single-use, plastic camera with a preloaded roll of film. These are often popular at weddings and other events because of their cheapness and ease of operation.
These cameras also have a fixed lens and a limited number of shots per roll. They also often have a flash.
Disposable film can be used to take black and white photographs, and there are also plenty of options for grainy images or golden-hued pictures. They’re great for those who like a more nostalgic feel to their photos.
Disposable film cameras work best in bright daylight and aren’t so good in low light situations without a flash. If you plan on using your disposable camera in low-light situations, consider buying a higher-sensitivity film. Most disposable cameras have 400 ISO film but some use 800 ISO film, which gives better results in low light conditions.
Large format film cameras are popular with professional landscape, architectural, and still photographers who demand high resolution, increased flexibility, and improved tonal range. These cameras take sheet film in various sizes, including 4×5, 5×7, and 8×10 inches.
Typical large format cameras use a monorail to control the length of the bellows, allowing the photographer to set up a tripod or other steadying device in front of the camera. They also require a dark space to load and unload the film, such as a changing bag or darkroom.
These cameras can be a lot of fun to use, but they can be quite heavy and cumbersome. That’s partly because you have to work at a slower pace, but also because the camera requires manual adjustment and you need to take time to compose each shot.
For this reason, the majority of professionals who use large format cameras are more experienced and dedicated photographers. However, they can be a great choice for anyone who wants to make their photos more artistic and who wants to get more involved with the craft of photography.