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With the entire world utilizing digital media to keep up the constant need for content, it can be nice to step back and slow down a little bit. For those of you that want more to go into a photo than pulling your phone out of your pocket and tapping the screen then shooting film might be for you. For someone attempting to get into film photography, the initial experience may be met with confusing terms, complicated processes, and a whole mess of other gibberish that doesn’t make any sense. Don’t worry, it isn’t all that complicated, I promise. The cameras listed below will help ease you into the world of film photography from a couple of different price points. The easiest way to learn is to do, and you need a camera to start. Pick yourself up any camera and some film and go out there and shoot! These are just a couple recommendations that may give you somewhere to start.
1. Canon AE-1
Both this Canon AE-1 and the next entry are credited as being two of the best cameras for beginners to get into film. Often referred to as the “student camera,” this camera is simple to use, easy to learn on, durable, and are really cheap. You can find them online for as low as $100 or less if you look long enough.
Check out prices on Amazon: Canon AE-1 35mm Film Camera w/ 50mm 1:1.8 Lens
2. Pentax K-1000
There isn’t much to say about this camera that wasn’t stated in the previous entry. The Pentax K-1000 is again often referred to as the “student camera,” and exhibits much of the same characteristics and traits of the AE-1. It usually comes down to whichever is cheaper or more on hand. If you have absolutely no experience shooting film and want to learn the bare bones and progress for there, the AE-1 or the K-1000 are going to be your camera of choice.
Check out prices on Amazon: Pentax K1000 Camera with 50mm (f/2.0) Lens
3. Nikon N6006
This camera will probably be the least common entry you’ll see on this list or really any other list. I am 100% in the decision to include this camera on this list as it was my very first film camera. While being a bit more on the heavier side, this camera is a tank and can withstand a lot of abuse. Due to them not being the most common piece to buy, you can often get really good deals online if you find one up for sale.
Check out prices on Amazon: Nikon N6006 35mm SLR auto focus AF Film Camera (Body Only)
4. Minolta X-370
I include this camera for one sole reason and that is the fact that these things are dirt cheap. You can find working models online for as little as $10 or at garage sales or thrift stores for a lot less. If you want the smallest possible investment in getting into film photography, this is the camera for you. Your film will probably end up being more expensive. While it is cheap, it doesn’t mean that you aren’t getting a good camera. The X-370 performs and does everything that it is supposed to do. It will help to train your eye to adjust how you see the world and how it will look through a lens.
Check out prices on Amazon: Minolta X-370 Film Camera With A Standard 50mm f/1.7 Lens
5. Leica M6
On the complete flip side of the Minolta X-370, if you have a couple thousand dollars lying around and don’t mind making a bigger investment into your new passion then the Leica M6 is for you. This cash pot of a camera is to this date one of the best of it’s kinds and have held up extremely well. The construction and shape fit perfectly in your hand and I’m not sure if it’s the price tag or the quality, or the quality that comes along with the price tag, but this Leica will definitely get you started into photography on a very high note.
Check out prices on Amazon: Leica M6 TTL 35mm RangeFinder Camera Body (Black)
6. Nikon FM2
Moving on up in the camera world, maybe you want something a little more durable and reliable. Nikon’s F series cameras are both of those things plus they are more on the compact size. This price range will find you in the $100 to $200 range, but of course if you look hard enough then you can probably find some cheaper options.
Check out prices on Amazon: Nikon FM 2 Black Camera Body
7. Olympus OM-1
Want a good introductory film camera but don’t want to get played out by all the hipsters for owning something popular? Then this camera is probably going to be your cup of tea. There isn’t much to say about this camera other than the fact that you can look to spend anywhere for $50 to $200 with the prices ranging for more collectible versions with the coveted M-1 tag.
Check out prices on Amazon: Olympus OM-1 35mm Film Camera
8. Minolta Hi-Matic AF2
This camera is a bit of a hidden gem among photographers and was produced during two different times in photography. While exhibiting manual film advancing and rewinding it does have auto focus. It is compact but not super compact and it isn’t the most common point and shoot that people think of. That being said the camera is odd, weird, different, and that is what makes it so wonderful. These cameras can be found super cheap online and are really easy to carry around with you.
Check out prices on Amazon: Minolta Hi-Matic AF2 Auto Focus 35mm Film Flash Camera w/ Minolta Lens 38mm 1:2.8 (46mm)
9. Contax T2
If you have enough money for a Leica but want something a little smaller and more compact, then this point-and-shoot is for you. The Contax T2 is a little powerhouse of a camera and has the price tag to go along with it. While not reaching the thousands of dollars range, this fun and casual camera will definitely run you up a couple hundred dollars at least.
Check out prices on Amazon: Contax T2 Silver 35mm Camera
10. Disposable Cameras
Some people may consider this cheating, but this things are always a joy to have around. They are really cheap granting you pretty much no investment. While you won’t learn a lot about the process of shooting film, these will help you compose your shot and allow you to pay more attention to what you take photos of. After all you only have so many shots and you should probably learn that quick before you spend your paycheck and then just hold down the shutter hoping one of the photos will be good.
Check out prices on Amazon: Fujifilm QuickSnap Flash 400 Disposable 35mm Camera (Pack of 2)