5 All Time Favourite 35MM Film Cameras

leica M6

In today’s era of digital camera, manufacturers are trying their best to make photography as easy as possible. Even a person with very less knowledge of technicalities and basics of photography can click a correctly exposed photo using a DSLR camera.

How about we challenge our skills and knowledge with some zeal to learn the building blocks of photography? If you plan to do so, simply go for a vintage 35mm film camera which are easily available in the market or online via e-commerce websites such as ebay.

I personally though of sharing a list of my 5 all-time favourite 35mm film cameras, and trust me, you would love to possess any of these cameras which would last a lifetime. A manual film camera will help you concrete your knowledge about how to control the lighting, how and what aperture value to choose as per the situation and lot more.

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Leica M6

leica M6

Image courtesy: webkaitori.com

When we talk about the best 35mm film cameras ever produced, the Leica M6 always would always make it to the list. Manufactured between 1984 and 1998, this rangefinder camera by Leica was coveted by many photographers but because of its high pricing it was possessed by only few.

What’s so special about this camera? The Leica M6 was one of the first film camera to be equipped with a built-in light meter. When viewed through the viewfinder, two red LED arrows indicated whether the frame being viewed is over or under exposed. Both the LED arrows light up together when the frame is correctly exposed as per the 18% grey rule. The camera had a bright optical viewfinder which came with a big rangefinder focusing patch to make focusing easy.

Canon AE1

canon ae-1

Image courtesy: lomography.com

The Canon AE-1 was the first SLR camera to sell more than one million units, the reason being that it was one of the most easy-to-operate camera. Many beginners preferred to grab the Canon AE-1 as the camera had user-friendly controls and was installed with an automatic aperture function.

The camera, which was manufactured from 1976 to 1984 in Japan, was easily available in the market and that too at a reasonable price when compared to its competitors at the time. The Canon AE-1 had one more advantage over other cameras, as with the help of third-party manufacturers the camera model supported a wide range of accessories and camera lenses.

Nikon F3

nikon f3

Image courtesy: dapagroup.com

The Nikon F3 has always been considered as one of the best professional film camera sold by Nikon, this is the reason that the brand continued to manufacture this particular model for almost 21 years (1980-2001). You can still spot many film camera lovers using the Nikon F3.

The evergreen 35mm film camera was the first Nikon camera which had a red stripe on the handgrip, which later on became the identity of Nikon cameras. The F3 was the last manual-focus 35mm SLR camera by Nikon, but still remains the favorite of many photographers.

Pentax K1000

pentax k1000

Image courtesy: youtube.com

The Pentax K1000 was one of the favourite possessions of any amateur photographer back in the 80s and 90s because of its affordability and simplicity. This camera was manufactured between 1976 – 1997 and is still known for its features ideal for manual photography, such as TTL metering system and shutter speed ranging from 1/1000 to 1 second. Though the Pentax K1000 was not equipped with some of the advanced features available at that time such as self-timer and depth-of-field, it was still admired by many photographers.

This film camera is still being used by many passionate photographers because of its vintage look which comes with leather and chrome covered camera body. If you are planning to start shooting on a film camera and are a beginner, this classic camera is an ideal option.

Hasselblad 503 CW

Hasselblad 503 cw

Image courtesy: pl.wikipedia.org

The Hasselblad 503 CW was recently discontinued in the year 2013, after almost 50 years of its launch. This shows how successful this medium format film camera was and the love it received from the photographers made the Hasselblad 503 CW survive the market for almost 5 decades.

This camera was positioned as the ideal medium format camera because of its toughness, durability and reliability. One can use this camera to capture memories in both analogue and digital formats because of the digital back availability. Usually the camera is held at waist level as the viewfinder is placed above the lens, this gives a different and unique perspective.

I might have left out some of your favourites. If i did, please do share your suggestions in the comment below. :)

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About Author

Kunal Malhotra
Kunal Malhotra, a photography enthusiast whose passion for photography started 6 years back during his college days. Kunal is also a photography blogger, based out of Delhi. He loves sharing his knowledge about photography with fellow aspiring photographers by writing regular posts on his blog: The Photography Blogger. Some of his favourite genres of photography are Product, Street, Fitness and Architecture.

  • Such an exotic list of camera bodies.

    • Indeed! If you had to choose 1 camera body from this list, which one would it be? :)