Information about the purchase of film cameras are some of the most common requests I get through my blog and Twitter account. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but will cover some of the bodies I've either shot or researched heavily in the past. The prices I indicate below are ballpark and for the most part, body only unless indicated otherwise. Also, this list is only dealing with used film bodies - as I feel that's where there's the most bang for the buck.
NOTE: This will be getting re-vamped summer 2017 with an updated list.
Starving Artist Film (35mm)
If you are looking at a super-affordable way to break into film photography, you can either go the free route or pretty damned close to that, these budget beauties:
- Olympus OM-1 (SLR) - $50 - uses Olympus OM-Mount
- Zorki 4 (rangefinder) - $35 - uses 39LTM lenses
- Minolta SRT-102 (SLR) - $25 - uses Minolta MD/MC lenses
- Zenit-E (SLR) - $15 - uses M42 screw mount lenses
Budget 35mm Film Cameras
If you're looking to jump into film photography without breaking the bank, here are a handful of used cameras that can be had in the $100+ range:
- Rollei 35 (mini) $100-$200
- Nikon F3 (SLR) $100-$200 - uses just about any Nikkor lens ever made
- Canon AE1 (SLR) $100-$200 - uses FD lenses.
- Pentax K1000 (SLR) $100-$300 - Pentax K-mount
Recommended 35mm Film Cameras
Willing to spend a little more on a set-up, these are my thoughts on excellent 35mm film cameras:
- Leica M2 / M3 (rangefinder) $700 and up
- Carl Zeiss Ikon (rangefinder) $800 and up
- Nikon SP (rangefinder) $900 range - uses Nikon S-bayonet lenses
Budget Medium Format (120) Film Cameras
If you want to break into medium format, these bodies can get you going:
- Mamiya 645 (SLR) - $100 range body only - $200-$400 for kit
- Mamiya C330 (TLR) - $200-$300 range
- Pentax 645 - (SLR) $100 range body only - $200-$400 for kit
- Fuji GW690 (rangefinder) - $200-$300 complete
Recommended Medium Format (120) Film Cameras
Here are my coveted medium format film cameras for you to ponder:
- Hasselblad 500c/cm (SLR) - $300 range for body - $1000+ range for kit
- Rolleiflex 2.8 (TLR) - $1200-$3500 complete
- Plaubel Makina 67/670/W67 (my new rangefinder love) - $1200-$2200
- Mamiya 7 (rangefinder) - $1000-$2000 range
- Contax 645 (SLR) - $1500 range for body - $3000 range for kit
Once you make your way through this and choose your film weapon of choice, I suggest pairing it up with a good nifty 50mm (35mm format) or 80mm (120 format) lens and a kicking light-meter. Since what you're buying off this list is most likely old, it may or may not have a light-meter that may or may not function properly. Also, wouldn't hurt to invest in a good CLA.
Feel free to drop me a line to your suggestions add to the list.