Looking for an affordable 35mm film camera? You’re in luck!
I’ve divided these “best value” 35mm film cameras into categories (based on the type of camera).
Prices are in USD for a mint condition camera on eBay.
Point & Shoot
- Pentax PC35 AF ($70 used):
35mm F2.8 lens, 1/430 – 1/8 sec shutter, autofocus, fully automatic, with built in flash. Runs on two AAA batteries.
- Olympus AF-10 Super ($90 used):
35mm F3.5 lens, autofocus, fully automatic (note: 1/45 is slowest shutter speed available). Runs on 2x AAA or CR123A.
- Olympus XA2 ($125 used):
35mm F3.5, 3-zone manual focus, very popular with street photographers. P mode, auto exposure. 1/750 – 2 sec shutter. Runs on 2 x LR/SR44 batteries.
Manual focus SLR
- Pentax ME Super ($100 used with lens):
K-mount, 1/2000 – 4 sec shutter (and Bulb), 1/125 sync, autoexposure, manual or aperture priority. Runs on 2x LR/SR44 or 1x CR1/3N. Lightweight and small.
- Minolta X-700 ($150 used with lens):
SR-mount, 1/1000 – 1 sec shutter (and Bulb), 1/60 sync, autoexposure, P / A / M modes. Runs on 2x SR44 (silver oxide) batteries. See also: Minolta X-570.
- Nikon FE ($200 used with lens):
F-mount, 1/1000 – 8 sec shutter (and Bulb), 1/125 sync, autoexposure, manual or aperture priority. Runs on 2x LR/SR44 or 1x CR1/3N.
- Canon Rebel 2000 aka EOS 300 ($20 used):
EF-mount, 1/2000 – 30 sec shutter (with Bulb), 1/90 sync, AF and AE, P A S M. Runs on 3V CR2 lithium. This “plastic fantastic” still gets it done! $20 used. Add a modern Canon 50mm F1.8 STM ($100) or Canon 40mm F2.8 STM ($100) lens and you’re all set.
- Nikon F80 aka N80 ($80 used):
F-mount, 1/4000 – 30 sec shutter (with Bulb), 1/125 sync, AF and AE, P A S M. Rugged build, dependable. Runs on 2x CR123A. $80 used. Combine with a Nikon AF 50mm F1.8 D lens ($70) for a great “do it all” setup.
- Minolta Hi-Matic E ($100 used):
40mm F1.7 lens, 1/1000 – 2 sec shutter, 1/20 sync, autoexposure. Runs on 2x PX-640 (modern hack: use LR44s and tin foil to fill space between contacts).
- Olympus 35 RC ($200 used):
42mm F2.8 lens, 1/500 – 1/15 sec shutter (with Bulb), 1/500 sync, A & M modes, autoexposure. Runs on PX-625 (modern alternative: WeinCell MRB625). Battery only runs the meter. 3 feet close focus.
Film (and film development) continue to rapidly up in price. Here are some “bang for the buck” 35mm films:
- Fomapan 100 or 200 (B&W)
- Kentmere (Ilford) 400 (B&W)
- Ilford HP5 Plus 35mm 400 (B&W)
- Kodak ProImage 100 (Color)
- Fuji Superia X-TRA 400 (Color)