Getting Started with Film Photography: 35mm Gear Recommendations

Tutorials

So you want to start shooting 35mm? That’s great news! Especially compared to medium format set-ups, 35mm cameras are just EASY. They are compact, lightweight, easy to load, great for travel, and, when you look at price per shot, you definitely get more bang for your buck. Here are some affordable and approachable suggestions to get things going.

The NIKON F100 is one of our favorite options. It’s compatible with digital Nikon lenses, so if you’re already a Nikon shooter, the only investment is the body. It’s interesting to note that the Nikon F100 was one of the last film cameras manufactured by Nikon before making the switch to digital. Because of this, digital shooters will find the controls of the Nikon F100 very familiar.

Why we love it:

  • Intuitive to use
  • Compatible with digital Nikon lenses
  • Adjustable focusing points
  • Full manual exposure controls as well as the option to shoot with the help of auto focusing and/or auto exposure modes
  • Affordable (used camera bodies range from $100-$200)


Things to watch out for:
The double exposure function on some Nikon F100s can be problematic. If this function is important to you, make sure to run a test roll immediately upon purchase to ensure you’re within the return window for online sellers.

FOR ALL OF YOU CANON SHOOTERS OUT THERE, we’ve got suggestions for you too! Canon has a variety of 35mm cameras at multiple price points. If you’re just looking to dabble in film photography, CANON REBEL 35MM film bodies or CANON EOS ELAN bodies can be purchased for less than $100 and are compatible with digital Canon lenses. For those wanting to dive further into film photography, here are two Canon bodies we recommend:

The CANON AE-1 is a popular 35mm camera to start out on. While it is not compatible with current digital Canon lenses, an AE-1 body and lens can be purchased together for less than $150. This has some appeal for shooters who don’t want to be switching their lenses back and forth between their digital camera bodies and film camera bodies.

Why we love it:

  • User friendly
  • Full manual exposure controls as well as the option to shoot in shutter priority mode
  • Also very affordable (body and lens together can be purchased for less than $150)


Things to watch out for
:
Make sure to read the item’s description carefully upon purchasing to know if the seller is selling the camera body and lens together, or separately.

The CANON EOS 3 is a great 35mm camera to start with for digital Canon shooters. It’s compatible with digital Canon lenses, so like the Rebels and Elans, your only investment would be the camera body. As with Nikon shooters and the F100, digital Canon shooters are likely to feel familiar with the controls of the Canon EOS 3.

Why we love it:

  • Intuitive to use
  • Compatible with digital Canon lenses
  • Adjustable focusing points
  • Full manual exposure controls as well as the option to shoot with the help of auto focusing and/or auto exposure modes
  • Decent price point (used camera bodies can be purchased for as little as $300)


Things to watch out for
:
Some Canon EOS 3 bodies have focusing issues, so be sure to run a test roll immediately upon purchasing to ensure you’re with the return window for online sellers.

photos by Chloe Mehr | Portra 400 | Mamiya 645

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follow us on instagram @theFINDlab

follow us on instagram @theFINDlab