Film photography has gained popularity over the past couple of years as young Londoners, bored with predictability of digital technology, turned to traditional ways.
Words: Julia Tsilman, Subeditors: Tenelle Ottley-Matthew, Keziah Leary
However, the variety of film cameras available can intimidate both beginners and experienced photographers. So our budget-friendly quiz is here to help you select the perfect one!
Click play and, when finished, return to read more about the film camera recommended to you.
1. Holga 120
Year of release: 1982
Price: from £15-£30
Holga 120 is a great contrast to modern fully automatic digital technology. It’s a plastic “toy” camera perfect for newbies to film photography, creatives or those on a very tight budget. It allows to take both standard and 6 x 6” photos, as well as double exposures. The only thing you’d need to learn is how to control focus by turning the lens barrel and use four distance settings, but that’s about it. Taking photos with Holga 120 is a trial-and-error process – it’s more about luck than skills. Light leaks are common and its poor durability means you might have to glue it back if it breaks, yet it’s a fun camera to play and experiment with. For example, one of its versions – Holga 120 CFN – allows you to use a funky build-in colour flash feature, which includes red, yellow, green, and white. So if you enjoy surprises, this is a camera for you.
2. Fisheye 2
Price: from £20-£25
This is another fantastic “toy” camera which will take your creativity to a whole new level. Yet it takes a bit of getting used to. Unlike standard cameras, it has an impressive field view of 170° and creates a circular image on a standard 4 x 6” print. It’s fun to experiment with as the fisheye feature is perfect for making unique-looking and lively shots. The camera works especially well in daylight – bright and colourful subjects make final photos appear extra cool. Once again, it’s not the most durable or reliable piece of equipment in the world, but its price and special features make it well worth the risk.
3. Olympus XA 2
Year of release: 1980
This is a budget-friendly point-and-shoot camera that outperforms many pricier alternatives. Though not the lightest of point-and-shoots (check camera № 4), Olympus XA 2 is very compact and fits nicely in your pocket. It’s affordable yet provides its owner with as much control as necessary: you can go almost fully manual or use the distance setting exclusively. Settings include a self-timer and, as an extra bonus, Olympus XA 2 can be found in different colours, from blue to pink. It’s one of the best starting point for your film camera collection.
Year of release: 1997
Price: £50-65, but can be found from £25
Another ultimate point-and-shoot camera, Olympus Mju II can be found on most photographers’ recommendation lists. With only three buttons and very simple AE/AF settings, it’s a piece of equipment suitable for both beginners and experienced photographers. Its simple settings and light weight, as well as the quality of photos it produces, earned Olympus Mju II a legendary status. The camera isn’t flawless – holding it is uncomfortable and its auto flash setting can get pretty annoying – yet it’s a great value for the money nonetheless. If you are in search of a practical and uncomplicated camera to carry around everyday, then Olympus Mju II is definitely worth checking out
Price: from £50
This camera is a definite must-have for anyone enjoying the current 360° video trend. It’s both budget-friendly and awesome, and it’s going to attract a lot of compliments from your social media followers and friends. It allows you to take stunning panorama shots in places usually inaccessible as it doesn’t demand a tripod. It can, however, be attached to one – it even has a bubble on top to show when the camera is balanced correctly. Spinner 360° uses standard 35mm film and switches between two settings – “cloudy” and “sunny” – so it’s extremely easy to use. Simply place it in front of you and pull the cord.
Year of release: 1984
Price: from £60
This is a cult film camera with an impressive following. People either love it or hate it, but those who love it stay loyal to it. Lomo LC-A+ isn’t the cheapest camera, so Olympus XA 2 or Mju II are recommended for those on a tight budget, but it’s worth the price. It produces the most radiant and colourful, well-contrasted shots which make everything, from landscapes to portraits, look beautiful. It’s easy to operate, the most important setting is a distance one, with four options to choose from. And because it can take exposures of up to 2 minutes, LC-A+ became known as a perfect nightlife shooter. All in all, do treat yourself with this camera if you have some money to spare.
7. Nikon FM2n
Year of release: 1982
Price: from £100
The priciest camera on the list, Nikon FM2n takes amazing quality shots. It’s almost fully manual and, thus, best for people who have had previous experience with film photography. It’s not the lightest piece of equipment, but very durable and reliable – you can even take photos in extremely hot and cold climates. Its extremely fast shutter speed and wonderful double-exposures are two other features that make this camera worth £100 or more. In addition, a range of pre-2000 Nikon lenses can be attached to the camera, making it even more versatile. If you would like your film camera to take professional quality photos – Nikon FM2n is the one to go for.