5 Film Cameras Perfect for Beginners 2023

5 Film Cameras Perfect for Beginners

This is a selection of cameras we have used that we would highly recommend to anyone who is beginning their journey in film photography. In this list, we will be going through selected cameras we have personal experiences with! We have tried to be as broad as possible with this list, giving different types of film cameras depending on your needs starting out!


 Canon AE1 Program





The first one on our list really isn't a surprise. It's the Canon AE1 Program.
This camera is on nearly every beginner camera list and for good reason. It's originally based on the Canon AE1 but with an added program mode. It's this program mode that makes it such a strong all-round camera. It is perfect for all abilities because it can be set to fully automatic (Program and lens set to A) Semi-automatic (program or A) or fully manual. This flexibility means that as you progress in taking photos, your camera will give you the chance to grow and improve. 
This camera uses Canon FD lenses which are super common and therefore can be bought at very reasonable prices. I've personally used the Canon 50mm f1.8 and a Canon 24mm f2.8. They are really solid lenses and give you great colour and sharpness.

The overall size and weight of this camera are probably what you'd expect. I'd consider it a fairly average-weight camera and average size, but it is incredibly comfortable to hold in the hands. If you are looking for a camera and aren't sure what to get, you wont do much better then a Canon AE1 program.

Honourable mentions: Nikon FE2, Olympus OM2, Minolta X700


Olympus OM-10

Olympus: Olympus OM-10 FC Price Guide: estimate a camera value 

The first thing that jumped out to me when using this camera is how small and light it is for an slr, Olympus did an incredible job to make this possible. It feels great in the hands and Id understand completely if someone preferred using this to its big brother camera the Olympus OM1. This camera is a superb entry level camera for someone who isn't familiar with film photography. The camera works with an aperture priority mode (allows you to manually select which aperture and the camera automatically picks the shutter speed for you.) meaning its semi automatic by default. This is the only mode on the camera unless you buy an Olympus manual adapter but they can be hard to find. For this reason, if you purchase this camera you may feel the need to upgrade if you get serious about photography, but if its a camera for occasional use its perfect. With this camera as well, you get to use the Olympus zuiko lenses, which are some of the best lenses money can buy!

As for downsides, this is a fully electronic camera which means you should always keep spare batteries in your camera bag at all times! Its worth remembering the more old electronics on a camera, the more likely its going to break. This is also a manual focus only camera

Honourable mentions: Pentax ME, Pentax ME Super, Nikon EM, Canon T70


Pentax K1000

Im sure if you have read a few lists for best beginner camera, you will have come across the Pentax K1000 a good few times now. This is a great camera and was always recommended to photography students to buy to get to grips with film photography, but you must remember, these are PHOTOGRAPHY students. They want to do this for a living, so they need to understand how to use every aspect of a camera. For the casual weekend photographer this isn't a necessity. However, if you are used to shooting manual on a digital camera, this is a great camera for you.

This camera has no electronic assists on it other then a light meter, meaning they are super durable and there is so little to go wrong. In terms of learning the basics of film photography this camera is definitely one of the best. You are forced to use manual everything. Also the Pentax K-mount which this camera uses has so many cheap lens options available meaning its very easy to build up your kit for a low price.

Honourable Mentions: Pentax Spotmatic, Canon AE1, Nikon F2, Minolta SRT101, Topcon RE Super

Canon EOS 600 or 630:




For anyone who has ever used a Canon digital slr, this camera works in almost the exact same way.  I actually own one of these and have brought it to parties where my friends who have never used film cameras before have passed it around and taken pictures which always come out perfect. Its really simple to use, just like a dslr but without the screen to show your photos after. This camera also has fully manual modes as well for the serious photographer to be able to take pictures to their liking. One benefit as well is this has autofocus meaning that your photos aren't going to be coming out blurry when you get started. Since these cameras are also relatively unfashionable compared with 1970s and 80s slrs, they are crazy cheap for how strong a camera they are, I believe this is the best camera you can buy for less than €50 (body without a lens) or €100 (body with a lens).

A great thing is that this camera is compatible with modern Canon EF lenses meaning you can buy brand new lenses to fit on your film camera, making your photos even better quality. The only downside for this camera is its fully electronic so it uses 1980s/90s electronics which may break, but with how cheap a new body costs, its not a big deal if this happens.

Honourable mentions: Nikon F50, Nikon F65, Nikon F80, Canon 50E


Canon Sureshot AF7/ Canon Owl:



When it comes to point and shoots theres so so many to choose from, but this little Canon has stood out to me for its ease of use and affordability. In my opinion the goal of a compact should be to replace a disposable camera and this does that perfectly. It has one button for flash, one for a self-timer and one to take a photo. It's as simple as that. As well as being super easy to use, it takes AA batteries meaning you don't have to buy any weirdly shaped batteries that are hard to get. 

In terms of photo quality, it's a step up from a disposable with a glass canon 35mm lens and a strong flash. Unfortunately though it does not have a zoom lens.

Overall its a great little camera especially for one of the most affordable point and shoot options. While being as simple as a disposable, it takes better photos and gives you way more freedom.

Honorable mentions: Olympus MJU, Canon Sureshot Telemax, Olympus AF1, Olympus MJU, Nikon L35AF.

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