35mm is the film format with the more choices.
Pretty much every reflex made in the past 60 years is capable of delivering great results, assuming that is working within specs – i.e. it’s not broken. The prices are pretty close grouped too, at least at the same level of sophistication.
So in this case the differences are in ease of use and number of functions. Why buy a no-name camera when now for pretty much the same money you can have, for example, a Nikon?
UP TO 50€
At this price point you can already find fully professional, manual cameras, like:
- Canon EFM
- Contax 139 Quartz / 159 with a 50/1,7 or 50/2 Yashica ML
- Minolta X700 with a 50/1,7 Rokkor
- Nikon FG / FG20 / FM with a 50/1,8 Nikkor
- Olympus OM1 / OM1md / OM2 with a 50/1,8mm OM Zuiko lens
- Pentax ME Super / MX with a 50/1,7 Pentax M
- Yashica FR-I with 50/2 or 50/1,7 Yashica ML
A few autofocus, motorized cameras like:
- Canon Eos 650 / 620 / RT / 1000 / 500
Or the rangefinders from Russia:
- Kiev 4AM with 50/2 Jupiter-8 (a beautiful Sonnar copy)
- Zorki 4k with a 50mm
In a class on its own is the:
- Olympus XA
It is an extremely small rangefinder camera with an exceptionally good 35/2,8 and aperture priority exposure. Its price varies quite a bit; you can often find one for 30€, but sometime it sells for over 150€!
Your choice will be determined more from what you like esthetically than anything else, even though if you have a digital camera with interchangeable lenses you may well check if the lenses of the film camera system you are going to buy are compatible; in this case with a simple and cheap adapter you can use them with both.
UP TO 150€ / 200€
Here we are entering in the realm of the admirals, autofocus and with fast motors.
- Canon Eos 1 / 1n with 50/1,8 EF
- Nikon F4 / F4s with 50/1,8 Nikon AF
- Pentax Z1 with 50/1,7 AF
Or the amazing – but with a s****y finder:
- Contax G1 with 45/2 Zeiss Planar
UP TO 500€
And now come the queens.
First the rangefinders:
- Minolta CLE with 40/2 M-Rokkor or Leica Summicron-C
- Leica M2 / M3 with 50/3,5 Elmar
And then the fastest reflex:
- Canon Eos 1V
- Canon Eos 3
- Nikon F5
If you happen to have a camera and want just a suggestion for a few cheap – but extremely good – lenses here we are.
Please keep in mind that with an adapter you can use Nikon, Olympus and Pentax lenses on Canon EF bodies, even if with a bit of discomfort (you will have to manually close the aperture before each shot and / or focus with the aperture closed at the working value).
ALL UNDER 50€ (in italics) / 100€, for SLRs
- 20/3,5 Nikkor UD pre-Ai
- 24/2,8 Nikkor pre-Ai or Ai
- 24/2,8 Olympus OM Zuiko
- 28/2,5 Minolta MC W-Rokkor SI
- 28/2,8 Tokina RMC (various mounts)
- 28/3,5 or 28/2,8 Nikkor Ai
- 28/3,5 Olympus OM Zuiko
- 28/2,8 Yashica ML
- 28-85/3,5-4,5 Yashica ML
- 35/2 Nikkor O pre-Ai
- 35/2,8 Olympus OM Zuiko
- 35/2,8 Yashica ML
- every 50/1,7, 50/1,8 or 50/2 Minolta / Nikkor / Olympus OM Zuiko / Pentax
- 50/1,8 Canon EF
- 50/3,5 Nikkor Micro Nikkor pre-Ai
- 50/1,4 Pentax S-M-C Takumar
- 50/4 Pentax M Macro
- 50/1,7 or 50/2 Yashica ML
- 85/2 Nikkor Ai
- 135/3,5 Minolta MD
- 135/3,5 Olympus OM Zuiko
- 100-300/5,6 Nikon Ai
- 80-200/4 Yashica ML
ALL UNDER 50€ (in italics) / 100€ for Rangefinders (Leica screw M39 or Kiev 4 mount)
- 35/2,8 Jupiter-12
- 50/3,5 Industar-22
- 50/2 Jupiter-8
- 55/2,8 Industar-61 L/D
- 85/2 Jupiter-9
And if you have a Contax G series camera each and every Contax G lens:
For one of these you can expect to pay from 150€ (for the 90) up to under 350€ (for the 21).
See you next time with the medium format options.