5 of the Best 35mm Film Cameras for Travelling

When you take a trip, you want to document your experiences. There are lots of ways to do that, from taking countless photos with a smartphone to writing down your thoughts. 

If you’re looking for an alternative way to capture the sights and memories of your next trip, consider taking pictures with a 35mm film camera. These cameras allow you to slow down and appreciate your surroundings. They are also small, lightweight, and easy to use. 

In this article we will answer the question: “What are the best 35mm film cameras for travelling?” Let’s get started!

View of Amsterdam canal taken with the Olympus XA3 using Adox Color Mission film.
View of a boat next to an old harbour taken on the Yashica T5 35mm film camera.

Why Use Film When You Are Travelling?

Many people take pictures when they travel. You can use your phone, a digital camera, or a 35mm film camera. But if you are looking for something different and special, then a 35mm film camera is the way to go.

There are many reasons why someone might choose this type of camera while travelling. The first reason is that a 35mm film camera is - for the most part - small and lightweight so they do not take up much space in your bag. They also have a limited number of settings so it is easy to figure out how to use them. 

They also allow you to slow down and appreciate your surroundings because you have time to make sure that you get the photo that you want. And you also don't get the instant gratification of a phone photo, which will probably be disappointing and not capture the memory as you remember it.

Only film photographers can explain to you the feeling that comes when waiting for your scans to come back from the lab. It is exhilarating and there is no better to way to remember your trip than sitting down to see your new scans and getting your negatives back.

Person holding Canon F-1

What to Look for in a Good Travel 35mm Film Camera

There are lots of 35mm film cameras to choose from. When selecting a 35mm film camera for your next trip, there are some features to look for: 

  • Lightweight and compact design: A small camera is easier to carry when you’re on the go, and can fit into bags that you can carry with you everyday on your adventures.
  • Good lens: A good lens will help to create high quality photos. 
  • Easy to use: You want a camera that is easy to use, so anyone in your group can take photos independently. There's nothing worse than being the photographer of the group and getting no photos of yourself!
  • Manual settings: Manual settings give you more control over the final outcome of your photos, however if you want to take photos quickly and easily, automatic settings may be better. You can get SLR cameras that have both of these settings.
  • Fixed focal length lens: Fixed focal length lenses are perfect for capturing landscapes and other large scenes, and are generally higher quality as well.
  • Built-in flash: If you are doing lots of things at night and want to capture these moments, a built-in flash is a good idea.
  • Built-in light meter: These meters help you determine the best settings for taking pictures in different lighting conditions. All automatic cameras will have one.
Illustration of SLR film camera
Illustration of point and shoot film camera

5 of the Best 35mm Film Cameras for Travelling

There are a lot of good 35mm film cameras for travelling. But we decided to choose five of the best that we think you should consider, based on all of the cameras we have ever used and tried (which is a lot). This is definitely the hardest list we have ever tried to make.

We also tried to keep this list budget-friendly. It would be easy to say that the Contax T2 is the best camera for travelling, however not everyone has the budget for a £1200 35mm film camera.

5. Canon Sure Shot Ace

This 35mm camera has a bunch of great features in a compact body. With a waist-level viewfinder, remote control for the shutter, and a tilt-feature on the base of the camera, this is a great option for being able to get in front of the camera and take photos of yourself. You'll no longer have to rely on asking strangers to take your photo! 

It also has a high quality lens and a built-in flash.

This model of the Canon Sure Shot also has a sibling. With less settings, but the same lens, the Canon Sure Shot EX may be your more budget-friendly 35mm film camera choice.

4. Canon AE-1 Program

If you want more control over your images, this is the 35mm film camera for you. It has manual settings, as well as automatic ones for when you are too busy to stop and do the settings yourself. 

You can switch between manual and automatic quickly and easily. It is also quite lightweight and easy to carry. 

Other alternatives that are similar to this are the Pentax ME Super, Minolta X-300, and Olympus OM10.

3. Minolta Riva Zoom

This 35mm film camera ticks a LOT of boxes. It is super compact, easily fitting in your pocket. It is made of metal, so it is durable and won't break easily. It is really quiet to use, which makes it great for street photography. 

It has lots of settings that are easy to use and a zoom lens as well. What more do you need!?

2. Olympus Pen EE-3

This 35mm film camera is one of my favourites for travelling as it is so fun to use with its super easy settings, and it is a half-frame camera. This means you can get 72 shots on a 36 exposure roll. Find out more about half-frame cameras here

This camera is super compact, and one of the true point and shoot film cameras on this list.

Before we reveal the best 35mm film camera for travelling, here are some more honourable mentions that did not make this list. There are tonnes of cameras that we wish could be on this list, but you already have too many choices when trying to choose a film camera; that's why we limited it to only five.

Our top pick for best 35mm film camera

1. Olympus XA

My absolute favourite camera for travelling. The greatest feature of the Olympus XA camera is its fantastically sharp 28mm f/2.8 lens.

It has manual aperture, manual focus, and tells you your shutter speed in the viewfinder. It has all the functionality of a larger SLR camera, in a pocket-sized body.

There are plenty of other cameras in the Olympus XA series - all with slightly different features. The Olympus XA is the most manual out of them all.

Still not sure which camera to buy? 

Try our film camera quiz. All you need to do is answer a series of questions, and you will get a list of personalised camera recommendations. 

Or get in touch with us! We have a live chat in the corner of our website, or you can send us a DM on Instagram.


Choosing a 35mm film camera for your travelling adventures can be difficult, but we hope our guide has helped a little. To summarise, here are the things to look out for in a good travel 35mm film camera: 

  • Compact size
  • Settings and flash
  • Easy to use
  • Good quality lens

Those are some of the features to look for in a camera that is good to travel with, but ultimately choose something that will make you excited to use it!

Our recommendations for 35mm film cameras for travelling are: 

  • Canon Sure Shot Ace
  • Canon AE-1 Program
  • Minolta Riva Zoom
  • Yashica Samurai
  • Olympus XA

If you like what we do, but can't buy a camera from us, please consider buying us a cup of coffee! It helps us to keep these resources free, consistent, and accessible. 

Max, owner of Cameras By Max

Article written by: Max

Max is the owner of Cameras By Max. They work full-time repairing and refurbishing all the 35mm film cameras you see on the website. Their favourite camera (at the moment) is the Olympus XA, and their favourite city in the world is Edinburgh.


No more products available for purchase

Your cart is currently empty.