The 10 Best 35mm Film Cameras in 2024

Okay, there are lots of articles like this on the web, but I've noticed most of them are AI-generated. Here is your real-life person perspective on which 35mm film cameras are the best in 2023.

(Seriously, the top article on this subject stated that the Nikon FM10 is still manufactured today. They stopped manufacturing that camera in 1995.)

Person holding half-frame 35mm film camera

Why should I buy a 35mm film camera?

35mm film photography is super fun, and one of the best hobbies to have. (Although, we are biased in this opinion!) 

It helps to improve your photography skills in general. It also helps you to slow down, and appreciate what you are taking a photograph of, rather than taking 100 photos on your phone. You'll greatly improve your composition skills, as well as how you frame your images.

You will learn how to correctly expose a photograph, and how each setting affects the final image that you get. I started my career as a professional photographer by using 35mm film cameras, and now I can meter almost anything completely by eye.

It is a great way to bond with your friends too, as you can show them how cool your 35mm film camera is and help them learn how to use it too.

Canon A-1 view from above

Where can I buy a 35mm film camera?

From a trusted, reliable seller. (Like us.)

Hear me out on this. 

eBay is great, however servicing and maintenance of vintage 35mm film cameras is vitally important. It may look great from the outside, but the inside is what is important. I cannot tell you the amount of times I get emails from people who have bought a camera from eBay only to realise that it doesn't work. And most of the time, that is after they have wasted a few rolls of film.

ALWAYS read the Google reviews of a business before you buy from them. There are a few camera shops out there that look great on their social media, and all their millions of Google Ads, but read their genuine reviews from customers. 

Cameras By Max (me, the site you are currently on) service and repair all of the cameras you see on the site. So when you buy a 35mm film camera from us, it is fully serviced, and fully working. I am also always on hand to answer any questions you have and if you run into any trouble, you can easily send us an email.

Are there new 35mm film cameras being manufactured?

Yes! However, these 35mm film cameras carry quite a large price tag. For example, the Leica M6. If you have a cool £5000, maybe you have found the perfect 35mm film camera for you! You'll need a bit more to be able to get a lens for it as well, though.

Pentax recently announced that they will be designing and releasing a small range of 35mm film cameras in the future, but we do not know when this will be or what they will be like. Will we be stocking them? After I've put each on through their paces (and if they live up to the same quality as a vintage 35mm film camera) I'll be trying to get them in stock on our site.

Avoid the plastic newly manufactured cameras from Kodak and other brands. These are terrible quality, not only in the images they produce but the build. Many of them break after one or two uses. They are also drop-shipped from China, which should speak for itself.

The 10 Best 35mm Film Cameras to Buy In 2023

Okay, lets get to the good stuff. 

Firstly, how have we decided which cameras make this list?

I have worked with and on a lot of 35mm film cameras over the past few years (hundreds, if not thousands). So, I have come to learn what is worth a punt, and what isn't. 

When choosing the 35mm film cameras to make this list, I have considered their usability, their results, how likely they can be repaired, their quality, and their price.

I should preface by saying that all of the cameras we have on our site are worth the money, and we don't sell anything that we wouldn't use ourselves.

So, in no particular order...

Canon AE-1 Program

We LOVE this camera. It is ideal for beginners and is very easy to use. It has manual and automatic settings, as well as being relatively lightweight. Extra lenses are easy and cheap to come by for this camera, meaning you can add accessories and build a full kit with ease.

Olympus Pen EE-3 or EE-2

Incredibly easy to use, really compact, and with great results, the Olympus Pen EE-3 (or EE-2, they are almost identical) is a fantastic choice. It is almost all metal, meaning it will withstand the elements, and be a trusty partner for a long time (as long as you keep a lens cap on it).

Olympus XA

Packed with all the features you will ever need, the Olympus XA is a wonderfully small and powerful camera. I have received fantastic results with this camera, and with all the settings at your fingertips, it is like wielding a tiny SLR camera.

Nikon 35Ti or 28Ti

Properly serviced and well-looked after, this camera was called the "rich man's point and shoot". Now, it is a fantastic camera for any situation and rivals the Contax T2. They are more easily repaired than the Contax, and also boast a lovely, sleek design.

It has a fantastic lens, that is pin-sharp, and more autofocus points than some modern DSLRs.

Read more about the Nikon 28Ti or Nikon 35Ti.

Canon Sure Shot Ace or EX

Two mighty 35mm film cameras that have stood the test of time is these two point and shoots. They have fantastic lenses, cool features, and are made from a hard-wearing plastic.

Olympus OM10

Lightweight, easy to use, sleek, and with great quality lenses, what more do you want in a 35mm film camera? The OM10 is a staple of the film community and much loved by many amateur and professional photographers.

Minolta Riva Zoom

These cameras are often overlooked, and I have no idea why. They are fantastic. They are mostly metal, incredibly quiet for a 35mm film camera, and really compact.

The difference in the numbers across the range indicate the furthest that the lens will zoom to, other than that they are all quite similar. 

The Minolta Riva 160 is my favourite, however, because it has area autofocusing, which means that the camera shows you where it is focusing in the viewfinder and allows you to change the area.

Still stuck on which film camera to buy?

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

Or send us a message on Instagram, send us an email, chat to us on our live website chat, or read some more of our blog posts!

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. 

Read more of our blog posts here.

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.


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