The Best 35mm Film Cameras for Students

POV: you're a student doing a bit of film photography and have no idea which camera to choose. Everyone has recommended the Pentax K1000 but you can't find one for under £200. You want a 35mm film camera which will be good investment, teach you some of the skills of photography, and create great images. 

We're here to help! This is our guide to the best 35mm film cameras for students.

Person holding 35mm film camera to a model in a photography studio. The best 35mm film cameras for students.

Why should I try 35mm film photography?

35mm film photography is not only really fun, but there are also a bunch of benefits to using film as a student of photography, or a student in general.

It helps to improve your photography skills. You may have used a digital camera before now, which does most of the settings for you, but with 35mm film cameras, you are much more in charge of how your photographs will turn out. This means you learn a greater understanding of photography and how settings affect your images.

It also helps you to slow down, and appreciate what you are taking a photograph of, rather than taking 100 photos on your phone. 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.

In addition to this, 35mm film is a physical format. If you are an art student, or photography student, 35mm film presents loads of ways in which to be creative. You can edit and adapt your photographs in ways that digital photography does not allow.

Read some more of our blog posts on being new to film here:

What should I be looking for in a good camera?

Budget-friendly. Being a student is hard on your finances, so having a film camera that is cheap - but not rubbish - is really important.

A good investment. You want a camera that will hold its value, be easy and cost-effective to repair, and produces great images.

Easy to use, but not too easy. You want a camera that will elevate your creativity and picture-taking, not limit it.

Olympus Pen EES-2 camera being held by a person. The best film cameras for students.
Olympus Pen EES-2​​

The Best Film Cameras for Students

We've taken into account many things when choosing these cameras. The main thing we have considered is the budget of a student, so you will find several cameras under £100 in this list.

5. Canon Sure Shot Supreme

If you are looking for a small point and shoot to take with you everywhere - and create great quality images - look no further than the Canon Sure Shot Supreme. 

It has a great lens that has a fast aperture, and it has all the functions you need for taking quick images for an art project.

Here are a couple of other Canon Sure Shot point and shoot 35mm film cameras that we would recommend for students.

4. Praktica BX20

A budget friendly camera with manual and automatic settings. This camera is an ideal entry to 35mm film cameras, and learning the skills of film photography. 

Here are some other SLR cameras for under £100:

3. Pentax ME Super

With automatic and manual settings built in, the Pentax ME Super is a great option for someone wanting to learn the skills of 35mm film photography. 

Lenses are also cheap to purchase for this camera, and it is one of the most compact 35mm SLR film cameras.

2. Olympus OM10

This camera is simple, but has all the functions you could ever need. It is automatic, but can be made manual with the addition of a manual adapter. 

It is not only compact, lightweight, and easy-to-use, but additional accessories are also easy to come by. And it is also one of the cheaper SLR 35mm film cameras.

Some honourable mentions...

Before we reveal the top 35mm film camera for students, here are some honourable mentions that didn't make the list.

Canon AE-1 Program 35mm film camera. Best 35mm film cameras for students.

1. Canon AE-1 Program

The Canon AE-1 Program is the camera that I started my film photography journey with. It is a classic design that has all the features you need to get started with film photography. 

It has manual and automatic settings and allows you to swap between the two easily and control the outcome of your images quickly.

The viewfinder is easy to read and the camera is lightweight compared to a lot of the Pentax cameras recommended for beginners.

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. 

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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