Despite being very much in the age of digital cameras, film cameras are still very popular.
A variety of quality secondhand film cameras can be bought for very low prices, but if you are a first-time buyer, try and go for a bigger brand name. Olympus, Nikon, Canon & Leica are good brands to go for, and these manufacturers still produce 35mm film cameras.
As film cameras are largely mechanical with very little tech, a well looked after, second hand film camera should take the same quality of pictures as the day it was first manufactured.
When buying a used film camera, and if you are planning to use your camera to take photos rather than just adding it to a collection, make sure that it’s still possible to buy film for that camera. Because of the decline in film camera use, suitable film is not always available for every second hand film camera available to buy.
If you’re planning on using the film camera to take photos, make sure the camera works. For example, you could ask the seller to provide you with a selection of photos recently taken with the camera to inspect the quality.
You can expect some wear and tear on old cameras, but If you spot any extreme damage in the casing of the film camera, be aware that the camera may have suffered a more severe impact that could have damaged the internal mechanisms. However, the great thing about buying film cameras is that they are much easier to repair than their digital counterparts. Therefore, if you do end up buying a camera which is damaged, take it along to your local camera specialist shop to take a look.
If you are planning on buying a used SLR film camera, check that there are plenty of lenses available for your chosen model. Some companies will discontinue manufacturing lenses if their new cameras don’t use them, or if there is little demand for those lenses.
Look out for film cameras that are being sold with their original packaging and manuals. Not only are these useful to have, it’s also a good indication that the camera has been well cared for by its previous owner.
35mm Film Cameras
35mm SLR cameras are one of the most common film camera types and the 35mm is an ideal camera for general, everyday photography. The popularity of the 35mm means they are still manufactured brand new by Nikon, Fujifilm, Polaroid, Leica, Pentax and a few others.
35mm SLRs are good film cameras for beginners to start with as there is a lot of information available to newbies about using these types of cameras, and the film is relatively inexpensive.
There are also plenty of new and used accessories available for 35mm film SLRs which means you can easily extend the profile of photo types you can take without buying an additional camera.
Medium and Format Film Cameras
If you are looking to take really detailed or portrait type pictures, then you’re best going for a secondhand medium format film camera, the most popular being the 6x7 format. These are usually only purchased by film camera enthusiasts as both the camera and the film can be pricey. That said, a good 6x7 medium format camera can take stunning close-ups because of the higher resolution.
Instant Film Camera
A new wave of advanced instant film cameras are on the market, including instant cameras that connect to your mobile allowing you to print photo’s taken on your phone. Older style Polaroids from the 90’s are available second hand, and after a long time not being able to get hold of film for older style Polaroids, film is now being manufactured again by the Impossible Project. Film for instant film cameras can be on the more expensive side, with each photo film costing as much as £2 each.