There has been a lot of development in the camera world over the past few years. With SD cards and digital cameras, taking multiple pictures and selecting the best one from them is not an issue at all. However, this excessive choice in selecting the perfect picture somehow loses the emotional connection that film cameras provided.
With a film camera, you just have one shot, you prepare for the moment that you want to capture and put some thought into taking the perfect picture. And even when the picture does not come out perfect, you have a memory associated with how it all went wrong. This emotional association and forming memories are what make these film cameras very special.
However, finding a good film camera today can be a very painful task due to the low variety and their very different specifications compared to modern-day cameras. To solve this problem for you, we have come up with a list of the best point and shoot film cameras followed by a buyer’s guide that will help you find the film camera that suits your needs best.
- 5 Best Point-and-Shoot Film Cameras
- Buyer’s Guide:
5 Best Point-and-Shoot Film Cameras
The Holga 120 N is the perfect film camera to get your hands on. Although it does have flaws which we will cover, it costs just over $40 so there is nothing much for you to lose here.
The camera has a 60 mm f/8 plastic lens and sports a shutter speed of 1/100 sec. Also, it comes with an included Ilford HP5 black and white negative film which would otherwise cost you back $36 for a pack of 5 rolls.
One thing to be careful of before buying this camera, however, is its plastic lens. The Holga 120 N has a plastic lens which means scratches will be very common at the slightest of usage. Furthermore, due to the inconsistency, it is possible that each camera produces slightly different images due to the difference in the respective lens.
Another thing to look at is the build quality. Although it is quite solidly built, it is made out of plastic. This might not be a problem for you but for the quality conscious people out there, the cheap-feeling plastic body would be a tough buy.
Overall, most people who have bought this camera seem to be pretty satisfied. If your use scenario is for a college project or its just you wanting to get that personal feeling that film photographs give, there is probably nothing better than the Holga 120 N that fulfills this purpose.
At just over $40, the Holga 120 N is great value for money and is sure to become your constant companion as you wait to capture your favorite memories on that very personal piece of film.
If you are a beginner to cameras and especially to film cameras, the Canon AE-1 is probably not the best option for you. However, if you are the sort of photographer who likes to get technical to get the best picture possible, the Canon AE-1 is arguably the most detail-oriented camera on this list.
Unlike the Holga we saw earlier, the Canon AE-1 looks much more like a modern camera. However, it is important to note at this point that you will not be able to buy this model brand new. Instead, there are a number of sellers selling this model as pre-owned. This is not a bad thing though, all the cameras have great ratings and overall customer satisfaction levels are high.
The Canon AE-1 is a 35 mm Singe Lens Reflex Camera with Electronically Controlled Automatic Exposure and a focal plane shutter. Also, the lens is interchangeable with a Canon FD series lens with full aperture metering and AE coupling.
It is important for you to know that, unlike the Holga, the Canon AE-1 does not come included with film rolls so remember to add some film rolls to your cart so you don’t have to wait for another order before you get to enjoy your purchase.
As mentioned earlier, the Canon AE-1 can only be bought used. Prices vary from $170 to upwards of $400. Just make sure that you buy from a reputable seller and you will have a great time capturing great pictures with this amazing vintage camera.
The Halina Ansco Pix is a very affordable camera. Some would even say that it is too cheap. However, it is very important to align your usage with the camera’s purpose before buying it.
You see, the Halina Ansco Pix is not durable like the Holga 120 N, nor is it very technical like the Canon AE-1. What it is, is a cheap and disposable camera with no quirks attached.
It is extremely simple to use, and although there are a few reliability issues, this camera is perfect for short-run projects such as school assignments or short trips. So you can use it for when the pictures are required, and once you are done, the camera is so inexpensive that you won’t feel bad for it breaking down or being lost somewhere.
If you do need a film camera on a more permanent basis, we would recommend spending a little extra money and going for the Holga 120 N.
Also, do keep in mind that the camera is operated by 2 AA batteries, however, none are included in the box. So make sure you order yourself a couple of these batteries along with the camera so your already delayed project does not get delayed anymore.
The Halina Prestige 280 S is almost the exact same camera as the Halina Ansco Pix mentioned above. With the same 28 mm wide-angle lens as the Halina Ansco, the only reasonable difference seems to be the Automatic film transport on the Halina Prestige compared to the Manual winding on the Halina Ansco Pix.
All the other things about the two cameras are almost identical. This too is a cheaply made camera that should be bought only if your need is for a disposable camera that fulfills your purpose temporarily. With reliability issues and poor build quality, we highly doubt that it will last very long. This then is the perfect camera for a school project or a short trip where a temporary arrangement is needed in the form of a film camera.
For anything more long term, we would suggest spending a little more to get the Holga 120 N. If, however, you do not want to do that, the Halina Prestige 280 S is available for $35.
The Fujifilm Instax Wide 300 is the most modern take on the film cameras in this list. Also, it is the most practical and convenient to use in today’s day and age too.
This is due to the instant film printing which would free you from constantly going to get film rolls developed.
The Fujifilm Instax Wide 300 comes with an extending 95 mm f14 lens with two focus zones. The picture size is 62 mm x 99 mm.
Do keep in mind before purchasing though that the camera does not come with include films and getting new ones is costly. The camera only accepts Fujifilm Instax Wide Film which costs $15 for just 20 instant films.
At $80, the Fujifilm Instax Wide 300 is on the higher side of this list in terms of the cost and the additional films are very costly too, however, the camera offers the utmost convenience and is probably the best option on our list.
All the cameras in our list serve very different purposes. Although most are great cameras, every one of them will not be the best camera for you. So to find the perfect match for yourself, we have made this buyer’s guide so you know what factors to keep in mind while making a selection from the list above.
Budget and Longevity:
The first and foremost consideration is obviously the budget that you are working with. Although there are $35 options in the list, they may not be the perfect ones for you. You see, with the budget, we also have to look and the build quality and longevity of the product. If you want something temporarily that you will be able to throw away without feeling guilty for your loss, the $35 Halina Prestige 280 S and the Halina Ansco Pix Flash are great for you.
However, if you need a more durable film camera that will last longer and will be there when you need to take these precious shots, extending your budget to just over $40 to get the Holga 120 N will be a very wise choice.
There are more expensive options too. If you are into the technicalities of photography, you might want to look for the Canon AE-1 as it offers the most in detail options on a film camera in this list. However, if you want convenience for the extra money that you are spending, the Fujifilm Instax Wide 300 is the option to go for as it will free you from getting roles developed every time you need to look at your pictures.
Unlike digital cameras of today where the major cost is buying the camera itself, film cameras have a lot of additional costs. These are in the form of films that you will have to buy for your camera. Before making your decision, make sure to check what film your camera supports and look for corresponding prices of these films on the internet.
This is going to be your main cost of taking pictures and in some situations, this can be a lot. For example, the Fujifilm Wide films that are required for the Fujifilm Instax Wide 300 cost $15 for just 20 films. This means that you will need to spend $15 for every 20 pictures that you take.
This film purchasing cost will be comparatively lower for film rolls, however, for those, there will be the additional cost of getting your pictures developed. So before you make the final decision of buying the camera, make sure to fully understand the cost associated with taking pictures with it.
Is Single Shot Photography for you?
This last factor is included to judge whether you will be compatible with using a film camera or not. If you are the sort of person who loves to get every picture perfect and requires every picture to look amazing, film cameras are probably not for you. Although you can take really good shots on a film camera, you will make mistakes and if you are accustomed to taking multiple shots and then selecting the best one from amongst them, you will not be able to do this using these cameras.
However, if you want to buy a point and shoot film camera for the emotional appeal that it creates with your pictures and are more concerned with the memory that each film tells instead of how each picture looks, most of the Point and Shoot Film Cameras on the list will be perfect for you.
By following these factors, you will be able to better identify your needs and select the best point and shoot film camera for you that not only matches your budget but also takes into account other factors such as usability and longevity. Happy Buying!