best film camera

So, what’s the best film camera ever?

Here’s a new series of posts about reader opinions. It’s halfway between blog and forum and is intended to get the -opinionated!- discussion going πŸ™‚ So the first topic we will tackle gear…what in your opinion the best film camera ever? And of course state why. You Β don’t need to particularly own it, but you are pretty sure its the real deal.

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34 thoughts on “So, what’s the best film camera ever?”

  1. For me, it boils down to two film cameras that I believe are the best.

    The first is the Contax G2, black edition. It’s much sexier than the champagne one in my opinion. It’s a great rangefinder and the glass is…is….gulp, SO sharp! I really like the fact that this is a neat little system with all the lenses you need, the 90mm is so nice, the 45…..guuuuuu is gushing, but the 16 is impossibly expensive .

    It’s anti Leica in the sense that it’s automatic and all but I like it.

  2. Second in Line is the Fuji TX1-TX2, the cheaper version (and I believe the ORIGINAL version) of the Hasselblad Xpan.

    That camera….I stay away from, for fear of just buying it one day! The panoramic images are beautiful and the whole package is relatively compact. Check out these dudes:

    There’s just something about the Xpan….

    Other fine film cameras in my opinion are the Zeiss Ikon and the Voigtlander Bessas πŸ™‚

  3. Not sure Im entirely qualified to make a judgement but based on personal experience camera one would have to be the Canonet QL17 (though most Canonet’s probably count) as theyre so cheap and easy to use. The main downfall being batteries, though Ive found an LR44 adaptor which is pretty neat.
    Set to A aperture, a decent shutter speed and you’re sorted. The 28 is even easier with basically full auto.
    Small, light fairly disposable if you’re in a tricky situation but with a great lens (just a shame for me its 40mm and not 35mm) – sorted.

  4. Camera to is the ubiquitous M6, arguably one of Leica’s best film cameras, whilst the M2 is nicer looking I like the meter and have no need of the TTL version.
    Discrete when in black, but solid enough to make a good defence should it be needed, whats not to like? Also not a bad price really, I have a Voigtlander 35mm with mine which was a good value and f1.4!
    Once you’ve cut your teeth on a Canonet you can get a real MAN’S camera! πŸ˜‰

  5. Is this a joke? What’s “the best camera”?!!! Why not, “What’s the best hammer?” Or, “What’s the best toothbrush?”
    Must be a slooooooow day. I know! Why not make some photographs, instead?!!

    1. Seconded… I’m bored shirtless by gear heads doing photo sites. Shuddup and take some frames. Don’t be those guys with 1000 upon 1000 (choose your currency) worth of photogear, and a million pictures of flowers in the garden, just as a sharpness test, you understand. Oh… you’ve some portraits of your girlfriends cat?
      The photographers I respect would take better pictures than me, using the camera on an 8 year old phone cam

  6. Kevin Shelley

    Without a doubt the Leica M2, but then I’m biased.

    Small, light, quick, reliable, well built and the cameras not bad either. πŸ˜€

  7. Freddy Robles

    undoubtedly, cute cameras , I think more than talking about cameras that is obviously the main thing in this forum, personally for me as the Yashica TL Electro X It was the first camera with electronic lights for exposure information in the viewfinder, and the first with stepless electronic shutter speed control, is heavy like they used to be at that time and it feels reliable, I have only two lens, Yashinon-DX, 1,7, f/50 mm and Vivitar Wide Angle 28mm f2.8 but the common lens mounting, M-42 allows the use of a large amount of “of the brand” lenses, before I sold the helios 58mm f2 made many shots with it, this camera is really easy to use, the meter cells are located on either side of the viewfinder eyepiece and they read the entire area of the focusing screen, is like i’m using the nex 7 with the old russians lenses.

  8. Not sure if it’s the best film camera ever, but it’s the best film camera for me.. the trusty workhorse that is Nikon FM2n.

    I did consider the FM3a but ultimately chose the FM2n because I feel it’s the more mechanical, purist’s camera.

    If I catch GAS one day I will add Olympus OM-3 and Voigt R3M into the mix πŸ™‚

  9. Verry nice camera’s indeed, but to me the Hasselblad wil always be the nummer one!
    Nowdays, you can find one for a fair price used and have real fun with it.
    The Hasselblad system alows you to ‘mold’ this camera to your needs.

  10. What an impossible question! πŸ™‚
    Best camera = the camera that just took your last good image… and will take the next.
    Best camera = the one you can use blindfolded
    Best camera = my first camera = Nikon FM
    Best camera = my longest companion = Leica M6
    Best camera = my current B&W muse = Leica M-Monochrom
    Best camera = my lightest and smartest = Fuji X100S

  11. Most of the previous comments show commonsense : “The best film camera ever is the one you handle well, master well and the one that last very long”.

    No SLR camera ever beat myPentax Spotmatic for handling. Ergonomics at their best.

    No RF camera ever beat my Leica M4P (Canadian-made) for mastering.

    Post-scriptum (“post-photographicum” being more adapted here) : at 66 years old, I started middle-format (120) photography with ….a Pentacon 6TL, an East-German SLR with an East-German Zeiss Jena Flektogon 50mm. Ergonomics close to the Pentax Spotmatic.

  12. Well the film camera I most regret selling has to be the Fuji 670GWiii. But back in the day I serially-yearned for a Olympus OM4, Contax Aria, and Minolta Dynax 7, mainly because all 3 had drop-dead fabulous viewfinders. Especially the Minolta. By the time I’d saved up enough money to buy one, digital had arrived…

    But yeah, I wouldn’t turn down a Contax G2 either…

  13. If it has to be only one, then the Rollei 35 (Tessar or Sonnar) is my choice. I love the weight, the size, the ergonomics and the left hand advance lever.

  14. Hi Folks, that’s a very tricky question…
    I’ve some good cameras (Contax G2, Hexar, minolta T, Exacta 6×6, Nikon F3, Leica R6…) but I wouldn’t part with my Leica M 6 (I tried a M 7 but never liked it and quickly sold it).
    Now, although I own a M240 typ, I think I couldn’t part with my Fujis (especially the first one – X-Pro1)
    Just enjoy photography and with any hardware that ads to that pleasure (even if old, ugly, outdated or cumbersome…

  15. There seems to always be a big Rangefinder bias on blogs, just thought I’d add my thoughts on what makes a good film camera.
    Pound for Β£ the Olympus Om-1 it’s a fantastic camera, coupled with the still incredibly cheap 50mm 1.8 Olympus lens, you can pick up both for the sum total of about Β£45! With it’s rugged good looks, and large viewfinder, this was my trusty sidekick for many years!
    I have used several other film cameras,the Contax TVS, Olympus 35SP, Zorki 4, Kiev 4, and several Yashica Electro 35’s, all have their own unique quirks, but for me, I still have my Oly OM-1, battered it may be, but I can’t get rid of it, and I now use the OM lenses on my OMD!
    I never got to use the Ricoh Gr film versions, but the digital modern version is amazing.

    1. I’ll admit that I LOVE the Rangefinder form factor >< I find it so much sexier and better to handle, but to everyone their taste πŸ™‚ The OM lenses are really great and perfect for the new generation πŸ™‚

  16. My two cents: Konica Hexar AF. My first camera and the beginning of my love affair with SP. Sharp optics, super-stylish, silent and built like an absolute beast!

  17. Pingback: INSPIRED EYE | The big, fat list of all things Street Photography

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