General Question

travistotz's avatar

What is the best 35mm Camera?

Asked by travistotz (123points) September 5th, 2007

My new photography class has us using 35mm cameras, and I’ve always been a Digital Camera guy. Anyone have any suggestions, including brand, type, and of course what’s the BEST LENSE?

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10 Answers

bpeoples's avatar

The Nikon F5 is considered the body by most folks I know. The big thing for 35mm is that your camera body just need to be reasonably rugged—it’s really just a black box that handles your film.

Lens, however, is critical. I love Nikkor glass, but again I’m a Nikon guy. Canon L glass is amazing, and a good reason to buy Canon gear. The cool thing with Nikons (especially if you’re shooting film) is that the F mount hasn’t changed in 30 years. My 50mm/f1.4 is 35 years old and fits nicely on my D70. So you can find a huge selection of glass that will fit on your Nikon camera.

Check out this search on KEH:


There’s some good Bargain rated F4 kits on there for < $200.

glial's avatar

Might want to think about one that can use your existing lenses.

Fallstand's avatar

I prefer canons, Rebel XTI is a good beginner camera, I just bumped up to the Canon 30D and i LOVE it. Check out though, they do some good in depth reviews of cameras.

bpeoples's avatar


Last I checked the XTi & 30D don’t take 35mm film =) (They are both really great cameras)

Fallstand's avatar

oooo, didnt know you wanted film

ezraglenn's avatar

A pentax k1000 is a really great beginner manual camera.

andrew's avatar

I’d go Vintage… especially if you’re learning photography. Get a simple Canon AE-1, with just a lightmeter. None of this auto-focus, auto-aperture mumbo jumbo. You’ll be a much better photographer for it.

Poser's avatar

I learned on a Nikon F3. Great camera.

Go with something that can still shoot photos even if the batteries die.

mjm1138's avatar

Not to sound cheesy, but the best 35mm camera is the one that you’re most comfortable with. Nikon and Canon both make excellent glass, but Pentax, Olympus and Minolta do too. I suggest going to used camera stores and handling bodies until you find one that feels good and natural in your hands.

A note of caution on the big ol’ tanks that the pros swear by: A great camera that you don’t carry because it’s too heavy and bulky will not bring you as much joy as a pretty good camera that’s small and light enough to stay in your bag all the time.

For the lens, start with a 50mm and don’t bother with zooms. A prime (non-zoom) lens will be lighter, faster (it will admit more light and allow you to use a faster shutter speed), and probably optically superior to all but the most expensive zooms. A prime will also force you to think harder about framing and composition, and ultimately make you a better photographer. Enjoy the class, and shoot lots of frames!

RamRay's avatar

With so many cameras for sale used, you have a chance to try one for a song, if not happy, try another. From my experiences all the big names deliver, but in the end I found that nothing, and I mean nothing is sharper than Zeiss optics. In over 25 years have used Nikon, Canon, Olympus and Minolta but what I use now is Contax if only for access to the Zeiss system.
Buy an F3, an A-1, an OM-2 or an MD-11 and have fun!!

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