This has been an interesting journey over the last several years. Since I got back into photography back in 2008 with my digital Fujifilm S5700 I've also tried out quite a few film cameras, and I thought it was time I picked out a faourite to help round-up this chapter of my photographic experience.
To follow the art of photography without at least dipping your toe into the sea of film is a missed opportunity, both in terms of exploring the artistic and technical lessons that can be learned, and the sheer pleasure of using an analogue format.
Unfortunately cost is an extra factor when buying film, but what you can't deny is the amazing value that 35mm Film SLR's offer to the bargain hunter. For often the price of a few rolls of film you can get a kit that would have cost hundreds of pounds when new.
I am however, digressing. All this talk of art, lessons to be learnt, and cost, can distract from the simple fact that shooting film is a fundamentally different experience than taking photographs with a digital camera. The results can be similar, and one is no better than the other, but the two do support each other. Enjoy one and you'll enjoy the other, but often for very different reasons.
I've played with many different film cameras, in 110, 35, 120 and instant formats. From the modern Nikon F55 to the Kodak No. 1 from the 1920's, I've enjoyed them all, but there is one I would choose if I was forced to just have a single film camera.
Funnily enough its the first 35mm Film SLR I got after my initial forays back into photography with my digital S5700. Yes, it was a car boot bargain, and I think it's design and operation reflect most of the aspects that I love about film photography.
This camera is fully mechanical. It does come with a built in light-meter, so you can follow its guidance, but this camera requires no batteries to work. It has a solid metal body, and i purchased mine (for £5) with a beautiful 50mm F/1.4 lens. I've since expanded my kit to include a 28mm and 135mm lens, various filters and hoods, but I have to admit I love that nifty fifty the most.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you one of the finest 35mm Film SLR's ever made, and my favourite film camera, the 19070's era Minolta SRT101: