Your Next Film Camera

For 40+ years, everyone’s first choice was a 35mm single lens reflex camera. They came with a (fixed focal length) 50mm lens; most ‘togs’ second lens was a substantially longer zoom. If you didn’t know what kind of picture you wanted to make it wasn’t a problem, because the camera was so versatile you could postpone that decision (att’n. filmless folk: sound familiar?). Despite the impression that one need not look further, here are some recommendations for your next camera that are not SLRs.

120 (roll film) cameras comprise a spectrum of designs. Depending upon the brand, a roll of film captures 4 or 8 or 10 or 15 or 16 frames. Some are SLRs, some are twin-lens reflexes (TLR), and some are rangefinders (RF). (Hot tip, Thryn: TLRs are the biggest bargain on the interweb.) All make relatively large negatives, and it shows in the enlarged print.

Also, Ellie, consider a high-quality 35mm rangefinder . They’re small; they’re quiet because there’s no mirror, Thryn; and they’re easier to focus in low light. There are a number of excellent models other than Leica (the Holy Grail): Canonet, Konica Hexar, Olympus Stylus. This is by no means a complete list. Also, be aware that, back in the day, Canon and Olympus made half-frame rangefinders (seventy-two 1×1/2″ verticals per roll).

The current likely sources, other than friends and relatives and neighbors, are eBay and craigslist. Be… fastidious.

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