Keen on getting into film photography but want to start with something cheap? If you want something more advanced than point and shoot cameras to have more control over your exposures, film SLR cameras are the way to go. Sure, they will also cost more, but they’ll be a great investment that will let you learn as you shoot. In a recent video, Aidan Moneyhon lists some of the best budget 35mm SLR cameras that will get you shooting in no time.
Aidan has selected what he considers to be the best budget 35mm cameras for their simplicity and ease of use, great features, build quality, low price point, and large selection of lenses. These SLR cameras are some of the most popular among beginners for these reasons, and they’re also some of the easiest to find today.
To recap, here are Aidan’s picks for budget 35mm cameras:
Pentax K1000 ($100)
- A simple SLR camera that is easy to use for beginners
- The lenses are cheap
Pentax ME (as low as $35)
- An older model than the K1000 but still packed with features
Olympus OM10 and OM-2N ($70 – $100)
- Very easy to use and they have a large selection of lenses
- Olympus film SLRs are known for having great build quality
Canon AE-1 ($100) and AE-1 Program (can be slightly more expensive)
- Simple to use – two of the most recommended film cameras for beginners
- The AE-1 comes with a Shutter Priority mode which is perfect for those who are new to photography or transitioning from digital to film
- The Program Mode for the AE-1 Program sets both the shutter and aperture automatically; this feature adds to the cost of the camera, but it’s still possible to find one for around the same price as the AE-1 in used camera markets.
There are certainly more affordable cameras from other brands like Yashica, Minolta, and Zenit to add to this list, but I personally think this is a pretty solid selection to start shopping around with.
Do check out and subscribe to Aidan Moneyhon’s YouTube channel for more of his film photography tips and tutorials.
Screenshot image from the video