Film camera


My mid-life crisis is driving me all retro and I want to buy a film SLR camera. What should I get? What was the best SLR before digital showed up?

43 years old

[For those who don’t know, SLR means a pro or semi-pro camera with interchangeable lenses.]


The best film cameras are made by Hasselblad. They’re extremely high quality and don’t degrade over time — some even argue they get better. So for this reason you should buy one from eBay. (and, for the record, stop telling people you “won” something from eBay when you in fact “bought” it.)

They range in price from the $20,000’s to $900 or so. You can’t go wrong with any working Hasselblad.

Here’s the link to eBay, sorted by price descending.


6 Responses to “Film camera”

  1. 1 Frank Marino December 7, 2006 at 10:38 am

    Ugh, Pud you screwed this one up, sorry dude. An “SLR” is a “single lens reflex” camera with interchangeable lenses. When you look through the viewfinder to line up a shot, you are looking through the actual lens – you see exactly what the lens is “seeing”. They use 35mm film.

    And yes, SLR’s are used by many semi-pros and pros alike.

    While it’s true that Hasselblads are great cameras, they are mainly “medium format” cameras that use 120mm or 220mm film which produce a negative (or slide/chrome) of 6x6cm or 6x7cm. This film must be processed at a pro lab. Medium format cameras are typically used for portrait/model and product photography in a studio setting.

    If you really want a nice camera, you can’t go wrong with a Nikon or Canon in the $1000-$2000 price range. Check out B+H Photo, lots of NYC pros shop here:

  2. 2 Anonymous December 7, 2006 at 5:52 pm

    I second Frank, but he is wrong to say that “SLR” means 35mm. They are distinct and you can have SLR, twin lens or range-finder in any format.

    A professional photgrapher will tell you that a camera is just a box. You take a picture with a lense. So besides picking what you are going to do with your camera, you should consider the availability of lenses for your camera. The above statement is a longer way of saying, “…you cant go wrong with a Nikon or Canon…”

    Also, there is no reason you can’t process medium format film yourself. It is just harder to find the equipment for it — mainly tanks and reals, most enlarger’s could handle it.

  3. 3 Anonymous December 8, 2006 at 3:15 am

    You are too smart to let on that you’re that old to know about out-dated camera’s..NO?

    Hmmm…could you be getting outdated?

    -Baby Jade

    (Jade’s baby advice)

  4. 4 alley December 13, 2006 at 2:54 pm

    Slr’s are like crack-addictive as hell, and like crack- an enspensive habit. I would recomend starting with a cannon rebel. it has various settings for various levels of automation or manuel-ness, it uses 35mm film, which is nice because it is easy to buy and cheap to have processed or process yourself.

    a cannon with a multi-purpose zoom lens (20mm-90mm, give or take) can be got for around 2 or 3 hundred dollars. a telephoto lens, good for distance and isolating a subject and macro, good for close-up and wide view, are more exspensive, optics are actually the most exspensive part of any camera, and good optics are a MUST for good shots.

    also, I’ve been hooked on film and tanks and reels since I was in high school, and I’m only 25, FILM ROCKS!

  5. 5 Bastian Löhrer December 16, 2006 at 12:47 am

    Well, I prefer manual, older cameras. Like the Minolta SRT 101, which I use.
    You can get them for less then 100$ on ebay often with several lenses. You can also get lenses for those cameras cheap.

    But don’t get a Minolta SRT 101 or 201, as you can get the 1.35V batteries they need just in few online stores. I do not know about the other SRT models, but they probably use the same batteries (why shouldn’t they?). Whenever you are going to purchase one of the older cameras, ask for the battery voltage and size and check, if they are still available.

    A battery in my Minolta lasts for 2 or 3 years, sometimes even longer.

    Visit my Photoblog for images taken with my 40 years old SRT 101.

    -Bastian Löhrer

  6. 6 Anonymous December 19, 2006 at 10:12 am

    Alley, a cannon is something you shoot cannonballs with. Perhaps you meant Canon – a Japanese electronics company

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