4 tips for the 1st time film camera buyer

film camera

Are you searching for your very first film camera but don’t know how or where to start? The vast used film photography market can be very confusing, especially for first time buyers. That’s why I thought of giving these handy tips so you don’t buy a lemon.

Evaluate your skills

Now, I don’t want to sound boastful or anything but this is a very important tip especially for starters. Film photography is very different from its digital counterpart, not to mention difficult. Film photography requires photographers to really think about each shot so they don’t waste film and money.

Properly evaluating your skills will help you determine which camera would best fit your style and skill set, thus giving you an encouraging and wonderful experience ahead. Don’t worry. You can always upgrade as you grow as a film photographer.

Search for a camera you like

Different photographers search for different things in their cameras. Some want theirs compact and easy to carry, while others want a cool looking camera, and then there are some that need a camera that can perform.

Search the market for a film camera that you think you’ll be comfortable with. If you’re new to photography, a ‘point and shoot’ or ‘range finder’ would be a good camera to start with. On the other hand, if you’re a bit more experienced then you can go straight to the big league and get an SLR.


Now that you’ve found the film camera you like (or better yet, have a few choices in mind), find out as much information about it as you can online and through the local film photography community. Ask them questions such as if the film is easily available for that camera, if it’s easy to use, if parts are easy to find, and more importantly, their feedback and sample shots.

You can also show the community the actual item you want to buy for their feedback. The community can spot a lemon or a problematic camera from a mile away.

Buying the chosen one

Before handing your hard earned cash to the seller or store, ask the them for all the details about the item such as if it has been fully tested and proven to be working, its issues (if any), and its history. It would also be highly recommended to have a knowledgeable friend take a look at the camera first.

A word of caution, stay away from untested cameras, those with mechanical issues, and/or those with fungus. Purchasing cameras with these kinds of problems could have you spend more than expected to have it repaired (in some cases, it never gets fixed). That’s unless you’re dead set on buying that particular camera and prepared to go all-in with it or if you would just want it for display purposes.

If everything checks out well, then go ahead and buy the camera. Welcome to the awesome world of film photography!

Do you have any additional tips? Drop them on the comment box below.


Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

Yabee Eusebio

A humble photographer who wants to share his passion of chasing light with others, whatever format it may be.