Best Budget 35mm Film Cameras for Photography Enthusiasts

Updated on March 12, 2024

Film photography has been making a comeback in recent years, and with good reason. Shooting with film brings a unique quality and character to photographs that digital cameras just can’t replicate. One of the most popular film formats is 35mm, and there are plenty of budget-friendly options available for those looking to get started with film photography.

When it comes to choosing a budget 35mm film camera, there are a few key things to consider. First, you’ll want to decide whether you want a fully manual camera or one with automatic settings. Manual cameras give you complete control over your exposure settings, but they can be more difficult to use for beginners. Automatic cameras are easier to use but may not give you as much creative control.

Another important factor to consider is the lens mount on the camera. Some cameras have interchangeable lenses, while others have fixed lenses. Interchangeable lenses give you more versatility, but fixed lenses can be simpler and more compact.

We spent hours researching and testing various budget 35mm film cameras to find the best options for both beginners and experienced photographers. In the next section, we’ll share our top picks and what we loved about each one.

Best Budget 35mm Film Cameras

We understand that not everyone is willing to splurge on a high-end film camera. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the best budget 35mm film cameras that won’t break the bank. These cameras are perfect for beginners who want to try their hand at film photography without spending too much money. In this roundup, we’ve considered factors such as price, ease of use, and image quality to bring you the best options available. So, without further ado, here are our top picks for the best budget 35mm film cameras.

KODAK EKTAR H35 Half Frame Film Camera

KODAK EKTAR H35 Half Frame Film Camera, 35mm, Reusable, Focus-Free, Lightweight, Easy-to-Use (Brown) (Film & AAA Battery are not Included)

If you're looking for a budget-friendly 35mm film camera, the KODAK EKTAR H35 Half Frame Film Camera is definitely worth considering.

Pros:
  • With the ability to take 72 half-frame photos on a 36-exposure roll, this camera is incredibly film-saving.
  • The lightweight and easy-to-use design makes it perfect for beginners and analog hobbyists alike.
  • The built-in flash is a great feature that allows you to take pictures both indoors and outdoors.
Cons:
  • Some users have reported issues with the camera's flash, which can stop working after a few uses.
  • The camera is made of plastic, which some users find to be cheap-feeling.
  • The counter on the camera can be difficult to read, which can lead to wasted shots.
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We’ve used the KODAK EKTAR H35 Half Frame Film Camera and found it to be a great option for anyone who wants to get into film photography without breaking the bank. The camera is incredibly easy to use, with simple instructions that make it perfect for beginners. Plus, the lightweight design means you can take it with you anywhere.

One of the best things about this camera is the film-saving feature. With the ability to take 72 half-frame photos on a 36-exposure roll, you can get twice as many pictures per roll. This is a great way to save money on film and get more shots per roll.

Another feature we love is the built-in flash. By simply adjusting the silver ring around the lens, you can turn the flash on and off, making it easy to take pictures both indoors and outdoors.

However, there are a few downsides to this camera. Some users have reported issues with the flash, which can stop working after a few uses. Additionally, the camera is made of plastic, which some users find to be cheap-feeling. Finally, the counter on the camera can be difficult to read, which can lead to wasted shots.

Overall, we think the KODAK EKTAR H35 Half Frame Film Camera is a great budget-friendly option for anyone who wants to get into film photography. While it does have a few downsides, the film-saving feature, built-in flash, and easy-to-use design make it a great choice for beginners and experienced analog hobbyists alike.

Ilford Sprite 35-II Camera – Black

Ilford Sprite 35-II Camera - Black

If you're looking for a budget-friendly 35mm film camera that's easy to use and won't create extra waste, the Ilford Sprite 35-II Camera is a great option.

Pros:
  • The camera is simple and easy to use, making it a great choice for beginners or those who want a no-frills film camera.
  • It has a fixed-focus wide-angle lens with a focal length of 31mm and a maximum aperture of f/9, which is perfect for capturing most daylight scenes.
  • The built-in flash with a 15-second recycle time makes night-time shooting possible.
Cons:
  • The camera has a manual film advance winding lever, which can be a bit clunky to use.
  • The camera body is made from ABS material, which may not be as durable as other materials.
  • The fixed shutter speed of 1/120s may limit your ability to capture fast-moving subjects or low-light scenes.
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Overall, the Ilford Sprite 35-II Camera is a great budget option for those looking to experiment with 35mm film photography. While it may not have all the bells and whistles of more expensive film cameras, it’s simple, easy to use, and can produce great results. The camera’s compatibility with both color negative and black and white film gives users the freedom to experiment with different types of film and capture a variety of scenes. The included wrist strap makes it easy to handle and carry around.

If you’re looking for a budget-friendly film camera that’s easy to use and produces great results, the Ilford Sprite 35-II Camera is definitely worth considering.

Ilford Sprite 35-II Reusable/Reloadable 35mm Analog Film Camera (Black and Silver)

Ilford Sprite 35-II Reusable/Reloadable 35mm Analog Film Camera (Black and Silver)

If you're looking for a budget-friendly 35mm film camera that's easy to use and doesn't come with unnecessary frills, the Ilford Sprite 35-II might be the right choice for you.

Pros:
  • The camera is lightweight and easy to handle, making it perfect for on-the-go photography.
  • The fixed-focus wide-angle lens with a focal length of 31mm and f/9 aperture is ideal for capturing well-focused daylight scenes.
  • The built-in flash with a 15-second recycle time allows for night-time shooting.
Cons:
  • The manual film advance winding lever can be a bit finicky and may take some getting used to.
  • The camera's fixed shutter speed of 1/120s may not be ideal for capturing fast-moving subjects.
  • The camera body is made from ABS material, which may not be as durable as other materials.
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Overall, the Ilford Sprite 35-II is a great option for those who want to experiment with 35mm film without breaking the bank. It’s simple to use and produces decent results, making it a good choice for casual photography.

The camera is compatible with both color negative and black and white film, allowing users to capture quick snapshots or moody monochrome scenes. However, users should be aware that the film advance winding lever can be a bit tricky to use and may require some practice.

The fixed-focus lens is great for capturing most daylight scenes, but may not be ideal for capturing fast-moving subjects or low-light situations. The built-in flash is a nice feature for night-time shooting, but the 15-second recycle time can be a bit slow.

Overall, the Ilford Sprite 35-II is a solid choice for those who want a budget-friendly 35mm film camera that’s easy to use and produces decent results.

Canon EOS Rebel GII 35mm Film SLR Camera Kit w/ EF 35-80mm Lens Camera with EF 35-80mm Lens Kit

Canon EOS Rebel GII 35mm Film SLR Camera Kit w/ EF 35-80mm Lens

If you're looking for an affordable and easy-to-use 35mm film camera, the Canon EOS Rebel GII is a great option. With both automatic and manual features, it's perfect for beginners or those looking to step up from point-and-shoot cameras.

Pros:
  • The camera is compact and lightweight, making it easy to carry around.
  • The built-in flash with red-eye reduction capability is a great feature for low-light situations.
  • With 11 exposure modes, including full auto and metered manual, there are plenty of options for creative control.
Cons:
  • The autofocus system is a bit slow and may struggle in low-light situations.
  • The camera doesn't have a depth-of-field preview button, which can be inconvenient for some photographers.
  • The camera is powered by two CR123A/DL123A lithium batteries, which may be harder to find than standard AA batteries.
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We recently had the chance to use the Canon EOS Rebel GII and were impressed with its performance. The camera is easy to use, with simple controls and a clear viewfinder. The autofocus system may not be the fastest, but it’s accurate and reliable in most situations.

One of the standout features of the camera is the built-in flash with red-eye reduction capability. It’s a great option for low-light situations where you need a little extra light. The flash is easy to use and produces good results, although it can be a bit harsh at times.

The camera’s 11 exposure modes are also a big plus. Whether you’re looking for full auto or metered manual, there’s an option for every situation. We particularly liked the Night Scene mode, which combines natural light and flash for stunning portraits at sunset.

Overall, the Canon EOS Rebel GII is a great budget 35mm film camera. It’s easy to use, compact, and produces good results. While it may not have all the features of more expensive cameras, it’s a great option for beginners or those looking to step up from point-and-shoot cameras.

Corex Half Frame Reusable 35mm Camera CH1, Built in Flash and Compatible with 35mm Color Negative or B&W Film (Film and Battery NOT Included) Limited Edition Free Blue and Yellow Filters Vegas Gold Camera only

Corex Half Frame Reusable 35mm Camera CH1, Built in Flash and Compatible with 35mm Color Negative or B&W Film (Film and Battery NOT Included) Limited Edition Free Blue and Yellow Filters

If you're looking for a budget-friendly 35mm film camera, the Corex Half Frame Reusable 35mm Camera CH1 could be a great choice for you. With its sleek and stylish design, powerful flash, and focus-free lens, this camera is perfect for capturing all of life's special moments.

Pros:
  • The half frame format allows you to take twice as many photos on a single roll of film, making it ideal for capturing all of life's special moments.
  • The handcrafted high-quality shiny metal front plate gives the camera a sleek and stylish design that is sure to turn heads.
  • Comes in four stunning colors - Midnight Gray, Vegas Gold, Neon Violet, and Tutu Pink - so you can choose a color that suits your style.
Cons:
  • The camera doesn't come with any film or batteries, so you'll need to purchase those separately.
  • Some users have reported that installing the film can be a bit tricky, so you may need to practice a few times before you get the hang of it.
  • The camera doesn't come with any instructions, so if you're new to film photography, you may need to do some research online to figure out how to use it.
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Overall, we think the Corex Half Frame Reusable 35mm Camera CH1 is a great choice for anyone looking for a budget-friendly film camera. It’s lightweight, easy to use, and produces vibrant and detailed photos, even in low light situations. So if you’re ready to dip your toes into film photography, this camera is definitely worth considering.

Kodak i60 Reusable 35mm Film Camera – Retro Style, Focus Free, Built in Flash, Press and Pop-up Flash (Bud Green)

Kodak i60 Reusable 35mm Film Camera - Retro Style, Focus Free, Built in Flash, Press and Pop-up Flash (Bud Green)

If you're looking for a budget-friendly 35mm film camera, the Kodak i60 Reusable 35mm Film Camera is a great option to consider. It offers a retro style, focus-free operation, and a built-in flash.

Pros:
  • The camera's focus-free operation makes it easy to use, even for beginners.
  • The built-in flash is a convenient feature that can help you capture better photos in low-light situations.
  • The camera's compact size and lightweight design make it easy to carry around with you wherever you go.
Cons:
  • The camera's fixed-focus lens may not produce the sharpest images, especially if you're shooting in low-light situations.
  • The camera's manual film transport and rewind can be a bit cumbersome to use, especially if you're used to more modern cameras.
  • The camera's suggested ISO range of 200-400 may limit your ability to shoot in certain lighting conditions.
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Overall, the Kodak i60 Reusable 35mm Film Camera is a solid choice for anyone looking for an affordable and easy-to-use 35mm film camera. It may not offer the most advanced features or the highest-quality images, but it’s a great option for anyone who wants to experiment with film photography without breaking the bank.

The camera’s retro styling is also a nice touch, and it’s sure to appeal to anyone who loves vintage cameras. The focus-free operation and built-in flash make it easy to use in a variety of shooting situations, and the compact size and lightweight design make it convenient to carry around with you wherever you go.

If you’re looking for a reliable and affordable 35mm film camera, the Kodak i60 Reusable 35mm Film Camera is definitely worth considering. Just be aware of its limitations when it comes to image quality and low-light shooting, and you should be able to get some great photos with this camera.

Kodak Ektar H35 Half Frame Camera Bundle

Kodak Film Camera 35mm - Ektar H35 Half Frame 35 mm Film Camera Bundle - Reusable Retro Camera with Steel Film Case Bundled with 100 4"x6" Moshify Picture Sleeves (Sage)

If you're looking for an affordable and user-friendly film camera, the Kodak Ektar H35 Half Frame Camera Bundle is a great option. It's perfect for beginners who want to try their hand at film photography, as well as for enthusiasts who appreciate the aesthetic of vintage cameras.

Pros:
  • The compact and lightweight design makes it easy to carry around, making it perfect for daily use and travel.
  • The built-in flash is versatile and adjustable, making it suitable for both indoor and outdoor photography.
  • The half-frame format allows you to take twice as many photos on a single roll of film, maximizing your film usage.
Cons:
  • Some users have reported that the camera feels cheaply made and flimsy.
  • The automatic exposure control may not be suitable for advanced users who prefer manual controls.
  • Film is sold separately, so you'll need to factor in the cost of film when purchasing this camera.
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This camera bundle comes with a Kodak Retro Steel Film Case, which can hold up to five rolls of 35mm film. It also includes a 100 pack of Moshify Plastic Picture Sleeves, which are perfect for archiving and displaying your photographs.

Overall, we recommend the Kodak Ektar H35 Half Frame Camera Bundle for anyone who wants to try their hand at film photography without breaking the bank. It’s easy to use, versatile, and produces stunning images that capture the essence of your subjects.

Kodak Ultra F9 Film Camera

Kodak Ultra F9 Film Camera, 1.4 inches (35 mm), White x Green

If you're looking for a budget-friendly 35mm film camera, the Kodak Ultra F9 might be a good option for you.

Pros:
  • Lightweight and easy to carry around
  • Built-in flash for low-light conditions
  • Simple and straightforward to use
Cons:
  • Some users have reported issues with the camera breaking or malfunctioning after a short period of use
  • Manual exposure control might be challenging for beginners
  • Requires one AA battery, which is not included
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We recently had the chance to try out the Kodak Ultra F9, and overall, we were pleased with its performance. The camera is small and lightweight, making it easy to take with you wherever you go. It also has a built-in flash, which is helpful for low-light conditions.

One thing to note is that the camera has manual exposure control, which might be challenging for beginners. However, if you have some experience with film cameras, you should be able to get the hang of it pretty quickly.

We did come across some user reviews that mentioned issues with the camera breaking or malfunctioning after a short period of use. While we didn’t experience any problems ourselves, it’s worth keeping in mind if you’re considering purchasing this camera.

Overall, we think the Kodak Ultra F9 is a decent budget option for those looking to try out 35mm film photography. Just be aware of the potential issues that some users have reported.

Canon AE-1 35mm Film Camera w/ 50mm 1:1.8 Lens

Canon AE-1 35mm Film Camera w/ 50mm 1:1.8 Lens

If you are looking for a budget-friendly 35mm film camera, the Canon AE-1 is an excellent choice.

Pros:
  • The camera is easy to use, even for beginners.
  • The Canon FD series interchangeable lenses provide full aperture metering and AE coupling.
  • The viewfinder information includes an aperture scale with meter needle and stopped-down metering, which also serves as a battery charge level check mark.
Cons:
  • The camera is prone to light leaks, which can affect the quality of your photos.
  • The battery can be difficult to find and replace.
  • The camera is not as durable as some other models.
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We recently had the opportunity to use the Canon AE-1 with a 50mm F1.8 lens, and we were impressed with its performance. The camera is lightweight and easy to handle, making it perfect for beginners. The Canon FD series interchangeable lenses provide full aperture metering and AE coupling, which allows for more precise exposure control. We also appreciated the viewfinder information, which includes an aperture scale with meter needle and stopped-down metering, making it easy to adjust the exposure settings.

However, we did notice that the camera is prone to light leaks, which can affect the quality of your photos. Additionally, the battery can be difficult to find and replace, which can be frustrating if you need to use the camera frequently. Finally, we found that the camera is not as durable as some other models, so it may not hold up as well over time.

Overall, we would recommend the Canon AE-1 to anyone looking for a budget-friendly 35mm film camera. While it does have some drawbacks, it is still a solid choice for beginners and hobbyists.

Kodak i60 Reusable 35mm Film Camera – Retro Style, Focus Free, Built in Flash, Press and Pop-up Flash (Baby Blue)

Kodak i60 Reusable 35mm Film Camera - Retro Style, Focus Free, Built in Flash, Press and Pop-up Flash (Baby Blue)

If you're looking for a budget-friendly 35mm film camera, the Kodak i60 Reusable 35mm Film Camera is a great choice for beginners and enthusiasts alike.

Pros:
  • The camera is easy to use and perfect for beginners.
  • The built-in flash is a great feature for low-light situations.
  • The camera has a simple and stylish design.
Cons:
  • The fixed-focus lens can be limiting in certain situations.
  • The camera doesn't have any manual exposure control.
  • The camera doesn't come with a strap.
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The Kodak i60 Reusable 35mm Film Camera is a great option for anyone looking to get started with film photography. It’s easy to use and perfect for beginners who are looking to experiment with different types of film. The camera has a simple and stylish design that’s reminiscent of classic film cameras from the past.

One of the standout features of the Kodak i60 is the built-in flash. This is a great feature for low-light situations where you need a little extra light to get the shot. The flash is easy to use and pops up with the press of a button.

One downside of the Kodak i60 is the fixed-focus lens. While this is great for beginners who don’t want to worry about focusing, it can be limiting in certain situations. If you’re looking to experiment with different types of photography, a camera with a manual focus lens might be a better option.

Another downside of the Kodak i60 is the lack of manual exposure control. This means that you won’t be able to adjust the aperture or shutter speed to get the perfect exposure. However, this is a great feature for beginners who are just starting out with film photography.

Overall, the Kodak i60 Reusable 35mm Film Camera is a great option for anyone looking to get started with film photography. It’s easy to use, has a great built-in flash, and has a stylish design. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly option that’s perfect for beginners, the Kodak i60 is definitely worth considering.

Buying Guide

When looking for the best budget 35mm film camera, there are a few key factors to consider. Here are some features to look for when choosing a camera that meets your needs:

1. Price

The first thing to consider is your budget. There are many affordable options available, but be sure to factor in the cost of film and processing as well.

2. Lens Quality

The quality of the lens is crucial for capturing sharp and clear images. Look for a camera with a lens that has a wide aperture and good optical quality.

3. Manual Controls

Manual controls allow for greater creative control over the final image. Look for a camera with manual controls for shutter speed and aperture.

4. Size and Weight

Consider the size and weight of the camera, especially if you plan on carrying it around with you. Look for a camera that is compact and lightweight.

5. Compatibility

Make sure the camera is compatible with the type of film you want to use. Some cameras may only accept certain types of film.

By considering these factors, you can choose a budget 35mm film camera that meets your needs and allows you to capture high-quality images without breaking the bank.

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