A Quick Overview
Best overall - Editor’s choice
Best value point and shoot film camera
Best point and shoot film camera zoom
Best point and shoot film camera for beginners
Best cheap point and shoot film camera
Our Review of the 5 Best Point and Shoot Film Camera
Best overall - Editor’s choice - Canon Sure Shot 80 Tele Camera
To open our list of the best point and shoot film cameras is the Canon Sure Shot 80 Tele is a classic beauty that’s very much available today for a few bucks. It delivers superb grainy image quality like vintage photographers would very much appreciate. It comes with a dual focal length lens rated 38/80mm which allows more freedom of shots including wide-angle and telephoto.
With this 90s machine, capturing images on film has never been more enjoyable, as it comes with automatic functionalities. You can just pick up this point-and-shoot and get to taking beautiful retro images without much settings. However, you do need to master using the device if you’re a beginner or just starting out with film cameras.
With the Canon Sure Shot 80 Tele, you get an exact view of what you see with the real-image viewfinder. So, you don’t have to waste film rolls trying to get the perfect shot. Instead, with a look through the viewfinder, you get to determine exactly what you get on print. The viewfinder works alongside the high-precision 3-point autofocus of this 35mm film camera to help you capture the exact subjects in your image.
Other automatic features on this vintage film camera include its built-in multifunction flash, developed with red-eye reduction. It also comes with a ten-second self-timer which comes in handy when you want to photograph yourself in the mix. And finally, you also get the option to select preset operation modes for even faster setup.
Best value point and shoot film camera - Olympus Stylus Epic Zoom 80
Delivered by one of the most remarkable brands of the late 20th century, the stylus Epic Zoom 80 is one of Olympus’ finest point and shoot film cameras. It has the autofocus, f-stop settings, and zoom capabilities which easily makes it stand out as one of the best point and shoots of the film camera world.
This 35mm compact film camera boasts a 4.5 – 8.9 f-stop range, this and the 38/80mm dual focal length lens work smoothly in the camera’s autofocus system. That’s not all, the lens doubles as a zoom lens with a 2x zoom capacity. And to further back up the impressive lens is a powerful flash design. It boasts top lighting qualities like red-eye reduction, color balancing, fill-in, variable intensity, night scene, and no-flash override.
As a point and shoot film camera, the Olympus Stylus Epic Zoom 80 rocks a classy compact look, and it’s also lightweight, which makes it very pocketable. The next time you’re going on an adventure, this film camera is the perfect travel companion to document your best memories in grainy vintage photographs. Additional features of this throw-back device include automatic film loading, date imprinting, and an in-built timer for self-shots.
Best point and shoot film camera zoom - Pentax IQ Zoom 105WR Camera
Here is another 35mm film camera with the easiness of a classic point and shoot. The Pentax IQ Zoom 105WR is a classic photography gadget with an impressive zoom lens rating of 38/105mm focal length, a zoom lens rating of 2.8x, and a f-stop rating of 4.5 – 11, which makes it great for wide-angle shots. All of these features work together with the five-point autofocus system.
With its good ISO range up to 3200 ISO, the IQZ 105WR from Pentax does well with high ISO films for neat low-light shots. If you’re shooting indoors or in the evening, this film camera would deliver something prolific.
Another notable feature of this Pentax stills piece is its compactness and lightweight design. It comes with a solid case rated as Class V weather-resistant. Also, the flash component is well-developed with red-eye reduction. Other features include the self-timer, date imprinting, and automatic film loading module.
Best point and shoot film camera for beginners - HOLGA 120GCFN Medium Format Camera
The Holga 120GCFN is an inexpensive, quick-use point and shoot film camera with basic features that makes it suitable for beginners to develop their love for still photography. It comes with a lightweight compact design that would fit in your pocket, as you shoot on the go. It has a basic lens with 60mm focal length and an optical viewfinder.
This camera comes with a built-in flash with four color filters, which works for various shooting modes including low-light conditions. It has a maximal shutter speed of 1/100 sec, and a f-stop of f/8 – f/11. This beginner device uses a 120 film, but can use a 35mm film by using a film adapter. Also worthy of note is that this camera doesn’t require batteries to take shots. It only needs batteries for the flash. Overall, newbies looking for the best and shoot film camera under $100 to try out shooting on film should consider this.
Best cheap point and shoot film camera - Ilford Sprite 35-II 35mm Film Camera
Coming up as our best cheap point and shoot film camera is the Ilford Sprite 35-II which is a 35mm film camera with a simple design and an easy-to-master functional system. The camera has a single lens 31mm focal length at f-stop f/9 and works at a shutter speed of 1/120s. Unlike high-grade options, this simple film camera focuses on delivering quick results, ideal for travelers and one-time users.
The camera comes with a built-in flash which makes night shots and other low-light condition shots possible. One thing that catches the eyes of users about this camera, apart from the very cheap price, is its colorful design and also the camera being ultra-lightweight. You practically won’t be weighed down carrying around this film camera.
What is a film camera?
A film camera is any type of analog camera that imprints images on film rolls, before those are processed into full photographs. These types of camera were all there was to photography devices before the advent of digital cameras.
There are various classifications for film cameras, with the most popular division is based on their design and functionality into three types; SLRs, point and shoots, and rangefinders. In this piece, our focus has been on point and shoot film cameras.
How to buy a point and shoot film camera
A point and shoot film camera, also called a compact film camera, is a camera type that serves owners who need something they can use on the go, without having to meddle too much into technical settings.
In this light, there are certain features that set apart great point and shoot film cameras. We discuss the notable features and more below;
- Lens type
The lens of any camera whether digital or analog is about the most important part. Generally, camera lenses determine the angle of shot. For film cameras, what matters most on the lens quality are the focal length and lens format. The focal length is often a range, with the optimal rating being 35/80 mm. Then, for the image sensor format, smaller formats like 35mm(1) or 28mm are best.
- ISO range
ISO is a measure of the exposure to light that the camera lens picks up when capturing images. Point and shoot film cameras often have preset ISO settings, but the high-end options allow users to set ISO. The rule of thumb is that high ISO for low-light conditions, while low ISO for daylight and bright events.
Make sure to pay attention to your film ISO rating. The camera ISO should be set to the film number for good image quality.
- F-stop settings
The f-stop is another important feature to look out for in compact film cameras. The f-stop is what determines how great the camera lens would perform in various lighting conditions. It’s basically a measure of the aperture size; how much light is allowed onto the camera sensor. The higher the f-stop rating, the better the depth of field. So, aim for a range between f/1.4 to f/22.
- Shutter speed
The shutter speed of film cameras matters because there are limited shots on each film roll unlike in digital devices. So, you can’t afford unwanted shakes or bad images due to lags between shutter pressing and actual image capturing. So, you should only go for film cameras with at least 1/30 sec shutter speed.
Autofocusing is not only peculiar to digital cameras, some of the best point and shoot film cameras offer impressive autofocus systems. For some other film cameras, you simply have to half-press the shutter button to focus on the subject for your shot.
A good way to single out a quality film camera is its hard flash. The flash works hand-in-hand with the focus system of the camera to highlight images. So, a compact film camera without a flash or one that leaks light can spontaneously spoil your images.
- Battery specifications
Most film cameras work with non-rechargeable batteries. Usually in common sizes like AA, AAA, CR2, or CR123. You can often get these at a local store.
Why you should choose a point and shoot film camera
Of all the film camera types, point and shoots are the easiest to use. Are you looking to try out vintage photography? Here are some solid reasons why you should consider a point and shoot film camera;
From the name ‘compact cameras’ alone, you should already get the idea that the best point and shoot film cameras are designed to be small and easy to carry around. Fans of this type of film cameras are most particular about the size, that’s why many would go for the most pocketable models.
While you might have no need to pocket your camera, it does say a lot about the compact size and lightweight design of these cameras. This is especially desirable on trips where packing light is of essence.
The price of point and shoot film cameras isn’t always outrageous with a few exceptions, it’s safe to conclude that beginners and vintage camera enthusiasts can get these old gems at a couple hundred dollars or less. While the models that have market hype can cost quite a fortune, you might even get one for free; many of these cameras can be found in old garages and yard sales.
C. Ease of use
Preset modes and automatic features are characteristic of point and shoot film cameras. This is a blessing for users who just want to focus on taking memorable shots and not waste time trying to get the ideal camera settings. For beginners, it might take some time to get used to them. That’s why you should find and read the camera manual when starting out.
D. Vintage feel
The grainy look of retro pictures is one look that’s hard to beat even with image editing. So, if you want to document your experiences in extra punchy photographs with the vintage advantage, a point and shoot film camera is an option to consider.
E. Printing from film
Of course, there’s the concern of how to get the actual images after shooting on film. This shouldn’t be much of a worry. There are several photo labs that would help you develop your films for a few bucks. And after, you can digitise your images using a digital scanner or a relevant device app.
A point and shoot film camera is a great option for a photography beginner. Using this type of camera helps develop image focusing skills and being careful with taking shots.
Most point and shoot film cameras come with a 35mm lens format which is a good blend of wide-angle lens and telephoto lens. So, 35mm point and shoot film cameras are known to deliver images very close to exactly what is seen.
Photography using an analog film camera is another form of adventure away from the regular digital camera world. With a point and shoot film camera, you can easily navigate how to shoot on film, get spectacular retro images, and even perfect your eye for details as a stills photographer.
Looking to get started with the right compact film camera? The Canon Sure Shot 80 Tele is our top pick as its compact, incredibly lightweight, packs impressive lens qualities, and sells for a fair price.
Do you own a film camera? How do you find shooting on nostalgic devices? Which point and shoot fi camera would you recommend? Let’s hear it all in the comments below.
- Nick Pope. (2021, February 24). A Beginner’s Guide to 35mm Film Cameras: Your Instagram game will never be the same again. Retrieved from https://www.esquire.com/uk/culture/a20112200/how-to-use-35mm-film-cameras-buying-guide/