15 Film Cameras You Can Still Buy Brand New

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By the middle of the first decade of this century the digital revolution had transformed photography so completely that that the ranks of film cameras in production were decimated. While digital is destined to remain the primary capture medium, shooting film is enjoying a renaissance, especially among artists and traditionalists, and film in the popular 35mm, 120, and sheet film sizes is still widely available. Indeed, you can no longer buy, say, a Hasselblad 500C with 80mm f/2.8 Zeiss Planar lens on eBay for $400, as you could in 2007 or 2008 when everyone was dumping their film cameras—a clean one will now set you back over a grand.

If you’re hankering for a brand new film camera the good news is that there are a surprising number of excellent choices still out there which we’ve detailed below. Some are fairly pricey, so you may also want to check out B&H’s Used Department’s listings when pursuing the film camera of your dreams. If you’re aiming to jump into analog with both feet, you can also find a wide range of darkroom equipment, chemicals, and photographic paper on the B&H website. Now it’s back to the future with a camera selection that will warm a film fanatic’s heart.


A Trio of Classic Leica M’s

It’s fitting that Leica, the company that put the 35mm rangefinder on the map, still offers three M-series models, all incorporating the magnificent Leica range/viewfinder with parallax-compensating, auto-indexing frame lines that debuted on the Leica M3 in 1954.

Leica M-A (Typ 127): With an appearance recalling a timeless classic, this camera is a totally manual, mechanical camera requiring no battery. Its traditional, horizontal rubberized cloth focal-plane shutter provides speeds of 1-1/1000 sec plus B, and its gorgeous bright line range/viewfinder has parallax-compensating, selectable, auto-indexing frame lines for lenses ranging from 16mm to 135mm. It incorporates Leica’s signature silky smooth single-stoke manual film-wind lever, an “old fashioned” rewind knob, and Leica’s traditional removable bottom cover for loading.

 

Leica MP: An updated homage to the original MP created for photojournalists, this robust, manual classic requires a battery only to power its through-the-lens selective, center-weighted metering system. This all-metal rangefinder provides shutter speeds from 1-1/1000 sec plus B, X sync up to 1/50 sec, and has the same 0.72x-magnification viewfinder as the M-A, with projected, parallax-compensating, auto-indexing frame lines for 28, 35, 50, 75, 90, and 135mm lenses.


Leica M7: A proven model in production for decades, it delivers the essential Leica M experience while providing the advantages of aperture-priority auto-exposure via a horizontal cloth focal-plane shutter with electronically timed speeds of 4-1/1000 sec plus all-mechanical shutter speeds of 1/60 and 1/125 sec should you run out of juice. All the other classic M-series features are present, including the 6-frame 0.72x range/viewfinder detailed above, plus the ability to shoot at flash speeds of up to 1/1000 sec with dedicated Metz flash units, and exposure setting info in the viewfinder. The M7 embodies the classic Leica M form and function while offering many modern conveniences that enhance its speed and convenience.

 


A brace of iconic Nikon SLRs

Nikon F6: You’ve got to hand it to Nikon for still offering this flagship 35mm SLR with an advanced Multi-CAM 2000 AF Sensor Module that controls an 11-zone AF system with 9 cross-type sensors, 1005-zone 3D Matrix Metering with spot, evaluative, and flexible center-weighted options, an ultra-reliable Kevlar and aluminum-bladed shutter with electronically controlled speeds up to 1/8000 sec, and a maximum film advance rate of 5.5 fps (8 fps with optional MB-40 Battery Pack). Functions are displayed on two LCDs: one on top and one on the back. Additionally, the F6 offers i-TTL balanced fill flash with compatible flash units, 41 custom settings, a mirror lockup, and multi-exposure capability, all in a rugged, stylish package.

Nikon FM10: Emerging film fans and photography students will be delighted with this all-manual 35mm SLR with all-mechanical shutter speeds of 1-1/2000 sec plus B, and flash sync at 1/125 sec that operates without battery power. Only the simple match-diode center-weighted meter requires long-lasting button batteries, and the camera accepts all F-mount lenses that have aperture rings. Other features: fixed, split-image focusing screen with micro-prism and a mechanical self-timer that can be used to lock up the mirror.

A classic roll film rangefinder folder from Fuji

Fujifilm GF670: The sole survivor of a once flourishing breed, this cool, contemporary folding camera shoots 6x6 or 6x7cm images, accepts 120 or 220 roll film, has a coupled, combined, superimposed-image range/viewfinder with projected, parallax-compensating frame lines, a center-weighted aperture-priority auto-exposure system, full manual settings, and an electronically controlled leaf shutter with speeds ranging from 4-1/500 sec that will syncs with flash at all speeds. Its high-performance, 80mm f/3.5 EBC Fujinon lens provides 40mm equivalent coverage when using the 6x7cm format and 44mm equivalent on 6x6cm. The GF670 is an excellent all-around field, street, and travel camera that combines classic virtues with modern features and, at about 2-1/2 inches thick when folded, it’s the only current medium format camera that will slide into a jacket pocket.

From Russia with love: The last TLR standing

Lomography Lubitel 166+: Yes, you can still buy a brand new TLR if you opt for the long-running Russian-made Lubitel described by the Lomography folks as a ”re-creation of a Soviet-era classic.” It’s name means “amateur” in Russian, which ought to tell you something, but this simple plastic-bodied TLR has a decent, glass 75mm f/4.5 triplet lens, and an improved pop-up, waist-level viewfinder with a flat ground glass that shows a 100% viewing image. You can shoot 6 x 6 cm images on 120 film, or 4.5 x 6 cm images using the included drop-in format mask. And, it comes with a 35mm Lubikin conversion kit so you can create fascinating “58 x 33mm vertical panoramas with exposed sprocket holes showing” on 35mm film. The Lubitel provides apertures from f/4.5-f/22 and shutter speeds from 1/15 to 1/125 sec plus B. Minimum focusing distance is 2.6 feet and it has a standard X-sync hot shoe and 1/4"-20 tripod socket. This modest camera is no Rollei, but it’s a lot of fun for the money.

Large Format View Cameras: The film/digital connection

Virtually all 4 x 5, 5 x 7, 8 x 10" and 6 x 9cm view cameras have spring-loaded ground glass backs and most can accept standard film holders or third party digital capture modules. You can check out the dozens of new view cameras available on the B&H website, but we’ll briefly mention 3 to give you a sense of what’s out there.

Toyo View 45CF Field Camera: Constructed of lightweight polycarbonate and carbon fiber, this 4 x 5" view includes a reversible Graflok-type ground glass back with etched markings for 6 x 7 and 6 x 9cm formats, and accepts Toyo flat or recessed lens boards.

 

Cambo Ultima 4 x 5" View: This top-of-the-line aluminum alloy field and studio 4 x 5" view camera provides a comprehensive range of movements and features a 17.7-inch two-piece monorail, geared yaw-free variable-axis tilt and swing movements, and dual-range focusing.


Linhof Technikardan 23S: Exquisitely made and finished, it provides studio camera features in a field size camera, a comprehensive range of adjustments via its L-shaped front and rear standards, comes with a Linhof Quicklock 23 ground glass back, and folds flat for easy transport.

Instant-picture film cameras live!

Yes, instant film cameras are still available and here are two ones worth mentioning:

Polaroid 300 Instant Film Camera: This cute looking bug-eyed creature takes business card size prints on instax mini instant film, has a built-in flash, is powered by 4 AA batteries, and comes in four colors.

 

Fujifilm instax mini 90 Neo Classic: With vintage styling, this instant film camera uses instax mini film to produce credit card sized images, has a retractable 60mm lens that can focus to 11.8-inches in macro mode, six shooting modes, built-in flash, a brightness control, and a tripod socket. It uses a rechargeable lithium-ion battery.

 

If you’re an instant picture fan determined to go back to the future with something more sophisticated, check out the refurbished Impossible Polaroid SX-70 and SX-70 Sonar folding SLRs that take 3.1 x 3.1-inch prints on SX-70 Type film. Other classic Polaroid models are also available.

 


Simple lo-fi film cameras

These descendants of the simple box cameras of yore are popular with art photographers and nostalgia fans aiming to create an “old-timey” look and feel in their images. What they capture may not be critically sharp but it sure can be cool. Here are two examples culled from the rafts of Holgas and Lomography Dianas listed on the B&H website:

Lomography Diana F+: It takes twelve 5.2 x 5.2cm or sixteen 4.2 x 4.2cm images per roll of 120 film, has as 75mm lens that’s removable for wide-angle pinhole shots, four focusing zones down to 1.6', shutter speeds of “sunny, cloudy, and B,” a simple optical viewfinder, and a standard tripod socket. Also check out the Lomography Diana Mini 35mm camera and the Lomography Konstruktor F 35mm Film SLR Camera Kit.

Holga 120CFN: This simple, fixed-focus toy camera has a single-element 60mm f/8 plastic lens, captures 6 x 6cm or 6 x 4.5cm images on 120 film via a sliding format selector, and has a built-in flash powered by two AA batteries. It is said to yield images with a “dream-like vignette look” and has a color wheel in its built-in flash that lets you choose red, blue, yellow, standard white, or a combination.

 

18 Comments

Strange, since this article is from 2 years ago, that the Canon EOS-1 Mark V is not mentioned. It just went out of production this week (May 31,2018).

This is 2 years old! Nikon has now dropped the only affordable offering for classic 35mm cameras!

Great List!  Really enjoyed reviewing it.  Sadly, the Fujifilm GF670 is now to be mourned.  Although I am not an 'insider', the way I understand it is that, first, Fujifilm discontinued making the GF670's fraternal-twin, wide-angle-commited brother, the GF670W, then, some time in 2014, ceased production of the 'normal' lensed (though slightly wide-angled) GF670.  As the story went, a consignment, or similar, of GF670s was allowed to age 'in stir' at a California warehouse for what could be described as a business eternity, but was ultimately located either late last year, or early this, and became available during the early months of 2017 at B&H PhotoVideo.  The price of these NOS treasures soared from about $1,600 previously, to $2,200 each.  B&H depleted their stock, I believe, sometime in early March, 2017.  Beautiful camera.  May it rest in peace.  In B&H's ad photo of the camera, it carried a trophy with "#1 Seller" inscribed.  A deserving honor for a last of its kind.

As a side note, the premature death of the film camera was not altogether a natural thing.  Most people assume that digital just came along and 'flat' flattened analog.  (Here, we get into politics.)  Factually, a television network news magazine piece highlighted Chinese children playing, if not working, in a dumping ground for old U.S.A. scrap electronics (circuit boards, salvageable components, etc.), with their likely being exposed to cadmium, lead, and all the other B vitamins (like arsenic) that make electronics possible.  The viewers were outraged.  The long-story-short version is that an international treaty was enacted which banned the use of certain metals and chemicals to make virtually any consumer product.  (Remember the Christmas when mini-bikes had to be shelved at the dealers' because Japanese manufacturers had used lead as a mold-release agent in the casting of hand-control levers and such?)

The treaty and its provisions are written as RoHS (pronounced "ro-hass" or "Ross" by some folk).  Today, almost everything electrical carries the stamp "RoHS Compliant."  Think, "Reduction of Hazardous Substances."  Specifically with solder, lead had to be carved out.  I have a masters degree in electronics, and used to consider myself a pretty decent solderer.  No more.  Melting this new *#@+%%! stuff must take a laser beam.  At any rate, the Japanese companies still had sufficient 'professional' business in analog cameras to continue making them, BUT, they did not have sufficient business volume of any genre to re-tool everything for lead-free solder (just to name one offending pollutant).  Wave soldering (where huge batches of circuit boards are 'floated' down a river of liquid solder) probably gave way to something more exotic, such as solder injection and death-rays at the time of component insertion.  (I used to be familiar with all this, as an engineer, but am now in retirement.)  The choice was simple:  Discontinue the Pentax 67ii, for one, or the Rapid Omega 200, Mamiya C-330, etc.  Many of the best died, due to RoHS.  Personally, I think the Chinese issue was a Chinese problem, and that they should have fixed it themselves.  We certainly would have, here, in our neck of the woods.  (I praise B&H for providing the wealth of film cameras that they yet carry.)

As an add-on to my earlier piece, I would like to note that, in 1987, I was availed of the opportunity to visit Japan's Science and Industry Museum, in Nagoya.  On one of the upper floors, the corporation, Asahi-Pentax ('Asahi', meaning, 'Morning Sun'; 'Asahi Shinbun' meaning, 'Morning Sun Newspaper') had delightfully displayed for visitors the many stages involved in the manufacture of the Pentax 6 x 7 rollfilm SLR.  About a half-dozen examples of this camera were presented, like pheasant-under-glass, in its evolution from its brass elements to a finished black professional camera.  I had owned one of these fine cameras, long before making my way to Nagoya, but had never contemplated what it once had looked like in the hands of the skilled workers who were authorized to place that coveted Japanese government label on its front.  Brass?  Hm-m-m.  How do you attach brass to brass?  Again ..  brazing?  Solder?  Glue?  Can't say, but a smart guess would be solder or brazing.  If solder, the two main differences separating electronics soldering from mechanical soldering would be:  (1) the exact composition ratios of lead, tin, and antimony (or of any other alloyed metal), and (2) the type of 'core' used (electronic = rosin; mechanical = acid).  But, you'd likely (in 1987) have always encountered the dreaded ...  lead.  So, it logically would follow, that, from this cursory example, even those cameras that were not considered wildly 'electronic', would have fallen victim to RoHS, requiring a total rethinking and re-engineering of both design and assembly-line layout.  Neither being financially feasible in the coming century for something soon to be in its decline.

An excellent list! One set you missed are the cameras from ALPA of Switzerland. Although most ALPA cameras are paired with digital backs from Hasselblad, Phase One, etc. they still sell 6x7 and 6x9 (120) roll film backs that mesh with their camera bodies.

As for me, I'll admit to lusting after a Fuji 617 - some day perhaps. And I'll give up my Yashica Mat 124G TLR when they pry it from my cold, dead hand.

Mike.

The camera I had the most fun with was the Rollei 35S.  The f2.8 Sonnar produced excellent images.  The camera was very easy to carry along in a small camera bag (or my jacket pocket).  I liked the leaf shutter for flash.  It did not have a rangefinder, but I might have lost a total of 2 pictures because of forgetting to focus.

Leica should have made a small camera like it.  Two models; one with a 28mm and one with either 75 or 90mm.  You would not interchange lenses, but carry two cameras.

After several years, this camera just self-destructed one day and I donated it to a well-known camera repair guy in CA.

Still have my Rollei 35 S + flash . Great camera , compact, and it takes beautiful pictures .

Hi! I have a Rollei P350 slide projector. Interested?

It's a pity that the Voightlaender Bessa cameras weren't included in the article...

It's a pity you didn't understand the point of the article. The name of the article is "15 Film Cameras You Can Still Buy Brand New". Voigtlander discontinued the Bessa 35mm Rangefinder line in 2015, so whatever you can buy "new" today is just merely "new old stock" until inventory has been depleted.

120 film can be rerolled on 620 spools. The film is the same width. Look it up on the Internet. Need 2 620 spools and it has to be done in complete darkness. Roll the 120 onto a 620. Now it is backwards so reroll it again onto another 620 spool and now it is in the right direction to go into a 620 camera. 

Thanks. Will do that when I get back to film

I bought a Hawkeye Brownie at a vintage camera that was refurbished to take 120 film. You may want to keep your eyes out for that 

I still have my Paubel Makina bellows camera that has a 620 film back and three Schneider lens, one of which is a Super Angulon wide angle lens that cost about $900 in 1960. The bellows shows sign of wear but it still works if I can get 620 flm and a place to develop the film.

It is a Plaubel Makina

Jack,

I am not aware of Palubel Makinas taking Schneider lenses.  To my knowledge they only used Plaubel labelled lenses in a proprietary mount.  The standard Makina roll film back uses 120 film.  

I bought the camera from somebody who had bought the lens separately. The lens were for 4x5" cameras but he had used them on his 620 back. I can tell you they worked beautifully.They were set on a Plaubel mount. I used them to take architechtural subjects and they were perfect. I still have the whole set with me.

You forgot to mention the totally manual Kalimar K-90!  

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