Pho­to: themandagies.com

In the first part, I ana­lyzed in detail the gen­er­al (read embar­rass­ing) ques­tions relat­ed to shoot­ing on film: where to buy, what hap­pens, how many shots, etc. I con­sid­ered elec­tron­ic soap dish­es as the sim­plest and most under­stand­able type of cam­eras, as well as mechan­i­cal cam­eras as the next step in ‘com­plex­i­ty’. The sec­ond part is for more seri­ous users! So: you want to shoot on film, but just mechan­ics are not enough, and soap dish­es are child’s play for you? We dis­as­sem­ble advanced types of film cam­eras!


These cam­eras con­tin­ue the his­to­ry of mechan­i­cal cam­eras because most of the set­tings are up to you. It is pos­si­ble to con­trol all aspects before releas­ing the shut­ter. SLR cam­eras are more advanced than the pre­vi­ous type. Yes, cam­eras with a mir­ror sys­tem can also be con­sid­ered mechan­i­cal, but there are a num­ber of sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ences!

Advan­tages: First of all — aut­o­fo­cus! Many DSLRs have it. A seri­ous add-on, which, at times, makes life much eas­i­er and adds a chance to get exclu­sive shots.

I am not a fan of shoot­ing on the machine, but I also had cas­es when my eyes catch a frame and I need to act with light­ning speed, oth­er­wise there is a chance to miss it. In such moments, only an auto­mat­ic: while you man­u­al­ly set every­thing, the hero will already leave and there will be no frame.

Along with aut­o­fo­cus, the sec­ond impor­tant add-on for SLR cam­eras is the expo­sure meter. This is a tool that allows you to mea­sure the expo­sure here and now for each spe­cif­ic frame: exact­ly what shut­ter speed and aper­ture set­tings you need to set so that the right amount of light hits the film and your frame is not over­ex­posed or under­ex­posed. If you have already filled your hand, then you can put it on the eye. But you must admit, it sim­pli­fies the shoot­ing process!

Final­ly, a very impor­tant plus, which great­ly dis­tin­guish­es seri­ous film cam­eras — optics! Many brands have not changed the main mount for decades: you have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to put on a film car­cass even those lens­es that came out last year! A seri­ous spring­board for real­ly high-qual­i­ty shoot­ing. Canon and Nikon lens­es fit eas­i­ly on film cam­era mod­els. Still ana­log shots, but already of a high lev­el.

Flaws: the most obvi­ous flows smooth­ly from the main advan­tage. You can’t car­ry a cam­era like this in your pock­et! If you were look­ing for some­thing friv­o­lous, com­pact and for ama­teur shoot­ing, then look at the first type — soap dish­es for you.

The sec­ond draw­back is not so obvi­ous and, start­ing with pure­ly mechan­i­cal cam­eras, it will apply to all sub­se­quent types: do you want good optics that are avail­able for your mount? Pay mon­ey. Some­times a lot of mon­ey. A seri­ous lev­el of shoot­ing requires invest­ment. Anoth­er rea­son to think before buy­ing: is it right for you? How­ev­er, if this is not a pur­chase for you, but an invest­ment in high-qual­i­ty images, you are on the right track.


Nikon F. Per­haps the most famous of the brand’s ana­log SLR line. It was in this cam­era that the F mount made its debut, optics for which are pro­duced to this day. In the same col­umn, it is worth enter­ing F4, F5, F6 and, in gen­er­al, mod­els of this line. Curi­ous­ly, the last of them (F6) was pro­duced until 2020! Per­haps, it can and should be com­pared and put on a par with dig­i­tal flag­ships. Equal­ly seri­ous func­tion­al­i­ty, only with the reser­va­tion film / dig­i­tal.

Pho­to on Nikon F + Nikkor 55 / 1.2. Lomography.com user @geo_96

Canon AE‑1. The first deliv­er­ies of the device date back to 1976, but even then it made a splash: it was the first film cam­era with a built-in micro­proces­sor and dig­i­tal con­trol. As well as Nikon F, this cam­era is already a real­ly seri­ous device for work. Anoth­er inter­est­ing fact: Canon AE‑1 clos­es the top three in sold copies in the world! Imme­di­ate­ly after Change 8M and Zenith ET.

Pho­to on Canon AE‑1 + Canon FL 35mm. Lomography.com by @akio_nakai

Canon EOS‑1. A real mas­ta­don, which to this day can be con­sid­ered top! If there were any minor flaws in the AE‑1, like a light­weight body using plas­tic and a pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tion bay­o­net mount, then they are not here! The cam­era was pre­sent­ed with a mas­sive bat­tery pack and a built-in motor dri­ve. In addi­tion, it was the first mod­el on which the Japan­ese man­u­fac­tur­er installed the new EF mount (it is still in use today). Start­ing with this cam­era, the aut­o­fo­cus sys­tem was built direct­ly into the lens­es. At that time, the EOS‑1 made a real rev­o­lu­tion in the pho­tog­ra­phy field. How­ev­er, after so many years, he will still give odds to many com­peti­tors.

Pho­to on Canon EOS‑1+ Canon EF 35/1.4. Flickr.com by @Shaka1277


Pho­to: 35mmc.com

Not the most obvi­ous and com­mon type of cam­era, but there are many fans of this for­mat. First of all, rangefind­er cam­eras are dis­tin­guished by a focus­ing sys­tem. Com­pared to SLRs, they use an opti­cal rangefind­er. This can be explained very sim­ply: in the viewfind­er you will see two images super­im­posed on each oth­er, which, when focus­ing, must be com­bined with each oth­er. Here. Then the point on which you focus will be in focus. Despite how dubi­ous it sounds from the point of view of ergonom­ics, such cam­eras occu­py their own niche and are still in use. For exam­ple, Leica pro­duces rangefind­er cam­eras.

Oth­er­wise, this is still the same full-fledged set of man­u­al aper­ture set­tings, shut­ter speeds, and some­times even the choice of shoot­ing mode (!). The key dif­fer­ence is only in the focus­ing sys­tem itself.

Advan­tages: the most obvi­ous — com­pact­ness! As a rule, most rangefind­er cam­eras are not much larg­er than the aver­age soap dish. Only notice­ably stronger! As with mechan­i­cal cam­eras, you have full con­trol over the image and set­tings. In addi­tion, more mod­ern rangefind­ers also boast a built-in expo­sure meter, as do DSLR mod­els. There are even cam­eras with built-in aut­o­fo­cus (eg Con­tax G)!

Con­fus­es this for­mat and it seems that there is more choice among mir­rors? There are no prob­lems with this either: among all rangefind­ers, there are sev­er­al of the most com­mon sys­tems on which mod­ern lens­es fit. For exam­ple, from Leek, new 7Artisans lens­es, Canon lens­es.

Flaws: one of the most obvi­ous is a fea­ture of the sys­tem. Some­times you can miss the focus by slight­ly miss­ing through the viewfind­er. In addi­tion, you will not be able to visu­al­ly con­trol the depth of field.

There are lens­es, yes. But the flip side of this point is that there are not so many of them. Cor­rect me if this is not so, but for rangefind­er sys­tems today the selec­tion con­sists main­ly of fair­ly pre­mi­um options (like Leica lens­es) and very mod­est ones for a few hun­dred rubles, like the Sovi­et Indus­tar. Some­thing brisk, sol­id, in the mid­dle — almost none. Although, if your finances are not lim­it­ed, then already on the first film you will under­stand what qual­i­ty first-class optics can give.


Voigt­lander Bessa R. In fact, this is the half-sis­ter of the Ger­man Leica. More bud­get, but no less high-qual­i­ty sis­ter. Japan­ese cam­eras of the R series have an M39 / Leica M mount, which means that the lens­es of the lat­ter can eas­i­ly fit on it. Bass­es are also made of mag­ne­sium alloy, have a large range of work­ing shut­ter speeds and a built-in expo­sure meter. If you already under­stand enough about pho­tog­ra­phy and have always dreamed of Lake, then yes, this is your option. It requires much less invest­ment and is just as high qual­i­ty.

Pho­to on Bessa R+ Nok­ton 50 / 1.5. Flickr.com by @Phongsathorn La-Iad-On

Zorkiy‑4. The most tech­ni­cal­ly equipped mod­el of this line of Sovi­et cam­eras. In a sense, this was our answer to the Leica that appeared on the mar­ket. Unlike the lat­ter, today it is the most bud­getary and most afford­able option among rangefind­er cam­eras. If not in the pho­to com­mis­sion, then on the shelf at your grand­moth­er or on Avi­to you will find many options at a very mod­est price. The cam­era also has an M39 mount.

Pho­to: Flickr.com, user @nacazy_photo

Canon 7. When it first appeared on the mar­ket, it was a direct com­peti­tor to the Leica III. Com­pact, fast, durable — the per­fect cam­era for report­ing, as the rangefind­er Canon was pre­sent­ed at the end of the last cen­tu­ry. The cam­era has exact­ly the same M39 mount, both native lens­es and any oth­er lens­es with such a fit are suit­able for it. It has a built-in light meter, and the val­ue of this qual­i­ty com­rade in the sec­ondary mar­ket is ade­quate enough for it to be men­tioned.

Pho­to on Canon 7+ Indus­tar-61 53/2.8. Flickr.com by Colton Allen

Con­tact G2. One of the most equipped rangefind­er cam­eras in the world, they are real­ly chas­ing after it, and many mas­ters not only appre­ci­ate it, but con­tin­ue to shoot on the G1 / G2. Yes, even com­pared to Bess, this is already a more pre­mi­um option in the high­er price range. But it’s def­i­nite­ly a wor­thy option. A rare case when a rangefind­er cam­era has aut­o­fo­cus(!). In addi­tion, it has an ultra-fast auto-dri­ve for cock­ing the shut­ter. Switch­ing to full man­u­al con­trol is also pos­si­ble.

In addi­tion to the seri­ous price, it can also con­fuse its own Con­tax G mount, designed specif­i­cal­ly for these cam­eras. The reverse side of this fact is 7 native lens­es from Carl Zeiss. It is enough just to look at the frames made with their help to under­stand: you don’t need more, the pic­ture is per­fect!

Pho­to on Con­tax G2+ Carl Zeiss Son­nar 90/2.8. Flickr.com by Niclas Lars­son