80 Film Cameras for Under 50 Dollars!

I want these awesome camera reviews to be the main focus of this article, so all the text will be below the mosaic. As a result of a group project, here are 80 film cameras for under $50!

And if you’re into film, be sure to check out my film photography blog.

Project Winner #1 - (49) Marine XI, by Erick CusiProject Winner #2 - (14) Handy Box, by Jan MorenProject Winner #3 - (15) Yashica Samurai X3.0, by Tomas Webb (aka The_Wolf_Brigade)

(1) Minolta Hi-Matica AF2, by narruemon(2) Diana+, by Stephan Kaps(3) Vivitar Ultra Wide & Slim, by Rafi Abdullah(4) Elikon 535, by Johann Affendy Mahfoor(5) Polaroid Pronto 600, by nan(6) Beier Beroquick KB 135, by Stéphane Heinz(7) Fed 3, by Brenden Delzer(8) Smena 35mm, by Matt Steinbrecher(9) Polaroid Fun Shooter, by Chica(10) Vivitar Ultra Wide & Slim, by Toycamper(11) Akira PC-606, by Toycamper(12) Olympus OM-2, by Sam Galope(13) Olympus Trip 35, by Matt Charnock(15) Yashica Samurai X3.0, by Tomas Webb (aka The Wolf Brigade)(16) Lomography Diana+, by Brian Auer(17) Fujica Mini, by Bernd Saller(18) Argus C-3, by Brandon Babbitt(19) Minolta AutoPak 470, by Rex Auer(20) Ricoh 35 ZF, by Mikhail Fludkov(21) Kodak Vigilant 616, by Gary(22) Fujifilm Nexia Q1, by Toycamper(23) Meikai Point & Shoot, by Toycamper(24) Minolta X-370, by Bob Simmons(25) Kodak Retinette 1A, by kristarella(26) 25mm Panorama Camera, by Michele Ferrario(27) Olympus Pen EES-2, by Javier Odriozola(28) GP Hero, by Dane Doerflinger(29) Lomography Diana+, by Gavin McDougall(30) Zorki 4K, by Hitesh Sawlani(31) Zorki 10, by Toycamper(32) Villa Avto, by bLind-Shutterz(33) Kodak Instamatic 33, by monika mitterdorfer(34) Praktica B200, by Marco van Egdom(35) Reporter, by Stefan Bucher(36) Vivitar Ultra Wide & Slim, by Rodrigo Monteiro Gonçalves(37) PhotoFlex MX-35, by Toycamper(38) Split-Cam, by Toycamper(39) Mamiya C330, by Jeremy Johnsen(40) Zenit TTL, by Dima(41) Pentax K-1000, by Nick Jungels(42) Chajka II, by Rodrigo Monteiro Gonçalves(43) Agfa Isolette I, by Mustanir Ali(44) Pentax K-1000, by Derek Dysart(45) Minolta SRT-Super, by Bryan Villarin(46) Lomo Action Sampler, by Udi Tirosh(47) Sears KS Super II, by Scott Coulter(48) Vivitar IC100, by Erick Cusi(50) Vivitar Avon, by Erick Cusi(51) Praktica Super TL, by Victor Ionescu(52) Baby Company Yellow Green Camera, by Erick Cusi(53) Sunny Fruit Juice 35mm, by Rodrigo Monteiro Gonçalves(54) Gevaert Rex Lujo, by Maria Eugenia Quiroga(55) Vivitar Ultra Wide & Slim, by Claire Lu(56) Golden Half, by Kristoffer Marklund(57) FED 4, by Daria Sukhanovska(58) Agfa Billy I, by Antonio Marques(59) Konica C35, by Jim Davies(60) Canon Rebel 2000, by Monte Landis(61) Lomography Fisheye Camera, by John Hawkins(62) Time Camera, by Erick Cusi(63) Yashica J-7, by Mattias Wirf(64) Pinhole Camera, by Violeta Riera(65) Voigtländer Vitoret, by Jes Consuegra(66) Pentax Espio, by Ani Castillo(67) Nimslo 3D, by Hugo Pereira(68) FED 5C, by Suzanne Offner(69) Pentax IQ Zoom 835, by Monte Landis(70) Yashica-A, by Jason Hall(71) Vivitar Ultra Wide & Slim, by Elaine Mesker(72) Yashica-Mat LM, by Sarah Gerace(73) Nikon One Touch L35AF-2, by Raquel Stanton(74) Tura Underwater Camera, by Stephanie Briggs(75) Lomography Holga, by Nathaniel Perales(76) Nikon F3, by Luke Rossin(77) Minolta X-370, by J.P. Stephens(78) Minolta XG-M, by Rey Berrones(79) Lomography Holga 135, by Matt Maldre(80) Olympus OM-1, by Amber Lupin

When I announced this project, I wasn’t sure what to expect for the level of participation. I asked for people to buy a sub-$50 film camera (or use one they already had), write a review of the camera, and publish an entire roll of photos from the camera. I was kind of hoping for 30 or 40 entries.

But the community exceeded my expectations and surprised the heck out of me! We had all kinds of crazy stuff showing up: rangefinders, SLRs, TLRs, toy cameras, underwater cameras, point & shoots, box cameras, folding cameras, Polaroids, and even a 3D camera. 80 of them in just one month! I applaud your efforts — you guys are awesome! With all this enthusiasm for film photography, I feel like we’re on the brink of a film-revolution. It was great to see so many people picking up a film camera for the first time in years (or for the first time ever!), and having such a good time with it.

So if you’re ever looking for a cheap film camera — just go through the list above and I’m sure you’ll find something that sparks your interest. The photographers who participated in this project have essentially created a huge resource for other photographers that may be interested in film photography.

OUR SPONSORS ROCK!

How cool is it that ILFORD Photo and Lomography have sponsored this project to give away a Diana+ and 10 rolls of film to 3 winners!? These two companies are at the heart of present day film photography and it’s pretty awesome that they’ve taken an interest in our project.

ILFORD Photo

I’d like to offer my thanks and gratitude to both companies for joining us, and I encourage all of you to check out what they have to offer.

A BIG THANKS TO OUR JUDGES

I asked each of our two external judges to choose their favorite project entry — which is a daunting task with 80 participants! I’d like to extend a huge “thank you” to Jim Talkington and Udi Tirosh for taking on this role. Two of the three winners are shown at the very top of the list, and will each receive a complimentary Diana+ from Lomography and 10 Rolls of film from ILFORD Photo. And don’t forget to cast your votes for the third winner!

A few words from Udi of DIYPhotography.net

Participation was amazing. Now, this is not your ordinary “shoot a pic and submit” kinda contest, it requires effort, discipline, and commitment. After all it is film and it takes at least one day to chimp. Not to mention getting a camera for less than 50 greens.

It is not easy going through 80 entries so here is the process I used: I divided the submissions into 8 groups of 10, and browsed through each group, limiting myself for one or two selection per group based on general impression, first paragraph, and camera reviewed. I ended up with 12 reviews. I skimmed through the 12 and narrowed it down to three. that was not easy as there were more than three that actually were really good.

It was a though competition between Nick Jungels’ Pentax K1000 review, Erick’s Marine XI, and Mr. Wolf’s Yashica SamuraiX3.0.

The Pentax K1000 review was written right from the heart. It is packed with the technicalities that would interest me when considering a film camera like the viewfinder, the aperture ring, and “feel” of the camera. However, Nick is not just talking about the K1000, he is talking to the K1000, and for this he gets my full appreciation.

The Wolf’s interview with Dr. Lomo was fun to read and was both amusing and informative. and earned points for “sucking up to the prize givers” (yes wolf it was worth it).

The last review that made the final trio was the Marine XI. I could not resist a review that brings GAS in the first paragraph. This certainly got my attention. This along with the creative use of flash got Erick the winning vote. This and the Cohaagen-Give-those-people-air expression on the set taken with the camera.

And a few words from Jim of Pro Photo Life

It’s been a great deal of fun getting to judge these entries. From the moment Brian first announced the contest I’ve been looking forward to seeing what readers would come up with and the results have exceeded expectations. This contest rocks, on many levels.

There was a great deal of diversity and many interesting cameras: toy cameras, half-frames, Soviet SLRs…you name it. And being totally honest, I always like a good bargain. Part of the intrigue would be seeing just how much camera could be purchased for $50. Just what bargains are out there?

So it was with a bit of a personal surprise that I found my winner to be Janne in Osaka with the simple “Handy Box” box camera. Rather than seeing how much camera could be purchased for $50, Janne showed how little camera is actually needed to enjoy photography and create beautiful photographs. The text was informative, explaining the camera, company background and tips for shooting with the simple little box. And the photos sealed the deal for me. Shot in a variety of situations and obviously more than just a test roll, they were a pleasure to view.

But the tech junkie in me still wants to buy a Zorki, Fed or Olympus Pen. As a runner-up I have to go in the other direction and point out the very unique Yashica Samurai half-frame camera (and equally unique review) from The Wolf Brigade. The little Yashica is about as high tech and over-engineered a $50 camera as you’ll find, a complete contrast to the little Handy Box. Long live the endless variety and possibilities of the $50 film camera!

Again guys, thanks so much for judging this contest!

DON’T FORGET TO VOTE!

[UPDATE] The official voting is over and all three winners have been awarded their prize — but you can still leave a comment about your favorite entry!

Like I said, we’re giving away 3 prize packages. The first two winners have been chosen by our judges, and the third will be chosen by the masses. Leave a comment with your vote for best project entry. Look for those who put in the extra effort and/or got creative. You can vote by listing the entry number or the name of the reviewer — if you hover your mouse over the thumbnails, you’ll see this information show up. More than one vote is OK if you can’t decide between a few really good ones. One week of voting, then I’ll tally-up the points and announce the third winner.

95 thoughts on “80 Film Cameras for Under 50 Dollars!

  1. the_wolf_brigade

    So I’m pretty gutted that I only made it as a runner up, and part of me wants to vote for myself, but I’m not sure that would be entirely fair. You don’t mention any restrictions about that though? I thought I should check early on if that is acceptable or not.

    I had planned to vote also for Janne’s “Handy Box” as out of the many reviews (and I’d read a lot so far!) I also thought that it was easily the best review I have read.

    I will hold off my judgment until I can finish reading every one of the reviews there as it’s only fair that I give each a fair go, though I’m with Latente on some points. A few of those cameras can not be bought for under $50 on an average market, though an occasional lucky find may be out there.

    I have my fingers crossed :D

    Off to read the reviews!

  2. Jim Talkington

    Congrats to all entrants, it’s obvious everyone had fun and, in the process, contributed to a really valuable resource for future $50 film camera research. And this post presentation is really nice, Brian, the camera photos are perfect navigation. I’m pulling out the spare cash and heading to eBay…

  3. Janne

    Wow, that was unexpected! I was completely sure I didn’t stand a chance once I started looking through the other early reviews. Big thanks to Brian for organizing the whole thing!

    Have a few favourites already but I want to look through all the reviews before casting my vote.

  4. Udi

    congratulations to all participants. This post is amazing and is a great tribute to the origins of modern photography.
    Only now when you’ve posted all images together it shows what a great ride this has been. hats off.
    Now, quick accounting says I only need 4000 Dollars to satisfy my GAS.

  5. the_wolf_brigade

    So I’ve read through every single entry. And I keep coming back to Hitesh Sawlani’s review. Iove the idea of a FED camera, and I really enjoyed the review, with the photos being suitable shots from a rangefinder….

    I don’t feel comfortable voting for myself, so my vote goes to: (30) Zorki 4K, by Hitesh Sawlani as well.

  6. ld

    Good luck finding a Mamiya C330 or a Nikon F3 for under $50. I suppose it’s possible that someone has one of these out there on a yard sale table, or that a really shady-looking auction for one of these might end at $50, but really not likely.

  7. Dick Wood

    Ok . I still have my first camera a Kodak Retina 1A which I got for christmas in 1962! Yes I am that old.

    I will brreak it out this weekend and shoot a roll of film. I remember the Kodachrome 25 I used then, wonderful colors ect. I will shoot a roll of B&W and use the f/16 rule, no meter!

  8. Mel Fuentes

    It’s fun to look at all the entries and see / read their entries. I cast a vote for Sarah Gerace’s Yashica-MAT LM. I liked her pictures as well as the review she wrote. Great contest.

  9. Mattias Wirf

    I really liked doing this challenge :) Will keep on doing more reviews even if the challenge is over, there is no shortage on cameras… somehow the collection keeps growing even when I’m not looking, hehe! I’m going to look through all the reviews here, but it will take a while I think ;) It was interesting that so many chose Yashica, one of my favorite camera makers.

  10. Chica

    Gah that was tough to go through all of those reading and viewing, very awesome results I agree.

    My votes have got to Wolf, Gary, Jeremy Johnson.

    I enjoyed taking part in this project, thanks for all the hard work to make it possible. Good luck to everyone! :)

  11. JRH

    Well, surely given that both judges mentioned it, the runner up has to be The_Wolf_Brigade… Plus, y’know, the shots were good and all that…

  12. Dan Auer

    Way to go Brian on a fantastic project. And way to go to all the entries!!! Some really great stuff. You are all winners in my book.

  13. Javier

    First of all I want to say that this was a GREAT idea! Not only for the prices (that I really, no, really was looking forward to win… bummer :( ) but because now we get a lot of very nice film cameras reviews to read.

    I’m reading them all and after that I will cast my vote. Thanks for this!!
    (And any votes for my entry are really appreciated ;).

  14. Mikhail Fludkov

    I finally read the most of the reviews and my vote is 40.
    I also want to note amazing photos of #72 Yashica Mat LM by Sarah Gerace and Daria Sukhanovska’s FED 4 #57 review. These three reviews I liked the most.

  15. jerry

    Gotta go with #15.

    Great project overall, and some amazing results came of it. And some people found some great deals on cameras. Wish I was as lucky of a shopper!

  16. Tasha

    This is so exciting! I wanted to do this, but have been so crazy lately that I never got the time I needed to devote to it… but that’s okay, because I’ve already found a ton of new cameras that I want to try to track down :)

    Congrats to the winners, and thanks to Brian for a great idea!

  17. Tasha

    PS. My votes:

    #15 (The Wolf Brigade) – For insane creativity. I loved it.
    #2 (Stephan Kaps) – Beautiful images, and a great look into a camera that I’ve been curious about.
    #72 (Sarah Gerace) – I totally sympathized, because I had the same problems with my Yashica at first, and I love the images!

  18. Brian Auer Post author

    I don’t mean to be a dick, but do I need to explicitly state that I reserve the right to call Shenanigans and just pick the winner myself? Or is that already implied and understood?

    The concept for voting is to recognize participants who did an extraordinary job with the project — not to recognize those with the most friends. I’m not saying that Brenden didn’t do a good job, but it’s a little curious that so many Brenden-only votes are coming in all at once… just an observation.

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