I've been thinking about trying my hand at film photography recently, mostly to try and improve my skills so I'm using all the knowledge but on a more instinctive basis rather than shoot review, but I'm a bit lost trying to work out which body will suit my needs best as it seems there's a fairly wide spectrum of models.

Question is if you were picking one, which would you go for? Or should I forget about trying to use my existing lenses and get something else (even, dare I say it, outside the comforting would of Canon)?

  • 3
    I do not think film SLR supports EF-s lens
    – Viv
    Nov 1, 2011 at 16:58
  • 3
    Put a piece of black tape over your LCD screen, saving yourself the rest of the trouble!
    – dpollitt
    Nov 1, 2011 at 19:12
  • @dpollitt I'd still feel tempted to shoot and think "it's only bits", rather than "it's £5, make it count". Nov 2, 2011 at 10:56
  • @NicholasSmith - Bring a memory card that only fits a few dozen photos at most. Maybe a 64MB or 128MB card. I'm sure I still have some of those sitting around here somewhere.
    – dpollitt
    Nov 2, 2011 at 13:03
  • @dpollitt it's not quite the same experience though is it? It's close but no cigar, there's an overlap but the experience with film I imagine does force a change of perspective. Best way to develop (no pun intended) is to be outside of your comfort zone. Nov 2, 2011 at 16:53

5 Answers 5


It depends on the lenses you have. If all you have are EF-S lenses then they won't (as far as i know) fit on a film EOS camera as the fitting is EF only.

If you had Tamron or Sigma lenses however for your Canon digital that have a red dot on them instead of a white dot (red dot signifies EF mount white is EF-S), then they will fit on your camera and work ok. If they are zoom lenses they will however have vignetting (dark edges with no or bad quality picture) as it is not filling the full frame of the film, but you can zoom in to a longer focal length to remove this vignetting though, as I can use my Sigma 8-16 from 14mm-ish onwards if I want something really wide. This is a problem you won't be able to overcome with a prime lens however so you will be missing picture at the edges.

If you have EF lenses then all will work ok with any EOS film camera.

I personally have a Canon EOS 300V, and can recommend this as a nice simple film camera to use. It has all the manual modes and various presets like landscape and portrait etc. Whilst the extra options are more basic than a higher end film camera, you can get something like this model for around $30-40 on ebay. This is one of the newer low end models too so has slight improvements here and there.

  • I have mostly EF lenses (I don't own many which helps). Thanks for the recommendation, I'd seen the 300V and added it to the list so I think that might be the one to go for. Nov 2, 2011 at 10:57
  • Being a film camera it has nice little things like multiple exposures on the same shot you can play around with, and exposure bracketing on different shots for playing around in the darkroom with. All the basic stuff you'll want for a film camera. It's much easier not to want a more expensive one, because things like rapid fps they come with cost more for the user and are far less attractive in the digital age. The only thing I really miss is spot metering, not that I use it often, but you can weight your metering in manual mode
    – Dreamager
    Nov 2, 2011 at 12:08
  • Oh P.S. they use CR2 batteries. I got a bunch of rechargable ones from asia which aren't ideal I know, but I couldn't find anyone selling rechargable cr2's in the UK, I'm not sure if America would be diferent
    – Dreamager
    Nov 2, 2011 at 12:40

If your objective is to improve your skills, there are many ways to do it apart from getting a film camera.

If you really want to get a film camera, you might as well get the lenses that would work with the body.

Film camera are really cheap these days, especially models without auto focus. Older lenses are really cheap too so you can get a few. I have a Canon AE-1 Program with 50mm 1.4 and I saw the exact same set for less than US$100

  • There's definitely many ways, but I suppose I should have said instead of skills my approach possibly. Currently I'll shoot and quickly guesstimate the settings I need and most of the time it works, but I want it drilled so it's second nature. I'll definitely take a look at the AE-1 though, thank you! Nov 2, 2011 at 10:59

EF-S lenses will not fit on a film camera. They are created for crop-sensor DSLRs. The crop-sensor cameras have a smaller mirror than full frame cameras, and therefore the EF-S lenses can sink slightly into the body.

If you were to force an EF-S lens onto a full-frame DSL or film SLR, there is a risk that the larger mirror would hit the lens when moving up, resulting in damage to both mirror and lens.

But any Canon camera with an EF mount should work with your EF lenses.

But if you want to take the exercise to another level, get something even older, something with no automatic modes at all. Just dials for shutter speed, aperture, and focus. Some of these older cameras have a focusing screen, so you can actually see very precisely, if things are in focus.

I occasionally shoot with one of these:

Chinon CE-3 film SLR camera

There is an iPhone app that uses the built-in camera as a light meter. That, combined with the sunny-16 rule, guides me to an exposure setting.


I have and would vote for the eos elan ii.

Its light, has a really reliable internal light meter, and a built-in flash. I have been shooting a ton of film for the past two years and though i like my minolta maxxum 7000's look and design better, the elan ii's light meter and decreased weight make it much easier to work with.


I know my answer comes years late but if anyone here in the future is looking into this I have just a couple suggestions. EF lenses (red dot) do work on any Canon EOS camera film or digital. Film is a lot of fun and I encourage anyone to try it. You would get a lot out of a junior college film course. You will learn to shoot and also how to develop and print. I have a Canon 1N EOS film camera. It is a very very nice camera and can be purchased "for a song". I got one in perfect condition for $100 but had to turn around and spend $14 for a camera strap. But since I already owned an EF lens selection I now have a complete two media camera system. Film is a fantastic experience.

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