I'm in search of affordable film cameras with decent performance quality and durability. I've been recommended the Nikon F3 HP and the Contax T2 by a photographer friend of mine, but he never really got into detail as to why these would be good cameras for a first time film user. Basically I'd like to be able to take pictures that look something like this and this (just saying, but there's a lot of beautiful photos on that blog!!) I've done some research on the F3 and it seems capable of taking somewhat similar shots to the examples in the links, but then again I'm still not sure since I don't really know much about film cameras. My friend kept telling me that the T2 is more for me despite what kind of photos I want to take since it's compact?

What do you guys think? Considering the links I've included, which camera do you think I should go for? Any other recommendations aside form the F3 and T2?

That's all, thank you! :)


I've slightly above basic knowledge of photography cause I've been on and off learning with my sister's Canon 600D and I really try my best to learn more as I go.

I've just been inspired by film photography recently and was hoping to try and have a go with it.

  • 1
    When you say "beginner" do you mean a beginner with regard to photography in general or just film in particular? – Michael C Apr 3 '16 at 0:02
  • @MichaelClark Just film in particular. :) I'm sorry if this post was troublesome in any way. – fuwa0 Apr 4 '16 at 13:51

This is probably not the answer you are looking for but here I go.

I really do not understand your dilema.

  1. Do you really want to learn film photography (i.e., do you want to learn how to develop and process film)? If yes, then either camera will work fine for you.

  2. Do you already know photography (i.e., composition, exposure, focal length, DOF)? If no, then any SLR will do (such as Nikon FM-2 or FM-3). It doesn't matter which specific model. The point is that the camera is in good shape.

  3. Do you want to learn photography (that is, Point 2)? If yes, then buy a DSLR.

  4. Or do you just like the "look" of film? If yes, buy any camera; a digital compact with zoom will work fine. Use postprocessing software to achieve your look.

  5. Do you want to travel and take a lot of pictures with some style? If yes, then as with Point 4, buy any camera; a digital compact with zoom will work fine.


Edited based on your comments.

Then go for the Nikon F3! You probably will have sharper images than the ones you posted, becouse they have a slight blur, that could be becouse they probably are taken with a smaller film or with a not so good lens.


Edited 2.

If your sister has a Canon, try to look for a Canon film camera with the same mount, so at some point you can exchange lenses. Do not expect full interchangable options, but could be an interesting experiment.

  • I apologize if I was unclear, I really just wanted an opinion on which of my two camera options would be best suited for me and the results I want to achieve with them. I've slightly above basic knowledge of photography cause I've been on and off learning with my sister's Canon 600D and I really try my best to learn more as I go, it's just that with school and entrance exams to ace, I've been far too busy. I've just been inspired by film photography recently and was hoping to try and have a go with it. Again, I'm sorry if my question was all over the place! – fuwa0 Apr 4 '16 at 13:49

The Nikon F3HP is a professional film camera offering the user complete manual control over its operation as well as an auto-exposure operation. It is larger, heavier and more complicated to use. The Contax T2 is a relatively small, lighter, auto-focus point-and shoot camera with limited user ability to override the automation. I own both. They are among the very best cameras for what they do. So, if you want to use your camera to automatically take good photos with one somewhat wideangle lens only, and you are not interested in learning the technical details of how film photography works, get the T2, load film and go shooting. If you want to learn how technical film photography works so you can manually fine-tune exposure [non-auto], use manual lens focus, and later buy various lenses to take different types of photos, buy the F3. These two camera are both tops for the type of photography for which they were designed, but they serve completely different uses.

Given the two choices you list I would definitely go with the Nikon. It is far and away a better camera and much better for learning photography. There are many old lenses that you can get for it to expand your shooting options, but more importantly, you can and should use it in full manual mode to learn the relationship of how exposure is affected by aperture, shutter speed and film ASA (ISO).

Take notes so you will know which frame of film was shot at what settings. There are many great old film cameras that will work for you. If you think you may want to pursue better cameras in the future, you can opt for one that has a lens mount that allows you to use your older lenses on a better body or even a digital body. (I.e., Canon EOS film cameras that have the same mount the new EOS digital bodyies have or the Nikon equivalent).

As far as taking photos like the ones you listed, the camera is not responsible for the look of those shots, the photographer is. It is you and your knowledge of your tools (camera etc.) and light that will allow you to affect the final look of your photos. Also post processing, in the case of film, development and printing.

It is all about light, understand that any camera (film or digital) can only record a portion of the light that your brain perceives.

  • Thank you so much for the informative answer! I will try my best to research even more on film photography during my free time and especially when I get myself film camera. This is just all so exciting, it's been a while since I've felt this way about something, haha :)) Thank you again for this response I really appreciate it!! – fuwa0 Apr 4 '16 at 14:00

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