Film is not dead. There are still a great many photographers who shoot film either primarily or as a backup. Some of the most iconic images of all time were taken with film cameras – think photos on the moon (we will skip the conspiracy theories for now). With more and more people becoming interested in film photography again, many may want to give it a chance but only if they don’t have to spend a lot of money.
Well, we decided to compile a list of ten analog cameras you can pick up for less than $50. Ebay was used as a reference point for pricing for all of the cameras on this list.
10. Nikon N80
Released in February of 2000 this camera was considered a pretty serious SLR. With an autofocus motor, display screen and even a pop up flash, this Nikon set the precedent for a lot of the Nikon DSLRs you see now. For under $50 this is a pretty good deal, especially if you already have a digital Nikon with a few lenses lying around. You can mount those to the N80 no problem.
9. Pentax Spotmatic
Produced between 1964 and 1976, the Spotmatic line utilized the famous M42 screw mount and was one of the first cameras to feature TTL (through the lens) metering. The Spotmatic line was built well, designed well and was a photographer favorite. Coupled with the large, quality Pentax line of lenses, a Spotmatic would not be a bad pick up for any interested photographers.
8. Beseler Topcon Auto 100
Released in 1964, similarly to the Pentax Spotmatic series, the Topcon Auto 100 was one of the first TTL metering SLRs. The Topcon, at one point, was the main camera for the U.S Navy. Not only are they regarded as great cameras with good lenses, they carry some pretty historical significance, too.
7. Ricoh KR-5
Originally introduced the Ricoh KR-5 is great because it accept K-Mount lenses, the same mount Pentax cameras at the time used. Not only did you get a modern camera at the time, you also were able to choose from a large library of Pentax and Ricoh lenses. Now for less than $50 this camera is a steal.
6. Minolta SRT-101
Utilizing the world’s first matrix metering system, the SRT-101 was wildly popular at the time. Fun fact: this Minolta uses the same A-mount that some Sony translucent mirror cameras use.
5. Minolta Maxxum
A groundbreaking camera, the Minolta Maxxum was the first SLR to feature built in autofocus and a motorized film advance. This was a huge deal. Although it looks a little funny and the design is completely unorthodox this little camera is definitely capable.
4. Nikon N60
Yet another auto focus SLR. This Nikon was released in 1998 and was aimed at the amateur photographer community. Sure, it’s skimpy build quality but you have access to hundreds of Nikon lenses from past decades.
3. Miranda Sensorex
Probably the most beautiful SLR on this list, the Miranda Sensorex was also very unique. Featuring an interchangeable prism and vibration-free mirror mechanism, the Sensorex tried its best to stand out in a field that was dominated by Nikon. The shutter release is also on the front of the camera as opposed to the top!
2. Nikkormat (Several Versions)
Nikkormat cameras were created as a consumer alternative to the generally more expensive Nikon SLR line of 35mm cameras. Although different names were engraved onto the front of the camera, most of the functions remained the same. Nikkormats also utilized Nikon’s F-mount. Most Nikkormats can be had for super cheap.
1. Olympus 35 RC
The smallest camera on this list also happens to be a rangefinder. The Olympus 35 RC is a tiny little rangefinder that was made to be super easy to use. It has an auto mode and the 42mm f/2.8 lens is reportedly super sharp and produces vivid results. This little guy gives a lot of bang for a little buck.