Film camera wish list

I love film cameras. Many of them are so well-built that they outlive their newer digital counterparts. With careful maintenance, these cameras still function despite being decades old.

'Film days' photo (c) 2008, Nicholas Manuel - license:

1. Nikon FM3A

Nikon FM3A

This is my favourite film SLR in terms of looks. I have never used it but I’ve heard praises being heaped on the FM3A. You can find it in mint or very good condition on ebay but due to the popularity of this model, the prices are pretty high. Higher than I’m willing to fork out at the time of writing this article.

2. Konica Auto S3 and Konica C35 FD


My favourite compact rangefinder. It has a fast lens and it is very easy to use. The only other compact rangefinder that comes close is the Minolta Hi-Matic 7SII. The Konica lets you shoot in shutter priority while the Minolta has both aperture-priority and shutter-priority. The Minolta has greater flexibility but I already own the rare black version of the Hi-Matic 7SII, hence I’m only listing the Konica.

I have an Auto S3 but it’s not in ideal condition and I passed it to my brother since he’s started to be interested in film photography. The C35 FD is the same in all aspects, except in name, as the Auto S3. The C35 FD was made for sale in Japan only while the Auto S3 was the international version of the same camera. I would like to get my hands on good conditions of these cameras for my growing collection.

3. Leica M3

leica m3

There are other more advanced rangefinder cameras out there but I would like my first Leica to be the M3. It uses the modern Leica M mount but it’s not priced what I would want to invest in a camera. Just a note, I would definitely get an M9 or its successor if I want a digital rangefinder. I’m sticking to film cameras only on this list.

4. Pentax K1000

Pentax K1000 USA Tour

This camera has a strong following among film users and I can see why. It has a simple design and the camera just gets out of the way and let you concentrate on shooting. It’s definitely something I would want to add to my collection. The only drawback is the K mount. I don’t have any lenses for the mount and while they can be found cheap on eBay, I’m not sure if I would want to branch into another lens system. There’s always the option of using adapters for lenses of other mounts so I’m keeping this on the list for now.

5. Yashica Electro CC

Yashica Electro 35 CC

It’s not a camera I would use often but it’s one I would want in my collection. The Konica Auto S3 is smaller and feels better in my hands. And I prefer to travel light when I do my photo walks.

6. Yashica Electro GX

Yashica Electro 35 GX

This is the more advanced version of the Electro CC. I have not tried using it so I won’t comment on how it compares to the Konica Auto S3.

7. Yashica Mat-124G

Yashica Mat 124G

The first TLR that I would like to own. I’m just waiting for the right time to purchase one.

8. Ricoh GR21

Ricoh GR21 - Front

This is a legendary super-wide compact. It is ideal for street photography. This camera has a cult status among film shooters. It is very rare and when it dose appear in the used market, the price is insane.

9. Ricoh GR1V


The GR1V has a faster lens than the GR21 but it’s not as wide. It’s a legendary camera nonetheless and I would love to have one of these in my collection. Like the GR 21, the cult status of this camera makes it priced outrageously high in the used market.

More to come

There are many other film cameras that I would like to get but these are the top 9 at the moment.

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  1. lutfi Avatar

    not interested in olympus om, jen xi? i currently have an om-2n and om-1 which i really love to use. i also have the canonet ql17 giii which i kinda regret having and now trying to sell on ebay just because i was curious how a rangefinder feels like. the canonet is actually wider and taller but the om is deeper because of the lens. because i’m already use to holding the base camera with lens as my main holding hand, and right hand only to trigger the shutter, the handle of the om is way much comfortable than the canonet. i also keep touching the viewer glass whenever i manipulate the focus handle on the canonet.

    a leica m3 would also be on my wishlist, but geez it’s so expensive so it would be double-triple expensive with a lens on.

    my close-to-reality wishlist would be a ricoh grd4. my pretty-far-fetched wishlist would be a gxr with a12 modul with a nokton lens.

    1. Jenxi Seow Avatar

      Hi Lufti, at the moment no… but I did consider getting an Olympus PEN EE-3. In the end, I decided not to get it because I felt I wasn’t ready to try a half-frame camera.

      I have pretty small hands so I guess the Canonet QL17 GIII won’t be a problem for me. I’ve used rangefinders of similar size and they fit perfectly in my hands.

      Leica cameras are expensive but well worth the value.

      I would go for a GRD over a GXR because I prefer the pocketable size of the former. If I were to use a Nokton, I would want to use it on an M9! But that’s just a dream.

  2. Bobby Siaw Avatar
    Bobby Siaw

    hey i use the Pentex K1000 before as during when my early days as it is really hardy and too bad i sold off during the early 90’s should keep this camera !

    1. Jen Xi Avatar

      Yeah it’s a great camera but I would get the FM3A over it first because I don’t have Pentax lenses. Need to branch off into a new lens system if I get the Pentax, unless I get an adapter to use Nikon lenses on it.

      I need to do an updated list. M6 is my preferred choice over the M3 now.

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