5 reasons to buy a compact film camera

A Rollei 35, an Olympus MJU, an Olympus XA, A Ricoh GR1 etc. all these cameras are totally worth to buy! The image quality might not be the best (but is usually enough), but I guarantee you will capture unique and intense memories!

1. You can carry it in your pocket!

It may not sound like a big deal, but you can carry a full frame (35mm) camera in your jacket pocket! Just imagine trying to carry a full frame digital camera with you every time you go out. Even the smallest mirrorless full frame camera, like the Sony RX1R, are too big to fit properly in a pocket. I usually carry my Rollei 35s everywhere as it is very small, as it has all the manual settings I need (so I can actually do a very precise and complex shot if I need to) and also because the quality of the lens is just incredible! With a compact film camera like this in your pocket, you’re pretty sure to never miss a shot and still get that film look that we all love!

2. Because it is easy to shoot

The best example tu illustrate this point is to look at the Olympus MJU. This is a very simple camera to use. You turn it on, you choose your flash setting (or just turn off the flash if you don’t need it obviously), you frame and you shoot. You don’t have to worry about your aperture or shutter speed as the camera does all the work for you. Your only job is to capture a strong image that tells a story or that will bring you back some awesome memories. Plus, if you use a camera with a built-in flash, you can also shoot in the dark without worrying about all the setting or your film speed or what so ever. You just frame and get the shot!

Olympus MJU Portrait
A night portrait shot with my Olympus MJU II Zoom 80

3. Because the look is different

Imagine replacing all the snapshots you do with your smartphone by an actual picture you did with a compact film camera. Wouldn’t that be great? It is as fast to pull out your smartphone out of your pocket as it is to pull out your compact camera. You will just take a little more time to take the picture and you will get awesome results because of the look of film. It’s better than applying a filter on all the snapshots you do with your smartphone and it is less time consuming as the direct result, straight out of the camera will be great. But remember, sometime, a little bit of tweaking can make a film image pop a lot more! (Just read my thoughts about editing your film pictures)

Olympus MJU Portrait 3
A portrait shot with my Olympus MJU II Zoom

4. Because it’s cheap

Ok, not all compact cameras are cheap. Because film photography is trendy again, a lot of compact cameras are going up in price! It’s the case of the Olympus MJU II 35 for example. It’s a very good camera with a fantastic lens but the price can be a huge turn off for a lot of people. I managed to get a Zoom version for way cheaper. Of course, it is not as sharp, but the results are good enough and the zoom can be very practical. Nevertheless, a compact film camera will always be way cheaper than a fancy SLR or a fancy Rangefinder such as a Leica (don’t take me wrong, I love Leica!). I’m not an instant shooter, but I can guarantee that 35mm film is cheaper than instant film. Even if the results are not comparable, I still prefer the look of 35mm film over instant polaroids.

5. Because it’s inspiring

Shooting daily with a compact film camera is something else. It’s something we’re not used to do anymore. So yes, it is inspiring. The feel is very different, the look is different, and you will end up taking pictures of things you would not have taken before. Try it for a couple of weeks, and you’ll see that you will collect tons of cool pictures about your everyday life. All those pictures will show you all the great moments you lived and it will motivate you to take more! But these time you will keep the pictures instead of having tons of pointless snapshots lost in your smartphone.

Buying several compact film cameras was probably the best thing I did when I decided to go From Digital To Film. It really renew my style and it kept me motivated to shoot daily. It might be the first kind of film camera you want to buy if you already shoot digital. It is so easy to shoot, very cheap and less intimidating than a complex SLR or big medium format camera.


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