35mm film cameras have been produced for so long, some are very basic while others contain some useful automatic or semi-automatic electronic modes to help users. We can roughly distinguish the following categories :
- FULLY MANUAL CAMERAS (500 - 800 AED):
These models tend to be the oldest. The user need to select the correct aperture and shutter speed settings on the camera and/or the lens. The only help provided by the camera is a light meter, which indicates to the user how much light is coming in, and whether the settings selected will create the right exposure (not too bright, not too dark). When looking inside the viewfinder, the user will see a basic “needle” the moves up and down depending on the selected settings. Light meters are working with batteries, but unfortunately tend to stop working with age. When you buy a camera from UAE Vintage Photo, we will always tell you if the light meter is working. If it is not working, you can use a smartphone app to calculate the correct exposure before shooting.
- Models : Pentax Spotmatic, Olympus OM1/OM1n, Minolta SRT Series etc...
- Best for : users who want the purest, most basic film camera experience; users on a limited budget; experienced users who know how to setup the right exposure.
- SEMI-AUTO CAMERAS (750-1000 AED)
As the name suggest, these models provide a partial help. They all have light meters and some electronics, and there are two basic types : aperture-priority cameras and shutter-priority cameras.
- Aperture-priority cameras let the user select the aperture on the lens, and automatically calculate the right shutter speed to create the right exposure.
- Shutter-priority cameras let the user select the shutter speed on the lens, and automatically calculate the right aperture to create the right exposure.
Personally I recommend aperture-priority cameras over shutter-priority cameras to beginners : having the control of the aperture lets you control the amount of light AND the amount of background blur (“bokeh”), which is a useful feature for shooting portraits.
- Models (aperture-priority) : Olympus OM10, OM2/OM2n, Minolta X370, Pentax Super and Super ME, Nikon EM, FG, FE2, Canon AV1 etc...
- Models (shutter priority) : Canon AE1
- Best for : beginners who buy their first SLR camera; hobbyists with a higher budget
- FULL AUTO CAMERAS (1000+ AED).
Some manufacturers call these modes “Program” mode, or simply “auto”. These cameras can adjust the shutter speed AND the aperture for the user. They are obviously more recent, and some can include a whole series of added features like an LCD graph and/or shutter and aperture values in the viewfinder, higher shutter speeds (useful in bright light), several shooting modes (aperture-priority, shutter priority, auto etc...).
- Models : Canon AE1 Program / A1, Nikon FA, Olympus OM2S / 3 / 4, Minolta X700 etc...
- Best for : users who want a full feature camera, users who feel more comfortable with multiple settings and options.