Film photography is in a good place. True, digital is still tops — by a wide margin — but analog photography is holding its own and doesn’t appear to be prepared to give up much ground anytime soon (even in spite of the impending death of several beloved Fujifilm film stocks). I’ve written more than once about some of the benefits of film photography, so I won’t rehash that all here. I will simply restate my general summation of why I think anyone should try film photography: because it’s fun. Easily one of the most common topics people share with me concerning film photography is their desire to move beyond instant film/cameras without diving into medium format. What they are essentially looking for is a “fun” 35mm film camera. For those individuals, I suggest cameras that are not only fun to use but are also affordable. If you’re in search of such a camera, here are five of my favorite, affordable, fun-to-use 35mm cameras (all cameras I own and use), in no particular order.
Olympus Infinity Stylus (mju)
Talk about a pocketable camera! The Olympus Infinity Stylus is a minimalistic, elegantly designed point-and-shoot camera with a sharp 35mm f/3.5 lens hiding behind the sliding door front (which acts as the on/off switch). There is a grand total of three buttons: shutter button, flash button, and self-timer button. Film is automatically advanced and rewound. The camera’s chief annoyance is that the flash mode resets each time you slide the front cover closed; so, if you never use flash (like me), you’ll have to cycle through to turn it off every time you turn the camera on. Considering how fun and easy the Infinity Stylus is to use and how good its lens is, the flash issue isn’t much of a concern. This is the ultimate example of a camera that you can have with you at all times.