Digital photography has been one of the greatest inventions of the 21st century, and phones today are making it easier and more accessible to shoot beautiful high-resolution pictures. While digital photography allows for unlimited numbers of photos to spare and a frighteningly normalised sense of instant gratification, analogue photography has been making its comeback in the digital age.

Similar to other old-school tech like vinyl, analogue photography has enamoured the crowd with its authentic appeal and the warmth of a grainy, vintage look. But for the average joe, it may be a little difficult to get started with film. What type of cameras should you get? Do you need special film? Here, we’ve put together a beginners guide for those looking to capture the charm of analogue photography.

Cameras

Canon AE-1
Analogue Photography
Canon AE-1 (Image credit: canonfd)

For starters, the Canon AE-1 is a sturdy number that requires almost zero setup. All one has to do is to simply add the battery and load the film and one can begin shooting almost immediately. What makes the AE-1 such a popular choice amongst beginners is the interchangeable lens function. Many who try their hand at analogue photography still miss the lens flexibility of a DSLR, and the AE1 is great for those who want the best of both worlds.

Olympus Trip 35
Analogue Photography
Olympus Trip 35 (Image credit: Lomography)

Since 1967, the Olympus Trip 35 has been a firm favourite among film enthusiasts. Although its design and operation is more than basic, its ability to create professional photos is on another level. Its name, ‘Trip’ references the original intention of the camera — it was meant as a lightweight, functional camera to be taken on vacation. This point-and-shoot classic is a breeze for anyone to just grab and go.

Minolta X-700
Analogue Photography
Minolta X-700 (Image credit: Daniel Klaffke on Unsplash)

The Minolta X-700 is a great entry-level camera that offers manual, aperture priority, shutter priority, and fully automatic modes. The options serve as a great way for amateur photographers to explore modes without breaking the bank, and to improve on their skills as they progress. It is extremely straightforward to use, and coupled with a stellar metering system, produces quality photos in any light.

Film

For starters, shoot with a 35mm or a 120 film. 35mm film is popular, accessible and a much more flexible format to shoot in. Strictly speaking, 120 film is a ‘superior’ form of film, but unless you are thinking of blowing up the size of your photo to a large canvas, a 35mm would do just fine. Cameras that use 120 film also tend to be heavier, and less portable than cameras for a 35mm. Most shops that develop film save them in digital formats so that you’ll be able to edit them further if you need to as well.

Fujifilm C200
Analogue Photography
(Image credit: pinkutterfly on Lomography)

Fujifilm C200 is a great film for amateurs and professionals alike. Most people start with it as it is a top consumer-grade film while still being generally affordable. Pictures turn out to be of decent quality, but beginners need to note that this film works best in good lighting and outdoor photography.

Kodak Gold 200
Analogue Photography
(Image credit: Toucan Takes Off)

The Kodak Gold 200 leans towards richer tones and accurate colours and is a beautiful film to shoot with for outdoor photos. Those looking for a natural vintage look with subtle grain can consider shooting with this.

Kodak Ultramax 400
Analogue Photography
(Image credit: LOMOGRAPHER_TO_BE on Lomography)

Even in low lighting, Kodak Ultramax 400 is stunning to shoot with. If you prefer warmer tones, Kodak Ultra Max tends to add a yellow tinge to the whites, creating that natural vintage look. The grain on the film can get a little overpowering at times, but the deep saturation of colours makes up for it.

Where to buy film cameras

Although many prefer to buy vintage film cameras online, you can also get them in stores at one of these locations:
Black Market Camera
3 Coleman Street Peninsula Shopping Centre, #03-30/31/32, 179804
Riceball Photography
3 Coleman Street #01-04, 179804
Power Photo Store
810 Geylang Rd, 409286

Where to develop analogue photos

One of the most exciting parts of analogue photography is developing your film. You never know how your photos turn out, and each little film is a surprise within itself. Find out how your photos turned out at any one of these locations:
TripleD Minilab
175 Bencoolen Street #01-07 Burlington Square, 189649
Analog Film Lab
3015 Ubi Rd 1, #03-260, 408704
Konota
Peninsula Plaza, #01-26 111 North Bridge Rd, 179098

Jocelyn Tan
Writer
Jocelyn Tan is a travel and design writer. She's probably indulging in serial killer podcasts or reading one too many books on East Asian history. When she actually gets to travel, you can find her attempting to stuff her entire wardrobe into her luggage. Yes, she's a chronic over-packer.