We've been putting together a 35mm SLR beginners' guide, aimed at photographers who may be starting out in medium, whether on their own or through some sort of intro to darkroom photography course.

To be considered for this forthcoming guide, we felt cameras should meet the following criteria:

  • Offer both full-manual and some sort of auto exposure mode, to help beginners wet their feet
  • Be a manual focus camera
  • Use readily available batteries (no mercury cells)
  • Can easily be found in good working order, with lens, for under ~$200

After some research and much chatting with other fellow analog nerds, we've settled on the following list of cameras, all of which are shining examples of our criteria. Now it's up to you to help us decide which of these cameras deserve to be featured in our final guide; we'll lean on your opinions heavily as we whittle the contenders down further.

Please vote only once for your favorite beginner-friendly camera. We'll share the results of our poll when it closes and our final guide thereafter.

Have your say

What's the best beginner-friendly film SLR?
  • Canon AE-1 Program18.3%
  • Minolta X-7009.8%
  • Minolta XD2.9%
  • Minolta XG-10.4%
  • Minolta XG-M0.7%
  • Nikon FA2.7%
  • Nikon FE / FE221.2%
  • Nikon FG3.1%
  • Olympus OM-213.0%
  • Olympus OM-44.3%
  • Pentax K-23.8%
  • Pentax ME Super 10.9%
  • Pentax P30 / P30T2.9%
  • Pentax Super Program (Super A)4.7%
  • Ricoh KR-100.8%
  • Rioch XR-2 0.6%
Total voters: 1,078

Is your beginner-friendly SLR choice not listed? Does it meet our criteria? If so, please mention it in the comments below and vote for the next closest model.

About Film Fridays: We recently launched an analog forum and in a continuing effort to promote the fun of the medium, we'll be sharing film-related content on Fridays, including articles from our friends at KosmoFoto and 35mmc.