Cheap-ish 35mm camera with interchangeable lenses


TPF Noob!
Aug 9, 2013
Reaction score
United States
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
Looking for opinions on a good 35mm film camera that can swap lenses. I don't necessarily need the cheapest available, but something decent. Doesn't have to be an SLR, but I don't know what sorts of film cameras can swap lenses (maybe only SLRs can, I dunno). Here's a rundown of features I'm interested in:

- swappable lenses
- reasonably cheap ($100 or less for the body would be nice, but I can go higher)
- accepts readily available (new or used) lenses
- above average quality: something I can take very good pictures with, assuming I do my part. Doesn't have to be the absolute best, though

Does anything like this exist? I'm probably going to be taking some basic/intermediate photo classes soon, and I would like a camera where I can change lenses and adjust everything manually.
On ebay you have cameras that were top of the line before the digital age for 25$

Used film SLR are cheap and are still a very good capable picture taking machines.
Pentax ME Super, Pentax K1000, Canon AE-1, Nikon FM, Yashicas... eBay, Craig's List, local pawn shops. $100 should get you a nice film body and at least two lenses. Personally, I would look for the Pentax gear; there are so many great, and dirt-cheap Pentax-mount lenses available.
Pentax's bayonet mount was ubiquitous in the mid-1970's and in to the early 1990's. Pentax 35mm manual focus SLR cameras are usually very simply engineered, and a joy to work with. A couple other nice models would be the Program Plus, and the even-nicer Super Program. The Pentax MX was a nifty camera: I owned one and a full kit of lenses for it, for a brief period in the mid-1980s.

A lot of other companies used the Pentax K-mount, so there are third party lenses bearing names like Chinon, GAF, and so on, as well as the older "camera shop specials" with names like Asanuma, Soligor, Sun, as well as Vivitar. PLENTY of K-mouint lenses available in pawn shops these days.
OK, cool...I was worried a proper SLR would be too expensive, it's good to hear they can be had for cheap. I shall be on the lookout for a well priced one.

For a beginner, what are some good lenses to have? Let's say you could have two to start...I'll learn more once I start taking some classes, but I'd like to have something to start with, and to fool around with until I sign up.
As you can tell, plenty like that exist. You could try Buy & Sell New & Used Cameras ? Canon, Nikon, Hasselblad, Leica & More - and search under 35mm - Canon Manual, Pentax Manual (which is the K mount), Minolta Manual, Nikon Manual... just for starters/basics in all-manual, mechanical cameras.

I have Ricoh and Praktica M42 screwmount and Konica, but those might be more limited in finding lenses; I also have Canon F1 which was pro in its day but the older Canon FD mount is different and not directly compatible than their later EOS mount. I'm not as familiar with Nikon but if you're thinking of having something that uses lenses compatible with a digital camera that might be worth considering as I think some of their lenses would work with both/either. A camera from the Pentax K series might be a good option.

I like 135mm short telephoto lenses and 45 or 50mm, that's mostly what I use; I've done sports/events, do a variety of shooting out and about, local scenery, etc.
If you really want to experience the true '70s/80s film era' then you'll want a 50mm f2 or faster, a 28mm f2.8, a 135mm f2.8, and a 70-210 Vivitar series 1. You should be able to put that together with a nice Pentax body for ~$200.
One of the best things about the rise of digital is that cheap 35mm SLR cameras are readily available.

Do you want a fully-manual, old-school 35mm SLR with no frills? Can't go wrong with an old Pentax. I have a friend who owns one and it's a great camera with a truly iconic look. Most of the lenses are also quite affordable.

Do you want a more modern SLR that has many of the newer features that make life easier? I went with the EOS 650. It has just enough automation to make getting the shot easier. It will take any of Canon's current line of "EF" lenses, but not the "EF-S" lenses meant for crop-sensor cameras.
A Pentax is what you're looking for.

Get a K1000 if you want to have the quick and easy snap on and off fitting and compatability with a very wide range of lenses. Get a Spotmatic if you want to be able to use high-end Zeiss or Schneider Kreuznach glass, as well as a wide range of lenses from other makers.

Either way you won't go wrong with Pentax.

Most reactions

New Topics