These are the cameras I keep ready to go shooting at a moment’s notice. I usually have film loaded in two or three of them at any given time.
I wanted to dip into the world of M42 lenses and a number of site recommended the Spotmatic as the best ever. So far I am impressed: great build quality, reliable functioning, and classic style even to this day. I shoot a Super Takumar 50/1.4 when I need the speed, but more often than not I am sporting soviet glass on this camera.
This is my go-to camera for 35mm film when all I care about is results. The F6 is literally the ultimate professional SLR film camera from Nikon: it has the most advanced metering, autofocus and flash technology of any film SLR. Its capabilities are second to none whether using the latest autofocus or oldest manual Nikkor lenses.
The F100 was my primary camera for nearly a decade and is a very capable backup to the F6. It has the best non-color matrix meter (only the F6 and F5 better it) and solid capabilities all-around. And it also works well with my older, manual lenses albeit with traditional center-weighted or spot metering.
Marketed as “The Technocamera”, the FA is the most advanced manual focus camera Nikon ever produced with matrix metering, all four MASP exposures modes, and even program automatic and shutter speed priority exposure support for any Nikkor lens. I take this out when I feel like using a manual focus camera but also want some creature comfort automation.
Originally an alternative to the original Nikon F, this is a truly classic SLR. Durable and hefty, its bright chrome body and leather accessories look simply gorgeous. The traditional center-weighted meter gives great results if you know how to use it, especially with B&W film. Its meter needle and fully manual operation are simplicity at its finest.
Polaroid Automatic 100
I recently discovered the joys of shooting instant pack film using Polaroid Automatic Land Cameras. I find something incredibly satisfying about pulling the tab, drawing the film out through the rollers, and peeling the freshly minted print away from the live chemistry. The Automatic 100 was the first such camera Polaroid produced, and aside from some rangefinder enhancements in later models was also pretty much the best.
Polaroid Automatic 320
While a later model than the 100, the Automatic 320 was actually a lower end model. It has a fixed rangefinder, fewer film and exposure settings, and even a plastic rather than glass lens. But I keep both these pack film cameras in action as I like to have one loaded with color film and the other black & white.
Lomography Sprocket Rocket
I haven’t been a real big fan of plastic cameras, but for some reasons the Sprocket Rocket really sucked me in. Perhaps it was the panoramic format, or the film exposed all the way to the edges, or maybe the almost-too-simple controls. But I dig shooting this at parks, museums, and other places where I can work its extreme angle of view and get results that clearly come from film.