There are a lot of top film photography product blogs out there which has had me struggling with the decision to make this type of article. I just kept thinking, why would anyone care what I’ve bought?
Then it hit me. The reason I created this website in the first place was because I am passionate about all things film, and naturally, I want to share that passion with others. Therefore, without further ado, here are the 14 top film photography items that I’ve picked up recently, and couldn’t wait to share with you. (Most of them were birthday gifts.)
New Film Camera
The first item on my top film photography list is a rangefinder camera. Lately, I’ve been trying out different rangefinders, such as the Yashica Electro 35, and the Canon 7, because as a result of my horrible eyesight, I found that I focus way better with them than with my SLR cameras. However, I never thought I would end up buying a Leica.
- Leica M2
With alot of big brand names, there can be a lot of pretentious behavior, but with the Leica name, there is also a great deal of talent. A lot of the great photographers I admire use a Leica camera, and I really wanted to know what all of the hype was about. Therefore, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to buy a Leica M2 when I found one for sale on KEH.com, and I don’t think I have put it down since.
It’s not by any means a necessity to own a Leica in order to make good film photos. However, if you have the chance to shoot with one, I suggest you take it.
Film Photo Accessories
Next, on my list of top recommended film photography items are accessories.
- RETO Kodak Film Canisters
For Christmas a couple of years ago, I received some Japan Camera Hunter film canisters. Now I don’t have to have my film just rolling around in my bag anymore. I’ve really found them to be handy when out in the field. Therefore, when I saw the release of these retro Kodak style film canisters, I had to check them out.
RETO is a licensee of Kodak, and created these metal canisters for a bit of nostalgia. They’re much heavier than the JCH canisters, and a bit more expensive. The JCP are $13-$15 and the RETO $25, but man do they look good.
- Artisan Obscura Soft Shutter and Hot Shoe Cover
I like to use Nikon AR-1 soft shutters on all of my Nikon F cameras, and they’re a huge help in my opinion.
The shutter button on the Leica M2 sits pretty low in the camera, so having a soft shutter button from Artisan Obscura is definitely more comfortable. Besides, it just looks so nice. It also came with a matching hot shoe cover.
Also, they were nice enough to give me a code to share. Use AVCA25 at checkout for 25% off you’re purchase.
Hot Shoe Meter
- Voigtlander VC II Meter
I have researched several of the different hot-shoe mount meters out there. For my cameras, I wanted something simple that also looked vintage. I really feel like this meter goes well with my Leica M2, and it works the way many of my vintage meters do as well. As a result, I have really enjoyed using it. It comes in silver or black.
One of the most important items to have in a list of top film photography items is a camera strap. If you didn’t already know from following me, I have a lot of cameras and with that comes, what can sometimes be, the huge burden of choosing the right strap for each camera. Here are some of the camera straps I have tried so far.
- Sailor Strap Skinny Jimmy
What first attracted me to this strap was the leather protectors that go around the lugs to keep from scraping the camera body. I bought it from B&H, and unfortunately I had a really bad experience with them when twice I was sent the wrong color.
However, this doesn’t have anything to do with the strap itself. I like the leather protection, but the color I ended up with isn’t my taste. Also, I personally don’t think they’re worth the $50, but you can buy them much cheaper on Ebay.
The next rope style strap I tried, after many recommendations, was from Hyperion. They’re located in Greece, so I paid for expedited shipping so that the processing time would only be 2-3 days. Unfortunately, they never sent me a message that it shipped and after 2 weeks I was worried. After several messages, they finally gave me a tracking number and I was so happy when it arrived.
The strap is made of soft acrylic cloth and they’re pretty affordable. You can customize the rope and binding colors which is a nice feature. I chose blue and white with a burgundy binding for mine.
- Clever Supply
When you pay the high price of a Leica, you don’t want to pair it with an ugly, cheap strap. You want something pleasing to your style and, above all, something reliable so your camera doesn’t drop or get damaged.
Personally, I wanted to get a leather strap to match the shutter button. In my research I found that Clever Supply has a soft leather strap that was exactly what I was looking for.
After reaching out to them, I was given a code for you all to buy one yourself. Use the code tenoff for 10% off your purchase. I think every little bit counts.
If I’m going to mention a camera in my top film photography items list, there has to be a lens to go with it.
- Voigtlander Nokton Classic 35mm f/1.4 II MC
At first, I tried to use my Canon LTM 50mm lens with an adapter on the Leica. I wanted to take time to save up for a proper lens. However, to my horror, the adapter got stuck on the camera, and I was so afraid it would damage it. Therefore, I had to break down and pay for a proper lens.
Also, I chose the Nokton Classic because it’s one of the more “affordable” lenses for the Leica M system, and I chose the multi coated version because it is said to add contrast to color photos more than the Single Coated version. If you tend to only shoot black and white, then the SC Version would be fine.
I really like this compact lens and highly recommend it.
Top Photo Books
Whenever anyone asks me what I want for my birthday, the number one thing I ask for is photo books. My collection is getting to be ridiculous, but I can’t help myself because it is one of the main sources I find for inspiration on the days I am feeling down.
- Sleeping by the Mississippi by Alec Soth
Soth is one of my favorite photographers and I just love his photo books. I have Songbook and I Know How Furiously Your Heart is Beating as well as Niagara, and they’re probably my favorite books. The design and thought he puts into his covers is the best part with the textures and colors. I hope one day to have a photo book that can live in his shadow.
He takes photos of what appears at first glance to be mundane, but upon proper study, they evoke so many questions. The photos are large and colorful. I highly recommend you pick up one or all of his books.
- American Prospects and
- Sranger Passing by Joel Sternfeld
When I first heard of Sternfeld, it was on someone’s YouTube channel, and I was struck by the beautiful photos he took with his large format camera.
Since I am starting a project myself that entails taking photos around my town with people and places, I have been trying to study others that have already done it. I just always find the detail and emotion he captures in his compositions so inspiring.
- Kodachromes and
- The self titled book William Christenberry by William Christenberry
Christenberry shot a lot of his photos with a Kodak Brownie box camera and I found that fascinating because, if you’ve been following me for a while you’d know, I have shot with many Brownies, and I wanted to study his work to find out what can be done with a primitive type camera.
- Don McCullin – Unreasonable Behavior
McCullin was a photojournalist known for the amazing photos he took during the Vietnam war, and if you’ve read my article with Lee Dudley, you’d know that I am fascinated by this topic. This book is his autobiography and it traces his life and career. I highly recommend this book and his photography. It’s jarring at times, but so important.
Soon, I will be doing proper reviews, and videos after I spend a good amount of time with these items. Therefore, be sure to head over to my YouTube and subscribe so you’ll know when I put that up, and don’t forget to sign up to get my articles in your inbox.
Also, I have a strap coming from Mark Rossi over at Due North Leather. He was nice enough to send me one to review, so keep an eye out for my interview with him as well as my review of his handmade leather camera strap. I’m so excited for that to arrive, because I’ve been eyeing his straps for a while now.
Hopefully, you’ve found some film photography items that you like here, because I was excited to share them all with you. If you do purchase any of these items, I ask that you please use the Amazon and Ebay links included here. Those links are affiliated and would help me out if a purchase is made. Any small commissions made will go right back into the upkeep of this website and my reviews.
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Until next time, stay motivated and keep shooting.