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Five Best Medium Format Cameras for Beginners

5 best medium format film camerasIt happens to the best of us. At some point in the photographic journey, every photo geek is going to run into a wall. Things get stale; you’ve plateaued. You’ve been shooting the same subjects with the same camera for too many years, and there’s no way to avoid the truth that you’re getting bored with photography.

But it doesn’t have to stay this way. There are things we can do to stave off the inevitable onset of photographic ennui. Traveling, shooting with friends or alone, and taking a break from the camera are all useful tools in the toolbox of every happy photographer.

But if you’ve tried all this and you’re still finding yourself a bit distracted, a bit blasé about this whole photography thing, the problem may just rest with your format. Crop sensors? Full-frame? 35mm film? Get real. That stuff is so dull, and puny, and pathetic. You need a bigger format! You need something with depth and charisma! You need to shoot medium format.

But with so many cameras to choose from, how do you know which is right for you?

It’s cool. We’ve got you covered.

Here’s a list of five excellent medium format film cameras for shooters new to the vast frontier of medium format.

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Contax 139 Quartz – Camera Review

Contax 139 Quartz Review (8 of 11)

I recently found myself the reluctant owner of a Contax 139 Quartz 35mm SLR, a camera about which I knew little and for which I cared even less. After all, if this rebranded, electronic Yashica were anything worthwhile I’d have heard about it from my friends at the camera shop, or spied one scrolling by in my Instagram feed. Yes, surely if the 139Q mattered I’d have known about it.

Still, it was being sold with a fairly legendary Zeiss lens attached, so I bought the whole kit and awaited its arrival. Getting hands on this beautiful glass would be a big win for anyone, no matter what substandard camera so lecherously clung to it.

Luckily, this uncharacteristic bout of arrogant self-assurance was not much more than a 24-hour bug. When the camera arrived and I pulled it from its packaging my pompous windbaggery was justifiably and firmly checked.

I held the Contax, flicked its controls, squeezed off a few shutter releases, and decided my next action should be to insert into my gaping opinion hole the proverbial sock.

Just over a month later the Contax has become a constant companion. While it’s not a perfect camera, it’s surely one of the best I’ve ever shot. With objectivity (and humility) happily renewed, here’s the great, the good, and the bad about Contax’s electric wonder.

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Win a Leica in Our End-of-Year Giveaway

leica-minilux-35mm-point-and-shoot-camera-review-2 copy

It’s no secret we love film cameras. To us, there’s no better way of taking a break from the technological over-saturation of our day-to-day lives than leaving the digital stuff at home, loading a roll of film, and seeing what kind of images we can make with a “primitive” analog camera. It’s just the best.

Our mission here at CP is, in part, to help this passion for film shooting blossom in those who visit. There’s no better feeling than the one we get when we introduce someone to the world of film photography for the very first time, either through this site or through our camera shop.

With this goal in mind, we occasionally give cameras away for free. And, guess what? We’re doing it again.

In the past we’ve given away a number of classic Canons, the perennially popular AE-1 and it’s more capable brother the A-1. This time we’re upping the ante. That’s right; we’re giving away a Leica.

Want it? I thought so. For contest details, read on.

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Leica Minilux – Camera Review

Leica Minilux 35mm Point and Shoot Camera Review 7

For many photo-geeks, there are few cameras that elicit the kind of lustful ogling as those made by Leica. For many photophiles, Leica’s machines are the holy grail of cameras. And for many devoted followers, Leica is a brand that can do no wrong.

Not without good reason; the boys from Wetzlar long ago earned their enviable spot at the top of the pile due to their unflagging production of nothing but the highest quality cameras. Their M rangefinder system, specifically, has been the camera to own for over fifty years due to its timeless combination of optical fidelity, clarity of design, and exclusive price point.

But today, we’re not talking about the M2, M3, or any other M. Instead, we’re talking about a Leica that’s a little less popular, a little less expensive, and a little less German. It’s the Leica Minilux, a 35mm point-and-shoot that proudly boasts the famous red dot.

The Minilux was Leica’s offering for pros and passionate enthusiasts who wanted Leica quality and sophistication in a point-and-shoot camera. It certainly bears the name in enough places, but is the Minilux any good? Is this premium point-and-shoot a real photographer’s tool, or is it an over-hyped toy for rich boys?

Let’s find out.

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5 Best Point and Shoot Film Cameras – Part 2

Leica Minilux point and shoot 35mm film camera 2

A while back, we published a rather popular list of some of our favorite point-and-shoot film cameras. We made it pretty clear that our list was just a small sampling of the amazing machines out there. Even so, many of you chimed in with your favorite models that we may have overlooked.

We loved the response, so to thank our readers for their enthusiasm, we’re bringing another list of five super slick point-and-shoots.

Like the previous five, these machines are remarkable exemplars of thoughtful design and optical capability. They’re affordable, well-made, and easy to use, and they’re machines that any photophile would be happy to have in their hot little hands.

So let’s get to it. Here are five more amazing point and shoot film cameras.

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