5 Best Point and Shoot Film Cameras and Why You’ll Love Them!

The Olympus Stylus Epic / Olympus MJU II Point and Shoot Film Camera - 5 Point and Shoot Film Cameras by Kathleen Frank on Shoot It With Film
This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on a link and make a purchase, Shoot It With Film may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.

Written by Kathleen Frank

Nothing is more 90s than a point and shoot film camera. We love them because they are compact, lightweight, and couldn’t be easier to use.

But, mostly, we love them because they are fun. They’re perfectly designed to be used spur of the moment and capture life as it’s happening.

While not known for the best image quality, due to their low quality lenses and limited features, they are still the film camera for parties and get-togethers, a day at the beach, and road trips. They are meant to live life with you.

We’re going to take a look at five of the best point and shoot film cameras that would be a great addition to any camera bag.

Not only do these analog cameras have all of the fun and simplicity that make point and shoot cameras so special, but we also wanted to find the point and shoot film cameras with the best image quality.

5 of the Best Point and Shoot Film Cameras
5 of the Best Point and Shoot Film Cameras
5 of the Best Point and Shoot Film Cameras

1. Contax T2

It’s tough to make a list of point and shoot film cameras without talking about the Contax T2 (find on eBay). The T2 is arguably the most popular p&s camera around right now.

It’s always had a solid reputation and fan base in the film community, but after being hyped by a few celebrities, it’s gained some mainstream popularity as well (for better or worse).

While it’s a beautifully simple camera with clean lines and a solid metal build, it’s lens is what makes this camera so amazing. The Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* 38mm f/2.8 lens is one of the sharpest lens you’ll find on a point and shoot.

The Contax T2 Point and Shoot Film Camera - 5 Point and Shoot Film Cameras by Kathleen Frank on Shoot It With Film

It will also give you much more control over your images than you might expect from a point and shoot. With the Contax T2, you can manually set your aperture and exposure compensation, and it also has an AE lock feature, allowing you to focus on your subject while metering elsewhere.

This amount of creative control and the sharp lens gets you much closer to the image quality of an SLR with the ease of a point and shoot. It’s easy to see why people love it so much!

As a side note, you cannot manually set your ISO with the T2, but this article will help you hack your DX code so you can change the ISO on any camera that auto-detects ISO.

The downside to it’s hype and popularity is it’s price tag. Oof. It is the most expensive camera on this list at around $850 on eBay at the time of this article.

Find the Contax T2 at KEH Camera or on eBay.

If you’re interested in the Contax T2 but want something more affordable, the Contax TVS (find on eBay) series may be worth a try.

The TVS series is very similar to the T series, with the same sleek design, exposure compensation, and exposure lock feature, but with a zoom lens. The lens won’t pack quite the same punch as the fixed-focus prime on the T2, but it’s still a high-quality, great lens for a point and shoot.

Check out this review to read all about the Contax TVS.

2. Yashica T4

Most point and shoot film cameras are pretty similar. They’re small plastic cameras with simple controls, just durable enough to be thrown in a bag, but nothing fancy.

So what sets some analog point and shoots apart from the rest? It’s the lens. It’s always the lens. You’ll notice the cameras on the list all have remarkable lenses.

The Yashica T4 (find on eBay) is no exception. It’s Zeiss Tessar T* 35mm f/3.5 is sharp and renders colors beautifully. It will give your images nice contrast with rich colors. The 3.5 aperture is a little slower than ideal, but it does retain it’s sharpness wide open.

The Yashica T4 Point and Shoot Film Camera - 5 Point and Shoot Film Cameras by Kathleen Frank on Shoot It With Film
Image: George Rex

Where the Contax T2 is more of a point and shoot that wants to be an SLR, the Yashica T4 is very much not. It is the point and shoot of point and shoots. It has a classic plastic body and almost no controls. Automatic exposure, half press the shutter to lock focus, toggle the flash on or off, and that’s about it.

Along with the quality lens, the Yashica T4’s flash it’s other main attraction. The T4 has been famously used by fashion photographers to create a punk aesthetic with the strong direct flash look.

Here’s a video with a good overview of the T4 with some great examples of the fashion aesthetic: Yashica T4 Review from New Nostalgia

This is another camera where its popularity has created a steep price tag. I promise there are some cheaper options on this list! The Yashica T4 can be found for around $450 on eBay.

Find the Yashica T4 at KEH Camera or on eBay.

Grab your free copy of the Shoot It With Film magazine!

3. Olympus Stylus Epic / Olympus Mju II

The Olympus Stylus Epic (find on eBay), also called the Olympus Mju II, is a fully automatic, beautifully compact point and shoot film camera.

There are two Olympus cameras on this list, and that is because of the Olympus lenses. While not quite the same magic as a Zeiss lens, the lens in the Olympus Stylus Epic really holds it’s own. It has a sharp and fast 35mm f/2.8 lens, even beating out the Yashica T4 for speed.

The Olympus Stylus Epic / Olympus MJU II Point and Shoot Film Camera - 5 Point and Shoot Film Cameras by Kathleen Frank on Shoot It With Film

The Stylus Epic is fully automatic with auto exposure and focusing, but you can utilize its spot metering mode.

By pressing the self-timer and the flash-mode button at the same time, you’ll turn on the spot mode. Then, you can aim the camera where you’d like to take an exposure reading, press the shutter half-way, and it will lock in the exposure and focus. Then you can recompose and shoot. This mode does reset when you turn the camera off, so it’s a bit of a cumbersome feature, but it’s still nice to have.

The Olympus Stylue Epic is also weatherproof! For a plastic camera, it’s quite durable. If you’re looking for a point and shoot that can handle rain, snow, and other adventures, this might be a great fit.

You can also read our detailed review of the Olympus Stylus Epic / Mju II here.

The Olympus Stylus Epic / Olympus MJU II can be found for around $200-$250 on eBay.

Find the Olympus Stylus Epic at KEH Camera or on eBay.

4. Olympus XA2

The Olympus XA2 (find on eBay) is an interesting camera and the second Olympus point and shoot camera on this list. It is the smallest and the most bare bones camera out of the five we’re talking about today.

One thing that makes it so small is that it does not have an integrated flash. It has a flash attachment that connects to the side of the camera. It’s an interesting design that makes the camera quite small when the flash isn’t attached.

The Olympus XA2 Point and Shoot Film Camera - 5 Point and Shoot Film Cameras by Kathleen Frank on Shoot It With Film

It also doesn’t have auto-focus. It utilizes zone focusing. There is a small toggle next to the lens where you select the focus distance of 1.5 meters, 3 meters, or infinity. While the lack of auto-focus might feel like a negative, it actually makes the camera incredibly quick to use.

Without a DX code reader, so you’ll need to manually set your ISO on the Olympus XA2. This is another less advanced feature that actually leads to more freedom and control while shooting. It’s a little exposure compensation hack.

The Olympus XA2 is small, unassuming, and super quick to shoot. This along with its great lens makes it a favorite for street photographers. It is ready to go the second you open it! You don’t need to wait for focus to lock or fiddle with settings. It is a true point and shoot that produces reliable, quality images.

The XA2 can be found at a great price point as well. It is one of the least expensive cameras on this list at under $100 on eBay.

Find the Olympus XA2 at KEH Camera or on eBay.

5. Nikon L35af

Rounding out our list of the best point and shoot film cameras is the Nikon L35af. It is another great option you can pick up for under $100 on eBay.

It has a sharp, fast 35mm f/2.8 Nikon lens with a great focusing system. The lens also has threads for filters. Such a rarity in a point and shoot!

With the exposure meter located right under the lens behind the filter, you can even use ND filters without having to worry about exposure compensation.

The Nikon L35af Point and Shoot Film Camera - 5 Point and Shoot Film Cameras by Kathleen Frank on Shoot It With Film
Image credit: Wutthichai Charoenburi

The Nikon L35af also has a few other cool features worth noting. It has a manual ISO setting (no DX code reader), so you’ll be able to manipulate your exposure a bit.

There is also a 2 stop exposure compensation for backlit images. This is a lever on the side of the lens, so you’ll need to hold the lever down while shooting. It doesn’t have incremental exposure compensation, just the +2 feature.

The camera is pretty bulky, though, and not the most pocketable. It’s the largest camera on this list with a square, functional, 80s style design to it. But if you don’t mind the size, it has a fantastic lens at a great price point and gives you a good amount of control over your images.

Find the Nikon L35af at KEH Camera or on eBay.

Kathleen is the founder here at Shoot It With Film, and you can read more of her articles here, such as 5 Great 35mm Film Cameras for Beginners and 30 Film Photography Resources for Beginners. You can also check out her work on her website and Instagram.

Leave your questions below in the comments, and we’d also love to hear about your favorite point and shoot film cameras!

And if you want to learn more about shooting film, read all of our film photography tutorials here!

Shoot It With Film Magazine Issue 01 Promo Image

Kathleen Frank

Kathleen Frank is the founder of Shoot It With Film. Find her other articles here, such as 5 35mm Film Cameras for Beginners and 30 Film Photography Resources for Beginners.

Blog Comments

Can’t argue with the XA2. It’s dead simple and produces consistently good images. A lot of the ones you find today will have light leaks from rotted light seals and are in need of an overhaul, but $5 worth of foam later and you’re golden.

Another favorite compact of mine is the Fuji Klasse W. I was lucky to get mine for about $500 USD via an international eBay seller and it’s in great shape. Definitely Fuji’s best compact film camera!

Such a good point about the light leaks! And could not agree more about the Klasse W. It’s a really cool point and shoot with a great lens!

First time here on your blog and it’s amazing! I really had a great time! Keep up the good work.

Thanks so much!

Thank you for this article and in formation. I need a camera that can handle fast film. Do any of the 5 cameras you’ve reviewed permit an iso of 1250?
Thank you for your help.

Hi Diane! The Contax T2, Yashica T4, and the Olympus Stylus Epic all can shoot with an ISO higher than 1250. They auto detect the ISO from the roll of film, so you cannot manually override the ISO to a specific number.

If you’re interested in a way to hack your camera roll to indicate a different ISO, this article might help! https://shootitwithfilm.com/hack-the-dx-code-on-your-35mm-film/

Old-timer here, I’ve been doing photography since the early sixties.

I literally grew up with it, my parents were pros with a little commercial studio they’d opened after WWII. I was put to work at a very young age, developing b/w 4×5 and roll film, drying prints (a big deal before RC papers came out), assisting with setups and on location shoots, etc. Anyway, I have witnessed decades of huge technological change in photography (and everything else)!

I bought a Nikon L35af when it was new, circa 1984, and it was a revelation. It was head and shoulders above the other primitive point & shoots of the time, with that outstanding lens and focus/exposure systems, and some surprising refinements (like the built-in lens cap, as opposed to the easy-to-lose separate ones on other contemporary p&s cameras like the original Canon SureShot).

But I feel I must point out to you younger folks that it was NEVER called the “L35af” in any of the USA-based sales/documentation/etc. materials of the time. I literally never heard that designation until articles like this one started to appear written by modern film camera fans. I never knew it as anything other than the “Nikon OneTouch”.

For the record, I’ve got an Olympus Stylus Epic too (originally a gift I gave my teenage son, before he switched to digital cameras circa 2006) that I occasionally use. A great little camera… apart from its questionable auto-exposure logic that tends to choose wider apertures vs. slower speeds, unnecessarily reducing DOF.

Other cameras I still regularly run b/w film through include the Nikon F2, Olympus OM-2, and Olympus Pen F. I’ve used all kinds of films and chemicals over the years… but I always come back to Tri-X and D-76!

Michael, thank you so much for sharing your experience with the Nikon OneTouch! I’ll definitely start calling it that from now on! And absolutely loved hearing about your time growing up in your parents photography studio. So fascinating!

I have two Olympus Stylus Zooms I use: the 120 and the 140. I love these cameras for their portability. My only gripe is that they automatically set the film ISO. However thanks to Amy, I now have a way to hack the DX reader!

Awesome! So glad you found the DX code hack so helpful! Totally agree with you about the auto ISO settings and love using that little hack to get around it.

I would also add the Minolta TC-1 which is just amazing small with an incredible lens

Thank you, Tim! That is a great addition to this list!

Why aren’t people talking about the Contax T3? This camera is borderline better than using a Leica M6 and 35mm Summicron. Smaller than T2, only about 800€ more, and comes with a lens. Also focuses closer than a 35mm Summicron. I don’t get it?

it has a 2.8 lens from zeiss. it is just a little noisy on the re -wind. But it has a great lens.

The P&S cameras you featured in your article are all ridiculously expensive for beginners struggling to experience film photography! Do you get any commission/incentives for featuring these items???

Hi Marvin! This list covers the highest quality point & shoot cameras, so they can get quite expensive. The Canon Sure Shot or the Nikon Lite Touch are solid options that are more budget friendly. You might also find these articles helpful:
5 Film Cameras Under $50 – https://shootitwithfilm.com/5-film-cameras-under-50-dollars/
5 Great 35mm Film Cameras for Beginners – https://shootitwithfilm.com/5-great-35mm-film-cameras-for-beginners/

A concise and nicely written article for first-time film shooters. As a part time film shooter, my fun film time is spent looking for the point and shoot with similar to Yashica T4 / Olympus Epic image quality at a much lower price. So far, I really like, drumroll please, the Ricoh FF-3. Not as nice looking, but an excellent 35/3.5 lens and manual override features.

The Ricoh FF-3 is such a great point and shoot!

Leave a Comment