Top 10 Best Old Slr Cameras In 2023 – Expert Reviews and Guide

Capturing beautiful and timeless moments on film has been a beloved pastime for generations. And while digital photography has become highly convenient, there’s still something special and unique about using an old SLR camera. These handcrafted devices offer a charm and quality that are simply unmatched. In this article, we’ll be reviewing the top 10 best old SLR cameras, and provide a comprehensive buying guide to help you choose the perfect one. So whether you’re an enthusiast or a professional photographer, stick around to discover the best old SLR cameras of all time.

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Last update on 2023-07-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

A Brief Overview of Old Slr Cameras

Old SLR cameras, also known as Single Lens Reflex cameras, were the go-to choice for professional photographers before the emergence of digital cameras. The cameras used film to capture images, which had to be processed manually. The SLR design was revolutionary when it was first introduced in the 1930s, as it allowed the photographer to see the exact image that would be captured by the film through a viewfinder.

Old SLR cameras were popular due to their versatility and durability. They had interchangeable lenses, which allowed for a wide range of photographic styles, and they were built to withstand rough conditions. The cameras were also easy to repair, making them a long-term investment for photographers. However, as technology progressed, digital cameras became more widespread, leading to a decline in the use of old SLR cameras. Nonetheless, many photographers still use and appreciate them for their unique qualities, including the ability to achieve a filmic look and the challenge of manually adjusting settings.

Best Old Slr Cameras Compared

SaleRANK 1
Nikon D80 DSLR Camera (Body only) (OLD MODEL)
  • 10.2-megapixel CCD captures enough detail for large, photo-quality prints
  • Body only; lens must be purchased separately
  • 2.5-inch LCD display; power-up time of approximately 0.2 seconds
  • RAW and JPEG capture; burst mode allows for capture of three frames per second for up to 100 pictures
  • Image optimization functions and in-camera image retouching
Canon Original F-1 35mm Film SLR Tutorial Walkthrough: A Complete Guide to...
  • Hancock, David (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 47 Pages - 04/25/2023 (Publication Date) - Independently published (Publisher)
SaleRANK 3
Nikon SB-800 AF Speedlight for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras - Old Version
  • Autofocus speedlight compatible with both digital and film SLR cameras
  • Intelligent i-TTL system supports automatic balanced fill-flash
  • Can automatically control light output according to distance and aperture
  • Dot matrix LCD with easy to read graphics
  • Ergonomic control with conveniently placed buttons and switches
Canon EOS 5D Mark II Full Frame DSLR Camera (Body Only) (Old Model)
  • 21.1-megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor, 14-bit A/D conversion, wide range ISO setting 100-6400
  • Body only, lenses sold separately,1-Year Canon U.S.A. Limited Warranty
  • DIGIC 4 Image Processor; high-performance 3.9 fps continuous shooting; Live View Function for stills
  • Full HD video capture at 1920x1080 resolution for up to 4GB per clip ; HDMI output
  • Updated EOS Integrated Cleaning System specifically designed to work with a full-frame sensor
SaleRANK 5
Nikon D40x 10.2MP Digital SLR Camera with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G ED II AF-S DX...
  • Includes 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G ED II AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor lens
  • Image optimization functions and in-camera image retouching
  • 2.5-inch LCD monitor , 170-degree viewing angle
  • 10.2-megapixel CCD captures enough detail for large, photo-quality prints
  • 3D Color Matrix Metering II for ideal exposures in almost any lighting condition
Canon Rebel XS DSLR Camera with EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens (Black) (OLD...
  • 10.1-megapixel CMOS sensor captures enough detail for poster-size, photo-quality prints
  • Large 2.5-inch LCD display; includes Canon's EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS lens
  • DIGIC III image processor provides fast, accurate image processing; Live View Function
  • EOS Integrated Cleaning system and Canon-designed Self Cleaning Sensor Unit, plus Dust Delete Data Detection in included software
  • Stores images on SD/SDHC memory cards (not included)
COPY STAND # MINI300, A USA Made Compact & Mini Tool for Digitizing Documents,...
  • NOW Cosmo Mini 300 Copy Stand comes with a phone holder. It’s small, compact (it is not a professional Copy Stand) and more suitable for amateur applications....
  • The baseboard size is 12" x 9.5” x 3/4" and made of melamine board with a gray finish. It has two installation holes for the post: 1) a center hole for...
  • A $39.95 value 10" x 7 1/2" Floating Magnetic Board (FMB) is included. It is made of a layer of MDF, rubber steel, and a laminated printed film with ½”...
  • The Steel Post is a unique 1 ½” diameter x 12” height with black wrinkle powder coating.
  • The NEW ‘L’ bracket is made of harder and thicker anodized aluminum. It is reversible and it can travel vertically from 7” to 17” (camera screw) and two...
Nikon D50 DSLR Camera (Body Only) (OLD MODEL)
  • 6.1-megapixel sensor captures enough detail for photo-quality 14 x 19-inch prints
  • Body only; compatible with AF and DX Nikkor lenses
  • Continuous shooting at 2.5 frames per second for bursts of up to 137 pictures
  • 2.0-inch LCD display; 7 scene modes, including new Child mode
  • Stores images on SD cards; powered by Lithium-ion battery (battery and Quick Charger supplied)
Sigma 10mm f/2.8 EX DC HSM Fisheye Lens for Canon Digital SLR Cameras (OLD...
  • Diagonal fish-eye for APS-C format.
  • HSM (Hyper Sonic Motor).
  • Ideal for panoramic shots and creative image design
  • Minimum focusing distance 13.5 cm.
  • Box contents: lens, front cap, back cover, front cover adapter, filter template, quiver
Nikon D800E 36.3 MP CMOS FX-Format Digital SLR Camera (Body Only) (OLD MODEL)
  • 36.3MP full-frame CMOS sensor
  • 51-point AF system (15 cross-type)
  • ISO 100-6400 expandable to 25,600
  • 3.2 inch LCD with 921,000 dots
  • 1080p HD video recording

Last update on 2023-07-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

How Does Buying Old Slr Cameras benefit you?

Old SLR cameras offer some unique advantages that modern digital cameras simply cannot replicate. Here are some key reasons to consider adding one to your camera collection.

Vintage aesthetic

Many people are drawn to the vintage aesthetic of old SLR cameras. These cameras have a classic look and feel that can add character and personality to photos. The unique qualities of film also contribute to this vintage feel, as each roll of film produces slightly different results. Additionally, old SLR cameras often have manual controls that require more skill and intentionality in photography, which can lead to more creative and unique shots. All of these factors contribute to the popularity of vintage SLR cameras among photographers and enthusiasts alike.

Higher quality images

Old SLR cameras were known for producing higher quality images than many modern cameras. This is because they were built with high-quality lenses and larger sensors. The lenses used in old SLR cameras were made with precision and were often of higher quality than those used in modern point-and-shoot or smartphone cameras. This allowed for sharper and more detailed images.

Additionally, SLR cameras had larger sensors than other types of cameras at the time. A larger sensor means that more light is able to enter the camera, resulting in better image quality, especially in low light situations. This made old SLR cameras popular among professional photographers who wanted to capture high-quality images with great detail and clarity. Today, many photographers still prefer to use old SLR cameras for their superior image quality, and some even consider them to be a classic and timeless tool for capturing stunning images.

Nostalgia value

Old SLR cameras hold a special significance for those who remember the days of film photography. These cameras were the pinnacle of photography technology in their time and were used by professional photographers and amateurs alike. They were typically well-built and durable, often made of metal and capable of withstanding years of use.

For many people, owning an old SLR camera is a way to connect with the past and remember a time when photography was a more deliberate and considered process. It also provides a tactile and immersive experience that is lacking in digital photography. The sound of the shutter, the feel of the film winding, and the anticipation of developing the film can all be part of the experience. In short, owning an old SLR camera for nostalgia value is a way to reconnect with a simpler and perhaps more meaningful time in photography.

Buying Guides

There are many important factors to keep in mind when looking for the best old SLR cameras to add to your collection.

Condition of camera body and lens

The condition of the camera body and lens is crucial when buying an old SLR camera. Camera bodies and lenses deteriorate with age and usage, which can result in various issues like fungus growth, scratches, and dirt accumulation.

A poorly maintained camera body and lens can affect the image quality and functionality of the camera, which defeats the purpose of investing in an older SLR camera. Therefore, it’s essential to inspect the camera body and lens for any visible damages, test the metering system, and check the aperture and shutter speed before buying an old SLR camera. By doing so, you can ensure that you’re investing in a camera that works optimally and gives you the desired results.

Availability of compatible accessories and film

When buying an old SLR camera, it is important to consider the availability of compatible accessories and film. This is because many old SLR cameras may not be compatible with modern accessories and film types. For example, some older SLR cameras may require manual focus lenses, which are not commonly produced or sold today. Additionally, certain film types may no longer be in production, making it difficult to obtain film for the camera.

Considering the availability of accessories and film can also affect the cost of owning an older SLR camera. If the camera requires rare or hard-to-find accessories or film, the cost of using and maintaining the camera may be higher than expected. If the availability of these items is limited, owners may need to consider alternative options or be willing to pay a premium for the items. By considering the availability of these items before purchasing an older SLR camera, buyers can avoid costly surprises and ensure that the camera is compatible with their needs and budget.

Brand and model reputation

Brand and model reputation are important factors to consider when buying an old SLR camera because they can significantly affect the value and performance of the camera. Brands with well-established reputations for quality and durability are likely to produce SLR cameras that are built to last and perform well over a long period of time. Similarly, well-regarded models within a brand may have specific features or capabilities that make them a better choice for certain types of photography.

In addition, brand and model reputation can also affect the availability of parts and accessories for the camera, as well as the level of support and service that is available. If a brand or model is no longer in production or has a limited following, it may be more difficult or expensive to find replacement parts or repairs. By considering brand and model reputation before buying an old SLR camera, you can avoid investing in a camera that may have limited value or potential for use.

Cost of maintenance and repairs

Before buying an old SLR camera, it is essential to consider the cost of maintenance and repairs. As these cameras are vintage, they may require regular maintenance and repair work to function smoothly. Over time, parts may wear out, and repairs may become necessary. Additionally, the cost of replacing damaged parts may be high due to their rarity. Therefore, it is important to have an estimate of the maintenance and repair costs before buying an old SLR camera to avoid any unexpected expenses.

Furthermore, it is also important to consider the availability of experts who can repair old SLR cameras. The technology and mechanism used in these cameras are outdated, so only a few experts are capable of repairing them. The cost of labor may be high due to the scarcity of experts and parts, and it may take a long time to get the camera repaired. Therefore, it is crucial to weigh the cost of maintenance and repairs against the benefits of owning an old SLR camera before making a purchase.

Availability and cost of batteries

When buying an old SLR camera, it is crucial to consider the availability and cost of batteries. This is because most old SLR cameras require specialty batteries that may be difficult to find or expensive to replace. Some cameras may even require batteries that are no longer manufactured, making them nearly impossible to operate. Without proper batteries, the camera may not function, rendering it useless.

Additionally, the cost of batteries can quickly add up and become a significant expense over time. It is essential to factor in the cost of replacement batteries when considering the overall value and investment of an old SLR camera. By being mindful of battery availability and cost, one can make a more informed decision when purchasing an old SLR camera and avoid the potential headache and expense of sourcing and replacing batteries.

Seller reputation and return policy

When buying old SLR cameras, it is essential to consider the seller’s reputation and return policy. This is because old cameras can deteriorate over time and can have issues that were not disclosed in the listing. A reputable seller will disclose any known issues and provide accurate descriptions and photographs of the camera.

Additionally, a good return policy is important in case the camera arrives damaged or is not as described. A reputable seller with a good return policy will allow for returns within a reasonable amount of time and provide a refund or exchange. Considering the seller’s reputation and return policy before making a purchase can save time and money in the long run.


What is an SLR camera and how does it work?

SLR (single-lens reflex) cameras use a mirror mechanism to reflect light from the lens to an optical viewfinder. When you press the shutter button, the mirror flips up, allowing the light to hit the image sensor or film to capture the photo. SLR cameras also allow for interchangeable lenses, giving photographers versatility in the types of shots they can take.

SLR technology has been around since the early 20th century but has evolved greatly with digital imaging. Today, SLR cameras have advanced autofocus systems, high-speed shooting capabilities, and many other features that make them popular among professional and amateur photographers alike.

What are some popular brands of old SLR cameras?

There are many popular brands of old SLR cameras, which were widely used by professional photographers and photography enthusiasts in the 20th century. Some of the most popular brands include Nikon, Canon, Pentax, Minolta, Olympus, Konica, and Yashica.

Nikon and Canon are perhaps the most well-known brands, with their cameras being widely used in both professional and amateur photography. Pentax and Minolta were also popular choices for photographers in the 70s and 80s, with their cameras featuring advanced features and rugged construction. Olympus, Konica, and Yashica were also popular brands, with their cameras offering unique features and designs that were often favored by specific groups of photographers.

Can old SLR cameras still be used today, and if so, what kind of film do they require?

Yes, old SLR (Single Lens Reflex) cameras can still be used today as long as they are in good working condition. They may require some repairs or maintenance, but as long as they are functional, they can be used to take high-quality photographs. Some people even prefer using old SLR cameras for their unique aesthetics and feel.

Old SLR cameras typically require 35mm film, which can still be found in many camera stores and even some general retail stores. Some specialty films, such as black and white or slide film, may be harder to find but are still available for purchase. It’s important to note that film photography does require more effort and attention compared to digital photography, but it can result in unique and beautiful images.


In today’s world of advanced digital photography, old SLR cameras may seem outdated, but they remain as a valuable source of nostalgia for vintage camera enthusiasts. From Nikon, Canon, and Pentax, we have listed the top 10 best old SLR cameras that capture stunning images and deliver an unforgettable shooting experience.

But choosing the best old SLR camera may seem daunting. So, we hope that our reviews and buying guide helped you make an informed decision. Ultimately, investing in the best old SLR camera can bring you an irreplaceable sense of joy and an appreciation for the art of photography.

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