Everything old is new again, so the saying goes. And in this innovate, dial-turning era of NFTs, oat milk, Zuck’s metaverse, and a melange of other boundary-stretching creations, we still often fall back on the past: turntables and vinyls layered in dust; modernist furniture; retro footwear with brick-thick soles; and revamps of cinematic smash-hits.
Another leading trend riding the throwback revival is the film camera, a curio of the previous century that could distill time in a snap, but was eventually mothballed by smartphones and Instagram. Part of its appeal, surely, has long been in its solidity, its cool metallic feel in the hand, its heft around the neck. Proper dials and buttons and switches; devilish work for idle hands.
Several esteemed camera makers now style their models along these pleasing mid-century lines — and yet fill them with the technological wizardry of the modern age. Happy snapping.
Nikon ‘Z fc’ Mirrorless Camera
Why’s it so good? The black textured body. The subtle grain in the silver metal of the frame. This handsome mirrorless camera from Nikon displays just as much character as the brand’s SLR film cameras of yesteryear.
What’s the lens like? It’s a special-edition Z series prime lens (NIKKOR Z 28mm f/2.8 SE). With a design based on the original AI Nikkor lenses used with the ‘FM2’, even the fonts used for the lens name match the original fonts. It’s an impressive attention to detail.
How is it controlled? Individual dials and a small top display panel let you confirm aperture and control shutter speed, exposure compensation, and ISO sensitivity without going into the camera menu.
Nikon ‘Z fc’
Leica 'M11' Digital Camera
Why’s it so good? Because, as with the Nikon above, Leica’s classically-styled offering continues the legacy of its predecessors with its distinctive design. And this edition, fitted with an aluminium top plate, is also incredibly lightweight.
What’s the lens like? Almost all M-Lenses ever produced can be mounted and used on today’s Leica M11 — giving it a huge scope of compatibility. Paired with the Maestro III processor and BSI CMOS sensor with triple resolution technology, and you’re onto a winner.
How is it controlled? Not only do custom buttons and a new 2.3 megapixel touch display showcase an intuitive interface, but the Leica FOTOS app can connect and control your camera via iPhone or iPad.
Leica M11 Digital Camera
Fujifilm 'X-Pro3' Mirrorless Camera
Why’s it so good? Because it’s tough. With a corrosion-resistant magnesium frame, titanium finish and special Duratect coating, this Fujifilm is protected from scratches and is almost entirely weatherproof.
What’s the lens like? Again, it’s an interchangeable lens camera — but we’d opt for the ‘X-100V’ option. Pair that with in-built motion blur reduction and a ‘Film Simulation’ mode, and you’ve got a camera that shoots as classically as it looks.
How is it controlled? The hidden LCD encourages a more traditional shooting style, but the viewfinder covers 97% of the sRGB colour space, giving the most faithful colour reproduction possible.
Fujifilm X-Pro3 Mirrorless Camera