When I saw the “$20 Film Camera Challenge” article on DPReview in August 2020, I never expected to end up writing this article a year later. Being a child of the 70s and 80s, I grew up in an analogue world where a good camera was something you aspired to. You didn’t buy the latest one with the intention of upgrading in a couple of years — you thought about it very carefully and planned on it lasting you for decades, not years — not unlike a like a good quality watch or a pen at the time.

My older brother bought an Olympus OM1 in the late 70s and I thought it was like something from a different world. I remember holding it in my hands reverentially and the feeling of the mechanism operating through my fingertips as I wound on the camera and pressed the shutter release.

Being a regular trawler of camera-related websites and being overly interested in the gear and tech, I nearly didn’t read the $20 Film Camera Challenge article in 2020, but decided to read it out of curiosity and found it very interesting. When I did a bit more digging and read similar articles, I was surprised at the results that people could get with cameras at throw-away prices. Mentally, I had consigned film photography to the bin as something I once did and would never do again…..how wrong I was.

I posted on my local Camera Club’s FaceBook page to see if anyone would be interested in taking on a €20 challenge with me and much to my surprise, there was a good bit of interest – mostly from people of my own vintage who were interested in rustling up a bit of nostalgia for themselves.

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Being a Nikon user, I decided to keep things simple and bought an F65 for €15 on eBay and waited for its arrival. When I unpacked it, it was in surprisingly good condition (apart from sticky rubber syndrome on the grips). It was incredibly light and plasticky compared to my DSLR, but all the functions seemed to operate perfectly. It had even come with 2xCR2 batteries.

Rather than just buying a roll of film and getting started, I went down the rabbit hole of looking at the many different options for film purchase. After spending too much time looking at the different options, I decided on Kodak T-MAX 100. The five photos above were shot on a walk around Dublin City Centre in the Georgian Quarter. I hope you enjoy them.

~ Conor

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About the author

Avatar - Conor O'Brien

Conor O'Brien

An enthusiastic amateur photographer living in Dublin Ireland. Mainly a digital photographer but recently rediscovering the joys of film.


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