I get asked this quite a bit, so I figured I’d put my answer on blast so that I have a link to give when asked. You have under $300 and you want to get in the film game – what camera should you buy?

To me, this one is a no brainer. Get a Konica Auto S3. Why? Well, let’s go over the pros and cons:


  1. It’s a shutter priority camera that also has an exposure lock – something very rare for a camera made in 1960’s.
  2. It’s leaf shutter is dead quiet.
  3. It’s small and light.
  4. It’s cheap for what it is. You can find NOS cameras on eBay for around $300, but you can find “good” cameras for half that… And if you are patient, you can still find them at antique stores for $25.
  5. It features one of the best lenses I’ve ever used. Seriously. The 38mm f1.8 lens rivals and bests many of the Leica lenses made in the same period. It’s truly glorious.


  1. There is no manual over-ride. Meaning, you are shooting shutter priority whether you want to or not. But honestly, I enjoy this in a way. It makes me think differently when taking photos.
  2. If the battery dies, you can still take photos but the lens is locked at f1.8.
  3. It’s getting hard to find these in the states. If you aren’t patient, eBay is your best bet. Hong Kong seems to be swimming in them.

In my opinion, it’s just hard to beat this camera for the money they get. But, don’t take my word for it… Read a real review here: The Konica Auto S3 – Guest review by Mike Caputo – 35mmc