A digital camera that looks and feels like a film camera is, for many of us, the best of both worlds.
You benefit from all the latest technology of modern digital cameras combined with the aesthetic beauty and tactile handling of the best film cameras.
With many modern cameras feeling like cold, lifeless gadgets, photographers are craving the more meaningful experience that analog cameras provide.
This guide will introduce you to a selection of the best vintage-look digital cameras for those who want more of a connection with the act of capturing moments.
By the end of the article, you’ll be merging the convenience of digital cameras with the tactile nostalgia of film cameras.
Table of Contents
What is the Best Digital Camera That Looks Like Film?
1. Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV (Best Value Digital Film Camera)
- 20-megapixel sensor
- Solid feel and handling
- A lot of plastic parts
- Main menu navigation can be complicated
The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV is our top pick due to its combination of a handsome film design with plenty of versatile modern features.
Though it’s a small camera, with its sculpted grip and casing, it still feels big enough in the hands, with stable handling.
Its lens selection is smaller and more affordable than other APS-C cameras, as it’s a micro four-thirds camera, among other reasons.
Using an adaptor, you can also mount SLR and Leica lenses if you want some more options.
Auto-focus speeds are excellent, as is the burst rate of up to 15 frames per second when using the electronic shutter and 8.7fps using mechanical.
This makes it a versatile camera for various shooting scenarios, including action and sports photography, where capturing fast-moving subjects is essential.
The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV has a wide range of automatic image settings that make it suitable for beginners, while still giving experienced shooters the complete manual control they’ll be looking for.
A 20-megapixel sensor and wide ISO sensitivity range will help you get detail-rich, high-resolution stills in even low-light situations.
A non-film camera feature – the tiltable rear LCD screen – will also keep selfie lovers and vloggers happy.
Add to that its ability to record 4K video and in-built 5-axis image stabilization, and the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV is an appealing digital camera that looks like a film camera, especially at this price point.
2. Fujifilm X-T5 (Best All-Around Digital Film Camera)
- Great image quality
- Good autofocus capabilities
- Great film simulation modes
- Compact and lightweight
- Great lens selection
- Subject-aware autofocus is complicated to use
- Manual controls can be intimidating for beginners
The Fujifilm X-T5 is firmly aimed at the all-round shooter who knows their way around a camera and appreciates that film look and feel.
And there’s no denying it’s a beautiful machine. With its manual dials for ISO, shutter speed, and aperture, it looks like a high-quality camera from the last century.
It’s small but has a good weight and heft to it, and despite its diminutive size, it has plenty of features.
There’s that massive 40-megapixel sensor to start with, plus in-camera image stabilization and the ability to record up to 6.2K video.
The Fujifilm X-T5 contains ground-breaking Pixel Shift Multishot technology, which quadruples the camera’s resolution, giving you 160-megapixel, detail-rich images.
Your photos and videos can be processed (in-camera) to make them look like they’ve come from (or been inspired by) the past, too.
Included in this system are 19 film simulation modes, which reproduce the aesthetic of some of the classic Fujifilm film stock (for example, Velvia, Astia, and Provia).
Buying the X-T5 gives you access to a growing selection of excellent Fujifilm X-Series lenses, known for their stellar image quality, compact dimensions, and relative affordability (compared to Sony, Canon and Nikon).
3. Nikon Z fc (Best Nikon Digital Film Camera)
- Great image quality
- Compact and lightweight
- Eye detection autofocus
- 4k video recording
- Good price
- Tilt screen
- Kit lenses don’t come with aperture rings
- No in-built image stabilization
- Single memory card slot
- No weather sealing
As it’s the same system, you can use the body with Nikon Z-mount lenses.
Although, unlike the full-frame Z range, there’s no in-body image stabilization in this camera, so you need to be careful which lenses you choose to use with it, especially if you’re shooting video.
And it’s meant for that.
The camera supports live streaming and has a 209-point subject-tracking autofocus and a tilt-screen.
It’s also set up to take an external microphone and other vlogging accessories.
But the best thing? The Nikon Z fc is a seriously cool-looking digital film camera that will turn heads, especially if you opt for the unique white version.
4. Fujifilm X100V (Best Compact Digital Film Camera)
- Great autofocus capabilities
- Excellent image quality
- Great, sharp lens
- Tilt screen
- Hybrid viewfinder is not to everyone’s taste
- Poor ergonomics
5. Nikon DF (Best Full-Frame Digital Film Camera)
- Quite expensive
- Strong, solid build
- Difficult to find
- No video capabilities
Nikon DFs can be a little difficult to come by these days, but you can still purchase them on the second-hand market.
If you manage to get one, you’ll be treated to a unique full frame digital film experience.
This digital camera that looks like film is built solidly, and has a bulky but classic design that is sure to turn heads.
It’s classic in more ways than just its appearance, though. It’s a camera that is solely devoted to still photography – there’s no video functionality here.
Some people might be confused about the lack of video, but I personally love the idea of focusing solely on photography. After all, that’s how all cameras used to be.
The Nikon DF handles really well, and it has manual control dials for aperture, exposure compensation, ISO, and shutter speed that are tactile to the touch.
Additionally, the autofocus is lightning-fast.
The legendary Nikon D4 full frame sensor lies at the heart of the camera, and it has a great dynamic range, which you can see in the example image above.
It can produce clean images in low light settings, even at very high ISOs.
The files that the camera produces are bright with beautiful tones and colors that Nikon is famous for.
Even as a film-look digital camera, it manages to punch above its weight in this list.
6. Fujifilm X-E4
- Excellent autofocus
- Great sensor
- Sleek design
- Great alternative to X100V
- Not weather-sealed
- Can feel a bit cramped in use
7. Olympus PEN-F
- Electronic viewfinder
- Tilt-able rear screen
- Extremely customizable
- Film-style filters
- Needs an accessory for a truly stable grip
- Relatively expensive
- Crowded with manual controls
While the large selection of Fujifilm cameras is tempting if you’re looking for a great-looking digital camera that looks like a film camera, our top choice is the Olympus OMD E-M10.
Despite having a slightly smaller sensor than the Fuji cameras (Micro four-thirds vs. APS-C) and not offering the same film-simulation modes, the Olympus has faster operation, better ergonomics, and smaller, lighter, and more affordable lenses.