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Full-frame camera for under £20/$30 (body only)

July 29, 2022

If you want to experience a full-frame “sensor” camera, but don’t have the potentially thousands of pounds needed for a new full-frame mirrorless or DSLR camera, then here’s a secret I’m going to let you know…

You can get a full-frame camera for under £20.

Sure, you’ll need a lens, but you can get these for equally low prices.

How, you might ask, is this even possible?

Well before I tell you that, what if I told you, you could even choose between having a full-frame colour sensor, or even a true monochrome black and white “sensor”?

If you’re over the age of 35-40, or a hipster, then you’ll already know what I’m talking about…

But if you’re younger, you may not be aware of this, and yes I’ll get to the point now…

You can buy a full-frame camera for under £20, and yes, I’m talking about a full-frame SLR, such as the Canon EOS 100. This is a 35mm film camera, which is easily and readily available for under £20, body only, on eBay UK*.

Full-frame for under £20 - Canon EOS 100 a modern SLR

The 1991-launched EOS 100 established the design template for modern SLRs

With this, you’ll need an EF mount lens, but you can pick up one of these for under £30, for example a Canon EF 28-80mm f/3.5-5.6 zoom lens is available for £29.99 (*at time of checking).

Of course, Canon EF lenses are still quite desirable, as they also work on full-frame DSLRs, but if you go for another lens mount, you can pick up full-frame lenses for under £10*, as well as a whole range of bright 50-55mm prime lenses for £20-30*.

Choose between colour and monochrome “sensors”

Then when you’ve got this 35mm full-frame camera and lens, you can then choose between using colour 35mm film (if you can find it), and true black and white 35mm film! Incredible!

This kind of versatility simply isn’t possible in the digital world – you can’t switch between a colour and monochrome sensor, without having two different camera bodies, each at great expense, particularly the monochrome options!

The Vivitar Ultra Wide & Slim - Full-frame camera for bargain prices, Photo: JW

The Vivitar Ultra Wide & Slim is ultra small – Full-frame camera for bargain prices, Photo: JW

Yes, film will cost you money every time you use it (from just £4, see our guide to shooting film on a budget), and processing will also cost you money, but £11 will get you 36 prints, plus digital copies of the images. Imagine that, 36 actual, real life prints – assuming of course all your photos come out! If you wanted to save money you could opt for just the digital scans.

The joys of delayed gratification

Add to this, the excitement of using an old film camera, where you take the photo, and have to wait days, weeks, months, maybe even years to see the photos developed. This kind of suspense based photography simply isn’t possible with digital photography.

I recently developed some photos from a film camera, the Vivitar Ultra Wide & Slim (above), and found photos from 11-12 years ago! The Vivitar Ultra Wide & Slim is a compact, tiny plastic camera, with an ultra-wide 22mm lens, and “full-frame sensor” which can be found for around £30-£40 online. Unfortunately the Vivitar Ultra Wide & Slim has become more popular recently and prices have gone up.

So what are you waiting for? Stop spending thousands of pounds on digital cameras, and enjoy some real full-frame photography!

*Prices correct at time of writing/publication.


The views expressed in this column are not necessarily those of Amateur Photographer magazine or Kelsey Media Limited. If you have an opinion you’d like to share on this topic, or any other photography related subject, email: ap.ed@kelsey.co.uk


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