DP Review’s preferred “analog gems”

After Thom Hogan’s list of Nikon Classics, another list, this time coming from no other than dpreview.

The “DP” in dpreview stands for “Digital Photography” of course, and the site was launched in 1998, at the beginning of the digital camera craze. And they’ve never reviewed a film camera. As far as I know. But over the years, they compiled two lists of recommended,  “excellent and affordable” film cameras, the first one in 2017, with a follow up in June 2019.

A few of the cameras listed as “analog gems” by DPreview have been presented in this site over the years (the Nikons FE2, N90, the Olympus OM-1 and the Canon T90). Very often, my preference goes to other models of the same family (I prefer the Olympus OM-2 to the OM-1 because its battery is much easier to find, the Canon AT-1 to the AE-1 because I’m not a fan of shutter speed priority automatism, and the EOS-620 to the EOS-5 for its simplicity).

Nikon FM
Nikon FM

I’ve never been a fan of compact cameras in the days of film (poor viewfinder, not enough controls for the photographer). Their only advantages were their small size and their ease of use, but a film SLR with a pancake lens was not much larger and delivered much better images. And today, why would you spend money on film and processing to use a compact camera which will give you less control over your images than a good smartphone?

My absolute favorite? The ones I would bring on the proverbial desert island (assuming the desert island has no electricity, no Internet access but a huge stack of film cartridges waiting for me)?

Canon T90 – the ergonomics of an EOS camera with an FD lens mount
  • a compact, mechanical, semi-auto SLR – not the Olympus OM-1, not the Pentax MX, but the rugged and supremely reliable Nikon FM. The FM2 is probably an even better camera, but it’s also more expensive.
  • the most elaborate pre-autofocus SLR, the Canon T90, for the looks, the ergonomics, the crazy exposure system, with no concern for its questionable reliability or its mass, because I would always have the Nikon FM as a backup.

And of course, when I would be back from the desert island, I would reconnect with my cherished Nikon FE2…


“La Maison aux Bambous” – Bed and Breakfast – Vinay (France). Canon T90 – Canon FD 24mm – Fujicolor 400.