A feature-rich camera from the 1980s, with autofocus! Released (year): 1986 Price new: £250/$365 Price used: £30/$50
The Nikon F501 was launched back in 1986 and ushered in a new age of Nikon autofocus SLRs. Other mod-cons include automatic film loading, a built-in motor-drive with advance speeds of up to 2.5fps, automatic ISO sensing for different film speeds, and triple-mode ‘program’ shooting.
The camera is a good match for Nikon AF lenses that are still in production today, although autofocus is unavailable with newer AF-S (Silent wave) lenses. One advantage of the older-style D-type AF lenses is that they include physical aperture rings on the lens barrel, which you’ll need to set the aperture when you’re not shooting in automatic program shooting modes. VR (Vibration Reduction) is also unavailable with the F501, and you’ll naturally need FX (full-frame) lenses rather than DX (APS-C) format lenses. Ultimately, good working examples of the F501 can be found very cheaply if you look around, for some serious fun with film photography.