Most lack eye-level viewfinders, which are important (some might say, required) aspects of learning photography.
Price: (With Lens) A small, lightweight camera that looks like a shrunken DSLR, the Olympus OM-D EM-5 Mark II is actually based on the design of the classic Olympus OM line of film SLRs that was popular among students and photography hobbyists in the 70s through the 90s.
It is a fast-focusing camera with easy access to manual exposure and focus controls and is well suited for a wide range of photography. Olympus has developed several outstanding prime lenses that are great for learning, including 12mm, 35mm and 45mm models, but we recommend the outstanding Olympus Zuiko 25mm f/1.8 standard prime lens to get started.
All have manual overrides of their automatic exposure and focus functions and will fulfill your course requirements for a camera.
While I’ve chosen specific kits that might be well suited for students, you can always get the body and lens separately based on your needs.
It offers both autoexposure and manual control, and comes with a standard 90mm and wide-angle 58mm lens.
This camera takes 120 rollfilm, and is a great way to learn to work within your camera’s limitations.
Price: (With Lens) There’s nothing like a Leica M7 in the hands of an experienced photographer, but if you’re looking for a rangefinder camera that you can learn with and takes 35mm filmat a price that won’t break the bank, Voigtlander’s lineup of rangefinder 35mm cameras are the only game in town.
The R4M has built-in parallax compensation framelines for 21, 25, 28, 35 and 50mm lenses, and accepts any M-mount lens including Voigtlander’s own.
Visit the Adorama film department to buy film and feed your camera.
Most students will be expected to use a digital camera, and for learning photography, an APS sensor DSLR offers the best combination of capability and affordability.
The 35mm f/1.4 is a high-quality, fast general-purpose normal-wide optic that is a great first lens.