Favorite Film Camera of 2024? Fujifilm Klasse W Review

My favorite film camera for everyday shooting. It taught me to slow down in a world of more megapixels, quicker autofocus, & faster frame rates. Back to the basics!

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This is the Fujifilm Klasse W, released 15 years ago in 2007; it's a 35mm point-and-shoot film camera with a fixed 28mm f/2.8 lens. While it doesn't have full manual exposure capabilities, it has a built-in flash, an exposure compensation dial on the front, and an aperture priority dial on the top.

It's a beautifully designed camera that is the perfect analog compliment to my modern silver and black Fujifilm X100V (but shop the latest X100VI for a new model!). And it pairs perfectly with a nicely worn leather strap, like this one from Clever Supply Co.

Full transparency — I like to wear this camera around my neck, tourist style, as it draws the attention of photographers and non-photographers alike. It's been a conversation piece everywhere I go.

Last year, I committed to shooting at least one roll of film each month. I tried a variety of film stocks, development labs, and subject matters. And I made a lot of mistakes. But I stuck to it, and by the end of the full 12 months, I ended up with 19 developed rolls, all shot with the Fujifilm Klasse W.

The Fujifilm Klasse W is my favorite camera of 2024, not because of the image quality it produces or its feature set, but due to the creative mindset it has put me in when shooting with this camera. The lessons I've learned embracing the workflow that comes along with an analog point-and-shoot camera are lessons that every photographer should know.

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Less is more.

Fewer controls and fewer options mean fewer decisions. And having fewer decisions for me to make allows me to refocus that energy entirely on being present.

With a live preview of modern mirrorless cameras, I've grown accustomed to controlling every pixel of the process in real-time — exposure, focus, and color are all meticulously adjusted as I'm shooting. With film, I have no way to see what I'm going to get, and I'm leaving it entirely up to the chance of the chemicals in the film emulsion.

Being locked into a single focal length, ISO, or film stock may sound like it would stifle your creative expression as a photographer. But in practice, this creative constraint leads to artistic freedom. Freedom to move, take risks, and make happy accidents that you probably wouldn't attempt if the optimal tools were within arms reach.

It's liberating. Even when I review my film scans, I'm not zooming in to check focus. Still, I'm examining the composition and light to see if it communicates what I wanted to share, what I remembered, and how the film's character contrasts or compliments my memory and message of that moment.

I've spent more time creating, strategizing, thinking, and sharing my photography.

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Create with intentionality.

The film offers an inherent thrill that digital photography can never replicate: every shot counts.

For example, photographing a kid is hard enough. Photographing a kid and a dog (who don't always get along) on film is an adrenaline rush.

Being limited to 36 frames makes you feel like you have something on the line — and with the rising film prices, you do. You think about your mistakes viscerally. Nothing feels worse than a messed-up shot you can never get back.

With that said, I feel like I don't shoot any more intentionally on film than when I do with digital. I pay attention to moments, light, and lines with my X100VI just as much as I do with my Klasse W. The main difference is how many times I press the shutter. I never feel the urge to shoot more than one frame of a scene. On digital, I may have 3 - 5 edges of the same shot with minor composition, exposure, or timing adjustments.

I have noticed an increased desire to experiment and collect photographs of subjects I usually wouldn't photograph digitally. I photograph random things on purpose with film because I'm curious how the light, color, and texture will render on the specific film stock I'm using that day.

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Appreciate delayed gratification.

My favorite part of this medium is delayed gratification.

The gap in time allows me to forget what exactly happened. I need to remember the 36 shots I was trying to get. And I'm ecstatic when I get the email from my lab that my scans are ready.

Some frames trigger my brain to vividly remember our memories, why we were out, and how I felt taking the photos — like being anxious that the kids were drinking from cups without lids. I was tired as I tried to entertain the kids when my wife was test-driving our new car — or posing with their new kid's Peloton bikes (a toy my son was adamant about getting because he saw it in a catalog).

And some frames I need to remember clearly. I am still determining the exact date and time of what happened that day. But these photos turn out to be some of my most cherished memories in photographic form.

The out-of-focus charm.

Their expressions.

The motion blur.

It triggers my memory to hear their laughter and the pitter-patter of their little feet running around.

I decided these moments were important enough or inspiring enough for me to document, and I'm always glad I did.

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Observe and notice.

The simplicity of this camera has allowed me to slow down more and observe my surroundings, especially for the scenes that I've visited and revisited time and time. As corny as it sounds, the film has allowed me to notice things I haven't before and reconnect to why I fell in love with photography in the first place.

Photography has taught me to appreciate the beauty in the ordinary. Light is everywhere. Shapes are everywhere. So, we can create anywhere with this medium.

What was happening in my life? What was the reality of my kids' childhood during a pandemic? And even I felt the pressure to snap a quick photo while my wife was browsing the aisle before she was ready to move on to find the next item on the list.

Photography is this little "I spy" game to find good light and extraordinary compositions intertwined with the natural events and realities of my life as a father and husband. I love it so much.

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This camera has taught me to slow down in a world of more megapixels, quicker autofocus, faster frame rates, and artificial intelligence permeating every facet of photography.

No matter what gear you use, analog or digital, manual or automatic, large format or mobile, remember this: make sure you leave a part of yourself in every image you create.

Your perspective, story, and emotions influence when, where, and what you document when you press the shutter. And while I know this sounds like a lot of pressure, always remember to have fun embracing this creative process.

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"After ten years of being a professional photographer for work, this camera reminded me how to play that game again for fun and just for me."

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