The best retro style digital cameras provide a unique and unparalleled photographic experience compared to other modern cameras on the market.
As a photographer, there is something nostalgic about picking up a retro style digital camera that transports you back to the past. The top retro camera manufacturers have taken inspiration from classic camera designs of the 80s and 90s and crammed them with innovative electronics and conveniences modern photographers have started to rely on.
The results are the best blend of a classic retro feel of an old film SLR camera with the latest technology to create impressive images you would be proud to share.
It’s not simply the beauty of these cameras that has so many photographers captivated. A retro style digital camera has a certain allure.
Many vintage style digital cameras include more conventional materials, layout, and tactile controls that make it feel like you’re shooting with an old school film camera.
You can’t beat the sensation of chilly metal in your hand or the sound of the shutter speed dial clicking as you turn it.
Before we begin, it’s worth noting that this article focuses on the best retro digital cameras.
If, however, you want to experience the retro feel of an old analogue film camera, check out this guide to the best film cameras.
Alternatively, you might want to have a look at the guide to the best retro style instant cameras which can provide a lot of fun in the form of an instant polaroid at your fingertips.
So, what is the best retro style digital camera on the market?
Many respected brands, such as Fujifilm and Olympus, now manufacture retro and vintage style cameras, providing you with a variety of high-quality choices.
Fortunately, there are vintage looking digital cameras for practically every style of photography and budget.
So, whether you’re searching for a classic looking camera to document your travels, or for professional photography projects, you never have to sacrifice performance for style.
- Nikon Z FC – best for both beginners & intermediate photographers
- Panasonic Lumix GX9 – best for street photographers
- Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV – best for travel photography
- Leica M10-R – best digital camera for experienced photographers
- Fujifilm X100V – best all-rounder retro digital camera
Due to the vast amount of retro looking digital cameras in the market, this list will offer five reputable options, making your search for the best retro camera for your photography needs easier.
1. Nikon Z FC – best for both beginners & intermediate photographers
Nikon products have always been a great option for enthusiasts of retro style digital cameras, especially with the release of the Nikon DF in 2013. It had a cult following, but it was pricey and was eventually discontinued.
The Nikon Z FC was launched in 2021 to fill the void left by the Nikon DF; it has been a popular retro digital camera choice in recent years because of it’s attractiveness and lower price point.
The Nikon Z FC is the second APS-C camera for Z mount, possessing dial-based retro controls.
However, if you prefer contemporary controls to the retro dial ones, you can still take photographs digitally using the touch screen.
Regardless of what control option you choose, this Nikon Z FC retro feel camera consistently produces excellent photos alongside 4K UHD videos.
As a result, it’s a worthwhile investment for collectors and enthusiast photographers.
The only drawback of this retro looking camera is it shoots videos at 11fps, meaning its quality won’t rival other high-end options on the market.
Nevertheless, it comes with zippy burst shooting and a sturdy build and is suitable for both beginners and intermediate photographers.
- Retro and digital handling options
- Quick burst shooting
- Shoots videos at 11fps
2. Panasonic Lumix GX9 – best for street photographers
Simply looking at the Panasonic Lumix GX9, you can tell it’s a high-quality retro style digital camera since it resembles an antique rangefinder camera.
Furthermore, because it has a strong menu navigation system, this mirrorless retro style digital camera operates like any other modern digital camera.
While it does not compete with some of the top professional cameras, the Panasonic Lumix GX9 is well-suited to street photographers as it has rapid focusing and a respectable burst mode.
There is also a unique photo mode option which captures high-resolution stills from 4K video at 9 frames per second.
As one would expect from a vintage style digital camera with modern functionalities, there is an electronic viewfinder which is outstanding for a device at this price point.
Users also have a wide range of lenses to choose from thanks to the MFT lens mount.
- Can capture content at 4K
- Excellent viewfinder
- Robust controls
- Shoots at 9fps
- Small rear control dials
3. Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV – best for travel photography
The Olympus OM-D series introduces a variety of beginner-friendly and affordable cameras to the market, making them a common purchase to new photographers.
Fortunately, the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV comes with all the common traits of this category, coupled with a retro style.
The E-M10 Mark IV is excellent for capturing above-average environment shots thanks to the 20MP sensors that ensure each image is sharp, detailed, and vivid.
Additionally, this retro looking camera is equipped with snappy autofocus, making it easier to take photos with little professional knowledge.
For an authentic manual shooting feel, Olympus included dials on the top plate of the E-M10 Mark IV, which immerses users in the vintage style of this digital camera.
The only noteworthy downside of this camera is its structure because the plastic feels light and is poorly resistant to heavy physical impact.
Nevertheless, the camera is still a stylish travel companion with an affordable price and consistent image quality.
- Immersive retro style digital camera
- Consistent image quality
- Relatively weak build
- No mic port
4. Leica M10-R – best for experienced photographers
Leica M digital cameras are known to be a niche product in the photography industry. They are usually extortionately priced, and their design and overall functioning is made to feel very antique.
The Lecia M10-R incorporates some of the most advanced digital technology, including a 40MP sensor to provide image quality that can compete with most modern full-frame cameras. In addition to providing a shooting experience that is really unique.
The back display of the Leica M10-R digital camera is a 3-inch LCD with a sharp 1.04-million-dot design. It permits touch but does not tilt up or down. This type of fixed design can make low-angle photography difficult.
However, if you’re a fan of rangefinder photography and looking for a model that can take photographs in impressive vivid colours, the Leica M10-R is one of the most powerful digital camera models on the market.
The only disadvantage of this Leica retro-looking digital camera is its exorbitant price. Nevertheless, it’s an impressive vintage style digital camera.
- Immersive retro look
- 40MP sensor
- Easy to use
- Quite pricey
5. Fujifilm X100V – best all-rounder retro digital camera
Last on this list is the Fujifilm X100V, a vintage looking camera of the X100 series that began the Fujifilm X revolution.
This retro looking camera boasts some impressive constituents as it has a combination of APS-C sensors and a sharp 35mm equivalent prime lens.
These elements evolved the series’ winning combination, solidifying its foundation for producing such sophisticated cameras.
Staying consistent with it’s vintage design, the Fujifilm X100V digital camera comes with dial-led controls that work to ensure each image made is superb and consistent.
There are also new extra features like the optional converters for altering the lens’s field of view, giving you more versatility as a photographer.
A vintage style digital camera with such attention to quality which also comes at an attractive price, makes this model the best version of the Fujifilm X100 series to date.
- Sharp lens high-quality images
- Electronic viewfinder
- Reasonable price for its quality
- Incredible vintage feel digital camera from Fujifilm
- No stabilization
Retro style digital cameras are excellent for experiencing the camera style of decades ago while keeping the image quality of modern-day cameras.
There is no reason a high-performance camera cannot also be visually appealing. Especially now we have the luxury of purchasing retro-inspired cameras that are entirely digital.
When it comes to appearance, not all cameras are made equal. The retro digital cameras featured in this article are the kind of cameras that should inspire your creativity.
While they all have a similar vintage look; each one is suited to different types of photography. Therefore, your photography niche will have an impact on which retro style camera would be the best purchase for you.
Nevertheless, all of these modern retro digital cameras are the type of camera that will motivate you to get out and shoot; I’m sure you won’t want to put them down.
If you don’t already have a digital retro camera in your camera kit, you’ll welcome this addition!
And don’t forget: they look awesome!
If you’re on the road don’t forget to pair one of these great cameras with a top travel tripod for the best results!
DISCLOSURE: I may earn a small commission from some of the links above. For the benefit of the doubt, please assume all links might be affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
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