Where to Go in Metro Manila if You're Into Vintage Film Cameras
Film isn’t dead—as trendy as the latest DSLRs and mirrorless cameras are, there’s something to be said for old-school film camera photography that just can’t be replicated by digital cameras. Analog cameras in their prime are tough to come by, but when luck strikes, we get to experience the unparalleled aesthetic that only they can deliver.
So, for those who wouldn’t mind reliving the glory days of Pentax and Leica, check out these film shops that trump any camera filter.
The biggest online community of Filipino film photography lovers, Film Photography Swap lets members buy, sell, and exchange anything film photography related—from cameras to films and books—all at very affordable prices. Brands range from Leica and Mamiya to Canon and Polaroid, and the average price range is around P5,000 or so.
Similar to Film Photography Swap, Lomomanila Marketplace is a private group that houses a large chunk of the country’s film camera enthusiasts who sell and/or exchange their analog cameras, films, and equipment at budget-friendly prices. The open-for-all counterpart group, Lomomanila, allows members to share their striking film photos with the local lomo community.
Rangefinders Filipinas caters to the older crowd of film lovers. Most RFF members have been handling film cameras for years—or decades—so they tend to be more knowledgeable in everything film camera related. Membership is stricter than Lomomanila, but if you’re passionate about film photography, your chances are high.
On the pricier end of the spectrum is Leica Philippines, a group of Leica enthusiasts exclusively buying and selling secondhand Leica cameras. One of the higher-end brands, don’t be surprised to find cameras being sold in the six-figure area. There’s also a Leica branch in Greenbelt 5 for those looking for brand new Leica products.
A “film and camera cartel,” The Online Warehouse is a favorite among the film camera community. The online store mainly sells a variety of film types, but when luck strikes, they have lenses, cameras, and dark room equipment for sale as well.
An online playground for analog camera lovers, Snapnook sells everything from film, cameras, and accessories—and a wide variety of them at that. Budget-friendly cameras for sale include those in the 35mm, 120, 110, Instax, Holga, and digital categories.
Film Folk describes themselves as “a group of meticulous curators,” and they’re pretty much spot on. The online shop sells almost every kind of film out there, and they’re organized accordingly. From popular lomo film to the rarer Rollei film, Film Folk’s got it all.
Manila Vintage Primes might just give Film Folk a run for their money with how organized their system is. Check this out: an entire public database dedicated to sorting the cameras, films, accessories, and the like available for interested buyers. Customers can find just about anything here with the right kind of searching.
Like its name suggests, the online shop is based in the Philippines and the Ukraine and sells Former Soviet Union legacy cameras and lenses from Kiev to Zorki. Many of these vintage cameras also come with stylish Soviet camera bags, and the store also sells old-school filters and darkroom accessories.
An online developing shop, Sunn16 Lab is a film and digital processing laboratory and supply shop that offers developing and scanning services. Their developing options include color, black and white, and slide films. Customers can either mail in or drop off/pick up their films at their headquarters. They're located at 249-B Alley 1, Road 4 Project 6, Quezon City 1100 or at any Satchmi store.
Located at 24 Sto. Domingo Avenue, Quezon City, this branch of offers film developing, film scanning, and photo printing. One of the few film developing shops left in the country, Fujifilm/YKL also sells Fujicolor film rolls.
In partnership with The Online Warehouse, Fotofabrik processes films at reasonable rates. They also offer a variety of services when it comes to film processing. Customers can request cross-processing, color reversal, and other creative options through their website or directly at the Fotofabrik Studio located at 25 Scout Tuason cor. Scout Lozano, Quezon City.
Also located in QC (118 Sct. Dr. Lazcano), ShutterMaster Pro / Aperture Trading sells a variety of film developing equipment, such as safelights, chemicals, prongs, paper, and even entire darkroom lab kits.
Other notable mentions
With Lomography Embassy Manila, Team Manila sells a variety of lomo cameras and film in their stores nationwide, and offers film developing and printing services. Local branches include Rockwell, SM Mall of Asia, SM Aura, and much more.
Besides being a hub for our favorite artists’ records, Satchmi also sells analog cameras and film in their SM Megamall and UP Town Center branches. Their cameras and films are brand new, so don’t expect them to come cheap.
Ukay-ukay and Japanese surplus warehouses
If you have a good eye and you're really, really lucky, you can get your hands on a super discounted film camera from ukay-ukay hubs and Japanese surplus warehouses. Don’t expect to hit the jackpot at your first visit since this’ll take some crafty hunting and just plain old luck to score a vintage camera at a low price.
Hidalgo isn’t the same as it once, but there are still some hidden gems in this historic locale’s shops. Just be sure to keep your valuables safe.