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ILFORD Sprite 35mm-II Hands-On Review

Simple, affordable, and so much fun.

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7.5

Reminiscent of times when anticipating the outcome was part of the thrill of snapping photos, the Ilford Sprite 35mm-II is a reloadable film camera that delivers nostalgia even to those newly discovering amateur film photography, with virtually no learning curve or bank-breaking included.

Seriously, if you’re itching to start experimenting with taking pictures a la analog, the Ilford Sprite 35mm-II is a great starter option. Though not feature-rich, in the right conditions, this lil’ thang can capture some pretty inspiring images. Check out our comprehensive review to see what we mean.

Let’s jump right in.

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Photo by Taylor Pendleton.

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Photo by Taylor Pendleton.

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Photo by Taylor Pendleton.

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Photo by Taylor Pendleton.

To Know:

The Ilford Sprite 35mm-II is made primarily from a sturdy ABS plastic (the same material used to build Legos, so you know it’s solid) and features only one button. It’s so simple a small child can use it, but, in the right hands, it’s capable of helping you create unforgettable memories that are ready for pickup or delivery in a few hours to days.

What We Love:

I love the camera’s appeal to a wide-ranging audience -- the beginners, the curious, the nostalgic, the collectors, and the just plain thrifty.

So Simple

Fully automatic and equipped with only a single button, right out of the box, the Ilford Sprite 35mm-II is easier to use than your iPhone’s built-in camera. This camera feels like an actual toy in your hands. It’s lighter than your iPhone, so you can toss it in a jacket pocket or one of our fan-favorite Fanny Slings and hop out the door.

So Affordable

The Sprite II spares your purse, costing just under a cool (lukewarm?) $35. It’s a super affordable way to get into analog photography right now.

So Much Fun

Though film cameras don’t lend themselves to instant gratification, the Ilford Sprite's retro minimalism, toy-like feel & function, and adrenaline-inducing feeling of anticipation create a different kind of “gratification” that more than makes up for the loss of the “instant” -- at least for me.

The Details:

Brand: ILFORD
Price: $34.95
Product Type: Film Camera
Best For: Shutterbugs who want to get acquainted with analog photography for kicks. Great for vacations, parties, and well-lit scenarios that don’t require a professional touch or equipment. We don't discriminate against professionals who want to break some rules, though.

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Ilford

ILFORD SPRITE 35-II Camera

Dip your toes into film photography with the Ilford Sprite 35-II! A fun and affordable way to start experimenting with 35mm film

Buy for $34.95
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Photo by Taylor Pendleton.

Let The Good Times Roll (in black & white or color)

Taylor hits the nail right on the head in her review video. At first (or even second) glance, the Ilford Sprite 35mm-II doesn’t seem quite impressive, and that’s because it’s not. Not in the traditional sense anyway.

Like other analog cameras, the Sprite 35-II impresses for different reasons. Reasons tied closer to the heartstrings. From the way you initially load it with your choice of film stock, the way you shoot without worrying about anything besides the subjects in front of you, to the authenticity of needing to wait to get your scans back before you can review what you created. Even its old-school aesthetic -- like the seemingly intentional grainy shots -- creates a feeling you can't replicate in professional cameras.

There are no technical barriers, no settings to mess with, nothing to distract you from what you're doing, and nothing to disguise (or make up for) any weaknesses, creatively speaking.

What do I mean here? Well, as the world around us becomes faster, more digital, and more automated, so do the methods we use to record it. We creatives tend to rely on technology, features, settings, lenses, etc. That’s certainly not a bad thing -- it’s tough to beat the awe-inspiring renderings of sick 4k drone footage. But I digress. The point is that the Ilford Sprite 35mm-II brings a certain frankness or realness with it, and we love that too.

The minimalist design frees your mind to focus on the organic side of photography, the creative side, the intentional side, the here and now -- which, in part, is precisely why the Sprite II is so much fun for beginners & casuals.

Its fixed shutter speed and single element f9 fixed-focus wide-angle lens make the 35 II the perfect companion for capturing memories in well-lit scenes -- think 2021 summer beach trip vibes. Imagine you’re on the road, trekking cross country, and you’re coming up on a brilliantly illuminated landmark as the clock hits noon. That’s a perfect opportunity to whip out your Sprite II and instantly capture the Moment. Shooting in the dark? All good, you have the option to flip on the flash and snag nighttime shots that feel equally transcendent. My only regret is that this camera wasn't available during my last road trip out west. Reminiscing California’s magnificent landscape would hit very differently if I had a deck of pictures from the Sprite II to shuffle through. Don’t miss the opportunity.

One of our favorite features of the Ilford Sprite 35mm-II is its environmental impact -- or lack thereof. The camera blends what we love about film photography while erasing its biggest drawback, the waste that tossing disposable cameras creates. You can reload this camera with your favorite 35-mm film, black & white or color negative, and let the good times keep on rolling time after time.

Learn how to get the most out of your new Ilford Sprite 35mm-II Camera, as well as the ins and outs of the film photography game in our Beginner’s Master Guide to Film Photography -- totally actionable and totally free!

Best Features:

  • Easy as heck to use with only one button, fully automatic and fixed settings, and WYSIWYG style of shooting.

  • Effortless to carry at an ultra-lightweight 122 grams. Take the Sprite II anywhere you want to snag new old-school analog photos.

  • A fixed shutter speed and single element f9 fixed-focus wide-angle lens that’s perfect for daytime photography.

  • Features a manual film advance winding lever that moves through each exposure & rewinds the roll when finished.

  • Compatible with various 35mm film stocks to ensure you can create the exact look or emotions you expect to get from film.

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Photo by Taylor Pendleton.

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Photo by Taylor Pendleton.

What We Rate

Skill Level

Just getting started Understands manual settings Shoots regularly Professional

Photo Quality

Passable Pretty Good Really good Best Out There

Low Light

Very noisy. Average Clean Crisp and Clean

Battery Life

Sucks Not Bad Good Really Good

In Detail

The Sprite II is fully automatic and minimalist to the core. It features a fixed shutter speed of 1/120th of a second, a 31mm lens, and an aperture of f9 -- making it ideal for shooting during perfectly illuminated daylight hours. As previously mentioned, if you’re a night owl, the film camera does have a built-in flash with a 15-second recycle time -- although that varies during real-world use. And you don’t need batteries for regular operation, but you will need one single AAA battery to use that flash. To get the best exposure, especially during less than ideal conditions, you’ll want to use 800-speed film VS 400-speed film.

What It Has:

  • 35mm Reusable Film Camera

  • ABS Plastic Construction

  • Wrist strap included

What It Does:

  • Captures Inspiring Analog Images Easily & Affordably

Specs:

  • Focal Length: 31mm

  • Shutter Speed: 1/120 Seconds

  • Maximum Flash Recycle Time: 15 Seconds

  • Film Transport: Manual wind and rewind

  • Film Format: 135 Film (24x36mm) ISO 200 / 400 / 800

  • Minimum Focus Distance: 3.3' / 1 m

  • Minimum Focus Distance: 3.3' / 1 m

  • 1AAA – Alkaline Battery

  • Weight: 122 grams / 4 ounces

  • Dimensions: 4.7 x 2.6 x 1.7" / 119 x 67 x 44 mm

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