In the last few years, we are witnessing an increase of interest in film photography. Hundreds of new blogs were open to discuss this subject, some of them also with a decent following, and there is an army of young photographers, grown up in the digital era, for whom taking pictures the old way is far more attractive than its electronic correspondent.
Furthermore, you probably noticed that established artists never moved to digital, especially those using a different format than 35mm. Most of the exhibition I have been recently were not produced using a digital camera (apart from one of iPhone pictures).
If you are a professional photographer, the convenience of being able to process hundreds or thousands of images using a computer is priceless. But if your photography is more an artistic activity, probably you are already considering film photography.
Here is a list of reasons why you should consider to give a try to film photography:
Film photography gear is inexpensive
Go on eBay and type “film camera” in the search box. You’ll find out that a top of the line film camera in the ’90, that used to cost not less than $2500 (a Nikon F4, for example), now can be bought with $200 or less, sometimes with a very decent lens. Same thing for many other brands. Medium format are still a bit expensive if you are looking for an Hasselblad 500C, but anyway far less than 25 years ago. If you like the medium format, there are lots of opportunities to get a cheaper soviet era camera, that would allow you to use some excellent Zeiss lens on budget.
Film photography make you shoot less (and think more)
Cameras are cheap, but you have to buy the rolls, and then develop them, paying. This means you can’t waste money just shooting everything you see. You need to carefully choose your subjects, decide the composition, carefully evaluate your deep of field, where to focus and correctly calculate the exposure. At the end of the day you’ll end up with fewer shots, compared to what you are used to with digital, but also the number of shots you’ll trash will decrease drastically.
Film photography helps you improve your skills
As a direct consequence of the previous point, your photographic skills will grow up faster. You’ll learn soon how your camera works, how to evaluate the light and how to manage to be in the right place to take your picture. After a while you will be able to setup your shot in a few seconds, even of you are using a fully manual camera. Your digital shots will benefit from all this as well.
Film photography makes slow you down
Film photography require time, even if you decide to develop and print your pictures at home, that’s not fast as to put the memory card in the computer and see the pictures. If photography is not your job, probably this won’t be a big issue. Yes, you won’t be able to publish all your pictures on your social network immediately, but you know that only the best ones will see the light.
Film photography forces you print your photographs
Well this is a really good point. If you shoot digital, you probably have thousands of image files on your hard drive. Now ask yourself how many of them did you print? if you are like me, the number is quiet low, in many cases is just zero. We know that we can print our pictures when we want, and we never do it, even because once we see the picture on the screen, Its cycle is over. In film photography, to close the loop you must print your pictures, and this could be a great satisfaction and reward.
Film photography is not replicable
You can use all the Instagram filters you want but you’ll never be able to fake a digital picture for a silver print one. The color rendering is different, the grain on the Black and White is different, the whites are creamy in a special way. Even using a professional printer, the paper on the touch is different. Furthermore, the life of a digital print is significantly shorter, unless you print all your pictures using a pigment ink printer and an expensive museum grade archive paper.
Not convinced yet? Here’s a brief list of urls you can use to get some information more about film cameras, photographic processing and printing:
What’s your reasons to shot Film rather than digital? Let us know using the comment form below.