My great film adventure began on my birthday in June, 2012, with a Holga 120N and five pack of Ilford HP5 Plus 400.
A month later I’d dipped my toe in 35mm, and for almost five years, this was my predominant photography medium.
But, since the spring of 2017, I haven’t shot a single frame of film. It’s all been digital.
So what happened?
Quite simply, whilst film blew my photography world wide open from my previous experience of a Nikon Coolpix compact, and prior to that, Sony phone cameras, I came to realise that virtually all of the pleasures film photography gave me, were available with digital too.
My main reasons for shooting film, with old film cameras were –
– To enjoy using vintage gear, especially lenses, like Asahi Takumars, and Pentax-M and A series.
– To have more control over my images than I did with the Coolpix and camera phones, by shooting aperture priority mode with 35mm format prime lenses.
– To become as immersed in the experience of photography as I could, so lost in the frame of the viewfinder or screen, that the rest of the world disappears.
– To have a way to capture the beauty I find around me, so I could then share it with others.
– To give me an excuse to wander around the countryside alone more.
Aside from using vintage film bodies, all of the above I can do (and do do) with digital bodies.
Plus with digital cameras, there are other added benefits that just suit me better, such as –
– No ongoing cost, whether I shoot five photos or five hundred photos in a week, it costs me the same, ie next to nothing. Unfortunately, the cost of film photography made it prohibitive for me.
– The immediate feedback means I can try different settings on the fly and see what difference it makes, rather than making copious notes then waiting a week so see the results, and then take the next step, as with film. I just learn better this way, and the knowledge I gain embeds in my memory more deeply.
– Simpler processing. With my favourite digital cameras I can set them up to get images I love in camera, then just download the results to my MacBook ready to share. When I press the shutter button, the creation of the photograph ends.
It avoids the whole scanning dilemma with film (either you relinquish control and rely on someone else’s scanning, or go through the laborious torture that I found home scanning to be).
This post isn’t about film versus digital.
I still feel there are plenty of reasons to shoot film in 2019.
It’s about simply finding which format and set up and approach to photography works best for you, and allows you to enjoy it to the fullest.
For me, that hasn’t involved film for two and a half years, for the reasons above, and I can’t see me returning to film any time soon.
You might feel similarly, or you may currently be elbow deep in film photography and absolutely loving it.
It’s your photography. Do what works for you, do what matters to you. Enjoy!
How about you? What’s your preferred way of enjoying photography right now, and how has it evolved in the last few years?
Please let us know in the comments below (and don’t forget to tick the “Notify me of new comments via email” box to follow the conversation).
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