Monday, 15 May 2017

Go film, because it's cool?

Back in the days I was a little film shooter. But nowadays I love the convenience of digital photography without waiting for lab results etc. But why going just into one direction? I don't think that film is outdated. It is a completely different medium with it's own characteristics and pros and cons and if you start with medium format you can achieve superb results without paying ten to thirty grand for a digital medium format system. Just buy a TLR or a Pentax 67 and start medium!

 I recently bought a Yashica Mat 124 6x6 camera to start with medium format. I've tried out some films and I am still waiting for the results back from the lab. I always wanted to own a TLR because I love the way you shot with it. It is a full manual way of shooting. Everything needs to be set by you. The square format is a different way of looking at a scene and you need to be careful to hold the camera right to get everything straight the way you want it. It slows you a bit down and makes you think different. A digital camera comes with thousands of settings and some heavy IQ behind the scenes (what is great). A manual camera is reduced to the image taking process with nothing in between, except the the shutter. That helps me to get over my laziness of shooting with AUTO-ISO and aperture priority.

Ricoh 500GX with AGFA 200 Color film (don't know with one it was)
And the best thing about film photography is the value you get with your camera. My Yashica is more than fourty years old and it still works like a charm and your can repair it if you are skilled a bit in mechanics. But the best thing is the film-medium. Imagine you could upgrade your sensor on your digital camera. Can you? No way! But film has moved on. Look at the near grain-less Portra 160 or Ektar 100 today and how they handle over-exposure up to four levels. And film is more forgivable. You can go out with the "Sunny 16" rule and get great results back from the lab. And don't forget that each film has it's own fingerprint with a certain look and feel when you look at the results.

And my favorite is?

I can't really compare the two mediums. At the end the result is more important and it doesn't make any difference if you take a photo with your iPhone, a TLR or a digital full format camera. But each medium has it's own distinctive smell and look. The process of taking the image could also be important for the results. May you need to be stealth and want some high quality or you want to squeeze every bit of detail out of the scene. Film is not dying. It is still an option in the photographic world to work with. Nothing more.

What I love about film

After a longer break from film I can say this about working with it again:

  • more accuracy - I am limited in frames and it costs me money for every roll of film
  • exposure - I care more about the light and the right settings on the camera
  • playtime - the surprise factor of waiting for the results and that physical touch when you play with the many sorts of film
  • awareness - there are no EXIF data stored inside the camera so you have to take notes etc.
  • fun - because you can buy tons of used gear out there to do crazy thing without buying a equivalent to a sports car

But people say it's a fad!

Don't believe what other people say about hipsters and all the retro stuff and make your own experiences. Don't let others spoil the whole thing before it has started. Grab a camera and put a roll of film in it. Go out and take photos the way your want to take them. There are so many different ways to capture light. Try them out and widen your horizon!



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