Okay. Guilty. Obviously, I’m fascinated with analog photography. Anything film related makes me giddy. And if it’s black and white? Game over. Obsession is probably an understatement. But, I do want to outline some differences between digital and film photography. Don’t get me wrong. Digital photography is awesome too. I own a DSLR digital camera, but I will admit that I use it exponentially less than I do my film cameras and my iPhone 4S. So, let’s get right to it. I thought it would only be appropriate to give you guys 7 reasons on my 7th post.
- Film is a novelty.
It’s pretty rare you’ll bump into the average human nowadays and see them equipped with any sort of film camera. So, if you want to be a hipster, this is a good way to get started. Pick up film photography as one of your hobbies. People at parties will love you and think you are totally interesting. (But hopefully you go back to film not to be a hipster – although there’s nothing wrong with hipsters – but because the process of film is something you’d like to explore. Trust me. It’s worth a look.)
- Film can’t really be tampered with in the same sense that digital photography can.
Of course, there is film manipulation, such as placing a negative on top of a negative, double exposures, etc – but you can’t actually add a person that wasn’t originally in the image into your photograph, like you can with photoshop. You have be able to work with your environment, consequently, making you more in touch with your surroundings and subject.
- You can double expose films, which is something that digital photography simply cannot do.
Unless of course, you use photoshop.
- Film photography produces a first-generation image
in that it is a direct representation of direct light which actually enters the camera, unlike a digital camera. This means that film has a very dynamic range. It’s ability to retain detail in highlights and shadows is greater.
- These days, even really high end film cameras may be less expensive than most mid-range DSLRS
(which may become obsolete within a year), so you could end up saving some skrills while you’re at it and not be that person who owns that lame model camera that was so last year. Rather, you’ll own a really outdated camera and be cool with it. Totally vintage.
- Film takes the cake in the resolution contest between digital and film.
That means film is generally more forgiving of subtle focusing issues. If you want to make a mammoth print, especially landscapes, you’d be better off with film.
- Lastly, while this is purely subjective, many artists and photographers believe that film is a more authentic form of photography.
However, the same line of thinking was prominent in the very early days of photography in the nineteenth century, when painters complained that photography was lacking in creativity. But we all know that you can be infinitely creative with photography now. So there, 19th century painters. Take that. Photography is right there next to paintings now in museums. Bet ya didn’t see that one comin’.
Although many deem film as “too much work” and “too time consuming,” to me – the darkroom is a peaceful spot. It’s my happy place. I find solace in the darkroom. I can’t tell you how rewarding and remarkable it feels to watch an image develop on paper in the darkroom. It’s like rebirth of a moment you never thought you could have again. I highly recommend taking a moment out of your high-tech life and giving this film photography business a shot. It’s too much fun not to try.
Products you can get started with that won’t cost you an arm and a leg:
- Lomography camera Diana F+ Medium format – right now it’s only $39.95 on Amazon. Much cheaper than any digital camera out there. Keep in mind, this model does require medium format film.
- Lomography camera Diana mini -35mm camera – right now only $49.95 on Amazon. This model uses the regular form of film that you can find in any drugstore. This is also what I currently use, and I can tell you, although it looks like a plastic toy, the pictures come out amazing.
- Lomography 400 ASA 36 exp 35mm color film pack – is only $9.99 on Amazon for a pack of three rolls of film with 36 exposures on each.
- Ilford HP5 Plus Black and White Print Film 35mm ISO 400 – is only $7.99 on Amazon. Anything you shoot using this film comes out in black and white and also has 36 exposures on each roll.
- Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 Instant Film Camera – is $59.99 on Amazon. This mirrors a polaroid camera, the only difference is, it does not use actual polaroid film. It uses Fujifilm Instant Film. I also own this model, and I have loved every picture that’s come out of this camera.
- Fujifilm mini Twin pack Instant Film – is $16.00 on Amazon. With high-speed 800 ISO, it takes vivid pictures and gives your polaroids a retro feel.
So, here’s my two cents on why you should give film photography a try. Just try it out. Experiment. Play with it. Film is not dead people. Let’s bring it back!
Tiffany C. is an avid amateur lomographist on a learning journey. Follow & join her adventures here, and tell her about yours! Send your lomography (or any, for that matter) shots to firstname.lastname@example.org
Related articles: More reasons to go back to film!
- Michael Zhang: Kodak and Lomography Partner Up, Vow to Keep Film Photography Alive (petapixel.com)
- Time for some good news! (franceonfilm.com)