5 Reasons Digital Photographers Should Try Film


We know our share of picky digital photographers who would never try to film. But we also know many other people who find working with film to be the most enjoyable and rewarding form of photography. Additionally, shooting on film hones skills that are transferable to digital. With that in mind, here are five good reasons to pick up an analog camera and start shooting.

Main image by Ren Rebadomia

1. Cinematic strengths focus on fundamentals

We see a lot of new photographers who are so enthralled with the high-tech features of their digital cameras that they never fully understand the basics of exposure, which is one of the most basic and fundamental concepts in photography. Instead of developing this important skill, they rely on automation, post-production recovery, or just luck to get a well-executed shot.

With film, there’s no getting away from the importance of exposure – it’s your main tool for taking a good photo. Even with film types that have wide exposure latitude (overexposure or underexposure tolerance), the better the exposure, the better the results. Luckily, analog cameras make it easy to focus on exposure, as shutter speed and aperture are our main controls (and often the only ones we can adjust). When shooting a movie, we Homework sharpen our exposure skills, and it’s knowledge that will serve us just as well in digital photography.

Getty Images

2. The film removes the barriers between you and your support

With digital photography, there is a tortuous path between the scene you see in front of you and the photograph you create. The light that hits the sensor is subjected to a battery of data algorithms that differ from camera to camera, the exact content of which is kept as a state secret. What happens between exposing and writing a file to the card? Only camera engineers can say for sure.

The film removes all these barriers. When you release the shutter, you physically expose silver halide crystals to light. When you develop your film, you directly control the chemical process that creates the visible image, with the ability to modify it as you see fit. There are no barriers and no “secret sauce” between you and the process – you are literally interacting directly with the light-sensitive media, a process that digital photography, for all its computer wizardry, will never be able to mimic. .

3. Film helps you focus on composition

It’s a mistake we’ve all made: we spend a ton of time setting up our digital camera to achieve a specific effect, resulting in a technically perfect shot, but aesthetically a total snoozer. With the multitude of choices offered by today’s digital cameras, it’s easy to become so preoccupied with settings that composition takes a back seat.

With analogue, there are not a plethora of parameters to adjust: once we have chosen and loaded our film, all we have to do is compose, focus, adjust the exposure and shoot. . Composition becomes key, especially since film is a pay-per-click medium – we have a good incentive to really study what’s in the viewfinder and ask ourselves, “Is this picture worth really worth it?”

While we certainly don’t create a masterpiece every time we release the shutter, when shooting with film it often feels like we have more ‘keepers’ – and each one feels a lot smoother.

A film camera with various film canisters around it.
August Kelm

4. Film cameras tend to be more affordable

If you’re an enthusiast, it’s easy to spend a small fortune on digital cameras and lenses. These days, even an entry-level rig with a few good quality lenses will set you back at least a thousand dollars, while high-end pro-level bodies sell for $3,000 or more. A good-sized collection of gear can cost as much as a car.

Film cameras, by comparison, are an absolute bargain. Today’s most advanced and feature-rich film cameras are often among the most affordable – we’re talking $100 or less. Lenses, too, sell for a fraction of their digital counterparts. Even some high-end film cameras, including Leicas and Hasselblads, are reasonably priced compared to their high-end digital counterparts. For many film photographers, using different equipment is part of the fun, and for the price of just one digital camera, you can acquire an armada of film equipment. (And if you think running your cameras is too expensive, think again.)

5. Cinema can be more difficult

The goal of the photography industry has always been to bridge the gap between the skill of the photographer and the quality of the results they can achieve, and digital photography (along with computing) is its greatest triumph. We’re not saying that digital photography is easy, or rather, that good digital photography is easy, but digital photography, in many ways, requires less skill to get high quality photos.

Analog shooting, on the other hand, requires a finer set of skills. Even highly automated film cameras use (relatively) unsophisticated meters that are easily fooled, forcing photographers to be more aware of the light around them and what exposure settings to use. The simple act of manually focusing a camera presents a challenge that many digital photographers have not experienced. And film offers far fewer opportunities than digital to correct post-production mistakes.

Taking good film photographs requires developing and honing your photography skills, which we find to be an enjoyable challenge compared to the point-shoot-and-peep process of digital photography.

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