Film is still available!!!

I was at Moontree 47 the other day having coffee with a friend when this gentleman showed up, took a look at my Canon A-1 SLR & said, “Wow! You’re old school!” Don’t you feel like a dinosaur when photographers around you never used film cameras before? What’s even scarier is when someone who is around your age group asks you to help him or her load some 35mm film onto their camera! Has it really been that long ago or am I really going the way of the dodo?

For some folks, the act of shooting using a film SLR or medium format camera may seem a tad snobbish. Perhaps they think that we people who shoot with film are in an era long forgotten; where gentlemen wore top hats & spoke Queen’s English while sipping Earl Grey!

When I go about street shooting with a 35mm camera, I still get odd stares from people as if I’ve got fungus growing on my head! Flashing question marks on their foreheads when they ask, “They still sell film for those?” or “You can still get film developed?” This really cracks me up & if I had a penny for each time someone asks me that, I’d be filthy rich!

With state of the art modern DSLRs like the Canon EOS 7D with 8 frames per second continuous burst modes you can very much shoot movies even if the camera didn’t have a movie mode! Large compact flash memory cards & the auto modes make it possible that you don’t need to think nowadays to do photography.

With only 36 frames on a 35mm film camera or worse, 10-16 frames on a medium format camera without anyway to preview what you just snapped… you learn to be much more careful with what you shoot & whether the shot is even worth taking ! It forces you to think & compose each frame with care… Check your settings & rechecking them to make sure. Well for good reason, it costs money to buy each roll of film & get them developed, scanned or printed. Even if you developed your own film, the roll isn’t going to magically recycle itself so you pretty much have to stock film in your cabinet.

What’s really interesting since I started shooting film again is that my years shooting digital helped me “transition” to 35mm film much easier. Back when I shot 35mm, I had a lot of problems due to my inexperience in photography & my poor understanding of light. The good thing about digital cameras is that they make the learning curve for photography much quicker. My experience made it easier for me to shoot in full manual on my Canon A-1 & AE-1.

What is even more interesting is that since shooting film, my digital camera skills improved because nowadays I don’t just trash the shutter button on my Canon 7D just as much as before.  Shooting film actually made me appreciate what hardship photographers go through in the past & made me think before I take any photo now. So digital made me shoot well on film while shooting film made me better on a digital camera!

Well for whatever reason don’t just hear this from me. Go give it a try & see. While it’s still available try it because Ilfords are awesome. Try it because when you pop open the film canister or remove a roll of 120’s from its wrapper, it smells good! Try it so that you can tell your children’s grandchildren that you shot with film before…. Try so you can tell people who never used film before what it’s like & then get them to try it!


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