10 Reasons I Switched From Digital To Film Photography

10 Reasons I Switched From Digital To Film

Photo © Karl Edwards – Leica M6 / Porta 400

It’s been a long time coming but I’ve finally made the switch back to film photography. Digital is very promising with a bright future but in the end I was won over by the little light-tight cartidges packed with 64.5 inches of silver halides waiting to be kissed by the light. Hit the jump to read the top 10 reasons I made the switch!

10 Reasons I Switched From Digital To Film Photography And Will Only Shoot Film Forever And Ever Until The Day I Die

10 Reasons I Switched From Digital To Film

Before I get into the reasons I switched I suppose I should say that I’m shooting Ilford HP5+ this time around. I’ve gotten great results with Portra 400 in the past but I made the decision to shoot black and white because I love the way it looks plus it’s easy to process and handle at home. With this in mind, I narrowed my choices down to Tri-X and HP5+.

I went with HP5+ because it’s considerably cheaper than Tri-X if you buy it in bulk – $54.90 / 100 feet vs. $84.95 for Tri-X. You can get about 18-20 rolls of 36 exposures out of 100 feet of bulk film so the price of HP5+ comes in at just over $3 a roll!

Decided on my film so I’m ready to roll. Literally!

1 – I Already Know How Film Works

10 Reasons I Swithed To Film From Digital

I studied photography as my major in university, graduating in 1990 with a Bachelor of Applied Arts, Photographic Arts degree from Ryerson University in Toronto Canada. That’s quite a mouthful but it does mean that I learned how to take pictures when there was only film photography. Heck, that’s 5 years before most people had even heard of the internet!

However you look at it, I spent 4 years studying how to get the most out of film and I’ve already developed thousands of rolls of film in my life. A few more won’t kill me!

2 – Street Photography Has A Long Tradition Of Shooting With Film

Photo © Gary Winogrand

Photo © Gary Winogrand

Think of the canon of street photographers, the names etched into the mind of every street photographer, and they shot film. From Bresson to Winogrand, Robert Frank to Trent Parke, film is the basis of their work. The way film sees the world is unique and by shooting film now I’m paying homage to those who came before me. A tip of my hat to the millions of frames taken before I picked up my first camera as a boy.

Matt Stuart put it best when he said:

I’m working in a tradition where film was the norm. I like to be a part of that and respect what has gone before. I really enjoy the process of working with film, the tangibility of it, the uninterrupted analogue experience of spending time in the viewfinder, and the relationship between me and the negative at the light box stage.

What he said.

3 – Shoot Less, Think More

10 Reasons I Switched From Digital To Film

Photo © Karl Edwards – Leica M6 / Tri-X

You always hear people say shooting with film means you’ll shoot less and this will make you a better photographer. But that sounds like a bunch of counter-intuitive hogwash! How can doing anything less make you better at that thing??

Let me tell you how. Film photography puts a practical limit on the amount of shots you have available to you at any given time. Usuall 24 or 36 exposures in a 35mm camera. This means you’re conscious of your shots as you’re taking them and this encourages to pay attention to making photographs rather than simply exposing frames.

I remember shooting the Pillow Fight Toronto 2015 with my Leica M 240. It’s a huge event when hundreds of people gathered for a gigantic free-for-all pillow fight. I jumped in the crowd and started snapping away. Blindly shooting through and around people while 9 year old kids socked me in the head with their surprisingly hard pillows. I exposed nearly 600 frames that day and got exactly zero images I liked. ZERO.

I wasn’t making photographs, I was exposing frames.

This isn’t to say I’m always going to create amazing photos when I’m shooting film. But it definitely helps put me in the right frame of mind to create photos. And that’s never a bad thing.

4 – Film Is Tangible And Real

10 Reasons I Switched From Digital To Film

I backed up my digital photos in triplicate and kept 2 of the backups off site in different locations. No way I was ever going to lose a photo because I wasn’t prepared! But the reality is that we have no idea if the file formats we use today will be around in 100 years. Where would we be if Vivian Maier had a storage locker filled with Zip Drives? I’ve seen Storage Wars, those things would have been tossed in the trash first thing!

Film, for me, is tangible and real. You can pick it up and hold it. And I like the idea that the silver halides in the film’s emulsion are physically altered when exposed to light. It’s almost like the light that reflects off your subject passes through the lens and kisses the film to create the image. Giving the negative a direct connection subject that modern digital sensors do not share. Digital photography is always an interpreation of the data as seen by a computerized system.

Properly washed and stored negatives will last for hundreds of years before deteriorating. Finding a darkroom in the future is another story altogether but I like those odds in terms of archival stability!

5 – Nothing Else Looks Like Film

Photo © Trent Parke / Magnum Photos

Photo © Trent Parke / Magnum Photos

No post production filter can duplicate the look of film. Sure, some might come close but nothing matches the organic gradation of tones produced by an actual negative. Grain simulation in Lightroom always looks like noise. Grain looks like grain beacuse it’s organic and it’s beautiful!

Film highlights have their own unique look. In the above shot, Trent Parke exposed for the shadows and blows out the highlights. The overexposed old man becomes almost ethereal as he glows white in center the frame. A digital version of this shot would clip and look like a mistake, but film’s gentle halation creates the dreamlike quality that makes the shot successful.

6 – The Leica MP

10 Reasons I Switched From Digital To Film - The Leica MP

The Leica MP is an all mechanical rangefinder camera that uses a clockwork mechanism to fire the shutter. It can be operated entirely without batteries (with the exeption of the light meter). It’s always on and ready to shoot when you are. And it’s freaking beautiful.

Leica film cameras tend to hold their value over time as people know they last forever. They’re designed to be servicable rather than replaced. This means that they might need a tune-up every 5 years or so but a C.L.A. is much cheaper than buying a new camera. If you think of photography as a marriage rather than a first date then the Leica MP is the trophy wife of cameras!

7 – Film is Forgiving

10 Reasons I Switched From Digital To Film

Photo © Karl Edwards – Leica M6 / Tri-X

Film typically has more lattitude than current digital sensors. This means if you overexpose your negatives by a stop or more you’ve still got the ability to pull detail out of those highlights. There’s very little room for error with digital sensors. Once a pixel is white there’s zero detail left to recover.

Dan K. talks about this in his excellent article on JapanCameraHunter.com called Film For Digital Photographers:

In practice, having lots of exposure latitude means you don’t need to be spot on with your exposure. As you over-expose, you will lose highlight detail. Conversely, as you under-expose, you may start to lose shadow detail. It’s best to get it right, but when I am working with high-latitude print film in a meterless camera, I tend to err on the side of over-exposure and give an extra stop of exposure for good measure. This is Old timers would say “Expose for the shadows”.

In fact, you are supposed to be using something called “The Zone System” to balance shadows and highlights. Read up on it if you want to learn more. As a general rule of thumb, if the scene has a high dynamic range and your key subject is not the brightest part of the image, then expose to keep shadow detail. Let the emulsion’s greater over-exposure latitude handle the tricky highlights. This is the opposite of the way you’d do it with a digital camera, where you might try to avoid blowing out the highlights. Try it and once you have the hang of it, it will make a lot of sense.

8 – You Can’t Chimp Film

10 Reasons I Switched From Digital To Film - No Chimping

When you shoot film, you can’t see your images right away and that’s a good thing. Some people might panic a the uncertainty of not knowing if they got the shot. But film forces you to trust in your abilities as a photographer and concentrate on shooting. Forget about the image you just took, it no longer matters. All that matters is the next shot and you have to have your eyes on the street to see it coming.

You can try and chimp your film, but if you open the back of your camera you’re going to ruin it. Had to be said.

9 – The Megapixel Race Ends Here

10 Reasons I Switched From Digital To Film

Photo © Bellamy Hunt / JapanCameraHunter.com

Depending what film you’re using, the megapixels equivelant of 35mm film is around 25 megapixels. That’s just slightly more than my Leica M 240 but the Sony A7R has a 35 megapixel sensor and the newly announced Canon 5DS comes in at 50 megapixels. Clearly digital has bested film for resolution.

But one of the great things about shooting film is that you can stop worrying about the gear. Stop worrying about the next sensor being better than the one in your camera. With film, the camera automatically becomes secondary to the experience of shooting – just load your film and go.

My friend Eric Kim summed this up on his blog:

With digital cameras they get outdated in around 2-3 years. Sure you can keep using the camera you have, but you will always be tempted by the newest and greatest. The newer cameras will always have more features, better ISO-performance, better image-quality, and new designs.

I fall victim to G.A.S. like everyone out there- and I hate it. I don’t want to make excuses for my photographs not being good enough because I don’t have the right camera or lens. Now with my film Leica and 35mm f/2 Summicron ASPH– I have no excuses. It is a kit I can theoretically use for the rest of my life. It will never get outdated (as it already is!) Imagine having a 1960’s Mustang vs a brand new BMW. The 1960’s Mustang will always have a nice appeal, whereas you constantly are pressured to buying the newest BMW.

Of course, if you have the will of 10 men, you can avoid the trappings of G.A.S. and live happily every after with the digital camera you have. But I only have the will of 8 men so I need all the help I can get!

10 – All The Cool Kids Are Doing It

10 Reasons I Switched From Digital To Film

There’s a vibrant and growing community of film shooters online and there’s no sign of this movement going away any time soon. If you’re on the street shooting film and and another analog shooter comes along you can be sure they’ll nod hello or even stop for a friendly conversation. We gotta stick together!

From beginners guides to databases of developing times for every film / developer combination, film shooting is alive and well on the internet. Here’s a few links to get you going:

I Still Shoot Film.
Film Photography Project.
An Intro To Shooting Street Photography With Film.
The Massive Dev Chart.
The Online Darkroom.

And here are some film specific Flickr groups:

Street Photography (Film Only).
35mm Film Street Photography.
I Shoot Film.
I Shoot Kodak Film.
Film Is Awesome!
TriX Lovers.
Ilford HP5 Plus.
M6 And MP Leica.

StreetShootr’s Take

The funny thing is that I had been shooting film for decades before the advent of digital photography. The speed and ease of image making with digital almost made me forget what I liked about photography in the first place. I actually enjoy the technical side of photography in addition to the creative vision required to make beautiful images.

But we live in a world of digital distribution so after going to the trouble of shooting film and developing it myself I’m still scanning my negatives and using Lightroom to get them ready for output. I supposed I could make like Junku Nishimura or Blake Andrews and print everything on silver gelatin paper then scan the prints to show them online. It’s one step closer to true analog but it seems that everything still becomes digital at some point.

See Also: 10 Reasons I Switched From Film Back To Digital Photography

What’s your take on my decision to switch from digital to film photography? Too much of a pain in the ass to be feasible for most photographers? Or the future disguised as the past? Post your ideas in the comments below and keep the conversation going!

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  • Vernon Szalacha

    Great article Karl. As someone who considered film or digital, I ended up siding with digital. Picking up the Fuji x100S as the only camera I own.

    I think the future, at least the way I want it, is going to be bridging the gap between the beauty that we get from film and the efficiency of digital. I praise companies like VSCO and Fujifilm for trying to create “film looks” for digital shooters. Imagine a Leica in a few years which has JPEG photos that are nearly indistinguishable from Portra, Velvia, Kodachrome or classic Tri-X. Still allowing you to edit in Lightroom. This would be the best of both worlds.

    Keep up the good work.

    • “Film looks” are merely cosmetic imitation. They totally lose the whole point that film captures light logarithmically but digital is algorithmic. There is a whole change in perspective and approach to the image due to the physical nature of film which is lost in just dressing digital up like film. Faking film with digital will also always only be just that, fake.

    • VeloRydr

      Some folks like writing letters by electronic mail. Some like to write with a mechanical type writer and send it through the post office. The recipient will get the same message, but the process is entirely different. You might be able to print the letter with your inkjet a thousand times, but the typewriter written letter will be unique every time.

  • robert

    I’m not quite making the jump. I’m with Vernon below, I shoot an X100T and use certain film sims and that’s good enough for me. I’m not sure I have the patience to hit the shutter and wait a week and a half to find out that I left the lens cap on! :)

    I’ve thought so many times about buying a cheapie film rangefinder and giving it a go…so many times, but I just can’t bring myself to it.

    The thought of giving someone $12.00 everytime I hit the shutter button 24 or 36 times just doesn’t appeal to me at this point.

    But..having said that, good article and I enjoyed reading your thoughts!

    • Lance King

      Shooting film can be much cheaper than $12 per roll. Many decent re-branded black & white films cost around $3-4 per roll from places like Freestyle Photo. For slower films, like ISO 100 and below, you can stand develop in Rodinal. My actual cost per stand developed roll is less than 10 cents. It’s cheap and easy to process your own.

      • You’re right, there are many cheaper options especially if you consider black and white. As I said in the article, HP5+ comes in at just over $3 if you bulk load it.

        Robert didn’t say what film he was referring to but I can say Portra 400 plus processing comes in at around $12. And in Canada Portra is $12 a roll BEFORE processing. A lot of people shoot film specifically to shoot Portra so it’s worth considering.

        If you don’t care what film you shoot (and there’s a lot of shooters that experiment with all kinds of films) you can shoot for less… no doubt about it.

        • VeloRydr

          35mm film developed/scanned at a pro lab + the cost of film is currently around one US dollar per shot. Using a cheap lab will get you inconsistent results (dust/scratches/poor scans). You can offset the cost by doing things yourself, but it will cost you more personal time. For most folks, opportunity cost is much too high. As far as hobby’s go, $36-$100 dollars a month on photography (1-3 rolls), might be manageable. If you don’t want the analog cost, go digital.

      • robert

        Lance, oh how ive changed since i wrote this!

        I’ve gone full film mode.

        M6 + 35mm summarit and developing at home. :)

        Im hooked, and now i understand what magic it is to shoot film.

        • KiAAA

          Over at 35mmc.com, they’re looking for stories like your’s.

  • Andras Ikladi

    A few things:

    You switched to film for good 2 days after dissing it in the Eric Kim interview.
    Who cares but Hallelujah bro!

    You also mentioned that you want to get away from being the petapixel of street. How about some real, personal, thoughtful content then? Are you going to put in the work or this is just a financial venture with no heart?

    There is a need for better photography content.

  • John Lockwood

    Find yourself a Pakon F135 Plus scanner if you intend to process 35mm at home. The unit scans whole strips of film in minutes with no holder.

    • Man that scanner is so sweet!

      • John Lockwood

        Thanks for hooking up Eric Kim with the Yellow filter. We gotta teach these kids about film :-)

  • Shannon Atkinson

    Excellent article Karl… and perfect timing. I purchased an M6 last week and a bunch of HP5+. It’s the first non digital camera I’ve owned in about 8 years. I started in the film days and it’s been great getting back to what I started with.

    Question… what are you using to scan your negatives?

  • Balivernes

    Nice article, thanks. Agree with all, but the dream crumbles for me at the end of the process. I never had the space required for a darkroom. That means I have never been able to print at home. Lab printing is expensive and often frustrating (dust, poor decisions on paper grade, exposure, etc). Almost all labs scan to print. Very few still have a fully analogue workflow. So, the end product (the print), usually remains the result of a computer reading. Same at home, where, without darkroom infrastructure, scanning is tributary to quirky hardware and software based decisions. Very rare to generate “RAW” files that behave as flexibly as equivalent files from digital cameras. Then, printing is done on ink jets, yet another digitally driven process.

    It really is that tail end that ruins it. Unless you have access to a nicely set up darkroom.

    • I think a lot of people fall into this either or way of looking at things. Digital and film can live and work side by side. For decades digital imaging was there to support film. Photoshop was invented to work film images. It’s been quite some time since any pro shooter’s workflow was 100% non-electronic. I, like most film shooters, am not anti-electronic. I digitize my work as I prefer that workflow and all digital editing and copying has to offer, then I print back to silver gelatin. I get the benefits of both worlds. There is no need to be pardon the pun, black and white about how you shoot!

  • Mikael Siirilä

    I was scanning film for a few years after my switch. But I started to hate the endless fight against dust (bw), the inconsistent results and the very idea, that I had gone analog but still found myself staring at pixels. I thought i could not setup a darkroom or rent one and felt desperate.

    Now, a couple of years later I am making 30x40cm prints in my small 3+ square meter bathroom and there is no going back. There is no extra space but with some creative ideas it works perfectly! With some childhood experience and years of developing films at home I feel very comfortable with the process. The very first photo I printed did not have a single spec of dust and looked needle-sharp from edge to edge. I was super impressed.

    A word of warning though, the darkroom can induce even greater GAS than cameras, but in general, even the best equipment from the past are now (still) very inexpensive. I am using a Leitz Focomat 1C from the 50s and a more modern Rodenstock APO Rodagon lens. This enlarger has exactly the same “mechanical perfection” feel to it as my M. And like with the M6 I am using an older camera with modern lens for best results. The expensive darkroom gear have to do with treating the wet prints: an archival print washer, drying screens and a hot press are big and heavy and will take even more creativity to work at home. But the results will make it worth while.


    • Mikael Siirilä

      So tangible.

  • I never quit film photography, rather I used digital as a “polaroid test” before shooting in film.
    I hope that more people turning back to film photography will mean more film availability.

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  • Matt

    Great article. Thank you.

  • Benjamin Lehman

    Great article, but there’s no way I would ever switch from digital to chemical photography. Digital is honestly better in every way – every. single. way. Whatever argument anyone may have in favor of chemical photography, it will still always be trumped by digital.

    • When you describe, or even worse, SEE things only in a linear “better or worse” fashion, you are bound to miss quite a bit.

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  • As someone immersed in the film business for the last 8 years of my life, I believe I have heard every argument in this ongoing Film vs. Digital conversation.

    I love articles like this one (and this is a particularly great one) that point to very clear and sober reasons to use film. I agree with every single point made in this article and I’ve made all of these points myself, over the years in everything from casual conversations to speaking engagements.

    However, after all these years of back-and-forth, I’m ready for the debate to end and for all photographers to accept that what we have today is the biggest and broadest list of choices that has ever existed. You can make wet plates on 150 year-old cameras and lenses, or produce RAW files of unparalleled clarity at 32000 ISO using the best lenses a computer has ever produced on the latest DSLR. And there are many more options in between these two extremes.

    For the masses, digital has won, of course. Digital photography has enabled billions of photographs to be made that simply would never have been made on film. And although the masses seem to love the process of taking digital pictures, the data shows that the vast majority of these photographs are never seen again, never printed, never shared – and inside a decade or so, they’re likely to simply vanish for one reason or another. And the ones that are shared are seen by a small group of close friends for about 10 seconds before disappearing from The Feed and becoming the smallest needle in a galaxy-sized haystack. But the masses don’t care about any of this stuff really – and what’s the shelf-life for a selfie anyway?

    If you’re a real photographer, making images costs money – period – and arguments either way are moot. You’re either paying for hardware and software, or you’re paying for film and chemistry.

    In my experience, the one cost that everyone seems to leave out – whether they shoot digital or film – is the TIME involved. Like most people, I have to earn a living, and so every hour of my time has an intrinsic value. Sorting through 1000 frames in Lightroom takes time, as does self-developing your hand-rolls, or waiting, waiting, waiting for just the right shot. In nearly every argument I’ve ever heard, If you value your time at all – the costs are roughly equal.

    For me, all of the time we spend trying to convince the other side of the perfection and “inexpensiveness” of our chosen format is time that would be better spent becoming better photographers.

    There are entrenched folks on both sides who will never use that “other” medium. OK, but that seems a bit limiting to me and most of the arguments seem to be attempts at justifying a choice that simply doesn’t need to be so definitive.

    I understand that this debate will continue to go on for a few more years. There seems to be some effort on the part of digital shooters to make sure film is never used again by anyone, ever. And I’ve seen plenty of film shooters get pretty nasty about digital users as well. I mean, hell, “chimping” is not meant as a compliment…

    I know this is TL;DR, but I just wish we could put a quiet end to the debate and embrace the simple fact that we all have more choice in how we make photos than ever in history. And if you really care about your photographs, none of it is free.

  • KiAAA

    The digital world is really streamlined. Set everything to “A”. Let the camera choose the shutter speed, the aperture, the ISO setting, and handle the white balance, deal with back lighting, and get the shot in focus. Just point and shoot! So simple even a monkey could do it.

    And that’s why I shoot film.

    • jellyfibs

      I find film to be a challenge in some ways, but also so freeing in others. I might need to carry rolls of film, but my batteries rarely if ever (depending on the camera) die on my film cameras. The film cameras are also so much cheaper than digital, yet still produce such beautiful, unique photos. I’m willing to take a $200 medium format film camera places that I might hesitate with a multi-thousand dollar or more camera that would take similar quality photos.

      People often look at my digital photos and ask how I take so many and yet such a large portion of them are still really good photos. I learned on film and I wanted the exposures to count.

  • agbiotec

    Hey Karl! I saw that video you did with Eric earlier this year where you mentioned you sold the film camera at a loss and went with the M240 due to lack of time…did you buy film camera again !??!

    • Hi agbiotec,

      No, I’m still shooting digital at this point. As time has gone on I’ve gotten a good handle on processing the raw files from teh 240 and i’m getting results that I really like. Time is still an issue for me so I’m going to be digital only for the near future.

  • francois karm

    Sold my M240, bought an MP, M2 and M7…
    Film is cool, but pain also.
    I perfectly understand guys who stay to film or go back to film, but for me, after testing Fuji x100t ,and all films, nothing is as cool as some M240 files on a 27 inch Macintosh….the night after the shooting.
    So sold the old cameras and assume again an other M240.
    Love the old mechanic but it is nostalgia…what I love more is taking pictures….and digital is perfect for that.

  • VeloRydr

    Like that vintage car analogy, I think there’s room for both cars in the garage. When you feel economical, drive the Tesla (digital). When you want old school raw power, drive the ’67 Mustang (analog). Or drive the modern vintage hybrid (analog scanned digital).

    I like shooting with all cameras (dslr, iphone, film, Polaroid, disposable, etc..). But, my end goal is to get the best prints. For digital, inkjet prints are the way to go. For analog, you can choose inkjet or BW silver gelatin.

    Presently, I enjoy shooting, and post processing with Lightroom. But for the future, I’d love to start printing traditional BW silver halide in the darkroom…. True BW enlarged prints can’t be matched by digital, but companies like Digital Silver Imaging might be closing the gap.

    • jellyfibs

      I don’t mean to push things, but I wouldn’t put off the darkroom time too long… it’s sad how many films and other related things keep getting pulled off the market. I love shooting film, but I also start feeling incredibly sad at times to realize how much has been lost already and how long I might still even have it as an option. I’m shooting film while I can.

  • Love me some film!

  • EvilTed

    I shoot both.
    As a street photographer I want something small and discrete.
    I don’t use viewfinders on the street because, like Daido said, once you start lifting a camera to your eye, you are going to be be seen, either by the intended subject or someone else, so it can blow your cover in a particular area.

    For this reason my weapons of choice are the Ricoh GR for digital and Ricoh GR1v for film. They are to all intents and purposes the same camera to shoot.
    Both have snap mode and a 28mm F2.8 lens (although the film camera is FF).

    In San Francisco where I live, we are lucky to have a couple of excellent photo facilities with well stocked dark rooms.

    Rayko Photo Center, which will be ground zero for the forthcoming SFStreet Photo Festival has both a black and white and color lab.
    Harvey Milk Photo Center (of which I’m a member) has a huge darkroom with 35mm to large format enlargers. They have driers, framing tools, and a variety of courses to improve your techniques in the darkroom and in presenting and showing your work.
    It’s really great value and they have a lot of experienced analog shooters and printers on hand to help you.

    I tend to shoot a lot of rolls and save them up and then head to the darkroom.
    At home I have air filters to keep the dust down, anti-static brushes for the negatives and use a Nikon Coolscan 5000 scanner, which is very fast and arguably better than an Imacon for color negatives.

    I mainly shoot Tri-X 400 and Ektar 100 and have my freezer full of film, much to my wife’s annoyance :)

    Colin Johnson


  • Black&White Award

    Dear black and white and film lovers take a look to the contest we are promoting :) http://www.blackandwhiteaward.com
    Thank you and good light to everyone!

  • Good article, even though I came to it a year after it was published. I agree with all the points made, but I do sympathize with some of the comments below stating the manifest advantages of digital. Sympathize, understand – but do not agree in my case. After a decade or so of shooting purely digital, I returned to film two years ago and haven’t stopped. These days I probably shoot film to digital at a 3:1 ratio in favor of film. Why? Because I love the look and frankly it’s a lot more fun to develop a film for scanning and make gelatin silver prints than to tinker in Photoshop. More fun for me because I’m a biochemist by profession and feel completely at ease with chemicals. Others will not feel that affinity and digital will seem a whole lot easier to deal with. Still, it seems clear at this point that although film photography may have migrated into a relatively small niche, it is not going away. That pleases me a lot.

  • dsmithhfx

    All my Bad Photographs are shot on film. ‘Nuff said.


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  • George Anastasopoulos

    Speaking of not having to rely on the power of a battery to operate a camera, that is what I love about film photography; and I mainly prefer a film camera such as the Canon FTb QL SLR camera, which is great! Just as the Leica MP you mentioned above, I was wanted and looked all over, mostly on eBay for such a camera, and other photo equipment such as film and digital lenses; and a film lens to digital camera body adapter. At first I found the Canon AE-1 (1980), but it needed a battery for the shutter to be released. No problem, I communicated with the seller and bought a battery; a Duracell 6 Volt PX28A, which is simply named as 28A .

    I dislike relying on battery-power for most of photography, except for the accessory flash and the exposure meter; since photographic equipment such as these are necessary, in my opinion. However, why have a hand tied behind your back, as a metaphor, for camera-equipment to function? However, with the Canon FTb (n) QL (of 1973 as I’m aware), I don’t need a battery! A battery is necessary only for the built-in through the lens exposure meter, and it took me a bit of time to find the correct battery, and everything worked well. Then after a couple of film rolls the FTb needed repair. The film advance lever stopped operating. Tried to repair the FTb by myself but could not; all I did was clean the inside of the bottom plate, and tighten the nuts underneath the hot shoe. I gave the Canon FTb film camera to an authorized Canon photo repair shop, and it got repaired. Now it works well as it did when I first bought it from eBay. I also have a Canon Rebel XS (2009) that I shoot with.

    However, for mostly black and white photography I use one of my film cameras and lenses, 50mm f/1.4 lens, for taking complete, higher resolution pictures as it captures the real world as I’ve known it from the late 1970s starting in 1976 when I was 15, then into the 1980s when things, and scenes were still captured by film photography. To me it was almost yesterday photography was a bit simpler back then, although I must admit it requires skill and experience. Today we are capturing and working with bits from pixels, instead of silver halite; whereupon the real world has an arrangement of molecules, down to the atoms, and sub-atomic level that are in constant motion! Therefore, when film equipment, namely a film camera, captures a scene from reality it is closer to the real world; the real world as we perceive it, analogous to Nature.

  • Simon Hartmann

    Reading about film shooters and also film- and Leica digital shooters it seems we slowly are arriving at a point, where higher quality cameras (DSLM, DSLR, Film-camera, Rangefinders …) all seem to deliver “enough” technical Quality for most purposes. There isnt as much of an “this is the BEST camera for EVERYTHING”-argument, but more of a: “for this target, that is best” and so on. Film cameras and digital LEICAs seem to be very artistic tools, for people that want to take real photographs (with character, more like a painting) and enjoy the whole experience that comes with it. For others, like me for instance, its about the best technikal Quality that limited money can buy in a tight enough package. To be able to take great snapshots of friends and family and sometimes proper photography of Landscapes and portraiture. So i am currently quite happy with my olympus micro four thirds camera and the pro lenses for it. I really like, how the marked seems to open up more and starts to specialize more. I truly believe, i will never shoot film, but i also believe, it will always stay around as a unique and powerful artistic tool.