intro Blog "Film photography"

Why I love film

  For over 100 years Film was the primary way to take a picture. It had a distinct look to it. Since 2005 digital cameras have gone more or less mainstream. Not really because people liked the quality better but because it's faster and more convenient especially back then.

Let's fast forward to about 2013. I was shooting my Sony Alpha 850 like you wouldn't believe. I even had to have the shutter replaced at this time as I had to send it off to get it done. During this time I didn't have a camera and stumbled upon a Canon A1 and Canon "New F1" . I bought some rolls of film and began shooting with them. I have not looked back since. Do I still use digital? Hardly ever except for sports which I still think a camera capable of a high FPS is good for and more practical.

Why I shoot film?

I am not one of these hipster or film junkies that hates digital cameras. People sometimes try to throw me into that category and that couldn't be further from the truth. In my book, the way a photographer captures an image is a lot less important than the composition of their work. To me the film vs digital argument is pointless. It's as pointless as the Kodak vs Fuji argument or the Canon vs Nikon Argument. In other words, it's a preference. Nothing more and nothing less.

I fell in love with shooting film and I specifically fell in love with using the Canon FD system as opposed to the newer EOS system simply because I love the feel of the cameras and lenses when I use them. The Canon FD system was the professional system produced by Canon from 1971 through about 1986/1987. The cameras are some of the best and well built ever made and the lenses are second to none. I would put any of these bodies or lenses up against anything. That is how highly I think of them and if you like the work you see on this website it's all done with cameras and lenses from this system.

Why I love film.......

Again let me say that this is JUST MY PREFERENCE! :) In other words this is why I love shooting the way I do. It's insane sometimes how many photographers call me a film snob simply because of what I shoot. This couldn't be further from the truth. I shoot it because I like to that's it.

I love the way film looks. Film just completely jumps out at you when it's done right. I always tell people though before you shoot it become good with exposure using a digital camera. The same exposure principals apply to a film camera. Many pros now use film to supplement their work. Film has started to make a comeback the past two years. I have my own reasons why I shoot film. I never thought I would be ever shooting it the way I do now but I just fell in love with using it.

I don't waste my time staring at an LCD screen. In other words I concentrate strictly on my photography and composition. Most modern photographers stop what they are doing and stare at an lcd screen for a few minutes after they are done shooting a picture. I don't have to do this and I already know what my picture will turn out like just by seeing what I snapped through the viewfinder as I took the picture.. I get a lot more time to be able to shoot since I am not distracted by crazy complex electronics that require a 300 page manual or sitting there for 5 to 15 minutes staring at a screen. I can just shoot and be done with it and get more shots in since I have more time.

High Dynamic Range: Film has a very high dynamic range. I can make a picture the size of 10 megapixels or up to about 140 megapixels. There are no limitations and in my opinion pictures come out sharper and colors more vivid than anything shot on a digital camera. There is a reason Nikon still makes a film camera called the F6. They know people like me exist. Film wasn't replaced by digital cameras because someone went and said "Oh wait a minute this stuff sucks!". It was replaced because it was easier and as Ken Rockwell put it "Film: The Immortal Medium of the Masters. Digital: Profit center for large foreign corporations."

Let me give you an example. I can take one of my Canon AE1s which cost about 75 dollars, one of my old 50mm 1.5 S.S.C. lenses which costs about 50 dollars and a 5 dollar roll of film and shoot a picture that after running the frame through one of my scanners will have more resolution and vividness than a $5000 Nikon or Canon digital.

Film costs me a lot less money: You might be asking yourself "Well how is this possible?". It's very simple for me because I am at the point where on a 36 exposure roll of film I can get 30 to 36 really awesome shots. I can do this with a Canon AE-1 that you can buy for 50 dollars and an old 50mm 1.8 that you can get for 30 dollars.. In other words I can do on 130 dollars worth of camera gear and a 5 dollar roll of film that someone can do on a $5000 digital camera that will be obsolete in 2 years. I never have to update my gear my camera bodies are rock solid, need very little as far as maintenance is concerned and they will probably be firing long after the cameras being used today are gone.

It makes me take better pictures. You can't mess up and erase film, there are no do-overs and whatever you shot remains there forever. So what I do is make sure every shot counts. Each mess up costs me money however I have become a better photographer by shooting film. As Ken Rockwell once said "Digital can be fun because we can erase the pictures that suck but if they sucked, why bother making them in the first place?"

I don't waste my time editing or photoshopping pictures. Film comes out awesome and since I use my own scanning equipment I can digitize it very quickly. It's comes out so well I barely have to edit anything in any of my work. So my stuff isn't heavily photoshopped and in case I need to color balance something or crop something I can do that very quickly in lightroom. I concentrate on getting ready for my next shoot and get the pictures done pretty quickly.

No ridiculous batteries: I can slap a small 6 volt battery in my Ae1 and 4AAs in the winder and take off to the middle of nowhere These batteries will last months with continuous use. I don't have to stop to recharge them, and I do not have to carry 5 camera batteries on me. One of my Canon T90s takes 4AA batteries which would last me 60 to 80 rolls of film. My F1s, A1 and AE-1 Programs do require a lot of batteries but again, they last for months if I kept them in the cameras so I still don't have to recharge camera batteries after a few hours.

I have a backup to my backup. I back up my files digitally however if I have a computer failure and somehow lost everything. Ultimately I still have the negatives as a backup. My negatives will outlast me with very little resolution loss.

The Viewfinders are simply better. Viewfinders on older film cameras are brighter and easier to use. They are great to look through. No modern cameras even come close.

Camera Durability: There is a reason my gear is still firing after all this time. These camera bodies and lenses are built like tanks. They are also a lot easier to use, I love the feel of these cameras and they fire so much more smoothly than mostly anything does these days. They are less prone to being affected by dust and dirt, and there are no sensors to clean.

Lens Selection: I own a ridiculous amount of FD lenses. I would put this glass up against anything out there. Since these lenses have a different lens mount than the current Canon EOS system it was a lot cheaper for me to get high end glass. My lens selection is second to none. I have everywhere from a 20mm macrophoto lens that is capable of seeing almost as close as a microphone to an 800mm telephoto that can see the moon and I own everything in between. This gives me any option out there as far as lens selection. I have a lens for any and every situation which allows me to shoot any type of photography I want. My goal was to learn how to shoot every style of photography that exists and that is exactly what I have done.

Obviously to me I still think a digital Camera is a lot more practical to shoot sports with or to use in pretty crazy low light situations such as concerts (although I shoot film at concerts) and I do use some of my digital camera gear but it's a rarity for me these days.

I hope this gives you a general idea about why I love working with film and the cameras I work with. Whatever your preference is remember, it's not just the gear but the person behind the camera. You are only as good as your eye and your composition skills can take you. Film took a lot of practice for me. It didn't just happen overnight and I used my Sony digital gear for a long time to learn exposure before I even shot film. However I can tell you it is very rewarding and I always recommend to any photographer that at the very least they should try film as they may surprise themselves. I love shooting this stuff and don't ever plan on stopping. Luckily Kodak, Fuji, Ilford and a plethora of other makers will not be discontinuing film anytime soon and my gear will still be functioning for the rest of my life.

I invite you to check out my site and keep it bookmarked as I will be reviewing different types of films, cameras and lenses. Feel free to contact me via email at if you ever need any advice on shooting film or on film cameras. Or keep checking this site because there is more to come!

<<Back to the Blog Section