There’s something really exciting with shooting in film. Digital cameras are crisper and sharper, and of course, more convenient. But using it just doesn’t have the same kind of thrill. With digital cameras, all the work is done for you. As long as you know how to operate your camera, chances are, you can get a decent enough photo most of the time. Must be why most people who can afford a decent camera fancy themselves as photographers, but IMO, it takes a lot more than that.
When using a film camera there’s no way to know if the shot you just took was correctly composed. You can’t see it until it was developed and by then you’ve wasted too much. Wasted the film, wasted the chance to capture a perfect shot. So when you use a film camera, you need to get to know your gear. You need to know your camera, you need to know its quirks. You need to know what kind of film to use. You need to make adjustments. You need to know if you should step closer or step back. There’s no delete button and there are no do-overs, so you need to be really good.
I bought a couple of Vivitar EZ35 from a group buying site a while back (one of which I will probably give away one of these days ) And while I think I still have a ways to go, it’s not such a bad start. I used the Fuji Velvia100 for my film and had it cross-processed. The result had beautiful warm yellow, orange, and pink hues, and the natural vignette is really, really lovely. It’s probably not what some people look for in photos, but I’m in love with all things vintage.
A few tips for people who still like to shoot in film:
1. Know your camera. Mine had a sort of panoramic frame that I didn’t know about, which resulted to some cut heads and ruined angles. If your camera have similar quirks, it’s important to know them and adjust to that next time you use your camera.
2. Know what film to use. I researched a lot before deciding on the roll of Velvia. I was looking for the Kodak Elite Chrome (highly recommended by some friends) but I couldn’t find any, so I had to dig around on my own. A few people posted photos using this film, and I liked the warm tones. If you want photos with more variation in color, the Kodak Elite Chrome would probably work better.
3. Know your camera’s limitations. I know from using my Sony DSC-H3 that shooting at night can be a problem. I tried to shoot some photos at night anyway, just to see what it would look like, and it ended up looking like a couple of mud blobs. I probably have to buy a hotshoe flash before I can try night shooting again.
4. Know where to take your film. I scoured the streets of Quiapo looking for a shop that do cross-processing (to no avail), not knowing that right in Megamall, Fuji does it. I couldn’t find any Digiprint branches nearby (I was told they cross-process 5 rolls of film for only 250).
5. Shoot with meaning. Great photography, for me, is capturing something that tells a story. Try not to waste film on photos that have no meaning (I shot quite a few of these meaningless ones though, just to see what it would look like )