This should be your first Camera
by Jozef Gwizdala – see his blog HERE
So, you’ve decided that you want to get your first “proper” camera. You may have shot a few photos on your iPhone or other such devices but now you want a dedicated piece of equipment to take photos with. You haven’t done that much research into photography but you know the basic fact that if you want to take good photos you need a Canon or Nikon DSLR. However, this is the first mistake. People naturally blindly follow what they believe is the only route into “proper” photography but there’s a way that’s cheaper and better for learners.
I have a strong belief that a film camera should be your first camera and I’ll tell you why. The first reason is the cost. People naturally assume that digital is cheaper but if you add it all up you’ll realise how cost efficient film is. First of all, the price for the camera is less. An entry level film camera such as the Zenit E can be picked up for less than a tenner. Now, that’s an extreme but a camera like the Praktica MTL 50 can be found for around £25. An entry level digital camera will be over £300. If you want a step up from the Praktica, cameras like the Canon AE-1 or the Pentax MZ5N are available for around £70. However, the best selling point of these cameras is the wide availability of the lenses. As well as being widely available, the lenses can be bought for next to nothing. A quick look on eBay turned up a good quality 50mm 1.8 lens for £10. Not only is the lens cheap, but it will also be good quality and last longer than the new plastic lenses that are thrown in with digital cameras. You could buy 30 Zenit cameras before you even reached the amount you would have spent on an entry level Nikon.
However, a great reason why you should use a film camera for your first camera is that the photos will simply look better. Digital cameras are designed so that the images that come out of it are bland. It may sound weird but bland photos make photos that are easy to edit. So if you’re shooting digital, you need to edit your photos. Every photographer who takes his or her work seriously, will edit their photos. The ironic thing however, is that many of them (including myself) will edit their photos to look like film. The visual supply company (also known as VSCO) have presets for Lightroom that are made to emulate certain films. An easier way is just shooting on film to start off with.
Now, film isn’t as expensive as one may think. Fuji c200 is a great consumer film that yields wonderful results. Fuji c200 is rebranded in England as Agfa vista 200. This film can be purchased from Poundland meaning that a roll of film only costs 1 pound (24 shots a roll). From this roll of film, you will get photos that instantly look much better out of the camera than any un edited digital photo. If you really want to, you can edit your negatives digitally or manually in a darkroom but the point is that this isn’t necessary. Editing is perhaps one of the most tedious things that a digital photographer has to do. Not only that, but it is time consuming. Lets say you took 200 photos of an event or place. For arguments sake, we’ll say that, that number was whittled down on your computer to 50. This means it would take 2 and a half hours to edit these photos. Conversely, if you were shooting film, it would actually be quicker and cheaper. Lets say you shot 2 rolls of vista 200 (£2) and then developed it in fuji hunt c41 chemicals (£1) and then scanned the photos (£50 one off purchase or your lab can do it), you would be done in under an hour with photos ready to upload. Or if you’re not in a rush, you can send it off to somewhere like AG photo lab who can develop and scan your photos for you. This is especially useful if you’re new to photography as editing is one of the hardest practices to learn.
I have already mentioned the cost of film over digital but here is a proper comparison. For this, I am going to compare a mid range film camera with a mid range DSLR.
Now, I’ll be honest, my numbers may be a little exaggerated but conversely, not overly unrealistic. Film is cheaper. This low entry price makes it great for beginners as you can enter what is naturally presumed to be an expensive hobby. The fact of the matter is that you can make film even cheaper because you’ve probably already got a few film cameras that aren’t being used lying around your house. If you’re never shot with a “proper” camera, it would be safe to assume that you’re reasonably young. Take advantage of the fact that your parents shot film when they were younger and take one of the cameras that they have lying around. If they do, you can try out photography for a couple quid for film and developing instead of thousands.
However, cost aside, perhaps the most important reason to have a film camera as your first camera is that it will make you learn about manual control. Now, automatic control is great on new digital cameras but if you rely on it, you suck the joy out of photography by turning your camera into a glorified phone camera. Not only that, but if you want to really learn how to get the photo you have in mind, you need to be able to manually operate your camera. Even if you already have a digital camera, it is worth picking up a film camera so you can learn to master full manual control without electronic aid. Having a limited amount of frames forces one to actually think about the shot. You will take fewer shots with a film camera because you don’t want to waste film and as a result of this, the shots that you take will be better.
In conclusion, if you’re starting out with photography or you’ve been shooting digital for years, film is perfect as a learning tool and an instrument to develop your skills on. It can be affordable, fun and most importantly, film photography is photography in its purest sense.
It seems there are two camps, basically at war!
The Film nuts and Digital Desperados.
Digital means new cameras, extra drives, newer computers as Microsoft and Apple force one to UPDATE. Analog system is easy. The cameras and lenses are often gifts! Sure a Canon AE-1
MAY fail. But none of mine, all free have! Truth be told after working with system, realized that back in 80’s, Canon was better than Leica. My Leica M needs services..
I am basic. No getting the latest digital body. newest lens that NOW needs programs to be sharp and clear.(Leica-Canon-Nikon).Sad. A roll of film easily lasts a few shoots. Develop is easy and scan. The Canon scanner a “street find” with everything in the box! Yes! Only on XP. So XP no longer on internet.
Smoke something. No never anything. The folks who keep buying newer and newer, even before actually been used! What are you all drinking, eating and inhaling?
Film can be in-expensive and it’s archival.
Digital is not.
What are you smoking?
Hahahaha…! Right on. I thought the same thing. You can learn just as much on a manual control digital camera as you can on film. Get instant results and save thousands of dollars.
If I was starting now with film, I would choose a camera from the Nikon FM/FE(2) series. Cheap, reliable, handles great and fixable.
The thing is, most beginners with a dslr will put it on auto and try and shoot. I know I did. I used my fathers EOS 400D and didn’t know a thing. I just stuck it on auto and took photos. I have been shooting for 10 years but it was only when I started to use film that I have been able to fully understand photography.
Must be the chemical fumes from developing those negatives.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts, experiences, justification on using film. I can add the following:
Even the last Star Wars was made on film!!!
You buy one film camera you have dozens inter changeable sensors(film). You might go bankrupt trying to have the equivalent amount of digital cameras.
Film has outlived sensors. It exists more than 100 years while some sensors less than 10 years old are corroding.
On the other hand:
Time is precious and most of us are busy. It seems that we do not have enough time to spent on film. Even though the image creation ends after post processing.
There are pros and cons among the different media to capture light. At the end of day the photographer is the creator of an image. The photographer is the one that selects the media to capture an image so that he can create the photograph that has imagined. In some work dictates us what to use.
Everyone seems really upset here and I’ll try not to rock the boat too much.
(Okay i’ve read it a couple of times and I did a terrible job not rocking the boat but most of it is true so I’ll just stick with it.)
I adore film, I learned on film, I’ve got so much film in the fridge that my family has accepted that that is what a fridge does.
And as some have already said it’s a pain if your not a note taker to piece together what roll of film resulted in and actual circumstances of exposing it.
You can make any number of arguments a numbers exercise but then you need to translate it into practice and making a blanket statement that ‘yes you need to /should shoot film or film is cheap’ is irresponsible and a complete fallacy.
I’m a morning photographer, as much as I carry a camera all day every day due to misguided obligation I in reality get two hours a day to do my leg work and usually come home with either 20 rolls of film or 1-2 16gig cards all jpg( 😀 I’m an expressionist your file size/DR finagling can’t touch me.) no firmware xe1 or xpro2, multiply that any number of times for a larger sensor and raw files. Why only 20 rolls? because that’s about as much as I can carry in a camera loadout before it gets prohibitively impractical to move/change film and keep on trucking.
Then I get home and offload (15 minutes if I haven’t touched my project cards for six months) 0$ or develop the film (15-60minutes/roll developed @ 1.5-100$ dependent of format and sadly rarity of developer. cause I’m a toy that haven’t invested in a dip and dunk for my shared two bedroom apartment)
When your starting out you are not likely to have collectors and clients gagging to buy out every frame you shoot so you need somewhere to store everything until you print it.
A roll of film usually takes up 1 to 1 1/2 A4 negative storage sheet depending on the type you use, double that for 220.
That’s why you usually only have contacts from old timey photographers unless they’re old timey aristocrats or magnum equivalent photographers.
Your going to at some point want somewhere to keep them and unless your entire life and all your relationships revolve around photography your going to want to move yourself or your film into a bigger place to have somewhere life happens as well.
Or at the very least a place where your loved ones don’t trip over spill on or drop things on your negatives.
This might not be a problem for another ten years but the day will come where you’ll be deciding between sleeping on folders or dropping your negatives. (It happens, look it up.)
Between my hand me down macbook pro and my two hard drives and online storage I’m doing pretty good on digital despite having to look at them all to find one as I’m terrible at naming the individual files. That is if I can even find the drives in the rubble of my so called artistic life.
Takes about the same time, one doesn’t give you cancer (probably, my screen is cracked so it’s 50/50 at this point.) and is free. The other does need a functional darkroom which scales depending on print size.
And if you’re committed you should treat yourself to a lighttable, if you can find one.
Once you have a lab/printer you trust it neither takes up any space with the difference that I can sell prints and even books off a digital file that only I’ve touched without covering any expenses for paper chemicals or for that matter outsourcing.
Did you know that most people that spend actual money on art don’t buy prints unless they’re limited and numbered meaning you’ll to actually have them in hand before it’s even a thing you can sell.
Have we talked about film?
One doesn’t simply shoot 36 frames of anything, if you are you’d be just as happy with your cellphone as anything else. Two rolls of film is roughly a pack of cigarettes in most countries and I don’t know if you watch a lot of daytime television but that adds up fast.
You can shoot on everything but let’s not kid ourselves; if your on here you own a camera.
You might even own several and the only reason your really upset about anyones point is that they’ve pointed out what you already know, you don’t REALLY need another one.
The same goes for film, you’ll want to shoot the tri-x at 3200 and the shiny ekachromes and velvias.
Doubly so for cameras, I bet most of you after reading this were thinking:
‘Yeah I should really treat myself to that
GR/leica/Olive Titanium FM3/Texas leica/A1/35TI/67 anything/G2/S3/anything hasselblad shaped collectors piece So I can go back to the roots and do some real photography’ and not ‘Didn’t that flea market sell a brand new FM10 w.lens/eos cranky whiny f15-900 zoom for about a buck?’
and if you’re completely new to photography and all it’s iconic history I’m sorry if I planted the thought in your brain.
Lighting on the other hand you get for pennies on the dollar for film cameras. you can use almost anything to light your subjects that’ll fit your hotshoe, just don’t electrocute yourself. although with a radio trigger the same can be said for digital.
Have we talked about making movies?
Your digital can probably already do that if you can stand being unpretentious about it.
Let’s not think to hard about how many feet of film goes into making a short and how long it takes to recuperate that.
Have we talked about sustaining this habit? Because at some point you will retire from your day job, you will have a cold period between picassoesque romances where your genius level inspiration dries up, or your constant client hunting makes your initial infatuation with photography look less attractive.
And then that money spent on consumables would have looked much better in a high interest bank account or in a bought and paid for living arrangement/student loan.
As I’ve stated I shoot anything with a shutter or preferentially a winder but I’m also not kidding myself about the cost, which compared to all other forms of art is still cheap to produce on a piece by piece basis in both time and money.
Great comment Monkey!
Film for commercial and artistic purposes also needs post processing. Maybe some people got away to do great shots without editing with slide film, but it was a double edged sword because you can’t do much to it. This article appears to be written by somebody who wasn’t around for film and is just feeding off nostalgia. Cameras and film are tools, the final product is what matters and film too time consuming to justify being a practical tool anymore for a serious photographer.
“This article appears to be written by somebody who wasn’t around for film?. This article was written by Jozef Gwizdala. Film is still around. Therefore, Josef is around for film.
Film cameras easily served the needs of serious photographers for years. Why are they all of a sudden “too time consuming to justify being a practical tool anymore for a serious photographer”?
I go to a lot of photo shows where, I presume, “serious photographers” enter their work. I see very little work that distinguishes itself. None of it approaches the potential of the equipment from either medium. Because digital may be less time consuming doesn’t make for better photography.
You need to define “serious photographer”. Is it someone who simply takes a lot of pictures
or can afford to spend a lot on equipment, with the hope that the equipment will somehow magically transform their work. At least, this is what marketing is all about.
Or is it someone with a goal of turning out high quality work and will leave no stone unturned? That person will explore any medium that will satisfy their objectives. For that person, I don’t think time consumption enters into the equation.
I guess JJ Abrams is not serious enough when they choose to use film for Star Wars “The force awakens” and grossed over $2 billion. Do you think they should have gone digital?
Nice article, I would like to share my personal experience and my thoughts.
I started shooting regularly 10 years ago, when digital was expanding, with a DSLR. 5 digital cameras later, I was one day messing with presets in Lightroom after shooting with a retro-styled digital camera, trying to emulate the look of Portra, when I realized this was nonsense and decided to go for the real thing.
Since then, I have not looked back. In the last year I have learnt much more about photography than in the 9 previous years together, and trust me, the look of film is much more pleasant than any digital file. Indeed, why all digital bloggers are always messing with VSCO to emulate the look of film? On the other hand, there is not a single analogue photographer trying to emulate the look of digital.
I don’t think I get the “Film Look” thing when 90% of imagery is enjoyed and evaluated on a computer screen. Uploading a film photograph on to a computer turns it digital no matter how you want to describe it – it is digital, it is digitized once it is on the screen. Ones and Zeros are the only way that film photo is shown on the computer. So what is the “look of digital’? This is an insane conversation. Hahaha…
The “film look” I believe is the colour scheme that comes with certain films. Portra for example is good for some situations and Ektar is good for others. When I shoot digital I try and emulate those colours to look more like film.
The most common problem digital shooters suffer from is upgradeitus (well let’s be honest that new model they’ve just brought out is much much better than the one you bought a couple of years ago isn’t it? And your photographs will be so much better if you buy one, yes??)
The other problem is that people simply take too many photos with digital cameras and don’t think enough about them – and as for many the camera does all the thinking for them (they only had to press a button anyway) they don’t learn from what they’ve taken. Do they even look at half of them ever again anyway?
Shooting with a camera that only takes 8 photographs on each film does make you think what you’re doing and find something that’s worth taking a photograph of in the first place. So you learn.
And it’s more fun because you are doing it – not a machine.
Think about it ……
Sorry – but I have to say I disagree
If you want to learn photography film sucks
You have to wait to long to see the results or effects
and so the learning curve and try & error fails
With digital systems you see at once what you have done
and after correction what happens or comes out
Talking about cost also seems to be a very subjectiv view
Sure serious digital cameras are not cheap and you can get
some amazing cameras like Nikon F3 or F4 for almost nothing
on Ebay but when you compare the quality you get out of it
in the picture – digital wins again.
Serious – I shot a portrait yesterday with a used bought Nikon D700
and printed it today as a poster 60x80cm in a quality I used to need
a (film) Hasselbald before.
Did you ever give you film for prints and trow them away because colors
were looking awful ?
I remember that in a time I spend a lot of money for a Leica equipment !
Very glad I can control all of this now on my own…….really.
Things are so much easier today let me tell you that from a guy
who stood evenings and nights in the darkroom to get perfect prints.
Still love my old Nikon F gear but would never compare that to todays possibilities.
Waiting to see your photos I think is a positive. It increases the value of those photos and allows you to have a physical copy of every photo rather than having 26,000 photos stashed away on your hard drive (as I do). With digital, it is all too easy to stick it on auto and spray and pray.
I think you have missed the point of my argument. I shoot digital mainly. It’s better if you know what you’re doing. However, I am saying that by making oneself have complete manual control over a camera, it is superior for beginners. I am not saying that film is better than digital for photographers.
I think there is great nostalgia, and inimitable look, and much to enjoy with shooting film. I think the idea that a new photographer should start off with a basic, manual film camera is nonsense. A used DSLR with a nice f/1.8 prime will cost less than $300 US, and will give the novice photographer endless opportunity for practice and exploration. The idea that you have to post-process every digital image is rubbish, just as the idea that a beginner will magically capture great photos on film is. Any DSLR of the past decade can produce wonderful OOC files, while still keeping the ability to capture RAW and allow the new photographer to explore all the potential of processing their images in a computer.
I’d much rather new photographers be able to effectively experiment with exposure, composition, and photographically “seeing” than fussing with loading film, worrying about wasting frames, or dealing with the eternal list of things that can go wrong with old, manual SLR cameras.
I disagree. As you said, a used dslr would cost over 300 dollars. Now, I grew up using a canon 400D digital camera but I relied on the auto mode because it was there and it made my life easy. I didn’t have to learn about photography. Sure, I learn about composition but that was it. I only leant about photography when I had to use a film camera. Now, I understand 99% of photography ‘things’ thanks to my time with film.
The Canon AE-1 and others that use a lot of electronics may be more prone to failing than the all-mechanical counterparts. The electronics are 30+ years old now. For a Canon: The FT-b and original F1 are not expensive and the battery only drives the meter. For Nikon- the F2 “is a tank” and not expensive; the DP-11 (F2A) and DP-12 (F2AS) metering hears work with most of the lenses with an aperture ring. The Nikkormats are also all-mechanical. Lots of lenses available, the Nikons can use most of the lenses as the digital cameras. For a Fujica- The ST-801 uses screw mount lenses, battery only powers the meter.
As soon as you scan film, all bets are off.
The time taken mucking around trying to control dust before scanning and spotting after scanning, makes they time argument raised here rather bogus.
The costs basis used is unrealistic. You can buy a pretty good used DSLR like the EOS 350D from about €150, so comparing a twenty year Pentax SLR with a state of the art DLR is also bogus.
The digital immediate feedback loop, Shoot/Chimp, allows for much faster learning than Shoot, wait, process wait, scan wait, touch up chimp. Unless you are really committed to recording your setting for every shot, you learn much slower with film.
Given zero cost for the next shot/chimp, you can iterate creatively through multiple ideas much faster. Watch kids with a camera brain storm and try new stuff.
That is not to write off film. I used to be much more passionate about photography when I had a dark room before digital. Back then it was hard to get good photos. Now it is easy, and I sort of lost interest. Film is still pretty cool, because it is harder to achieve and acceptable result.
“I used to be much more passionate about photography when I had a dark room before digital. Back then it was hard to get good photos. Now it is easy, and I sort of lost interest.”
Mic drop moment.
Shoot film. It does a body good.
Right! I’m sure the author of this article has a big beard and a bike that looks old, but is in fact quite new and expensive!
Well. I got my bike for free but I guess it looks old. To be fair to your point, I am probably a hipster. Even my digital camera is a fuji Xt1. However, I don’t think that wipes out my argument. For a person who wants to learn about photography, a film camera is better.
I know that you’re new to taking photos with film, Josef ..because you wrote last time “..My first film camera was purchased around 3 years ago in an antique shop in Poznan, Poland..” and I understand how your new-found enthusiasm can run away with you.
But there’s so much in this article which I completely disagree with ..and I started using film, and developing and printing it.. let’s see; sixty two years ago, when I was seven. My (paid) job used to be reviewing cameras, lenses, film, etc around the last days of film (1979-1982) so I do know something about shooting with – and developing and printing – film as well as digital photos.
 The woman in your photos is doing things in completely the wrong way: she’s holding her (film) camera in her left hand, and using the right hand to focus. So her right hand is nowhere near the shutter button. She should be holding the camera in her left hand, and cradling the lens with the fingers of her left hand, so that she can focus using the fingers of her left hand, and have her right index finger on the shutter button, ready to shoot when she’s focused with her left hand. (She’s also looking through the finder with her left eye, so she’s going to poke herself in her right eye when she winds-on the film!)
Having things completely the wrong way round in these photos, doesn’t bode well for what’s in the text of the article..
 You say “..People naturally blindly follow what they believe is the only route into “proper” photography..” ..do they? Who says so? And I think photography is whatever anyone wants it to be. To my mind, there is no “proper” photography: just be creative – do whatever you want. Why follow someone else’s description of “proper” photography? Take whatever pictures suit you yourself.
 “..An entry level film camera such as the Zenit E can be picked up for less than a tenner..” ..I wouldn’t use a Zenit E if you paid me the tenner. Why? Experience taught me that the spring which closes the second shutter curtain on all Zenit E cameras is too weak to work properly, and after a few months the second (closing) horizontal shutter of a – or all – Zenits fails to completely close, leaving a little gap between the two curtains through which light leaks, giving a vertical white band at the edges of pictures taken with Zenits. They’re cheap, but they’re cheaply built, and the shutters fail. (Their lenses, however, are generally very good.) I’d choose – as an entry-level film camera – a Pentax ..either a screw-mount Pentax Spotmatic, or a bayonet-mount Pentax K-1000. Simple, cheap, basic ..but reliable!.
 “..However, a great reason why you should use a film camera for your first camera is that the photos will simply look better..” ..really? If you’re using negative film, as you suggest, then – unless you’re developing and printing the pics yourself – you’re in the hands of other people, the film labs, who may – often – use exhausted chemicals to produce poor colour and poor contrast on the final prints ..especially if you’re using a cheap lab. The prints you get back from many developing labs may be nothing like the images actually captured on the film. With a digital camera, YOU control what the pictures look like: you can have them “bland”, as you inexplicably describe them, or you can turn up the “Vivid” setting, and/or sharpness and contrast settings, and have the pics exactly how you want them, without relying on some disinterested lab technician who has no idea what you want from your pics.
You don’t have to get a rolling Lightroom subscription at £8.57 a month (as you suggest) in order to tweak and adjust the colours of your pics. If you want to adjust the pics with a computer, and you have a Mac, use iPhoto, or Graphic Converter, or Viveza, or Photo Ninja, or any number of cheap – or free! – photo adjustment programs ..many of which, or similar ones, are also available for Windows, or for iPads or phones. Then you can adjust your photos to your heart’s content ..or simply use the appropriate settings in a digital camera itself. The pics don’t have to look “bland”.
 You say “..film can be purchased from Poundland meaning that a roll of film only costs 1 pound (24 shots a roll). From this roll of film, you will get photos that instantly look much better out of the camera than any un edited digital photo..” ..really? ..they’ll look “much better” in what way? Oddly enough, my un-edited digital photos straight out of a camera almost always look much better to me – sharper, clearer, brighter, more vivid – than pics which I’ve had developed and printed ..and then scanned.. from 35mm film. But maybe you and I use different developing labs, or different film (..I usually use “Lomography”-branded – rebranded Kodak, perhaps – ISO 800 film, which has, for me, anyway, the best clarity, vividness and warmth at a low-ish price, of all the films I’ve recently tried, and it’s usually developed at a consistently quality controlled mini lab in Munich, at Sauter’s big camera shop).
 “..If you’re never shot with a “proper” camera, it would be safe to assume that you’re reasonably young. Take advantage of the fact that your parents shot film when they were younger and take one of the cameras that they have lying around..” ..you mean one of those camera which have been lying around and gradually grown a bit of haze and fungus in the lens, which have been knocked about a bit and the mechanism’s got stiff because the oil’s dried up, and the lens is a bit jammed, and the mechanism rips the film perforations, and a bit of grit on the film rails or at the edge of the frame scores a long scratch down the length of your film?
This is such an optimistic article, saying how wonderful film is. But it ignores how pitiful some processing labs are ..trying to squeeze the last bit of use out of old worn-out chemicals which should have been replaced weeks, or months, before ..and with grubby enlarging or scanning lenses in their equipment, adding flare and reducing contrast in the final printed, or scanned, pics.
You under-estimate the cost of shooting and processing film, and over-estimate the cost of shooting with a digital camera. Instead of buying a cheap film camera to start with, why not suggest that someone buys a cheap two-generations-back digital camera to start with, and practise with that, at virtually no cost?
It’s a nice, romantic idea to “keep film alive”. But would you suggest to a novice driver that they should buy an old manual-gearbox £5 1947 Ford Popular (as I did when I began driving) which needs double-declutching whenever they change gear, just to get the feel of a “proper” car? Would you suggest to someone who wants to record their own music that they should start with an old “crystal” microphone from the 1950s, and a cheap old Grundig portable tape machine, so that they get the feel of “proper” recordings?
I use old film cameras from time to time just to remind myself of how awkward they generally were, and how slow the process was from shooting to seeing the pics, and how poor they were for indoor shots – with film generally topping out at ISO 3200 (though Fuji made an ISO 6400 colour print film) – which restricted shooting to mainly outdoors. (People write about Cartier-Bresson as a “street photographer” ..but back in his day it was almost impossible to shoot indoors, so you had to shoot outdoors, or in the street ..film just wasn’t sensitive enough for anything else!)
I think the switch to digital has been great. No more rewinding after 36 shots. Mix ISOs whenever you like: one shot outdoors (for which you might have chosen ASA100 in the old film days) and the next shot indoors (for which you might have had to swap to ASA1600 film). No more relying on other people to develop or print for you. Instant visibility (..like Polaroid film, but quicker!) and no ongoing “media” costs (film, chemicals, processing, photo papers) or ancillaries such as developing equipment, an enlarger, enlarger lens, enlarger lamp(s), film and paper washing and drying equipment.
It’s a nice occasional adventure for me to bring out the old Leica M3, and assorted lenses, buy some Lomo 800, and live for a week in nostalgia-land.
But then I think of the flexibility, versatility, capability of, say, the Olympus E-M1 and assorted lenses, or the Sony A7S and assorted lenses, and that M3 goes back into the cupboard for another six months!
For “proper” photography, I use my mind’s eye, and ANY camera!
Quite. Game, set avec match!
Nice selection of pictures, Paul, on your Flickr page..
I LOVE film but I agree 100% with this post.
I think a lot of people think grainy images with strange color cast is awesome since that’s the hipster fad now. People take a perfectly acceptable digital photo and then add all sorts of filters to it before posting on instagram. (I’m guilty of that as well)
The thing is u can take a good digital image and enhance/screw it up as YOU choose, however sometimes it’s almost impossible to salvage a poorly exposed/color cast image on film, and you end up having to discard the image, or accept it and pretend it’s cool.
End of the day, they are just tools for the photographer.
1. My newfound enthusiasm is based off the fact that I have been shooting a digital 400D since it first came out yet I only learned about photography when I got a film camera. Now I have learned, I am back onto digital.
2. I know she is. She hadn’t actually shot a photo on a camera ever at this point so she was just posing. She now holds her camera correctly.
3. I agree with your point that there is no proper photography. What I meant was, using a camera that is able to be controlled manually, such as a rangefinder, dslr or slr.
4. I realise that Zenit quality control was terrible. However, some were built like tanks and most failed. The ones that failed, failed long ago so the ones you purchase now are the ones that have survived the test of time.
5. Many commercial labs might not care but it isn’t that difficult to find a lab that is passionate about photography. Whilst the prints might be terrible, the c41 process is quite difficult to mess up as it is a universal process (different for b&w of course). Therefore, you will be able to get good scans at home or at a local university or communal darkroom lab.
6. Of course you don’t need to buy lightroom. I fully agree, I edit most of my photos on my phone because I don’t have much time at home. In fact, a photo that I recently edited on my phone won a category at the army photographic competition.
7. I don’t think an old digital is better because it will have a fully automatic mode. In fact, that was my first proper camera. A EOS 400D. I never learnt about how photography worked because I relied on auto mode. It was only when I got a film camera that I actually learned.
8. In reference to your car point, sort of. I am not saying that you should go back to the 50s to learn about photography. I am saying you should have a fully manual camera with dials. I don’t know what country you’re from but in England, everyone learns to drive and take their test in a manual car (I think its called ‘stick’ in America) and then they will go on a buy an automatic car. So in a way. Yes.
9. Use a flash indoors but to be honest, I have never had a problem with iso 400 film indoors. And with your logic, every photo from Bressants time would have been taken outdoors. I can still see my grandfathers birthday photos from the 40s so it couldn’t have been a major problem.
10. Yes, film is easier and for someone who knows what they’re doing like you and I, It is better. I shoot on digital 90% of the time. However, for the beginner, I still believe it is better to be forced to use manual control and understand the process.
Ps. If you’re not using the leica, feel free to send it my way;)
Jozef I like the idea, but I don’t quite agree. Maybe a film camera should be your 2nd camera after you mastered some of the basics. The great thing about digital is that you can make mistakes and try out different angles. You can see your results instantly and correct as you need. I know some will say that encourages you to fire away and not carefully consider each shot, but I think as a beginner that’s OK. It took me many wasted shots moving from auto to aperture and manual modes and understanding exposure. With films that’s an expensive and possibly disheartening experience. I get Jozefs argument that you learn from film-, so I would say once you’ve learnt the basics, by all means try – it will help your photography
I believe its the opposite. My first camera was an EOS 400D and I just stuck it on auto because I didn’t understand everything else. I only learned when I got a film camera and now, I am able to take better shots on my digital camera.
Digital photography is much better then film, more handy, more truthfull, film is a waste of time for a beginner. I can tell, ’cause I did both …
I did both too. My first camera was digital but I only learned when I tried out film.
There are many reasons to shoot film but cost is NOT amongst them!
It feels like you’ve tried very hard to come up with reasons to support your argument but honestly many of them just don’t stack up. Leaving aside highly questionable statements like you should use a film camera because ‘your photos will simply look better’ (really?) it’s the cost argument that’s most misleading.
For a start, Your digital equivalent for a used film camera is a £758 Canon 70D. That’s a ridiculous price point for an entry level used DSLR. For 10% of that you could get something like a secondhand Nikon D80 (£79 from MPB). Pair that with a £130 used 35 f1.8 at and you have a basic kit for £208 (not the £888 in your example). And then in your example, you throw in an upgrade during your 10 year timescale, also for £758 presumably to further artificially bloat the cost of shooting digital. I realise choosing the expensive digital camera for the comparison makes film look better but, come on, that’s really not fair.
So let’s assume that you buy the Nikon D80 instead of the Canon and then buy another one for the same price in 5 years. Your cost of digital ownership comes down to £1,421 instead of £2,869.
But there’s more!
In your Digital set-up you have the cost of Lightroom at £8.75 per month. Which is £1,028 over 10 years. In your Film cost setup, you don’t include any software cost. So how are you going to work on the digital files you create with that Epson scanner in your film list? I think you also mention that you use Lightroom to edit your scans – presumably film photographers don’t get the software free?
So let’s add the £1,028 software cost to your £913 film setup cost. We get £1,941 which is £520 MORE than the revised digital cost using the D80. Doesn’t look quite such good value when you start to pick the numbers apart, does it?
And one other thing. On processing, i’ll take your word for it on the cost of Fuji Hunt processing. But you then casually mention that if you’re in a rush (I thought shooting film was a timesaver) you can send it off to somewhere like AG Photo to develop and scan it. You don’t mention that they will charge you £7.99 to develop and make a medium res scan of a roll of 36. That cost is going to mount up pretty fast! In fact, having your 520 rolls of film processed and scanned would cost you £4,154. That ‘cheap’ film option’s starting to look kind of expensive now.
See, you can do anything with numbers if people don’t look too closely at your assumptions!
Now don’t get me wrong, I grew up shooting film and spent three years studying photography at university where I only shot film. I shot weddings, portraits and events on film. I am not anti film and there’s a lot to be said for shooting it still. But to lure newbies in to film photography on the grounds that it’s cheaper then digital is just plain misleading.
For the cost argument, I understand your viewpoint and largely agree with you. However, you ignore the fact that the 200 quid camera won’t be your camera in 10 years time. Every year a better digital comes out. I have the fuji xt1 but the xt2 is now out and thats another 2 grand.
My argument is that you should shoot film to learn and then migrate to whatever system you want. Film is better for learning.
I’m shooting film (b&w) and digital, on an almost daily basis.
I firmly believe that a fully manual, mechanical camera (that would be film then) like the Nikon FM2/T that’s in my bag this week leads to understand the basics of photography: light, aperture, shutterpeed, film sensitivity. Those basics lead you to better understand and use a digital camera as well.
Having said that, I don’t see the sense in talking down one over the other. Digital images bland? Nonsense.
Anything’s possible, as long as you previsualize and understand your tools.
I use digital and film too. Mainly digital. As you said, a mechanical camera sets you up for using a digital camera. That was my argument. However, digital images are bland. They’re bland on purpose. They are made to be edited on a computer so you a provided with a neutral colour gamut. To be fair, I did elevate the greatness of manual and I do shoot digital mainly. I just believe film is better for a beginner.
I get the meaning, Jozef !!!
But I very much disagree in the details.
Yes, film is slow and makes you think twice about what you do, and yes this increased awareness can lead to better Images. But it is not cheap and the quality is not better in any way than digital imo.
Speaking of resolution first: 87 MP for 135 film ? I don’t think so. If you have a scanner with very high resolution (which will be much more than 90 Pounds), you can generate very large files. But these files do not contain more detail than a modern digital camera does (rather less). Pixels count for nothing if they don’t contain information as is the case with film-scans of 135 film that exceed 6-12 MP (depending on the film). In my experience really high resolution from film can only be achieved with large format. Medium format images can look very nice, detailed and sharp but even they don’t necessarily outresolve modern aps-c or full frame sensors.
And then the editing thing: If you think, that all digital images have to be edited, you obviously have had bad luck with your choice of camera. I happily own an X-E2 and (even though I always shoot raw also) rarely touch its beautiful “Classic Chrome” or “Negative Std.” output. These images really look fantastic out of the box. This often applies to film shots as well, but I see no advantage there over digital. Rather the other way round. Especially when taking b&w shots, finding the right contrast can be quite tricky (especially when printing in the dark room).
On the other hand of course you get the chance to use cameras like Pentax 67, Rolleiflexes or fully mechanical Mamiya RBs. These pieces are not only built like tanks and are wonderful to work with but also (due to their large “sensor”) offer you an image look that is hard to emulate with a digital camera (as long as you don’t spent many $$ on a digital medium format kit). That is something that might be noted as well.
If you want to check out some of my modest film work you can go to my flickr page (linked below).
Adox film has a stupidly high megapixel count. And fuji velvia 50 is about the same res as a medium format phase one (you can google the comparison). I own a Fuji xt1 so I don’t think I have been unlucky with my choice of camera. I rarely touch the film presets on fuji because they still look too clean. Artificial even. Its easier to do it in post. Digital shots (especially raw) are made to be edited. You are presented with a neutral colour gamut so that you can edit it. The film presets while good will actually limit your ability to edit the photo later.
Reading that back, I sound rude and condescending so apologies for that. At the end of the day, it is the photographers own interpretation that matters. Not the device. If classic chrome works for you then thats good. And yes, you’re correct about black and white.
There is a lot of ADOX film available and only a small portion of it has very high resolution. Silvermax for example isn’t special in any way in this regard (but still a vey nice film). I know that Velvia (and also Provia) offers very high resolutions but that translates to highly detailed scans in theory only.
Because (and that what was I was referring to in my first post) you do not get the resolution out of your scan until you use a drum scanner or an Imacon.
These are not available in most households because they cost zillions.
I have an Epson V800 which offers a max. scanrate of crazy 12800 dpi. Unfortunately however, things do not get any better from 4200 upwards. I therefore never use higher rates, because the only thing you achieve with it is enlarging your files to ridiculous sizes. Gigangtic files that still lack any detail that couldn’t easily be captured with my FUJI.
So again (and I have used a lot of so called Hi-Res-Films): With a 135 camera and a regular scanner you will never be able to touch the resolution of a modern 16MP camera. If you believe I am wrong then please (I mean it) show me how to do it.
Ahh. And you didn’t sound very condescending. Especially not when I consider how (unnecessarily) heated this thread has become.
Jozef, I see where you are coming from. And in some ways I like what you’re saying. However, I do not think that film is the correct tool for the beginner.
It is true that DSLRs are redundant now, except for some applications. But DSLRs are not the only digital cameras (and one day they may not exist). I think that phones can and do offer features which DSLRs cannot, which is an advantage for the beginner, but that is a separate argument.
Here is why colour negative film is the wrong tool for a beginner:
– You cannot learn about exposure
– You cannot learn about colour temperature
– You cannot learn about translating real-world contrast into a camera
Now, the best tool for beginners, if we are talking about film, would be transparency film. In the past, Kodachrome was arguably the cheapest slide film, processing included. The funny thing is that slide film was not only best tool to learn with, but it was the choice of professionals (slides require no interpretation, and a scanned slide was always better than a scanned print). Slides teach you about exposure and colour at the same time. Your mistakes were evident immediately. And so were your happy accidents!
But these days? My goodness. You should see how much slide film costs. Wow. I have been tempted to go back to film but the cost is just not worth it.
Your numbers are correct, but what you don’t realize is that to scan film properly, you need a scanner like the FlexTight X5 which is one of the very few photo scanners that does not exaggerate graininess. Cine scanners are also a great choice, but they are probably more expensive even though they have a high throughput rate.
Before Steve made the Pakon 135 Plus popular, you could get one for $150 or so. It may have been only 6Mpx, but the quality was quite good. Colour was usually spot-on, as was exposure. Scanning was fast, even if you enabled ICE. So if we use this benchmark for cost, film looks really, really competitive.
Except no scanner like this exists today. Not one. Why not? I have no idea. People have been talking about a really good $500 scanner for years. It’s fine for Kodak to sell us film, but where can I get the supporting peripherals? Oh, so Ferrania is making film soon? Great. How am I going to scan it properly and cheaply and quickly?
So what is a good beginner’s camera? Something like a Sony A5000 or one of the smaller Olympus bodies. One day the A7 could be as cheap as $500. Maybe by that time someone will have made a $500 scanner.
A final twist to my comment: I will point out that if one is doing photography seriously, one might want two bodies. So your numbers in favour of film are, in some ways, stronger than you think. A cheap DSLR could be as low as US$500, but you’ll want two. A pair of – for example – Pentax 35mm bodies could be as cheap as $50 or less. Oh, to hell with it, buy three!
Another advantage: your film is also a ‘hard copy’ of your image. After scanning you should always back up your files, but your film is good insurance against a possible, though improbable, data meltdown. Film can’t be affected by EMPs or CMEs. Then again, maybe some hard drives are immune from those. I would have to consult someone on that.
P.S. I used to carry around a Nikon F3 loaded with slide film for a while (or a Leica with b&w film). I miss those days, but alas, I don’t take photos much unless someone asks me to. Also, nobody thinks twice when your’e using your phone to take a photo.
As someone that is looking for a Pentacon Six and a scanner to shoot film I don’t agree for the following reasons:
*Film is not convenient if you are learning and need to be aware of your settings and learn to use a camera. If you train with digital reversely the fact to be able to shoot hundreds of photographs can help you to preview in your mind the outcome with a film camera. A film camera is limited to 36 exposures without data but in expensive models.
*Film cameras are not that expensive but if you live outside giant cities the trouble to get labs that make a good job (as there are less skilled professionals) you only get tiny files with less quality than the ones made with a cell phone. A Scanner cannot represent the quality stored in a 35mm negative, at least not the cheap ones, the other option I tried was to shot the negatives with my Sony R1 and a Marumi Macro, far better than scanned in the lab, but every frame needed almost a day of hard work (!) So film (outside big cities in first world countries) either is expensive or is laborious.
* Photographs with a film camera are not better than the ones with digital camera. That just means that the camera is taking the photos for you. I think if you master your equipment you can use a cell phone to make an image to convey emotions. Otherwise you are just in love with technical aspects as “full frame” bokeh or color shifts of film.
*If you want to learn with digital with the same with film (although you forget that point and shoots in film existed and they have little room for manual modes) just simple use the internal memory to limit the number of photographs of 12; set the camera to manual and read the exif to discover why your photo got in a way and not in another.
*Cameras like Fujifilm can have film presets, made with the participation of the professionals that worked the original films, built in camera, you can program any camera to your taste.
The last photograph has a green tint that I am afraid doesn’t look healthy, and almost I’d say it was used a film meant for tungsten light, a digital camera could have show you the white balance, or even if the camera got a photo as once the film camera I was using (a canon EF or black beauty) had a problem in the shutter so it was overexposing to an irrecoverable level.
It’s not about machines.
I love your film enthusiasm, and you make many good points with which I agree.
Particularly I wholly endorse the notion of film images being potentially more beautiful. When properly exposed the richness, depth and sense of authenticity of the colors is unmatchable with digital images. After dabbling in film my ‘appreciation’ of digital images will never be the same.
But film is DECIDEDLY more expensive than digital. yes there are cheap films which produce good results. But consumerish grade standbys like kodak ektar or portra or ilford hp5 are $6-8 a roll. In addition it costs me about $15 per roll for developing plus a medium grade scan. (for most people home developing is out of the question and home scanning is time consuming and frustrating).
As far as the learning curve it is steep and costly. Many of the older film cameras have spotty metering. It takes years of practice and experience to learn to meter the old fashioned way. I have whole rolls wasted on crap images due to exposure difficulties, made even more challenging when trying to use neutral density filters, night exposures etc. Oh and what about having the ‘wrong’ film in your camera ie wrong iso for conditions, B&W when you need color, daylight film when you need tungsten balanced etc.?
So yes, film photography can be fun and enriching. It can also be very expensive and frustrating.
Perhaps it’s more expensive in America but it costs me around 2 pounds a roll in England. Yes, it can be frustrating, but having to be forced to find solutions to the problem is part of the learning experience rather than having everything done for you.
I am often making the argument to people that from a certain point of view film can be cheaper. If you factor in the idea that one film camera will last you the rest of your life, while with digital cameras there is a constant need to “upgrade” every few years then the argument holds some merit. This becomes even more true if you develop and scan yourself.
A couple of years ago I bought ten (yes TEN!!) Minolta SRT-101’s at a flea market complete with 50mm f/1.7 lenses for a miserly five dollars each. Keep in mind, this is the camera that W. Eugene Smith used to make some of the world’s most iconic images. The ability to make great photos with this camera cannot be questioned. I have since given most of them away to people who are interested in getting into film photography to prove that you don’t need a ton of money to work with film.
I think you exemplified my argument perfectly. Thanks for your comment:)
Oh my God the film versus digital debate. Digital image making was kind of inevitable at a certain time in the history of technological development. It made image making easy and there is an ubiquitous quality to photos now.It means you have to have a really superb talent to do good photography – it is fine art.
That does not mean you cannot produce images that are precious to you and interesting to your friends.
Everything is in the image and if film helps you produce a different more individual result then you have your answer.
Was it David Bailey who said digital is like socialism all will be the same.
For me both are fine -just enjoy.
Is editing digital as tedious as waiting to process your film, then washing and making prints. Is it as tedious as waiting for your prints to be sent off to be processed and returned? Is it as tedious as having to pay for processing, chemical, and prints?
If everyone started to use film you wouldn’t have a web site. No more silly b&w digital Leica’s to review. You’d only have 35mm and not much change happens that you would need to review in them.
Well, A: I did not write this and all that is presented here…well, i do not always agree with it all but I like to give others a voice to write what they feel strongly about. and B: It will never ever happen, where everyone ditches digital and goes to film 😉 Thanks for reading!
OP here. My argument was that film is better for beginners. I use a digital camera 90% of the time.
Hmm – not convinced. I started photography back in the 1970s so have extensive experience of film. The learning curve is steep with film and getting exceptional photos needs lots of practice and technique. 52 rolls a year won’t even get you near the amount you need to shot to learn all that’s needed. On top of that, the cameras will more likely frustrate than illuminate.
It’s fine for experienced photographers to look back to film with rose-tinted specs and even to get original and high quality output from older film cameras – but beginners would be best advised IMHO to use a modern digital camera in combination with an experienced helper/mentor.
Well, each to their own. I only needed to shoot around 15 rolls of 24exp film to fully understand the essence of photography. Then I moved onto to mainly digital.
Finally someone who advertises photography instead of computer science!
Most people, nowadays, take their photographs in the computer room, instead of the camera and then the darkroom. They know everything about whatever correction, and don’t know horse manure about taking a PHOTOGRAPH. The same counts for users of Instacrap, mainly iPhone users, feeling ‘Press Photographer of the Year’, when they’re able to manipulate the app.
Please, write, and publicize, more articles like this, Mr.Gwizdala, and get photography back to the roots, writing with light!
What a bunch of clichés.
Golly where to start, how about – I couldn’t disagree more 😀
I think that digital is much easier to learn on as you can change the settings, make mistakes, learn and move on instantly and the settings will always be there to be checked rather than long forgotten as they are with film. With film your mistakes and how you made them are gone the second you press the shutter or move the dials – assuming you haven’t made extensive notes of the kit and all of the settings and can match your notes to the shot when it comes back from processing.
When I look at my film shots I struggle to remember what camera I used never mind what aperture or shutter speed and there’s no histogram to view and I don’t agree that film gives better results, not 35mm and sub anyway. To me digital is superior in pretty much every way.
No, digital is much better and is easier and cheaper to learn on than film and everyones first camera should be digital. All IMO of course 😀
Digital needn’t be expensive either as you can get something like a Panasonic G1 for very little money, add a cheap made in China adapter and a couple of cheap manual lenses and you’re up and running and you wont have to buy film and pay for it to be developed. I’d suggest a 28mm f2.8 and a 50mm f1.8. You’re missing the wide end but long ago many people only had a 50mm lens and it’s a good length to learn on (on the G1 28mm gives a 56mm equiv FoV.) You could put a digital package together very cheaply and the ongoing cost of film will very quickly overtake the cost of a decent digital camera, an adapter and a lens or two from the film era and free processing software can be easily found.
On the idea of purity… I don’t see why pictures shot on (for example) Kodak film with colours decided by some technician at that company are purer than those shot with a digital camera. I don’t and have never got that. Every shot be it film or digital has a look influenced by the maker of the film or the digital innards of a modern camera, I don’t see why film is purer, in fact I’d say it isn’t.
Sorry, but digital is best IMO 😀 both for newbies to learn on and for the more experienced who want to have the most control over how the final picture looks rather than rely on what Kodak think, or rather thought.
Even with the most basic of knowledge, film is easier to shoot. There are no menus to deal with, always wondering if you have set everything correctly. You just need to know the basic relationship between aperture and shutter speed, the same knowledge you should be mastering for digital photography. “colours decided by some technician”. I’m not sure what that means, but it is true of digital cameras for sure. The reason why different digital cameras, excepting when shooting raw, shooting the same scene process it differently.
Most of us are just shooting snapshots. Shoot a roll of film, have it developed and printed and you’re done with it. If you want to play with it, or pass along the images on the web, the lab will normally give you a digital copy. Or, spend a small fortune on the digital experience, camera, lenses, software, computer, calibrated monitor, calibrator to calibrate the monitor, etc… Everyone likes to rationalize digital with no “expensive film to buy”, but the film is the least of it.
I shoot both digital and film, and using a film camera is so much easier. That’s where you really learn the basics that transfer so well to digital.
The histogram is critical to shooting digital because, excepting slide film, the margin for error is so much smaller with digital.
I have seen too far people get discouraged when shooting digital, trying to read and understand the typical instruction manual. Film: set your aperture, film speed, focus and shoot. If you really want dirt simple with film, shoot with a Hexar Af.
I get your point that film can be cheaper than most of us think but a quick change to your assumptions (One SD vs two, buy a standalone copy of lightroom $150) and the costs are almost the same. The DSLR ends up being 170 pounds more, but you also get a high end autofocus system, better low light performance, weather sealed body, 1/8000 top shutter speed, 1/250 flash sync, and full HD video recording and a higher resale value should you decide photography is not for you. Choosing a DSLR closer in performance to the Pentax would make digital the cheaper option. Film may be a good option and may be the right choice for some, but it is not cheaper and it is not nearly as convenient. I took 2500 frames on my last trip. That would be over 65 rolls of 36 exposure film.
I don’t think most people would want to deal with processing 2500 frames. That would take weeks out of my time. Depends what you are going to do with the pictures. If you’re going to shoot color, digital is good enough. B&W is something else. Shoot off a roll of B&W with just an Olympus Stylus and you should be amazed. B&W with the Leica Monochrome or Sigma Fovean is very good.
Those cameras have unnecessary gimmicks that get in the way of learning. Buy one after you’ve learned by all means. And they deffo don’t have a higher resale value. They lose value almost instantly because a new better camera will come out in a few months.
I took my digital camera on my last trip and a few film cameras. I have a “good photos” folder for my best photos that are good enough for social media and for sale. Around 20% of my digital photos got put in there compared to around 80% of film. Think about it. Out of your 2500 photos on your camera, how many will you actually use. Most will end up forgotten on your hard drive. Digital isn’t cheaper but yes it is more convenient.
Beware – shooting with film cameras may fuel GAS
What you say is really true. Before to get married I spent a lot of time in my darkroom having a great fun and a really great satisfaction to manually follow the entire process from the choose of the film to the shooting time and also to the following phase of print. The entire process was slow but was great satisfaction and this even when I was doing big mistakes. these errors have made me reflect and improve over the years not only my photographic technique but also my way of “doing” photography. the birth of my first child I switched to digital. I learned to use the photo editing programs. realize what you have in mind now is certainly faster and easier, but ….. but to be honest very much regret the time when I was losing entire hours in the darkroom. I felt an almost physical pleasure and satisfaction was great when I was able to get what I had in mind: he was my result my breakthrough. I can not feel the same satisfaction with digital gear. the manual is missing with digital. that is the question.
Jozef you wrote: “Having a limited amount of frames forces one to actually think about the shot. You will take fewer shots with a film camera because you don’t want to waste film and as a result of this, the shots that you take will be better”.
In 1981, I was sent by Cornell University to establish and head a research team based on Mt. Emei, Sichuan, China. I had 36 rolls of Kodachrome 64 slide film 36 exposure each. Every shot I took mattered. At the time, their was only one hotel in Chengdu–the Jinjiang–and it was the only place your could buy film–if they had it. I so very much relate and agree with your sentiments.
Film is cheaper? What planet are you living on?
I happen to think that digital is cheaper. However, I would not assert this unless I could back it up with emperical data. Like our teacher told us in maths class (and was she ever right): showing your process is more important than the answer.
Earth. However, perhaps it is cheaper in England than in the states where from the comments, it sounds like $10 is the norm for the roll and $15 for the developing. Where I live its under 2 quid for a roll and develop.
That’s cheap! I bet it would be cheaper for me to send my film to the UK from Australia than it would be to have it developed here. That’s not practical for commercial work though. 😉
I came to film from digital –
sold my last digital camera – Sony RX1, which is great camera,
but I like result gives film camera better
and yes, shooting film is no expensive if develop by itself.
roll of film – from $3
b&w developing – $0.5 for roll