I just want to let you know this is the definite list of the top 20 reasons REAL photographers chose to shoot with a film camera over digital. I am backing up this list with substantial individual research done by myself on myself. Sounds dirtier then it actually is 😐.
I’m sitting down on my bed with the curtains drawn, rotating fan in front of me blowing at full speed, sounds of kids playing in water emanating from the window while I type this article to give you 20 Reasons why I love shooting film over digital.
20 Reasons to Chose to shoot with a Film Camera
I don’t want to convince you to abandon your digital camera and shot only film now. That’ll be dumb. What I am aiming at accomplishing with this article is to show you the benefits that adding film to your photographic repertoire will do for you with 20 reasons.
REASON 1: You Look Like A BadAss
I see the looks people give me when I’m out in the streets shooting with a film camera instead of a DSLR. Daughters be tugging their mothers will pointing at me and saying “Momma…. There goes that Man”. Not a lot of people shoot film. Those that do usually know what they are doing. When you see someone out in the streets shooting with a film camera more times then not you think to yourself what a badass. Who doesn’t like feeling like a badass? If you don’t just stop reading right there and get off my blog cause you’re trespassing. Didn’t you read the sign. Only BADASS’s allowed.
Reason 2: You become a better photographer
If you’re shooting with a 35mm camera, all you have is 24 or 36 shots. Compared to the 128GB memory card in my DSLR that’s wayyyyy less shots. Way less. This means every single shot counts. I’m going to take my time. Compose my shot. Get the exposure I’m looking for then crank the lever and press the shutter release button. Way more intent and conscious effort to figure out what it is that you’re trying to make instead of putting your camera on auto and click click click..
Reason 3: You develop the patience of a monk
Wooo Shaaaa. Wax on Wax off. With a restriction on the number of shots your film has, you are going to be more deliberate with your shooting. You’ve got the perfect background figured out but there is nothing interesting going on in the foreground. So you wait.. Patiently until the photography gods sends something interesting your way in the foreground.
Reason 4: girls love film cameras
I don’t know what it is with film camera’s, maybe it’s the sexy old school curves of the camera, the vivid vintage images they produce or the fact that you look like a badass with the camera, whatever the case maybe, every time I hit the streets with a film camera it’s like I’m a celebrity and my female fans swoon at every click of the shutter.
Reason 5: film cameras are super affordable
$40 From Craigslist. Nouf Said
Reason 6: people in the street are more receptive when you’re shooting film
People have given DSLR’s a bad rep. They are seen as invaders of privacy, sneaky creeps, paparazzi and all other types of negative connotations. To some extend which are true. They just don’t apply to a large majority of people. When you’re out with a film camera, you look like you’re an expert treasure seeker gliding along the streets looking to capture breathtaking photos. Which is another reason why an infinite number of people are more receptive to getting their photo taken by a film camera then a DSLR. True that. I just made it up based on experience.
Reason 7: shooting films simplifies everything.
No LCD screen to fidget with. No buttons to accidentally press while composing a shot. Back button focus… What is that? Shutter speed dial -> check. Self-timer -> check. Shutter release button -> check. Aperture ring on lens -> check. That’s it. No fidgeting in the settings menu trying to find HDR mode. Having a film camera keeps everything simple. You only have the basic necessities to make magic happen nothing more, nothing less.
REason 8: shooting film helps you become a manual focusing sensei
Do street photography with a film camera and you’ll quickly find that waiting until you see that interesting person before focusing will leave you more times then not missing the shot. So you end up learning about zone focusing and hyper-focal distance and through repetition and missing countless shots you hone your manual focusing skills to pristine god-like levels.
REason 9: you get to shoot with a lens that has a manual aperture ring
Trust me I get it, Bokeh looks amazing. There will come a time when you need to diversify your portfolio and experiment with different depths-of-field. This is when an aperture ring on your lens comes into play. Instead of spinning the wrong knobs, the aperture ring is right next to the manual focusing ring so you can use the same hand to control both.
Reason 10: you don’t get the luxury of Seing your photo as soon as you make it
Say bye bye to spray and pray. No more taking a test picture to see if your exposure is right. That’s a waste of a frame. Make sure you have the exposure that you want before you make the shot with a film camera. There is no redo. There is no checking to see if the photo came out looking alright. You have to know what you’re doing and be comfortable with trusting your self.
REason 11: you get super excited waiting for your film to get developed
You shoot a whole roll of film. You rewind it and place it back in the container as you hurry to your local film store to get your 35mm developed. Nerves are racing. You have no idea how the images will turn out.
REason 12: you get to use equipment that was build in the 70s and is still in amazing condition
Remember the photo I posted above with the $40 Yashica Film Camera. We’ll it’s in exquisite condition. Looks brand new. Works perfectly since it’s all manually operated excepted for the led lights of the light meter that require batteries that can be found everywhere. My $1600 worth canon 80D camera will not be lasting me 30 years that’s for sure.
REason 13:You’ll never experience an sd card failing on you
Ever heard the tragic stories of photographers losing all of their photos because their SD cards failed on them. Never going to happen to you with a film camera. Keep your undeveloped films in the right environment and it can outlast you. You’re never going to be in the middle of a shoot and you’re card fails on you. With film, you just put in a new roll of 35mm and you’re back in business.
Reason 14: Never worry about charging your batteries or needing spares ever again
With an all mechanical camera. There is no use whatsoever for a battery. I never have to think about wether my batteries are charged. I don’t have to panic that I only packed one battery and it is going to die and I have no charger to give it a little bit of juice. With a film camera, I never have to worry about any of that. The only battery my Yashica uses is for the led light meter. And that battery lasts a super long time.
Reason 15: No more New gear collecting syndrome
Using a film camera, the though of my camera being obsolete never enters my mind. Yeah sure it’s made in the late 70’s. Yeah sure it has no digital lcd screen or 59 trillion dual-pixel auto focus points. It get’s the job done. I’m not worried the camera companies will make better cameras. They will. I’m not worried my camera is too old. It is. I’m not sad that my film camera doesn’t have 4k capabilities with triple SD card slots and a built in girlfriend. Because it doesn’t. I know that my film camera will always show up when I need it.
Reason 16: NO editing
Especially if you do not develop your own film, you will not be spending hours behind your computer screen editing photos or slaving away in a darkroom dodging and burning photos to get the perfect image. What you shoot will be what you get. With this kind of results, you are going to become a better shooter. There’s no way around it.
Reason 17: Film is Timeless
Film camera’s have been around for decades now. You won’t find digital cameras that are still going strong decades later. They lose their value pretty fast. Technically speaking, a mechanical film camera can last you a lifetime if you take care of it and give it the proper maintenance to keep the gears working smoothly.
Reason 18: Physical Photos in your Hands
With a DSLR, it’s rare that people actually print their photos so that they have physical copies of their work. Shooting with film gives you the option to have your images as prints every time you send them to get developed. Not just looking at them once on your LCD screen and never seeing them again. Prints are priceless.
Reason 19: Film Looks Amazing
The quality you get with shooting a film camera is simply amazing. Sure there is no HDR and high megapixels. You’ll be shooting a full frame film camera that takes 35mm film of either color or black and white and that has amazing resolution. Look at all the photo shot with film and you’ll notice that if you know what you’re doing the images all look superb.
Reason 20: Film will get you laid
Had to save the best for last. It’s a very know fact that girls love artists. Why do you think, singers, musicians, painters are constantly surrounded by groupies that are madly infatuated with them. They are artists destined for greatness. When I walk down the streets of NYC with my film camera, I look like a casanova photographer and the ladies just can’t get enough. I’m forced to dress down not to draw any attention on myself which creates the inverse effect. Wives leaving their husbands for me. Shooting Film will get you laid.
There you have it. Hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I enjoyed writing it. If you end up picking up a film camera for the first time because of this post, I’d love to hear your experience with it as long as seeing the images you manage to produce with them.
Until Next Time
From the Bed of Abdoulaye