Why do I shoot Film?

I’m often asked “Why do you still shoot film?”¬†The truth is, I never used to shoot as much as I do now. I grew up shooting 35mm like most people my age. When digital became more mainstream I put away my trusty Vivitar v3000 and bought a Canon 400D digital SLR, so for me, its not about still shooting film, its about going back to to shooting film.

During the past 5 years I have taken 1000’s of digital images that I’m happy with, but when I shoot film the process is slowed down, I feel I capture the heart of the image, and doing so lets you relive the moment.

The Film Photography Process

Jacaranda House - Film

Gear

I use a Fotoman 617 camera body with a Schneider 90mm fixed lens. My film of choice is either Fuji Velvia 50 or Fuji Provia 100. I also have a Schneider center spot filter and some Cokin X series GND filters.

Buying Film

I buy all of my film from overseas, most of it comes form Thailand. You may ask why I don’t buy it locally in Australia? The simple answer is cost. Australian companies are charging extreme prices – even back when the AUD $ was at parity with the USD $. One of the main reasons that film is cheaper overseas is because film stock ages, and the stock I can get locally is considered fresh (with expiry dates many years into the future), the stock I get form Thailand is usually very close to its ‘best before’ date. The good news is, when film is kept in a cool, dry place it will generally last forever.

Shooting with a Film Camera

My Fotoman camera is a large box with a lens bolted on the front of it. Taking an image is easy, the time-consuming part is setting up and making sure the camera is straight and level. Shooting medium format film is a lot of fun, when you see the correctly exposed transparency on the light table your patience is rewarded and the experience is relived -you have a 6x17cm tangible piece of the world in your hands. Film is real, it can scratch if you are not careful with it, and unlike digital you can’t save it to a backup hard drive. It’s also not uncommon to return from an afternoon shoot having only shot one roll (4 images) or less. You then need to store your exposed rolls in the fridge waiting to be sent to the lab in batches. The real buzz is when you finally get your film back!

The only way to fell this buzz for yourself is to get out and shoot some film for yourself!

Velvia Slide Film

Velvia slide film is amazing to use, yet at the same time it has 100’s of draw backs. The good needs to be taken with the bad. Dark areas of your exposure will be dark, but well exposed areas will feature rich details and the colour and saturation is something unique to Velvia film.

So which images are film and which ones are digital?

Sometimes it is hard to tell, my gallery is made up of a mixture of both film and digitally captured images. To view the growing list of film captured images click below:

Film Photography – Landscape Image captured by Kane Gledhill