If you’ve been shooting exclusively digital yet are curious about film, now is as great time. Old film cameras are cheap and readily available on eBay and used markets everywhere. There’s a special look to film photos, and it’ll challenge you to be a better photographer…
In this day of instant gratification, film photography will teach you to be patient. Of course there’s no LCD on the back of the camera – you can’t see the pictures until you’ve printed or scanned them. That moment of discovery that comes when you get a roll back is very exciting, and you don’t often get that with digital photography.
You’ll take better shots.
Instead of rapid firing, it’ll teach you to spend more time thinking about your shots. With only 24 or 36 shots per roll, you need to think carefully about each shot. You’ll treasure each shot, and try to make it a good one. You’ll come out with less shots total, but probably higher quality ones.
The “film look”.
The look of film shots is often cited as a bonus. There is something special about that “film look” – that digital cameras just don’t have. It will set your shots apart. You won’t get amazing ISO performance, but you’ll likely get better dynamic range and white balance. Your photos will have a timeless appeal to them.
People may think that film photography is expensive, but when you do the numbers, it’s not so bad. Sure, you pay for each roll of film, and you pay for scanning or printing it. But the cameras usually cost a lot less. And the cost per photo comes out quite reasonable.
Modern photo bags are often bursting at the seams with lenses and flashes and such. With film you are often forced to keep it simple. With limited lens selections and smaller lenses in general, you’ll be carrying a lot less. Indeed, I often use one lens only on my film camera – a 50mm 1.4. This can free you from the burden of gear overload.
Coming soon: Recommended film cameras