It’s an everygreen question I get asked every time people see me using my classic film cameras in town….downtown Vancouver BC that is.
Why do I still shoot film?
It’s such a loaded question, that once I start, the conversation carries on for an hour or more, usually within the comfort of my favorite coffee shops in Water Street, Main and Hastings, or Yaletown!
So here are my reasons, encapsulated and bottled up in neat little packages for everyone to remember! But don’t forget, this is what I think about film….your ideas may be completely different to mine, in whihc case, let’s beg to differ!
1 Probably the number one reason I use film is because I like the way my prints look when I create them in my darkroom It’s the closest representation that I have ever seen to what I visualize in my minds eye
2 I can produce prints with film, not possible if I used a digital camera.
3 Film images have a three-dimensional unknown x-factor quality, as opposed to a harsher almost sterile look that you see with digital. This has to do with the way that our eyes work. Seems to be somewhat true about hi-fi music as well, played using traditional vinyl records on a turntable with stylus etc and of course, valve powered amplifier system! That opposed to digital music.
4 Skin tones on film beat digital every time. It isn’t even a close call. Buy a roll of Kodak Portra 400 and take some portraits and then do the same with your digital SLR. The skin tones are far superior with the Portra, but you can judge for yourself.
5 This one’s the trump card….A frame of 35mm film scanned is approximately equal to a 21 to 25 Mp DSLR. When you get into medium format (6×6, 6×7, 6×9) or large format (4×5) you would need a 200MP to 300MP digital camera to even come close to matching film. Even then you would end up with an image that you may not prefer.
6 Film is always sharp. No need buy third party software packages. With digital if you don’t sharpen your photos you are in trouble quickly. I can use any of my film cameras with b/w film and either make prints or scans without any “sharpening” to produce crisp photos without any extra effort.
7 I personally enjoy touching and handling film. I love developing my own film and when I create black and white fine art prints the experience from capture to the final print is unrivaled by anything I can do in the digital world. A silver gelatin print on archival fine art paper is the gold standard for collectors.