Film and Me, Five Years Later (Expectation Versus Reality)

Film and Me, Five Years Later (Expectation Versus Reality)

2000 1125 Dario Veréb

Five years ago I wanted to get into analog photography. Sadly, my parents had already sold their Minolta film SLRs and so I went on the hunt for a new old camera. I roamed the streets of my hometown peeking through shop windows and rummaging through shelves until I finally spotted my prey. Hidden behind Polaroids and point-and-shoots, I could just make out the silver tip of an SLRs pentaprism. I asked the saleswoman whether she would be kind enough to open the display case for me. Sensing a paying customer, she agreed.

“I don’t know much about cameras but I tested this one with film and it seemed to work fine,” she said.

That was all I needed to hear.

The camera came with a 50mm f/1.8 lens and had an internal light meter that seemed to work just fine. I took it everywhere and burned through countless rolls without ever encountering any issues. To this day it’s probably the most intuitive, comfortable and well-built camera I’ve ever used. I dare to say it is flawless.

There are countless articles online praising this beauty – there’s a really good one here on Casual Photophile, too – but when I got it, I didn’t know or care about the reviews, the opinions or the value of this particular camera. I had an analog camera that allowed me to do everything I wanted without making it any harder than it needed to be.

I approached my analog camera like I approached its modern, digital counterpart in my toolbox: I put it through its paces without being cautious or shy. It was a tool and it was put to good use.

It has been five years now and to be honest, I miss those days. Things have changed for me. I still own that camera, and still occasionally use it. But something has gone missing.

Sometimes when I’m at home I pick it up and marvel at its beauty. I wish I could just shoot with it. The clicking of the shutter dial, the sound of that mirror slap, the way the film squeaks when I advance it… I miss it.

Don’t get me wrong, I could totally head out and shoot a roll of film. It works fine! But there’s something else keeping me from doing so.

When I started out, I just photographed for myself, for pleasure and because I genuinely liked the intricate process. I didn’t have a style or any real photographic preferences. I didn’t know much about the benefits of film, I rarely retouched anything and wasn’t the technical guy I am nowadays. Back then, film was a somewhat experimental quest. I would buy a role of Kodak Gold 200, which is the only film I could get in retail stores nearby, and bring it in for developing on my way to work. A friend of mine would do the scans and I’d post a couple of my favorites to Instagram. Nothing fancy, just the usual, mundane scenery, some sunsets, my friends and family.

I still shoot those things. But with a dedicated compact camera, for nostalgia’s sake. Compact cameras from the Espio, Prego or Mju line are a lot of fun to use. I don’t need to be able to choose my settings. Therefore the SLR sits inside a display case waiting for its big moment, together with the rest of the film bodies I’ve acquired over the last few years.

These days I own way more gear than I ever have, and I take way more photos, but use way less film. There’s a simple explanation for that- it’s not the film photograph that I like, it’s the machinery I like.

Let me explain.

When I go on a walk, I need to make a very difficult decision: which camera should I bring? In most cases it ends up being a digital one. I like to go out just before sunset, when the light starts to dwindle. I like neon signs and street posts, semi-long exposures and in-body image stabilization. I hate calculating reciprocity and will most definitely forget my cable release. I’ve shot some of my favorite photographs during blue hour and pushed the RAW files to their limits to achieve them. I am just not an analog shooter. But I like the tools, the bodies and lenses.

Analog cameras are art pieces. They work like a Rolex, look like a Rolls Royce and can be as expensive as real estate. They can even be a status symbol or part of a historical collection. The workflow, the design, the sounds… I’ll always have a couple on display, occasionally crank the shutter and take one out to shoot with. The flares, the softness, the out-of-focus parts… I will also adapt old lenses to my digital camera. But due to practicality, my personal preferences and my approach to photography, I will never be the great analog shooter I once contemplated becoming. I think film will always be a “special occasion” thing for me. It’s simply not suitable for more.

I’ve also built up this pressure that prohibits me from just shooting without worry. All those videos and articles telling me how analog photography will teach me to seize every frame – all too often I wonder if a photo is really going to pan out and then resist snapping it. Some principles the community teaches should really be thrown overboard, in my opinion.

I simulate film stocks digitally from time to time. I enjoy certain film looks, at least occasionally. The great thing about simulating is that I don’t have to panic over my favorite film stock being discontinued. Which brings me to another argument in the case of choosing digital over film: money.

I know, coming from someone who keeps buying cameras and lenses, this might sound ridiculous, but I do feel like the price of film is pretty hefty nowadays. And the price attached to each frame I shoot has made me paranoid to the point where I need months to fill a role. As if seizing every frame wasn’t stressful enough. I shoot a lot of political turmoil. Waiting this long to see the results is not an option. Some analog cameras are really the new Nespresso coffeemakers: It’s not the cost of the device – they’ll get you on the capsules.

But maybe, though I own several cameras, I simply haven’t found the one that’ll forever change me and make me turn my back on digital photography. If I do, this article needs to be taken down, obviously. But that might also just be another excuse for my relentless desire to buy more gear. I have a pretty extensive bucket list – mostly made up of lenses, though.

I guess what I’m trying to say is: don’t let the tool, the expectations, the culture pressure you. Analog photography is fun but it’s also just another way to express yourself. You’re the one putting in the work. And if digital suits you more, then screw film! I can’t go back to when photography meant less for me. I work part-time in a studio, I document demonstrations and rallies for journalistic work and I make sure my girlfriend doesn’t run out of portraits to post to her social media. I live off of photography, it is an integral part of my daily life. But film as a medium doesn’t play the role I once expected it to. And that’s okay.

We sometimes dive headfirst into new hobbies and expect them to be some sort of revelation. And when they aren’t we think we did something wrong along the way. It’s fair to say that film isn’t for everyone. Try it, but do not unnecessarily hang on to it.

And if you constantly crave more gear like I do, learn to live with that too. As long as your purchases fill you with joy, and you’re not just jumping from one shopper’s high to the next, there’s nothing wrong with hoarding a few mechanical masterpieces. These cameras were designed to excite you – one way or another. However, make sure to use them from time to time. One might be the gamechanger, after all!

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Dario Veréb

Dario Veréb is a photographer and journalist from Zurich, Switzerland. After having shot extensively with an Olympus Mju II Zoom 80 in his childhood he rediscovered his love for film photography when he stumbled across an Olympus OM-1 in his hometown. He has not found a cure for his GAS (gear acquisition syndrome) since and is often found roaming flea markets and thrift stores in search of cheap point and shoots and all things Japanese.

All stories by:Dario Veréb
  • A good and honest reflection on your photography journey. Well written.
    As much as I am a “film guy”, I can not fault your views here. You have expressed pretty well one of the many things about photography that keeps me interested in it.
    That “thing” being the fact that there are so many, many ways to be a photographer. And that, in my opinion, finding that way for one’s photography is the heart of what makes photography a joy and, hopefully, a life long pursuit.
    For my self, I am an unabashed amateur. I have sold a few prints over the years but, for me, separating my photography from my income is the better way–I never want to feel like I “have” to shoot something. It is an ongoing and vital part of my life but not having the pressure of trying to make my living at it has been a very good thing. For me.
    Reading this: “And when they aren’t we think we did something wrong along the way.” hints at something else about some of us “film guys”; we can be a bit too zealous about the whole film experience.
    I hope that I am never so caught up in my own enthusiasm that I act as if everyone MUST take the same enjoyment from photography. There is no rational reason to expect such and what I consciously try to do is to share what I know when asked and to understand that where I find my joy is not where everyone else will or should.
    Thank you for sharing this with us, Dario!

    • I’m glad you enjoyed reading my article, Rob. Your approach to photography seems very “healthy” and I couldn’t agree more with what you wrote. Turning a hobby into something more can be dangerous. Thanks so much for your comment and keep shooting!

  • I always thought about doing film, maybe even develop BW myself…but I’d hate to think about the cost of each shot. There are things in the digital world that are just too useful. Like seeing exposure and white balance in the EVF, zooming in to manually focus and of course taking a risk with shots just to see if they pan out or not. So for me using old glass on a new digital camera is kind of a sweet spot.

    • I highly agree. You really get (some of) the best of both worlds: the flexibility of digital and the character of analog glass. Plus adapting lenses can be very cost efficient if you look at the prices for modern AF primes. Thanks for your comment!

  • Well put! I read this while having my morning coffee, and was nodding in agreement the whole time.

    I started shooting some film again about 4 years ago, medium format, and have struggled to engage with it. Most of it is an overall loss of interest rather than the film camera, but to your point I like to go out early, and there is frequently a lot of moisture in the air, and as I am picking what to take, my weather sealed, image stabilized digital camera makes it in the bag more often than the Hasselblad.

    And I have the same concerns you mentioned regarding cost. For 120, the adding cost of buying the roll, processing and scanning, it is almost $40 USD. Even partly rationalizing that I am supporting the people who work at the lab-which is legitimately important I think-it does tend to make me hesitate before tripping the shutter.

    Anyway, I am not saying anything you haven’t said better, so thank you for this.

    • Dear Ross, I love the image you put into my head of you nodding and drinking coffee while reading this! Thank you so much and stay well!

  • Photography isn’t my life the way it is yours, as in it doesn’t pay my bills, but everything else in this article… This is me 100%.
    Back in the early 2000‘s when everyone was buying DSLRs, all I did was shoot with miles and miles of Kodak Tri-x, developed myself in Diafine, and shot all the time with old rangefinders. Bulk rolling and developing myself kept the cost down and I regularly would post things online well after all my friends did from their new digital Nikons and Canons.
    As soon as I got my first Fuji X100 model, the real switch to digital was on for me. I recently had five rolls of 35 mm and 120 developed and scanned by a lab. These five rolls of film were all that I had shot over the past two years!
    I do love the operation of my film cameras though. Using my Nikon S3 rangefinder will always be a real joy and it’s pretty similar for my Canonet and my Mamiya 645 as well. Somehow using even a camera like the X100 just isn’t quite the same but my thoughts of going back to film have faded and I’ve become ok with it.

    • Dear Scott, that’s a beautiful and very true comment. I think it’s that last part about accepting change that’s especially important. Thank you for sharing and I do hope you’ll have another five rolls to develop in two years. 😉 Cheers!

  • christian thompson January 20, 2021 at 10:03 am

    I spent over 10 years working as a professional photographer back in the days of film and I would never want to go back to analogue photography.
    I love everything about digital photography. Its flexibility, availability, security and costs are a dream come true for me. It gives me everything I dreamt about having but was impossible back in the day.

  • I expect that 99% of film photographers also have a decent digital camera and switch between media flexibly as the situation or their whim demands. It would be a pity for the analog community to be seen as overly dogmatic. Analog should still get all the support we can give it; I’d like to keep it as a viable option. Love the old gear, love the results.

    • Dear Anton, I 100% agree. We need to make sure analog photography sticks around for as long as possible. I do believe there are some unique things you can do with it that no Lightroom Lut and no AI software will ever be capable of achieving. It’s the organic nature of it that will always attract people. And yes, a big portion of analog shooters also use digital. I get that you don’t have to pick a side but for me, I just imagined film would take up more space in my life. It didn’t and that’s okay.
      Thanks for the comment and stay well!

    • Peter Bidel Schwambach January 20, 2021 at 8:39 pm

      I’ve never owned a digital camera, but I’ve considered getting one several times already. The main problem is that, here in Brazil, even the cheaper ones still cost between 4 and 5 thousand bucks, kit lens included. That’s some pretty big money for a piece of hardware not too far off the camera in your smartphone. Just a couple months ago, one of my best friends bought a new Canon EOS Rebel SL3 bundled with a 18-55mm lens, plus a 50mm prime and another zoom lens that I can’t quite recall right now. He paid nearly 7 grand for the whole set, and it’s simply not as good as my old Nikkors which cost me less than half that. He probably couldn’t make do with a film camera, since he uses it for streaming, but as a photographic tool, that’s just too much buck for not that much bang.

      • Whoa, I can’t even think of how my photographic journey would’ve turned out had I only ever shot analog. Yes, digital gear is really expensive. Maybe though you could find a great steal on the used market and then adapt your beloved lenses? Anyway, thanks so much for your input and for reading my article. Stay well, Peter!

        • Peter Bidel Schwambach January 21, 2021 at 3:15 pm

          I’ve thought about it… I mean, I’m a Nikon shooter, and my Nikkors are actually compatible straight out the box with newer Nikon DSLRs, even if in manual mode only, but even used the prices are scorching… For example, I’m looking at a Nikon Df, which would be right up my alley in terms of design and retro feel, and even a very used, very beat up one is still going for 6 grand. A Nikon D750 runs for even more cash, 10-15 grand used. Prices only start to drop once you get out of FX and into cropped territory, but at that point I’d have to factor in crop factor for all my vintage glass, not to mention my old FM2 probably performs better than these anyways…

    • My everyday bag always contains one of my film cameras (35mm or 6×9) and one of my Nikon D300s. I shoot impulsively with the D300 and pull out the film camera if I see something special. I love both.

  • I hear what you are saying but for me it is a different path. I never stopped shooting film. I now only use 35mm film and cameras to keep it simple and lighter. I was an early adopter of digital for work using Sony Mavica-then compacts. I posted digital shots on our web site. In 2012 I started looking for a better ILC digital. But started taking more film to compare. I still have my original rangefinder my dad bought in 1953 a Voightlander and three lenses. I still have my Olympus OM2n from 1980 that works well and I have about five lenses. I added a Minolta 600si when my dad passed away 9 years ago. I now have two more 600si bodies and about six more Minolta lenses. Plus I have had a string of good digital cameras and smartphones. I use all this stuff, but only for personal-fun use. One thing I learned over the last ten years. Film and digital photography are not the same art form as oil and watercolor paintings are not the same.

    Every year at the end of the year I try to select my best shots. Inevitably, even though I take many more digital photos, is that many of my best are shot with film on old cameras.

    Another significant advantage for me of shooting film is that I have a tendency to get a set of prints with each roll I have developed. I like prints. I also like slides and have a working slide projector and screen. Something to consider, I have the family photos from when we came to the USA (1873) and now. I have them fairly well organized. In my opinion, when you are gone it is more likely your physical photos are what will last. Very likely no one will be able to edit a raw file from 2021 in 2050, or even view it. Maybe jpegs will work. If you only shoot digital I suggest getting some prints made. And put them into albums.

    I also love buying photo stuff. Old film camera things are much cheaper than new good digital ones. Not long ago I bought a very nice 70-205mm f4 Minolta lens for about $15. A new Nikon lens for one of my digital cameras would be a lot more. And maybe not much better quality. Old lenses can be good or not so good. But many of the old ones give wonderful results. My 1953 50mm f1.5 Voightlander Nokton is one example, or my 1980 Olympus 50mm f1.8. One the last ten years I have spent at least ten times as much buying new digital cameras compared with buying lots of old film cameras and many film rolls plus development.

    So with 2021 just getting started my plan for this year is to shoot lots of film and digital with the choice of the two depending on the subject and my mood. My only regret it that I sold a very good second Olympus OM2n body a few months ago with and excellent 50mm f1.4 and a 28mm f2.8 and winder. Why the heck did I do that? Oh, and an excellent and wonderful Minolta 100mm f2.8 macro. Now I have to go and buy them back.

    • Wow, that’s a lot of cool stuff you got there! And I really like the idea of revisiting your images at the end of the year to reevaluate them. I might copy that! Thanks so much for your comment and for sharing your point of view. All the best, Dario

  • Yours is one of the photo sites I still check. I went through some of the same – started with a Minolta Maxxum -1st AF SLR and since acquired far too many cameras and lenses. Also spent way too much time reading about how to sharpen my skills and along the way found I was taking few photos. Spent the past year using 1 camera, 1 lens, 1 film – 1 for 35mm (M3) and one medium (Rolleiflex). Stopped checking instagram, stopped checking Flickr and took the approach the wasting film isn’t a crime. Instead of website, dusted off copies of Robert Frank, Diane Arbus, Bresson & Erwitt books. Found my passion returned enough to use Pandemic time to build a darkroom, shot a great deal more film (HP5/Portra 400) and along the way found my Nikon dF battery hadn’t been charged in many many months. Instead of scans – contact sheets. Instead of BW prints on my Epson R3000. Had to just find what I like and use it, and for me realize that letting my love of photography slide over in to a love of photo equipment ended up being a negative (no pun intended). Even sold the Leica lenses I had never used since purchase. I know it’s different if you’re making a living with photography and that would push you to digital.

    • Peter Bidel Schwambach January 20, 2021 at 8:27 pm

      Same here… I guess you could argue about the virtues of seizing every frame, but a picture not taken is a frame wasted 100% of the time. Ever since getting back to film, I’ve shot multiple birthdays, christmas and new year’s eves with my family, and none of those pictures ended up on Instagram or whatever. Just last christmas, I shot 9 rolls, took my time with them and just now had them developed, nearly a month later. Many already forgotten moments came popping back not through a perfectly picked filter on a social network post, but in the way the camera snapped them. The best ones, of which there are many, are going into an old fashioned album, which I hope my niece will peruse when she’s old enough and data on a social network timeline has already been lost to whatever comes after

      • That’s something I’d forgotten to add as well. Instead of looking at a photo of the event you just left or even while still there – seeing the printed photo after developing truly adds something unique. Still a good argument for Amstel Adam’s a photo doesn’t work cost until it’s printed perspective.

        • Peter Bidel Schwambach January 21, 2021 at 3:08 pm

          Exactly, that’s where the true value of analog photo really shows, at least for me. Ever since I got married, me and my wife have gone on three major-ish trips together, but due to being a klutz, I only took my camera on the last one, and that’s the trip that we usually look back to, or view pictures of, not just because there’s more keepers than the other trips which I shot on my phone, but also because making and reviewing the pictures is a much more invested process than shooting half a dozen frames on digital, deleting most of them right then and there, uploading the rest, then never looking at them again.

          It’s hard to determine just what it is, analog pictures are hardly any more spontaneous than phone shots, people will pause and pose to make the photo, and, even if you could hold back and not look at your JPEGs until you got home, there’s still something far more involved in making these kinds of pictures than purely digital photos.

    • I think it’s admirable that you took the time to really check yourself and find your way back to what really mattered to you. Great comment, thanks so much, Bob!

  • My experience more parallels rfcn2 and Bob B’s than Dario’s. I decided to get back into fim last year. Shooting with my smartphone or compact digital didn’t excite me, and I was loath to go down the road and buy a more professional digital camera. Over the past year I’ve gotten several different 35mm cameras, from SLRs to rangefinders to zone-focus viewfinders to autofocus compacts. And I’ve found a joy in photography that I didn’t have before.

    I think one thing that helped is I haven’t tried to limit the amount of shots I take. I don’t “spray and pray”, but instead I err on taking a few “too many” with the risk of getting bum shots. I realize that film costs money and each shot has a real cash value. But I try not to get too hung up about it. It also helps that my film costs are reasonable (I use consumer grade stocks) and my local lab does a great job and is very affordable. My roll/develop/scan costs end up being about half the amount of what Ross pays.

    I can understand why professional photographers switched to digital. But I don’t have any intention of going pro, so film is OK with me. I shoot about one two rolls a week, not the dozens at a time that a pro may have. I intend to develop at home at some point, but I won’t be developing so much that I’ll have an aversion to the chemicals some former film shooters have.

    There’s other things I like about film: I like using old proven technologies. I like keeping perfectly good things out of a landfill. I like the fact that there’s so many great old film cameras out there, and they’re way more affordable than a current DSLR or mirrorless. I also like the anticipation of waiting for a roll to be developed and the finite amount of shots you can get on a roll vs. the “endless scroll” of digital.

    • It’s great to have a trusted lab that is also affordable. I would say just for the sake of keeping those guys running you should most definitely keep shooting film. That way others can discover what you’ve described above: a true genuine liking for the medium that absolutely needs to be kept alive. Thanks and cheers!

  • Great talk.
    Wise example from BobB
    I prefer to buy analog cameras than electronic gears, now I am thinking for simple use, light, portable, with free memory, no more many costs, what I can buy as a simple work station : a Samsung Galaxy Pad S7+ wifi, or a Microsoft Surface ProX, or, or, no Apple b y the way it is finihed for me, … I have bought too many, … now I do not like their marketing and push to buy the most expensive to get the best configuration.
    But analog gears, I will never stop, … 😉 all those cameras are great. Think when you have a M3, how many lens you would like ot try …
    Rolleiflex, which real rendering difference enter a 2,8 C and 2.8 F with the Zeiss or the Schneider ? I like to see.
    Now the machines, the gears are cold. so cold.

  • Peter Bidel Schwambach January 20, 2021 at 8:13 pm

    Great read. I can totally see how film photography doesn’t really pan out in the professional market anymore, it’s sort of a limiting factor compared to how easy and quick it is to shoot digital. Still, so far, film has been “right” for me in a way that digital hasn’t, it simply doesn’t catch my fancy as much as handling a fully mechanical SLR does. Maybe treating photography almost exclusively as a hobby that I can pursue at my own leisure has something to do with it, there’s no stress over deadlines or delivering a shoot while the news is still hot off the press. So far, I’vetaken and done two “assignments” so to speak, in the sense that I was paid for the pictures, both of them related to my actual job, and both of them somehow clicked in a way that I had my negatives developed, scanned and edited by the following afternoon.

    I guess I’m kinda lucky on the gear department tough, I’ve only ever owned one single camera, an FM2n my dad bought new in 1984 and passed on to me back in 2003, plus 7 primes in various focal lengths. I recently bought a cheapo Canonet QL17, mostly because I just had to have a tiny rangefinder, but I don’t see any new gear in my future. The FM2 is “that” camera for me, The One, the piece of machinery that my muscle memory is trained and always seems to go back to. The Canonet is pretty fun to tote around and shoot with, and I take it out whenever I can, but there’s just something about handling a camera that’s older than me, and that’s been part of my family’s life for longer than I have existed myself that doesn’t quite compare to newer, more practical, quicker cameras.

  • Khurt Louis Williams January 21, 2021 at 2:57 pm

    Thank you for putting words to the thoughts that have been in my mind for a few sometime.

  • I too can see that digital might be needed in for a professional – as much to match customer expectations as anything else, i.e., turn around time, volume of proofs to review. I have however been able to shoot some weddings with my M3, and some bridal shots w/my Hasselblad and one even with my old Graflex Speed Graphic. One final thought was that all this discussion brought back memories of some visits to the Leica Store in my area. I was purchasing some vintage lenses, and was asked if I would consider trading in my M3 for an M9 – at that time a new camera. Advantage was that it had the look of film (CCD sensor) and was virtually future proof since it was the pinnacle of digital. M9 does have something of a cult following for it’s “look” in jpegs, but I’m glad I kept my M3.

  • Thanks for a nice article.

    Back in the early nineties, I shot performing arts professionally for about ten years. Pushed 400ASA film was my staple. I had/have a rather nice purpose built darkroom. I developed and printed everything “in house”. Rare colour work was done by a professional lab.

    A typical dance shoot would go like this. Shoot the dress rehearsal, mid afternoon, rush home and develop the films and work until the early hours making enlarged contact prints ( sheets of 10×8 cut into tiny sheets to make little prints) of the ten to twenty rolls I shot. Mid morning I would take the contacts to the ballet director and then in the afternoon I would get a call to say the selection was ready. Rush to the theatre to pick up the contacts and then straight into the darkroom to make the press release prints for the show. Repeat the process for the premier. I was on the go for almost a 48 shift.

    No, the lumbering world of analogue are days best forgotten for me. I can imagine that the digital process is much smoother and quicker, without hours spent in a smelly damp darkroom.

    I have shot concerts for fun with my digital equipment and the image quality is on another planet compared to Tmax pushed to 1600. I have the choice of colour or B&W without having another body.

    I shot a concert where a friend of my wife was performing. It was so much more pleasant working at the computer with Capture One. I have also made digital scans of my old Jazz archive. I can do far more in the digital darkroom than was possible in the wet darkroom, and people told me I was a great printer.

    I think most people who have spent a lot of time developing and printing film have no nostalgia for the process.

  • Interesting thoughts in this post, and the comments so far. I shoot both digital and film. I started out with film because for the first thirty years that was the only choice. I bought at Contax 139Q in 1984, with the 1.7/50 Planar lens, and over the next twenty years just about wore it out. Then I bought a cheap 1.3 mpx point and shoot and after a couple of more capable compacts finished up with a Canon DSLR and a couple of lenses. I love the immediacy of digital, and the ability to do things in low light, such as astrophotography, that are hard to do with film. But about three years ago I decided to try the Contax again. With good processing and scans from a lab I realized that I had actually been missing something rather special that for me only film provides. I don’t know whether it is the colour, the texture, the process, or a combination of all three, but I just find it so satisfying. And there is a physical medium that my descendants may possibly get pleasure from looking through in years to come. I have stuck with the Contax, expanding my system with more lenses and bodies, and more recently branched out into medium format as well. My darkroom is nearly ready to go and I am looking forward to processing my own. My Canon DSLR is transformed by the Contax Zeiss lenses, and if I was a working photographer I would be using those on a full frame DSLR, alongside film. But I am in it mainly for my own enjoyment, and I enjoy shooting film.

    • Steve your experience sounds a lot like mine. I am not building a darkroom though. Years ago I developed an allergic reaction to darkroom chemicals and it took about ten years before I stopped having a bit of skin peal off my hands frequently. Plus 2021 I am working on becoming a better video person. I have always shot stills but love seeing the few video clips I have taken over the years and want to get better at that. With regards to film. I really like my old Minolta cameras. One of the things I miss after selling my Sony A7iii a year ago was being able to use my Minolta AF lenses. The Minolta lenses are very good in most cases except coatings. To me the new lenses are much more resistant to things like lens flair.

      Film. My 11 year old and 9 year old grand daughters like taking photos. So this week the three of us are going out with my three Minolta 600si film bodies and shoot some landscape. One of the good things about older film bodies is you can afford to do something like this because the cameras are so affordable. After shoot we are going to go over to a local camera store and get them developed.

  • Believe it or not, allowing for inflation, film is cheaper than it was in th 1950s!

  • Forgive me for being late to the discussion but I have to respond to this article. It’s one of the most introspective, accurate pieces I’ve read. Too often we labor under misconceptions and confusion, usually from notions given to us by others. The real test of ideas is experience — and that taught this author much wisdom.

    Experiences, of course, differ among us. Where it leads one isn’t the same as where it’ll lead others. I, for example, returned to film after several decades of digital photography with an intentionally crappy camera (Holga). I learned from using it, not just technically but artistically. Then I moved on to various vintage film cameras, all cheap, and learned from them, too.

    Now, like the author, I often shoot digital but I retain some attraction to film. My experiences led me to always carry at least two cameras, one digital and one film, for the unpredictable images in front of me. Given the small size of a point-and-shoot Canon and a 1972 Kodak Instamatic, this isn’t difficult. Having the choice is wonderful since scenes can be captured in different ways depending on my personal judgment and preference. Kudos on a brilliant conversation!

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Dario Veréb

Dario Veréb is a photographer and journalist from Zurich, Switzerland. After having shot extensively with an Olympus Mju II Zoom 80 in his childhood he rediscovered his love for film photography when he stumbled across an Olympus OM-1 in his hometown. He has not found a cure for his GAS (gear acquisition syndrome) since and is often found roaming flea markets and thrift stores in search of cheap point and shoots and all things Japanese.

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