This year marks 42 years since the creation of the very first functioning digital camera. Regardless of it being 0.01 megapixels, it paved the way to the downfall of film photography and the steady rise of digital shots.
Here are some reasons as to why certain photographers are still using the so-called “outdated” technology:
1. The Surprise Element
The new generation will have no idea what it’s like to stroll back home with an album of freshly developed photos. Longing to discover the concealed treasures, asking yourself “Should I take a peek now or wait until I arrive?”
Instant gratification is all too easy with digital photography nowadays. Whether it’s staring at the LCD screen while out on a shoot to see if every little detail is perfect or holding up your flashy phone at a gig, it’s a punishment on society and takes away a huge part from the joy of photography.
2. Higher Dynamic Range
High Dynamic Range has been around approximately as long as photography itself. Only since the arrival of digital photography and software like Lightroom and Photomatix have we started seeing these ludicrous creations by inexperienced photographers testing tonal layers in overwhelming numbers. But did you know it can take up to three bracketed RAW digital files to achieve the same sort of tonal range some films can get?
3. Film Photography Was Already Perfect
Those of us who have photo albums from the ‘90s are considered lucky. They certainly take great delight in flipping through the old tea-stained card pages, looking through the awkward portraits and poses, day trips to Gozo, painted faces at mass meetings, birthday parties as well as memories of that time we cried our eyes out cause we didn’t want to leave the Bugibba trampolines. The point I’m trying to make is these vernacular photo albums were all shot on film and were undoubtedly perfect.
On the other hand, today we’re not only making less albums, we’re obsessed about taking more and more photos to get that perfect shot. Even our phones and tablets are spoiled with numerous portraits of our friends, nieces and nephews and picturesque views because the photo before could have been just a little bit different or better.
4. It Slows You Down, and saves you time
There can be both advantages and disadvantages for a reason to pick film over digital. However, the more experienced photographer will tell you that a methodical way is a much preferred approach of achieving your goals. The normal roll of film only has about 24 exposures with comparison to the 10,000+ JPEGs you can store on a 32GB memory card.
Using film restricts you, and you will have to be more attantive seeing everything that’s in the frame. There is no luxury of rattling off another hundred digital images and thinking to yourself “I’ll fix it in Photoshop later”. Getting it right in-camera also provides the extra benefit of not having to go through hundreds of photos to choose the best composition.
5. You Don’t Need Electricity
Photographic negatives can be created from start to finish without using any electricity at all. There is something very rewarding and satisfying being able to execute your own ideas without depending on technology. You definately won’t be able to do this with digital photography.
6. Film Cameras Are Inexpensive
Going for a brand new digital camera, can cost you thousands of euros, even before buying the lenses of your choice. DSLR bodies which are second-hand and were made redundant during the last decade still have a three-digit price tag. When considering film equivalents, the price difference in surprising. The very best 35mm Pentax, Nikon and Canon cameras can be purchased for under three figures.
7. For the Imperfections
Nowadays there is this sort of weird desire for the hyper-real. It’s as if a photographer’s interpretation of the real imperfections no longer exists via the wide choice of materials; sharpness and high resolution being added extensively to all subject matter as a normal accepted photographic trope. I find myself longing for the interpretive and unique look of the classic film photography where everything was perfectly imperfect.
8. To Be Different
With more than six billion photos uploaded on Facebook every month, the struggle to stand out and be different is real. If being noticed actually makes a difference to you, shoot film and tell a different story to the rest.
Nothing beats the reactions of young photographers when they see you walking around using a Kodak box brownie or TLR. It’s the perfect talking point and an easy way to affect those vulnerable young photographer minds.
© 2017 – VIDA Magazine – Claire Ciantar