(My latest film camera car boot bargains - a 35mm Olympus Compact and two Kodak Brownies.)
You know me. Every week I come home from the car-boot sales with another odd little camera or some 35mm film. After I've run a roll through them, I'll put up a post, or share the photos on Flickr, then I'll wax lyrical about how great taking photographs on film is. I talk about it on the Podcast, hell, I even do the the show-notes for the Film Photography Podcast because I love the format so much.
The problem is that I wasn't really sure why I liked shooting film. It's more expensive to get the photo's developed. The photo's are a lot grainier than my digital images. The negatives get dust on them and scratched, and that can never happen to the RAW files from my dSLR. I have to keep buying film, I can't take any where near the same amount of photo's on film as I can with digital, and I can't experiment as much.
We have here a conundrum. Logically, film should not have any part of my photography work-flow. Digital is better in almost every way. Film is the past, digital the future. Sure, it's great that the Olympus Trip 35 doesn't use a battery, but is it really better than my old Fujifilm S5700 Super-Zoom?
The answer, is that the reason why I love film, is not logical, but it is based around a fact. And I think I've worked out what that fact is.
In my digitally, technologically, electronically, brainwashed sub-concious, film cameras just shouldn't work as well as they do. My sub-concious (and then my concious) mind doesn't think that film cameras are complicated enough, so I'm always amazed, delighted and uplifted when I get my prints back from the lab and they look great. It just shouldn't happen!
Having come back into photography only over the last few years, I submersed myself in magazines, books and websites that continually obsessed about mega-pixels, processors and resolution. If you read through a camera review at dpreview.com, its all very, very technical and very, very complicated.
In my confused mind I mixed up technology with photography, and that you needed the most advanced of the former to get the best of the latter. Photography improved as technology advanced - something I now know to be not true. Sure, photography always changes, and technology can drive that, but they can be mutually exclusive.
So, as you can imagine, when I picked up my first Film SLR - The Minolta SRT 101, I was amazed that the 40 year-old light metering system could compete with modern, computer aided multi-zone light meters. It just wasn't right that the clock-work shutter could work just as well as the electronically driven curtains on my dSLR!
It should now be apparent that as I worked my way through various manual-focus 35mm Film SLR's, compacts and instant cameras, then more recently ended up with the Trip 35, my mind was reeling that these incredibly simple, but well engineered and designed, cameras could help me create photo's that were on par with anything that I could create with my digital cameras.
You see it's not that I think Film is better than digital, or the other way round. Digital is now. Digital is the future. Digital is dominant, digital is the sensible way to shoot.
But film..... film is magical!
What Do You Think?
Do you shoot film? Why bother when digital is cheaper, cleaner and technically better? Do you shoot digital and film, or are you purely a digital photographer? Please add your comments below!