Professional Photographers Are Still Shooting Film.

by John Waco Jr June. 26, 2019 250 views

For the last three years, companies like Kodak, Fujifilm and Harman Technology, which manufactures the popular Ilford Photo black-and-white films, have been experiencing a comeback. “Professional film sales have been increasing over the last two or three years,” Kodak Alaris’ imaging, paper, photo chemicals and film division.

Professional photographers are primarily fueling this growth, thanks to a new generation of practitioners who grew up with digital but have begun dabbling in film, “They discover the magic of film photography and many of them simply fall in love with it.”

Many modern film photographers are portrait and wedding photographers in their 20s and 30s who are looking to “differentiate their art and their work by shooting film,” “That usually allows them to charge for a premium product because film has a different look and feel than digital.”

The reason why a lot of influential motion pictures cinematographers demand to use film.” And now, professional photographers are making the same demands. “This group of photographers often uses the fact that they shoot film as a competitive advantage in their marketing.”

The Best Film Cameras You Can Buy Right Now

Film, meanwhile, pushes photographers to rethink how they shoot. “You can’t just shoot a hundred shots of your subject and review them immediately,” “Film forces you to think about the image, plan the image and really create the image mentally before you actually do the shoot. Film photographers believe that this process results in much more artistic and, in some cases, much more spectacular images.”

Film manufacturers have taken notice. They’re now rejuvenating their sales and marketing efforts, with Harman pushing for the creation of new courses, new darkrooms and exhibitions across the U.K. and the U.S. Kodak is retooling its entire social media strategy and if this year’s CES is any indication, Kodak has certainly struck a chord with film-curious photographers. While it will take a year for Ektachome to be available again, the company is already working on what comes next.

The Best Film For Every Photo Situations

Fujifilm, on the other hand, is looking at another segment to grow its film business: instant photography. “It’s a huge market for us,” says Almeida. Fujifilm believes it sold more than 6.5 million instant cameras last year, up from 3.9 million in 2018 (a full accounting of those sales will be published at the end of the month.) And new products continue to come out of Fujifilm’s factories.

Only a few film cameras are still in production and can be purchased brand new from either the manufacturer or any authorized camera retailer—and the Nikon FM-10 is one of those cameras. One of the successors of the Nikon FM, which became the basis for the highly successful Nikon film camera lineup of the same name, the FM10 is a mid-range manual focus SLR that is geared toward beginners with its basic but fully manual functionality, easy-to-use controls, and of course, the reasonably affordable price.

Nikon FM-10:

● Includes 35-70mm f/3.5-4.8 Zoom Nikkor lens

● Nikon F bayonet lens mount (accepts AF and AI-S Nikkor lenses, as well as other third-party Nikon mount lenses)

● Operable without batteries

● Wide shutter speed range (up to 1/2000 second)

● Fixed pentaprism viewfinder (eye-level)

● Depth-of-field preview

● Double exposures

● Built-in hot shoe (accepts any dedicated Nikon flash and other non-dedicated hot shoe flashes)

● Center-weighted photodiode light meter

● Manual advance and rewind

● Dimensions: 139 x 86 x 53 mm; Weight: 420g

Leica M7 rangefinder 35mm film camera

A heavy favorite among film photographers, the Leica M7 gives you the classic analog look and experience but with some modern updates to improve speed, convenience, and performance. The M7 is a rangefinder film camera that’s handcrafted and made with the finest materials. As one of the best film cameras out there, it’s the perfect choice for hardcore enthusiasts who need a premium, high-performance 35mm film camera that’s built to last a lifetime.

Key Features and Specifications of the Leica M7:

● .72 viewfinder magnification

● Accepts all compact M-Mount lenses (broad selection of available lenses)

● Wide shutter speed range (up to 1/1000 second)

● Classic viewfinder with electronic information

● Variable aperture priority exposure mode for automatic exposures

● Automatic film speed detection to prevent incorrect exposures

● Electronically controlled cloth focal plane shutter

● Dedicated flash speed of 1/50 second; allows second-curtain flash synchronization

● Flash speeds of up to 1/1000 second with Metz flash units

● Customizable, handcrafted metal body

● Dimensions: 138.0 x 79.5 x 38mm; Weight: 610g

Nikon F6 SLR 35mm film camera

Looking for the best film camera that can compete with your high-end DSLR? The Nikon F6 is a top-of-the-line SLR 35mm film camera geared specifically toward professional users. Apart from the Nikon FM-10, the F6 is the only other Nikon film camera that is currently in production. It’s the sixth camera in Nikon’s legendary pro-level F series—pioneered by the Nikon F, which was the brand’s first ever SLR film camera—and carries many of the same features as its predecessors but with a few useful updates for improved usability and effectiveness to keep up with the modern user’s needs.

Key Features and Specifications of the Nikon F6:

● Accepts almost any Nikon F-mount lens with full metering functionality

● 11-area AF system with nine cross-type sensors

● Four AF area modes: Single Area AF, Dynamic AF with Focus Tracking and Lock-On®, Group Dynamic AF, and Closest Subject Priority Dynamic AF

● Three exposure meters: 3D Color Matrix, Center-Weighted, and Spot metering

● Shutter speeds of 30 to 1/8000 second (up to 30 minutes in M mode)

● Creative Lighting System including Advanced Wireless Lighting with AUTO FP High-Speed Sync capability up to 1/8000 second

● Continuous high-speed shooting up to approx. 5.5 fps (or up to 8 fps with optional Multi Power Battery Pack MB-40)

● High-precision, electronically controlled vertical-travel focal-plane shutter with built-in shutter monitor

● Floating design for shutter and aperture mechanisms to reduce internal vibrations and operational noise

● Built-in data back function

● 41 custom settings

● Large rear LCD panel

● Seven interchangeable focusing screens (B Type BriteView clear screen Matte II )

● Lightweight and highly durable due to hybrid metal body with magnesium alloy

● Enhanced weather, moisture, and dust resistance

● Dimensions: 157 x 119 x 79mm; Weight: 975g

Voigtlander Bessa R4M rangefinder 35mm film camera

If the Leica M7 doesn’t fit your budget, the Voigtlander Bessa R4M is a camera that you may want to look into. Built specifically for wide-angle applications, the R4M is equipped with built-in parallax projected framelines for wide-angle lenses (21, 25, 28, 35, and 50mm) to allow framing and focusing directly from the built-in viewfinder. Packed with other notable modern features, casual and professional shooters will appreciate the budget-friendly price of this 35mm film camera, which comes pretty close to most Leica rangefinders in terms of design, build quality, and performance.

Key Features and Specifications of the Voigtlander Bessa R4M:

● Bright viewfinder with wide-angle design

● Built-in parallax projected framelines and split-image rangefinder patch

● Leica M-type bayonet lens mount (accepts lenses from Voigtlander, Leica, Canon, Minolta, and Konica)

● Electronically controlled vertical-travel focal-plane shutter

● Shutter speeds of up to 1/2000 second

● LED metering display shows exposure information

● TTL Center-weighted light metering

● Dimensions: 36 x 81 x 35mm; Weight: 430g

Join the conversation
There are 6 comments , add yours!
Berckmans Peter 1 year, 2 months ago

Great post. I have heard a rumour that the Leica is going to stop. Would be a shame.

1 year, 2 months ago Edited
Piotr Matura 1 year, 2 months ago

Thank you for this post! Full of interesting information and insight, I really appreciate it.
It is great to hear that film sales are growing, this means less stocks "axed" and maybe some new or "resurrected".
And it's fastinating to hear that there are brand new cameras available. I was only aware of Nikon F6 smile

1 year, 2 months ago Edited
Russell Smith 1 year, 2 months ago

In the Charleston, SC area we have a professional that she not only shoots "film" (ill get to that in a sec) she shoots large format 8x10 . The "film" part is because she not only shoots 8x10 but she shoots wet plate that she makes . While the bulk of her business is reenactments I find it amazing the time and effort that she puts into her craft.

1 year, 2 months ago Edited
John Waco Jr Replied to Russell Smith 1 year, 2 months ago

The Cambo 45SF is my camera, one that very competently satisfies
its objectives: A portable camera for architectural and location
photographers that can also work in the studio. The camera can also be
pressed into service as a day-hike camera for fine art landscape
photographers who want a full range of movements and the rigidity of a
monorail camera.

1 year, 2 months ago Edited
Russell Smith Replied to John Waco Jr 1 year, 2 months ago

One day I want to learn more about larger format but it will be a ways out for me unless I win the lotto hehe.

1 year, 2 months ago Edited
Jay Boggess 1 year, 2 months ago

WOW! Wonderful info & images!!! Thank You!

1 year, 2 months ago Edited