Film is great because there are so many different types of cameras and stocks of film to choose from. You can easily develop a style of photography by simply choosing a type of film you like, and sticking with it. I’m going to go through a couple of my favorite cameras and types of film I love to use.
Most of the gear I use aren’t in production anymore, but if you have a keen eye sometimes you can pick up some amazing goodies from BH’s used film store. I have bought some used film equipment from BH and I can say that their rating system in terms of camera condition is very accurate, so there won’t be any surprises when it shows up at your door.
The film I mainly use is
•Kodak Portra 400 35mm
•Kodak Portra 400 120
•Ilford HP5 400 35mm
Mamiya RZ67 90mm f/3.5 and my Mamiya 645 Pro 55mm f2.8
Out of all the cameras I have ever shot with in my life, this one is my two favorite's. It’s unique in my collection of cameras because you don’t look through a traditional viewfinder to frame your shots, instead you look down through a waist level viewfinder.
The great thing about film cameras (especially the older ones) is that they force you to learn what each part of the camera does before taking a photo.
This is something that many amateur photographers overlook when they get their first camera; they’ve seen what it can do and just want to start taking photos. It often results in the camera being left in full auto mode or a preset when, with just a few clicks of the dial, much better photos could be taken.
When you choose a roll of film to put in your camera, you’re effectively setting the ISO speed as you can’t change the film until you’ve finished, leaving just the shutter speed and aperture to play with.
We’re all guilty of getting a little bit snap happy with our cameras, taking a load of useless photos of nothing in particular just because we can.
This isn’t really an option with film (unless you’ve got more money than sense) because you can’t just take a bunch of photos and transfer them to your computer.
Film forces you to think before taking a photo – it can’t just be of anything.
This added pressure of wasting money on film and developing will make you a much more careful photographer; you’ll start considering how else you might take a photo before actually taking it.
Think twice, shoot once. Mistakes can become pretty expensive if you’re not sure what you’re doing with your film camera, which forces you to learn quickly what you’re doing wrong.
There will be times when you go to take your camera out, adjust the aperture and shutter speed, manually focus and end up missing the shot. This is okay it’s all part of the learning process. You’ll soon get faster and better at using your camera; transferable skills to digital photography.
Don’t worry about missing a shot; we all do that. The chances are, if you wait a little bit, you’ll get an even better photo.
The cost of second hand, top quality film cameras has dropped dramatically since the advent of cheap DSLR's, making it a great time to get into film photography.