5 real reasons why i shoot film in 2015 {portraiture}

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fuji superia 200, noctilux f1.

* All images here are unedited and taken using film on fuji Superia200 and kodak Porta160.

Often its the old school guys that pushes for shooting films. Folks that are caught in the past and never got the balls to seriously try digital. As a result of that we end up having all kinds of articles in the internet that is both misleading and silly. Sifting through the internet for gems and valid points from experience people who have done both and yet decided on film is like mining for gold in a ghost town.

I believe that before you can judge something, you need to either have divine knowledge in it or you have spent enough time to provide some authoritative opinion on it. Being ignorant or reactively being defensive is a fool’s mentality.

i am a firm believer in digital. I have subscriptions to LR and Adobe CC and i have spend countless hours perfecting my outdoor portraiture works both in editing and photographing. I could shoot manual 100% easily in almost any lighting. I have owned and used Sony a7r, Nikon D4, Sigma SD15 and various other cams during my course of photography. Ownership of premium gears is of course not a credible factor except for being a gear head. My last set of gears that i still own are the Leica ME/M9, Ricoh GR and the Panasonic FZ1000 travel cam.

And so i tried film…gave up few months ago…and i am back.

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fuji superia200, noctilux f1.

Here are 5 reasons why i have no plans to do digital anytime soon. I have one caveat to list here, that is, i am a hobbyist, i don’t shoot studio commercials, my commercials are outdoor portraiture.

1. film are for pros.

Pros as in using a camera and knowing what to set. I am not in the learning stage nor amateurish level where topics like iso, aperture and whitebalance are being learned. If you are starting out, i highly recommend digital. If you can’t take up any camera and shoot successfully in manual, i recommend sticking and using digital. I use 0 exposure compensation for all my images shot since 2013, if you don’t understand how is that possible, stick to digital.

If you have done all that. Welcome to film.

I am using a bessa R3m, which is a rangefinder, similar to my M9 except its 7 times cheaper.
Because it has a magnification of 1:1 i could open both eyes and just decides when to press the shutter.
I have like 500% less things to fiddle on the film camera. Just the shutter speed.
Films is less fiddling because you know what you want.

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fuji superia 200, noctilux f1

2. film sticks to the moment

There is no chance for chimping. You keep ur eyes open, you raise your alertness to the model’s or subject’s ever changing situation. You take the shot, wind the film, next. All the while, you are in the moment, u never left the scene.
When you are using film, you surrender the luxury of digital capabilities like replaying the shot and retaking, 5-100 fps (use a 4kvideo plz) and every click cost money.
Suddenly, your mind is more alert, sober and serious when taking the next shot. This only works on film.
When you have digital and even if you cover up the LCD or if you attempt to limit your shooting process, your mind is not stupid, it knows and you will shoot it like a machine gun.

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kodak porta 200. noctilux f1.

3. film saves you time

This might sound really silly but its true. A typical workflow in digital goes this way.
– 300-1200 shots on a 2 hours shoot
– 1-2 hours just identifying which photo to use, simple tweaks
– 1-3 hours per retouching on each photo

A film workflow is :
– drive and pass to the lab (30 minutes?)
– goto nearest cafe and enjoy your coffee or go home

Today’s modern labs will scan and automatically upload to your google drive, you can collect the film negatives only when you need it. I do pay for the development and scanning, but it comes down to around USD 0.50 per shot. Time is always more expensive and precious.

The tones are so beautiful and i don’t even need to edit to tweak the image vigorously. (See 4 : film tones are awesome)

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kodak porta 200, noctilux f1.

4. film tones are awesome

VSCO dominates most of the picture editing apps today. In instagram VSCO is used more than any other apps added up.
VSCO attempts to deliver film-feel to digital and people just realized they love it.
When you shoot film, you get these awesome tones out of the box. In fact, i could not use any VSCO on any of my film images because the original is just so much better.

None of the images shared here were edited.

kodak porta160. noctilux f1.

kodak porta160. noctilux f1.

5. shooting film slows you down

Each click cost your something. Your “system” is aware of that and you will compose much more before you take that shot.
You will see more and get yourself out of the digital upgrade hell hole and insufficiency complex that the industry is selling you.
At this point of writing i am in Tokyo. I took 5 days off my full time job, to Japan. I came with one film camera and 12 rolls of film.

Don’t get me wrong here. Film is in no way superior to digital when it comes to output and clinical sharpness. It is however, a fantastic process and experience to get into.

Comments

  1. I really miss developing black and white prints in the darkroom – watching that image appear in the bath like magic.

    Nice entry – thanks for sharing.

    Like

  2. I really like those shots!

    Like

Trackbacks

  1. […] taken last week. This is my 2nd article on why i shoot film in 2015, the first one can be found here. Personally i think there are just too much reasons given and argued for that its gets to a point […]

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