Having an obsession with photographs, my cameras are treasure to me because of the wonderful images it produces. My favourite camera would be my grandfathers old Retinette camera, because of all the history it holds. I’ve recently gotten into film photography and I’m enjoying every bit of it, it’s a wonderful new experience I’ve learnt new things, though I still have so much more to learn about it.
You don’t have to be a good photographer to love photographs, these cameras are great to take out and explore capturing awesome memories and get carried away with, here are my 9 reasons to try vintage film cameras.
Film cameras are a great versatile companion, it is prepared for every situation and environment for either traveling, family gatherings, street photography for whatever subject matter, it has different functional options to chose from to capture them into memorable results.
I absolutely love the beautiful details on some these vintage film cameras which was what intrigued me, they tend to be unique as some of them look peculiar and have their own personality; the photographs produced have their own character of texture, the overlaying of colours evoke a dream, the crazy grain structure, the imperfect qualities, distinctive quirks you don’t always know what to expect from film cameras, they’re quite interesting.
Apart from buying rolls of films, photographic paper and getting it developed can cost, it is cheaper than digital and can be a good investment, you can get great cameras for a good bargain online or even at camera shops and they’re usually great quality and can last a lifetime and they also still produce wonderful shots.
Because of the fewer frames in a film camera and you can’t just take as many as you want unlike a digital camera where you can delete an unwanted image, you become more selective and concentrated when shooting.
Also, you cannot see the image until it is developed you take more care about the focus, composition, subject matter, the framing, you can’t take several shots of the same subject again because of the limited frames, unlike digital.
I feel you become more thoughtful and creative using a film camera, because you have that one chance to put all your efforts and the results’ can be great, you just need to keep on practicing and it is worth it.
Film cameras have an incredible colour palette, detailed highlights and shadows which really compliments skin tones which are more prominent in monochrome, the texture of the natural grain, unexpected light leaks, film cameras are really full of surprises.
The black and white images are classic, striking and surreal it emphasizes more emotion. One of the things I noticed using a film camera is the dynamic range is high, especially shooting in black and white, once you understand how to expose the photo with the light the results can be dramatic and creative.
An overexposed image can sometimes still look good unlike in digital not really so much, and the quality of the images are really good once they are developed.
Photography has been around for years, it is the best, fascinating and most moving way to preserve history. People throughout history have relied on visuals; before it was paintings and now photographs, cameras have come such a long way ever since then.
Photography is used for capturing those one time moments, for reminding, identifying people, contribute to a story telling and they can take us back to another era. I like the fact that even though we have digitals today, photographers still like to use vintage cameras and keep up the tradition.
I find film cameras re-educate you on your photography, before digitals there were film cameras and it makes sense to also learn how to use film, it is simpler but it teaches you the basics of photography. It improves your attitude and skills as a photographer, you are more patient, have a better understanding of exposure and composition, you pay more attention to your subjects and frame your shots more carefully.
It forces you to learn each part of the camera before taking the photo, you definitely have to take into consideration that you need to be more precise and thoughtful before taking the shot because of the limited frames and cost of buying more films and you don’t have the digital advantage to erase your photos or look at your screen for the results. It improves your working methods as a photographer and it makes you appreciate life more.
Element of Surprise
Unlike digital you cannot check your screen for an instant preview of your image, once you have taken all of your shots you instantly take them to the darkroom and get them developed, for me it is an exciting process of film photography.
You don’t always know what to expect from a film camera, there is a sense of anticipation, excitement and anxiety for the results, there could be unexpected surprises, accidents that actually work well in the image. I remember developing my first photograph it felt very rewarding, the photos are such good quality and made to last.
Last but not least you should try it out is because it is fun! It gives you freedom and creativity to shoot whatever you are passionate about, it is a great experience and fulfilling.
Photographs mean so much to me, I still have so much to learn about photography but it has taught me a lot so far with the techniques and processes involved to produce something you’re passionate about.
I personally love both digital and film photography, I like having a balance of both and the feeling of using a vintage camera, producing an image in the old-fashioned way brings a nostalgic sentiment I think it’s important to keep up the tradition. If film is not for you, that’s fine you can always stick to digital but I think it is worth it and you should definitely give it a try you’ll never know.