Ok, let’s talk a little about it. A lot of film shooters will tell you how much they love this special look of film. This is similar to music lovers who tell us that vinyl sounds more organic than a CD or digital file. A lot of digital shooters try to imitate this look on their digital files – but you can hardly get there.
Film has an incredible colour palette and a huge dynamic range of detail in both highlights and shadows. So why imitate when you simply can shoot analog? Film will make you a Better Photographer, I think… When shooting film, you are bound to know exactly what you are doing. You have to nail the exposure, how you frame the picture and how to direct the model so that he or she doesn’t have his or her eyes closed in the moment you release the shutter.
Every picture costs money and believe me, you want to be sure to know your camera beforehand. Furthermore, most of the cameras have got only manual focus lenses and you need an external light meter to get the right exposure. This sounds a little bit frightening to someone who has experience only in digital photography. It’s a steep learning curve but it’s absolutely worth it.
When we are shooting digital, we return from a job with hundreds of pictures, which have to be sorted out and post-processed (we always shoot RAW). With film, we come back with 40 pictures and most of them are awesome. We have outsourced the developing and scanning process of our films and get them sent from our photo lab. Once you know how to handle the different films like Fuji or Kodak already in the camera, you will save a lot of time with post-production. Honestly saying, there is almost no post-processing necessary and you can spend more time on doing the things you love, too.
BOKEH (Japanese for ‘blur’) is the way “the lens renders out-of-focus points of light”. And this seems to be the search for the Holy Grail for every portrait photographer. There are tons of articles and discussions going on in the web about which lens is the best. The bigger the aperture is, e.g. 1.2, 1.4, the narrower is the depth of field. This makes you just focus on the eyes where the eyelashes are already out of focus. The quality of BOKEH on a medium format camera looks different than a 35mm camera system. So therefore get a medium format camera to get this special out-of-focus look ( On ebay you may find medium format cameras for 100 bugs).
One advantage of these old cameras is that once you bought them you don’t have to satisfy your needs to have the newest equipment for it: It’s as simple as that: There will not be new stuff released. Most of the cameras that are 30+ years old and everything you need is available on the second hand market. And there are also a lot of reviews about the equipment in the web, which make it easier to decide which system you should get.
Additionally, these cameras are built like tanks and they are of superior quality compared to the newest DSLRs. If you are a sports or newspaper photographer, then shooting film might not be the best choice. But for all of you who want to shoot great portraits, landscapes or architecture and you are willing to learn more about the craft of photography, you should definitely give film a chance… and since shooting silhouettes are one of the easiest ways to shoot here they go…