Film vs Digital

Disclaimer // By no means am I an expert on film. This is just me sharing my experiences on what I have learned thus far in my film adventure.

If you have been following all of the latest up and coming photographers, you will notice a huge movement back to film. It had seemed like almost every photographer that I followed and admired was either trying out film or moving completely to film. The advantages and creativity that I discovered as being inherent in with using film definitely spiked my interest, so I decided to invest in a Mayima 645. While you will see almost all of the 100% film photographers using the Contax 645, I researched and found that if you just wanting to explore and learn about film (or not quite ready to invest in the Contax 645), that the Mayima 645 is a great place to start in learning about medium format film.

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So why the interest in film? Below are some of the reasons why I decided to experiment based on what I had read:

Almost Impossible To Overexpose |If you aren't familiar with exposure, basically it means that on on a super sunny day, or if your subject is in direct sunlight, you will not wash out your subject or get harsh skintones with film. This is definitely not the case with digital, not to mention the fact that it is super frustrating (or impossible) to fix digital overexposures. Here is a link for more on digital overexposures. 

Film Makes You A More Thoughtful Shooter | Since film is so much more expensive than digital {to develop}, you can't afford to do "rapid fire" shots. Meaning, unless you have a lot of money to blow, you can only allow yourself one or two clicks to get the photo you want instead of shooting 15 images and hoping that 2 or 3 three get the shot you are looking for. Some may find this to be a disadvantage, but I like the idea of slowing down and really thinking about my composition.  Plus, there is nothing like hearing the shutter of a film camera...its almost like magic. :)

NO EDITING | If you can't tell with the all "CAPS" for this advantage, then I will tell you that this was one of the big reasons for me trying film. I think anyone can relate if you have ever spent an entire afternoon editing photos from a photo session or a week editing photos from a wedding. The funny thing is that most of the edits that I make in LightRoom are to make the digital files look like film anyways! The other plus to this is all you have to do is package up your film and send it off to a photo processing lab, then within about a week you get your files digitally and then the prints about 3 days later! But I'm not gonna lie, the whole fact that the instant gratification of not being able to see your pictures right away is pretty scary! Just ask my husband, if you didn't know any better, you would have thought I was waiting for my college entrance exam scores! Don't get me wrong, it is totally worth the wait, it seriously felt like Christmas Day!

Minimal Equipment | Just for a standard portrait session I bring: (2) Memory Cards, (2) Camera Bodies, (2) lenses, a flash, a reflector, and some extra batteries. If I was to only shoot film, all I would have is a film body and a lens plus about 5-7 rolls of film....that's it. Now of course you can really load up your camera bag with film, but the major benefit here is that you aren't needing to switch lenses or camera bodies. The 80mm lens that is most commonly used {whether its a Contax 645 or a Mamiya 645} is a great all around lens and most that I follow, rarely use anything else.

One thing that I definitely do want to point out though is the cost of film. I believe its one of the main reasons why the movement back to film isn't even bigger than it already is. Below are some numbers to give you an example {keep in mind this is for the cost of film and processing it compared to digital - not including the price of equipment}

Digital| 32GB Memory Card ($50) + LR/PS Presets ($200) = $250 (This will give you limitless amount of pictures for the price of $250)

Film| 5 Pack of Fuji 400H 120 ($25) + Film Scanning/Processing ($17.50/roll x 5 rolls =  $87.50) = $1.40 per image

So for the price of attaining the equipment to store and process thousands of images digitally, you would only get about 180 film images. Definitely something to link about.

So on to the real why. Why everyone is moving to film. Below are a couple of my very first film images, coupled with a comparison of the digital versions.

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Another example (while I don't have a digital example) is the overexposure issue that is an aspect on digital, but minimally on film. The below picture is a couple standing in direct sunlight. If this image had been shot in digital, their skintones and highlights would have been very harsh and yellow to the point where this image would have been completely unusable. Although, in film, as you can see, every detail is visible and nothing is washed out.

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For those of you wanting more info on film, check out "Film is Not Dead" by Jonathan Canlas. Plus it makes for a pretty cool looking coffee table book. :)

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And just for kicks, below are some of my favorite images from my dear first roll of film: