Straight of the bat I'm going to preface this blog post with the fact that I'm a Digital shooter. I crave sharpness, big resolutions and bad-to-the-bone low light capabilities. The idea of being able to shoot at 10fps with a almost unlimited buffer makes me drool.
My names Paul and I'm a gear head.
I rarely shoot on film. "Back in the day" I had various point-and-shoot 35mm cameras but I didn't really do any photography. Mostly snap shots of mates in pubs or random shots of my old VW Camper so I can't claim any massive film credentials.
That being said, the idea of film photography is an alluring one. Especially after a shooting a wedding or an event with 500+ images to cull through and edit. Some people shoot purely on film, some people purely on digital, some on both but a recurring argument I hear from the Film shooters is that it "Slows you down and makes you think".
I do shoot on film from time to time, not in any professional situations, but just sometimes I like putting a roll or two through one of the various old cameras that I have knocking around my flat. I love the challenge of it, I love not being able to instantly check my histogram after a shot and the feeling of nerves/excitement while I wait for my films to be developed. I like the sound my old Canon EOS 500 makes when the motor drive advances the film on a frame and the whirling sound when the film rewinds.
Does film photography slow you down? I'd say ........ yes and no. Sure, if your bank balance rivals a tech billionaires one, you might not think twice about firing of frame after frame of 35mm film because each time you open your shutter, it costs you money but that's not the speed I'm talking about here.
I'm talking about speed at the moment you open the shutter. Let me expand on that a bit. I shoot manually whatever I'm shooting on with the exception of focusing - I'll use Auto focus if the body and lens I'm using supports it but aperture and shutter speed is always on a manual mode.
I rarely shoot landscapes on film, I don't know why but for me my film shoots are always urban adventures. It might be something to do with the fact that my Canon EOS 500 with a 40mm or 50mm prime lens fits in my pocket and is just more discrete and convenient than lugging my 5D Mk II around. Also, in these modern times there are some unsavoury characters around who would just love to relieve me of some expensive camera equipment. I'd much rather lose a camera I paid a fiver for off ebay then a much more expensive digital camera. No social commentary here - I'll leave that to others but it's always a risk. Those reasons are valid but in reality it just feels right. It might be the grainy nature of film that suits urban photography, I don't know but it works for me.
Now, I don't do Street photography per se but more of objects seen on the the street. Light hitting a empty bench, A shadow over a street sign, a gnarly underpass - things of that nature.
I digress and you might be wondering where I'm going with this so let me pull these meandering lines of thought together. Whilst I don't shoot fast, when I see a composition I often have to think fast. I'll be wandering around a town centre, I'll see a something that catches my eye and the clouds that had been obscuring the sun all morning suddenly part and the light radically changes. Because every frame costs money, I want to get it right first time. I might have to speed up my shutter speed, stop down my aperture or both to get a correct exposure. So it's often a case of Meter-adjust-shoot and that's it. No quickly checking the histogram, adjusting something and shooting again.
This has an obvious positive influence on my digital shooting, I can more accurately predict my camera settings and nail my exposures.
So does film slow you down? I'd argue that you shoot less but think quicker with film.