Late last year I made the choice to try film. It was something I had been mulling over since my first year of business, however, in my first year of I was just overwhelmed with getting my digital work to be of a certain quality that I knew taking on film would be too much. While I think shooting is an ever evolving process I finally felt like I was in a place where I had the time and energy for film. I began to do research and the most logical choice in a camera for me was a Nikon 35mm for a number of reasons:
- Low investment cost – I got a Nikon F100 with a 50mm/1.8 lens in excellent condition for less than $280.
- Could use the Nikon lenses I already owned – Though I doubt I will shoot with anything but the 50/1.8 for a while, it is great to know that I have the option to use my other Nikon lenses.
- Less of a learning curve – the function buttons and controls are very similar to other Nikon cameras I have owned so I could easily just jump in and start shooting.
Once I made the decision to shoot film I started reading as much as I could from other photographers taking the plunge (Anna Wu
, Ashley Goodwin
, and Laurence Kim
‘s posts have been uber helpful) and I also purchased Film is Not Dead
from Jonathon Canlas
(the man is a film GOD and his work is GORGEOUS!). Manned with what I was able to soak up I purchased some Kodak Portra 400 and decided to have it.
This weekend while in New Haven was my first time taking the camera out for a spin. I shot some frames just around New Haven and Yale campus and then some at the Justin and Mary Walk Through a Wedding workshop
. My biggest fear was “Am I doing this right?” I kept looking at the back of the camera with the realization that I wouldn’t find out till I got the film back from the tech. I did notice that shooting film made me slow down and really think before hitting that shutter – no multiples of the same object, no little adjustments for exposure or aperture. One frame, one shot, and you better be sure you captured it the way you want it. From shooting this way I definitely can see how it will carry over into my digital work and push me to be a better photographer.
Since I wasn’t sure how I would do this first time I took my film to Walgreens for development. Nothing like $8 for a roll of film with almost instant next day gratification. I got the film in too late to get one hour development but you know what I think I liked the waiting and anticipation. I grew up in the era before digital and I forgot how exciting it was to drop off a roll and the eager anticipation you feel while waiting. The rush you get when you get back that envelope, open it, and peek inside.
My biggest complaint with Walgreens was how the color was rendered in some of the images. The development was just not that great. You can see from the side by side images below that the color was completely off in the image on the left. I had to color correct in Lightroom after the fact, which from my understanding should I not have to do. For now I am fine with it but I definitely will be trying one of the professional labs in my area for future work. I also noticed scratches and marks on some of the images which I think came from the development. One of the big differences from my digital images were they were cooler in color ( I prefer a warmer image) but I loved the greater depth of light and shadows from the film images.
For some images I had to tweak exposure but not by much, which was a big surprise to me. My meter on the F100 was pretty darn good. I shot the whole roll at 400 using matrix meter (I think for next time I will spot meter) with most of the street scenes at f4 and the workshop photos at f1.8.