Does Film Speed You Up?

There’s a well known saying in the film community that film slows you down. Compared to shooting with a digital camera, film makes you think more about the photograph you are making and in doing so the process slows you down.

To think more about taking the photograph when using film takes into account several factors with the cost involved being just one of them, there’s no escaping that.

Film thanks in part to its popularity is getting more expensive. Everything about film photography is increasing. Film cost, development cost, equipment cost. Everything is on the upward spiral. Kodak have had big price increases for 2020, blaming it on the film resurgence and not being able to keep up with its popularity, think of that as you will.

So each frame you take on film has to be more considered.

My feeling is film speeds you up
For me, my feeling is film speeds you up. The decision making process with a film camera is more simple. Once you pop your film in the camera and set the ISO you’re done dealing with that.

When you choose to take a photograph on film once the shutter speed and aperture are set all that’s left to do is focus on the subject and take the photo, assuming you use a manual focus camera.

Once I’ve taken the photograph I want I move on. I don’t stand there ‘chimping’ to see if what I’ve taken looks OK, I trust myself and the settings of the camera that all is OK.

With a digital camera I look at the back of the screen (a lot), scrutinising if everything looks OK, I wonder if maybe a little exposure compensation, changing the ISO or a slight move to the left/right/forward will make for a better photograph.

For me, I find shooting film cathartic. I find it to be an enjoyable experience, not judging the frame I’ve just shot on the screen on the back of the camera. I’m much more in the moment looking for the photograph I want to take rather than shooting several frames of the same thing and knowing I can pick and choose from the various photographs I’ve taken.

If my camera is telling me the exposure is good, I know I should be in the ball park for a good photograph. I like the suspense of not knowing if it’s a good photograph until the film roll is developed and scanned in… and that’s what keeps me coming back to film more and more.

2 comments

  1. Excellent post, Dave. I really agree with your last 4 paragraphs. I don’t use a digital camera much (just a little X10 for the grandkids), so I’ve not got into the habit of chimping, thank goodness.

    My niggling doubt is that sometimes (more often than I would like) I get something wrong with the exposure (too little or too much exposure compensation, etc) or the focus/depth of field. I’m in the moment so much I’m not thinking methodically enough. Then of course the delay before seeing the results means the learning feedback is weak. Will I never learn? (;-)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree totally with you. For years I’ve said that if you think that shooting with film slows you down (apart that is from Large format) then you are shooting digital incorrectly. Focus is the same as is exposure. If they are saying that they don’t want to waste money on film then why do they make the shot digitally if they think it’s a waste.

    Liked by 1 person

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