Friday 31 July 2020

The Ever-Present Lure of Film

Lonely Vendor
Nikon FM10, Voigtlander Nokton 58mm f1.4 SLII, HP5+

Film continues to be an interest of mine. While I've pretty much stopped shooting it for the last few years, I'm always tempted to come back to it. I've dabbled enough over the last few years that I do still have a backlog of film to process.

There's a few reasons for this. 

First off, I like the cameras and process of shooting film. Manual, mechanical 35mm cameras in particular are just so very enjoyable to use. It's not surprising that I currently shoot the digital system that's closest to a classic Nikon film SLR in UI (Fuji that is, the X-T line is the closest thing ever done to a digital FM2n). I also like classic manual focus lenses. Unsurprising that the vast majority of my lenses even today are manual focus classics. They're just my bag.

Second I like the results. Film just looks good, we've been exposed to the look for so long that it's how we expect photographs to look. This is why Fuji's film simulations are so popular and why there's a big market for film mimicing presets and plugins for post-processing. This is especially true for B&W work, but of late we've seen a lot of attempts to mimic classic films like Kodachrome or Portra. Some of these were even successful (Fuji's Classic Chrome for example is clearly a Kodachrome simulation)

Third, I still do like the process, especially in the case of B&W. While I know find the workflow more problematic than I do for digital, the art of developing remains a meditative experience for me.

The odd thing is that I've never really liked shooting landscapes with film however I've always preferred film as a cityscape medium. That does explain a lot about my move away from shooting film as I've transitioned from primarily shooting Cityscape to primarily shooting Landscape & Nature. 

I really do need to get out and shoot some film. I also should really acquire a second Nikon body so I can load one with colour and one with B&W. I do find having only one body limiting in terms of film choice.

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