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Why Would a Teenager Still Shoot Film? - Bert Depoorter

Some people may think that analogue is only for the older generation - in this blog post, Bert shares his thoughts on why he loves shooting film.


Canon T70, Tokina 70-210mm, Kodak T-max 400 (a bit edited on the computer)

This blog post is based on a real story: once upon a time, there was a boy. A boy who loved science, and computers. However, he's not the typical nerd you're thinking of - he's also interested in photography. This boy is me.

So, when I reached the age of 12, I bought myself a digital compact camera. Sadly, it didn't last very long; after 3 months, some sand had found its way inside the lens. For Christmas, my parents gave me a new compact camera, and that one is still alive. However, this blog isn't meant to be about digital compact cameras!

As well as my digital compact, I also sometimes shoot with a Canon T70. Why? Because I found the camera in my attic. It was my father's camera, so I decided to buy the cheapest 35mm film I could find and go out shooting. When I got the results back, I was stunned - I couldn't believe it was possible to create photographs of such a quality without post-processing in Photoshop!

I now take photos regularly with both my digital and analogue cameras, both having pleasing results. The digital images can be cropped, the saturation can be adjusted, the colour/black and white dilemma vanishes... but there is just something about shooting analogue that surpasses all the 'digital benefits'. Capturing moments with a pure chemical process was something I had never experienced before.

For my birthday, my friends gave me a Fujifilm Instax camera, which brings my number of cameras up to 3. 

Canon T70, 70-210 f3.5 at 150mm, flower in our garden

So, why should a teenager still shoot film? Here are my reasons:

  • The experience. It's wonderful. There are no other real words for it. Looking through the viewfinder, composing your image, and then waiting for the photos to be developed.
  • Overall quality of photos: When I take photos with my digital camera, I take maybe 6 or 7 pictures that I find satisfying enough, out of maybe 70-80 photos. On the other hand, with the film camera, I take as many nice photos out of a total of 15-20. I mean, quality matters, quantity doesn't.
  • Having a 'real' photo: Analogue photography gives you something tangible, not just a file made up of ones and zeros. I know, I know, you can print digital images, but it isn't the same feeling. There's one kind of photography that's even better for tangible images: Polaroid, for obvious reasons!
  • Reactions: If you like to get some attention, then this one's for you. People look at you, see that you're using a vintage camera, and maybe start asking about it. Always nice, especially when they're surprised that you're still shooting film!
  • The cost: analogue photography may seem more expensive at the first glance, but consider this: Your camera is (probably) going to last at least 10 years, and won't (usually!) cost that much. Analogue lenses are also often cheaper. If you don't believe me, compare the prizes of 50mm primes... There you have it! Film may be the greatest expense, but I think that the cheaper gear compensates for that.

So, these are my reasons to get started with analogue photography. You'll discover a whole new world of possibilities, creative people and an abundance of inspiration. Heaven on earth!

 Words and images by Bert Depoorter 




Phil Quantock:

Just returned to 35mm after years shooting digital, and the experience is liberating. I brought a Nikon FM and 52mm + 28mm lens, brilliant.
Digital is too instant, I forgot the excitement of picking up the processed film and wondering how it had turned out.
Also only having 36 exp to work with makes me slow down and compose the shot more, rather than go at it like a mad man.
Sold my digital camera now, and returned to my roots.

Mar 31, 2019

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