It’s no secret, I’m a big fan of shooting film, both instant and developed. Next to Polaroid by far my favorite is medium format. I have a Pentacon Six TL and a Yashica Mat 124G, and of course a couple of plastic cameras including Holgas and a Diana+. I love shooting with all of them.
Most of these cameras, except for a Praktica BX20 and a Polaroid SX-70 (sent to me as a gift by the most excellent Liz Shuman), I didn’t have a year ago.
So how did I get here? Pretty much out of curiosity I picked up my sister’s Praktica BX20 for a camping trip. It was pretty much my first experience with a camera that requires you to manually set aperture and shutter timing. Not only was I blown away by the results, I didn’t even bother to use some professional film, because what did I know?
It pretty much unravelled from there. I added another BX20s (embarrassingly the first one broke), got a second Polaroid SX-70 with Sonar autofocus, and got a Holga from my girl for Christmas. I also got a Polaroid Spectra. A friend gave me his old Nikon N90 which honestly, is almost too advanced and automatic for my taste. I did get some very nice results with it on our trip to Sydney in March, but other than that I still prefer the feel of setting aperture and shutter manually.
Another friend told me he had a big medium format camera in his basement which turned out to be the Pentacon Six TL, a camera I’m seriously in love with. At some point I considered getting a Hasselblad, but why bother when you own a historic piece of East-German engineering history? And holy crap, it does take some awesome photos.
I just started piling up cameras. I can’t really say I stopped, since I recently got the Polaroid Spectra Pro and also a Yashica Mat 124G. A friend gave me his Yashica to try out, and you can’t not love a twin lens reflex camera.
Since I started shooting film I learned more about photography than I ever cared for. Little did I know about things like aperture or weird things like depth of field. Right now I’m not looking back. My digital point and shoot remains largely untouched simply because film is so awesome. I considered buying a digital SLR several times, but could never really convince myself that I really need it.
If I can recommend one thing it’s just to pick up an old camera, stuff a roll of nice film in it and start shooting with it. The excitement when you pick up freshly developed film is just something digital can’t give you. Thankfully in Berlin I have the luxury of being surrounded by labs that take two hours to develop film.
Film is dead? Definitely not.