Marc Your Author

Silver and Cellulose

Silver and Cellulose

Having just picked up some images which was taken on ‘old fashioned’ film, I have been thinking about the differences between film photography and more modern digital shooting.

One thing which stands out is the success rate of shots on film is much much higher than similar shots on digital, so why is this?

Obviously, when there is a tangible dollar value for each click of the shutter there is a greater onus to ‘get it right’, there is also a limited number of shots per roll before having to reload.

All of this has the effect of forcing the photographer to ‘slow down’ and actually think properly about everything before committing the image to film. I have noticed a similar effect when shooting with a large, often heavy tripod. We often know what we should be doing, but digital is so cheap, so easy, so throw away, that clicking the shutter costs us nothing. We shoot first and think later and do often this means at end up actually missing the shot we were aiming for.

Thus far I have shot with Kodak Portra 400, and Fuju Velvia 50; both of which are vintage stock that have been frozen for something like 15 years. Both turned out well, and each has it’s own unique feel. The Velvia has fantastic contrast and very intense colours, the Portra is softer and has a subtler contrast and intensity.

Things I have learned…

  • E-6 processing is hard to find these days. Vanbar imaging did a fantastic job, I shall be returning there.
  • Some people will assume that you must be shooting digital, even though they see you winding on the camera after each shot.
  • Even though I know I am shooting film, sometimes I still look at the back of the camera after each shot. Film-chimping doesn't work terribly well for some reason.
  • No matter what you are shooting with, if you slow down, and think, before taking the shot, then your images will be better.