A Lomokino movie camera at Lomography’s Istanbul store, shot on a Zenit E and Kodak Ektar film
One of the main reasons people have for giving up film is cost; once you’ve crossed over to digital, the days of shelling out for film, development and prints are over. You can shoot as much as you like without – theoretically – spending another penny. If you want your pictures to look like film, you can use Instagram or use film plug-ins on Photoshop.
Quite apart from the fact most digital shooters have to change their camera every few years – not exactly cheap unless they’re going for the very bottom of the compact market – there’s also cost of the computer needed to edit and display the images. A new MacBook laptop buys a fair few rolls of film.
Search for “film cameras” on eBay and you’ll find tens of thousands of cameras up for grabs – from professional-level Canons and Nikons to vintage folding cameras and cheap and cheerful compacts. Medium format cameras and high-end 35mm SLRs that once cost the pros thousands of pounds to buy new can be had for only a few hundred. But this is only the tip of the iceberg. Flea markets, garage sales, second-hand shops and camera stores contain millions of old film cameras waiting for a new home. And while the varieties of film available has declined in the last decade since the digital revolution, you can still buy film and develop film very cheaply indeed.
Spotted on the street in central London; Reala in a Pentax ESII
Fuji Reala 100 was a print film made by Fujifilm, a film similar to its Superia 100 film but aimed at a pro market. It was a perfect film for sunny weather and summer travel, low in grain and with bright but not too saturated colours. Fujifilm, in their wisdom, decided to retire it – in 35mm in 2010, and this year in 120 format.
There’s still a few bricks of Reala to be had off eBay; as it’s a slow-speed film it takes a lot longer for the film to lose its contrast. It’s worth picking some up while you still can.
Bled Castle, pictured just as the sun broke through spring storm clouds
Nestled inbetween towering alps and the Adriatic Sea, Slovenia is one of Europe’s most picturesque countries. It has some of the most stunning mountainscapes in Europe, a lake that could be out of a classic fairy tale, and a quiet slice of Mediterranean coastline only 46km long.
The view from the window of as you fly into the compact capital Ljubljana is of green fields and forest-covered hills; no megacity urban sprawl here.
Slovenia has been an independent country for a little more than 20 years, and a member of the EU for a decade. Always more westward-looking than the other republics which made up Socialist Yugoslavia, Slovenia has a similar feel to the Tirol region shared by Austria and Italy. Continue reading →
Agfa Precisa loves blue… Denim browser at London’s South Bank
I first got into cross-processing when I bought my first Lomo LC-A back in 2000. The Lomos’ heavily vignetted lens seriously suits the effects of mucking around with slide film, and it’s not overstating to say that Lomography‘s popularity comes partly from it.
The number of slide films has dwindled considerably in the last decade – Kodak axed the last of its stable last year, and Fuji have whittled down theirs to a bare handful. One of the very best xpro films was made by Agfa, its’ CT100 Precisa. Precisa was a great consumer-level slide film, but really came into its own when it was cross-processed.
It’s amazing how mood can be conveyed in a photograph – even a mood that wasn’t there when the shutter clicked.
Black and white film is fantastic for conveying mood – even the most innocuous street scene can be given extra atmosphere by stripping away the colour. Street photographers, for instance, are often encouraged to shoot film to help add an extra dimension; and black and white can often add extra drama and depth.
The biggest difference between black and white film and mono digital shots is grain. And grain, as many better photographers than I have found, that’s brilliant for creating mood.