A Story of Return: From Digital to Analogue, What You Need to Know


Many photographers have turned from analogue photography to digital photography when the latter came out, but now some are going back to analogue. And there also many (young) people born in the digital era who are turning to analogue photography and nobody explains them how it worked (works). If it's your case, have a look at the article!

Here we are, so you lived in the digital era and want to try something more analogue? You won’t regret, but you may want to know something before…


In any DSLR or many digital cameras you can choose the ISO you want to shoot on, ranging from 100 for bright subjects to 6400 or more for darker subjects. It doesn’t work this way on an analogue camera. You can’t choose the ISO setting while you shoot, you have to choose it before because it depends on the film you use, for example there are films ISO 100 or ISO 400. The most common ones are probably ISO 100, but also 400 is very popular.


Films are of course the most important difference between analogue and digital cameras. But they’re also easy to understand. You put the canister in the camera and slide out a little bit of film till you can insert it in the hole on the other side. Then you keep loading and shooting till you see that the gear which shows you how many photos you’ve taken arrives at one, meaning that that will be your first analogue photo! When you finish the roll you just have to check if there’s anything that prevents the film from being rewound accidentally and then you can rewind the roll and open the camera. It’s obvious but remember that films HATE light! So never open the camera if the roll is not rewound!

Films Sizes

There are three main film sizes that you’ll see in Lomography site and almost everywhere. The most common one is the 35mm or 135mm which is probably the size in which almost all the analog photos you’ve seen where shot and it’s not a problem since it can be found in many shops and developed in almost every lab. The next size is the 120mm which is a medium format range and offers great details. When developed it returns square photos so it’s a bit particular, it’s also still developed in many shops. The last size we’re going to talk about is the 110mm which has been brought back recently with Lomography and mostly with the mini cameras (such as the Diana Mini), The particularity of this size is in fact that it’s very little and doesn’t need large cameras.

Film Types

There are four main film types we’re going to see:
1) Negative: it’s the most common one, the one you may be used to.
2) Slide: it’s an alternative to negative and gives brighter colors and it also has to be developed with different chemicals (E6). It can also be developed with the chemicals used for negative (C41) and it will give you even more satured and strange photos
3) Black and White: the name says it all
4) Red Scale: It’s obtained by loading film backwards, but there are films already prepared to get the effect without working on them

I hope this may help, these are the main questions I had when coming to the analogue world and I’ve been able to answer them with the help of people who used analogues, the Lomography Beginner's Guide and searches on the web.

Who says film is dead? Lomography’s got its very own emulsions to keep the fire burning! Visit the Shop and see which Lomography film is right for you.

written by virtualflyer on 2013-07-20 in #gear #tipster


  1. tonybelding
    tonybelding ·

    Here's a minor correction for you... Your terms 135mm, 120mm and 110mm aren't really correct, since those are not millimeter measurements of anything. They are just arbitrary numbers established by the industry (meaning by Kodak, in most cases). Thus it's more correct to say 135 format, 120 format, 110 format, 220 format, etc.

    I guess the confusion got started when 135 format became widely known as 35mm film, because it was derived from 35mm movie film stock.

  2. virtualflyer
    virtualflyer ·

    @tonybelding thank you very much, never understood the meaning of those numbers and thought they were sizes

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