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Ditching Digital: A Year with Film Cameras

Last December I sold my digital SLR and made a resolution that I would spend this year shooting more on film. To keep things fresh and my motivation up I decided to shoot with a different camera every week, here's how it's gone so far...

Photo by jeyku

Like many people nowadays, my first experience with photography was after picking up a digital camera. I learned the basics, progressed from a point and shoot to a digital SLR and spent a few years being really happy with that. However, the joy that I initially got from photography slowly faded – I knew that for every image I was wanting, I was taking about 5 photos and just keeping the best one. I knew exactly what my shot would look like from looking at the LCD and that it would be pretty much as I wanted it. There were no surprises and less satisfaction and so I started shooting more film – loving the discipline it needed to get a better shot, while also enjoying the unpredictability that comes with film. Some shots that I thought would be perfect weren’t, and some that I didn’t have high hopes for were made a little bit more exciting due to light leaks, colour shifts and the magic of film. So in December I made the bold move of sticking my DLSR on ebay to part fund this film project and I’ve not looked back!

Photo by jeyku

I decided that I would spend 2012 looking for my perfect analogue set up (because you can’t just choose one camera can you?) and most importantly embrace the search! To keep things fresh and to keep motivated I decided that I would do my best to stick to shooting with a different camera every week. That way I would keep the project fresh and keep things going (after all how many new year’s resolutions have you ever managed to stick to?).

Photo by jeyku

I thought it was only right to start the year with the camera that got me back in to analogue photography – the LC-A+ (above). It had been in my camera back with my digital camera for a few years and would be my camera of choice for parties, people shots etc. So while it can be please for it’s roll inspiring this project it does mean that it’ll get a lot less use as I share my attention around between 52 different film cameras this year.

I’m now 17 weeks in to project and still loving it. So far I’ve used a wide selection of 35mm cameras that I wouldn’t normally have tried and enjoyed experiementing with them and how you have to alter your approaching to photography to get the best out of them. For example with the half frame shots above (shot using a ricoh autohalf) I found myself thinking not just about the shot I was taking but the previous one and the next one to try and get interesting juxtapositions between frames.

While I’ve got a fair few old film cameras I’ve picked up over the years I have nowhere near the 52 I need to complete the project so I’ve been on the hunt for bargains. And while I did spend a lot on a Ricoh Gr1v the majority of cameras so far have been bought on the cheap – for less than a tenner I picked up the canon sureshot sleek which has got a great lens (above).

And then there are the really special cameras such as the Yashica Dental Eye (above) – a specialist camera designed for dentists to photograph teeth so it has a great macro lens and build in ringflash which makes it great for interesting flower shots, especially when you use it with cross processed slide film.

Photo by jeyku

While this project is a bit of an undertaking I hope that you guys have enjoyed some of the shots and it will inspire you to spend a couple of quid on that lonely 35mm camera in the charity shop and put a roll through it, as you never know what magic you’ll get back from the developers!

Follow my weekly progress at 52×35.

written by jeyku

2 comments

  1. redtulip

    redtulip

    great project!!!!!

    almost 2 years ago · report as spam
  2. grimbo

    grimbo

    amazing idea for a project, i'd love to do the same if i had a bit more cash and time on my hands! really good street photos too :)
    almost 2 years ago · report as spam

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This is the original article written in: English. It is also available in: 中文(繁體版), Português & 中文(简体版).