Starting out

I have spent the last few years mastering my DSLR and I’m still learning every day, so I think it’s a natural progression to try film photography. When I visited an antique shop last year and saw an old Canon SLR there for £10 I had to buy it. I didn’t know if it worked, but I thought even if it doesn’t, I’m happy to pay £10 for an ornament piece. So I bought some film, loaded it and started snapping. At this point, I had very little idea of what I was doing, just using knowledge from digital photography.

After a few months of taking the odd picture here and there, I had finished the roll and went to get it developed. I had no idea if the camera was working, so all the film could have come back blank. I waited an hour and the I got the prints back. I hear photographers talking about how they love the feeling of getting the film back, and at this moment I got that feeling, my first roll of film back and I was desperate to rip it open and see how the photos had turned out. By some miracle, it worked. Most of the pictures were out of focus or underexposed, but it’s better than a roll of blank film.

Up until this point, I hadn’t thought about film photography all that much, just the occasional snap when I remembered to try and fill my film up. As soon as I got those prints back I bought some more film, loaded up and went out again. If there is such thing as a film bug, I definitely caught it.

Film Photography Cameras

I spent weeks researching the camera I had bought (Canon Canonet 28) and learned that it’s basically an automatic. And that the battery it takes has been discontinued for years now. So, I decided to buy another camera, and after some more time researching and bidding on eBay, I ended up with the Olympus OM-10. As of the time of writing this, I have only had the camera 2 days and finished one roll of film. But after trying to get it developed I learned that it’s going to take 3 weeks to develop, due to having to be sent to Germany. All the more reason for me to learn how to develop film myself. I’m enjoying the Olympus a lot more than the Canon so far. Focusing is much easier (the Canon was a rangefinder) and because I have the manual adaptor, it’s now fully manual which is very helpful.

Canon Canonet 28

These are some images from the Canon camera. I had them developed at Max Spielmann in Lancaster (I think the film was a Fujifilm but I can’t remember the exact one). It’s also worth mentioning that the photos that are out of focus aren’t so because of some artistic reason, it’s because I’m a film photography n00b.

I’m pretty happy with how most of them came out. These ones are the usable ones, and some of them are on the very edge of useable, but you can still see detail coming through and the colours are nice. My favourite is the one of my girlfriend in an attic, its fairly sharp and the light is really nice, but the one of the back of my car is easily the best for sharpness and focus.

Ilford XP2 Super 400 Film

My next roll of film was an Ilford black and white film. I love black and white photography in general so any type of black and white film was next in line. I was really pleased with the results, I had them developed at Max Speilmann again, unfortunately I think this film was developed as colour which is why it’s got a sepia tone to it. I edited most of the photos in Lightroom to be properly black and white but I’ll put the originals up here.

Most of these came out a lot better than the first time. There were 36 exposures and most of them were well exposed and in focus thankfully. These have been shot again on my Canon Canonet 28, so I’m even more excited to see what the Olympus will produce. My roll of film which is currently on its way to Germany is Ilford HP5 400, which is also black and white (all Ilford film is black and white).

Overall, I’m really happy with how most of the photos came out, and I’m definitely into film now and want to keep trying new films and techniques as well as developing my own film. The only problem is as my camera collection keeps growing, my camera bag keeps getting heavier and I usually end up looking like a camera dealer while carrying 3 cameras around my neck at any time.