The hype around film cameras

Amy Morris, Columnist

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The rise of film photography has grown, making it a popular form of artistic expression. With photography technology so advanced it makes you wonder why people are going back to old mediums. Recently I purchased a film camera and I do believe film cameras are a lot better than digital ones in many ways.

The experience of taking a picture with a film camera rather than a digital one is a totally different. When taking digital pictures the process is less about the experience and more about the result. I always scroll through Instagram and see all these perfectly photographed images that seem to be so in the moment and genuine. In reality the person probably spent a good half hour just getting that perfect shot. 

With digital photography you get instant results. Getting instant results can be great in many cases, but it takes away from the experience. When I shoot with a digital camera, I find myself taking so many pictures of the same image just because of tiny details that take away from the image appearing perfect. It is easy to get consumed with how the lighting, angle and composition looks when you get instant results.

When taking film photographs, you don’t get to see how the image looks until you get it processed. Sure, you can spend hours taking a picture of the same shot but it won’t make much of a difference when you can’t see what the image looks like. Film photography embraces imperfection because it is not as constructed as digital photography.

The process of taking film photographs is more about the experience of it, rather than what the photographs look like. When you get the films processed it will be a surprise, and a good memory despite how the picture turns out. It usually takes a couple days for stores to process the film rolls which creates anticipation and adds to the appreciation of the photographs once you actually get them. Walgreens, for example, takes three to five business days to process film rolls.

The shift from film to digital has changed the use of photography from remembering special memories to a form of communicating with peers, according to research done on digital photography by José van Dijck. Unlike digital photography, every film photograph taken is valuable because of the cost of both film rolls and processing.

On Instagram the rise of photographs with film looking filters has become a big trend. It seems pretty pointless to me to add a film filter when you can just get a film camera. It seems almost deceiving in a way to fake a film photograph because it seems ingenuine. People want that perfect Instagram picture, but they add the film filter to make it look more vintage and in the moment.

Digital cameras can also be extremely expensive and will need to be upgraded every few years. Just like iPhones, there is always going to be newer technology that is better quality and has cooler features. With film cameras, they never have to be upgraded because the whole essence of film cameras is their age.

Film cameras are relatively cheap compared to digital cameras. While digital cameras can be thousands of dollars, a good quality film camera is usually only a couple hundred dollars, according to the website Guide to Film Photography.

 I bought a Canon AE-1 35mm film camera with a 50mm lens for only $153.80. My purchase also included a camera case and strap. The cost of a three pack film roll cost me $21.49.  According to Walgreens’ website, it costs only $14.99 to process 24 exposures for 35mm film. Purchasing film rolls and getting them processed can seem pricey, but compared to the price of a digital camera, it is worth the investment.

While digital cameras have their perks, film cameras open the door to a new experience. Sometimes in life it is good to slow things down and appreciate the moments in life rather than getting instant results.