Confess, you were thinking I’d do it!

Yeah, you were!

And honestly I can’t blame you! I thought I’d do it too. I really was on the verge of leaving the WWF – no, not the World Wildlife Fund but the Wonderful World of Film!

I was tempted, I tried and really, it was close….

I fiddled with a digital camera, took some shots, set to a nice,  contrasty black and white ’emulation’ and well, they did look OK.FXE14571

The color results were not too shabby either.FXE14592-Edit

What happened was that they did look OK but they did not feel that way!

I had those black and white jpegs on my screen, but I also had the raw files, so I began fiddling, applying this Lightroom preset and then that one… even playing with so called film presets, supposedly made by analysing real film. I added grain, I played for hours with those few files to get to these:



All this with fake grain applied, with a fake film simulation out of the box.

Now to compare! Here’s the same thing on film, cheap Fuji Superia 200, shot a week or two earlier with the Olympus Trip 35….170520 - Olympus Trip 35 - Fuji Superia 200 (28).jpg

170520 - Olympus Trip 35 - Fuji Superia 200 (31)

These are straight out of the scanner! OK, there’s a light yellowish color cast, probably because of my not so perfect color developing technique (I’ll leave that to the lab next time!). But that can be easily mended with a click!

So why? Why fiddling for hours to get the look of something you can achieve with film and a 40 year old camera? Why trying to imitate film when there’s the real thing?

None of the photos gave me the feel I get from the real thing. They felt strangely…. empty to me. Can’t really explain it further.

Of course the digital photos were much sharper, richer, more detailed and more flexible. But something was missing, the secret ingredient that makes me want to make photos.

And I’m not even talking about the camera!

Why Film Cameras, indeed? Just because! Because to me they feel right, they feel real and they make me want to make photos! A digital camera doesn’t… period!

I can’t and won’t speak for all of you, but for me personally, this is the way to go and I swear that I won’t do it again! Promised!

Film is not dead!IMG_0307-Edit_1024x1024

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22 thoughts on “Confess, you were thinking I’d do it!

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  1. Hi Frank, you wrote exactly what always went (and still is going) through my mind, then at a certain point I started to think that I was dealing with two separate media : Photography and Imaging and to make that separation for myself I started to call digital images D-graphs for myself (you can see that written above some of my earlier uploads).
    By making this division I could/can make digital images sometimes without resentment, but still they are “artificial” images and I can’t see/feel them as Photographs.

    The remark I made earlier about Eggleston imitators and young people working with the latest digital gear, refers to my opinion that digital equipment are mini computers which do a high percentage of the work, that should have been done by a real Photograper with a film camera, and film…I would be very interested to see if they can still imitate Eggleston…although I have seen a very few who really can 🙂

    Thanks for your articles and writings, Frank…it really helps me thinking about Photograpy, D-graphy and myself !

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Jiro! That is a lot of praise for someone so undecided and so easily thrown off his path as me.

      You are right that photography and digital imaging are two different things, each having it’s advantages and followers. But I can’t follow both, so my choice is made. Even the iPhone I use sometimes, great for product photos on eBay, doesn’t do it of me. Forget the ‘best-camera-is-the-one-you-have-with-you’ saying. That’s stupid. The iPhone, to me is not a camera, it’s a phone that can take pictures. And that’s it. I use it, comes in handy, but it’s not photography for me.

      And this is not a rant against digital. It is only my personal feeling.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I can’t say I am delighted with this article. It poses a dichotomy where none actually exists.

    There is no need to choose between analogue and digital. You can use both and have the best of both worlds. Incidentally, there is neither one analogue nor digital look. It depends on the film or the digital camera used and I wont even start on the question of lenses – both modern and those made for film cameras.

    As far as analogue photography is concerned, unless you are making your own pictures in a darkroom – whether you develop the film yourself or have it developed is not the point – the process is digital. You scan negatives digitally, you adjust them digitally and display them digitally – either on a screen or by printing them.

    I prefer analogue photos for portraits. Otherwise, I have no real preferences. I enjoy both. Depending on my mood, the weather (i.e. light) I take either an analogue or a digital camera with me when I go out. I often make my choice depending on what (usually prime) lens is currently on a camera. I often take two cameras with me – one analogue and one digital.

    To me it is all about taking / making nice pictures – both methods are fun and I wouldn’t want to miss either of them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sure, Dave, that’s not the point. It’s not the everlasting fight of digital vs analogue, good vs less good… This is only how I personally feel about photography.

      A digital camera doesn’t give me the pleasure of a film camera. Just me. I can take photos with both, I just happen to enjoy the process (even scanning the negs) more than for digital.

      As I always try to emulate film anyways, the choice is made for me. I don’t want to convert anyone. Not my point. I just lived a harrying week of uncertainty and doubt that finally has settled down for good…. I hope!

      Some use digital, some, like you use both, and I have no problem with that. I use film, hopefully, as long as there will be some around.


  3. “A digital camera doesn’t give me the pleasure of a film camera. Just me”

    Amen to that Frank.

    The bigger question is how convince the Mrs of that!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hmm, that’s the tough question! Tell her you need a new camera because…. your current one’s batteries are empty, it was abducted by aliens…. you’ll find some excuse, be creative! And tell her you are torn between the Fuji X100F at 1300£ and the ‘slightly’ older Olympus Trip 35 at 45£. And that one doesn’t even need batteries…

      Good luck 😉


  4. Frank I’ve been through a very similar process of thinking, and initially trying to use my Sony NEX + vintage lenses + LightRoom film presets to emulate the feel and final image of film photography. And ultimately being frustrated!

    The conclusions I’ve come to are to use each type for their strengths and don’t try to make them be something else.

    I now essentially use a three pronged approach –

    1. Film photography – mostly Pentax SLRs and M42 (mostly Takumar) lenses

    2. Digital photography – two Pentax K mount DSLRs plus M42 (mostly Takumar) lenses

    3. iPhone plus Hipstamatic app

    Common to all three approaches is trying to set up the camera and lens ahead of shooting so I can then forget about tweaking too much as I go, plus use the final photograph with next to no post processing. Because I like being out exploring with cameras, not hunched over a computer editing and processing images.

    Each give a different look (and of course feel different to use) but each in their own way I’m pretty happy with.

    I think I might write a post about this, thanks for prompting the thinking further!


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Keep it simple, that’s the ticket! For me keeping it simple means film!

      No warranty that some day I won’t change to the dark side but for the moment the force is strong in me…


      1. It’s funny how things evolve, when I started 35hunter about 15 months ago maybe I was a diehard film fanatic because digital just didn’t give me much pleasure on any level. Now I’ve found the cameras (and sensors) that give me that pleasure, I confess I’ve only shot a couple of rolls of film in about three or four months…

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Sure, digital has so many advantages over film. Apart from the points that bother me – feel of the cameras, look of the results and the involved way I can relate to my negatives…

        As for digital you are right in using older ‘crap’ cameras. I have been going through some photos I shot with my former Canons, an EOS300D and later a 400D and those 6Mp and 10Mp sensors were really not bad!

        Combined with nice old glass, an older digital can be a great tool, shooting just raw and setting a fixed, low ISO…

        Time will tell


  5. Exactly my thoughts.
    I actually started shooting with digital and I first “fell in love” with photography using a digital camera, but when I finally had the courage to shoot film, my love for digital photography was overpowered with film.
    If not only films and processing were pricy, i’d definitely stick with it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, there’s the cost, but a digital camera is expensive (unless you source good used ones) and you are compelled to change them every other year – or they make you think you need to change,

      I am still terribly tempted by digital at times. Have to stay tough!

      Developing at home lowers the cost dramatically but takes time. Just as scanning (or wet printing). That time can be a moment of reflection…. though a long moment sometimes 😉


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