Friday, March 29, 2013

Going full frame on a budget with film cameras

I wrote many articles on film photography and cameras before. With a recent increase in the usage of high-end (and also costly) full frame cameras I wondered if guys with small pockets had any choices. Ofcourse they do.

Film photography is cheap, output is qualitative and within the reach of common man. 
Given the prices of high end cameras like Nikon D3x (almost $8000) and Canon 1Ds Mark III (almost $7000), there has never been a good time to choose film photography. Inspite of the shortcomings of film, the advantages far outweigh the heavy price tags of the aforementioned cameras. It is of note that no matter how high-end a DSLR is, it can never replicate the cinematic aura of the film camera.

Even in this day and age of digital saturation there still some purists who shoot on film. A certain percentage of top tier fashion photographers still shoot film. Terry Richardson shoots with a Yashic T4, Miles Aldridge shoots with a Rollieflex, I don’t exactly know which camera but David Bailey too shoots exclusively on film and there are many others like them.

 If your primary professional work demands speed then film photography isn’t for you. Modern journalism is a bit difficult with film, but for magazines like National Geographic where the assignment time is several months, film photography may be most suitable. 

For any up and coming fashion photographer money is the most important criteria. Instead of investing thousands of dollars on camera bodies additionally some more thousands on the subsequent lenses, it is wiser to start off with a good reliable film camera system. The lenses too for film cameras come very cheap. Choose a good system and you are as good as your friend with the 1Ds Mark III. 


No matter how expensive a digital camera can never deliver the color rendition of a film camera. A while ago I read somebody’s quote that capturing all the information on the film frame will generate a image file of 1500MB (That’s 1.5GB) and that means shooting with a 500 megapixel camera. Just think about it. 

When buying a film camera see to it that you buy something that has/supports auto focus lenses. This way it will save some valuable time, when it is factor. 

You can easily learn film processing and also setting up your own dark room very cheaply. Digitizing film is also not rocket science. You can do it with a good capable computer and scanner system

The whole point of this article is not to tell you to throw away your digital cameras, but only to tell you that there is also an economical alternative to full frame DSLRs.

And remember, without curiosity, inspiration and imagination no matter how high end camera you have, you are just a guy in the middle of the ocean with no sails.    

Happy Clicking.

--Viisshnu Vardhan--


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