On the Appeal of Film

As I mentioned in a previous post (and a couple of times on Instagram), I’ve been practicing shooting film with an ancient camera that was given to me by my grandfather. Not only is it fully manual, but it’s a rangefinder with a dual viewfinder, which makes the process of taking photos completely different from what I’m used to with my DSLR. (And I’m not even close to mastering my DSLR.)

But since I want to reach the point where I can prove to my grandfather that his gift hasn’t gone to waste, I’ve been doing the best I can, practicing here and there. E isn’t particularly fond of this old camera though, since she can’t check pictures of herself after each shot. (She insists on checking how she looks whenever I take a shot of her.)

And although I still have a long way to go before I can be happy with all of the shots that I get, I’ve finally been able to get a few shots that came out the way I wanted.

I’ve always loved the look and feel of film photography and I usually post-process my digital shots to somehow emulate the look, but when I saw the shots that I took with my Leica, I realized it’s definitely not the same. There’s a certain softness about film that appeals to me. (And I personally love the color tone of this particular film.)

Now, I’m not saying that film is better than digital. Both are great in their own way. But after years of shooting solely in digital, I’m sort of loving the old look of film and the time and thought that goes into taking each and every shot on my ancient camera. It’s challenging to try and get the best setting and composition when you can’t take any test shots or check what you’re doing on an LCD screen. But the joy of seeing your developed shots days or weeks after they were taken is sort of like opening up a Christmas present.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to improve so that I can share more film shots here someday.




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  1. Film is 100% amazing. I want a film camera and at my local community center they are offering a black and white film developing class which I’d be totally stoked to get into the darkroom and develop some of my own stuff…but that does mean a purchase of a film camera.

    You shot of E is totally amazing! I can’t wait to see more!

  2. I did see that beautiful picture on Instagram, everything is beautiful, the colours, your daughter and the photo itself. I can imagine this camera must be tricky to master, but what a treasure it is!

    • Thanks, Sofia! And yes, the camera is definitely tricky. It takes me so long to get ready that it’s basically impossible to get shots of my daughter. I got lucky with this one ;)

  3. I’ve never shot with a film camera of that caliber before…but hopefully would one day get the chance. As I’ve already commented on instagram how this is a beautiful shot of your daughter…I won’t repeat it here ;)

    • Thanks, Kim!

      Taking photos with this camera is a completely different experience from taking photos with my DSLR. Both are interesting in their own way, but this camera is definitely harder. I really hope I can get better at using it though, because when I somehow get the shot right, the outcome is so completely satisfying :)

  4. The shot taken with Leica IIIc is just stunning! I don’t know how to say in English, but it’s “aji ga aru”! I love it! So, your grandfather must have loved photography to have owned such a great camera. I remember those days when I used to pick up printed photos from a film shop and going through them with such joy.

    I also love the new look you have on your blog. I was also eyeing on Zuki theme, but I’m just too thrifty to spend money on my blog. I keep telling myself that it’s a good investment, though.

    • Thanks, Kaho! I know what you mean about “aji ga aru.” I agree that there’s something about the color and mood that makes it different from digital.

      My grandfather is a huge fan of photography. Or more like, he’s a huge fan of cameras. I think he likes the mechanics more than the actual act of taking pictures. After I mentioned that I was interested in photography, he gave me most of his lens collection as well as this Leica. So now I have a really nice collection of old lenses (that are slightly heavy but still very much usable). And the best way to show him my appreciation is by proving that I am doing my best to learn how to use his equipment ;)

      And thanks about the new look! I felt that Zuki has lots of possibilities when it comes to layout. I’ve been playing around with it for a while but I still haven’t figured out on a layout that I’m completely satisfied with. I think, in the end, I just like things to be simple… And I know what you mean about investing in blogging. Some of the themes are so pricey! This one wasn’t so bad so i thought it’d be worth it :)

    • Yes, he’s very generous :) He felt it would be a waste to keep it stored in a box so he gave it to me after learning that I love photography. (He’s 92 so he doesn’t get out much anymore.) And yes, I will definitely keep shooting ;)

  5. You’re right – the warmth in that photo would be hard for me to capture with my DSLR (probably because I don’t know enough about it) – I’d have to edit afterwards to achieve this same effect. I love, love, love the light hitting E’s face on her right side and her toes. It’s beautiful! And so is she! :)

    • Thanks, Sarah! I really think it’s amazing how film can have so much warmth and depth. If I can ever become good enough to shoot well every time, I can totally see myself becoming a film-only person!

  6. congratulations with your new creative experience! I think that the photo is amazing! Looks very interesting! Also I like how you have used the light from the window)


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