Why You Should Consider Buying an Old Film Camera

Film is enjoying a resurgence right now, and yet, in an age of ever-burgeoning megapixel counts and clinically sharp lenses, it can seem a bit strange to some to purchase an old film camera whose technical image quality could not dream of competing with modern equipment. And yet, that is exactly what you should do, as one photographer argues in this interesting video essay. 

Coming to you from 7th Era, this great video essay argues for the benefits of purchasing an old film camera. One can get into a back and forth about the film "look" and if the way it slows down your process is worthwhile, but for me, it is really about something a bit more nebulous. Perhaps it is the nostalgia of excitedly picking up your prints or the more organic nature of the process, but shooting film just feels different in a pleasant way. That does not mean I'll be putting away my digital camera anytime soon, but for the occasional outing that is just about reconnecting with the pure experience and joy of photography, a film camera is hard to beat. And beyond all that, old film cameras and lenses can be had for quite cheap — normally under $100 for a pair, in fact. Check out the video above for the full rundown. 

Alex Cooke's picture

Alex Cooke is a Cleveland-based portrait, events, and landscape photographer. He holds an M.S. in Applied Mathematics and a doctorate in Music Composition. He is also an avid equestrian.

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Whilst I do love the look of film compared to the more clinical look of digital, I cannot go back to the days of film as the whole process, which admittedly plenty of photographers really love, is just too inconvenient for me. I don't have the funds, space or desire to start purchasing film and developing negatives and prints. I do try to use my camera with as few automated features as possible and like to use modern manual lenses so I don't get overwhelmed by all the technology and still feel like I'm doing all of the work myself.

Finally, an article we can all enjoy. I do use digital, but I mostly do film and then have it developed and digitize it myself for any manipulations I may want or need. Although I do try to edit as little as possible. I still love shooting with film.

If you learned photography on slide film, manual focus and without TTL flash you are less likely to "spray and pray". Shutter count was hardly a thing then. One other good thing about film cameras is that they are less interesting for others to steal, if you are traveling.