Why You Should Shoot Film in 2022!

In the last few years, analog photographic processes have been making a big resurgence. After many years of emulating the film look digitally with presets, such as for Lightroom, many photographers are making the full jump into film photography.

But what are some barriers to entry? In this video, Imran Nuri outlines film photography for various levels of film shooters.

The most basic film consideration is for someone who hasn’t shot film before or hasn’t even photographed at all before. If this is you and you’ve never shot anything before or haven’t shot anything on film before, then working with a film camera can be a new way to see the world and reignite that photographic spark. Obviously, unlike digital photography, film comes with the challenge of having each image "matter" more since you have a limited amount of film to shoot with. Each frame has a monetary cost attached to it. This, along with an inherently different look for different film stocks can mean that there may be very little afterthought needed once the roll is shot. Shoot and develop; there's no need to worry about pesky post-processing. Soon, you too will be raving about Portra 400!

Nuri mentions he did spend nearly $1,400 on his film photography, including the cost of film and getting it developed. I was deathly afraid to figure out how much I’d spent on my 4x5, but my cost was only around $900. These figures are scary but shouldn’t be dissuasive. You can probably get away with a cheap camera and a cheap roll of film, including development for under $100 if you’re careful and shop around. It is a bit of a deep dive once you get started, though, and the feeling of getting that first few frames of images back is a rush that you’ll hold onto for a while to come! So, why not give it a go in 2022?! 

Ali Choudhry's picture

Ali Choudhry is a photographer in Australia. His photographic practice aims to explore the relationship with the self, between the other, and the world. Through use of minimalist compositions and selective use of color and form he aims to invoke what he calls the "breath". He is currently working towards a BA (Honours) in Photography.

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I'll be buying a 4x5 once I save the coin (I still shoot 35mm and medium format - I've had large format cameras on 2 previous occasions).

Anyone looking at getting into LF should check out Intrepid.

I got my 4x5 second hand. It was a little more than the Intrepid but it's built like a tank. Super sturdy but super heavy. I was a bit weary of the built quality on the Intrepids but keen to hear how you go with yours.
Tbh, this is my first 'real' foray into film beyond simple snapshots as a kid.

For me, I absolutely enjoy the image quality of large format. And also the whole 'theatre' of having to slow down and check everything 4 times and making it a whole experience rather than just pressing a button.

I've had, and sold, a Technica III and a Tachihara. I swore I'd never do it again; but now I've decided to give gum bichromate (for starters) a crack.

I'll probably go 8x10, with a view to producing 1 of 1 prints.

I got a Linhof Kardan with 150mm Schneider lens.

I've been outsourcing my developing and scanning but got some chemicals and such for Christmas so hopefully I feel brave in the next few weeks. Wish me luck!

Awesome! You'll do just fine :)

Any chance of a pending article?

Oh gee golly! That is one I've been putting off since I started writing for FStoppers. Is there anything in particular you'd like to see?

I can't I can think of anything right now, I'll let you know if I do.

If you want 500 comments, you could go with "why you should shoot large format", and just stand back with a huge bag of popcorn ;)

How should I start? Be open? That's way too much talk about money. I come from the complete opposite of this video, I started when cameras were still manual focus. It was expensive then, too. But that's not the point. There are some problematic claims made in the video. One of them is that you only have a few shots compared to the many digital shots of today. This seems true at first glance, but it is not. Of course, we are not talking about fast action like in sports, but let's take street photography. That one moment when the scene is right makes no difference whether the camera is digital or analogue, or whether it is portrait photography. I easily use up two rolls of film or take 72 shots digitally. It's about the same.
Another problematic statement: when you come from digital photography, you learn so much about photography with analogue because it slows you down and you have to think about every single image. But that's what photography is all about in the first part.
The guy in the video tries his best, but no, he can't deliver the answer to the question "Why you should shoot on film in 2022". He lacks the necessary experience.

Did he make the argument you should *always* shoot film? Or film is fit for *all* genres? Or some similar such argument?

The answer could be simple, choose one of the reasons:

- You are curious and want to have the experience.
- It's chic that many people are (re)discovering analogue photography.
- I got an old analogue camera cheap and want to try it out.

When you start photography, definitely get a digital camera. I had already shot several rolls of film before I really knew what was going on at the time. After that, the error rate was still high. Do it the other way around. Gain experience with a digital camera and then try analogue.

If you want to take it slower, turn off the review function, set the camera to M or A and force yourself to take only one, at most two shots with a total of 24. If you can't do that, you won't be able to do it with an analogue camera either.

By the way: I started with a Nikon F3, later with an FA in the 1980s. After 1998 I never shot on film again, only recently I bought a (analogue) Nikon F100. And why? It feels and looks like a more modern Nikon DSLR, has AF and all the gimmicks. If I were to shoot analogue again, I would use this camera and maybe, just maybe, my old FA.

My dog says hi.

No, it just looks around for food.

Someone really needs to email Michael Kenna, and inform him of the "only" reasons he could be shooting film.

You can shoot however you want. For me, there is an inherent "slowness" to shooting film (especially large format) that I don't get from digital.
If I mess up on digital, the price tag on that mistake is the cost of a single shutter actuation. If I mess up on film, that's $40 for a large format mistake.
So for me at least, it is a vastly different experience of slowing down, metering everything multiple times with a light meter. Making sure that my focus is correct. Etc. Etc.
But this also plays into the "theatre" of photography. If I do all this on a film camera, the person I'm photographing understands that there is a reason for it. If I performed the same "theatre" on a digital camera or even on a phone camera, it wouldn't hold the same relevance.

i thought the dude talks about 35mm film. I am sorry.

He talks about 35mm, medium format, as well as large format.
I only have a large format though. :)

he is a Youtuber like many others , more clicks more money ......

I’m here wondering how many articles in the history of fstoppers start with the word ‘Why’ in the header.

That's a great question! My guess is 525,600.

Haha yes, somewhere near that many:)

Why do I continually see articles and videos about why I should shoot film, or why I should shoot with a little-used, not-so-popular format, or why I should use a crappy, cheap lens?

Why do the people here at Fstoppers keep telling me why I should use gear that isn't well suited to producing the kinds of photos that I want to make? That I should use cheap, outdated, or obscure stuff instead of the mainstream gear that suits me so well?

When are we finally going to see an article that tells us why the mainstream, relatively expensive, most-popular cameras among camera enthusiasts are actually better for a lot of photography than the cheap, outdated, or obscure gear is?

You mean the gear that everyone uses? I don't think the argument needs to be made.

If it suits you and makes you happy then you should continue to do that. :)

It's not about what makes me happy. It's about what produces the necessary results. Of course I will continue to use the gear that allows me to produce the greatest umber of marketable images. Anything else would be foolish, from a business standpoint.

But why are there so many articles here trying to tell me to switch to gear that would be less capable and / or less efficient?

Many of these articles have the word "you" in the title, so yes, they are being aimed at me, personally. I don't like the wording of these titles because they presume to know me and what I shoot and how I want to shoot it. We are not all the same, and we do not all have the same photographic objectives. Hence, articles should not lump us all together and tell us all that we should do "x", "y", or "z".

"Why You Should Shoot Film In 2022"

the title could have been worded,

"Why Some of You May Benefit From Shooting Film in 2022", or

"Why You May Want to Consider Shooting Film in 2022"

if the title was worded that way, then this article wouldn't be so offensive to me. But when you are presuming to tell me what I should do, when you don't even know me ..... well that is just haughty and offensive.

gaius guido-guidi told me to:

"leave the house once in the while and you will understand"

I spend an enormous time out of my house. I am home for 5 to 6 months each year, and the other 6 to 7 months I spend in various parts of the United States, on firefighting duty throughout the western U.S, road-tripping all across the country in pursuit of wildlife to photograph, and back on the east coast visiting friends and family for 1 to 3 months at a time.

If you think that I am in any way sheltered, or that I do not regularly experience a diverse array of life experiences, then you have somehow been misguided.

Let's keep our discussions on photography forums serious. This is not the place for humour or sarcasm. Nor is it the place to be "loose" with our mindset, words, or behaviour. There are other times and places in life where humour and "looseness" are appropriate. Photography forums are not one of those places.

Using film to take photographs is as relevant as going to Oregon by covered wagon pulled by oven

That's never happened in the history of ovens.

Are there oxen in the oven? Or is it "oven, oven, oxen free"?!

The real question should be "why you should use rotary phone in 2022?"

For the vibes!

How quick are these ovens?

"Why you should stop telling people what they should be doing".

Amen to that!

I welcome suggestions, but they should be offered as such. I don't like it when people tell me flat out that I should be doing, when they don't even know me.

Well, this is exactly what the author did by telling people what they should be doing:) No offense intended. I am not sure if you reply was for me or for the author of the video. Have a great day.

I wrote my comment as a reply to you, to show agreement and support for what you had said.

Thank you very much, Sir. Appreciate it. Hope you have a happy and healthy New Year!

I have shot film for 40 years !!! no , thank you , no more ......

Yeah, I shot film back in the 80s and 90s, and was always disappointed that I couldn't get wildlife photos that looked as good as what I had seen with my own eyes.

Fast forward to the early 2000s when I first tried digital, and - WOW! The photos I got with digital were what I had always been hoping to get for all those years that I shot film. The higher quality images literally changed my life!

Yes, the higher quality images enabled by digital photography did change my life completely.

This is how that happened:

For many many years, I photographed wildlife with film. I was never satisfied with any of my results.

I would find an animal, and photograph it, and then when I got the developed slides back, the photo never appeared as crisp or as detailed as the animal looked to my eye in real life. I would have this image in my mind's eye of what I wanted the photos to look like, and the photos were never nearly as good as the image that I had envisioned in my mind's eye. Nor was the photo of an animal ever as sharp and clear and detailed as the view I had of the animal with my own eyes when I saw it out in the field. I was always disappointed with my photos for this reason, and therefore wildlife photography was "only a casual hobby" to me for 20 years.

Then in 2006, I discovered that the new digital technology was able to capture the types of photos of wild animals that I had always had in my mind's eye. I had the same vision in my mind's eye that I had always had, but now the photos that I took were just as good as that vision - sometimes even better and more detailed than what I had envisioned!

Woo hoooooo! This digital stuff was great! I was so excited about the photos that I was taking that I started to get out and photograph all the time. Quit my job so that I could shoot more. Started shooting wildlife all the time - almost all day, every day.

I was so excited about the wildlife photos that I was taking - and about those that I could take in other places - that I realized that I wanted to do this always, and not be held back by living on the east coast with its many cities and too many people everywhere.

I also realized that the place with the best wildlife opportunities was the western US. But I lived in the eastern US, on the east coast. So I sold my condo, bought a trailer, put everything I owned in the trailer, and towed it out west to eastern Washington state, where I had some friends.

This new location put me right in the midst of vast expanses of wilderness and massive mountain ranges and just a half day's drive to places like Yellowstone Park and Glacier Park and the Pacific Northwest - the places where all of the exciting species lived - species like Bighorn Sheep and Mule Deer and Mountain Goats and Moose and Snowshoe Hares and Blue Grouse and Spruce Grouse and Ross' Geese and Pintails and 3 kinds of Teal and so much more! I literally moved to paradise!

That was 16 years ago, and I am still living here in Washington state and I still spend most of my time going out into nature to photograph wildlife. And I travel all around the western US and even back to the eastern US at times, to photograph the wild animals. All because the images that I can take with digital gear are so beautiful to me. Images the quality of which I was never able to capture when I used film.

So that is how the high quality of digital images literally changed my life. No more regular day job. No more living in the congested east coast megalopolis. Life really is one big adventure to me, filled with travel and passion for photography and passion for the wild animals that I photograph. And that never would have happened if I had kept shooting film, because the results I got with that medium just never satisfied me or made me excited about photography.

I care. It’s a great story. I hope it’s true.

Been using a modified Holga 120N for months way ahead of the curve just so I'll be ready for 2022. My objective here is to use the Holga as a grainy long exposure camera without any thought process. Just set up the camera, point and shoot. Not even going to use the view find on this. My modifications include but not limited to: Re-foaming the interior, repainting the interior, flat back to reduce glare, adding a 3D printed cable release mount, and covering over the view finder. Lastly and a major discovery on my part, is that the 52mm lens ring fits over the outer edge of the Holga lens. This way one can use a slotted filter holder on their Holga. The other attached images are just a few of the mods done to my Holga. The German made cable cost more than the Holga camera plus 7 rolls of film. But it was the only cable strong enough to have been able to actuate the shutter leaver.

I'm considering rehousing a Holga lens, so I can mount it on a digital camera. I haven't put much thought into it, but I think it's a cool idea.

I have heard there's a Holga mod site, but have not wanted to explore that aspect. updated with more images above. Furthermore if I wanted "crisp Clear" images I would have taken them with the Canon M6. I'm not searching for a more artsy aspect to my photography. Something I lost back in the 80's

I do find it amusing that youngsters are discovering film as if it’s never been used before. It’s like the new thing about vinyl records when us old-timers chucked out our vinyl years ago. I spent the first thirty-five years or so of my life using film and once I switched to digital there was no going back. I used to be a radio producer and started off editing tape by cutting it with a razor blade. Then digital came in and those razor blades all went to the big sharps bin in the sky. A lot of art photographers now seem to use film as if by using it they think they’re being really clever whereas the whole world used to use film for all their holiday snaps up until about 2005.

I keep coming back to these comments, and all I keep thinking is that someone really needs to tell Michael Kenna he's a hipster hack, who doesn't have the slightest clue what he's doing.

It is worth doing a search of who is shooting film currently, and you'll see stunningly beautiful work that puts the lot of us to shame.

I listed to an interview of the Dune cinematographer a few weeks ago, the decision making process, in pursuit of a particular aesthetic, was fascinating.

I find cinematography fascinating, and it always reminds me how little I know.