A Monologue on Analog

A few months back, I decided to sell my Fuji X-20 and buy a film camera. It has been a long existing idea which never materialized, until that day. After some consultation from film camera trotting friends and much to my husband’s prodding, I finally decided to let my 4-year old camera go. Even though I felt a great deal of separation anxiety, I know that I had to part from it and let someone use it instead of just letting it collect dust in my cabinet.

We were able to find a buyer willing to get it at our selling price. In exchange, I got myself a Minolta X-700 – a 35mm manual SLR black beauty:

Selling price was decent and the gramp who sold it to us gave useful tips and tutorials. He insisted on me getting a rangefinder, but I don’t think I’m ready for that, yet. Maybe in the future; depends on how this analog affair develops. 😉

One thing that made me decide on getting the Minolta X-700 instead of the more popular Canon AE-1 is because the former has aperture priority. I am fond of taking stills so I figured it will be more useful for me. Besides, the Minolta has manual  control so I can use it to play around with shutter speeds if I want to. Win-win, right?

Now why would I get a film camera when everyone else around me is trotting around the latest digital camera models?

Truth be told, I want to learn.

Really, really learn. Not just the technical side of it, but all the other aspects of photography.

With film, you get to carefully compose your subject before you click. You learn how to be more selective of your shots because you only have 36, at most. You also develop a certain instinct , especially when taking pictures of moving objects. When is the right time to hold my breath and softly click the shutter? You tend to think of lights and lines and shadows differently. How are they going to interplay with my film and my setting of choice?

I know that most of these can also be learnt using a digital camera. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not hating on it and not totally abandoning it. But what I wanted to learn about film is the whole end-to-end process of it. The patience to look for the best angle, the patience to exhaust a whole film roll without being too clicker-happy, and the patience to wait for your films to be developed.

Prior, I didn’t know that developing a BW film would take a month! So imagine the anticipation to finally see your work.

Did they turn out the way I imagined them in my head while I was composing the picture?

Some don’t but, hey, it’s part of the learning process.

I already have several rolls developed as of this writing. You can check some of the shots here.

One downside of shooting film, though, is the financial damage. Heck! I just lost one full 36-shot roll and only came to know after it has been developed. The film was exposed so it was literally a canvass. Almost a thousand pesos down the drain!

In shooting film, you pay for literally every process – from buying the film, getting them developed, having them scanned, and getting them printed. I’m actually glad that we have an option to scan films now. That way, you can just choose which ones you want printed. A perfect sample of analog-digital union!

I’d say that shooting film is still worth it. The satisfaction on seeing the finished product is much higher for film than any digital format. I can only think of one word when I see my processed roll: kilig 😍

Most especially when you get surprise (tsamba) shots like this:

The first burn is the deepest. Baby, I know.