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.

A Different Kind of Shutterbug

With all the digital documenting going around, it’s hard not to be infected by the shutterbug disease. Gone are the days when you would admire your dress in the mirror, eat a meal ravenously once it’s laid on the table, or just simply marvel at the beauty of a full moon. If  you think it’s good, it should be captured. And once it’s captured, it should be shared to your network of virtual friends. I must admit, I’ve been infected by this disease. For more than a year now, I’ve been a slave to my phone camera taking pictures here and there and eagerly sharing them to my friends.

With my birthday just around the corner, I thought of getting myself an actual camera. But for some reason, I don’t wanna settle with the usual digicams. I want to buy something different — one that could stretch my creativity more without the high dependency on Picasa, Lightroom, or Instagram filters. Something that would be a perfect partner of my digital phone camera in documenting special events in my life. And one that could produce actual copies of the shots that I did, in all its imperfectness.

And so, today, I found myself spending hours and hours of my work free time looking at toy cameras on the internet. Toy cameras are such fun to use and very cute to carry around so you can easily understand their great charm on me. They’re quite different with the ones that we’re used to today. With a digicam, you can take pictures to your delight, may it be good or bad. The only thing that you have to worry about is your camera juice. But with these, there’s this small challenge of taking an actually good picture because once you click, you can never go back. It’ll automatically be embedded on the negatives inside. What you can only do is to wait for it to be developed.

Anyway, let me share to you my top 3 picks (a.k.a the ones that I can actually afford ;))

1. White Slim Angel Wide-Angle Camera – This uses 35mm films and has a 22m wide angle lens. It instantly produces saturated picturesque products with a hint of vignette. And because it is wide-angle it is perfect for outdoor photography. I can already imagine myself taking these with me to the beach!

Grabbed from poketo.com

2. Golden Half 35mm Camera – These adorable babies uses half the intended exposure format so it doubles your number of shots. In other words, it allows 2 shots in one frame. Now, how cool is that? For someone who’s a big fan of creating collages, this is a major plus. The images have a retro feel to them, too, which I love.

Grabbed from poketo.com

3. Fujifilm Instax Mini 7s – Who here is not charmed by polaroid cameras? Certainly not me. I just love how this thing works! This is great for taking artsy pictures on special occasions and during out-of-town travels. It only takes one snap to create an automatic souvenir.

Grabbed from http://jenniecastillo.multiply.com

So there you go.

Right now, I’m leaning towards getting the Instax. Although it is the most expensive, it is the most convenient because of the instant output. All I have to worry about are my friends sneaking the developed photographs away from me. Haha!

Thoughts?