Let’s get things straight. There is no film vs digital. Digital photography is not better than traditional film photography or vice versa. Film and digital are entirely different methods to achieve the same thing – imagery. The choice of whether too use film or digital is entirely aesthetic. Film looks different to digital, has a different visual aesthetic and feels visually different. That does not make it better than digital. Just different.
This is especially true when you consider the variety of formats that are available to photographers, in both digital and film. In my experience, if you want to get the most out of your photography and therefore the most enjoyment you should be using different cameras and formats. Using different cameras is great for learning about light, composition and exposure. There is a real joy in leaving the DSLR at home and picking up a Holga, or the Mamiya 645, or the Pentax K1000. The feeling you get from shooting large format is unrivalled. But it’s all about the end results. Different cameras give you end results that look different.
You don’t need to spend a lot of money on cameras. A Holga that takes medium format film is thirty quid. You can pick up a K1000 for about £50. A Nikon f80 is about twenty quid on eBay. And what about something alternative? Goerci, Dayi, Intrepid, Contax, Alpa… it’s so much fun playing with cameras, and if you shoot black and white film it’s easy to process at home, and again really cost effective.
Playing around with different formats of photography is great, and each camera you use will offer you a new perspective and an alternative result. Of course, there are benefits and downsides to any format of photography. Digital is quick to shoot and process, but many digital images remain digital and never get printed. Medium format digital is a lengthier process and requires processing power and storage. Colour film is fast becoming redundant but there is such beauty in a transparent negative. Black and white photography in whatever format again takes time to process but the visual end result is gorgeous. Another good thing about film is that you have only a limited number of frames to shoot. If you are using 35mm then you have 24 or 36 shots. If you’re shooting medium format then you have around 12 images per roll. If you shoot large format then you are limited to the number of film holders you have or the number of plates you have prepared. This slows you down, makes you consider every frame.
There is no film vs digital, just like there is no Nikon vs Canon (another absurd debate). Whatever you shoot, you should just enjoy shooting. There isn’t a best camera. There isn’t a best format. The best camera you can have is the one in your hand. But for fun and for getting the most out of photography, experimenting with different cameras is an amazing way to push your photography forward.
South Wales Wedding Photography