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First Experiments With Film Photography


6 months agoBusy4 min read


A month or so ago, I got a film camera, the Canon AE-1, from my uncle, and I had no choice but to try it out, even though I was not planning on getting into film at all. I was super scared to take pictures with the film camera because film is so precious and there are no do overs without wasting it. The camera is fully manual, with the Canon FD 50mm f/1.8 manual focus lens, so it always takes a while to set everything up for the shot. It took me over a month to shot all 36 images but I finally dropped the film in on Monday, and got my images back yesterday.

I was really scared for what the results would be, and I wasn't really sure whether I hoped they were shit or great, because if they come out good, I would have to get obsessed about film photography, if they would be all shit, I could just abandon the camera and continue happily with digital photography. Spoiler alert: film photography is now what I'm completely obsessed with and want to learn and do more of. Great....

This is going to be a new and expensive venture into my photography hobby. One roll costs somewhere around 8€, and having it developed and printed was 33.90€. God damn it. Sure I could just get the film developed and scanned, but isn't the point of film photography to have actual tangible images. I know it is for me, so I will keep having them printed so I will appreciate every picture more and really think before shooting.

I used this first roll to shoot very different kinds of images, scenarios, moods and lights, to get a good feel for the camera. Immediately as I got the images back, I was disappointed with the amount of grain and lack of contrast and blacks, I want more darkness! The only images that got the contrast I like, were the ones with bright sunlight and harsh shadows, otherwise everything was way too light and muted, even though I have a tendency to intentionally underexpose most images. But I am impressed with how the film handles lighter parts of the scenes, retaining detail pretty well even in harsh sunlight. The contrast and depth of blacks is of course a personal preference, for example my sister said she really liked how smooth the transitions from light to dark areas was.

The film I used was the only black and white the store I went to had, Ilford xp2 super 400 c41, which I will not be buying again. I did some research and the industry favourite is Kodak's Tri-x, and the newer T-max, both of which I will be buying when I visit Hellsinki next week.

To be honest, overall, I am pretty damn impressed with myself. There really weren't that many truly bad images, not many major exposure or focus errors. I could have easily done a lot worse. I really enjoyed the process of shooting film, now that I know that I am not completely lost with it and can in fact take a pretty good shot with this setup. The camera and lens itself I really like and have no intention to upgrade on those, I wanna keep this simple. At least that is what I think now...

I'm sharing you some of the images from the roll, which I took with my iPhone (lazy) and didn't do any post process on.












Out of 36 pictures, there were of course a few complete fails, and some really boring shots.


Please give me feedback on what you think of my first film photographs!

Ps. I can't share my favourite photograph of the whole set because it is a portrait of my friend and he wished I keep it to myself. I'm seriously bummed about that because it's a good fucking portrait!


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