See, I’m find new ways to rumble. And today I want to talk about the differences in taking your photos and footage on film versus digital. I met a guy in France who is a war correspondent/photographer. And even today he insists on only shoot with film.
For many travelers in 2017, they may never have taken any photos with films. Sounds strange in a way, but my first three trips solo overseas, 1999, 2000-01 and 2002 I used a waterproof Kodak camera. It meant I had to carry and protect rolls of films, I took 21 with me in 1999 for seven months of travel. I bought two or three more on the way. This year I left with a couple of SD cards, the biggest 64 GB and I didn’t fill half of that up and I took video on it as well.
So then, what IS the appeal of film in 2017? Well, it holds sentimental value I guess. And a quality that digital can’t quite replicate. I took a series of 3 minute films whilst I travelled across Asia to Europe. I bought myself an 8mm projector and it was great to watch the films as films, albeit they didn’t have any sound. Sadly, those films went south a few years ago.
Digital media has come a long way since the turn of the century. In 2004 I took my first trip with a 3 megapixel Canon, and even today I use those photos on the blog. I was very unsure about going down the path, and I think there were issues with the quality at times. But I sure took a lot more pictures than I was used to.
Today I have a Nikon that I’ve used to over two years now, my first ever DSLR. And it’s really great, I get fantastic results. I can take Full HD video as good – actually better than my digital HD video camera. We have all the programmes we need to edit those photos as well. And SD cards are small enough that I can take many with me so I never run out of space. I can back them up via USB and via Dropbox or another cloud service. So really, is this a discussion worth having?
I went to Paris earlier this year, where I last really visited in 1999. I took hundreds of photos in four days. In 1999 I was there for the same length of time and took around ten! So what exactly is the allure of taking photos on film in 2017?
Well one thing to put out there – YES, I can take as many photos in a day as I want. However, that can have a negative effect when you think about it. I can spend days just snapping away, but my travel is suddenly about taking photos. Then I put them on the blog, Instagram, Facebook or whatever. So much time is spent sorting them, that life is passing by. And it’s not just me – look at all the people taking photos non-stop whilst in a foreign land. With their phones – oh it IS easy. But what do you lose whilst looking for that perfect selfie?
Photography is not what it was. That’s for sure. And yeah you never knew what you were getting until the photos were developed. At the same time, each photo you checked had a power – wow! That came out well! I don’t remember that. That’s awful! But with digital photos, you delete, you take dozens of shots, it is an immediate result too. You lose that moment when you see your photo for the first time with no idea how it will be.
Here’s an article I found when trying to find reasons on the side of film – 12 Reasons Photographers Still Shoot With Film. It has an interesting list but some reasons are basically jokes – for example – the chemicals smell oh so good, but also good points – you slow down (in line with my point above) and there is something special about the ‘accidents’ you can have – for example when you take two photos on the same spot on the film and they merge together.
For the blogger, digital is always going to be better, but film for me represents a different time, a different and way to travel. And that is something I often miss today. No winner, no loser today – what are YOUR thoughts? Does anyone out there still travel using film??
Thanks for reading, May the Journey Never End!!