Why Do We Still Love Film?

Taken on HP5 by Karl Christofferson

Taken on HP5 by Karl Christofferson

Do people still shoot film?  Why?  These are two of the most common questions we get here at Seawood.  To be honest, a short answer you might get at a busy front counter does not do this question justice.  So, we decided to answer these questions once and for all, in the first post on our new blog.  Here are OUR top 5 reasons to give film a shot. 

#1.  Higher dynamic range.  That's right, you heard it.  Film STILL has higher dynamic range than ANY fancy digital SLR on the market!  Dynamic range means you have more flexibility as far as exposure.  It refers to how much detail you can capture in both shadows and highlights.  For instance, when you take a photo on a bright sunny day, you might notice that the highlights are completely blown out, or the shadows are black with no detail, or a little of both.  Film is better at capturing detail in those situations.  No one has formulated a digital camera sensor that can do the same.  Sure, you can make an HDR photo in post processing, but it takes 3 RAW photos to make what one shot of film can do.

Taken on Ilford SFX by Zane Allen

Taken on Ilford SFX by Zane Allen

#2.  Better color quality and better Black and White tonality.  Yes, you heard it right again.  A 35mm color negative can capture many more colors and hues than a full frame digital camera sensor.  It is referred to as color spaces.  Adobe RGB has a larger color space than sRGB, and color film has a larger color space than Adobe RGB.  More on that in a later post.  Now lets talk black and white.  Black and white film will always hold a special place in my heart.  I believe that black and white photography forces your eye to pay more attention to the shapes, shadows and textures of the world, therefore allowing you to appreciate things that you may not have noticed in color.  Digital monochrome cannot match the feel of monochrome film for one simple reason: film is made with real silver!  Just as color film captures more colors than a sensor, black and white film captures more shades of grey than a sensor. 

Taken on Kodak Portra 800 by Vanessa Link

Taken on Kodak Portra 800 by Vanessa Link

Taken on Ilford HP5 by Karl Christofferson

Taken on Ilford HP5 by Karl Christofferson

#3.  The mistakes are awesome.  The world of digital photography can sometimes be too perfect.  It can make us forget to stop correcting things and just appreciate reality for what it is.  Stop fixing every little spot and every little lens flare and just relax.  When film gets a little messy, it can actually be a really good thing.  Some of my favorite shots taken on film were not at all what I was expecting.  Accidental double exposures, weird lens anomalies, expired film with strange colors and many other mistakes can actually be awesome!

Taken on Ilford HP5 by Vanessa Link

Taken on Ilford HP5 by Vanessa Link

#4.  It forces you to take it slow.  When you are shooting digital, you can take as many photos as you want.  You can snap away 1,000 times and chances are, at least one of those will turn out good.  When you are shooting film, you are put into an entirely different mindset.  You stop, compose, focus, take a breath, wait for the actual perfect moment, and then, snap.  You already know it was a winner.  When I shoot a roll of 36 exposures, at least 30 of those turn out great.  The odds are so much better than shooting on my DSLR because I only have those 36 shots, so I have to slow down and think. 

Taken on Kodak Portra by Katie O'Neill

Taken on Kodak Portra by Katie O'Neill

Taken on Kodak Ektar by Vanessa Link

Taken on Kodak Ektar by Vanessa Link

#5.  It has a different look.  It can be hard to put your finger on exactly what it is about the "film look", but no matter how many filters in Photoshop I use, I can't seem to mimic it.  It just looks...like film.  Try shooting the same scene with a roll of film and with a digital camera and see for yourself.  It's just different.

Taken on Kodak Portra 160 by Karl Christofferson

Taken on Kodak Portra 160 by Karl Christofferson

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Taken on Kodak Ektar by Vanessa Link

Taken on Kodak Ektar by Vanessa Link

We hope that we have shown you a little window into our appreciation for film.  In our minds, there will always be a place for it, no matter how fancy digital sensors can get.  If you haven't tried it yet, or if it's just been a long time since you have, come to Seawood and get yourself a few rolls.  If you're not sure how to use a film camera, we'll show you.  See you soon!

Taken on Ilford FP4 by Zane Allen

Taken on Ilford FP4 by Zane Allen