Selling all my digital gear

Copyright Timothy Whittlesea 2018 Photography

Selling all my digital gear

TLDR: I like film more than digital

Initially, using 35mm was a fun experiment – something that felt a bit more involved and thoughtful than digital. Then, I started to use 35mm more extensively, bought different cameras, and acquired everything I needed to develop film at home. After this I also gained access to a dark room and learned how to print my pictures, slowly realising that I was taking pictures that were absolutely on par, in terms of how much I liked to look at them, as those I was taking with my digital camera.

At this point I would say I was using film about half of the time, but digital was reserved for holidays, when I felt like I would be taking a lot of pictures. Then came an experiment in Scotland, where I took nothing but an old, fully manual 35mm camera, and three 36 exposure rolls for a one-week trip. After this I decided, I didn’t feel like digital was adding a great deal to my life.

There are a number of more pragmatic reasons for this. I have acquired a Ricoh GR1, which I will write about after using it a little more, which is absolutely tiny (far tinier than any remotely capable digital camera), and is still full frame though. Equally, after my Scotland holiday I picked out some of my favourite images, did absolutely zero post-processing, and put them in a book. They were covered in dust where I had left them for a couple of weeks before scanning them, and on one of the rolls I had used a lens hood meant for a longer lens – so they have a big vignette. They look like something that could have been shot on an Arctic expedition. This was the first time I had done anything at all with pictures taken on holiday, and it was purely because I had shot them on film.

But more than all of this, the most important reason to own and use a film camera, is simply because it is more fun. Taking a picture on 35mm film is a mechanical, chemical process – you create a tangible, irreversible change that, if treated well, will last for the rest of your life. You are limited by the amount of film you want to carry, and so you think about what you want to record. And finally, developing and printing your pictures is like magic. You’ll never get the thrill of pulling a roll out of the developing tank, or seeing your image appear in the dark room by plugging in your USB cable and clicking through your images.

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