[BTS] No.25 Buying a 46 Year Old Film Camera
I knew it. I knew it would happen. It was all so obvious. All of the cliches are true and it drives me crazy. Let me start at the beginning...
Back in the Spring I got lost in a rabbit hole of YouTube videos and Instagram feeds of film photography. It's one of those online niches that once you find it appears never ending. I was building up to a busy wedding season and getting my work bag together. A bag filled with a digital camera system that I love and can rely on, and thought why don't I invest in an outdated technology that's getting more expensive each year to run. Smart move eh!
There was some logic to it, I think. My professional gear is small, fast, silent and reliable. Everything you need as a wedding photographer. If you've seen any of these BTS posts before you may know that I also enjoy working on some personal projects. I enjoy the process and I feel it positively impacts my work. I never really had the film experience as a kid, I missed that boat. I've exclusively shot digital. I wondered what it was like, to capture an image and not know how it turned out. What's the experience of composing a shot that when you clicked the shutter button it was locked in and can't be re-done.
So after weeks of researching about formats and functions I got a Mamiya 645 1000s shipped from Japan. It's heavy, slow and awkward to hold. The opposite to my pro gear. It's also medium format. A different negative/sensor size to what I'm familiar with. All of this offers obstacles and opportunities to capture something a little differently. It's been a fun experiment, learning something new about something familiar. Each click of the shutter button costs money, and right now the success rate is low. The cost of the film to developing in a lab all adds up. However, when done right there is a look to the Portra 400 film that I just love. The fine grain and colour tone is unique.
The cliches are true about film photography. It is a lot of fun, I've taken photos I otherwise wouldn't have. I've gone on some hikes to get those photos. But alas, when those prints come back out of focus, it's infuriating. Secretly most photographers get excited about the tech, how fast and sleek cameras can be. I do love how it looks, and the tangible feeling of winding the 120 film and feeling the clunk of the shutter. This will likely never make it to an actual wedding day, but as a reason to get out and try something new, it's been a lot of fun.