Film is not quite dead

Since the advent of digital photography most of us have consigned our old film cameras to the cupboard and now shoot entirely using a digital format.  One consequence of this is that high quality film cameras can now be bought for a fraction of the cost than when they were new.

Contax G2

Contax G2 film camera with Zeiss Planar 45mm f2 lens

Well I recently resurrected my old film camera (a Contax G2), put in new batteries and some Ilford XP2, and was amazed at the difference it made to the photographic experience.  Everything was suddenly simpler.  There was no worrying about settings (other than aperture and shutter speed), no anxious looks at the back of the camera after every shot, and there was the glorious anticipation that comes with sending a film away and waiting to see the results.

In short I had forgotten how much fun can be had using film.  In addition the results were very good and the photos had a different quality to those taken using digital.

When I did a portrait session with the photographer Wolf Suschitzky earlier this month I felt I had to capture the scene on film bearing in mind he was a master of black and white photography during the golden age of film.  The following image is one of the photos from that session taken with the Contax G2 camera with 45mm Planar lens shot wide open at f.2 on Ilford XP2 film using ambient light.

Wolfgang Suschitzky

© Photographer and cinematographer Wolf Suschitzky taken with Contax G2 on Ilford XP2 

I then went walkabout to see what the camera was like outside and took this shot in poor light at Wrest Park.  The sky was a uniform white in the same photo taken on the digital camera but the film managed to get some structure into the sky.


Wrest Park with Contax G2, 45mm Planar lens and Ilford XP2


What I also rediscovered is that using film is great for street photography – here is one shot I took in Soho using the Contax and an old expired roll of Fuji Reala.

Street photography with a film camera

© Street photography in Soho with the Contax G2 and Fuji Reala (converted to black and white in Lightroom)

All shots were developed and scanned to disk by AG Photo Lab who have been excellent value for money and very quick.

So if you have an old film camera lying around why not dust it off and see what it can do for you?  I know that my Contax G2 is now firmly back in the bag.

All images are copyright.  If you want to use them please get in touch.

About photoponica

A documentary style photographer - started with film now shooting digital with the Fuji X system.
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7 Responses to Film is not quite dead

  1. Lucinda Poulsen says:

    Great images!

  2. Inspiration…. Have to follow that path as well…. Slow and back to the roots…

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