Film Cameras

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Why film?

If you've never shot on actual film, I highly recommend learning how.  There is something wonderfully contemplative about the limitations of film photography: you have at most 36 exposures on a roll of film, you have to wait for the lab to develop the photos OR you have to do it yourself in a dark room, and -- maybe most important of all -- you have to be a much better photographer to actually get a good shot.
Film makes you think about the shot more.  It makes you compose more deliberately.  It teaches you far more about the wonder and outright magic of light touching a subject than anything you can fix in Photoshop.  It takes away the luxury of hiding behind filters.  It makes you paint with light and shadow and all those amazing shades of gray.  It gives you the opportunity to literally open a shutter and place a scene right onto film stock, then close that shutter fast to keep from losing it.  Digital photography is all about precision, but film is about messy imprecision, working within the constraints of our natural world and, often, coming up with something and not having the slightest idea how you did it.  Digital is mathematical, to be sure.  But film is poetic.
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My film photos aren't nearly as good as my digital ones, and that makes me want to be a better photographer and make better art.  I still shoot most of my images digitally, but I try not to rely on editing or filters to make the shot.  I think like a film photographer.      

I'm a huge fan of old 35mm SLR cameras -- you know, the kind favored by 20th Century street photographers like Gary Winogrand -- but there are some fun things happening with the lomography movement and Holga cameras in particular.  

My life analog advice?  Grab a cheap 35mm, a few rolls of Tri-X and head out into the street or the woods.  One thing I've noticed about shooting film: you're almost never tempted to take a selfie.  You'd much rather point your lens at what's going on around you and I think that's a good thing.

Find 35mm cameras at my favorite camera store 
You can also find them on Amazon
And on eBay
And at Goodwill

Get film and supplies here
or here

My favorite film processing lab is here.

For Polaroid stuff, go here.

Here's a great alternative to Polaroid.

There are some great free photography classes here.

Find even more photography classes here.

Or, DIY with my favorite must-have film photography books:


Take a look here for more of my photography book recommendations.

What kind of film camera should you buy?

If you have shot on film before and want a really nostalgic experience, go with a format other than 35mm SLR.  

If you can get your hands on an old Yashica TLR, grab it.  The square format will be great for all you (former) Instagrammers, and these cameras take utterly gorgeous portraits.  This is the camera I learned to shoot on in my 1980s high school photography classes.  And the one to your right is my personal camera, inherited from my Mom who shot with it throughout the 70s and 80s:

See what's available here.  Find out more about Yashica cameras here.

The old TLRs might be a bit much to jump into if you've never shot on film.  In that case, I recommend a used 35mm Canon or Nikon.  (Leica is great if you can afford one.)  

You can still easily find a Canon EOS Rebel 2000 35mm film camera, and it's a great introduction to film for those of you used to a digital SLR or megazoom with presets.  The EOS Rebel 2000 came out in 2000 as the last consumer-level 35mm and it does not skimp on quality or offerings.  It has a bunch of familiar automatic settings, a great basic lens and a super-light body.  But don't be fooled by its ease of use -- this is a versatile workhorse film camera capable of truly impressive images.  I love mine.

Click on the picture below to see it on Amazon:

Learn how to shoot with it here:

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