Why Shoot 35mm Film?

By Emma Lloyd

Why Shoot 35mm Film?

In this blog we will dive into the joys of shooting 35mm film. Shooting film offers a completely different experience than digital and opens up a whole new (but really quite old) way of taking photographs. Read on to find out about some of the reasons why we shoot 35mm film!

 



Why is 35mm better than digital?


Being Analogue Wonderland we may be slightly biassed to this question… either way, there are lots of advantages
why 35mm film is a better option to shooting digitally. Shooting film offers a completely different experience than shooting digitally and opens you to the wonderful community of film photographers. Film has a beautiful grainy aesthetic and a completely different look to digital and pixels. It offers a different shooting process and methodology, forcing you to slow down and get fully absorbed in the photo taking, rather than lots of post editing work.

 

Why Shoot 35mm Film?| Handful of 35mm film canisters
 


Why use 35mm film?


1. Limited shots

Why shoot 35mm film? In this case less is more! The limited number of exposures that come with 35mm film can work in your favour as it forces you to shoot more mindfully, carefully compose your shots and to think more before you shoot. Whereas with digital and the capability to shoot thousands of pictures, it is easy to get shutter happy and just fire away. This ultimately leads to a far longer editing time as you whittle down your shots. Having a limited amount of exposures with 35mm (usually between 24-36 frames) encourages you to learn and master your photographic skills as you only have so many chances to get ‘the’ shot.

 

Why Shoot 35mm Film?| Close up of film counter on 35mm camera
 


2. Aesthetic of Film

Even with the thousands of filters out there, nothing quite beats the look of film! You even get to use the iconic Kodak Portra 400. That beautiful grainy look far beats a pixel in our minds. There is so much choice with film, allowing you to get the vibes you are after in the shot, rather than spending lots of time in editing software. You can find films with high contrast, different colour washes, grain, special effects and more! For some inspiration on shooting some creative films, check out our blog on Lomography Turquoise or check out Lomography Purple!

Film photography gives you so much opportunity to experiment and play. You can try pushing your film- shooting it at a higher ISO to increase its sensitivity, and extending its developing time to compensate this. This results in stunning negatives full of grain and contrast. For more tips on pushing film, check out our blog The Art of Pushing Film: A Comprehensive Guide.

 

Why Shoot 35mm Film?| Picture of rock on cliff over looking the sea

Emma Lloyd, Kodak Gold

 

3. Nostalgia and history of film 

We've written about this in detail in our article 'Why People Shoot Film'. Put simply shooting film feels nostalgic as you are using a medium with such a rich history, one of the joys of shooting film is being a part of its legacy. Film photographs have a timeless, classic look that can never quite be achieved through digital means. You can use a black and white film like Kodak Tri-X which is over 50 years old!

Nothing beats the experience of shooting a roll of film and the anticipation of getting your photographs back from the developing lab. It is wonderful to use a creative process that has stayed the same all this time, from when our parents, and grandparents took photographs. It is so exciting to receive that email with your scans back, we imagine the same excitement as receiving your prints in the post from film labs back in the day!

 

Why Shoot 35mm Film?| Old Kodak film advertisement and sign
 

4. Cool Gear

As film has been around for so long, it has also seen lots of interesting developments including lots of awesome cameras. Everyone has a smartphone or digital camera these days, film cameras are the real conversation starters! Try pulling out a vintage point and shoot camera at a party, or doing some street photography with your grandad’s old SLR! Using cameras that have been handed down through generations make the whole shooting process sentimental and special. It is incredible to be using a camera that was also capturing memories decades ago or perhaps one that a family member used to use. There are so many awesome bits of analogue kit, with lots of history behind them- another joy of analogue photography. 

 

Why Shoot 35mm Film?| Collection of film cameras
 

5. Hone photography skills

One of the reasons I love film photography is because it forces you to get to grips with the basic understanding and foundations of what makes a great photograph. It is all too easy to stick your digital camera on auto and just fire away, but with a manual film camera you have to learn about ISO, shutter speed and aperture in order to get a good photo. You have limited shots as well so there is a greater emphasis on being patient, composing your photo and nailing that shot the first time round.

 

Why Shoot 35mm Film?| Girl reading photography book and close up of book

Sarah Emma Smith brushing up on her photography knowledge on a She Hearts Film photowalk, reading the Analogue Photography manual 

 



Why shoot 35mm film over other film formats?

There are many different film formats available for analogue shooters today. So why shoot 35mm?

 

Versatility

It’s versatile. If I want to have a slow wander around a meadow or through the woods carefully taking photos of things that catch my eye I can, or if I want to take it to a fast paced sports event, I can do that too. The majority of 35mm film cameras are light and compact too, making them small enough to travel anywhere with you and great companions for all kinds of photoshoots!

 

Affordable

Shooting 35mm is the most affordable entry way into film photography and offers the most choice in emulsions and most exposures per roll.  You can pick up a roll of 35mm film for £10 - and there's a full range of cheap film that will allow you to experiment without worrying too much about money. 35mm is a very convenient format, coming in light tight metal containers that are easy to use and less fiddly than working with sheet film or medium format spools. 

 

Camera Options

As well as 35mm film being the most affordable film option, it also opens you up to the most affordable film cameras. You can often find 35mm film cameras in charity shops for next to nothing, or pick up a decent SLR online for £200 or less. 35mm film is the only format where NEW cameras are still available, we sell a few budget point and shoot options for those looking to get into film in an easy, fun and simple way (Without breaking the bank). See our 35mm cameras here.

 

Why Shoot 35mm Film?| Collection of 35mm cameras

Emma's 35mm camera collection

 



Why use a 35mm film camera?

There are lots of reasons why you should use a 35mm camera. Due to the small and compact nature of 35mm film, the cameras also follow suit. You can get many small point and shoot style 35mm cameras that are lightweight, and easy to travel around with you. Some are even small enough to fit in your pocket! This makes them a great choice for beginners looking to get into film photography. 

You can find such a variety of choices with 35mm cameras, from point and shoots, to SLRs, pinhole cameras and even some quirky, colourful underwater ones from the 80s! 35mm cameras have a variety of differences between them, some can shoot with ISOs up to 6400 some are only up to 800. Some have detachable lens whereas others have fixed ones, this range of choice gives you lots of room to play with and to learn about film photography. No matter the shooting situation, there will always be a 35mm camera that can suit the task. It's also the most common format to have developed by your favourite photo lab: 35mm film developing.

Another benefit of 35mm cameras is that they are affordable. 35mm cameras offer the most budget friendly option to get into film photography, whereas medium or large format cameras can set you back hundreds if not thousands.

 

Why Shoot 35mm Film?| two 35mm film cameras
 

 

We hope this blog has helped show you why shooting 35mm is such a great option! Yes we may be slightly biased as to why 35mm film is better than digital but there really are so many benefits to shooting film. The real proof is in the pudding, check out our range of 35mm films below and get out there with your camera! If you'd like further reading we also have an article answering many popular questions about the format - including 'Is 35mm Film Still Made?'. Happy shooting!


2 Comments

  • For me photography is a very personal experience. I have a foot in each camp, one black n white using 35mm and 6×6 medium format. And 35mm digital for colour photography. I develop my own monochrome film and make prints in a wet darkroom from the negatives. As for my colour images, I do my very best to get the images correct in camera, I did and have used photoshop, but I uninstalled the software, as I became bored with the ability to change everything with a few clicks on my PC. It is a complete different mindset going out with a film camera, you view and think in greyscale, how things work together, loading a film and slowing down, and taking the time to, capture the moment, excuse the pun. But I could go on and on, unless you try these cameras, and rely on your own skill set, to capture wonderful images instead of generating them, with the trickery of technology, don’t get me wrong digital camera’s and either in camera or post image alteration, is fine, and also here to stay. But until you take your images, and develop the film and make your own prints, the magic of seeing your image come to life in the developer, never gets old. And here if tweaks need to be made, you paint carefully with the light, and adjust the developing times, to get that final image or images you keep chasing. For me that’s a sample, of what film means to me. Thank you, for taking the time to read this. Be safe.

    Martin Lyons
  • I use film, because it is very creative. You can learn so much from using film. Film has so much to offer. The various different speeds, for different situations, ISO 50 – 3200. What a varied range. My favourites are Kodak Ektar 100 and Fuji 200. These are indeed superb films. I use Nikon equipment and have been doing so, for the past 40 years. I also like Fuji Velvia 50. This is indeed is a fantastic film to work with. I was once told 25 years ago by a representative of a major UK camera shop chain :“Digital is the worst thing that has ever happened to photography”. I totally agree with him! Because I was once employed by a major UK photographic processing laboratory. I can actually say that there is indeed a resurgence in film photography. I only hope that more people will turn back to using film. Then perhaps, some of these high street labs may lower their prices, which in turn, could perhaps lower the actual price of film. And perhaps Nikon could actually bring out a new film camera. Perhaps the Nikon F6X, or the F7? Then this could, encourage other camera brands to bring out new film cameras. Long live film?

    Alvin Mark

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