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?


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



Aesthetic of Film

Even with the thousands of filters out there, nothing quite beats the look of film! 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.

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

 


Nostalgia and history of film 

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. 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


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


 

 

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

Why shoot 35mm film? 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 under £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.

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. You can buy 35mm point and shoot cameras from £30, or even a decent SLR camera for around £100. 

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!


Leave a comment

Ready to dive in?

Keep Reading

View all
Shooting Sport on Film - The Return of an Artform

Shooting Sport on Film - The Return of an Artform

Miles Myerscough-Harris has carved out a career in a niche that used to be a massive industry: photographing sport on film cameras! Our lab works with him to process and develop his priority assignments so we took the opportunity to learn about taking film photos with Premier League football, Six Nations rugby and more
Analogue Wonderland asks the film community: If you had to give one piece of advice to film photographers starting out, what would it be?

5 Top Tips for Budding Film Photographers: Advice from the Community

Discover five essential tips for film photography beginners in our guide. Learn the basics, embrace mistakes, explore black and white photography, manage budgets, and join the vibrant film community. Perfect for those starting their film photography journey.
Mastering Film Photography: A Deep Dive into the Exposure Triangle

Mastering Film Photography: A Deep Dive into the Exposure Triangle

Discover the secrets of the exposure triangle in film photography. Master ISO, aperture, and shutter speed to transform your artistic vision into stunning images. Learn how these fundamental elements work together to control light, depth of field, and motion, enhancing your skills in capturing the world on film.