I’ll not wax poetic here, this is exactly what it says on the tin: if you are shooting with a film camera, or just thinking about it, read on. This article is for you.
Get A Vintage Camera
Vintage film cameras can be surprisingly affordable but, depending on the source, often require repair or adjustment. Read the description thoroughly and contact the seller if you have any questions.
Buy A New Camera
You’ll Need Some Film
Walgreens andare local options for common film types (they are typically short on variety, but will do in a pinch). There are, thankfully, many online options.
Now you have a film camera or two (or, if you’re like me, twenty-six), you’ve acquired a roll of film, loaded it into the camera, and…click…captured an image. Now what? Have someone process your film.
You may want to process the film yourself. There are vast online resources to help you. Start with a Google or YouTube search. You don’t need an elaborate setup, and you can save quite a lot of money over time.
Street festival in West Seattle. Shot with a Canon A-1, ©RBKnight
It’s easiest to have the folks who process your film do the scanning for you. It is possible to do it yourself–some of the current, readily available flatbed scanners do a good job–but be prepared to work at it a bit to get acceptable results.
Again, ordering prints from the film-processing company you’ve chosen is easiest but, once the negatives are scanned, you can order from anywhere. Various photographic papers are available, and there are some great alternative materials for photographic prints, including canvas and metal…and glass!
Street performers at a festival in West Seattle. Shot with a Canon A-1, ©RBKnight
Maintaining Your “New” Film Camera
Even though you just purchased your film camera, it may need (hopefully minor) repair or adjustment. There are certainly fewer places to send your vintage camera for repairs or a CLA (clean, lubricate, adjust) than there were ten years ago, but fortunately, some dedicated folks are committed to keeping your shooter in tip-top shape. Most of these shops are highly specialized, so listing them isn’t practical. If you’d like more information, let us know what camera you need to have served in the comments…we’ll get you moving in the right direction.
So. Much. More.
Seattle’s Space Needle shot with a Holga. ©RBKnight
This is certainly not a comprehensive list of resources. Explore. Contact a local camera club. Google it. Ask friends. Dive into the phonebook (yes, the phonebook). Ask about resources or reference materials at your local library. Check with the arts council in your community.
Still wondering if film photography for you? It’s a relatively inexpensive hobby to explore. For under $50, one can acquire a Holga, a roll of film, and developing. Give it a go, I’m willing to bet you’ll love it.
If you’d like to see more posts about film photography, please let us know in the comments!
Rick Knight provides graphic design and social media services to small business and nonprofits, and dabbles in fine art photography. Find out more at RBKnight.com. You can also follow Rick on a number of social networks by visiting his AboutMe page.