WHY analog?

Some of my reasons for choosing to photograph analog (in no particular order of valuation)

  • I never ever again need to update my camera, it will still work though it is older than two years …
  • In 30 years my negatives will still be in perfect condition, not so sure about my digital files…
  • In 10 years or so, I can start editing a photo from my perfect negatives, with new technics and improved scanning skills, but the digital photo I take today will NEVER be better than my digital camera is today. Look back 10 years and you see my point.
  • I have time to get to know my camera and let that knowledge become muscle memory instead of constantly having to learn a new camera and new features, it’s anyway just a question of focal length, aperture and shutter speed. Everything else is sales trickery.
  • I cherish more about each picture I take, and that puts the relation degree between keep/discard into a whole different emphasis, which I feel is extremely positive for my creative confidence.
  • I feel immensely rich, in a strange creative wonderful way when I hold my new developed film strip in my hand, and it is not only a question of the pure beauty, because I know, that this film strip will hold for all future hard drive crashes….
  • Somewhere in all this, I would also like to think that I care about our beautiful Mother Earth. I know nothing about chemical processes and the impact these have to the environment, but only because I use so much less material in terms of new cameras and its accessories and manufacturing processes it feels anyway that I do not contribute to wear-and-throw culture in the same way as when I used digital equipment. My Leica M2 from 1961 are in better shape than I am! And my Hassie from the late 80’s are still considered to be new!

Hasselblad 503 CX
Kodak Tri-X 400
Kodak Tmax developer 1:4  7 minutes

83 thoughts on “WHY analog?

  1. I think being able to develop through this process will soon be a lost art. So cheers to you to follow your passion and use cameras that will never grow old, and will always be great friends. Instead of looking for the next latest and greatest, you are finding comfort in things that WILL last. Beautiful picture as well.

    • Thank you very much, Sarah for your kind words about my blog, but I do not agree with you though.
      It’s probably the same market power that applies here, as in the rest of society; supply and demand.
      The analogue photography need not automatically be dying just because digital technology came, right?
      There is certainly room for both! What has changed is that now CHOOSE photographers to work with film, before it was the only way to go, like the digital seems to be “the only” choice for many today.
      Unfortunately!
      So, the more people are discovering that the film really is not dead, the better!

  2. Well said, and those are all reasons that I shoot film as well. I find that digital and film mix well for me, and both coexist in my photography. But analog has a lot going for it.

    • Thank you very much!
      Yes, I agree! I had a really good DSLR, and I used only the digital for a couple of years, mourning film!
      Then I realized film was not dead at all, so I went back, and slowly film took over. And a couple of weeks go, I sold my digital equipment, hadn’t used it at all for about six months, and for me that was a really good choise! Feels good! 🙂
      The most important thing is to find the way to go that suits you the best!

  3. You might be doing “Analogue” but that’s no Kodak Brownie in your hands. My good old 35mm Zenith B lasted years, I wish I still had it. No light meter, the controls were built with all the finesse of a Sumo wrestler at bedtime.
    My Canon EOS 7D is so complicated I’m almost scared to use it.

  4. I’m assuming you do your own developing/processing of the film. If one sends the film out to a processor, the expense could be quite huge. I shoot lots and lots of digital and delete the ones I’m not pleased with. I suppose with film, I would be required to be more selective and cautious.

    • Yes, that’s true, and it’s quite good, for me it is anyway, because I have to slow down, be in this moment, and I also get a higher rate of “keepers”. And, I never have to upgrade my camera! 😉

  5. I love the fact that you can find cheap lens of great quality and explore a rich variety of options between different cameras, a bigger inventory of lenses since they can bought for cheap, and a wide variety of films. There is also a great sense of adventure and accomplishment behind the success of “human and machine”, that is unequaled by the digital experience.

    • Yes, I totally agree with you! And it is still buyers market, even though prices are rising.
      A good sharp lens, what more do you need, huh?
      I do not like when everything is already finished and ready, I like to think and create myself, so the variety with films and old great lenses suites me well….. 🙂

    • Thank you very much for your kind words, i appreciate it very much.
      Yes, I really try to, my highest wish here is to show the beauty with film, and inspire others, and to reach that, I have to put my soul into it.
      This is my passion!

  6. Marie, Joey and myself both 100% agree with your “why analog?”. Our equipment is also decades old-Mamiya 645’s, Yashicamat , Brownie Hawkeyes(620), Argo (620), Holga . Nothing will ever replace the “trueness” of film. Our equipment works like brand new.You’re right also-reprint a neg from 20 years ago- no problem. A photograph taken with our “real” cameras and processed in our darkroom with only some tonal changes such as toning still produces that exact moment in time. Where layers upon layers of digital images reproduce a complete fantasy of what might have been-are not photographs in our opinion. We try to make it so if someone sees one of our photographs a hundred years from now the will “open a time capsule of that moment”. We are great admirers of your work. Thank you following us and our photograph. ( by the way Joey was born just outside Amsterdam- in Diemen)
    Marks and Joey

    • Thank you very very much for your kind words!
      What a beautiful collection you have, great cameras!
      I so much love the process with photographing with film, and I’m so happy to find others that do it too.
      Your blog is great!
      Have a great weekend!

      • We do love the process and film. matter of fact a person commented today that they did not know 120 film was still around, Hmm. Funny I just finished ordering more rolls of Ilford HP5 120. Keep up the good work..

        • Oh, the same has happened to me too, both here and out on the town! I think we are doing an important work here, for film, spreading the word that film’s still around!
          Keep up the good work you too! 🙂

    • Oh, please don’t!!
      I’m dreaming about setting up one again…
      Thank you very much for your kind words, and yes, that’s how I see it, the whole process is an art craft that must not be forgotten.

  7. Aklthough I recently complemented my gear with a pocktable digital camera (one that is still only about – as you put it – focal length, aperture and shutter speed if I want) I fully agree. I always feel that the single photo, carefully taken on film and then processed to become visible after a while, has its very own value, a quality you immediately realize once you put a “real” photographic print up on the wall.

    • Oh yes, agree with you!
      And I do not say that digital is crap, it surely is not. There is place for both digital and film. The wonderful thing is that film is not at all dead, and everybody can make their own choice. I hope so much that film is surviving as an artistic craft of it’s own.

  8. Completely agree. My view (for what it’s worth) is that film has a rich ‘organic’ feel to it, and a lot more depth in terms of creative opportunities. Digital is quick and convenient, but very ‘clinical’ and needs quite a lot of postprocessing effort to achieve the desired result.

    • THANK YOU!
      That is exactly my experience too.
      When I had my digital equipment (beforee I realized that film is NOT dead…) I did so much postprocessing… I got quite good at postprocessing, but it seemed as I had to do more and more all the time. I did a LOT of texturing, that was quite nice and I liked the results, but it felt as I HAD to do that, if you know what I mean.
      Then I shifted back to film, and still did some texturing once in a while, but that faded away slowly, and I realized I had to use three of four textures so get an effect at all, and after that I stopped using textures.
      Now I just cropp slightly, adjust levels and remove dust. When I’m ready, my image looks just like my negative does. The scanning process sometimes do things I have to “correct” later.
      And when I look in deep in an image, at 100%, I can see and feel the depth you are talking about, and the rich organic feel too. And I think it shows in the images in general too.

  9. I started with film many years ago, but graduated to digital in 2004. I’ve tried to have my Hasselblad negatives scanned so that I can do some post-processing and further work on them, but there seems to be a lot of “noise” resulting from the scanning process, which degrades the image. Have you found that to be true in your work? And how do you overcome it?

    • Well, I think it can occur in underexposed areas sometimes. My best friend forever in the scanning process is the histogram. I always have to work with the levels in it so that the scanned image looks like the negative. A good scanning software is crucial.
      But scanning sure is an art of itself… For good and bad.. Steep learning curve 😉
      Good luck with it!

      • I admire you for tackling the scanning yourself. I tried two professional labs. The original 2-1/4 negatives had printed beautifully in 20×24 size during an era when labs printed directly from negatives. The scans, however, printed badly, even in the highlight areas. Perhaps the fault was in the very old color negatives, as I believe they went through a different chemical processing than negatives from the past 15 or so years.

        • I believe that these problems is due to the digitization process. If you don’t get all “data” with the scanning, the print will not be good.
          And then there is the calibration between your software, PS, LR or similar , and the printer. That’s an issue of it’s own. Great knowledge is critical for good printing.

          • I’ve commented quite a few times since I began to try to get back into film that scanning seems to be a big problem. However, I did find one source of help on internet in the pst couple of weeks which has improved things a lot – I cannot remember now the url (I am not at home to look at the mo’) but I am intending to do a post about it pretty soon. There’s also a lot of technical gobbledegook on the web about scanning and a lot of it is contradictory, which doesn’t help. I did see one comment from someone who said the only way he could get a good black and white scan was by printing traditionally with an enlarger then scanning the print! Black and white does seem to be a bigger problem than colour, and traditional silver film a bigger problem than C41.

  10. I like your point of view. Today not many photographers are still with the film cameras. This is why it is interesting to see and enjoy their pictures. Thank you for sharing your pictures and knowledge in film photography and scanning.

  11. Why hello there. :0) So great to see that there are those out there shooting film! And good for you for doing that. I shoot digitally but marry my digital camera with old film lenses (as I’m completely in love with texture and film grain) – my momentary favourites are the Carl Zeiss 35/2.8, Helios 44 and my Takumar 135/3.8 aka the “Supertak”. 🙂 Just stared shooting with imported film lenses about 3 months go (maybe two?) and I love them. I’m analogue at heart. ;0)
    Glad I found your place. xo -Birgitta

  12. Your reasons for choosing analog are right on. When I get back my developed photos, especially BW, it seems that you can see the depth and richness of the image that’s not possible with digital. I still use digital but more and more getting back to film with Mamiya 645 medium format and 35mm Nikon F4.
    By the way, I like your photography, too.

    David

    • Thank you very much for your kind words. I agree with you, the depth is very different from digital. Film depth is kind of living and organic in a way that digital don’t come even close to. I also use digital in some situations, for example among many dogs when it has to be fast photography. But it is not me, it is not fun, though sometimes necessary. But never for my more “artistic” images, then it is solely film.
      Thanks again!

  13. Great images. I was shooting and developing b&w pictures in the 90´s. And now I begin to discover this faszinating part of photography again. Reviewing my old works makes lot of fun. But also taking new pictures today is fascinating. I got an old Minolta XG2 and I´m loving it. Shooting with this kind camera slows down the whole process. It gives me more time to think about the result. No chance to repeat a moment. No chance to see the instant result. So more concentration is needed for everey picture. Making pictures this way costs a lot of time and – indeed – money.
    On the other hand the look of the old films is unique. The grain and the greyscales are very special and can hardly be simulated by actual b&w-software. Although I love to work wirh silver efex. I will not stop taking digital images. But analogue photography will become an importand part of my work in the future again.
    Thanks for sharing your work wirh us!

    Dirk

    • Thank you so very much! I did digital photography for a couple of years too, but for me, it became very boring. I have a small digital camera to shoot action picts of my dogs sometime, but for my creative photography, my more “artistic” and creative side, to load my batteries, it is the whole process with film I’m so much in love with. It gives me a fantastic feeling. Nothing can beat that in a million years. For me, that is.
      Thanks again for your visit and most appreciated comment! 🙂

      • Me, I don´t prefer one of the two alternatives. It depends on what you want.
        At the moment the analogue photography is still at the beginning for me. So I can´t say where it will end. But I feel great satisfaction in taking the pictures and receiving the developed negatives.
        Digital gives me more alternatives in post-processing. I have a good control over the results. Digital workout ist fine with it. But good results aren´t for granted. A good eye and some understanding of the technique is always useful
        Analogue is slower – and has a special look. You need more concentration on what you do. So it teaches you. And the person in front of the camera (I´m a people.photographer). A lot of younger models are surprised not to get the results instantliy. So it´s also good for their concentration. Cause you don´t have countless attempts and can´t repeat a shot.

        Do you develop your films by yourself ?
        I´m thinking about this, Cause wainting for the results is boring and I´m not totally satisfied with the results.

        • I agree with you, and I think both digital and film has its place. For film it is a fantastic time now, because it has become a deliberate choice for us who want it. That is great!

          Yes, I develop all my films at home, myself. Waiting for the results are boring indeed, but it is a fantastic feeling to be able to develop your own films in the way you want them, especially the black and white films. There is so many options! There is ways, depending on brand, to do some altering to colour films too, but the most fun thing is to crossprocess slide films! (You develop slide films – E6 process – in chemicals for negative colour film – C41.
          And C41 is really easy to develop at home. And all this makes it both so much more rewarding and so much cheaper than waiting for the lab to do it!! 😀
          All you need is a kit with developing stuff, some chemicals, and a changing bag. You do not need a darkroom to develop your own films, just a kitchenzink. Great huh? And there are lots of tutorials on the internet how to do it, and lots of books too, if you prefer that.
          Good luck, and don’t hesitate to ask if you wonder over something, I’ll be happy to help you out if I can! 🙂

          • Thanks for your answer. I have all the stuff here from the earlier times, when I was working in my own small darkroom at home. All I need is the chemistry. But it´s no problem for me to get it. What I have to do first is to refresh my experiences. And trying out some film/developer combinations to get the results I want.
            The idea of cross-processing sounds very good. Thank you for your inspiration.

            I hope I will show the first results soon.

            And I won´t hesitate to come around with my questions 😉

            Thank you so far – I´m looking forward for your next pictures.

            • Thank you Dirk!
              That’s great! Your knowledge from earlier will come in handy for you! It was the same for me, I thought I had forgotten all about it, but it was like cycling, I felt a bit rusty, but after a while I was back in it again…
              This is a link to a fantastic source of information, if you don’t know about it already. http://www.digitaltruth.com/
              Despite the name, they have all you can think of in knowledge and tips, look on the left side of their site, for the “Learning Zone”, and their “app” “Massive dev chart” is amazing, I use it all the time when I develop films.

              Good luck Dirk, and all the best to you!

  14. Hi everybody,

    May I also have a (my) word in this item . I’ve still using my digi Canon 50 D and it’s a pleasure to work with it .The camera is also my companion for the photography courses …but …. she must share the place with the Nikon FG ,with the Pentax MZ7 and the two older Pentax sisters ME , the Nikon F401 and of course the little LOMO A. The twin reflex Mamiya didn’t still leave the room where he’s installed but that will come.
    Last week I ‘ve got a fotoshoot in the studio of my teacher .AND… I brought my FG loaded with the Ilford Delta 3200 .
    I twas super exciting to see what’s coming out in my darkroom .Besides my Durst M 305 enlarger failed so I had to replace the lamp what didn’t work in the first time .So I had to look what’s going on, and I found it and fix it . So I was proud that I fixed it and some of the shoots where to “the point” …
    What I ‘m trying to say ; analogue and digital …that seems sometimes like buying furniture for your house .
    You can buy very modern style or LOUIS XV HANDMADE or Machinal . They have both qualities and you’re the chooser between styles . Of course in analogue we are “losers” . I’m glad I could fix the lamp but what if I need some new things for it to let it work ?
    On the other hand I’ve paid 40 euro to clean the sensor of my digi …but there are still clouds in my lens ….

    XXXXXXX
    tjen

    • Hi Tjen,
      Thanks a lot for your comment! I think it is a great thing to use both, and to combine both dig and film, for your own best. The choice is free. That is the fantastic thing, I think, but I do not agree with you about the loser thing. As long as there are people who want film and other supplies, there gonna be a market for it.
      Not as big as “before”, but I know that people are awakening to the fact that film is NOT dead, and the market is actually growing.
      Film is nowadays an artistic choice, not the only way to photograph. I’m fine with that, and I’m fine with digital, it makes a lot of people to discover photography.
      The fantastic gift in all this is that everybody can make their own choice, that’s huge! My choice is film, I just LOVE the process.
      Use it and love it!!
      Thanks again Tjen! 🙂

  15. Greetings from New England–
    I have been pouring through WordPress sites and somehow arrived at yours [???] and I want to say 1) your images are spectacular and 2) you are one of 3 posters who have moved me to resurrect my analog gear, all carefully packaged downstairs replete with silica agents and a dehumidifier…..I use digital and like it very much, but there are days when my soul yearns to agitate, time, pour out/pour in, rinse, squeegee and dry all over again!

    • THANK you!! It warms my heart to hear that, you are most kind!
      You don’t need to do any drastic move, keep your digital, but please, listen to your heart and soul, and give it some analog enjoyment, you will be so rewarded!
      Good luck! 🙂

  16. I feel the same, but you put it beautifully into words. When people will ask me “why film?” (and I know they will) I’ll just refer them to this blog 🙂

    • Thank you very much!
      It is so good if we can help eachother to help film survive and shine, so more people can chose film, and enjoy the analog splendour!
      Thank you again! 🙂

  17. Hej igen Marie! Jag börjar nu bli allt mer sugen på att leka lite mer med analogt foto. Kan du tipsa lite om vad det är som behövs för att kunna framkalla svartvita 35 mm-negativ hemma och var man kan få tag i det?

    • Hej Martin!
      Vad kul, grattis!
      Bästa stället att handla på i det här fallet tycker jag att http://www.photax.se är. De har bra priser, skapligt men rejält utbud (de har inte allt som finns, men de har pålitliga och mycket prisvärda produkter) och de ger pålitliga bra råd. Bor du i Stockholm kanske du vill knalla ner på Brunos Bildverkstad i Gamla Stan, de har också ett stort utbud. Men jag vet faktiskt inte om de har allt i butiken, eller om man får handla i deras webbshop för att hitta alla grejer man behöver. Mitt val skulle vara Photax, då kan du i lugn och ro sitta hemma och välja, och de skickar alltid samma dag man beställer, inte på helgen förstås.
      Vad du behöver:
      Framkallningsdosa. Jag rekommenderar Patersons Mulitreel 3, för du kommer garanterat till det stadiet snabbt, att du vill framkalla mer än en film i taget, och här har du alla kommande önskemål tillgodosedda redan från början, du kan framkalla 3 st 135filmer, 2 st 120filmer, eller 6st blad 4×5, och du kan använda hela din liter förrådslösning i den burken. Pefekt, helt enkelt!
      Sen behöver du några mätglas, ett för finlir, ett för upp till 250-300 ml, och ett litermått.
      Spiraler till dosan också. Vet inte om det hör till nån, men annars köper du AP’s compact-spiral, mycket enkel att ladda, speciellt för 120film.
      Framkallare: beror förstås på vilken film du vill använda, här finns ett helt universum att upptäcka, hehe. Men min absoluta favorit är Kodak Tmax framkallare. Knivskarpt resultat, bästa ekonomin av alla (60 rullar för 185kr). Du behöver bara föra anteckningar över hur många rullar du framkallat, så du använder rätt tid. Enklare än det låter dock.
      Stoppbad, otroligt drygt och med bra resultat.
      Fix, absolut Kodak Tmax fix. Fantastiskt resultat och ekonomi även där.
      En mörkersäck, eller laddsäck kanske det heter, behöver du för att ladda filmerna i spiralerna och dosan, om du inte har tillgång till mörkrum. Kanske det som kostar mest, men den är väldans användbar, och om du inte har perfekt mörkt när du laddar, kommer du bara att ledsna då resultatet blir kasst, och då är allting annat också förgäves.
      En burköppnare, för att öppna filmburken och få ut filmen. Det finns en speciell grej för det, men en vanlig burköppnare funkar också bra.
      Enliters glasflaskor finns hos Photax, för förrådslösningarna av kemin, det finns plastflaskor också om du föredrar det.
      En torksvamp att torka av filmen när du hänger upp den för att förhindra torkfläckar. Det finns kemi för det, men jag kan inte den biten, kör alltid med svampen själv.
      Jag vet att allt det här låter både mäktigt och dyrt, men det är faktiskt inte så farligt som det låter. Jag har haft mina grejer i snart 30 år, och de håller finfint. Så skulle du hitta nåt begagnat av “hårdvaran”, så kan du lugnt köpa det. Vill du komma igång snabbt, köp hos Photax 🙂
      Lycka till, och dra dig inte för att fråga igen!
      Förresten, har du sett det nya filmfotoforumet som finns både på webben och under Tapatalk’s paraply? http://www.filmfotoforum.se. Ett kanoninitiativ tycker jag, och där kan du hitta massor av info också?
      Lycka till! 🙂

      Och en app till telefonen, det glömde jag…
      Massive Dev Chart heter den, där har du alla tider du behöver, den är fantastisk!! Finns hos http://www.digitaltruth.com och på det ställe du vanligtvis köper dina appar.

  18. Hej, tack så hemskt mycket för ett jätteutförligt svar. Precis vad jag behövde! Jag har antecknat i ett worddokument och får nu kika runt på photax.

    Jag bor i Stockholm och har faktiskt passerat Brunos Bildverkstad, men det är så otroligt mycket turister i området att jag ogärna går dit.

    /Martin

    • Ja gör så du. Deras hemsida har en del fördjupningar där mer info finns att hämta, det finns faktisk väldigt mycket info där, bara man inte har för bråttom. Sen hjälper de mer än gärna till över telefon också, om man fastnar nånstans.
      Brunos är bra, de har en del lite mer speciella filmer och även kemi och papper, och det finns iaf en kille där som är väldigt duktig, men han är inte där jämt, och sen som du säger, turister….. Men glöm dem inte, kombinationen Photax- Brunos är ultimat! 😉
      Sen om du fastnar för tex Ilfords svartvita, så har http://www.silverprint.co.uk mängdrabatter som gör hamstring väldigt lönsam.
      Ha en härligt kreativ helg! 🙂

  19. I miss my old Minolta SRT101 (I still have it). When I finally got the feel of my old camera the shutter broke and stopped taking pics. My husband is into his gadgets – we have ta Nikon D800. I see your points – I still cherish the film cameras. I take the occasional picture nowadays. One thing I don’t miss is my bill for developing my film but I still love my old Minolta – maybe I should look into getting it fixed.

    • You can develop your films at home….😉
      Thank you very much! And I hope you’ll find enough inspiration to long so much for the slow intense organic feeling of the analogue process that you’ll take your camera out and let it live and fill you with joy again! All the best!

        • Thank you very much, I’m glad you like it!
          Yes, a class is fine, and there is very much step-for-step information online. I’m not the tutor kind of person, but I can give you some great links if you want to, just let me know.

  20. People often ask why I was interested in going back to film – your message here is a great way of answering 🙂

    Lovely photography. Best wishes!

  21. “In 30 years my negatives will still be in perfect condition, not so sure about my digital files…”
    In less than 10 years, my color film is already showing noticeable fading and color shifts.

    • I’m sorry to hear that, but if you treat your films as recommended they hold for much much longer time. That means you have to develop your films properly and rinse carefully for the recommended time. Then you have to store your negatives in negative folders that are done for just negatives, and then keep them in a dark (not in direct sun) place with even temperature.
      I have done that, and I keep my negatives in files in an ordinary room in a bookshelf and my colour negatives are 35+ years and still perfect.
      Good luck!

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