My last two posts were about film recipes. One was about some photos I took on a trip in Athens with Kodak Portra 160 and the other was an afternoon around a marina using Kodak Gold 200. This is one way if you want to take photos and make them look like specific film stocks. But there is an ancient one that few people speak about. Using a real film camera.
So I went to my parent’s house and I found our old film camera. The camera is the Canon prima BF twin. It’s a fully automatic compact camera with two lenses a 38mm f3.7 and an 80mm f7.3. First of all, what a great name. It could be a name of a sports car and not a camera. The release year of the camera was 1995 and although I am not sure which year my father bought it I would guess no later than 1998.
I added the battery, inserted the film, and closed the rear. Then I switched the toggle on the back. The Canon came to life with nostalgic mechanical sounds from the 90s. The film was winding inside, and after some seconds it stopped. I pressed the button in front and the lens extended. Hey is that your zoom lens or are you happy to see me?
So many years have passed and I still remember the feeling of using the camera. The experience is totally different from a digital camera. First of all, there is no screen to see what you just photographed so you have no feedback. You only get 24 or 36 photos per film. This made me think twice about every click I made but after my first roll though I sort of found it liberating. All you need to do is press the button and move on. Having so few spaces on a film really slows you down. You think about what you are going to photo and how you are going to do that and one of the reasons is because each photo is expensive.
So a Fujifilm C200 roll with 36 exposures is almost 7 euros (one of the cheapest you can get) without any delivery costs, developing the film is about 3 euros and depending if you want to print them they will charge about 0.25 euros per photo and will give you the film scanned on digital format. So a 36 exposure film will cost someone around 19 euros or about 50 cents per photo. All these prices are from my local stores here in Thessaloniki Greece so your experience may vary.
So as you can see it is quite costly and the end result is hit or miss because it depends on a lot of factors and most of them are out of your control. Even if you do everything perfectly on your end, which I didn’t as you can see in the images below, the shop can ruin your images in the developing and scanning process, which they sort of did to some extend.
Below are some of the images I took with two different film rolls. One is the Fujifilm Super HQ 200, which was also expired in 2000 or something, and the other was a new Kodak UltraMax 400. I think that from the images below only 3 are from the Kodak, the ferry wheel, the iron bars by the sea, and the lady with the balloons. But it doesn’t matter that much to be honest because every image got butchered in the shop and all looked washed out. I had to fix everyone in Capture One in order to give them back some life. The different aspect ratio in three of them is what I got back from the shop have no idea why they did that but my biggest problem is the lady with the balloons being out of focus but this is on me probably.
So you have to be a madman to go with film, especially if you are not a professional photographer using it in some project. Digital gives you full control from the camera to the post-processing and you can do everything by yourself. Well call me a madman but I will probably use film again. There is something in the process that I really enjoy and out of the three films I have used there are a few photos that I really liked, especially some I took with my family. I will use it sporadically of course for special occasions or when I feel like it. I have one last roll, a Kodak Gold 200, which I will take with me on my summer vacation. What I really need now is to find a good shop that really knows how to develop films in Thessaloniki. Any recommendations?