While the digital camera world is advancing exponentially, some people are leaving digital for analog photography – calling it digital detox, and it’s a trend that’s catching on. With a new interest in the hobby, prices of analog cameras and negatives are rising. Some companies are raising thousands to develop new films. So, why is the film making a comeback?
The way our life rapidly advances towards the future, it only takes a few months for a tech to become obsolete. However, much like vinyl players and typewriters, analog cameras and shooting on film continue to fascinate and attract people.
With digital cameras, the novelty is in the new tech or feature it incorporates but with analog cameras; the novelty is in its limitation. You see, when shooting in film, you don’t have unlimited shots, every roll of film will give you only so many photos. Then, there’s no digital assistance or Ai to help get the picture perfectly exposed; you need to be on top of your photography game to nail every shot with an analog. Finally, there’s the darkroom; wash the negatives and literally hold your masterpiece. With shooting digital, everything lives on a hard drive or your social media – just a bunch of 1’s and 0’s. These limitations give analog cameras the novelty, attracting more and more people – be it professionals or amateurs.
Look and Feel
The cherry on top of it all is the look and feel of the film. You can’t mimic that look and feel in digital; many apps and social media try their best to emulate that; it gets very close too, but it’s nowhere near what a washed negative would look or feel like. Also, a study found that the pictures you would get from a medium format film are equivalent to 400 megapixels of a digital image.
Original Way of Taking Pictures
Besides the look and feel, many have begun to shoot film because it is considered a pure way of taking pictures. Although your idols probably shot on film, many professionals still choose to shoot on film. But in most cases, your hero didn’t have to choose between film and digital because back then, shooting on film was the only way to go. If you grew up in the world of digital photography, analog shooting will be new to you. That’s another reason why many people are buying analog cameras and negatives.
The prices of analog cameras and negatives have seen a spike in their prices. At this point, the demand is higher than the supply, and Fujifilm has announced that some of these films are running out of stock. Now, when you go to eBay for an analog camera or negatives, be ready to burn a hole or holes through your wallet. Seeing the price spike, new companies provide customers with better films at a relatively low price. Some are even providing Hi-res scans and digital printing services too. After all, if you don’t post it on social media, did it even happen? Even with these new film manufacturers, it’s troublesome for them to meet rising customers’ demand. To tackle that, investments are going into machines that produce these films more efficiently. It seems like an ecosystem has already begun to develop around this hobby.
Film photography will always be something special to people. The feeling of capturing a wonderful moment, washing it, and having a physical memento will always trump any memory that lives inside an SD card. It’s also the expertise one builds. Understanding the holy trinity of exposure, ISO, and shutter speeds, implementing these without any digital processing, makes it more valuable. Finally, the challenge itself makes it worth investing in this hobby. When you go through all these, there’s a connection between you and every photo you take. So will this trend stay, or is it just a fad? Some say it will last. While smartphones and digital cameras will battle it out, analog cameras will be there for those special moments.