So You Want to Shoot Film?
Updated: Jan 31, 2019
Film is alive and (mostly) well in 2019. Despite one of my favourite 35mm films having just been discontinued (RIP Agfa Vista) I plan on shooting film for years to come and you should too. Grain is good and it's a whole lot of fun to fall in love with.
If you're not sure where to start with film photography then start with small format, or 35mm film. Both 35mm film and cameras are widely available at prices to suit all budgets. If you're lucky, you'll stumble across one in an op shop and pick it up for a fraction of the price it's going for everywhere else. Cameras in op shops aren't always tested and while you run the risk of your purchase turning out to be a dud, this hasn't ever deterred me from picking up a cheap point and shoot or slr and just giving it a go. Sometimes you come away with a total score, like the 'mju i' I found in a small town in Aotearoa for $10 (its slightly better brother the 'mju ii' now sells for around $200).
My favourite film camera is my Pentax MZ60 and while I have other cameras that are technically better than the it, I use it the most because it's so reliable and easy to use. I took all of the photographs in this post using this camera
Once you've picked up a camera it's time to load your film. Mackay photographers would share my grievances when I say that there often aren't a lot of options when it comes to camera retailers in regional towns, let alone film retailers - thank goodness for the internet (and express shipping).
Walkens has been my go to for buying film for many years and I don't plan on going anywhere else soon. They have a great variety of colour and C41 film in a range of formats. If you're not yet sure whether or not you want to commit to film, or if you just want a few happy snaps of a weekend away, then they also have a range of disposable cameras for personal use or for events.
For developing and scanning I send my film to Hillvale because they're fast, affordable and do a fantastic job. Sending film to Hillvale is a super simple process and you can find out all you need to know by heading to their website.
Shooting film can be a little confusing at first, but even if there isn't much of a film community in your hometown that shouldn't deter you - it didn't stop me. There's a wealth of inspiration and information available online to get you started and well on your way to finishing your first roll.
Have some film related questions? Feel free to send me an email and I'll be happy to talk film for hours.
Read my top photography tips for beginners here.