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The Challenge of Using Old Film Cameras for Street Photography

Phillip Bloom has been making films for 25 years, and wherever he goes for his work, he likes to take along his still cameras and walk about the city capturing photos on the street. Bloom has recently converted to film for his personal use and says he generally takes 4-6 cameras with him when he goes out. Though he admits it is a bit of an overhaul, he loves the challenge and satisfaction of shooting film:

“No matter where I go, my camera goes with me, cause there’s always a story around the corner.”

Challenges of Using Old Film Cameras:

  • No Autofocus – That’s right. No pressing a button to have your camera automatically focus on the subject for you. You have to manually turn the lens to get your subject properly in focus.
  • No Auto Metering – Some older cameras have light meters, and some do not. Regardless, they are not automatic. You will need to change the shutter speed and aperture for every shot.
  • One ISO Speed – With film you lose the convenience of changing your ISO setting at will. Once you stick a roll of film in your camera, you’re dedicate to one film speed until you switch rolls.
  • No Image Review – Of course one of the biggest differences is that you can’t see your image immediately afterwards. This is why you take more time to select and frame a scene. You can’t just delete your photo and take another, and each frame is costing you money.
  • Framing Issues – If you’re using a film SLR, then this won’t be any different from a DSLR. But using a TLR or rangefinder camera can provide issues with accurately framing your scene, especially at close distances.

Philip Bloom says he prefers the way film makes you stop and think about the image you’re capturing

“Using these old cameras is a challenge as well. It’s not as easy as just getting out an iPhone or getting out a digital compact with autofocus and auto everything. You actually have to make sure your settings are correct, so not only do you need to capture the moment, you need to get the settings of the camera right at the same time. So, you have a double challenge.”

[via PictureCorrect Photography Tips]

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