Return to Film in 2012
Now we are back in Hong Kong I thought that like a year ago, I would do a recap of the year in film – but rather than show images I love from the last year on their own – I thought I would also talk a bit about what has changed in the last 12 months in film both for me and for the world of film.
So let’s start with this blog.
The nice people at WordPress send me a summary of my blog each year now and within this they tell me about what people read and how many people read my posts.
Since starting on WordPress, four out of five of the most popular posts are from the Return to Film series; which are generally found when people google film cameras.
The Return to Film articles can be found on these links;
I am thinking of doing an update this year that will most likely look at the 2nd hand camera market and lessons I have found from the last couple of years of finding good cameras to use and the prices of reasonable kit. I think I can honestly say I haven’t bought anything that either didn’t work as it was meant to or was just terrible at its job apart from a couple of purchases I made of new plastic cameras.
However if I hadn’t started with the plastic, I wouldn’t have ended up moving onto much better things in film and so for that I am not going to bad mouth them. They fill a necessary space in the market that brings people kicking and screaming back to film.
The last 12 months has not been as doom and gloom for film as digital camera sellers would have you think, with only minor changes in what you can buy and a vast range of films being made available in more shops worldwide than the last few years.
Some films have disappeared for good and some new products have arrived on the scene to allow the manufacturers to simplify their offering.
The most notable has to be the disappearance of Fuji Neopan 1600 B/W which is a real shame as there are options but nothing as good, fast and small grain as this film. The good news is that the amount of this film in the world means that you can still find it in most good outlets and stock up while it still exists.
Kodak also simplified their 400 colour film with a new Portra that they say is made specifically for scanning and not printing like the old versions of the Portra films. It is however a great film for colour reproduction and saturation and remains my fast colour choice as below of Lola in the back of the car in South Africa.
2012 will probably see more of this move as film companies reduce their total range by making less options of the same film available.
The best news is that film sales are on the up for the first time in years as more young film users are coming to this medium as an addition to their digital cameras.
This year may bring a major change as Kodak are not out of the hot water they have been in for some time yet – with the group expected to file for bankruptcy last year they are not out of the red by a long way. As mentioned before in this blog, Kodak don’t just make Film any more but make some of the best sensors you find in high end digitals these days – including all of those used in the Leica M8 and M9 ranges. Kodak saw what was happening to film before many companies in the market and went heavily into digital before most people we now take for granted and thankfully still make one of the best researched ranges of film available.
If you haven’t Returned to Film yet then a brief amount of time on ebay is going to show you that the vast amount of second hand kit available on this and many other sites should make you do so and fast. If you don’t still have an old film camera in the family (ask your parents or grand parents) then buying a second hand SLR and prime 50mm lens is going to cost you a whole lot less than a new Lomo style camera, it won’t be made of plastic and is going to give you better shots and more options than the plastic ones ever will.
So finally I have to add my New Years resolutions for film in 2012.
Firstly, I am going to simplify the number of cameras I have by keeping only the ones I use and putting the ones I dont use onto ebay.
The same goes for film where I am only going to use the few specific films that always deliver and stop buying bad film or film that doesn’t work consistently.
And finally, 2012 is going to be the year where I make the move to Hasselblad. This doesn’t mean I am going to love my Ukrainian family any less but a significantly more reliable MF camera is where I need to go with all the travelling I have to do for work.