Why I Love Film | Kevin Lim

With the popularity and convenience of digital cameras, it is no wonder why I am often asked why I am still using film. No, this is not to start a war of Film vs Digital, which is already aplenty on the Internet. I am just sharing my love for film.

#1. Film slows me down.
Using a film camera, I learn to treasure every shot because each roll of film only gives you 24 or 36 exposures. Every shot counts (and costs as well!!!), so I only take photos that I have a feel for. Learning to compose the shot, set your aperture for that depth of field, adjust the shutter speed just makes me love the process of making an image through my own work.

Keep in line please...

#2. Film looks different.
Film looks different. You will hear this over and over again from any film lover. To me, a film image just has this "organic", "raw" feel to it. Yes, call me old school. That is what I am. I love old stuff because they mean so much to me. I was looking through my old photos (I'm not old!) when I was searching for photos for my wedding montage, I realized I love those faded photos. Brings back memories. Tons of them. I can still remember 75% of the scene at the time when the photos were taken. Moreover, each different film has their own characteristic. For example, Portra 400 (one of my favorites!), is a very well-balanced film for portraits with extremely fine grains. The colors are very neutral and pleasing to the eyes. Agfa films tend to have higher contrast, so I love them with Lomo cameras!

Kids know no color difference

#3. White balance? What's that?
Do I have to worry about white balance? I don't, with film. I just pop my film into the camera, wind it, adjust the ISO dial (sometimes I don't even have to do that, like my GR1s) and off I go shooting. No need to change white balance every time I go somewhere with a different lighting.

Color mix

#4. Film keeps me focused.
I don't have to check the back of my LCD screen for every shot I take. I simply compose, adjust my shutter speed, press the shutter release and off I go. Even if the first shot wasn't ideal, my vision is still with the scene that I took earlier. So if I see a better opportunity for a better shot, I can rewind my film advance lever and shoot again in the next second. No time or opportunity wasted looking at LCD screen.

Cheap transport

#5. What's that smell?
Yes, film smells. But to me, it smells good. Like coffee. I immediately know the smell of film when I smell one (no, I don't go around smelling film). The smell of film is attributed to the silver halide emulsion. The emulsion is a mixture of silver and halogen (bromide, iodine or chlorine) held together by electrical attraction. Alright, enough of the technical stuff. In short, I just love the smell of films!

All for sale

#6. I love film cameras!
I cannot deny the fact that I love film cameras. These cameras are built to last. Go to any flea market and you will still be able to find a couple of film cameras that still work, albeit the poor storage/maintenance condition. But they can still shoot! For example, I managed to score a rare black Canonet QL17 GIII for AUD$80! It wasn't in the best of condition and I had to send it for repair and some makeup to get it up and running. Once it recovered, it took some of the best black and white shots! I managed to save up for a limited edition Leica M6 TTL ICS, 0.85x body for a good price from Fotopia Gallery & Camera Equipment from Hong Kong in December 2013! Having owned a Voigtlander Bessa R4M, I finally realized what people meant by the "buttery-smooth" operation of a Leica. Not that the R4M is no good. Both cameras just feel different. Nonetheless, both bodies are to stay since the R4M offers a viewfinder meant for wide angle lenses.

Maintenance work in progress

#7. I love film community!
As some of you may know, I am a member of the Film Shooters Collective, a collection of film shooters from all over the globe. We have very active interactions on our FaceBook page, with tips and tricks and also advise and questions for sharing purpose. Last year, we tinkered on the idea of a photobook and together with some awesome film lovers, our book NSEW is finally launched! Do head over to the link to my blog post on this or HERE to order your copy to show your support! I have had my fair share of being helped and also helping others in this film community which I really appreciate. I have tried my hands in the digital community but have not received such warm reception. In my opinion (you can have yours but I stand by mine), film shooters are more willing to share and care. 

Metal works

There you have it! My several reasons why I love films! More to come if I can think of more... 

Kevin Lim

Someone who's crazy about cameras. Someone who loves photography but wouldn't call himself a photographer. Someone who's lazy to do PhotoShop. Someone who loves the smell and physicality of film. That's why he loves films.