Why I Shoot Analog — What I Learned from Shooting on Film Camera
Some months ago, I bought an analog rangefinder camera: Yashica Electro 35GSN. My main reason, along with the rising trend of film shooting, was my curiosity in trying this different method of photography. For years, I’ve been using digital camera to the point I can make money from digital photography. Film photography is something I’m unfamiliar with, and my passion in photography is what drives me to try shooting on film.
My choice of camera is the rangefinder Yashica Electro 35GSN. A lot of people suggested to start with a simple point-and-shoot, then move to the versatile analog SLR. I didn’t know what’s gotten into me but my first choice was the half-frame Olympus Pen F series. Maybe because I always tend to choose the quirkiest choice. But unfortunately, the camera was still quite pricy for a beginner like me, so my logical choice was another unusual choice: the rangefinder. I was torn between the Canonet G-III QL17 or the Yashica Electro 35GSN. After a long consideration, I chose the Yashica because it looks cooler. I know, I don’t have the best-decision making skill.
It took a while and two failed film rolls to get used to this camera. I am so used in using the simplicity and practicality of digital cameras (moreover, I use Fujifilm) while it requires a great amount of patience just to take one picture in a rangefinder. Even though the light meter in the camera is still working, the I found the “zone focusing” mechanism is very difficult. But in photography, I see every difficulties as challenges, to push myself further, to be improve even better. I always try to enjoy the learning and practice process in photography.
“Sucking at something is the first step to being sorta good at something.”
The long process of shooting film actually makes me more appreciate the values of making photograph itself. Film loading takes time and patience, unlike when using a modern digital camera where I could just slap the battery and memory card in and I am all set. After taking a picture, I can’t immediately see the result. There is no live preview on film, meaning I have to carefully compose each shot. I found myself spending more time in adjusting every element on the frame when I am shooting on film. I want the subject to be captured exactly how I wanted. The limited number of film forces me to not overshoot like when I am using digital. I got more connected with the subject, and I become more careful in observing lights and environment. I feel like this whole process strengthens my basic knowledge and skill in photography.
The most exhilarating moment is when waiting the film to be processed. I always feel my anxiety builds up because I can’t be sure whether my film would be properly developed. But when the result is good, it is very rewarding. The pure satisfaction makes me want to shoot film all over again.
Overall, shooting on film is a really fun experience. It gives me new perspective on photography. It makes me more appreciate what I do. And when you appreciate what you do, you appreciate yourself.
Here’s some sample images:
Film: Kodak Vision 250 D