I’m sure this will fuel the fires of those that think nothing better discussing the merits of Digital vs Film.
Personally, I made my mind up a few years ago which medium works well for my style of photography. We pay our money, we make our choices and I respect anyone else’s decision to go with whatever medium, be it digital or film.
But I’d like to talk about the false assumption that Film is expensive to shoot. I hear from a lot of people that they’re interested in moving to film, but the cost of buying the stock and processing it is cost-prohibitive for them. Add in the fact that you need to buy a decent film scanner, and the speed at which you can turn around your images – and it rapidly becomes a no-no for most.
I think there are really two arguments to this. One is, I’m a bit worried about it costing me money and the other is ‘I’m not committed enough to try film out’. Both are completely separate arguments.
I don’t think film is expensive, if you consider that buying a new DSLR every two to three years is a reality for a lot of people. I think it comes down to the fact that people like buying cameras, like buying the latest equipment. This has nothing to do with creating art.
If you want to get into film, then buying a film camera at the moment couldn’t be cheaper. Buying a decent film scanner will be a little harder as there are few to choose from and most keep good second hand prices on eBay. But I reckon if you stick with that cheap Medium Format outfit and a sub 1K film scanner for more than 3 years, you’ll be just as cheap as buying a new DSLR, and you get the chance to try different film stocks with their respective look and feel properties. You may even find that you love shooting Medium format, Large Format, and wonder why you never made the jump in the first place. You may discover that this has opened up a new creative path for you.
On the other hand, you may be happy buying the latest digital SLR every couple of years – which is fine. Just consider that the argument about film being expensive is a moot point. If you really wanted to try film out, there’d be no stopping you.