Jonathan Fleming's Blog

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Revisiting Film Photography

with 133 comments

Nikon FM + Nikkor 50mm f/2 AIS | Fujichrome Velvia 100F

It’s been more than ten years since I last loaded a roll of film into a camera and made some pictures. Last week, I found two reasons to try it again. The first reason? I rediscovered my father’s Nikon FM:

Nikon D700 + Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G

It’s the original Nikon FM, made in the late 1970s (production ended in the early 80s). All mechanical, all manual, with a center weighted meter and shutter speeds up to 1/1000. Beautifully made.

This classic camera was around for my entire childhood. I used to covet it as a kid, but I couldn’t use it. I was restricted to my own SLR, a cheap little Vivitar with a bad focusing screen and inferior build. My Dad’s shutter would make this great “k-clack” sound, while mine went “ka-chAWNNNNNNNNGGGGGGG.” Took me a few decades, but I guess I’m allowed to use the FM now. =)

Nikon FM + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4D | Fujichrome Velvia 100F

Nikon FM + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4D | Fujichrome Velvia 100F (overexposed…oops)

Ok, second reason? I found an old roll of film among my wife’s things. She used to plop a roll of Kodak black and white into her little automatic film camera when she was a teenager, and I guess a roll made it into our house.

I loaded it up and spent a view days snapping away. The weird thing about shooting digital all this time is that you get used to instant results on the back of your camera. Take a shot. Check it out. Don’t like it. Take another shot. Perfect. Not so with film, though by force of habit I kept looking at the back of my FM almost every time I took a shot, at least for the first roll.  Shooting with an all manual, all mechanical camera is also a much slower process, not the speed of light stuff I’ve come to expect from my DSLR.

So, how did my first roll in a decade turn out? It didn’t! I went to pick up the roll at the lab and:

“Sorry sir, this roll is blank.”

Aaaaagh! Ok, give me a roll of Ektachrome. Let’s try this again:

Nikon FM + Nikkor 50mm f/2 AIS | Kodak Ektachrome 160T (expired)

Ok, at least the photos came out this time. They look funky, faded, and noisy, but they came out! Weird results without even having to use Instagram. How about that??? 😉

Nikon FM + Nikkor 50mm f/2 AIS | Kodak Ektachrome 160T (expired)

There’s something about shooting film….the anticipation of how each frame will turn out, the small and unassuming, lightweight camera body, and that gargantuan, bright viewfinder that shames even my D700… the experience of shooting itself was more fun than getting to see the results!

Being limited to 36 frames (for this particular roll) also made me think twice before pushing down on that shutter release. I’d frame up a shot and ask myself, “is this really interesting?” Lost track of how many times I decided “no, not interesting enough,” and moved on. I don’t tend to think with quite as much care with digital, where I can fit 700 or so raw frames on a single card. But, shouldn’t I?

Nikon FM + Nikkor 50mm f/2 AIS | Kodak Ektachrome 160T (expired)

Nikon FM + Nikkor 50mm f/2 AIS | Kodak Ektachrome 160T (expired)

Nikon FM + Nikkor 50mm f/2 AIS | Kodak Ektachrome 160T (expired)

Nikon FM + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4D  | Kodak Ektachrome 160T (expired)

Nikon FM + Nikkor 50mm f/2 AIS | Kodak Ektachrome 160T (expired)

Nikon FM + Nikkor 50mm f/2 AIS | Kodak Ektachrome 160T (expired)

Nikon FM + Nikkor 50mm f/2 AIS | Kodak Ektachrome 160T (expired)

Nikon FM + Nikkor 50mm f/2 AIS | Kodak Ektachrome 160T (expired)

Nikon FM + Nikkor 50mm f/2 AIS | Kodak Ektachrome 160T (expired)

Nikon FM + Nikkor 50mm f/2 AIS | Kodak Ektachrome 160T (expired)

Nikon FM + Nikkor 50mm f/2 AIS | Kodak Ektachrome 160T (expired)

Nikon FM + Nikkor 50mm f/2 AIS | Kodak Ektachrome 160T (expired)

Nikon FM + Nikkor 50mm f/2 AIS | Kodak Ektachrome 160T (expired)

I had the film developed and scanned at Photoworks in San Francisco. It was a fun, though expensive, photographic experiment shooting these rolls. I still feel like I need to get a better feel for the FM’s metering, so more rolls are in the works. Hope this doesn’t get addicting 🙂

Written by Jonathan

April 28, 2011 at 11:37 am

133 Responses

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  1. Hey, Jonathan!!! All the photos are really wonderful, I love them all!
    (Especially those of Suki-chan and the one of a cat;))
    Awwww, you made me love film even more!! I got very very inspired!
    I am a bit surprised with the result of Kodachorome. I had an impression Kodak films make photos with a bit red tone. Yours are of beautiful blue tone. Just lovely. Keep on shooting with your wonderful Nikon FM:))
    I guess now you find shooting more fun;D


    April 28, 2011 at 11:56 am

    • Thank you Akane! Yes, I’ve spent so much time watching you shoot film, I figured it was my turn to give it a try =)

      It looks like the expired Ektachrome I purchased is balanced to reproduce accurate colors under tungsten light. Using the film under cooler daylight therefore gives that blue cast.

      Shooting film is definitely a fun, inspiring way to mix up my photography. I’m sure I’ll do it more, as long as the budget allows! =P


      April 28, 2011 at 12:14 pm

      • Did you had E6 processing or go for cross process in this photos?

        Great work!


        April 30, 2011 at 7:08 am

      • Thanks! I had the film cross processed actually.


        April 30, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    • Seeing this truly has me wondering about the bag of roll film that has been in the refrigerator for close to a decade. Will have to clip the rolls that’s for sure.
      Will try it out when the right shoot comes along.


      May 1, 2011 at 10:26 pm

  2. You did good. I like the little Nash Metropolitan. I personally have no more film equipment. I saved mine for about a year thinking I would shoot film every so often. Not SO! Then it all hit ebay and is now history. But I am glad you had fun and you are correct, you thought before you pulled the trigger a lot more with film.

    Jim Dell

    April 28, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    • Thanks Jim! All of my father’s professional film equipment was sold on eBay too. This little FM was all I could salvage from his stash! I think shooting a couple rolls was a great exercise for me, though its probably a little too pricey to do on a regular basis.


      April 28, 2011 at 1:18 pm

  3. i LOVED reading this. as soon as i saw the title in my google reader, i got super excited and dropped what i was doing. it was so entertaining as i read going ‘yup, yup’ nodding my head along with all the things you said. that top one came out superb and those suki shots are lovely. the rest have so much added character from the expired film and just from the film itself. Now i’m itching to take my F100 out for a walk tonight!


    April 28, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    • Thank you so much Cara. I know you’re very aware of the joys and frustrations that come with shooting film. Thanks for pushing me to try it! I had a blast =)


      April 28, 2011 at 10:59 pm

  4. I am about to borrow one of friend’s yashica fx-3 tomorrow. I haven’t shot film in all my life! I’m itching to try it out tomorrow, more so now that I saw your post. So, it’s true, Film Is Not Dead. (from the other Jonathan) lol! More rolls please??


    April 28, 2011 at 9:11 pm

    • Never in your life?! You’re in for an interesting experience my friend. Let us know how it goes! Film is no more dead than photography is. I love to shoot with any format really. Digital, film, camera phones, funsavers…if it can make a picture, I’ll try to shoot with it =)


      April 28, 2011 at 11:02 pm

      • Not anymore.. Haha! Just got to shoot last weekend. And photos are up. And it was awesome! I think it will be much more fun with my second roll.


        May 3, 2011 at 5:15 am

  5. I regret selling my film cameras so much now. It really will slow us down and make us think about what exactly attracted us enough to shoot that shot. I also love the picture of the funny cat and the head shot of Suki head on the ground. Super nice.


    April 28, 2011 at 9:49 pm

  6. this is an awesome collection of photos! Now you just make me want to give film a try myself 😀


    April 29, 2011 at 4:45 am

    • Thanks! You should do it. It’s a great way to keep your photographic creativity fresh!


      April 29, 2011 at 7:24 am

  7. luv the vintage flavor of film and you did an excellent job with your 1st (2nd) roll of film!! my FE is in the basement collecting dust – makes me want to roll it out 😉

    Jason Fan

    April 29, 2011 at 6:50 am

    • Thanks Jay. I let this film camera collect dust for too long! Break out that FE man, you’ll enjoy the experience =)


      April 29, 2011 at 7:28 am

  8. Great photos. You’re right there’s something about film. I resisted going digital for some time. I love the tones and composition. The row houses an cat are my favorites.

  9. I don’t really know much about photography, but I love the cat! Congrats on FP-ed!

    Kathryn McCullough

    April 29, 2011 at 7:35 am

  10. Spectacular photos — there really is something lost in digital translation, isn’t there?

    Mikalee Byerman

    April 29, 2011 at 7:36 am

  11. Hi Jonathan –

    I bet even though you felt rusty at first, I’m guessing the manual technique kept you on your toes. You had to consider each shot more carefully, making adjustments along the way…unlike the digital age of photo-shooting we’ve been pampered with the past decade. Nice pics!

    charlie nitric

    April 29, 2011 at 7:39 am

  12. There’s just something about an old film camera that makes you think, “I wonder what happens if…”

    Did you find that after shooting with your Nikon that you approached your digital work any differently?

    I collect old rangefinders, and while I am strictly, strictly amateur as a photographer, I find that alternating between my digicam and my rangefinders helps me learn a great deal about making good photographs.


    April 29, 2011 at 7:43 am

    • To answer your question, yes, it has definitely had a positive impact on my digital photography. And you’re right, there seems to be a whole lot more to wonder about when you don’t have instant results! Thanks for the comment!

      And thanks everyone for your kind words!


      April 29, 2011 at 8:57 am

  13. amazing! i had a DSLR but have been wanting to delve into film photography too. your pictures look so nice. super dope post.


    April 29, 2011 at 8:27 am

  14. Too bad about the first roll! But this is a nice collection nonetheless. Such a beautiful, organic feel to these pics, which can’t really be replicated digitally. Nice job! I wouldn’t mind putting film and developing as a line item in our budget, hahah!


    April 29, 2011 at 8:39 am

    • Haha thanks, and yes please…allocate some of that money to film shooting =D


      April 29, 2011 at 8:59 am

  15. I love your photos! Do you have Flickr?


    April 29, 2011 at 8:47 am

  16. nice photos 😀


    April 29, 2011 at 9:22 am

  17. Great pictures. Thanks for sharing!


    April 29, 2011 at 9:43 am

  18. You have a good eye. I love the desaturated look.


    April 29, 2011 at 9:43 am

  19. Ah, there is something special about film. The quality of light is different – somehow more tactile.

    Thanks for this!


    April 29, 2011 at 9:51 am

  20. Cool post, great photos… Makeks me miss my (dad’s) minolta 707 si film SLR… Man it was expensive to shoot with that thing, all the film, the developing, and moments lost for ever because that awsome moment did not come out the way you thought it would, and you didn’t know until the next week… aaahh… nostalgia…


    April 29, 2011 at 10:15 am

  21. I am not a big fan of digital photography. Anyone can take a great photograph with a digital camera. It takes someone with talent to shoot film and have a beautiful end result. Great post and congrats on FP

    J Roycroft

    April 29, 2011 at 10:26 am

  22. I regret selling my film cameras. Film really slow you down and make you work at finding the perfect shot. Love the picture with the funny cat and the one with Suki head on the floor


    April 29, 2011 at 10:34 am

  23. nice photos! i love the masks one. someone told me last week how a friend of his spends his time making his digital photography look like film when he should’ve just bought film. 🙂


    April 29, 2011 at 10:48 am

  24. ¿Did you go to Tijuana or some mexican neighborhood and take some pictures?

    I’m not an expert about cameras and pictures, but I liked the granulated effect in this images.

    Nice work


    April 29, 2011 at 11:05 am

    • Actually, most of these photos were taken in San Francisco’s Mission District =)


      April 29, 2011 at 12:47 pm

      • I was also wondering where these were taken, and the mystery of not knowing allowed me to paint a picture in my mind of the possibilities. I like the softness that the old film lent to the images, and I loved how you used a shallow depth of field in some of these. Very nice.

        Desiree E.

        May 1, 2011 at 9:20 pm

  25. Very cool. Those cameras and lenses surely are bulletproof by comparison to today’s standards. As I’m about to acquire my father’s old Nikkor 50mm, this has me amply excited, thanks for sharing!


    April 29, 2011 at 11:20 am

  26. I know exactly how you feel about rediscovering film. My mom finally gave me her old Canon AE1 this past Christmas after I’ve offered to buy it from her for years. It was the first SLR I ever picked up over ten years ago, and I was so excited when she finally let me use it for my first photo class. Up until that time I had been using a 110mm Kodak point & shoot with the disposable flash unit. I just got my last five rolls back from the lab from picking up the Canon AE1 again, and can honestly say I miss the darkroom.


    April 29, 2011 at 11:52 am

  27. these are an amazing bunch of photos, jonathan, really inspiring! digital is great, but there’s always something about film that is able to maintain its hold on us.

    keep up the good work!


    April 29, 2011 at 12:07 pm

  28. These are some really nice photos, I like the one with the cars in. cool shot. I have a film camera but its half broken I may invest in a new one. Plus I want a polaroid camera. 🙂


    April 29, 2011 at 12:11 pm

  29. This brings back memories as I also had the Nikon FM many years ago, in fact I still have an FE. These cameras took many wonderful family photographs.


    April 29, 2011 at 12:16 pm

  30. love the photos of your shiba! my shiba’s help me cook in the kitchen!!


    April 29, 2011 at 12:22 pm

  31. Great Pics! NACHOOOO!!!


    April 29, 2011 at 12:24 pm

  32. Nice pictures! I especially like the grain and the “dusty” look. Very beautiful series with a nostalgic feel.

    You make me miss my old Leica…


    April 29, 2011 at 12:39 pm

  33. haha, I cant remember the last time I got a roll of film developed. Amazing how far digital has brought us in the world of photography



    April 29, 2011 at 12:40 pm

  34. *swoon* I love film photography-you get these great colors and textures… Fantastic shots!


    April 29, 2011 at 12:48 pm

  35. These shots are really beautiful. I bought a film camera last week (a fisheye) and I can’t wait to use it. Nothing beats the excitement, anticipation and feel of film photos.

    Thanks for inspiring me to buy some film pronto and start snapping.

    Louise Smithers

    April 29, 2011 at 12:55 pm

  36. Oh my god, I love you! Everyone here have a big smile when I show them my camera and tell them it’s NOT a Canon EOS/NikonD90/Sony Alpha…

    I always shooted with my Dad’s cameras. He’s a photographer who hates digital photography… I love film cameras, and there are too many reasons I love them… OK, I’m going to blog something about it: “10 reasons to use film cameras”

    Thank you so much! I thought a majority of bloggers here prefered digital!!!

    Your pictures are really beautiful… I love the colors! And great shiba inu!!


    April 29, 2011 at 2:12 pm

  37. Great shots. Film just has so much more “character”…


    April 29, 2011 at 2:12 pm

  38. cool photos but film never went anywhere, people just went digital.


    April 29, 2011 at 2:19 pm

  39. Oh, these pics are so cool. I love photography and the like. These pics are very nice and proffessional looking.

    P.S. Check out the great


    April 29, 2011 at 4:08 pm

  40. Wow… I love these pictures. They are gorgeous and classy I think because, like you said, you really did have to think about whether or not the picture was worth taking. I love the colors too. I think it is funny how much digital photography has changed us. I am pretty sure I would be checking the back of my camera if I started using a film SLR too… ha! Also, I think film is fun because of the non-instantaneous results. I always used to forget what I took pictures of! This post makes me want to get a film SLR to tag along with my DSLR… 🙂


    April 29, 2011 at 4:16 pm

  41. Hi Jonathan, just stumbled upon your blog and it’s amazing!!
    Absolutely loving the pictures you’ve taken with this lens; I also notice that your negatives were expired. May I ask when did they expire? I have a few rolls that expired in 2005 and I am not really sure if they are still good for anything…

    Jules T

    April 29, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    • Thank you Jules! I’m actually not sure how long the Ektachrome was expired for. I actually bought it from the lab as expired film! I say go a head and shoot the rolls you have. You never know what you’re going to get =)


      April 30, 2011 at 11:55 pm

  42. Beautiful photos; I love them all (especially the cat; so cute!). Keep snapping photos! 🙂


    April 29, 2011 at 6:04 pm

  43. Congrats on Freshly Pressed!

    Like another commenter earlier, I’m absolutely an amateur and have shot almost exclusively film my entire life. I’ve also recently taken a shine to range finders and and even bigger shine to twin-lens reflex cameras. My first camera, which remains my primary camera, is the Ol’ Faithful Pentax K1000. I didn’t get a digital until about 2-3 years ago and it’s a little entry-level point-and-shoot GE.

    I love the experiments with expired film and have been wanting to do some of it myself. I also want to try shooting redscale film. Your shots are beautiful.

    Digital photography can be truly stunning and inspiring, but I think I’ll always have the feeling that there’s more ‘soul’ in film.



    April 29, 2011 at 7:28 pm

  44. glorious…


    April 29, 2011 at 9:14 pm

  45. Nice photos. I remember learning on my father’s Nikon FA in high school.

    My Camera, My Friend

    April 29, 2011 at 9:44 pm

  46. Nice post and nice work with the camera. I like the effect of the expired film.

    Wish I had that camera. I use a D200 now but I kept my F100 and use it occasionally.


    April 29, 2011 at 9:50 pm

  47. Cool photos. We have similar styles. Check out


    April 29, 2011 at 11:43 pm

  48. It will get addicting! I got a TLR as a present from a friend about four years ago and never looked back 🙂


    April 30, 2011 at 12:13 am

  49. Your pictures are great. And liked to read about your experience with with since I see it from the other angle: I mainly rely on film, using a FE2 and a FE. Scanning is not always fun, though… Great job! tms


    April 30, 2011 at 1:30 am

  50. Glad you got to play with film. When I was a working photog that was the only choice available, sometimes the waiting for results was like sitting on pins and needles – some jobs were ‘one’ shot only times.
    Maybe I’ll give it a try w/ some expired film in my bag.


    April 30, 2011 at 3:22 am

  51. I was just discussing this with a co-worker. There’s something about the entire process: shooting, anticipation, and for me, the b/w developing process (changing bag, tanks, reels, chemicals, agitation) that makes it all magical.

    I recently acquired a Pentax K-1000 and shot a roll in L.A. My 7-year-old son kept asking to see how the picture turned out after I shot it. I had to explain that that wasn’t how this one worked 🙂

    Great shots! I have a few digital ones here:


    April 30, 2011 at 7:09 am

  52. Great pictures. Thanks for sharing!

    p90x home fitness

    April 30, 2011 at 8:15 am

  53. I must say, when I read the title the idea of “film” being a part of a still-life camera did not even occur to me. I simply assumed you were taking photos of a movie or something. After reading, I can laugh at my original thoughts, but it’s amazing how we really have quit using film. It’s amazing to me how something that used to be one of my favorite parts of life could simply cease to be on my radar screen. Thanks for the unexpected reminder!

    deskie by day..

    April 30, 2011 at 10:00 am

  54. These photos are fantastic! I just love film so much. There is something to it that digital cant replicate. I think Im going to let the roll of film I have expire and shoot with it! The colors are fantastic and really interesting.
    Congrats on being freshly pressed as well!

    Matt 😀


    April 30, 2011 at 12:08 pm

  55. It must be something in the water that we’re all revisiting film. I can still remember back in the early 70s trying to decide between a Pentax and Nikkormat…Nikon won.

    Very nice post.


    April 30, 2011 at 1:42 pm

  56. These are gorgeous. So antique-looking. I guess old camera still have something to give. It’s great that this camera makes you think about every single shot. Looking at these, I understood why you took them

    Great work!


    April 30, 2011 at 2:37 pm

  57. Beautiful textures and colors. I dig what you captured. 🙂 Film sure does have a classic and crisp look. There are just a whole lotta somethings about it!

    The Cupboard

    April 30, 2011 at 3:03 pm

  58. LOVE this… I must admit – I miss the days of film… the suspense waiting til it developed in your dark room, burning it in… things are so much easier now, but it sort of takes the value of the skill away from it a bit too. Loved the photos. Thanks.

    Moira Nell

    April 30, 2011 at 7:27 pm

  59. Thanks for all the wonderful comments everyone!

    I know I haven’t had a chance to respond to each of you personally, but I’ve really enjoyed reading your comments and your own personal experiences that you’ve left for me here. Thanks a ton!


    April 30, 2011 at 9:41 pm

  60. Really cool stuff here, Jonathan! That’s awesome you got a chance to shoot with film and with a vintage camera that still works! I remember shooting with film with just a point and shoot and I’d always be careful to not waste the film, haha. You got some great shots!

    Jasmine Lee

    April 30, 2011 at 11:18 pm

  61. […] to everyone that took the time to read my previous blog post and leave a comment. My post entitled Revisiting Film Photography was featured on Freshly Pressed, the front page of I was so excited to see all the […]

  62. Nice dog and nice cat too, great pictures!


    May 1, 2011 at 1:55 am

  63. I love the funky grainy feel of these pics. Perfection is boring! These are full of life!

    I Made You A Mixtape

    May 1, 2011 at 2:11 am

  64. Great post! I like the fact that based on the comments, you are inspiring a number of people to either revisit film photography, or (even more exciting) try it for the first time.

    I shoot both digital and film, but the entire experience / process of film has a magic that digital doesn’t match. (Plus I can shoot medium format film for a lot less money than medium format digital!!)

  65. Those shots of yours definitely deserve some credits! I’m not sure about your expertise as a photographer, but you’re sure to be on the peak of professional hierarchy. By any chance, did you use a filter for those photographs? I notice the graininess of it.

    Josh Layson

    May 1, 2011 at 5:08 am

    • I think the graininess is the noise from the old film he used. Just a guess 🙂


      May 1, 2011 at 10:21 am

      • Correct! That noise is good old-fashioned film grain. No filters used =)


        May 1, 2011 at 10:41 am

      • Splendid! Because of those photos and clarifications, I can now appreciate how great some of my low quality photography shots. I’ll put emphasis on the grainy feel onto it 😀

        Josh Layson

        May 8, 2011 at 6:30 am

  66. Nice Photos sir!How i wish I can viewing perspective like yours^_^ keep it up!


    May 1, 2011 at 5:18 am

  67. I have a film camera, a Minolta I picked up for cheap on eBay, and it is an entirely different experience from digital – especially cost-wise and, as you said, not getting that immediate look at your photos after you take them. But God, the satisfaction that travels from your finger all the way up to your brain when you press the shutter release – you can’t beat it!!! Your post makes me want to break it out and give it another go… Thank you for that! 🙂

    Deina Zartman

    May 1, 2011 at 5:19 am

  68. You make me want to go out immediately and buy a camera. I have wanted one for so long- I mean a good one- and I don’t have the money for it now. But you have inspired me with those fabulous pictures. Keep on snapping. If I took pictures like that, I would have no white space on my walls. Congrats on FP.

    The Logophile

    May 1, 2011 at 6:30 am

  69. ‘Way back when I shot, processed, and printed B&W. I no longer have a darkroom and sometimes think longingly of what I might be able to do with a pic if I did. With color, I don’t care that much whether I shoot film or digital. I still keep a film SLR, tho.

    Lyle G

    May 1, 2011 at 7:20 am

  70. Thanks for sharing! Love shooting with film!


    May 1, 2011 at 9:43 am

  71. I cannot believe I just found this article!! I JUST found my grandmother’s old Nikon FM while going through her things for an estate sale a few weeks ago. I am new to photography, and will be out in LA for a photography internship this summer. I am very excited to test out the camera, and your article made it so that I have no choice! THANK YOU


    May 1, 2011 at 10:15 am

  72. I’m also thinking to go back to film. The look is just great and somehow more natural than digital. Great pics!


    May 1, 2011 at 12:14 pm

  73. Hi there,

    I loved your blog. I too am revisiting film and its great to see other people doing so.



    May 1, 2011 at 1:55 pm

  74. Ooooh man, I just love these vintage tones. Nothing really beats film. Just wish it wasn’t so expensive. I love how you told a story through all of these shots. (And I passed by the some of the same exact places when I was in Mission last weekend!) Nicely done, sir.


    May 1, 2011 at 2:09 pm

  75. wow, just the mention of the word ‘film’ and the comments come pouring in. sweet blog Jon, keep it up!

    Jason Fan

    May 1, 2011 at 2:30 pm

  76. I have a Nikon FM10 and love it. Film photography is a much more sensual process than digital–there’s the satisfying click when you take a photo and when you advance the film. Loading and rewinding the film and being able to hold 24 or 36 shots in your hand is so satisfying. And while developing and printing photos on your own can be incredibly frustrating and time/money consuming, there’s nothing like watching images slowly appear on paper.

    Anyway. Great post and photos and glad you enjoyed it too.

    Heather Vandenengel

    May 1, 2011 at 3:16 pm

  77. You must understand Jonathan that once you touched your father’s Nikon, once you saw the first images, you were doomed to the delightful addiction of film.

    Nice series of images. I rarely shoot color because of the expense and uncertainty of allowing the labs to process my work. I prefer B&W because I develop and scan all my film and I love the look of B&W without the distractions of color.

    Oh yes… you are an addict now. Enjoy it.


    May 1, 2011 at 3:16 pm

  78. I love what you’ve said + the shots you’ve made!


    May 1, 2011 at 3:31 pm

  79. Really like these photos man, you have some awesome skills. I’d be keen to see some more 🙂 keep up the good work!


    May 1, 2011 at 3:59 pm

  80. “Hope this doesn’t get addicting :)”

    It will. =) Really like the shots you posted from this roll. I shoot mostly film myself right now and I think you’re right-on about how it changes the way you shoot.

    Congrats on making freshly pressed today!


    May 1, 2011 at 5:05 pm

  81. Jonahan,

    You tell an interesting tale about re-visiting film… I am one who never stopped shooting film, which I still do so today, but considering that it is an expensive exercise, I don’t do it nearly as much as I wish I could.

    The most time consuming part is planning… I plan every image that I take these days (I took break from all photography for the last 4 years, and only recently got back into shooting — still had film rolls in the freezer) on Nikon N80. Not the complete manual camera as the FM, but never use the camera to help me shoot.

    You images are compelling, and most interesting is the vivid, yet muted blue sky. A sky that a digital camera would need photoshopping to produce. And that was most

    Film, as a photographic medium, IS decidedly unique compared to digital image capture, and that in itself adds to the artistry of what’s going on inside the light-proof box.

    The Ecktachrome is a dying format, but it’s glorious as is any of the newer stocks from Kodak, Fuji and Ilford (try the SFX 200 B&W stock next time you get a chance; it reads just into the infrared spectrum).

    Best of luck with your continued unique craft…

    “How many hours, minutes, seconds do you have left in your life to change your life… find out in CLEAN — THE SERIALIZED NOVEL only at

    christopher derrick

    May 1, 2011 at 6:09 pm

  82. There is some magical about print photography that can’t be matched by digital photos

  83. Nice!!!

    Paulo Abrantes

    May 1, 2011 at 7:28 pm

  84. great .!! loved every bit….me too found my dads camera..and will be blowing life into it real soon..!!


    May 1, 2011 at 8:40 pm

  85. yay~i love film photography too^o^
    glads to see in the other side of this earth still shooting with film ^o^

    nice cam!i plan to bit a FM3A~


    May 1, 2011 at 10:30 pm

  86. Lovely images and congrats on being freshly pressed.


    May 1, 2011 at 11:33 pm

  87. yeh this movie has got Gud photography


    May 2, 2011 at 2:18 am

  88. So, it was Fun and Expensive…..Yes, I get the “Fun” bit, but was it really expensive.

    You have just used a camera that is over 30 years old. Yes, it would have been an expensive camera all those years ago, but guess what, it’s still rattling of frames not much different to when it was new.

    Contrast this to your D700. How do you think this camera will go in 30 years time? How many times do you think you will upgrade your $3000 D700 in 30 years? Once every 3 years maybe?

    Now, tell me again if you think your film shooting exploits was expensive….

    (PS, nice shots! Film is great and gives you something that digital never will. The joy of taking a shot and not knowing exactly how it will come out….it’s kinda like Christmas each time you get a roll processed!)


    May 2, 2011 at 4:04 am

    • Thanks for the comment! I’ll will indeed tell you again though, for me and my photography, shooting film is definitely expensive.

      Consider this: I have 8 catalogs of digital frames stored in my archive right now, all taken within the last three or four years. Just ONE of my recent catalogs has 21,491 images in it. That’s equivalent to nearly 300 rolls of 36 exposure film. How much do you think it would have cost to have a lab develop and scan (at high resolution!) 300 rolls? And that’s ONE catalog.

      It’s true that the FM is still kicking after 30 years, but my D700’s value far exceeds it for what I do. If I need to upgrade the D700, I can sell it to someone else, so even if I did upgrade every three years (what if I didn’t?) I wouldn’t be spending $3k each time. The bigger point, however, is that the FM couldn’t make me money today. The D700, on the other hand, paid for itself shooting just one hired event.

      The occasional roll of film doesn’t feel expensive, but when I say “expensive” in this post, I mean that if I had to replace all that I do digitally with film, I’d be broke!


      May 2, 2011 at 7:06 am

  89. Film still beats digital. My first SLR was a second-hand Canon AE1. I bought it with my tax refund while attending community college. I fell in love immediately. The act of loading the film, the sound of the shutter. The weight of the camera with the flash attachment. Manually rewinding the film. Switching to the tele-photo lens. Ahh, memories! Took great pictures. When film cameras were losing their popularity, I picked up a new D series Nikkon. Was going to use it forever, but I can’t find a good film processor in Central NY. I caved to digital, but I miss film. I have a roll of B&W that I shot about 3 years ago with the Canon. I want to get the roll developed, when I locate a B&W processor. I think I know what is on the roll. I took pictures after an ice storm. I’m not giving up my film cameras! Congrats on the FP!


    May 2, 2011 at 5:12 am

    • Have a word around your friends see if one of them knows who processes their own and get them to do it for you or get them to teach you.


      May 2, 2011 at 8:55 am

  90. Super photos. Congrats on Freshly Pressed.

    Jennifer Avventura

    May 2, 2011 at 6:39 am

  91. I hope it gets you addicted. The FM is a great camera I know because I use one nealy every day.


    May 2, 2011 at 8:52 am

  92. I want to thank everyone here again for leaving such great comments! I’ve enjoyed reading every single one. Thanks for the support!


    May 2, 2011 at 8:54 am

  93. I really appreciated your pictures. I learned on a N80 back in 2002 and soon turned to digital. Now I shoot with a D200, but still love film. The pictures you posted are beautiful. The blues are surprising. For no post production work (or minimal), there is a certain gritty feeling to them. I’m not sure if this is because the film is expired, or the urban setting. The grain helps as well, of course, I’ve always been a sucker for grain in pictures. Nice job.

    B. J. Parker

    May 4, 2011 at 9:33 am

  94. “I’d frame up a shot and ask myself, “is this really interesting?” Lost track of how many times I decided “no, not interesting enough,” and moved on.” – I had the exact feeling when shooting with my Praktica MTL-50 last weekend. Great shots, anyway. Nice job.


    May 6, 2011 at 4:51 am

  95. Nice collection, I really like the cat shot!!!


    May 12, 2011 at 6:08 pm

  96. Jonathan,
    So glad I discovered your blog. Great work & welcome back to film!
    I will be sure to let you know when we launch our new blog. So far, we have a site up with some of our lead writer’s work… Enjoy!
    Jason @iheartfilmphoto (twitter)


    May 12, 2011 at 7:04 pm

  97. […] Bi-Rite Creamery snickerdoodle ice cream for the lady, and an afogatto for me. Perfect finish. My Nikon FM came along for the day as well. Still trying to get through a roll of Ilford HP5 that I’ve […]

  98. I just love the sleeping cat. It so adorable… =)


    May 19, 2011 at 10:36 pm

  99. Your pictures are great. And liked to read about your experience with with since I see it from the other angle: I mainly rely on film, using a FE2 and a FE. Scanning is not always fun, though… Great job! tms

  100. […] to the HP5, you can see a clear difference. When I posted a while back about my re-entry into film photography, many left comments on the post about how they prefer the look of film photos over digital, and […]

  101. I love the dogs and the car. Such excellent work regardless of the medium.

    film gordon

    May 28, 2011 at 3:46 pm

  102. Thanks for your article, Jonathan. I’d looked at this article since the first day you uploaded it! Did u scan the film or the print to digital file ? ( pardon me, i didnt find your explanation about that….) But the main thing, i clean up my Nikon F90X ( bought in 98 ) and ready to load it with Velvia. I never regret keep this old beast for 13 years.

    Edward Yd

    June 3, 2011 at 7:32 am

    • Thanks for the comment! I actually had the lab produce the scans for me for this roll, so they scanned the negatives directly to digital files. I now have a scanner myself for print/negative scanning, however.


      June 3, 2011 at 9:27 am

  103. […]  Ever since I started regularly heading out with smaller, lighter gear like my EPL2, X100, and even Nikon FM, I’ve been yearning for an appropriate bag. I have a “carry everything bag” […]

  104. man, loving the feel of the ektachrome and velvia. ive been shooting exclusively film for the past year and a half and havent ponied up the money for some good proper film. time to start tomorrow


    July 30, 2011 at 5:37 am

  105. great images…. i also love and work with film

    best regards,

    Daniel Espinoza

    September 20, 2011 at 5:28 am

  106. Nice shots! I love film cameras. They are fun to shoot with and a bit of a challenge. Taking film photos is a game. A test. It’s also more involving that digital photography. Fun!


    February 29, 2012 at 8:07 pm

  107. […] sure I’ve found a camera that will most certainly help me drain my bank account due to film and processing costs. I picked up this Olympus XA at a local used camera sidewalk sale the other […]

  108. […] the heels of my last post, another film-related adventure! The camera above is an Ansco Cadet, a nifty little 127 format camera that was […]

  109. […] camera is refreshingly mechanical. No meter, no nothin’ electronic. Tons of […]

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