Like riding a bike, relearning film is coming back quick, as if greeting an old friend for the first time in ages. As I promised earlier on, I plan to document what I learn as I return to the field of film photography to help those just getting back or starting to explore film for the first time. Since jumping to digital in 2008, I am pretty amazed at how much I need to remember, though. Well, not totally amazed, as I can't remember what I had for dinner last night.
Bodies for the Return
For my return to film, I'll be dealing with both medium format (120) and standard 35mm film photography. The bodies I will be using over the next year are:
Not totally sold on what I'll be using, but so far have a good supply of the following:
- Portra 400 - 120
- Portra 400 - 35
- Portra 160 - 35
- Fujifilm Pro 400h - 35
- Ilford Delta 400 (B&W) - 35
- Fujifilm FP-100c - 120
- Fujifilm FP-3000b - 120
Lessons Learned So Far
Patience. I've learned - especially with many conversations with my good friend and film fanatic, Johnny Patience, that film is a whole different beast than digital. Especially when it comes to metering. With my first roll back, I metered like I do with my Leica ME. Things were not looking the way I had expected, so the first tip Johnny gave me with film was:
Meter to half the box speed.
Golden tip! I noticed my early images where I metered to the box were a little dark - a little cold. Film does better with over exposure than it does with under. So, say you're shooting ISO 400 film - set your meter to ISO 200 - as I did with the photo above. For me, rendered exactly how I imagined! Huge detail, perfect light - no edit. Same with the image to the right. That's once again metered at ISO 200 - no edit after the scan.
Another tip from Johnny:
For warmer color, expose longer.
Yes, this was another amazing tip! I did notice through some of my scans that the images exposed for shorter time with the Portra had cooler tones while those exposed a little on the long side leaned toward the warmer, earthy tones. Something I never through about, but damn, that's cool!
That's it for now - but I do intend to keep you updated with posts as the year goes on. Like I said, this is a year long project to really get back into film, so I will have tons to share with you all!
Happy New Year!