As our newest editor stated here, I issued a challenge to him (and myself really) to do a film shoot out. We both have Nikon film cameras that were collecting dust, and we were getting back into the whole film thing.
For a while we’ve shot film here and there since moving on to digital – both of us started photography when digital wasn’t even a thing yet. (I just wanted to get that out of the way so this makes us non-hipsters LoL.) So during one of our Hangout sessions (Google Hangouts – since I’m in NYC and Alvin’s in GTA) while talking about some film I had sitting around and his son learning how to develop film and such, we thought it would be fun to do a shoot out.
We both have Nikon and Pentax gear, but we chose to go with Nikon since the lenses and camera bodies we own were near identical. (More on why we went with Nikon later.).
My gear consisted of a Nikon F100 body mounted with a 50mm F/1.4D. As what Alvin said, we were both using Ilford’s PanF ISO50 B/W film. I got my film developed by CRC located in NYC.
During my shoot, for some reason, my F100 wouldn’t set the film speed automatically (see Alvin’s checklist.) I suspect it was with a custom setting which I have yet to change, but anyway, I noticed faster shutter speeds were being asked for by the meter despite it being an ISO 50. About halfway through the roll, I decided to verify my ISO setting, and of course, discovered my camera was set to ISO 400 and not 50!
What I can take away from this, other than making sure to check ISO speeds, and setting it if need be, is that it’s much more of a process to shoot in film again, since, you basically need to be spot on with your initial shot, exposure, focus, and composition. There’s no reviewing – sure, you can re-shoot, but re-shoot how? I know I’ve been there and done that in the past, but after shooting digital for the better part of 10 years, it is hard to get back in the groove and shake off the rust.
I have to say though, the PanF is one sweet film. Once you nail your focus and exposure (and film speed!), the results are stunning. There’s nice contrast, organic grain, and just an overall liveliness to a still photograph. Hearing that shutter click, and then the whirr of the film advancing is such a joy to hear again.
I think I may have shaken off most of the rust. The more I shoot film again, and the more I use the F100, the more I have confidence my shots will come out great. Add the excitement of seeing those shots after development, and maybe the dissapointment too, if you fail to nail it. All in all, experiencing those senses again feels very good, and nostalgic at the same time.
All being said, see for yourself which pics came out the best. My pics are strewn about all over this post. I still think Alvin got the better shots off, but I’ll let you guys be the judge.