I shoot more black and white film than color but when I shoot color I have 3 film stocks that are my go to for different reasons. They are Kodak Ektar 100, Fuji Superia XTRA 400, and Kodak Portra 400. I generally shoot Kodak Portra 400 when I’m doing portraits. I’ll even shoot film and use Portra on paid portrait shoots. Portra is a pretty versatile film and it looks good at box speeds as well as over exposed by a stop or two. Here are some examples of what Kodak Portra looks like. These are unedited photos straight from the film scans.
I started photography in 1995 during the film era. Sometime in 2000 my dad handed down his Bronica ETRS camera to me. This was the camera he used for many years shooting weddings and little league baseball team photos. After I graduated photogtaphy school in 2001 I went digital. From that point on I was strictly a digital photographer using many different Canon Cameras. I worked full time and ran a part time photography business until early 2012. I got burned out. I shut down my studio, sold my digital cameras, and sold all of my studio equipment. Several months went by and I started to get the itch to start shooting again but I wanted to do it on my terms, not a clients terms. The only cameras I had were two film cameras. I had my Canon Elan 7e and the Bronica ETRS that my dad had given me. I decided to give a go at film photography again. I figured out the film process (and look) is what I had loved and missed about photography. It was kind of intimidating at first to go back to film, because of course with digital you had the screen on the back of the camera to reference. I remember when I first started taking shots on the film camera I’d look at the back as if an image was going to be there. LOL. it didn’t take long to get back into the swing of things. I had to trust my knowledge of photography, trusted what I had learned, and trusted the camera was going to do what it was supposed to do. Here are a couple of portraits (with off camera flash) that I had made when I first got back into film photography.
My wife and I married on Jan 1 2017 in San Diego, California. That trip was the first time either of us had been to California. Obviously, me being a photographer I had to document the trip. I didn’t want to worry about camera settings and such. I just wanted to be in the moment while I was there. So I decided to bring along two point and shoot cameras… and film cameras at that. These are a handful of photos that I made on the trip. I ended up making a book which includes these images. The book is titled “Automatic… in San Diego” which has now turned into photography projects when I travel.
I got approached to do a 70’s styled shoot. The images were going to be submitted to a magazine for publication for a vintage issue. I decided to “keep it real” and since digital photography didn’t exist in the 70’s, I shot the images on film. Because what’s easier than shooting film to get an authentic film look… Here is one of the photos from the shoot.
Ever since the digital boom in photography film photography has been on the decline… Until about 5 or so years ago. Texas has one of the largest film communities in the nation. The North Texas Film Photography group meets up once a month on the second Saturday. The group usually meets for coffee, a drink, a bite to eat, good conversation, and photo walks…
Sunday Jan 13th 2019 my son and I met up with another local photographer to walk the very cold streets of the Fort Worth Stockyards. I brought along my dad’s old Bronica ETRS which he gifted me around 2001. This camera has become my all time favorite as it’s very sentimental to me as my dad is not living anymore. Anyway, us three meet up and we start walking, talking photography, and making images on the streets. Soon a stranger comes up to me and tells me how cool my camera is. We talk for a while and then move on. We keep shooting. Another person comes up to us and asks about my camera. We walk the streets for about 2 hours and then decide to call it quits as the cold is getting to us. In total I’d say about 4 or 5 people stop me to talk about my camera. That’s 4 or 5 new people that I got to meet because of the camera I was carrying. Over the years I’ve done the same, as far as going on walks, many times with a up-to-date more modern digital camera. Maybe 1 out of every 10 times someone might ask about my camera. However, just about 9 out of 10 times I take this camera out people stop me and want to talk about it. I’ve actually gotten clients because of this camera. I love meeting new people and this has been a great way to do so. I compare classic cameras to classic cars. Nothing wrong with new cameras (or new cars), but the classics just seem to turn heads and start conversations more often than not compared to “latest and greatest” new stuff!
So this little camera pack a good-sized punch for a point and shoot camera. I previously did a blog on the Minolta Hi Matic AF 2 and said that it was one of my favorite point and shoot cameras. This Olympus is right up there with the Minolta. This was the second camera that I brought with me to San Diego our wedding / honeymoon trip. I shot around 6 rolls with this camera and focus hit nearly every shot.
This camera has a 35mm F3.5 lens, which isn’t super fast but isn’t too terribly bad either. There is a f2.8 version as well but I don’t know if I can justify the cost different in the two cameras. I did not run into a situation the whole time on the trip where I thought I needed a faster lens. The camera has multiple flash settings including turning it off. One downside to the camera is that when you turn off the flash and then turn off the camera and then turn the camera back on, the flash is automatically set to auto mode again. I’d rather the flash be set to off by default. The camera feels very good in the hands and is small enough to fit in a front pocket in your jeans. Everything about this camera is automatic (except being able to control the flash functions). I do like the fact that this camera can read film DX codes and can shoot faster films than ISO 400 and ISO 800. When you are finished with the roll of film the camera also automatically rewinds the film for you too. Two other features worth mentioning are the tripod socket on the bottom and the self timer mode.
The only downside that I can think of with this camera is the flash being turned on auto automatically when the camera is turned on. Overall this camera is almost the perfect point and shoot for just about any situation. I bought this camera for $15 and have seen them being sold for $30 and even a little more. This camera is well worth the purchase if you are looking for an all around film point and shoot and can deal with the flash function.
Some might say the f3.5 lens compared to the f2.8
focus is a smidge slower than I would like but definitely not a deal breaker