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Shooting 35mm with Cameras

While the convenience and technical features of digital cameras allowed them to largely surpass film cameras, there are still some who prefer shooting with 35mm. Rather than capturing multiple images of the same shot, photographing with film requires you to slow down, think, and really compose the shot through the lens viewfinder, with a limited number of exposures on each film. Fujifilm is one camera manufacturer producing 35mm film cameras, with the option for compact point and shoot, digital single-lens reflex (SLR), and Fuji single-use cameras with flash.

What Are the Advantages of Shooting With Film?

There are advantages and disadvantages when it comes to both digital and 35mm cameras, but embracing one doesn't mean you can't also work with the other. One-time-use disposable cameras are a good introduction to get an idea of what it feels like to shoot pre-digital.

  • A 35mm camera generally has a higher dynamic range, which makes it a good option for capturing black-and-white photos. It can take up to three bracketed RAW digital files to create the same dynamic range that's possible with some film cameras and, with some basic darkroom skills, you can recreate the image much more closely to what your eye actually sees.
  • While digital photography allows you to just take an image and edit it later to get the shot you want, film requires you to think carefully about the composure, light, and exposure of the picture before pressing the button. With around 24 exposures on a typical roll of film, compared to the thousands you can store on a digital memory card, you need to think twice before committing to capturing an image.
  • Some cameras by Fujifilm have a higher resolution than what's available in most digital cameras and they're more forgiving of exposure problems and some focusing issues.

What Should You Look for When Buying a Film Camera?

Buying secondhand cameras is a good option if you're just getting into film photography and will allow you to play around with the different features on Fuji cameras or those of its competitors. However, there are a few things you should look out for and keep in mind before purchase.

  • Check if there are any scratches or markings on the lens. While you can usually clean dirt and dust, scratches on the lens are more permanent and will affect your images.
  • Make sure the shutter is still working at its optimal level at different speeds, with slow response times usually noticeable right away. Similarly, check that the aperture still opens and closes and there is no rust apparent.
  • Also, consider which type of battery the camera uses and that you can find an appropriate power source for an outdated flash and other features. Some older cameras use mercury batteries, while more modern cameras may have easy-to-find adapters.