Shooting with Film

I was cleaning out the refrigerator a while back and found a role of Kodak TMax-100 film in the side drawer. I decided to dig my Minolta X-700 out of the closet and shoot a role of film. It was an interesting test of my patience. I no longer had the instant satisfaction of seeing the results of the picture I was taking nor could I just shoot a few frames and upload them to my computer. I also didn’t have the luxury of autofocus, but I must say I really do like and miss the prism focus in my Minolta much more that the dots of my digital camera. I’m not sure how to explain it, but it’s like being able to see the hands of a clock vs. digital numbers on a clock. The mechanical click of the shutter and the manual process of advancing the film were actually quite rewarding; It was items I had forgotten but reinforcement of the fact that I had just taken an image.

The process of shooting with film forced me to really think about how I was going to capture an image and forced me to consider all aspects of the image before shooting. The perceived cost of an image was now present in my mind and the thought of wasting an image was real money out of my pocket. I know that a picture is still only a few cents, but when I shoot with digital it feels free. Taking digital images I don’t have the cost of developing each roll of film and now to present these images digitally I have the added cost to scan the images into digital format. What it did give me was a reminder that I don’t necessarily have to take every shot and really think about the shots before I actually click the shutter.

Minolta X-700
Minolta X-700

I took my dog Bella out to the nature path and decided to see what I could capture. I really wanted to see what this roll of black and what looked like again. I know that you can produce the look post processing in digital, but I have to say I like producing an image with no post processing. The grain of the film is already present and it’s just you and your composition being presented.

Bella is a mutt we picked up at the local shelter.  She’s a border collie mix and as you can tell in need of a good grooming, but that will have to wait until summer. She barks a little too much, but for the most part is a smart and well behaved dog except when she sees ground hogs (but that’s another story). She’s our companion and really one of the family.

Our Family Dog, Bella
Our Family Dog, Bella

I captured this image of her on the trail. It’s not perfect, but I love the grain of the film and the simpleness of the monochrome. Be sure to click on the image to see it large. I had my 50mm f/2.0 lens on the camera. It’s really a decent lens, but I’m excited to try out the 50mm f/1.4. I mentioned to my brother that I took out my old film camera and he mentioned that he had his Minolta XE-7 and a 50mm f/1.4 sitting in his closet and just wanted to get rid of it.  We’ll I’m not one to pass up on that deal especially when it’s free!

Minolta XE-7
Minolta XE-7

The Minolta XE-7 arrived, but on first click the shutter mirror locked up. I’m sure that’s a result of not being used for over 20 years. I found Garry’s Camera Repair in Niles, Illinois and he’s going to get the XE-7 running again for $53. That was a price I couldn’t pass up. Hopefully I’ll get to shoot with the XE-7 soon, but in the meantime I have the 50mm f/1.4 attached to my X-700. I just have to finish the roll of film to share some more images.

Am I going back to shooting film? No I doubt I’ll convert back to using film full time, but it is nice to have the choice. There are just some properties of images produced from film that I especially enjoy and especially in black and white. I’m looking forward to trying out some Ilford black and white film. I’m heading down to Great Sand Dunes National Park here in a couple of weeks and hope to give the Ilford film a workout.

  • ljsaltiel

    I shot with Minolta film cameras exclusively before digital Rick. I am pretty sure I still have them along with a lot of equipment in a closet somewhere. Maybe I should dust them off! Nice images.

    • RickLouiePhoto

      Thanks, Len. It was refreshing to shoot with film again. Let me know if you have any questions. I will be happy to answer them.

  • I used to have the x-700. What a great camera that was and in some ways I do miss my old film camera. I love the image of Bella.

    • RickLouiePhoto

      Thanks Edith. Yea the X-700 is still a great camera.

  • Awesome. I shoot with a Minolta XG-M – everything is manual and it really makes you slow down and think. I’ve also been developing my own B&W film lately! Been purely digital for most of my life so this is a fun little excercise! Love the shot of your pup!

    • RickLouiePhoto

      Thanks. Yep these manual cameras really makes you think about what you are shooting. I haven’t gotten to the point where I develop my own film. Maybe someday if I shoot more film.

  • Chris Frailey

    Nice one Rick. I have my Canon AE1 still at my parents house. It would probably need to go to the shop for a tune up like your Minolta. Seems like everyone is getting the film bug again. 🙂

    • RickLouiePhoto

      If you need a tune-up check out Garry’s Camera Repair in the link above. He’s very reasonable.

  • AaronBarlow

    I feel the same way. I LOVE my EOS film camera. Pair that with a simple 50mm and it forces you to think a bit more and be creative. It’s dead simple, but still a challenge and much fun. Nice shots here too BTW.

  • Bobby Kulik

    I don”t know if anyone is looking at this thread anymore, but I recently purchased a chinon cg-5,actually 2 and one chinon DSL wich I gave to my sister and brother-in-law for Christmas. And I bought a yashica electro 35(1968),and a yashica MG-1,last of the electro series.,and a ricoh xr-10. I shot a few rolls on the cg-5 but have yet to have them developed. Thinking about getting a dalight developeing tank and doing it myself. I have 2 EOS digitals and assorted lenses for them, but that click and advance on the film cameras is addictive.I did get an adapter for the k-mount to eos so I can use the lenses wich are chinon 28,35 and 50mm,and a rikkenon 35-70 zoom. Can”t wait to see what comes off the film.
    Bobby K.