Guilty Secrets And The Great Film Fallout 2017

This feels something of a confessional. I started writing 35hunter in late 2015 with the following intentions –

35hunter is a diary of my photography hunting adventures.

The three things I’m hunting for are –

  1. Beautiful objects and scenes to capture with a photograph. Usually using 35mm film cameras.
  2. The ideal camera. Or, more realistically, a small collection of excellent, individual cameras that I love using.
  3. A balance between being a photographer and a camera collector. Mostly I want to be the former, and feel like the latter.

I’m pleased to find that, some 20 months and 80 posts later, my intentions are much the same. Especially parts 1a, 2 and 3.

What has changed rather significantly is the extent of my use of 35mm film.

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I’ve never been an exclusively film photographer, and since buying my Sony NEX in 2014 have kept around 3500 photographs. As I edit quite strictly, and maybe only keep 20% at best, I must have shot around 15000+ with the NEX.

In other words, I’m no stranger to shooting digital. 

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Since 2012 I’ve gathered some 15000 items in my film photograph folder on my MacBook, shot with 130 different cameras. Yikes. So, I’m pretty familiar with film too.

But the number of rolls of film I’ve shot this year, 2017, can be counted on two hands. 

Since May I’ve shot a single roll of film, barely any more on my NEX. But I have kept some 1500 photographs from my newly discovered Pentax K10D and Samsung GX-1S DSLRs.

Again these are just the keepers – I’ve likely shot approaching 7000-8000+ images across these two bodies so far.

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What this all means is I’m not what you could call an active high volume film photographer anymore. 

I’m barely a film photographer at all.

So, the truth is out! Where does this leave me?

As I see it, I’m actually closer to my original aims outlined at the launch of 35hunter (and ones I’ve had in my head for some years previously) than ever before.

I still love seeking out beautiful things to photograph, and they’re still usually trees, flowers, crumbling gravestones and weathered paint flaking doors.

Also, I’ve found as close to the ideal camera set up as is probably possible, in my K10D and its little brother the Samsung GX-1S.

So much so that I’ve literally just taken arrival of a Samsung GX10, the Samsung clone of the K10D as a back up/ complementary camera.

Using my beloved old Takumars and a few other vintage M42 lenses on the K10D, a handful of A series SMC Pentax on the GX10, and potentially any of these (but mostly my recently discovered super light and mightily impressive Pentax DA 35/2.4) on the little GX-1S, makes a manageably small but formidable arsenal – three cameras and around 20 lenses.

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When I do feel a hunger for film, I still have my Spotmatic F for M42 and Program A for K mount lenses.

This set up also makes me feel closer to being a photographer than a camera/lens collector than I have done in about four years.

Which is a big thing for me – I hate just collecting stuff for the sake of collecting and not actively using it, plus that unhealthy binge/purge consumption cycle it’s so easy to get sucked into.

So whilst this post does feel a bit of a guilty confession, in fact I’m nearer my aims than ever.

Which, it turns out, is nothing to hide about after all…

Where are you in your photography journey? 

Let us know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading. Please share this post with others you feel will enjoy it too.

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9 thoughts on “Guilty Secrets And The Great Film Fallout 2017

  1. Welcome back 🙂 feels like I haven’t read anything from you in ages. I’m still on the search for my ideal set of equipment and still collecting. I’m very happy with my digital choice but not quite settled on lens or my regular use film kit though I am close I think. I just shot a roll through my Pentacon and the images with the Yashinon lens are really very good in my opinion and I am pretty impressed. I still have one more pinhole in the shutter curtain to resolve but it’s almost there. I am finally selling some of my acquisitions which will help both my closet and my mind to declutter 🙂

    1. Thanks, yeh I think it’s been about a couple of weeks since I posted. I have a bunch of posts half written in draft, but had kind of been putting off this “guilty confession” post. In writing it I realised that I’ve actually been shooting digital plenty with the NEX over the last three years anyway – I was hardly exclusively loyal to film – plus my recent embracing of the Pentax DLSRs and a small set of M42 and K mount lenses has got me closer to that long held ideal than ever before.

      Now you should see a more frequent flow of posts again, starting tomorrow!

      Which Yashinon did you use? I recently played with a DS 50/1.9 and again was impressed with the images. But then so many companies have made impressive 50s.

      I had a C/Y mount ML 135/2.8 which was really great, but I quickly sold it on as I was phasing out my C/Y kit.

      The other MLs I had and used were all really decent – 50/1.4, 50/1.7, 50/2, 35/2.8 and 28/2.8. Yashica do remain a bit of an underdog in many people’s eyes.

      I love decluttering, I seem to always be considering which lens to sell next as often as which to buy. Which might be the reason until recently I was going through so many!

      For my upcoming post I did some quick calculations and realised that I have 3 very capable zooms that cover the same range as the 15 primes that make up the rest of my collection. The zooms cost me about £90 collectively, the primes maybe £750… Hmmm, this doesn’t fit with my strong frugal streak!

      1. ha ha frugality isn’t working for me right now either. Yes it was the DS 50/1.9 debating whether to let it go but will hold off until I have sold some of what I’ve already got on the market

      2. The DS 50/1.9 is great if it’s your only 50, you couldn’t ask for much more. But I’d rather have a 55/1.8 Takumar. 🙂

        On the frugal front, I’ve been looking at the DA Limited 21mm, partly because I recently got a DA 35/2.4 and have been hugely impressed.

        The 21 goes for around £200 which I thought initially is way too much for a lens. The most I’ve ever paid is £100.

        But… I have maybe eight lenses that are 50/55 or 135mm. In practice there’s little enough between them to consider them duplicates.

        So I could sell four or five or six of these and have the funds for the 21mm, which would genuinely be very different to anything else I have or have had.

        Six Takumars (28, 35, 55, 105, 120, 135), four A series (50/1.4, 24-50, 35-70, 35-105) plus a couple of DAs (21 and 35mm) would be a formidable dozen that would offer a wide range of focal lengths plus different shooting/handling experiences.

  2. Just wanted to say I have recently found your site and I am enjoying reading your experiences. I started my journey with a Fed, can’t remember which, it would have been in the late 70’s. I then went to a Zenit and ended my analog journey with a Yashica . For the last 12 years I have worked my way through a series of Nikon dslr’s and was one of the first to get my hands on the D500. However it has been relegated,for the last 10 months, to “scanning” my negatives that have resulted from my home developing of colour film. Yes I have returned to film in a big way and have a serious case of GAS for all those analog wonders I could never afford. I have never been happier!

    1. Andrew, great to hear you’re enjoying film so much!

      I confess I tried scanning myself a couple of years back, but it took so much time I just couldn’t justify, and didn’t have to spare.

      Plus even a cheap supermarket lab with a Fuji scanner was getting much better results straight off than I could get with hours of fiddling with my scanner at home. It was an easy decision to pay an extra couple of pounds for them to do it.

      This reminds me, I need to put my scanner on eBay!

  3. You are right about the scanning. I started using an iPad/D500 setup that was initially quick but then I had to spend far too much time with photo software to invert the negative, fiddle about with levels etc..Now I’m using a hp scanjet, £20 bargain on eBay, and an aging AppleG5. It takes about 2hours per 25 exposures, but I have learned to multitask. I have been impressed with the resulting images straight from the scanner, needing very little additional intervention.

    1. Andrew, I think for all of us it’s about finding what works best to support our photography.

      At the height of shooting film I was going through about a dozen films a month. So your workflow of two hours per film in scanning and tweaking would have added 24 hours a month to my photography time. For me personally I could never justify that (or fit it in!), and I try to make sure that as much of my photography time overall is out in the field taking photographs. This is a major reason I had my film scanning outsourced, and now with digital have found a camera/lens/LightRoom combination that means very little time processing and results I’m generally really happy with.

      My day job involves a fair amount of time on a computer so spending further time at home scanning and processing was just too much machine time. It was affecting my photography in that I’d be heading out to shoot but with half a mind on the fact that every shot I took would need to be scanned and tweaked at some point in the future. I came to almost dread it, and realised this wasn’t why I took up photography – it was to escape and explore!

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