Everyone wants the retro look, but nobody wants to shoot film


I see more film cameras featured in portraits than I see portraits done on film (via instagram). I want to focus more on photoblogging than my presence on Instagram. You will start to see me post less and less on instagram, and, more & more on my website. I pay for this after all, why am I not utilizing it as much as?

As most of my followers (say hi if you’re there) know, I’m immersed in 35mm film at this stage in my journey. Everyone wants the look of film but nobody wants to shoot film. Why? I’m willing to bet everyones first answer is cost. Your $800 – $2,000 camera cost a lot of money, too. And you’re camera lens probably cost half, if not more than your camera body. And of course you can’t just have one lens (I have several too).

But is shooting film really that expensive? My two workhorse film cameras are the Pentax K1000 and the Nikon FM2n. The K1000 ran me a total of $100, buying the body with a 50mm 1.8 and then finding a 50mm 1.4 on ebay for an extra $50. All in so far: $150. I bought a second workhorse for multiple reasons, but the FM2n with a 50mm 1.8 ran me $250 on ebay and was in near-mint condition. I again found another 50mm 1.4 for the FM2n and picked it up (with expedited shipping for my upcoming trip to Dripping Springs) for $70. Total investment: $470 for two camera with two great lenses.

Do some homework on these cameras and you’ll be amazed, I know I was. For all of the DSLR shooters wanting to upgrade to a full frame format, you’re spending the extra dollar to achieve what a 35mm camera equates to. Full frame DSLR is the equivalent to 35mm film. $150 for a Pentax K1000 sounds pretty good to me.

So what about my full frame DSLR? I have a Nikon D750, which I picked up on ebay on a thanksgiving special for $1,400. That’s a lot of money for something I barely touch these days. So lets say you have a camera similar in make and cost to the D750. Total investment: $1,400. I bought a Nikon 50mm 1.8 for probably $230. Total investment: $1,630.

Film, development and scanning are the killers, sure. On average I can say that most rolls cost around $6 – $10 per and come in better deal when buying bulk. Film development and scanning can run me around $11 per roll. So it cost roughly $$15 – 20 per 36 images. You could buy a Pentax K1000 and shoot a roll of film a day for two months for what it cost to buy my D750 set up. That’s a little more than 2,000 images.

Now I work a day job from the hours of 7am – 5pm, so I typically do not shoot a roll of film a day. On average, I shoot between 1 – 3 rolls of film per week. This all depends on how busy I get.

I’m going to go film crazy this weekend and shoot somewhere in the upwards of 20+ rolls of film. This is “Texas Hill Country” and should prove to be a great scenic view.

I’m not really sure I’m trying to convince you to shoot film, more so just bring attention to the cost differences and my experiences. I want to share more and more of my film with you and the bumps I hit along the way.

Tune in soon to check my trip results.

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