Everyone compares iPhones to movies online, but what does it mean?

As the iPhone vs Film trend took over short-form video last week, I decided to dig a little deeper to explore what makes video more exciting than digital iPhone photography.

An iPhone photographer’s lack of understanding of film is likely to be scoffed at by any well-versed photographer, but if you’re like me and your first camera was a smartphone, then there are plenty of differences to unpack.

  • Sensor – Silicon chip that captures images in digital cameras. It can vary in size, but generally bigger is better.
  • Movie – It usually comes in rolls. Standard still cameras use 35mm film, but can be larger or smaller.
  • ME SO – This determines how sensitive your sensor or film is to light. Shooting at higher ISO values ​​allows you to shoot in dark areas, but can also make your images grainier.
  • Opening – This number controls how wide the lens aperture is. An aperture of F/2.8 is a very wide aperture, while F/11 is a small hole for the camera to see. This can control the amount of light entering the sensor/film and how much blur you want in the background.
  • reflex camera – is like DLSR without the D(digital). Basically the purest form of a mechanical camera and it’s all manual.

I want to get into film photography. Where should I start?

The film I used for all of these comparisons was Cinestill 800T.

Film is all the rage right now, and editing apps like VSCO that can apply film-inspired presets to images have been popular for years. However, if you’re like me and started your photography journey digitally, you probably have a lot of film-related questions.

Question one: I want to shoot movies. Where should I start? The answer to this starts with making sure you have a lab near you that can process film. Many larger cities still do, but finding one in a small town could be a challenge in 2022.

The photos in the film come from an Olympus OM2 program. The iPhone is an iPhone 13 Pro.

After that, you need to decide how seriously you want to take it. If you want to get some retro shots and not learn anything about photography, grab a throwaway (yes, they still make them). If you want to treat yourself, a point-and-shoot camera from the early 2000s is your best bet. These have a lot of modern conveniences like autofocus, they’re small, easy to use, and you can load them with any 35mm film you get your hands on. Plus, they’re easy to find online for under $100.

If you want to level up, you can get a bigger SLR camera that will offer more lenses, better photos, and a steeper learning curve. Depending on how modern the camera you are looking for in this category, it may also have many automatic features. For example, my Olympus SLR has a ‘program mode’ that allows the camera to set shutter speed and aperture automatically. I still need to manually focus though

The last beginner tip I would give is to just get your film scans instead of the actual prints. While it feels good to have a stack of real photos, nowadays all photo sharing is done online, so scans are much more useful. Also, if you’re just starting out and like me, if you’re getting prints, there’s a high chance they’ll be blurry. So seriously, stick with the scans.

Cinema is cool, but what are its limitations?

Now that you have a film camera, you have probably learned about its limitations. The first thing is the movie. As unique as it sounds, every film has a set ISO, which makes it more difficult to find a film that is versatile during day and night. It can be done, but you’ll need to weigh up which film you’ll be shooting heavily before you start shooting.

In addition to being ISO locked, movies are also white balance locked. This helps you get consistent shots throughout a roll, but if you’re shooting tungsten-balanced film like I did, you can get some interesting colors.

The most common limitation (I like to see it as a challenge) is that each roll only has a limited number of shots. Most 35mm film has 36, but if you get a medium format camera and shoot the largest 120mm film, there are usually 10-15 shots per roll.

The final challenge is to wait and develop it. I use a lab in Toronto that usually does color film processing the same day, but still, the wait makes it a bit more complicated to learn when you’re just starting out. With a phone, you can see what a photo will look like before you take it and adjust it accordingly. With a film camera, you won’t see if that photo turned out in hours at the least and days or months at the most. I can’t deny that receiving a batch of photo scans in my email always feels like my birthday, but the immediacy of digital is impossible to beat.

Other things I have learned

Finding a movie you like is a long process of trial and error. Try not to be too picky and just try a lot of different options. While there aren’t as many to choose from as there used to be, there’s still plenty to experiment with. I started with Fujifilm because that’s my brand of mirrorless camera for work, but after about eight months of shooting, I’m starting to like Kodak a lot more.

Cameras are a lot of fun if you like gadgets as they are all unique. The point-and-shoot market from the 1980s to the early 2000s was hyper-competitive, so there are plenty of options to choose from and learn from. For example, I found a Canon Sureshot at a Salvation Army, and it can even detect when it’s still and will hold the shutter open for longer as a sort of precursor to modern night modes in phone cameras. Others have weather protection, smarter focus buttons, and more.

You have to be much more consistent with the film. I’m used to turning on my phone, taking a picture, and stuffing it back into my jeans at the speed of light. But with film, the process involves a lot more focus, even with my modern point-and-shoot cameras. So now, whenever I shoot a movie, I make sure to plant my feet and hold my position until I’m sure the image is captured.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.