Picked up my first film camera / by Saurav Chowdhury

 My new Canon A1 35mm SLR

My new Canon A1 35mm SLR

So yesterday I just received my Canon A1 which I bought from eBay, a good old film SLR.

There were a few reasons I decided to pick up a film camera, the main one was to get back to basics as a photographer, as film gave me no opportunity to chimp, gave me manual settings (okay this has Av, Tv and P mode but that's just a convenience) and I had a limit of about 24-32 images available to shoot depending on the film. Too often I go out with my DSLR and come back with 100-200 images that I'll make myself edit and sort through, which honestly can be tedious sometimes. If I'm limited, I know for a fact that I'll have to make each shot count as there is a physical price per click. I just want to see if I can make my images better now because of that.

My second reason is just practicality. Whenever I went out to uni, onto the streets or family gatherings I'd end up carrying my 500D with its 18-135 and the 50mm 1.8 in either the Lowepro Slingshot or the Flipside 400, because nothing else will fit it. It was simply overly cumbersome to carry at times unless I wanted to get something specific. With the A1 I can literally throw it into my normal satchel and go out normally, not as a photographer and it makes me more willing to carry a camera now as it's so compact in comparison to my DSLR.

Third reason is that I love the film look. I've been using the VSCO film preset in Lightoom for a while now and I love the look that certain films give, and I've heard that VSCO has nothing on real film. After looking at film photographs on Flickr and seeing some of my favourite YouTubers work (Jared Polin) from when they used film, I know it's something I had to try for myself and try to replicate. 

Finally the most important reason was to keep memories safe and in a tangible, resilient form. In this new digital age it's easy to stick everything onto a hard drive and share it, but it's also just as easy to stick it in some dark corner of your storage among the 1000s of other folder your own, destined to never be looked at again. I know I've done it, which is why I've made it a job to sort out my favourite images and print them at a lab so I can always have a physical copy, plus we all know how easy it is for a hard drive to fail or lose your storage in some other way. I wanted something I can keep in a book, something I have to make physical every time I want to view it instead of accepting and rejecting them on a whim in post production. Being in uni now is a special time and I want to keep these photos to look back at in the future, something I won't lose over time. I want to keep family photos safe, photos of my girlfriend, photos of my friends from uni and those I make in the future, all in hard copy, because honestly the memories we remember are what makes each of us.

So like I said I only recently got it an I'm testing it out. The build quality is amazing for something so old and it hasn't developed any fault that is associated with the A family cameras. Currently running some Ilford HP5+ black and white film (it expired about 20 years ago and hasn't been kept in the best condition so this will be interesting) through it to see how it handles, and in the future I hope to test out the Kodak Portra 400 as I've heard some great reviews about it.

I'll upload the results when I get them developed.

 Top down view of A1 w/ Ilford XP2 / HP5Plus B&W and Fujifilm Pro 400 Colour

Top down view of A1 w/ Ilford XP2 / HP5Plus B&W and Fujifilm Pro 400 Colour