If You Like Photography, You Need to Try Film

It’s That Easy!

Attention photographers of Penns Valley! Whether this is a hobby for you, or you’re taking some kind of class, I have a suggestion for you. Try film! Film photography is an ancient art that goes back to the early days of photography, back in the stone age of the early 20th century. Most would probably tell you that film is dead, and digital photography does everything that film did, but better. They aren’t entirely wrong, but it isn’t right to say that film is dead.

My Yashica FX-3 Super 2000 (Sam Ewaskiewicz)

I had my mom buy this camera for me for something like $60 off of eBay about a year ago. It is a Yashica FX-3 Super 2000, a mid-range camera that started being made in the late 80s and was produced until the early 2000s. It is an all-manual camera, with no auto-exposure, auto-focus, or auto-anything. It doesn’t even need a battery, as all the internal mechanisms are clockwork. And yes, it takes film! Good old 35mm, a format that has endured time and continues to be produced today. As of the time of writing, I have only used one type of film, the versatile Fujifilm Fujicolor Superia X-Tra 400. It’s cheap and it can be found at Walmart, so I use it. And yes, film is not only still being produced, but in many different varieties!

So What’s So Cool About All This?

Shooting on film is an experience unlike any other, and has taught me so much about photography. The experience of shooting manual, having to wait to get it developed, shipping it across the country to the lab I pay, it’s really something else. Now, all of that SOUNDS inconvenient, but it’s actually quite fun. I want to focus on shooting manual during this article.

The controls of the FX-3 Super 2000 (Sam Ewaskiewicz)

So, as mentioned above, nothing on this camera is automatic. On the lens are the controls for focus and aperture, and the dial to the right of the viewfinder is the shutter speed control. The lever protruding from the camera at the right is to advance the film and ready the shutter. Using these controls has taught me so much about taking pictures. All of these controls are available on modern cameras, and some of them are even available on your phone, but all of them are automated and when you are controlling them manually they are hidden behind button combinations. This camera puts all of them right in my hands, and I only get one shot to get it right. You can only take 36 pictures with every roll of film.

When you use a camera like this, you learn to appreciate the little things. Like focusing using the distance scale that tells you at what distance objects will be in focus, or using the little scale below it to determine depth of field based on aperture. Using this has helped me get a better understanding of photography as a whole, and let me take some beautiful images along the way. They say less is more, and nothing exemplifies that more than film.

All images below were taken using the Yashica FX-3 Super 2000 with the 50mm kit lens.

Looking up Park Road in Millheim (Sam Ewaskiewicz)
Sam Ewaskiewicz
Sam Ewaskiewicz
Sam Ewaskiewicz
Sam Ewaskiewicz