Film Cameras

Like Vinyl, But for Photos: Why Film Cameras Are Back in Focus

Some people are rediscovering their passion for the film camera, a seemingly obsolete piece of technology, in the midst of an increasingly digital world where it’s rare to go an hour, let alone a day, without looking down at a smartphone or tablet.

As a result of a growing nostalgia for the analog era, demand for the devices has recently outpaced supply.

The film photography industry was brought to its knees about a decade ago, but it’s experiencing a rebirth.

“I feel like I can attach more emotion to a film photo,” said Jasmine Orr, an avid Edmonton urban landscape photographer who owns about a dozen cameras.

Because of the limitations of a roll of film, a photographer using film has to be much more deliberate and mindful than someone using a phone, according to Orr.

“You have to focus on the moment a lot closer to take that photo,” they said. “Nowadays, everything is digital, so I needed something that was more tangible.”

It takes two steps to develop film: loading it into the camera and taking it out again. Some cameras don’t require batteries to function.

In 2006, Japanese camera maker Nikon announced it would stop manufacturing most of its film cameras to focus on digital. In 2012, Kodak filed for bankruptcy, although these days it can’t keep up with the explosion in demand for film cameras.

‘Nostalgia Factor’ Part of Appeal of Film Cameras

Since the Alberta store’s doors first opened in 1949, McBain Camera has continuously sold cameras and rolls of film, but interest waned from about 2007 to 2019.

Since then, sales of film cameras have increased by double digits every year, with people under the age of 25 accounting for the vast majority of buyers.

“The big reason why people are getting back into film is because of the process and the nostalgia factor,” said Rene Rodrigue is the Edmonton location’s general manager of McBain Camera.

“The same way that people enjoy cooking from scratch because of the process. They enjoy the way that film slows things down, too. They don’t have to have immediate results,” he said.

The store processes only 60 rolls of film per day, not enough to meet demand from customers.

Manufacturers of cameras, film, and other accessories weren’t ready for the sudden change in fortune, which led to an increase in prices.

“They are higher than they ever were before,” Approximately $70 to $8,000 can be spent on cameras at the shop, according to Rodrigue.

Depending on the quality and various color tones they produce, rolls of film have doubled in price to around $20 or $30.

“Comparable to discussing wine and coffee You wind up with varietals and different display techniques,” As he speaks, Rodrigue gestures toward shelves displaying a dozen different kinds of film canisters.

Store Produces 10,000 Rolls a Week

All of that free time is what led Dave Marshall to open a camera shop, which quickly developed into a small factory that now exports film and other goods to places like Europe, Hong Kong, and Australia. Israeli officials are packing the most recent box.

Flic Film is based in Longview, Alta., a village of about 300 people located in a ranching area with mountain views about 65 kilometres south of Calgary.

About half of the 200 different products the store sells are made on-site. The company makes 10,000 rolls of film a week in addition to mixing chemicals and selling kits for do-it-yourself film development.

“We were kind of stuck with COVID, so I got bored and started a company,” said Marshall is the creator of some of the equipment in the shop. “At the time, I experienced issues with suppliers who provided me with photochemistry and some accessories. I therefore decided to begin blending some of my own chemistry.

“Three sizable businesses have come to us and asked if we’d be willing to give them designs made with our machines. And the answer has been each time, ‘We’d be happy to roll your film for you,'” he said.

Even though the company is only a few years old, it is currently undergoing another expansion to increase its production capacity and keep up with demand.

It’s yet another indication that moviegoing is growing in popularity, even though no one anticipates a comeback of the film industry to its heyday of many years ago. This is because smartphone photography is so simple to use and digital cameras have such high image quality.

Many film-only photographers still use their digital cameras because they believe the two technologies work best together rather than being mutually exclusive.

“A digital camera will produce images of higher quality. You’re going to have a million pixels in an inch,” said Orr, an Edmonton-based photographer. “Regardless of how good the lens is, a film photo will be grainy and blurry depending on the camera you use. But I love the character it has.”

Read More: How to Put Film in a Camera?

Source: CBC

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