At the end of 2016 I bought my first 35mm stills camera (Pentax K1000), since then I've taken it to pretty much every country I visited and every time, I've chosen the Pentax over any of my digital cameras.
To some photographers this may sound counter-productive; taking an old 35mm camera over a digital camera which would take higher quality, sharper images and allow me to take as many photos as I wanted vs being limited to 36 shots per roll of film.
Let me tell you why it's not and why you should shoot film too.
IT TEACHES YOU PATIENCE
When using analog format (35mm film) you're limited on how much you can shoot, depending on how many photos your roll of film can hold (often 36 at most for 35mm rolls) - if you want to shoot more than 36 photos then you're going to have to buy another roll - which isn't going to be cheap when you add the developing & scanning costs.
This forces you to really think about your shot and teaches you to be patient. Often when using digital I'll come home with 300+ photos and I'll end up liking less than 5 of those photos because it's easy to take a photo of anything & everything due to having unlimited storage on your SD card.
I'll often shoot a full roll of film (36 shots) over the space of a month and once I receive the photos back from the developing lab, I'll end up loving 75%+ of the photos.
Shooting digital does not teach you how to choose your shot and in my opinion it's a super valuable tool that I did not have before picking up my Pentax.
A lot of UK photography university courses force you to use analog in the first year purely to teach you this lesson.
IT'S REFRESHING TO SEE
If I log into Instagram and scroll through my feed, there's a 95% chance that none of the photos will catch my eye. I'm so bored of seeing literally the same look to photos: perfectly sharp, vibrant, shiny, high contrast, high quality images.
It's such a breath of fresh air to see grainy, imperfect & even out of focus 35mm images. Analog just feels real, genuine and relate-able, it creates a sense of nostalgia and has character that digital just can't match.
EXPERIMENTING IS CHEAP
Living in a town that does not have one single camera rental house means I'm unable to rent camera gear, I've only ever been able to use gear that I've owned and digital cameras / lenses cost an absolute bomb, usually starting at £500+ for a decent lens. This stops me from being able to experiment with new 'mm lenses', the first time I used a 28mm lens was when I bought one for my Pentax (which cost £20).
35mm cameras and lenses are incredibly cheap these days, you can buy a solid camera & lens on eBay for less than £40. This means if you've ever wanted to try a 300mm lens, then you most probably can for a small cost.
YOU'LL WORRY LESS
I took my 35mm Pentax to some of the worst parts of Johannesburg, South Africa. There was a chance that my camera would be stolen (as there is in any part of the world) but that really didn't worry me, it would cost £75 or so to replace vs losing a £2,000 digital camera (A7s II or similar).
A lot of 35mm cameras are well-built, I could throw my Pentax against a wall and I'm sure it would be fine, a digital camera would not. The point I'm trying to make is that you can put yourself in situations that have a risk of damage or loss and not have to worry (as much).
If you like the idea of trying an older format of photography then I'd seriously suggest picking up a cheap 35mm from eBay, any model with a 50mm should do if you're just starting out.
The feeling of handing over my used roll of film and getting back the negatives is incredibly satisfying, even more so when you've captured an image that you love.
As cliché as it sounds, my only regret is that I did not pick up a 35mm camera earlier. It's taught me many different things, given me a different outlook on what/how to shoot, helped me develop my shooting style and best of all - it's helped improve the way I shoot my video work.
Lastly, I'm in no way saying that you should NOT shoot digital, digital has a place in the world, more so than analog when talking about client work. Analog is very often disregarded by this generation of photographers because it's an old format, try it and I'm positive you'll love it.
THINGS TO CONSIDER
If you do decide to jump into the world of analog photography then here's a few things you should consider:
If you have any questions or simply have something to say in reply to the above then don't hesitate to comment below or tweet me @LewisFarleyFilm
Lewis Farley is a filmmaker & photographer specialising in documentary.