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Film Cameras = More Fun, More New Friends than DIGITAL?
Old 03-14-2012   #1
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Film Cameras = More Fun, More New Friends than DIGITAL?

Well, its a debatable viewpoint, for sure.

But I generally have more fun shooting with a film camera.
Just as important is that I generally meet more new friends shooting film.

Why? Because film cameras are old fashioned and get a lot more attention than digital cameras getting these days.

People are much more likely to stop me on the street to talk, saying asking about whatever camera I am shooting. Comments generally run into 3 directions

1) someone I knew had a camera similar to yours
2) I had that same camera, or always wanted one
3) where can I get a film camera and get started in film photography?

Of course people don't always ask questions, but in the Los Angeles area strangers are about 1000 times more likely to ask questions about a film camera than a digital.

So, are film cameras more likely to be more fun and a better conversation starter than a digital camera?

Well for me, at least, its definitely true.

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Old 03-14-2012   #2
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Yes, film camera do bring attention and start conversations, especially from people who have used them in the past . Digicams and DSLRs are so passe.. you see everyone around with one in hand or on their shoulders.
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Old 03-14-2012   #3
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Definitely so. I don't spend much time on city sidewalks or other crowded areas but having recognizable film gear on me has been a conversation starter. Including one time I was out with a Bessa-L and a Contax side by side, and was spotted by a guy wanting to talk more gear than I was up for, not to mention our respective female companions
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Old 03-14-2012   #4
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I get stopped often enough in NYC when using the Fuji X100 or the M9. Generally speaking though... most think they are film cameras. What's funny is it is usually younger women and older men (I'm 38).
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Old 03-14-2012   #5
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Agree that film cameras seem to attract more attention, at least more attention than the ubiquitous digital camera. I don't really like the attention myself, and would prefer to have conversations about photography as opposed to cameras, but can understand how more tolerant people than me may like the serendipitous encounters
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Old 03-14-2012   #6
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People often strike up conversations with me when I'm carrying an analog camera.

One of those conversations led to a $500 discount, and another may have opened the door to a major business deal. Many others were just great, friendly interactions, often when I was thousands of miles from home.

Carrying my DSLR has never led to a single conversation.
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Old 03-14-2012   #7
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It's funny how especially Leica M's lead to pleasant conversations. Especially older photographers who dropped film for digital and lost track of their former brand after switching to Canikon digitals. It's difficult to drop down in a bar after a long walk and not have someone come up to you to talk about your camera. Leica is free beers.
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Old 03-14-2012   #8
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My department chair saw me taking shots with my Leica IIIf one evening and said "Wow! That looks like something from the 50's! Have digital cameras gone back to that style?"

I agree fully, people are in general very interested in film cameras, especially kids (meaning teens and young adults).

Film is currently "cool". Enjoy while it lasts (hopefully a long time).

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Old 03-14-2012   #9
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I get laid all the time because of my Leica...

But seriously I do get stopped probably a few times a month, which gives me a kick to talk about my gear...but it isn't a factor really in why i shoot film at all.

I go to LA a lot for work and stuff and rarely am stopped when shooting. in SF though, way more often...but might be where I shoot in LA
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Old 03-14-2012   #10
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I find many folks around my age appreciate film cameras and that gives me the basis to form friendships with like minded people. At most gigs I get hired, I will bring a film camera, many times a TLR such as a Rollei and it becomes a means of introduction to another stranger who is inqustive about the little contraption.

However, I remind myself of a previous famous photographer who said, "the camera doesn't make the picture. Your eyes do."

Have a wonderful rest of the week.
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Old 03-14-2012   #11
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True. Not so long ago I was taking pics near a major tourist spot in Vietnam with a Zeiss-Ikon film camera and within minutes all the professional local shooters surrounded me. Big smiles all around. Most of them had been at it since the seventies and wanted to hold this precious thing of the past in their hands.
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Old 03-14-2012   #12
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In Chicago there's a lot of tourists and they bring with all types of digital gizmos. My Leicas and my Nikon S2 have been mostly unnoticed when I'm around Millenium Park and other hot spots. In my town, however, people are curious about my analog gear, and I have been asked more questions about my S2 than any of my Leicas. Must add, however, that the M bodies attract more females than males, while the S2 gets the attention of more males than females...

It's fun, though... Two years ago, when I got my Nikon S2 and carried it around with me for about 2 months, I fielded questions and comments about film cameras that gave place to very nice conversations. In other words, film cameras are undeniably cool... outside big cities.
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Old 03-14-2012   #13
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I have to say that I get into more conversations with strangers when I use my Nikon SP than with any other camera. They are just so darn good looking in a retro-cool kind of way.

My M5 seems to scare women and children with its seething masculinity.
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Old 03-14-2012   #14
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I walked around the local city square a couple of weeks ago one Friday evening carrying and shooting a TLR I borrowed from a friend. I got a lot of curious and inquisitive looks, even a bunch of similes. No hostile looks at all. Never had that experience with shooting around strangers before. However, I wasn't trying to shoot the crowds, but mainly just the old buildings around the square since I was trying to get used to a TLR

Anyway, I ordered some more film, and next time I'm going to try to engage strangers a bit more and see what happens.

Long Live Film! (I hope!)
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Old 03-14-2012   #15
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I've met people in discussion over my M8, and with my rolleiflex too. I agree that it is the look of a film camera that draws interest–people are either a) surprised that the M8 is digital, or b) they have one. Maybe an M9 sitting in their closet. That they never use
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Old 03-14-2012   #16
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Almost every time I'm out carrying my M9, people ask me how old it is, and are surprised to find out that it's digital.
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Old 03-14-2012   #17
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I've found that shooting with a TLR makes people (strangers, too) instantly relax. They think it's wonderful to be photographed with such an antiquity, and can hardly believe that such a thing still works. Conversations usually follow.
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Old 03-14-2012   #18
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Or they come up to you and say hey! a leica! like in eurotrip!!!

i've had that happen a couple times..
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Old 03-14-2012   #19
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A chrome M8 or M9, or a Fuji X100 will get you the same questions, at least in the beginning: just two days ago a girl who was serving me a coffee noticed my chrome M9-P and asked if I develop film. I smiled, showed her the back of the camera and said "Yeah, I do everything in my light room". Her interest vanished.
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Old 03-14-2012   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrea Taurisano View Post
A chrome M8 or M9, or a Fuji X100 will get you the same questions, at least in the beginning: just two days ago a girl who was serving me a coffee noticed my chrome M9-P and asked if I develop film. I smiled, showed her the back of the camera and said "Yeah, I do everything in my light room". Her interest vanished.
You should have asked her, if she would like escort you to your dark room...
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Old 03-14-2012   #21
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Film cameras are indeed the coolest thing there days.I am fortunate to have to photograph high profile social events,charity fashion shows etc. on a regular basis.I have made lots of friends with my M7.So many young people,girls especially,recognise the Leica M film camera and say it is at the top of their wishlist.It seems guaranteed to get me an Access All Areas pass-----I expect someone has to do it! Long live the Leica and film.
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Old 03-14-2012   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Vitessa View Post
I've found that shooting with a TLR makes people (strangers, too) instantly relax. They think it's wonderful to be photographed with such an antiquity, and can hardly believe that such a thing still works. Conversations usually follow.
True. Most people can't believe that these old metal things, actually still works When people ask me how old this or that is, i said older than me and there's always surprise on their face. The other comment i often get is that they look good/sexy/whatever , something you can't find with digital ( design ) . Well i can't argue about that
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Old 03-14-2012   #23
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I agree completely. A number of people respond to my Leica and my Zeiss Super Ikonta III folding camera. One day I was shooting with the Super Ikonta and a young woman said that she liked my camera so I told her what it was and she said, "Oh, it's a good one too." Then she said that she was a photographer too. Since I am 73, I almost never get comments from young women. It was a very good day. - Jim
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Old 03-14-2012   #24
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I used to black tape covering the whites on my RD-1... People would stop me asking why I still shoot film or how old is my film camera?
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Old 03-14-2012   #25
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I get just as many nosy people whether shooting film or digital. I've finally discovered that using a flash outdoors seems to make them keep their distance. Gilden must be much more widely known that I suspected.
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Old 03-14-2012   #26
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I have over the last couple of years had people come up to me and ask my if that is a film camera and why do i still shoot film, had a few say "cool camera dude' and one very pretty young lady wanted to have a play with it. Odd thing is that the camera is a Yashica GSN not a Leica or anything flash.
Why is the question, i think because the GSN is so easy to use and i'm relaxed using it i seem like some friendly old guy that is just out taking a few snaps.
I don't get the friendly smiles and "what is that camera" questions when I'm shooting with an slr ... not sure if it's the camera my attitude or what but I know a day out with the GSN is going to be fun
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Old 03-14-2012   #27
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I get it all the time too with the M6, or when they see me wind the XA. Then there's the X100 which usually goes like .. "That looks like a cool old film camera" *shows the lcd display.. "It's digital? Thought you were shooting film." And then there's the F100 where they just assume it's digital anyway..
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Old 03-14-2012   #28
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Sit in Washington Square in NYC for a while with a chrome Leica and the reasons of why you should shoot a film camera will become very clear, rather quickly. Yowza.
Now that spring is really here, it's imperative that I take a film camera along on my frequent outings to the city.

Not so much here in Philly, it's just a different kind of town.

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Old 03-14-2012   #29
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I get comments on my Nikon F4 on occasion when shooting downtown, but not the F100 as it's indistinguishable from a modern DSLR. The Contax G1 usually passes for a point and shoot, although last week, I was shooting with it and a guy came running up to me asking if it was a Contax, mentioned that he used to shoot an M6 but had to swap it for a CL after getting in a car accident, then he ran off.
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Old 03-14-2012   #30
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i find that people of the fairer sex respond very favorably to the TLR... i think it reminds them of their dad or granddads.....the amount of stares from women to my rolleiflex is incredible. and it can't be the overweight balding me....
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Old 03-14-2012   #31
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Many people assume that my M9 is a film camera...

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Old 03-14-2012   #32
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For me when I go out I generally get a comment per walk. I carried an Ansco Memar Pronto and an older couple I took a photo of approached me, the man was a collector. The conversation began. I carried a Yashicamat into an art store, the older men behind the counter starting talking to me about when 'those cameras were new'. Carried my Minolta 35 Model II.. well you can guess the conversation there, it began with 'Is that a Leica?' lol. Well no. Brownie Hawkeye, 'Wow, I haven't seen one of those in a long time'.

Older cameras look unique as compared to the cell phones, compacts or dslrs that are currently available. It's not necessarily that they are old, only that they are different. With the elderly people though, definitely because they are older cameras. They wax nostalgic. Do you make long term friendships? Generally not but it really is nice to chat with people rather than walk past them day in and day out.

*I haven't yet gotten a chance to try them all, those that I have collected, so maybe I should start making a list of what people say per camera, see who jumps at what.
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Old 03-14-2012   #33
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I was walking the streets of London on Monday and a pleasant gent in a wheelchair said an OM2 now thats a proper camera. Sadly he had to give it up as he lost most of the use in his hands. He now uses one of the early Canon AF cameras, but would rather be using the OM2
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Old 03-14-2012   #34
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I've had the same with my M8 Roger. When they finally see the screen on the back they look rather surprised

Quote:
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Many people assume that my M9 is a film camera...

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Old 03-14-2012   #35
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you will still be alone if you act like an a**
no matter it's digital, film, brand name, flash or no flash
...with or without a camera

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Old 03-14-2012   #36
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When I am shooting with my shen- hao 4x5, people usually stare for a while. I only had one person come over and talk to me about the camera. I am a brown skinned Indian guy so who knows...they get scared when I put my head under the dark cloth and they start moving along in case it blows up.
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Old 03-14-2012   #37
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I was shooting in an underground Thai temple only a few days ago with my Hexar RF and AF. A Thai guy with his Canon digital came up to and asked if his wife could take a shot of the two of us together explaining that he was honored to be in the presence of a dedicated film man. He asked if he could hold the RF for the shot. As we were posing a young German tourist walked by with his Grandads Minolta SRT and amazingly a Thai schoolgirl with a Contax G1. Well, the Canon guy couldn't believe his luck and after we all posed he insisted on buying food/drinks for all.

P.s. I'm a 66 year old Brit. The Thai guy was 55, the German lad was 38 and the school girl was 17.

So yea, film has no barriers or peers.
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Old 03-14-2012   #38
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Yeah, people will come up and strike conversations from time to time about my M6 or M4...Just today a young asian guy came up to me while I was out during my lunch break asking if he could take a photo of my M6 with his iPhone that's a first...cool with me
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Old 03-14-2012   #39
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Quote:
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I was shooting in an underground Thai temple only a few days ago with my Hexar RF and AF. A Thai guy with his Canon digital came up to and asked if his wife could take a shot of the two of us together explaining that he was honored to be in the presence of a dedicated film man. He asked if he could hold the RF for the shot. As we were posing a young German tourist walked by with his Grandads Minolta SRT and amazingly a Thai schoolgirl with a Contax G1. Well, the Canon guy couldn't believe his luck and after we all posed he insisted on buying food/drinks for all.

P.s. I'm a 66 year old Brit. The Thai guy was 55, the German lad was 38 and the school girl was 17.

So yea, film has no barriers or peers.
That's seriously the best thing I've heard all week
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Old 03-14-2012   #40
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I'm not a pro, but when I have to shoot digital for some friends or charity projects: I do use digital. It is not that great but it is easy and sharp (too sharp), and those people seem to like it (maybe because it is free). But when I shoot film it is like when I was 12 years old. The wonder of what it will look like and the attempt to be totally sure about exposure, all the camera settings, how will I develop it, Guide Numbers on my flash bulbs(at 12) and now the GN on my strobes (even though I don't like strobes like bulbs). It is an existential and Zen experience for me. So, I will live my remaining years the way I want; not the way industry or society tries to push me.
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