Analogue cameras coming back

Analogue cameras coming back

Many photography enthusiasts are using them to learn the nuances of shadow play, and helping revive an older, much admired technology

Aashai Patkar's 'Observe', taken at Majestic Bus Stand.

Analogue cameras ruled the world of photography before digital cameras took over. They are making a quiet comeback.

Digital helps photographers immediately see what they have clicked, and reshoot as many times as they wish without worrying about additional costs. Film is way more expensive. 

Many photography enthusiasts are now rediscovering the joys of analogue cameras. In fact, some are using the pandemic to upgrade their analogue skills. 

Bengalurean Aditya Ravi headed for Varanasi this week to capture images using his analogue camera.

“Now is a great time to take pictures at Varanasi as the crowds will be thin and you’ll probably never get to see it like that again. I will have enough time to analyse the shots and probably find some new ones,” he says. 

His love of photography began with an analogue camera but he switched to digital as the times changed. “What piqued my interest again was when I picked up an analogue camera a year later. There’s been no turning back since,” he told Metrolife.

Aditya spent his lockdown time creating a dark room. “Film photography allows you to take control of the images you’ve taken. You can mix the chemicals as you like and get the results you’re looking for. It’s time-consuming but totally worth it,” he says. 

Architect Aashai Patkar does not shoot digitally. With film photography, he feels he has the liberty to choose the story he wants to tell. 

“I wouldn’t call myself a street photographer but that’s usually the genre I tend to lean towards. There are certain images that I also stage to get what I’m looking for,” he says. 

On an average, Aashai spends close to Rs 10,000 a month on film rolls, developing, printing and scanning. “Yes, it is an expensive hobby but once you get the knack of how an analogue camera works, it’s hard to find the same gratification in a digital camera. My friends do mock me but I wouldn’t have it any other way,” he says, laughing. 

Sabir Ahmed,  part-time photographer, says many young enthusiasts want to learn film photography. He conducts workshops to explain the process. “There are X-ray films also being used in old wooden cameras. The results are exquisite once you learn the technique.” Digital x-ray film is available in the market now. 

Management consultant Rajkumar Krishnas uses Vageeswari cameras (large wooden boxes) to shoot. 

“My approach is mostly black and white and Vageeswari allows me to do that very well. X-ray films are used for that. To develop, you have to keep the negative on to a photosensitive paper and expose it to light. I would love to do it under natural light, but I haven’t experimented with that yet,” he says. 

Black and white photography is back in a big way in the last few years, he says.

“Analogue teaches you the nuances of light and shadow play. Be open to making mistakes and embrace them in a positive way. Digital photography pushes you to a certain type of perfection but film teaches you to attain it before the final result,” he says.


Popular analogue cameras

35 mm
Nikon FM, FM2, F2, F3
Canon AE, AE1, F1
Olympus OM1, OM2
Pentax ME, ME Super, MX, Spotmatic

120 Format
Hasselblad, Rolleiflex, Yashica, Pentax, Mamiya

(Above cameras are not available new, only used or second hand)

Popular film rolls

B&W Film
Ilford FP4, HP5, Delta,
Kodak Tri-X, T-MAX,
Fuji Acros 100

Colour Film
Fuji Colour Plus
Kodak Max 100,

(Approx Rs 500 to Rs 750 per roll of 36 exposures)

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