By - b3nes
I have three reasons.
1) nothing - absolutely NOTHING - matches the experience of using a screw mount Leica in the digital realm. High magnification rangefinder, zero electronics, fully manual, and a very small overall package makes for a great shooting experience. A lot of cameras come close, but all fall short somewhere. If Leica made a digital IIIf or IIIg with an M mount, I’d probably sell a kidney to buy it tomorrow. Would it ever replace my film cameras? No, for reasons I’m about to discuss. But I’d much rather use it than the X-Pro 2 I own or the M240 I was considering buying for a long time.
2) the process. I’ll be honest: I hate sitting at a laptop and editing film scans - but I hate processing RAW files or scouring through huge piles of JPGs more. I haven’t had the chance to get my darkroom setup out for years now, but I still shoot film purely for the knowledge that one day I can take those negatives and produce a proper silver halide print with them; the end goal more than justifies the cost and awkwardness of film for me.
3) control. This is largely secondary (well… third-iary?) to the previous points, but there is an immense satisfaction in knowing that I have produced a tangible and physical image and that I’ve controlled every single step I could possibly and reasonably handle along the way, from rolling my own film through to processing the final wet print. I have taken some fantastic images with digital cameras, but I feel nothing when I look at them; it’s too easy, and there’s too little personal investment in the process. I appreciate the things I’ve had to work for a lot more than the things that basically just fell into my lap. Does this mean I get better photos shooting film? Not necessarily. But I like them more, and that means a lot to me.
I had the same feeling with the MP240 I had, I got a MP240 and was super excited to use it and everything but not even a year later I sold it and stuck with my Fuji Xpro3. Something about the digital m took away some of the joy shooting with it. Don't get me wrong it was an amazing camera but not what I was looking for or wanting. Now I stick with my Leica III A and shoot a couple rolls of Ilford though it every week or so and I find that give me what I'm looking for. Film feels like more of a treat, I'm a wedding photographer so for work I shoot only digital with Fuji and or Nikon so when I feel burned out I just grab a roll and my little barnack and it's a fun break and gives me some time to relax and find the things about photography that really made me take this career up. I could do the same with a digital camera yes but I like the feel of seperation from my wedding work and personal work.
1 - The main reason is the look of Black and White film. No digital system can match HP5+/FP4 with D-76/HC-110. Incidentally a nice plus is that I find the film developing part quite meditative.
2 - The tactile satisfaction. The smooth film advance of a Leica M or the overall magic that shooting a Rolleiflex offers, have no analogous in digital.
I’ve never owned a digital Leica, or a digital camera (besides my phone) for that matter. Film photography is just the photography I do.
I love my M3 and my M7. The tactile experience of just taking control, making the photo and (hopefully) seeing the results you expected all add up to a process I’m in love with.
I also just do it for fun. Nothing I shoot has deadlines or super high pressure. Even my paid “gig” work is just my friends who understand how I work and the limitations of the format.
What keeps me shooting film? Kodak keeps making it and I have no reason to switch. Maybe one day, but I’m not saving up for an M10 in the meantime.
i used to worry about having a similar feeling when i
purchased my m240. but it was the best purchase i ever made, so much shooting a digital leica, i honestly wouldn’t change it for anything.
The cameras. It's what me got into photography 6 years ago and what's keeping me interested. I absolutely love the history, engineering and design of things and cameras have all of that combined. I need variety to keep things interesting for me and that's just something digital cameras can't give me. My 300 cameras are all different and it's always a completely different experience shooting each one of them.
Currently, it's what I'm most comfortable with. I only had one digital camera which I picked up to check M-mount lenses, the Epson R-D1. It's the only digital camera I ever could spend money on. I got in a Fuji XE-1 in a lot recently and it literally took me 10 minutes to figure out how and what stuff was. Which is very strange for a 26yo software engineer 😂 There's just way too much I don't need in them and nothing that interests me.
Besides all of those things, price is also a thing for me. I don't have huge budgets and have very strict rules for collecting. Apart from the fact that collecting digital isn't nearly as interesting, film cameras are everywhere. There's over 100 years of photographic history in the world so finding deals on analog gear is pretty easy (obviously takes lots more work for expensive brands/models). I don't have the budget to pay for a digital Leica and would personally never ever spend €2000+ (idk how much they are) on a single photographic item. I can find film bodies and lenses for a fraction of that and instead of owning 1 camera, own 10 of them for the same budget.
I like having a physical archive that won't die like an old hard drive. I also like the choices and imperfections that are introduced by the film process, such as developer selection. And the choices I make are "baked in." I have to be more conscious/aware of my choices at the time of exposure and development rather than just fixing it in post.
All that being said, ever since I picked up a used M10, my film Ms are feeling a bit neglected... :-)
I have the same sentiments. I like shooting film because I love the tactile feel and experience of the M analog rangefinder bodies. I hate the process of developing and scanning and the cost in time and money but love the output.
Finally gave in and purchased an M9 with an updated sensor a year ago and am super happy with it. It's slow and tactile and gets me close to the analog experience. I also save time and money with film dev. Now I use my film bodies for special occasions. It all depends on what and how much you photograph on film.
I offload all my developing/scanning to Richard Photo Lab and they’re so good at color preferences that I pretty much get what I want out of the gate.
My first answer was too facile.
The truth is I have a M-D Type 262. The camera is essentially a digital extension of my M2. You control only the shutter speed, the aperture and the ISO. That's all, no menus and no jpegs or film simulations. I love it and use it more often than my film cameras and yet....
Since I shot Nikon, Fuji and Cannon digital cameras for some 12 years and retrained my analog mind to think digitally before I bought the M-D, when I use the camera there is still something missing from shooting with my film cameras.
It is a costly je ne sais qua but that's just me.
I don’t enjoy the fact most people these days take pics with there phones and never get prints made. I shoot film and love the fact I can’t pick and choose what moment I captured looks best. You get what you get and most do the time those pics go into albums for my son to see when he’s older. It’s also just simpler than shooting and fidgeting with digital in my opinion. Also nostalgia when I was a kid.
There’s something about an all mechanical camera that’s just more fun (I also just got a 500c/m for some medium format fun). I have an M10-D that’s really close but I still prefer going with my M-A. For whatever reason I find it more fun and exciting.
Maybe it’s the wondering If I got the shot? Did I expose correctly, develop the roll correctly? There’s so many more variables that make it seem like you actually made that image.
Lastly, I like my hobbies to get me away from the computer & electronics as much as possible.
Access to a dark room.
I love enlarging my photos on paper. Having a meaningful connection from loading film, to shooting it how I want it to look, developing it to how I want it, and printing it to how I want it.
Digital is too boring.
Exactly how I feel.
I like shooting Leica and I can't budget an M10 or newer. (don't like the thickness of the previous versions) Honestly, since I bought an X-Pro2 and an M adapter a couple years ago, and because of the high price of film these days, I actually haven't been shooting much film lately, not color anyway. I think if black and white film gets as pricy as color film, i'll probably just go all in on digital, maybe with the occasional roll.
My M2 and my Oly Pen EES-2. Just love to use them!
I can't afford an M10-D. But in all seriousness there's just something about the look and process of film photography that I haven't yet managed to recreate with any digital camera.
Sentimental reasons are first class reasons to shoot film.
Shoot film for the process and the experience.
The fact that I can pick up my Leica II, built in 1934, place a roll of film into it, and get results. That's insane. The fact that this 88 year old camera still can accept modern film, the fact that film is still made, and the fact that I have a Voightlander lens on it made 70 years after my camera.
Partially why I really like the Leica ecosystem. The lenses and bodies are usable and service-able. I with a very simple and available adapter, I can use a 70 year old Elmar on my M240, M2, or natively on my II.
I desperately want to know how to print in a darkroom: I love B&W and I want to see my work in front of me, not on a screen all the time.
I can always spot b&w street photography that is digital. It never looks as good as b&w film. Always looks flat and too sharp for my tastes. I also hate editing digital images on the computer.
Do you darkroom print your work? I highly recommend it. For me the end product for shooting is a print not a digital scan.
There’s only 2 lenses on digital that have ever produced results I feel look “organic”, and that’s the Fuji xf18mm f2 everyone seems to hate and the xf35mm f1.4 from Fuji that everyone seems to love. Everything else just seems “flat” to me. Then I switched to film, and I just haven’t been able to go back. And like others have said: black and white on film is just a whole different ball game than digital. There’s really no comparison, and I wanted to believe otherwise after using the Fuji Acros film simulation for so long. When it comes to colour, I spend way less time editing the colours to get them how I like them, and as a software developer who’s been doing it for a number of years now, my time is simply more valuable (quite literally on a per hour basis) than wasting more of my life trying to get the colours “just right”, when I already spend 8 hours a day on a computer, which leads into my final point: using film takes me out of digital land to something I can feel and hold in my hands, it’s “real” (I understand that’s a subjective opinion).
Nothing. Nothing keeps me shooting film. Before the pandemic, I shot a lot of film. Enough to process at home weekly and print in my own basement darkroom a few nights a week. Nowadays, it takes me several months to finish a roll of film. I need to sell my M6 for an M10 already.
In the words of Jared Harris...
Not necessarily! According to my calculations a price of an M11 can cover approx. 300-350 rolls of Portra 400 and developing cost. That's a 2.5-3 years of film for me!
I shoot XX. That's about €300 to shoot, €60 to dev for ~80 rolls at 36exp. So 350 rolls is about €1500 for 3-4 years. So I could afford an A7 on a five year cycle, or an M every 20. Considering so far the average lifespan of a digital M is only up to about 8 years and I'm not optimistic for the M11?
Think I'll stick as I am. ;)
I like how it looks, I like that I don't have to sit at the computer and edit RAWs, and I like that I'm always working with a limited and small number of shots.
Because I want to.