6 Reasons why you should go analog

As always, if you have questions, objections, worries or praise, and especially if you found your picture and want it removed, feel free to contact me. I will get back to you as soon as possible. You can also read my full disclaimer, if you are interested.

 

In 2013 I really got into analog photography and learned a lot. In May I learned how to develop my own film, make prints and contact prints and since then shot and developed about 30 rolls of film. I can tell you that it was a very rewarding experience!

You might wonder why I’m bothering with analog photography considering that I started out with a digital camera. After all analog photography doesn’t offer instant gratification over a screen and has running costs for film and processing. Besides with a digital camera the pictures are much less of a pain to process anyway given that you can just copy and edit with a few clicks rather than spending ages developing, scanning and removing dust before you can actually get started properly. Isn’t it too much of a hassle if one considers all the downsides?

Well, let me just be really really clear: It’s worth it anyway! Here are 6 reasons why you should get into analog photography:

1. Analog cameras work and work and work

In 2012 I bought my first fully manual analog camera, a soviet Zorki 3C from 1956. The camera was more than 50 years old and as it turned out it was slightly broken, because someone had changed the shutter speed without cocking the shutter (the absolute no-no of Zorkis). After a bit of a bonding experience, which involved poking around in the shutter mechanism a bit, the damage was repaired and I was ready to go. When I tried out the camera I was not exactly surprised to find that after more than 50 years the shutter speeds still ran correctly, the lens was still working, the rangefinder was accurate and it actually produced pictures! In the 50s there was no planned obsolescence and equipment wouldn’t break down after the guarantee ran out, especially not in the Soviet Union. Can you imagine buying a camera and being able to use it for the rest of your life? Well, if you get into analog photography you can do just that!

© Lilly Schwartz 2013

© Lilly Schwartz 2013

 

2. Analog gear is cheap

In 2012 I bought my Zorki 3C with a 50mm Jupiter 8 lens for 70€ and last year a Zorki 4K with a 35mm Jupiter 12 lens for 75€. Both I would consider expensive, since the Zorki is a Leica copy and the lenses are compatible with the Leica M39 thread mount. Less popular cameras are obviously cheaper. A Voigtländer Vitoret costs 25€, Olympus Trip 35 is 30€, Yashica Electro 35 GT 45€ or you can get a Kiev for 50€. For the price of a semi-decent digital camera you can get a whole selection of analog cameras. In fact, most people spend more money on a camera case than what a decent quality analog camera costs nowadays. As you can see, considering that you won’t spend thousands on the newest and fanciest gear every couple of years, the price of the film doesn’t actually matter that much after all.

© Lilly Schwartz 2013

© Lilly Schwartz 2013

 

3. Analog cameras are a good conversation starter.

Did you ever get bad reactions when you pointed your huge DSLR at strangers? Well, unless you buy an equally massive analog SLR your analog gear might actually get you a lot of positive reactions instead. I can’t count how many times people started a conversation with me because I was shooting with my Zorki. People seem to love quirky old cameras and their curiosity usually overcomes any reservations they might have towards having their picture taken by a stranger. For street photography it’s a big plus!

© Lilly Schwartz 2013

© Lilly Schwartz 2013

 

4. Ready for the apocalypse

A lot of analog cameras are fully mechanical and won’t need a battery to work. And even if they need a battery that’s mostly just for the light meter, so if push comes to shove you can make do without one. Besides, when your hard-drive dies or the zombies ate all the power plant employees you have a physical backup of your pictures. Zombies ate the lab employees as well? No worries, Rodinal developer keeps years and years after the last lab employee came to a gory end. Besides, you can develop film in all sorts of weird concoctions like coffee, red wine or other things you might find in your pantry (although you probably might want to drink that stuff yourself when things turn bloody).

© Lilly Schwartz 2013

© Lilly Schwartz 2013

 

5. It will teach you about light

Are you proud of being able to use your camera in manual mode? Well, did you know that this is only the beginning? With analog photography you will learn to really understand light. If you’re lazy like me you won’t bother with the hassle of using an external light meter. After a little while you will be able to guesstimate the exposure settings and whether you will need to push the film to a higher ISO. In manual mode you’re just a slave to your light meter. Analog photography will break these shackles forever if you let it.

© Lilly Schwartz 2013

© Lilly Schwartz 2013

 

6. You get to feel like a mad scientist

Developing your own film involves playing with scissors in the dark, bottles full of weird chemicals, laboratory measuring jars, mad experiments with washing soda, coffee and vitamin C, and the admiring looks of visitors who find your negatives drying in the bathroom. And the best thing? You can also pay someone to do it for you if you’re too lazy for that sort of thing.

© Lilly Schwartz 2013

© Lilly Schwartz 2013

 

Comments

  • What a beautiful post Lilly! A post to print and frame on a wall! I shoot a lot digital but I enjoy the analog process so much that as I wrote in my blog a few weeks ago I went in a shop to get infos about a modern digital camera which I was thinking to be interesting and I went out with a 50 years old Zeiss Super Ikonta!
    robert

    • Lilly Schwartz

      Aww, thanks Robert! I also shoot a lot of digital, but that’s a matter of the price actually. I’d love to do something like shooting entirely analog for a year. I think it changes your perspective a lot. However, considering the always rising silver prices I think I’d need to find a sponsor for that 😉 At the moment I shoot 2 or 3 rolls of film per week and the rest digital.

Leave a Reply