Life is Imperfect . 111010

Medium Format Film


Because film is imperfect. Film is coated with a layer of chemical emulsion that can be easily scratched or finger-printed by human. Loading a roll of film requires human touch. Unloading a roll of film also requires human touch. In fact, the whole process of developing a roll of film, whether it’s by the lab or D.I.Y. requires human touch.

Unlike in digital, pixels are often perfect. Technology advances toward perfection. We have perfectly clean ISO6400 today. We also have super-sharp digital images, perfect white balance, and Photoshop to perfect our images further. Yet, so many software are trying to introduce “film flaws” back into digital photography via plug-ins, photo filters, etc. It’s ironic!

I love film because film is imperfect. It reminds me that life is imperfect. It reminds me to accept what I cannot change.

A friend in Facebook recently wrote: ” Life is not always a bed of roses. Will you allow your unhappiness to overwhelm you or will you try to find a ray of sunshine through the seemingly dark skies? It is all a matter of choice.”

My comment was, “To enjoy the fragrance, softness n beauty of roses, we need to accept the thorns too.”

What’s roses without thorns anyway? It creates depth of field. Hahaha…


4 thoughts

  1. “What’s roses without thorns anyway? It creates depth of field. Hahaha…”
    Very nicely said David !! Roses are not roses without thorns.

  2. david chua

    October 11, 2010

    Thanks, Robin.

  3. lawrence hiun

    December 9, 2010

    hi, david
    i love the way of your approach to photography.
    I started using FX 3 Yashica film camera back in 1984 and used film to take pictures. You are right to say film is imperfect but the white balance tolerance is high til at least 3 to 4 stops when we take the film to process or develop using the film processor.
    I hope one day all photographers go back to use film for taking picture but the film can be process digitally. I have experience using APS film using APS SLR camera and the result is much better than DSLR cameras of the APS-C sensor sized.
    One in awhile I do still take my film camera FM2 Nikon for a casual shots.
    This is my thought for the film photography.

  4. Thanks Lawrence.

    Exposure for negative films are generally tolerant over 3-4 stops, NOT white balance. For films, Daylight is the common film and Tungsten films can be bought from professional photo stores. Other than these, if you find other “white balance” films, they are even more niche, which are made for specific purposes, like X-Ray films, etc.

    Today, we can shoot “digital” films. What we do is send the films to a lab which process and scan them for you. You get back the real “RAW”:

    Do use your FX3 and FM2 at least once every few months. These are very good mechanical cameras which need to be “exercised” before any lubricant dries up and mechanical gears get jammed in them. They are relatively “cheap” to service and repair and can definitely last you a lifetime or more. When the D700 has depreciated to a dollar, the FM2 should still work and may even have a higher resale value. Hahaha…

    Shoot more film!