my film photography primer

my olympus OM2n purchased from

It’s only been about a year that I’ve been dabbling in film photography on and off. It didn’t take me long into that journey to realize, it’s not the faint of heart, nor, wallet. When you’ve been accustomed to firing off digital shots at will without consequence, nor care, its difficult to train yourself to consider the repurcussions of whimsy when shooting film.

the olympus om mount features some great lenses — here, 50mm f1.8

But that’s the true value in it, as many film photographers will tell you. It’s about slowing down. Considering the shot — the framing, the lighting, and the exposure triangle. Prior to shooting with the Olympus OM2n, I was digitial aperture-priority shooter, mainly because I didn’t want to fuss with changing ISO on digital. However, with film, that’s not a consideration (most of the time) either. The speed of the film determines your ISO, thus leaving you to focus on your shutter speed and aperture. Using the OM2n in manual is a joy, with the camera’s spot on light metering. I’ve learned a great deal about how aperture affects shutter and vice versa, to the point where it’s becoming somewhat intuitive, and I have to rely on the metering less and less.

wheaton college — shot on olympus 0m2n with kodak tri-x 400

Shooting film hasn’t been all roses, though. Basically, if you’re not developing the film yourself and scanning your negatives… shit gets expensive. For a true black and white development with scan on a CD, performed at a local camera shop, I was set back about $30 for 36 exposure of Kodak Tri-X. Overall, I was pleased with the results, but the scans I received were pretty low-res, about 1500px on the long edge @ 72 dots per inch. For web viewing, they’re just fine. But, for $30, the quality just wasn’t there. I am going to give a shot next. It’s cheaper, they provide higher-res scans, and people are generally pleased with their results.

Also, to keep down cost, I have shifted to shooting Ilford XP2 400.

I will be further documenting my film photography journey in this publication. Subscribe for futher updates.

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