There is a bit of a trend on Instagram at the moment to shoot in 35mm film. So, I decided to dust off my old Canon AE-1 and take it for a spin. It’s a relic from the 80s but was the first of its kind with shutter priority automated exposure. So automated in fact that it is unable to work without a battery.
Of course the second part of shooting on film is scanning. I would use a high street service from Snappy Snaps in the West End of Glasgow. The service was fantastic and I was able to have my two rolls of Fuji Superia 200 processed and scanned onto CD in an hour. I had them scanned high resolution and two rolls came to about £18.
I have to say, I’m not sold on the return to film. Maybe if I took a bit more care, used a high-end scanning service, it would make some difference, but I could make out the grain in the film so I think the scanning itself was adequate. Large formats may give better results, but my rolls of colour positive 35mm didn’t pack much of a punch. More likely this was down to my subject choices.
I think I’ll persevere though. Instagram is a good place for them with its small size.
As a side note while in town, I decided to give Jessops a go with some old black and white negatives of my dad’s. A selection of photographs from the 40s/50s. Although Jessops couldn’t quite match a carrier plate to the awkward size of the larger format negs, they did a great job. Indeed they even managed to have them scanned in time so I could pick them up on my way back through town just over an hour later. For 20 scans Jessops charged around £12 and the slight crop didn’t have too negative an effect (pun intended). The results look great. I’ll have to try a comparable service to Snappy Snaps and see how they handle film processing and how quickly they can do it.
Conclusion on using film
Both services were fast and convenient, but I think I need to take more care when shooting to maximise results. Maybe its the fact that the camera and lens are nearly as old as me!
I’ll definitely continue with film, but I won’t be retiring any of my digital cameras any time soon.