Film Photography with a Digital Camera

Film photography has got expensive in recent months. The supply of film is struggling to meet the demands of photographers. If you can find a supply then the cost of rolls of film can be quite high.

A few years ago I came across an idea of how to shoot like film, but with a digital camera. Looking back on this now I think it’s a great exercise/project to try out. I’ve added in some of my own ideas too.

Firstly, you don’t need the newest and best digital camera out there. You can use one you have put away in the cupboard, one you have may be replaced, but you are hanging on to the old one for what ever reason.

Also find a small memory card, ones you now consider too small to use, or may be one that came with the camera. If it can only hold 36-40 images then that is perfect for this project. The higher resolution you use, or may be set your camera to RAW, then of course that reduces the number of images you can take.

Like a film camera you might not take all of the images in one session, it’s ok to put it to one side in between shooting.

Here are the basic rules:

  1. Select a fixed ISO setting (film speed).
  2. Turn off image preview after taking a photo.
  3. Decide on what you wish to also restrict in terms of aids depending on the camera. (Autofocus, metering and exposure control etc).
  4. Do not download your images until you have taken at least 36 images and delay downloading them for 2-3 days after taking the last image.
  5. Try to resist the temptation of editing the downloaded images.

Enjoy the project, get to know your old gear again if you haven’t used it for a few years. Learn to cope with limitations. Use the project to improve your own creativeness and composition, because you can’t ‘fix it in post’

Repeat the exercise as often as you wish…. after all it’s not costing you anything.

I got this idea or the basics of the idea from another photographer, I suspect they saw it elsewhere too. Share the idea on your own Substack, YouTube or where ever.

Time to get shooting, remember #therearenobadcameras

Taken with a Canon 20D – 8MP from 2004!