The permanence of film and the beauty of working with a mature camera technology


posted Tuesday, October 9, 2018 at 10:00 AM EST


Photographer Ben Horne is well-known for his large-format film photography. His videos often follow him out in the field as he works with his large-format gear and creates excellent nature photography. Other videos focus instead on film review or the film photography process. In his latest video, Horne discusses film photography in general and why he enjoys the process.

The video below is part of Horne’s My Photographic Journey series and the episode is somewhat in response to all the new mirrorless camera systems which have been announced, such as the Nikon Z series and the Canon EOS R. Horne’s large-format film camera may not have all the same bells and whistles as digital cameras, let alone new ones, but his gear is part of a very mature and established system, which does have its own advantages. Of course, he filmed the video below on a Sony A7S II and does use digital cameras, but his primary still work is done on film cameras. It’s not about digital versus film, but rather, there’s something nice about working with film for Horne.

Horne raises an interesting point when discussing a photo he captured ten years ago. On the trip, he had a 4 x 5 film camera and a then-state-of-the-art Canon 1DS DSLR. The 21-megapixel camera was one of the best digital cameras you could have. The photo in question was shot on film rather than the DSLR. Horne is satisfied with the decisions he made when composing and shooting the image, including his settings and choice of film. He thinks that if he had shot it on digital, even if he loved the shot at the time, he might not be able to help but wonder if it’d have been even better with today’s digital cameras. There’s something permanent about a film shot, it can’t have been done with “better” technology. Speaking from personal experience, some of my favorite older images were shot on 12-megapixel cameras and sometimes I wonder if they’d be better had I captured them with one of my current cameras. Shooting with a digital camera has left a little bit of doubt in my mind about the longevity and quality of an image file.

(Via Ben Horne