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Shooting on film (but, why?)

Sometimes, doing something the hard way (and for significantly more time and money) is the way to go.  Probably.  

Long story short, film YouTube convinced me to try shooting film.  People were having fun, talked about how different the experience was versus shooting digitally, etc.  I was also really enjoying my instant photo printer (which I wrote about here), which kind of adds an old-school aesthetic to prints.  I did some basic research and found that buying a used film camera off eBay wouldn't actually be too expensive.  So I got one!  The first roll revealed the camera had some pretty significant light leaks: 


Even though it's unusable as an image, there's still something about the look that a digital camera and lots of post-processing would struggle to replicate.  

And I "get" film now.  

I get why people are still shooting film, even if it costs nearly $30 for 36 photos (cost of film, development, and scanning).  The experience and result is so fundamentally different. 

I think I've used disposable cameras before, so technically I'm not totally new to film.  Those can still be bought new today.  But I don't think anyone's making new film cameras (other than instant cameras, and a newly-announced/not-yet-released camera by Pentax/Ricoch).  

If you don't have a camera, you have to buy one online or in a thrift store, etc.  I opted for the online route, as none of my local stores had anything suitable (I found some massive vintage zooms lenses, but no camera bodies).  

Since I already have a Fujifilm XT-4, I thought I would get a Fujifilm analog camera, so I could use my same lenses.  And as the new Fujifilm cameras use the X mount, and the old Fujica cameras also use a lens mounting system called the X mount, I figured I could just buy a camera body and use a lens I already have.  

I also wanted a fully-mechanical camera body, and with some very basic research, decided on the STX-2.  I saw that the AX-3 was a fairly comparable option, being mostly mechanical, but found an STX-2 body for a very good price, and fully functional.  So I ordered it!  

And then I found that the X mount for modern digital cameras is actually not the same as the X mount for older Fujifilm cameras.  Terrible naming conventions.  

I went back to eBay and started looking for lenses that would be compatible with the camera.  I found a new-in-box 28mm f2.8 Toyo Optics lens, which was a very cool find.  A long-standing camera store was going out of business, and liquidated their entire stock online.  They had a few other very old, very random bits and ends.  


Think the warranty is still good?

I also found an AX-3 being sold "as-is".  But it had the 50mm lens I was trying to find, so I bought the whole thing, just for the lens.  That turned out to be a very, very good thing.  

The STX-2 body that I ordered never showed up.  The tracking did not update, and the seller ended up refunding me.  I think it got lost in the mail.  Still hasn't shown up.  

The AX-3 was a bit dinged up, but fully operational.  Other than the pretty bad light leaks.  I got a light seal foam kit and replaced the ancient, disintegrating foam, which hopefully fixed the issue.  I haven't gotten the test film back yet to see.  

So in the end, I have a single AX-3, plus a 28mm and a 50mm lens.  I think that's a fully functional film camera collection for my needs.  I hope I never get interested in medium or large format or any of the other film-related things that cost the big bucks.  

The very first shot of the very first roll of film.  Clearly there's some light exposure, and I don't think the focus is quite right.  But I like this image a lot. 

Another image from that first roll.  Light leak is very apparent, again!  

The rest of the photos are about the same.  Light leak, random subjects, missed focus about half the time.  

Shooting the roll was very fun though.  Even though I wasn't sure the camera was working (I could hear the shutter and it appeared the film was winding properly), I found myself taking a lot of time composing shots, considering shutter speed and aperture...  

Considering each shutter press was about a dollar, compared to my near-free shutter presses on my XT-4, of course I was going to take my time!  

I only got 10 actual images from this first roll, actually.  Half the roll was totally burnt out, probably due to the light leak.  So, 10 pictures for $30 is more like $3 per photo, which will add up quickly.  

Even so, I enjoyed the experience, and have since shot three more rolls of film.  Hopefully the light leak is fixed, hopefully the focus is right, hopefully I get some nice images. 


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