In another fit of impatience for my D800, I bought a Nikon F100 from eBay — y’know, to experiment with the full frame perspective, I told myself. Y’know, to experiment with film and broaden my artistic horizons, I told myself. The latter is the more reasonable excuse, but they’re all excuses. The upshot is, I had fun shooting a roll of film the other day for the first time since I bought a disposable camera in Brussels in 2004 — and I did *not* have fun shooting that disposable camera, so we’re actually talking 90s.
There was only one problem: I had a camera (and a partially broken lens that came with the camera — more on that some day, and some batteries,) but no film. So of course I fell down the rathole of reading film reviews, and trying to pick out a film to use with the camera sitting otherwise unused on my table, and there it sat for a week. Finally I was at walgreens and saw that not only did they develop film, but also that they sold some film — Kodak Ultramax 400 — behind the counter, so to get the experiment off the ground I grabbed the film, fumbled through loading it, and off I went.
Before I loaded the film I reminded myself to check the ISO setting, which of course I promptly forgot for the first four shots, yielding a couple of decent exposures and an overexposure.
One nice aspect of the F100 is that it’s a modern Nikon SLR — pretty much all of my muscle memory from using a D300 and D90 very directly translated to using the F100. Sure there are 20 some odd custom settings on the F100 and no menu screen to check them on, but the settings the used camera salesman left them on seemed innocuous. I will go back and review them later, but so far so good.
- The 28mm was a pretty nice field of view on the full frame camera, though I’ll have to pixel peep on the lens later to see how it really performs. The broken filter thread is annoying, but if I like the lens at all I’ll just get a filter to pop over it.
- The 50mm was also a *great* field of view on full frame, and I foresee using that a lot more on my D800 than I ever did on my D300.
- It feels like Walgreens chopped off the left edges of my pictures slightly; I’ll have to go back and review the negatives, but avoiding tight framing might be a habit to learn on film.
- Walgreens’ scans were also very low res, and their color was a little weird. In general, I’ll probably be looking for another photo processor besides Walgreens, and I’ve already heard independent good things about SF Photoworks — I’ll have to check them out.
- Breaking the habit of pulling the camera away from my face to check how the shot came out is going to be very difficult, but one that will probably ultimately help me take better digital pictures, too.
All in all, it was definitely a fun first experience, and I’ll definitely be shooting more film in the near future. I suppose I should plan a few projects to shoot with film, and I’ll probably want to carry a digital body on the same shoot, but so far I’m happy with my investment.
Should you shoot film? It probably depends, but I’m already leaning towards suggesting that any serious hobbyist photograph should at least give it a try (again.)