Getting Started with 35mm

Last week I acquired — as a gift for my work as DP on a short film for a friend of a friend — an old Minolta 35mm film camera. Cool? I think yes. Completion of my hipster transformation along with my fountain pen hobby, somewhat unreasonable coffee consumption, and beard? Probably also yes. But no matter; I have new pictures to share!

So of course the first thing I did was spend lots of time on YouTube figuring out how such a relic operates. Then the next day I went out and got some film from Wal-Mart (FujiFilm Superia X-tra 400) and went out with my sisters (a.k.a.: resident models/guinea pigs) to shoot off some test images, then filled the roll the next morning with some random things around my house that look cool in the morning light. Here are some of those photos:

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I also took my Canon T3i with me and mirrored the settings for many of the shots to see the difference between the film and digital images — and to cheat and check my exposure on the display…

Before editing, film just has a much different and somehow more tangible feel to it (cliche, I know). I finally understand why people rave about this format and why I’ve been spending so much time editing my digital photos to look like film in some form or another. (VSCO is a great app for that by the way.)

There's just something about film. Minolta SRT 101 (right) vs Canon T3i (left). Same settings on both cameras. #35mm #film #nofilters

A post shared by Jonathan Satchell (@jssatchell) on

I also found that some shots which were somewhat under-exposed on the digital image came out well exposed on the film which I thought was interesting. I’m not sure if this is a factor of the dynamic range of 35mm or something in the way the photos were developed/scanned at Wolf Camera, but it was a pleasant surprise.

So I’ll be having fun with this new medium in the future I’m sure. Keep an eye on the Photography page because I cycle new photos in from time to time and these 35mm stills will be working their way into the mix.

Stay tuned because I’ve got some professional and personal video projects coming out very soon! (Like this one.)

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