The Magic Frame: What’s In The Bag? Part Two



This is part two of the “What’s In The Bag?” series.

Yes, I am one of those dinosaurs who still shoots film. When I shoot film, I shoot in black and white, and I really enjoy it.

The question that may well be asked, is why? Why do I shoot in black and white film, when I can go out, shoot in colour using digital and convert it to black & white using Photoshop or Topaz or Nik or DXO Film Pack or any other filter that exists in the market.

There are several reasons. One, is that I started in B&W film. I like the feel of loading the camera. I used to process my own film, and intend to set up my own studio one day to process B&W.

I like the romance of film. I like to look at a scene, watch the play of light and shadow, and then choose the appropriate filter to screw onto the lens barrel.

There is a discipline in this that is quite different from shooting digitally. For one, there is no instant review mechanism. You have to look carefully at a scene, to look at the light and shadow; to imagine how this will look when converted to a grey scale and then shoot. You have to be careful about exposure. Processing film is expensive these days, and there are not too many people who do it. So, you have to compose well, expose well.

I love the feel of the film, and the grain on the print. The scratches that you sometimes get are randomised, as nature intended. Quite different from the simulated grain, scratches and speckles in a third party software.

For those who are unfamiliar with this area of photography, the filters that I use in B&W film are used to enhance contrast, or reduce it.

In short, it is exciting and full of fun.

What I use, is my Nikon F75, and I am extremely unhappy that Nikon India has stopped selling film cameras. However, this does open up possibilities, in that I will buy some old, old cameras.

I do use the 28-105 mm lens most of the time, and use the 70-300 mm lens as well.

In India, we get 100 ISO and 400 ISO film, and this is a tragedy. When I started, we used to get 50 ISO and 800 ISO. This is not available any more. We only get Kodak, and no other.

I carry 100 ISO and 400 ISO film.

Then, there is the basic set of filters – red, green, yellow, orange, ND and polarisers.

The camera is lighter than a digital camera, and this gives you some latitude insofar as hand held photography is concerned.

I do also carry a small point and shoot as a back up and this is not shown in the photo

However, shooting in film gives you discipline, romance, and  a sense of fun and excitement.

I can only encourage more people to rediscover film.


  1. Wow, I can so relate Raj – I started out in BW film photography as well, processing my own.
    I understand your thoughts and feelings here.
    Mmm, I have a film in the camera that I really should pick up and see how I go. I bet I’m very rusty!
    Thanks for this post 😃

      1. I haven’t for ages.. but I do want to so I understand. The digital is easy for us, but sad to lose a skill like the film camera. I’m going to dig it out 😀

      2. Yippee!! To get film, I have to travel 40 km! and, the only chap who does good processing, is about 20 km from where I live. I always managed to find one good lab 0 in Shanghai, Beijing, Singapore, Bombay and Delhi! The lab in Shanghai was better than the one in Singapore. Singapore is nice, bright, shiny and digital!

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