It seems that age of analog – that is film – photography is over. Digital sensors and Photoshop killed creativity of most photographers. Photography, or rather digital imaging, became one of main tools for social networks communication. Writing is being replaced by picturing, or imaging as you wish, mainly with help of mobile phones. People turn on their mobile phones cameras and turn off their brains. Creativity in photography has been replaced with accidental photography. When you look at most of awarded pictures it is sometimes impossible to say why they were awarded. Definitely in many cases it was just an accident.
I prefer mechanical analog cameras, but I am aware at the same time, that from some budget level digital cameras produce higher quality images. So, where would digital camera be useful? It seems, that the only field where analog equipment can override digital one – staying within reasonable budget – is developing of creativity. Very good lens for medium format analog cameras like Mamiya RZ67, Mamiya 7 or Pentax 67 are still far cheaper than the same quality lens for digital DSLR cameras. And on top of that Velvia 50/10 ASA which usually saves huge amount of time wasted for Photoshop image manipulation. I don’t say, that with digital equipment it is impossible to produce creative images. It is possible and even easier in hands of really creative photographer. For creative photographer camera is a tool for expressing creative impulse, whatever it means.
But, if you want to improve and develop your creativity, I would say, that analog equipment is far more useful. Such pieces of equipment like high quality teleconverters and other stuff for digital equipment are rather expensive. However, the main reason, why analog stuff can teach you much more is time factor. You will not click so easily thousands of photos, because every photo taken by medium format analog camera has to be developed and scanned or printed before it is possible to estimate value of your performance. On top of that, you have to buy slide or negative film, which is roughly about £5 per 10 photos. For slide film the cost of development and scanning on high quality scanner is usually so high, that definitely you will think several times before you press shutter button even once. Development of one Velvia slide can cost about £10, which gives about £15 so far for 10 photos. With 10 possible photographs on one roll of 120 medium format film you can take with Mamiya RZ67 or Pentax 67 you will be forced to use your mind in process of creation.
Analog cameras teach patience, which is one of the most valuable ingredients in most of creative processes. This kind of equipment will let you understand why you take this photo and not the other one.
On my blog I will describe several most popular and at the same time excellent analog cameras I had in my hands: Graflex Speed Graphic, Hasselblad 500Cm, Pentax 67 and 6×7, Mamiya RB67 and Mamiya RZ67, Nikon F4/F4s.