30 Crazy-Cool Pictures Taken With Film Cameras

Despite the popularity of digital cameras and smartphones, film photography is still going strong. Photos taken on film cameras have a different look and feel, which can be difficult to imitate with digital photos. Even if you have excellent presets or filters, it’s hard to get that imperfect-yet-perfect look so common among film photos.

Film photography is more than an aesthetic choice, though. It’s an entirely different approach to photography. Instead of taking thousands of photos, you have a limited number to work with. Instead of getting instant feedback, you have to wait for your photos to develop. Instead of deleting your mistakes, you get physical proof of them.

Film photography is also more unpredictable and serendipitous. Especially if you’re working with old cameras or expired film, you’ll often get strange or surprising photos, which can be delightful. Every decision you make – the camera, the film, the development process – affects the end result in ways you might not expect. Each shot you take is truly unique.

Camera: Kodak Retina S1
José Manuel Ríos Valiente – Crossover
José Manuel Ríos Valiente Santuario Nacional de Cristo-Rei, Lisbon

While you can find photographers who use film 100% of the time, most photographers just dip into it occasionally for fun. When you don’t use film often, the whole process can be exciting. It’s like unwrapping a gift every time you develop your photos.

Film cameras can also be fun to collect and play around with. You can buy vintage cameras on sites like eBay or Etsy, or get a new one on Amazon. Secondhand stores and antique shops sometimes have old film cameras, too. Each camera has a history and quirks that affect how your photos look, so it might be worthwhile to get more than one.

Whatever camera you choose (unless it’s a rare antique), it’ll likely be cheaper than a DSLR. Your biggest cost won’t be the camera, but the film. Buying and developing film, as well as scanning your photos, can get expensive quickly. Hence, each photo becomes precious with film photography.

Camera: Zenit ET with Industar 50-2 Lens
Dimka Sokolov – this is russia
Zenit ET Industar 50-2

Besides your camera, the film you choose will definitely influence how your photos look. In other words, it’s important to choose a film that fits your photography style. Otherwise, you might be disappointed by your photos, even if they have good lighting and composition.

To find a good match between your style and a film type, try taking this online quiz. Then, browse photos taken with the film you’re considering. Keep in mind that your camera and lens, as well as your shooting conditions, will influence your film, too. In different situations, you’ll get different results from the same film.

Visit Wikipedia for a near-complete list of film types, or check out one of these shorter lists of films that photographers love.

PetaPixel – The Top 10 Camera Films Preferred by Photographers

FilterGrade – The Top 10 Color Negative 35mm Film Stocks

SLR Lounge – 5 Rolls of Film That Should Be On Your Analog Camera’s Bucket List

Cool Pictures Taken with Film Cameras

Ready to be inspired? Here are some great examples of why film photography is so popular. We’ve included the camera and film used for each photo, since those have a big impact on the final image. Also, at the very end, you’ll see some photos taken with expired film. For more details on using expired film, read this fantastic article from Popular Photography.

Camera: Minolta 7si
Film: CineStill 800T
AllFilmEverything – Untitled
smartphone taking picture

Camera: Contax t2
Film: Lomo Color 100
mathias is still around – Untitled
stuttgart giant swing

Camera: Ricoh TF500
Film: Lomo Color Negative 400
Doctor Popular – Balloon Party
Balloon Party

Camera: Rollei 35SE
Film: Ilford Delta 400
Ric Capucho – Hütten – Ilford Delta 400 film
Ric Capucho - Hütten - Ilford Delta 400 film

Camera: Leica M6 with Summicron 50mm Lens
Film: Ilford XP2
Ric Capucho – Lisbon – Ilford XP2
Ric Capucho - Lisbon - Ilford XP2

Camera: Leica M6 with Summicron Lens
Film: Ilford XP2
Ric Capucho – Zug – Ilford XP2
Ric Capucho - Zug - Ilford XP2

Camera: Contax T2
Film: Ilford XP2
Ric Capucho – Hütten – Ilford XP2
Ric Capucho - Hütten - Ilford XP2

Camera: Canon FTb
Film: Kodak Royal Gold 400
pmvarsa – Rose and Candle
Rose and Candle

Camera: Canon FTb with broken f/1.4 50mm Lens
Film: Kodak Gold 200
pmvarsa – Girabaldi Park 19: Mimulus and Black Tusk Lakes
Girabaldi Park 19: Mimulus and Black Tusk Lakes

Camera: Leica M6 with Summicron 50mm
Film: Kodak BW400CN
Ric Capucho – Hütten – Kodak BW400CN
Ric Capucho - Hütten - Kodak BW400CN

Camera: Nikon FE with Nikon Series E 1.8/50 Lens
Film: Kodak Ektar 100
melquiades1898 – Untitled
stacked rocks

Camera: Contax G1 with Carl Zeiss Biogon 2.8/28 Lens
Film: Kodak Portra 160
melquiades1898 – Untitled
baltic sea

Camera: Lomography Fisheye No. 2
Kevin Dooley – Summer vacation afternoon nap
Kevin Dooley - Summer vacation afternoon nap

Camera: Ricoh KR 10 super
Film: Fujifilm 100
static view – Baum bei Nacht mit Lichtstrahlen
static view - Baum bei Nacht mit Lichtstrahlen

Camera & Film: Fuji single-use camera
Roman Königshofer – catching a wave
Roman Königshofer - catching a wave

Camera: Polaroid Land Camera Automatic 230 with Polaroid 114mm f/8.8 Lens
Film: Fuji Fujiroid FP-100C (peel-apart)
Ben Seidelman – Mirror ending
Ben Seidelman polaroid

Camera & Film: Polaroid
Daniel Gonzalez Fuster – stage
Daniel Gonzalez Fuster sunflowers

Camera & Film: Polaroid
Daniel Gonzalez Fuster – through my window 351
Daniel Gonzalez Fuster polaroid

Camera & Film: Polaroid Spectra
Lauren Treece – Untitled
Lauren Treece constellation

Camera: 45-year-old Practica SLR
Film: Agfa Vista 400, exposed as 100 ASA film
Ralph – Disappearing into a red scaled mist
Disappearing into a red scaled mist

Camera: Polaroid Spectra with expired film
Lauren Treece – Untitled
Lauren Treece

Camera: Praktica IV with Helios 44-2 58mm Lens
Film: Agfacolor 200 (expired)
Marketa – (New) Friends
Marketa mist Agfacolor

Camera: LOMO Smena 8m with LOMO T-43 Lens
Film: Konica Minolta VX Super 200 (expired)
Marketa – One More Morning – I Can’t Get Enough Of It
Marketa Konica Minolta VX Super 200

Camera: Praktica IV with Carenar 45mm Lens
Film: Agfacolor 200 (expired)
Marketa – Swan Symphony I
Marketa - Swans

Camera: Praktica IV with Carenar 45mm Lens.
Film: Agfacolor 200 (expired)
Marketa – Swan Symphony II
Marketa - Swans

Camera: Lomo Smena 8m with Lomo T-43 40mm Lens
Film: Konica Minolta VX Super 200/12 (expired)
Marketa – Incredible Sunrise II
Marketa - Incredible Sunrise II

Camera: Polaroid 250 Land Camera
Film: Polaroid 669 (expired)
Andrew Bartram – By Benwick #3, Fenland October 2014
Andrew Bartram - Benwick Fenland

Camera: Lomo Smena 8m with Lomo T-43 40mm Lens
Film: Konica Minolta Super 200 (expired)
Marketa – Cerulean
lomo lo-fi

aurora

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