A. Cymone Arceo

A. Cymone Arceo
"1, 2, 3, Cheese!"
The Essay, Ms. Therese Jones

Photography is a subject I am always interested about because I like how people can preserve memories in a single picture. I was intrigued on why people preferred one camera over the other because for me, a camera is a camera, but after writing this essay, I can understand why people prefer a film camera or why they prefer a digital camera. Writing this piece was a fun experience for me because it helped me enhance my writing skills while learning more about an art that is often overlooked. I focused on how film cameras and digital cameras were different, but I also thought about how it is not bad to choose one over the other since both devices capture the moment in their own distinct way.

Excerpt from “1, 2, 3 Cheese!”

“One thing I love about film cameras is that they can naturally capture images in black and white. Seeing pictures in that colorless form adds to the “old-school” effect and given the fact that there is no room for error in using film cameras, whatever has been captured is completely authentic and raw.”

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1, 2, 3 Cheese!
by A. Cymone Arceo

It was a hot summer day when I was going through some of my dad’s old stuff, and I found his old film camera hidden in some of the boxes. After I found it, I didn’t want to put it down as I explored the world of photography. Taking pictures has always been captivating for me because it is a way of keeping memories. Images can transport you back to the time when you took the shot and make you feel a lot of emotions. With the camera quality of phones nowadays, capturing memories has never been easier, but using a camera is still my favorite, and it does not matter if it is a film camera or a digital camera even if there are numerous similarities and differences in the features, image quality, and the pictures taken using film cameras and digital cameras.

When looking at cameras, people usually choose a camera based on a brand without knowing how to use a camera properly. Using a camera is as simple as focusing on the subject then clicking the shutter button to capture the photo; however, there is more to know about cameras aside from point and shoot. Film cameras are commonly called 35mm cameras for this refers to the film roll the camera uses. These cameras have a manual focus, which means that the user has to adjust the lenses accordingly in order for the camera to focus on the subject. It takes patience to get the right focus, and since film cameras do not have a screen, you will only be able to see the focus through the viewfinder. Film cameras, as the name implies, store the pictures in film strips which are then developed later on into photographs. On the other hand, digital cameras store pictures in memory cards, and whatever has been stored can be viewed right away because digital cameras have a screen that film cameras do not have (Farace 29). Another useful feature that digital cameras have is that many cameras offer built-in filters, so once a picture has been taken, the photographer can adjust the brightness, exposure, and saturation. Despite having differences in technology, film and digital cameras are capable of taking high-quality images and it comes with different shooting modes such as sport, manual, and shutter priority to name a few. The shooting modes are useful as the camera adjusts to the shooting environment the photographer is in; therefore, the images captured are of better quality and it makes taking pictures easier.

Taking pictures using a film camera and a digital camera is relatively easy and similar, but they differ in the storage and post-processing of the pictures taken. Taking pictures on either camera requires focus so that the image can be taken clearly. Also, both cameras adjust to the environment the photographer is in, meaning that the cameras can adapt in order to produce the best quality image. However, film cameras, as the name implies, store the taken images in the film rolls and are then developed into the photographs that we keep in family albums. Developing the film is a lengthy process because the film strips have to be placed in a chemical bath in order for the image to appear (Langford 180). A darkroom is heavily utilized in the post-processing of film camera taken images, for Langford (185) states that the darkroom provides the optimal conditions in order for the proper exposure of the image to be printed on photo paper. This process is completely different from the post-processing of pictures taken on a digital camera. Since these cameras have memory cards, it is ideal to first transfer the photos onto a laptop, then these photos will be edited by the photographer. Photographers can now select which pictures are to be published or printed, and they have the freedom to enhance what they have captured. Unlike film cameras, the pictures taken using a digital camera can be deleted right away and replaced with another picture, which can be better than the first one. Whatever has been taken on a film camera will forever be kept on the film roll, and it is waiting to be developed with the rest of the images on the roll, but pictures taken on digital cameras can be lost forever.

One thing I love about film cameras is that they can naturally capture images in black and white. Seeing pictures in that colorless form adds to the “old-school” effect, and given the fact that there is no room for error in using film cameras, whatever has been captured is completely authentic and raw. Many think that since film cameras are old and outdated, low-quality images will be produced. It is considered to be of low quality because many photographers want to enhance what they have captured instead of accepting already high-quality photographs in front of them. Digital cameras produce high quality colored images for entry digital cameras are of high resolution, thus more detail is captured in the images. Furthermore, digital cameras are more sensitive to light and other factors, thus, they can detect what the subject is and they also have a wider range for capturing images so more elements can fit in the frame. Both cameras highlight the exposure, for this is what gives color or life to the photograph, but digital cameras sometimes add grain to the photos, which means that there is a technical issue due to heat or overuse of the camera. Film cameras naturally add grain to the photos because the grain comes from the film; therefore, it gives the antique vibe to the photo.

Film and digital cameras give quality images hence the numerous similarities and differences between the two devices. Grainy images can be produced, black and white images can be made, and colorful pictures can be displayed of the same quality with both cameras. In terms of functionality, it is easier to operate a digital camera because the pictures can be viewed right away after they have been taken unlike with film cameras, where it is important to expend the film roll first before looking at the pictures. I remember developing my first film roll and the results were better than I expected because the pictures displayed more emotion than I intended them to. The lighting was correct, the exposure was balanced, and this indicated that my work had paid off. I felt better knowing that these developments were as raw as they could be. When I use digital cameras, I overthink when it comes to editing, for I want all the elements to turn out well with each other but instead, the picture comes out worse. Using cameras, especially a film camera, has taught me to trust my instincts because, in the end, I will be able to see that following my heart yields unexpected results.


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