Digital or film?

In my last post, I talked about the decision I had to make concerning whether or not to keep my Fujifilm X-H1 and continue shooting digital, or return the X-H1 and go completely 35mm film.

The Fujifilm X-H1 is gone.

As great as the Fujifilm was, and as much as I love the Fujifilm mirrorless digital system with it’s film simulation recipe capabilities and excellent color science, I couldn’t justify keeping it.

While I was travelling Route 66 on vacation with my wife to celebrate our 10th anniversary, she purchased a 50mm lens I was missing for my Minolta XE-7 film body and two rolls of film: Kodak Portra 400 and Ilford HP5+ 400 monochrome as an anniversary gift for me. I shot with both cameras – digital and film – during the trip. At first, the digital photographs looked great. Two months later, I finally received the negatives, scans, and contact sheets from the two rolls of film I shot with the Minolta. The film photographs blew the digital photographs away. The colors from the Portra 400 film were way more rich and vibrant than the film simulation recipe for Portra 400 I used in the X-H1. The monochrome film photos had much more detail and were way more pleasing than the photos I shot with the Ilford HP5 recipe on the digital Fujifilm.

After a lot of thought and consideration, I decided I could not continue to shoot digital and take it seriously after seeing the power of the 35mm film photographs. Will it be more expensive? Well, yes, in the long run, it might be. However, I will mitigate that considerably by shooting mainly monochrome film, processing the film and scanning the negatives myself. When I do shoot color, I will send it off for processing but to a lab with more reasonable prices than I used this last time around.

Of course, this decision to shoot only film changes my entire approach. The photographs you see on Hyperfocal are now a bit obsolete. I will leave them online for reference and archival purposes, but readers of this site should prepare yourselves for a whole different kind of photograph to begin appearing here in the very near future. I love the idea of processing my own film. It puts me more in touch with the creative process, is more hands-on, and will, I believe, make me a better photographer.

There are a few things I’ll need to acquire before I can start doing this, so you won’t see new photographs for awhile. I look forward to seeing those first negatives, scanning them in and seeing the first positive images, and I can’t wait to share them with all of you. The good ones, that is. 😉

For now, here is a little teaser – a selfie I shot in a mirror on the wall in one of the hotel rooms on my Minolta XE-7, with the 50mm lens and the roll of Kodak Portra 400 film my awesome wife gave to me.

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