Tag Archives: Canon

Adventures in 35mm Film 

Well it seems my journey down the path of slowing down and experimenting with 35mm film photography’s hit a speed bump.


As you may have read in a previous post, I bought a Canon 7N 35mm SLR camera. My hope was to slow down & think more about composition and framing, as well as working harder at using my photography for story-telling. The camera body got great reviews in a recent “retro” review on a photography blog I like & respect – The Phoblographer by Chris Gampat.

So I bought some good black and white film – Ilford Delta 100 – and proceeded gently down the path of exposing to celluloid. I was assured that my local London Drugs would be able to process the film, and for an additional couple of bucks digitize the images onto a CD for me. As a matter of fact – they sold me the film at a pretty decent price !

Having been to Emerald Lake recently with Pat, and having had the perfect conditions and venue, I gleefully put the camera through its paces. I worked the shutter at different speeds, made sure the onboard light meter was working, and validated that the aperture was opening and closing per normal. I didn’t quite get all 36 exposures. A few days later, I had an opportunity to finish the roll as we drove out to Drumheller. 

Excitedly, I took the exposed roll of film in. London Drugs  accepted the roll, but told me they didn’t do the processing themselves, so I’d have to wait a few days. OK – not an unreasonable deal. So I wait. And wait. And wait. Finally, I went in today only to be told they don’t process “true” black and white film ! So I have waited a week to see my photos and still have an undeveloped roll in my pocket. They DID suggest a camera store in Inglewood, whose website states they do indeed process black and white film – but they are closed on Mondays. Sigh… 

I guess I’m going to have to wait another day to see if they can soup my film. At this rate, I’m considering buying the supplies & chemicals and simply doing it myself ! So accept my apologies – I guess we’re going to have to wait just a little bit longer to see how my foray into film is going. 

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Slowing Down …


As you might recall, I bought a little Canon Canonet QL-19 rangefinder (pictured on the left) as an inexpensive attempt to start working with film. I know, I know – the whole world has gone digital. What the heck could I possibly be thinking ? Let me try to explain…

The truth of the matter is that modern cameras are built to help new photographers with “auto everything”, whether it’s shutter speed, aperture or ISO. Straight out of the box, they take darn decent photographs without any knowledge or forethought from the person behind the lense. Where is the creativity in that ? I first got into photography because it stoked the geek side of my brain – learning about new techniques – while engaging the less-developed creative side of my brain. 

Modern cameras, be they DSLR or Mirrorless varieties are able to shoot multiple frames per second, and many amateur photography blogs suggest new photographers set their cameras to do so, hoping to get that one “good” shot. I tried this method early on and my “success” rate was dismal. There had to be a better way. And there is – slowing down.

By slowing down, elements like composition, framing and story-telling emerge. Good advice includes “What story am I trying to tell ?”, and “What emotion will this photo evoke ?”. By forcing myself to manually meter the light, and spending more than a few minutes looking for the right angle, and even waiting for the right light, I hope to nurture the more creative side of my craft.

Sadly, the little Canonet suffered the same fate of most of its brethren – sticky shutter. I blew threw an entire roll of 24 exposures before I finally diagnosed the problem. I might tear it down – there’s plenty of instruction videos on YouTube, but in the long run it may not be worth the effort. Even if I do get the shutter working properly, I still can’t purchase batteries for the on-board light-meter. Containing mercury, that size & style of battery has long been discontinued. Pity, really…

But I’m a died-in-the-wool Canon fanboy. I have bought a number of Canon bodies, including the T3i, 60D, and my mirrorless M5. I carefully selected these bodies to grow with my skills. I got good advice about investing in glass rather than the latest & greatest bodies (still haven’t seen a need to go full frame yet !), so any body has to work with my Canon L-Series lenses. I worried that this would be a problem in returning to film. 

Then I read a review on The Phoblographer, written by Chris Gampat about the Canon EOS Élan 7N. It was one of the last semi-pro (or pro-sumer) film cameras before Canon switched to digital. A quick search on kijiji.com and lo & behold a student at ACAD had one for sale in good shape ! It’s the one pictured on the right in the above photo.

I’m going to start by shooting Black & White, hoping to learn more about contrast & texture. I’ll get the local London Drugs to develop them for me, and ask for digital copies. So if you see B&W photos on my Instagram feed, you’ll know what they were shot with. Wish me luck !

It’s Not What You Shoot…

Canon Canonette GL19, c. 1965

So I shoot Canon. Other people shoot Nikon. Still others shoot Sony, Pentax or Fujistu. At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter WHAT you shoot, so long as you are shooting ! The choice of camera for a photographer is a highly personal decision. It can be about the megapixels, or the sensor size, or even the ergonomics of the grip. For me it’s all about the colour.

My main camera body is a Canon DSLR – the EOS 60D. The Canonette pictured above is a little 35mm film camera I picked up for about $45. In a few short days, I will have saved my pennies to buy a mirrorless camera, the Canon EOS M3. I like the Canons because nothing matches their colour accuracy, rendering the most vibrant colours possible.

Once I started getting out of the “newbie” phase (and took my camera off “Auto”), I started to think about how best to invest in a photography system. Having upgraded to the 60D from an EOS T3i, I knew I had a camera body that would meet my growing skills. The best advice I got was to invest in good glass. The Canon L-Series lenses were pricey, but have been worth every darn penny. Best of all, with an inexpensive adapter, I can still use those lenses on my new EOS M3 !