Tim Coulson: film vs. digital

oh its been all over the internets.


debating the end of film.. why digital is better.

who cares really?

i shoot film and love it.

i show lots of digital here that I love.

shoot what you love and don’t worry about what others shoot.

what and how you shoot is ultimately a very personal choice.

i shoot film because of the high satisfaction i get from every frame. how it looks. the richness and depth of luminosity i see in my film. because i love the process.  the old cameras, the choice of films. because i hate sitting in front of my computer processing images.  because the images mean more to me.  and because ultimately, shooting film is FUN for me.

and im always going to choose what is the most FUN and SATISFYING and REWARDING to shoot and i hope you do too.. whether that be digital or film.


we have a special treat.

one of our favorite family photographers from Australia

who usually is a digital shooter but who

shot film on his recent trip with his cute as a button wife, Kesh,

and their little boy Roo.

This is why we love Tim Coulson. (digital or film although im slightly prejudiced towards this new film version).

Canon eos 3 with fuji 400h, kodak portra 400, and ilford hp5.

842COULSON-R7-05 842COULSON-R4-21 copy 842COULSON-R7-21 842COULSON-R1-23 copy 842COULSON-R1-09 copy 842COULSON-R6-33 842COULSON-R7-14 842COULSON-R7-09 842COULSON-R4-33 copy 842COULSON-R7-06 842COULSON-R7-03 842COULSON-R4-23 copy 842COULSON-R6-18 842COULSON-R6-15 842COULSON-R6-11 842COULSON-R6-10 842COULSON-R7-08 copy 842COULSON-R6-09 842COULSON-R6-08 842COULSON-R6-06 842COULSON-R6-03 842COULSON-R6-02 842COULSON-R5-35 842COULSON-R5-31 842COULSON-R5-27 842COULSON-R5-26 842COULSON-R4-02 842COULSON-R3-35 842COULSON-R3-31 842COULSON-R3-27 842COULSON-R3-25 842COULSON-R3-15 842COULSON-R3-06 copy 842COULSON-R3-11 842COULSON-R3-10 842COULSON-R3-08 842COULSON-R3-05 842COULSON-R3-03 842COULSON-R3-01 842COULSON-R5-25 842COULSON-R5-24 842COULSON-R5-20 842COULSON-R5-19 842COULSON-R5-18 842COULSON-R5-16 842COULSON-R5-04 842COULSON-R4-28 842COULSON-R4-14 842COULSON-R4-13 842COULSON-R4-11 842COULSON-R4-04 842COULSON-R4-03 842COULSON-R3-30 842COULSON-R3-29 842COULSON-R2-32 842COULSON-R2-11 842COULSON-R2-03 842COULSON-R1-33 842COULSON-R1-27 842COULSON-R1-21 842COULSON-R2-26 842COULSON-R2-25 842COULSON-R1-15 842COULSON-R2-18 842COULSON-R2-13 842COULSON-R1-20 842COULSON-R1-10 842COULSON-R1-03

Tim Coulson is just so inspiring:

“I shot film on this trip, almost exclusively. It’s brand new to me. Honestly, it’s something I’ve always wanted to do but have lacked confidence. Kesh bought me an EOS 3 for my birthday last year and it got stolen when our home was broken into. We bit the bullet and bought another right before our trip. With no real idea what I was doing, I shot our way across Europe. I’m so glad I did. The images in this post mean more to me than if I’d shot them digitally. I shoot differently with film. I shoot more slowly. And for me, slowing down is a really good thing.”

and in the spirit of advertising.. which is really what all those other digital vs. film blogposts are…

we are happy to show you how to easily and cheaply make the leap from digital to film.
its easy to do…

1.  Buy a film camera —  if you are a nikon shooter, buy a f100 for cheap on ebay or keh.com, use your existing lens and buy some 35mm film, if you are canon, get a eos 3 for cheap, and do the same.

2.  we recommend jonathan canlas’s book “how to shoot film” available on amazon.

3.  Buy Film from B+ H.  Our favorite 35mm films (click on them for links):

Kodak Portra-800 135-36 Professional Color Print Film (ISO-800) , Kodak 135-36 35mm Ektar 100 Color Negative Film (36 Exposure) ,Fujifilm Pro 400H 135-36 Fujicolor Professional Color Negative (Print) Film (ISO 400)

4.  Shoot it and send it to a labIndie Film, Richard Photo Lab, or FIND lab or RDFL in Australia are favorites.

go for it. we want to see when you do.

And on the other side, if you are digital shooter but want some tricks to get your digital looking more film like… we recommend Totally Rad’s replichrome actions.

because everyone can agree… images looking more film like is good.

stay tuned for our regular weekly compilation post tomorrow!


AND we are giving away jonathan canlas’s book “how to shoot film”

1. just share this post (handy fb share button up there.. just hit “like”)

2. and leave us a comment telling us.. are you digital or film?  And why?


  • Monica Lau says:

    Mostly film! Because it’s always a fun surprise to see what turns out (magic!) and because it reminds me of being a little girl playing in my dad’s old darkroom.

  • Lukasz Nowak says:

    I’m film only now. It makes be better photographer since I have to concentrate on what I shoot and how with this limited number of shots. This year in May I took for the Tuscany trip both cameras – digital and analog and I never showed noone those digital shots because I liked analog photos more. Here you can find some shots from that trip: http://www.fotoluno.pl/blog/toskania/ This Summer for my vacation I took only the analog with couple of films. I planned preciselly what film to use for what conditions and purpose. I used all 9 films. Some of them are already processed while some are still in processing. I love to wait and see the results. It makes that strange feeling if shots are good or not… And where the result is good it makes me happy! Film is not dead!

  • Wendy says:

    oh and i’m just going to say it here.. i love Kesh’s style! and her eyebrows. such a beauty.

  • Helen Henry says:

    Shared and fingers crossed as I’d love a copy of that book! I shoot digital these days for convenience and ability to quickly edit in my own style. I did however learn photography with film back in the late 90’s at art college but have not picked up a roll of film for nearly 7 years, since I’ve been digital. I’ve been desperate to pick it up again as I still have my old film cameras including a great big chunky Mamiya RB67! I miss them

  • Jody Ryan says:

    I learnt on film but have been digital for the past few years. I’m so going to try film again xx I just love it. Fabulous post xxx Thanks for sharing Tim xxx

  • I’m mostly shooting digital, but I shoot one film per month with my dad’s Minolta as a personal project. I reserve this one film for special moments and for travels and pressing down the shutter always feels so special. I also bought a Hasselblad together with my dad but we’re still in the process of figuring things out.

    *shared the post on FB as well*

  • Kasia Zmijewska says:

    I just tried few rolls with an old f50 and loved it!!! I wish I had shot film on our European holiday like Tom did, we have been back for more then a month now and I still haven’t finished editing my photos:) ps we also live in Australia and also went to Rome and Paris like Tom and his family

  • joanna says:

    Shoot digital but would like to grab my film camera out and give it a try.
    Would love this book.

  • Abby says:

    love shooting film. it changes the way i shoot, the outcome and the process. big heart surrounding it all 🙂

  • Edyta says:

    Digital at this moment but will try film again for sure. Have to find my old camera first 🙂

  • Nicole says:

    Both! I am really loving learning film right now, but definitely still feel the need to shoot digital too. Starting to feel slightly obsessed with all things film though!!!

  • i love film and digital. i find there is a purpose in both for each artist out there. i would hate to ever see either medium go away. i am grateful to a post you did early this year/late last year? which encouraged me to get out an old canon film camera and give it a try. i so enjoy shooting film when i do but i just find digital to suit my needs best at this point in my life and photography journey. i could go on and on about what i love about Both! great post..awesome images.

  • Heather says:

    Digital but trying out film here and there. I’m still a bit scared of it!

  • I started in film, switched to canon 7d, and recently switched back to film (canon rebel 2000).
    I’m a perfectionist, and when shooting digital, I directed all aspects of a shoot. Then spent a lot of time in photoshop. I switched back to film as a way of simplifying. It feels more ‘real’, and when I look at the end result in the photos, it’s the imperfections that I love the most.

  • Christi says:

    I am mainly digital but I have just begun to dabble in film. I’m loving it, but really clueless as to what I’m doing.

  • Kim says:

    I am really enjoying the renaissance film has brought to me this year… It is amazing the way it slows things down so that almost every shot is a keeper, and magical when the scans come back!

  • Maren says:

    I started out in photography just before digital came into vogue. I stopped shooting film because it was so expensive and I couldn’t compete with the digital photographers on pricing. I’ve hung onto my old 35mm and medium format cameras and have some expired film in the fridge waiting to experiment with again. I think now is the time…..

  • phyllis says:

    I was trained on film in the 1990’s and (obviously!) shot all film then, then things went digital and at first I could not stand to shoot digital! I have slowly come around to digital, and use it all of the time…. But I still use my trusty film cameras too, especially for family or really special stuff…. but I find myself doing ‘back up” with digital…. Really now I love both for different reasons!

  • Nicole says:

    I shoot both. Black and white film was my first love, I love the look of film. There are some times that digital is very handy though. So I use whichever fits my needs at the time.

  • Carina says:

    I shoot digital, but lately, more than ever, i want to try film. I guess the results of film are more “romantic”, if i can say that.

  • Rebecca Siewert says:

    I shoot film because it’s what I’ve always done, I’m confident in it. I never made the switch to digital. I am slowly incorporating some digital into my personal work because it’s convenient. But I personally think nothing with replicate the romantic beauty of film. I’m obsessed with it and always will be.

  • Alexxus says:

    i LOOOOOVE the idea of film, but right now i’m focusing on just honing my skills with digital. 🙂

  • I’ve always shot with digital just because that’s what I’ve had, but I am dying to start shooting some film. I just need to take a leap of faith and save up the money for the film camera. You just can’t properly replicate the dreamy beauty of film with your digital!

  • Anna Peters says:

    I shoot both! And I love your attitude about it all :). However, film is integral to my work as a photographer, and at my core what I love to shoot. It makes me fall in love with imagery all over again every time I get scans. Nothing like it. It’s visceral, moving, and gracefully imperfect.

  • I am a digital girl who flirts with film. I want to do more than flirt though so I need this book:)

  • Nikki B. says:

    Right now I am shooting film. I just love the way I think about every shot before I take it and I don’t rush. It’s so relaxing for me that way, almost soothing, makes me not have a care in the world. That’s how shooting film makes me feel. I love the anticipation of waiting for scans and then when I do get them back not having to sit at my computer for hours and edit photos. Film helps keep me sane and expands my photographic and artistic eye even further. Its just simply, fabulous.

  • toni raper says:

    each time i shoot digitally, the files leave me feeling dead inside. A piece of my heart crashes & burns. It’s too sterile, too perfect for me. My soul blossoms when I feast my eyes on a film image, so textural and alive, it ‘feels’ real. To be honest, film has breathed a life into these shots of Tim’s, they just wouldn’t have the same charm if shot digitally. Im so happy he embraced film!

  • Melissa says:

    Started with B&W film struggled with it then years later picked up digital and loved it right away it was better for my learning process I guess having the ability to see and reshoot right away. This post however makes me a little sad I just sold my old f5 maybe I was too hasty!

  • Lara says:

    I’m a hybrid, technically, but I sway more towards digital because I don’t trust that I’ve got those settings right and really want to capture the moment, rather than worry that I’ve loaded the film incorrectly or have incorrectly exposed.

    I love film more, though 🙂

  • film. I’ve been shooting digital but just got a Hasselblad and will be shooting film again although it feels like starting over.

    I own a huge collection of photography purchased at estate sales…the snapshots, slides and memories of people long gone that has a timelessness to it. a depth. I hope my work is worthy of collecting one day.

  • corrie says:

    i currently shoot digital for convenience and instant gratification but i do love the look of film and would love to learn to shoot with it 🙂

  • Laura says:

    I am shooting exclusively digital at this point, although I am continually drawn to older cameras and film – absolutely love the look of film – nothing compares. Have come close to picking up a film camera, but always hesitate – have just been too intimidated to make the leap I think…

  • Film!! My brain works so much better when I shoot it. I’m not much for all the editing time with digital, and I’m not that great at it anyway. 😉

    • wendy says:

      im right with you emily. film is much simpler for me. less options, less controls and its easier for me. im not a great digital editor either and don’t feel like spending the time in front of the computer.

  • betsie says:

    It’s always been all about film for me – it makes me a better photographer, forces me to really be in the moment, and it makes me care about each shot, and that’s priceless… although… film does come at a price $$$, so I’m feeling this strong attraction towards digital and want to explore what it has to offer. I guess it’s all about balance for me, being fairly indecisive, I want the best of both worlds!

  • Christine b says:

    I love digital because it is all I know. I am sure I would love film too if I had a film camera : ) I just love photographs : )

  • Talia says:

    Instant film is the best. I love the instant gratification I get to hold it in my hand and watch it develop. It’s also nice to have it already “printed”

  • Ashley says:

    I’m both! Film has become way to expensive for me to shoot it exclusively but it’s my favorite. After all, back in the day, that was all there way: film SLRs. War scenes, romances, birthdays—everything really, was captured in film. The best photographers in the last century (and still today!) most likely shot an SLR with a 50mm lens or a TLR. The process of making a picture was hands-on!

    I shoot digital because it’s instant gratification. You shoot, you edit and done! It gives you the freedom to shoot hundreds of frames and later decide what to keep and send to print.

  • Meredith says:

    I have a Canon 1V which is wonderful but I’m currently more of a digital shooter. Film is so expensive to buy and process and I can’t afford it right now, as I’m still in the beginning stages of my business. But also, I prefer the digital look for myself. I love being able to take a RAW image and edit it however I choose. If I hate the edit two years down the road, I can go back and reedit. I love the crispness of digital and the bright colors. I shared the post. 🙂

  • Just came across this in a random google search….such a lovely collection of images =)

    Long Live Film!

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