Shooting Manual with 35mm Film

Marlborough Sounds, NZ

My father-in-law, Ross Pattern, has recently lent me his old 35mm Film Camera, a Cosina CT1G. The camera is currently matched with a Pentax 50mm 1.7 lens. The camera is in almost pristine condition, apart from a crack along the prism housing, which has been expertly glued together. The mechanics and light meter all work fine. To be honest, there are few reasons why it should not work as it is fully manual. There is really very little to go wrong with the beast, and the only electrical part is the light meter. There is a good reason my father-in-law purchased a fully manual camera, the Cosina was to accompany him on a trip to Antartica, where it was used for slide photography (and produced some wonderful images).

Bookshop, Blenheim

The Experience

Firstly, let me talk about the cost of using film. The roll of Fujifilm (200ISO) cost me $12, and the processing $17. I am happy with 6 of the 36 images I captured. This hit rate will improve, as I have learned some of the cameras limitations. However, using film is expensive. My current thinking is that I will stick to shooting landscapes, letterboxes, and family when using this camera. Alternatively, I may need to learn how to develop my own film.

Both the focus and the settings are manual, and remember, you lose the option of changing the ISO when using film! Capturing the ‘decisive moment’ eluded me, and most of the time a practised with my ever-patient family. On the street, I mainly focused on Still Life images.

I’m getting a ‘thing’ for letterboxes!

The Look

This is why film is fantastic. It looks great, even the bad shots have some character.

What Next

I have been inundated with questions on whether Pagespics is to turn it’s back on digital and go fully analogue. Let me put this dog to rest and say that I remain committed to digital, but that the two formats can co-exist in harmony. Digital is likely to remain a favourite for Street, Documentary and Commercial work as it is so much cheaper. Film will remain a quiet sideline passion.

Me! (Photo credit: Taeko Page)

The Cosina CT1G. The Specs…

This bit bores most people, so feel free to google something else. However, it you do want to know about this camera then…

  • Fully manual (apart from a light meter)
  • Fastest Shutter speed 1/1000 sec
  • Made in Japan (1980’s)
  • K Mount (you can attach any Pentax lens)
  • Plastic build, though quite robust
  • Dirt cheap – I’ve seen them going for as little as $20.

That all Folks!

But before I go, a little of what else has been going on. My website is still being revamped – but just like the UK, parts of it are opening up. Just like NZ, this site is Covid free so go wild and explore. I will be making business cards up this week in a further attempt to drum up some more professional work. Over at the Street Photographers Community (SPC), I have published an interview with the very talented Angelo Gifford, who is a master of shape and light. The interview can be viewed here. If you love Street Photography, we would love you to join our community @ Last week I reported that I had been in a slump – all I can say is that I am working on it! Don’t forget. you can support pagespics through the ‘buy me a coffee’ app, which I have linked to at the end of this page.

Take care and keep clicking, Chris

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One Comment on “Shooting Manual with 35mm Film

  1. Gotta love K-mount lenses. Film is quite expensive these days though I’m surprised by the cost of Fuji’s 200-speed films in your area. Usually, C200 can be had for about $4 USD when it’s not on sale. I’d do some shopping around to see if you can find a better deal. As for development. I worked in a darkroom in college and taught myself to develop film in my parent’s bathroom before that. I can’t say I’ve ever done color or slide film, but black and white film is pretty easy to do since you don’t have to really worry about temperatures as long as you are consistent. It’s also pretty affordable compared to color film.

    I really hope you keep shooting film. I know it’s expensive but considering you’re shooting all manual already and your shots — at least the six of them you were happy with anyway — aren’t bad at all. If you’re looking to branch out to other film stocks, I’ve got a few reviews on my blog that you might find helpful.

    One piece of advice you might already be aware of is that negative film tends to handle overexposure a lot better than underexposure. Might be hard to wrap your head around since the complete opposite is true of digital, but it’s a tip that’s saved me whole rolls of film.

    Best wishes and stay safe out there – Tobias


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