Back to the future

Ric (Mamiya 7II, 80mm, Fuji Pro 400H film)

For the first time in over ten years, I don’t own a digital camera (apart from the one on my iPhone). I sold the last of my Canon 5D mk2/7D based kit about three weeks ago, and thus far, I haven’t missed it. I’m not anti-digital, I will eventually buy into a digital medium format system, probably Mamiya or Hasselblad, but I don’t need to for the time being. A few months ago I took the conscious decision to not take-on any more commercial work, weddings, etc so that I can concentrate on the various projects I have on the go at the moment. I’m shooting all of these projects on film.

River Neb (Mamiya 7II, 80mm, Fuji Pro 400H film)


  1. Well done Phil. This is a huge commitment. I applaud your work. I know that from past experience that you need a command of photographic technique. It’s not for the feint of heart. It requires having confidence in your ability, enough to shoot a small fortune in film to send of to a lab to further invest a small fortune in lab-work.

    Plus, you do it well.


  2. Phil, Well done and that is clearly something that will be keeping you that little bit different from the rest, as well as demonstrate to potential clients that you are master of your craft and not reliant on taking shots, and relying on the display at the back, or the computer/camera to do all the work for you. Continue flying the film flag, fella!


  3. Phil,

    I understand your reasoning behind leaving the digital world behind for medium format film. I shoot medium format myself and nothing beats the quality of a scanned 120 negative, except the newest digital medium format systems. I still use a collection of DSLRs for more of my commercial work, but I wish one day I can move away form it myself. When I can justify the cost of a 80 megapixel Mamiya, I’ll make the jump. On another note, I’d like to thank you for posting such wonderful photos and giving me a quality wordpress blog to read. You’ve inspired me to try and offer the same, so I have my new blog going live after the New Year.

    Thank you for keeping it real with film,



  4. I am glad to see what you can do with M7 on people. I’ve always used it for landscape and never (maybe once or twice) on people. It’s got a very pleasant bokeh (nothng extreme like the ones from things like Noctilux) and negative film seems to be the best match. I have to say the colour from the scans you did is great.


  5. Mickld

    I’ll add my praise for your blog too – I’ve been following for a while now. Great stuff. I’ve been shooting an M645 and holga for about a year now and enjoying every minute of. Started printing in my ‘darkroom’ too, so it’s mostly B&W. Must explore colour too.

    Can I ask why you think the Mamiya 7 wasn’t designed for portraits? I was toying with picking one up for portraits, so your comment caught my attention!


  6. George

    Been following your blog for a few months already.
    I’m on a halt, due to my focus on my college studies (plus economic uncertainity), but I’ve been thinking about going MF for quite a while (with a Fuji RF). Seeing what you can do with it is so great; I like the environmental portraiture you do. I’d love to get an M7 as well (budget wouldn’t love that however) and does very well environmental portraits.

    Given that I don’t have most of the equipment needed (tripod, scanner, etc) I would have to do a rather serious investment and that is putting me off now. I’m in a sort of go digital or go film if I want to go forward.
    But film has that crafty thing that digital doesn’t. Film has that timeless feeling and being able to hold a slide/neg is so great. When I begin to hear RAW, photoshop, calibrate, sharpen, etc. Plus the lack of physical format just puts me off digital (I know hybrid process has it too, but with much less focus on this). As Sean says above, keep it real!


  7. yip

    Hi Phil, thank you for sharing your photos here. You are an artist!

    I really like your portrait pictures. The coloured ones especially. They are so fresh and natural. How did you do that?


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