The Emperors New Clothes?

My love affair with the Fuji X-Pro1 continues, so much so that I haven’t shot a single roll of film for the last week. I feel bad, but I think that this is the way it’s going to stay – I don’t mean I’m never going to shoot film again, I’m just going back to the way I worked a year ago – shooting both.

Canada was a bit of a turning-point for me, shooting that project on film was difficult, I have to say – ordering 200 rolls of film in New York, having it sent to Yellowknife, the hassle of getting it all back to the UK, through security and X-ray machines and then the anxiety of getting it to the processors. Scanning takes a long time, but I love scanning, so that’s not a bad thing. The biggest drawback, and the most obvious, is the cost – about £12 for every roll of film bought and developed. That’s a wedge of cash that I could be spending on other projects, especially when 90% of my clients don’t know, or worse still, care if that photograph they are buying off a stock library was shot on a top of the range modern digital SLR or a 1968 Hasselblad medium format. Do photographers like the look of film because it was shot on film? Or is it because they know it was shot on film?

DSCF1146-Edit-EditThis can of Coke, it’s just a photo of a can of Coke, but viewed on my 27″ colour calibrated iMac it looks like AMAZING. I’ve also made a print from it onto matte paper. That also looks AMAZING…

I know what people are thinking – “Phil Kneen, you sell-out!”. Not so – over the next few months I’m shooting a project in Wales, an album cover, several portraits and an entire wedding, all on film. I’ve said it before – as long as I can buy film, I’ll shoot film.

Oh, by the way – one of the black and white images, above, was shot on Kodak Tri-X film…




  1. I’m going to stick my head on the chopping block and say that the second one down was shot on film…? You have proved a point though because I can’t really tell! All of the shots look incredible, the tones are sweet!

    And yes, the can looks amazing, even on my crappy PC screen.


  2. Of course you did not sell out. 🙂
    You are getting amazing results from the X-Pro.
    I couldn’t do it. Already selling the X100 to get back to my true love the Hexar AF. But you certainly have a way of working with the Fuji and if it motivates you… keep on using it.


  3. Sell out? No, I don’t believe so. Pragmatist? yes.
    I think the whole digital vs film debate is just a massive waste of time. We are all comfortable at some point between the extremes of purely digital and purely film, so it’s a case of finding where you sit in that range, right? Some subjects are going to lend themselves to digital and some to film.
    A large part of that is down to finding a system that you (and not what somebody else says is the best or the right tool etc) are comfortable with, at which point you just start adapting your process to that system. I love film, but I’m a lazy ****** and film just allows me to be slack with exposure and recovery, but also gives me tonality and a certain depth to images. if I could find a digital system and process that allows me to shoot at 250 iso then 1600 iso without worrying then I would jump at it. I tend to think the fuji system is pretty much there, but I like manual focusing too much and I have all these FF lenses.
    Good luck with it, I like your film work, and pretty confidant I’m going to really like your digital work.


  4. I hear you on the scanning thing – I just did a stack of very old family photos for a set on my Flickr account and my mom informs me that she has a large rubbermaid bin of even more for me to add to it. It is time consuming but well worth it.

    I don’t see the hard in using both film and digital – in this university course I’m taking on photography this summer they are making us do film only – but I noticed that if I continue and take the 3 senior level classes it’s split film and digital, so there might be something to that. It’s important to know how to do film, but it’s nice to have options.


  5. I can’t imagine taking a picture of just a coke can, but it does look great. I gues that’s why I am just an amature. You made the ordinary interesting! 🙂 Thanks for following my blog. It can’t compare with yours from a photographic perspective, but I love blogging and sharing what I have, with or without flaws, with the world. Nice to meet you! 🙂


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