HomeTECHNOLOGYRoll cameras are back and they're a hit

Roll cameras are back and they’re a hit

At roll cameras increasingly attract amateur and professional photographers who miss the analog times.

If you are looking for a photography experience where everything can be manual and personalized and where the automatic processing aids of digital cameras and smartphones are not present, this is the way to go to create unique and special images.

This nostalgia for the manual has revived the old roll cameras from the ashes, including the great classics like the Polaroid, the machine that produces snapshots, a mix between the analog experience of the roll and the digital experience that gives immediate access to the image that was photographed. .

If you want to experience how your parents and grandparents took photographs or if you want to remember your times as a young photographer in the last century, discover or remember the specificities of analogue photography.

Roll Cameras: How they work

Digital cameras use photosensitive sensors to process light received through lenses. They are able to immediately and computer code that luminous information to make it visible on a screen.

This process creates a digital file for each click, where the image is stored which can later be printed if the user so desires. The number of clicks that the digital photographer can make only depends on the file space available on his device for storage (on camera, smartphone, tablet, etc.).

Each click will take up more or less space according to the resolution presets that the device offers for the photos you take. On analog machines things work quite differently.

First, it is necessary to use a roll of negative film, which must be placed inside the machine. This roll is like a digital file replacement for storing the photographed images. It is prepared to retain the impression of light that the camera lens lets in and has a predetermined number of possible clicks.

You will have to use them all to finish using each roll. Once used, the rolls are removed from the machine and must be developed. The development is carried out in a specialized laboratory or at the home of those who have the necessary material for the purpose (developing liquids, dark room, etc.).

The negatives, the inverted images (where light is dark and dark is light) that appear on the roll after being processed during development, can later be printed so that the photographs can be visible to our eyes.

The limitation on the number of images requires more care when photographing

Roll choice makes all the difference

The roller is an ingredient as important as the camera in analogue photography, so you should be careful when choosing one. It consists of a light-tight casing and must be stored, before and after use, in a dry place with a mild temperature, until it can be developed.

The roll you choose will depend, for example, on whether you can take pictures in color or in black and white.

The same goes for the number of clicks you can make. You can choose between rolls with 24 or 36 exposures, the number of pictures you can take with that roll, so you’ll have to be more selective and less random in your clicks than in the digital world.

The film format of each roll and its iso also contribute to the final result. The main formats include 35mm and 120mm, the latter of which allows for greater depth of field and higher quality in the final photographs.

As for the ISO, the parameter that demonstrates the sensitivity of the roller when exposed to light, it should present a higher number (for example, ISO 800) if you are going to shoot in very dark or nocturnal environments.

If, on the contrary, your objective is to shoot with a lot of light exposure, the choice should fall on rolls with the lowest value (for example, ISO 100).

Remember that this setting will have to apply to all the photos that the roll makes available because it is not easy to change the rolls inside the machine before they reach the end.

You run the risk of spoiling all the images on that roll. The 120mm format rolls, which allow black and white photographs and higher ISOs, are often associated with professional analogue photography, which is why they almost always have higher prices.

polaroid machine

See too
Polaroid is back! Remember snapshots?

Roller cameras: lots of customization

The choice of purchase is still reduced to first-hand material, as this type of machines is only now emerging again on the market, but it can be more varied, especially if you look in the second-hand market (ebay, KEH, OLX or Marketplace, etc).

You will find machines where everything will be manual, especially the shutter speeds and aperture of the diaphragm that allow you to manage and customize the light exposure, and also machines that already allow some automation in the face of the light conditions detected.

Everything will depend on whether you are already an experienced photographer, if you want to learn more about photographic intricacies or if you want to try analogue, but without wasting too much time learning photography.

But remember that part of the pleasure of analogue photography lies in being able to observe and test the mechanisms of the most manual cameras and in understanding a little better the “miracle of photography”, an almost impossible goal to achieve when observing the elusive algorithms of digital photography. .

The main brands to look for are the Japanese Canon, Minolta, Nikon, Olympus and Pentax, which began to flood the market from the 60s of the last century.

The most valued European brands, which marked the world until the 1950s, are the German Zeiss Ikon, Ihagee, Exakta and Voigtländer, or the Swedish Hasselblad, without forgetting the iconic Leica, whose portability made it popular as a must in street photography. .

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