As film photography has bounced back in the last half decade, there’s also been a big increase in the number of blogs devoted to it.
Jim Grey of the blog Down The Road published this master list last year, with nearly 50 blogs devoted to film cameras and film photography.
I’ve decided to publish what I hope is a complementary list – taking 20 of the blogs I visit the most often, and offering a little more detail about them.
Where possible, I’ve also talked to the bloggers and writers who’ve helped put them together.
It’s a highly subjective list, but hopefully something that will prove useful. These are all blogs I visit regularly – some of them I read every day.
It’s not exhaustive – it may be there are other great blogs out there I’m not aware of. If I have, please let me know in the comments below, or drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(And if you run one of the blogs below and want to tell me a little more about it – drop me a line)
Active since the end of 2015, 35hunter is Dan James’ record not only of his own photography, but of working with film, the wider philosophy of photography – and the art (and discipline of blogging aswell).
The blog isn’t devoted entirely to film, but film photography definitely plays a major role. Dan shies away from the usual ‘review of camera from one roll put through it’ school, offering some much more thought-provoking writing.
Hamish Gill’s 35mmc is one of the blogs I check most often.
Originally a site covering the sub genre of 35mm compact cameras – hence the 35mmc of the name – its remit has expanded somewhat – and Hamish no longer does the bulk of the writing himself. It’s also formed an alliance with EMULSIVE to co-host the series ’Five frames with’ featuring a handful of reader-submitted images taken on a particular camera or film.
The site’s clean and really readable, and has a good mix of articles – some weighted more towards the philosophy or aesthetics of film photography, others pitched more towards the classic review/user experience posts that are so popular.
“35mmc is a blog primarily about film photography with compact and rangefinder cameras, though the niche often gets expanded,” Gill tells Kosmo Foto. “I launched the blog on the 19th of May 2013, and whilst I always liked the idea of it becoming a useful resource, I had no idea how big it would grow.
“Opening the doors to the community, allowing readers to become writers on the site was probably the best decision I ever made. It feels like 35mmc is a real part of the community, and I’m incredibly happy to be a part of it!
“To my mind 35mmc will always be a blog – it does have a lot of camera reviews and articles but as I say to everyone who writes for the site, the focus of the content has and always will be about personal experiences.”
3) 52 Cameras in 52 weeks
Tony Kemplen began his 52 Cameras site back in 2010, intending at first to simply do a user review of one camera a week for a year. Several years on his site is a treasure trove of hands-on reports of film cameras big and small, from much-loved to obscure curios.
Readers of the UK’s weekly photo mag Amateur Photographer will be familiar with his reports, accompanied by a single frame taken by the camera in question.
Unlike Casual Photophile or 35mmc, this is not a site for those who like long-read camera features. It is, however, like looking into the window of a local camera shop – there will always be something worth having a look at.
4) 52 Rolls
52 Rolls is another blog whose title doesn’t reflect what’s going on under the hood. Started in 2014, it was indeed supposed to be a record of 52 rolls shot over a year. But the site has now clocked up its fourth anniversary and is still going strong.
It’s not the work of one photographer, but by a team of film snappers who have each signed up to the discipline of shooting 52 rolls over the course of a year. That obviously means the breadth is fairly wide, drawing in photographers shooting on all sorts of cameras.
5) Canny Cameras
“Shooting film on the cheap on the border of credit crunch Britain” is this site’s tagline. Since 2014, Canny Camera has been exploring the world of film photography through the kinds of cameras you’re likely to find lurking on charity shop shelves or flea markets.
Alan Duncan hails from the north of England (“canny” means good or nice in the lingo of England’s north east) though the site also features many guest posts from other writers. Alan reviews the school of plastic fantastic cameras that can be had for a song – and a short one – but also some of the classic compacts and rangefinders of yesteryear.
The reviews are pithy and useful – each gets rated according to a ‘Why buy/why not’ system that considers the plus and minus points of each model. Plus, it’s well laid out and easy to read and isn’t dry or too serious – you don’t want a Leica snob mentality when you’re dealing with a point-and-shoot Halina, right?
6) Casual Photophile
Like 35mmc, Casual Photophile has a premium feel – very much a Sunday supplement compared to some of the simpler blogs out there.
It’s a US-run site, edited by James Tocchio in Boston, who also runs F Stop Cameras . The site has a range of stories, from longer reviews and user experience, to interviews with film photographers and smaller news stories. It has a similar feel to 35mmc – clean, uncluttered, and with an emphasis on photos – even the pics of featured cameras are high end.
Reviews cover cult classics to round-ups (such as five American or five Soviet cameras) as well as a raft of tips and tricks. The style pitches this to an audience that might happily shoot on high-end Nikons one weekend and then fool around with a Zenit-E another – hence the “casual” in the name.
“I founded CP in 2014 with the hope that the site might help a few photo geeks enjoy the hobby a little bit more,” James tells Kosmo Foto. “In the past four years, CP has become so successful that it’s become my full-time job. We’ve now got five writers working on high-quality long-form editorial posts that we publish every other weekday (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday), and readership continues to climb (thanks so much).
“In addition to this publishing schedule, we live stream a camera repair show every Thursday at 11:30 AM EST. In this stream we fix some broken cameras and lenses, chat with our fans, and often give away the repaired machines to one lucky live viewer. It’s a great way to connect with our readers and spread the love of cameras to a totally new demographic. We’re hoping this continues to flourish in 2018, and if you’d like to tune in or watch our archived videos, head over to Twitch.
7) Down The Road
Jim Grey hails from Indiana in the American mid-West, and his blog is a mixed love letter both to growing up in the American interior and film cameras. It’s not specifically a film camera blog, but it’s fair to say that there’s a lot of film camera content on here – not only pics and user experience, but some really interesting reading on the aesthetics of film photography and useful posts like this, which collects 49 of the best film photography blogs and was the inspiration for the post you’re reading now.
“I don’t mind if people think of my blog as being primarily about film photography. But it’s really not — rather, it’s about what I’m doing and things that I think are interesting,” says Jim. “In other words, it’s a personal blog. It’s just that photographs are always at its heart, and it happens that I shoot a lot of film.
“It also happens that when I need to think or to process what life brings me, the way I do that best is to go wandering with a camera in my hand. As a result, I have lots of photos to share of the places I go and things I do.
“I love to write and want to be very good at it. Through blogging I keep learning about how to share about my life and interests in ways that are interesting, even to non-photographers.
“I feel fortunate that I can share my work with others through my blog. I love it when my words or photographs connect meaningfully with people who stop by.”
EMULSIVE is the brainchild of the mysterious EM. Unlike many film photography blogs, the emphasis has been more about the film itself rather than the cameras that use it.
Over the past few years, the site has widened its brief, and EM has built up invaluable connections with those making the film itself. It’s broken several stories about new films and interviewed those launching films and new cameras. There are a host of guest writers contributing to the site, and it runs the ‘5 Frames With’ series alongside 35mmc. Pause the sites runs the famous Secret Santa which connects film fans around the world – along with major producers like Kodak and Ilford.
“EMULSIVE started off in June 2015 as a platform to share my photography and a few things I’d learned about abusing film stocks (after having been laughed off forums for asking),” EM says. “It was about raising the volume of the discussion of film photography as a choice of medium, both within and without the community at large.
“Today, EMULSIVE is a space for film photographers of all backgrounds to share their knowledge, experience and thoughts about everything related to film photography. On the website, you will find a host of film stock and camera reviews, how-tos, essays, photo stories and thought pieces from me, EM and a network of super-talented and enthusiastic film photographers.
“You’ll also find the fortnightly EMULSIVE Interview: a series of interviews with film photographers the world over.”
9) Film Advance
Canadian photographer Gary Seronik’s Film Advance has been running since 2011. It’s primarily a portfolio for Gary’s own photography, but does have a wealth of other posts, including reviews of the cameras he uses.
The site’s design is very clean and readable – definitely an example of a less-is-more approach to web design. If you’re keen on using older film cameras – from the 1960s or earlier – Gary has plenty of examples.
10) Film’s Not Dead
Film’s Not Dead is a lot of things: a blog, a shop, a market stall, a portfolio, a cheerleader for photography. Since 2010, London-based Charlie Abbiss and Tori Khambaita have been championing film photography in all shape and forms.
Film’s Not Dead’s influence can be felt a lot further away than their east London camera stall (which you can find at Brick Lane’s Backyard Market). They recently held a week-long pop-up with Kodak that culminated with a party to mark this year’s edition of Film Photography Day.
Film’s Not Dead has also been running a series for those learning film photography, called 52 Photo Tips, with Kosmo Foto.
The Film’s Not Dead site is currently being redesigned – sample post links to come.
11) Film Photography Project
Certain sites have done more than fair share to keep the film photography flame burning brightly over the last decade – this is one of them.
The FPP is many things; it’s a reference site, a cheerleader for film photography, a film shop and home to probably the best-known film photography podcast. One of its strengths is the site’s welcoming attitude to all forms of film photography. Whether Leica lover or Holga hero, film is the key.
Michael Raso is the site’s affable figurehead, and it’s a real delight to travel through its archives. There’s a wealth of practical knowledge here, and the FPP ethos is one that really helps spread the word – film photography is a broad church, and there’s plenty of room for everyone.
Filmosaur isn’t the only film photographer to be accused of being a dinosaur in a digital age – but he wears the badge with pride. Filmosaur refers to himself as Your Humble Filmosaur (YHF) and his manifesto is the possibly tongue-in-cheek call to arms. “If the medium is to be preserved, it must be reborn in the eyes of its practitioners. Here, therefore, I present a path to salvation, a means by which photography may once again be shown without endangering the public welfare.”
Alongside the grandpa grumping, there’s plenty of decent reviews of cameras from the manual and classic end of the spectrum – 50s and 60s rangefinder and viewfinder cameras, and a smattering of
13) Fun With Cameras
Bill Smith lives in Toronto, Canada, and is one of the team behind the Classic Camera Revival; Fun With Cameras is a curated feed of his photography, just images rather than film-related posts. Each of his pics are tagged with further info on the film and camera used – useful for research.
I also like this site for Bill’s dedication for capturing contemporary Toronto. It’s not a city I’ve visited yet, but Bill shows both what has changed and what has stayed the same amidst the decades of development.
14) I Still Shoot Film
I Still Shoot Film is one of the oldest film photography blogs still running – and must have felt like something of a rearguard action at a time when film producers were folding and traditional camera stores going to the wall.
Founded by Paris-based fashion and portrait photographer Rachel reviving, the blog’s aim is to be “home to a thriving community of film lovers, I Still Shoot Film features inspiring photos from photographers across the globe. ISSF also provides a wide array of learning resources, including how-to articles and product reviews.”
As well as featuring portfolio shots from established photographers and submissions from amateurs and enthusiasts from around the globe, it also now sells downloadable guides to such things as colour or black-and-white film or tips for better architectural photography.
Their guide to getting started in film photography is an invaluable resource for any beginners, full of tried-and-tested tips for getting the best out of 35mm cameras and film.
15) Japan Camera Hunter
For more than a decade, Tokyo-based Briton Bellamy Hunt has been blogging under the moniker Japan Camera Hunter.
The site – a service for those wanting cameras sourced from the Mecca of analogue photography – included a blog early one. From here, JCH has grown into one of the most popular blogs on the web, posting a few times each day. Its camera bag feature now has hundreds of entries, and has been copied by blogs big and small since.
Like 35mmc and Casual Photophile, there are longer articles exploring the aesthetics, philosophy and history of film photography too. Plus of course, it’s the home of JCH’s own film, Street Pan 400. It is quite the rabbit hole.
“I started JCH in 2007 as a homepage for my business, but it rapidly became a core part of the business,” Bellamy tells Kosmo Foto. “I have always used to site to share the things I am passionate about; film cameras, photography, film and photography discussion. Over the years the site has grown to be a full time job in its own right, which is why I have help running it now.
“We try to publish several pieces per week, from ‘In your bag’ posts to Film News and Camera Geekery. We are trying to bring more discussion pieces to the site and more interviews in the future, we want to share peoples work. The site is for and always will be for the community, I really hope it is a valuable resource for all photographers.”
16) Matt’s Classic Cameras
Matt Denton loves cameras – SLRs and compacts, rangefinders and folders, box cameras and more. His site is a real treasure trove of information about these cameras and other accessories such as lenses and light meters.
Matt uses his cameras as well, and his user reports and reviews also include repair information – what it took to get his examples back into working condition if needed. There’s also an associated blog that is updated alongside the camera pages.
Cheerful and very readable, this is an invaluable site, and well worth checking if you’re considering one of the cameras Matt has in his collection.
17) Mike Eckman Dot Com
When it comes to film camera long reads, Mike Eckman is the king. For the last four years, this blog has been doing deep dive reviews of film cameras – some of them clocking in at 5,000 words or more.
Less is more, you might think, but Mike is a great writer – he has a real knack for finding the interesting stories lurking amidst the history, and a real gift in making the technical readable. I can’t be the only film photography blogger who looks at a camera Mike has already reviewed and thinks “What’s the point?”
“What started out as just one single camera, turned into many,” Eckman says. “As I bought each new camera, I would scour the internet trying to learn as much as I could about it’s history, how it was used, and in the case of ones that needed a little bit of help, what I could do to bring them back to a usable state.
“I found that although there was information on the web about these cameras, it was scattered among various other blogs, newsgroups, Wikipedia pages, etc, so I thought that an ideal type of article would contain everything I could find about a model.
“My articles became more than just a simple camera review. Although quite long, I felt as though by including as much information about them as I could, that perhaps someone else like me would come along and want to know more about something rather than just the sample images they could make. I knew that not everyone would read everything from start to finish. My goal was to include a little bit of everything so people could pick and choose what they wanted to read.”
18) Random Camera Blog
Mark O’Brien’s blog is another that’s been going for some time – 2004 in fact. It’s another blog that’s a mix of personal portfolio and useful odds and ends from the shooter’s school of film photography.
Mark has a magpie’s eye for cheap and cheerful cameras, and this blog is an enjoyable trawl through the kind of cameras you might find in a visit to car boot sales and goodwill stores.
Mark does his best to keep up to date with film releases, and his one-roll reviews are useful quick reads if you’re considering buying new emulsions.
19) Utah Film Photography
The film revival hasn’t just been happening in the major global cities. The internet means those cities and towns that no longer have a store to buy or process film aren’t missing out.
Shaun Nelson is one photographer blogging from somewhere a little more interesting – Utah in the American West. Shaun’s site is a collection of camera reviews, film experiments and examples of both his own photography and those from other film fans in Utah.
“UtahFilmPhotography.com was started in 2014 to share my newfound enthusiasm for film photography and to communicate my own experiences having never used film,” he says. “I invite photographers, camera collectors, and film aficionados to share their knowledge; to inspire current and future film photographers. The internet doesn’t need another review of the Pentax K1000, but I believe it’s important to share the experience of using a specific camera.
“Much of the information found on Utah Film Photography is about vintage cameras, film, and an occasional opinion. I think current blogs and podcasts are serving the preservation of film as an art, by encouraging the use of vintage cameras, along with new and old film stocks. Our content is dedicated to sharing: information, experience and knowledge.
“I believe that for film photography to thrive, we can inspire photographers by making the complex simple, and the use of film an exciting and enjoyable experience.”
What film photography blogs do you follow? Let me know your favourites – and which ones should be added to the list.
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