In 2018 I bought myself a little film camera, the Olympus mju-II. I blogged about it because I was so in love with the images that came out of it. This is probably my most-visited blog post ever – turns out others seem to be just as interested in this point-and-shoot camera as I was.

The beginning of a love story…

During the following year, 2019, I set myself a goal of shooting at least 1 roll of film on the mju-II per month. You can see the results in various posts here. Film photography is just so much fun. What used to push me into the digital world – the fact that my DSLR would give me instant results and I wouldn’t have to wait for a lab to develop my images before I knew if any photo I took was even remotely successful – is now one of the main appeals to return back to this slower way of taking pictures.

In January 2020, after a year of shooting 14 rolls in total, I reloaded my Olumpus mju-II with a new film. The pandemic hit. We were locked in at home with no exciting places to go. I didn’t feel like playing with my film camera and I think the first time I forced myself to use it again must have been summer 2020. At that point, I didn’t even remember I had loaded a black and white film (and went out to look for nice contrasty colours, duh!).

I finished this roll of film in July 2021.

2020 was clearly just not the year for film photography for me. Turns out neither is 2021…

A few years ago I got a DIY camera kit as a Secret Santa. A great gift in theory, yet I couldn’t bring myself to actually assemble it. Until Winter lockdown 2020 hit and there was nothing else to do.

So now I had 2 film cameras to use and still didn’t know what to do with them really. As you might know, I’m also still doing a Project 365 where I take daily photos of my life which means I already have a camera on me at all times. Adding 2 film cameras just seemed too much. So again it took ages until I tried to use my new toy.

The DIY camera works very differently to any other camera I own. First of all, you hold it in front of your chest or tummy and look down into the viewfinder. The cogs in the front are your focus but the image in the viewfinder is mirrored which takes a bit of getting used to. I found it hard to get anything in focus – based on the results I got, I struggled even more than I had assumed.

After every exposure, I’d have to manually wind the film forward. It took me 7 months to fill the film so naturally I would forget whether I had prepared the film for the next use or not. So I might have skipped a few frames as well as taken some unplanned double exposures. Also, without doing any acrobatic contortions, it would be hard to shoot any landscape-oriented images with this camera. So every image came out in portrait format which is rather unusual for me.

When researching this DIY camera kit, I noticed that a lot of people ended up with light leaks on their photos. While technically we want to avoid those because it means light gets into the camera body and might ruin the film, I was actually hoping to catch a few of those. Looking at my results I was successful in that regard.

I’m not sure when I will use this camera again. It’s a fun toy but it’s relatively hard to use. That said, I’m quite happy with the images I got out of it though. I also haven’t loaded another film into my Olympus yet. I have a feeling I might forget about it again… Maybe next year will be a better time for me to try this again. We shall see šŸ™‚

What do you think about film photography? Have you tried it? Do you like the slower pace it encourages? Let’s have a chat in the comments below. Maybe you can convince me to keep going with it!