Can you still shoot Milky Way photos or star trails with film? Why yes, of course, and there are still photographers who get pretty good results out of it. We recently spotted an r/analog thread that shows what you can expect should you be brave enough to finally try it out. This Milky Way snap was shot by Nick Cheng (u/EpicNarwhals on Reddit) using a Canon EOS Rebel K2 loaded with a Fujifilm Superia X-TRA 400. In his thread, he also mentioned equipping this film camera with the Rokinon 14mm f2.8 lens that he was using with his Canon EOS RP (and thought “what the hell”) to see if anything would come out.
He was already shooting at box speed that day so he thought it was too late to push the film while using the same roll that night to shoot the stars. He proceeded to expose the film at 30 seconds and the photo above was what he got. He said it’s “pretty much straight off the scanner” and he only adjusted the blacks to improve the contrast, so it still shows that signature Superia green tint.
In case you’re curious, here’s what Nick got with his EOS RP and the same lens, for comparison.
While our home galaxy registered as a bright smudge on the left side of the tree in the middle, it still shows us that film photographers can join in on some Milky Way fun. Sure, it does need careful preparation and consideration so you don’t waste film, but it’s still a workable medium for night sky photography.
If you found this surprising and inspiring, we suggest also checking out the stunning Polaroid astrophotography of Daniel Stein.
Photo used with permission from Nick Cheng