The Ultimate Film Simulation Mode We’ll Never Get

You couldn’t pay me to shoot film.

I don’t miss buying film and paying for processing. I don’t miss fixing crappy, dirty scans. And I certainly don’t miss manually focusing my old Mamiya 645. I love embracing all the advantages of digital photography which give me the freedom to blast 1,000+ frames an hour. But I do miss one thing about film, and it’s not those beautiful medium format negatives. What I miss is the anticipation of getting back my contact sheets or prints, and the surprise of seeing my actual results. I have a plan to bring that thrill to digital photography. In fact, I’ll give this idea for FREE to any camera manufacturer that wants it (not that anyone will be courageous enough to take me up on it). I call it ‘Ultimate Film Simulation Mode.”

How ‘Ultimate Film Simulation Mode’ Works

Lots of people love stuff like Fujifilm’s classic film emulations, Olympus’ Art Filters, and analog-themed Lightroom Presets and Capture One Styles. But they don’t go far enough. So I’m proposing an all-new film mode that goes way beyond visuals, and and brings back the anticipation and surprise I miss so much. This is how it works:

  • You activate ‘Ultimate Film Simulation’ mode on your shiny new digital camera.
  • You choose one film-like look for your images, like high grain black & white, cross processed color, instant film, or whatever else you like.
  • Next, you choose your aspect ratio, which also determines the number of images you get. For example, choosing a 3:2 aspect ratio gives you 36 shots like standard 35mm camera.

And a square aspect ratio gets you 12 shots like a vintage Hasselblad or Rolleiflex.

So you’ve locked in your look, aspect ratio, and the number of shots you get in your digital ‘roll.’ And maybe depending upon the options you choose, you lose autofocus.

But here’s what it gets interesting: your camera will not let you review your images as you shoot them. And once your digital ‘roll’ is finished, you can’t see the photos for 48 hours. After two days, your digital ‘roll’ gets ‘processed,’ and you see your pictures. So we lose the instant gratification of digital completely, and we get back the anticipation of film without the expense and logistical hassles of shooting film.

The only question is, who’s going to step up and make it? I’m guessing Fujifilm’s the only company imaginative enough, but I’m not holding my breath. Let me know in the comments: is this a good idea? Or a GREAT idea?

This is a syndicated blog post from On Portraits. Be sure to check out their free resources.