manual vs digital

In 2008, Polaroid announced that they were to end production of their instant film and it left many Polaroid lovers like myself heart broken. I still had about 5 pictures left in my Polaroid 600 camera, which my dad bought me for my 12th birthday, and I clung onto them for dear life (as I was too angry to give in to the EXTREMELY inflated prices of the 600 film on ebay) Then I heard about something amazing, The Impossible Project. 3 Polaroid Enthusiasts/Super clever businessmen bought over the Polaroid Factory and promised to bring the infamous instant film back. Well...

Impossible Project Film at the Photojojo Store!

It is finally here! They have made their own range of film which is all Polaroid friendly :) I found out the news today via Photojojo, and I thought it would be a good excuse to spark up a little blog discussion in the form of manual vs digital. Here is my little (but loved) camera collection:

I say they are loved, but I don't use them all as much as I should. Film and developing is expensive - back in the 80's my papa used to develop ALL my mums film for her in the cupboard under the stairs. Lets just say it would take a hell of a lot of bribery to get him to do mines Harry Potter style these days! The thing I love about film comes under the three R's... Random, Raw, and Romantic. There's something so magical about not knowing what your pictures are going to look like until the day you get them back from the processing lab (sometimes just 4 or 5 real keepers per batch if you're a bit shit like me, it can be annoying but it's an addictive buzz!) I don't care how 'cool' or trendy Lomo and manual film cameras are these days, and the fact that every other indie kid is calling themselves a photographer because they bought a Diana from Urban Outfitters and know how to load 35mm or medium format. In no way at all am I being a photography snob here haha, I promise. I guess I'm happy that digital hasn't completely killed off old methods and techniques. The new kid on the block causes extinction in too many cases... but not this one. Let me share the collection of manual/disposable camera photographs that have been lingering about my macbook - let me know what you think and what kind of pictures are your fave!

Family pictures...

Okay, so this one and the one below are crappy digital copies of printed photographs. I need to get my hands on the originals from my grans, these pictures make me smile so much.

These ones are scans of photographs so the quality is better. Haha and yes, that muppet looking baby is indeed me!

Me and my mammy - she looks so young.

Mum and Papa in the hospital, 11th June 1989.

I was born with a massive mop of brown hair, lol looks like I'm wearing a little wig.

Me and my cousin Emma, fighting over a beer. Not much has changed to this very day!

Haha I hope big Nigel only gave us a wee sip... these pictures look kinda WRONG! :p

A really old one, my gran and papa on their wedding day.

The above is my little sister Tyler, and below is me and my dad in our Motocross days. So these pictures are much more recent, in the last 5 years or so, but I think the point and shoot quality doesn't look much different from what it was like 20 years before.

Here's some medium (square) format family pictures. These are certainly retro looking, the colours and the framing are just awesome. Wee 80's passport pics and polaroid thrown in there too.

All of the above are my immediate family - great gran, gran, papa, mum, aunties and uncle. However when I ask what kind of cameras my Papa used to take these he can't remember :(


Nuff said, viva la polaroid!

Waterproof camera

Really bloody random, waterproof cameras are essentially just disposable cameras in a plastic box - but they are so much fun to play with (probs better IN water, rather than NEAR water like most of mine are)

We still have a waterproof camera to develop from Europe, which included swimming and diving underwater in Lake Bled. So I'll be sure to share them when we finally get around to finishing the film and getting it developed.



Manual 35mm

These ones weren't just point and shoot but required proper adjustments of aperture, focus etc. The current Lomo cameras make the manual settings pretty easy to use which is good. When I did higher photography (ha YES, it counts as a higher!) in my last year of school, we worked on almost all 35mm with very little digital so thats where I learned to 'properly' use a camera. You can fully adjust all these settings on some digital cameras and all digital SLRS (I cheat and use auto all the time!) but you are always able to preview the picture once you've taken it. That's why film can be so hit or miss, cause you could be slightly out of focus or the exposure too dark or too light, but once it's taken there is no changing or deleting. Just a big surprise when you open that little packet of developed pictures :) It's exciting!

If you can get your hands on a dusty old 35mm camera from a car boot sale, or a shiny new lomo from ebay then take your time to learn how to use them and love them properly - a little patience goes a long way. The results are something that have such a different feel to them than digital. But, you can always cheat it with your digital cameras and use the likes of Picnik or ToyCamera to give your pictures square formats, rounded edges, and that yellowy/saturated vintage look :) I'm still getting to grips with it myself, and I'm sure most of y'all could teach me a thing or two, but here's a wee example of what you can do with a simple digital picture.

Manual or digital, what do you prefer? Both have their pro's and con's, and I think as long as they can both live happily side by side and we can have the best of both worlds, then that would be just super ♥

Ayden x


  1. i love these photos!
    my dad is a really keen photographer, he has the developing lab in the attic, and at famliy weddings, hes usually got 2 or 3 cameras to get the right photo to fit the mood.
    when i get married, i want the more random, romantic pictures you get from non-digital cameras.
    theres a thought - instead of disposable cameras on wedding guest tables, i would love to dot around polaroids and have an album of rather funky little pics!

  2. this is such a lovely, well thought-out and personal blog post (i admire the way you put so much time into each blog post)
    I am def on the manual side of things!
    i found an instax camera in a charity shop which still had almost a full film in it - granted it was expired but i loved the way the pictures came out
    this is such good news about the new film coming out, you've made my day! xxxx

  3. This is such a lovely post! I love your family photos. You were such a cute baby!
    I'm trying to teach myself about the settings on my digital SLR at the moment, and after I've got that mastered I want to get a film camera and start experimenting with "proper" photography. Your post has encouraged me to put a bit more time and effort into improving my pictures!

  4. I love old family photos. Mine make me giggle so much.

    I adore my Canon EOS 500d. But I do have a little Diana that I really need to teach myself how to use. Loading the film was the first hurdle! x

  5. Aww I am so glad you did this post Ayden, my bf just bought me a diana f mini as a surprise because I love vintage cameras, but it feels a bit new and light ya know, I want a heavy metal 35mm that you have to grease at the edges, I want to collect cameras even if they don't work, just so I can put them on a shelf and learn the history of the camera. I love my canon EOS 400D as it's my wages but everything seems a bit to clean sometimes, I want it to look a bit aged, like it wasn't all highly processed and over thought. I've started taking some pics with my diana and it's hard to adjust to not being able to view my picture and delete if it's rubbish, but I can't wait to get them printed. When I did my photography course we just had slrs and had to process and develop our film in the dark room, and that's what I miss, the rawness of it all, seeing your photo come to life in the tray, the pure essence of holding your picture in your hand and thinking wow, I took that. Brilliant post xxxx

  6. I have to say I really enjoyed reading this post. I can't wait to get the Wide (maybe in the next month or so) and I am wanting a fisheye and possibly a Diana too. But my next big purchase will be Nikon. I have gone camera crazy lately!!! I love my little instax and can't wait to see it fully developed. I like the surprise factor in manual for sure!!! Hope your doing well, haven't talked to you in awhile!

  7. film camera photographs are DEFINITELY better! I especially love ones from the 1970s, the shape and colours of the prints are so beautiful! x

  8. I think films just give a deeper photo, might sound silly but I really think the depth and feel of the photo is greater.

    And I love the fact with developing you used to get ALL the photos, there was no going "ooh delete that I have a double chin/no head/red face" I miss embarassing unposed pics... well kinda.


  9. The Impossible Project has actually been out for well over a year now. Their prices are far too inflated too though and they don't offer any color photos. It's a shame that they're trying to make such a ridiculous profit off of it. There are new replacements though and they're worth checkin out!

    Loved this post by the way!

  10. @ Anonymous. Thanks for your comment! Yeah they've been up and running for a good couple of years. They do silver shade and colour shade, thats the new replacements I'm talking about! Which only launched recently. And are overpriced but hey, its better than nothing x

  11. yay im so excited for digital polaroid! I still have film in mine but its old and the pictures come out faded :( x

  12. Ps. And thanks to all you girlies for your comments too! :) x

  13. Such a great post Ayden! I love 35mm and you really can't beat it. Although, my 350D is my baby! x

  14. thanks for your comment ladyfriend! i think this was a rad post and your collection is yum!

    i do have a question about your Zumi though! do you like it?! we had looked at one for a hot minute but never really came to a conclusion on whether we should buy it or not!

    i love me some analog cameras. whether they're instant or need to be processed by the roll. theres something undeniably beautiful about them. probably the fact that you don't know what you're going to get and you can't just hit delete. i think that causes us as humans to really look at it and find the beauty in it.

    i do love my digital SLR for trips and blogging purposes, but for everything else, i'm for manual.

    i agree with Gem on the nice heavy feel of a metal-body 35mm SLR. its so nice! but i also love cheapo disposables and things you can throw around. we have a sincereeee love for all things plastic and janky in this house!

    we have an ever-growing collection and i love my polaroids because of their look. i agree with Anon too that IP is a bit overpriced but you're buying novelty so i understand (though refuse to buy into it myself). we've purchased 2 (as of today) replacements and we LOVE our instax! it's just so sweet. i can't wait for it to be a vintage novelty!

    lovely post! xo

  15. Ahh replacements as in the fujifilm instax etc? I get ya now :) I can see myself buying the fuji instax 200 for christmas anyways rather than like 5 packs of polaroid film for almost the same price! the film for the instax is still expensive too. Kaelah, you got the best deal EVER! :) x

  16. This is a lovely post. I studied photography at college when i left school and definatley agree manual cameras usually get the more pleasing results xx

  17. Love this post! Digital is so convienant that you have to love it but I miss getting photos developed when I was little and not knowing what they would look like!

  18. Amazing! My boyfriend is an enthusiastic photographer so he has heaps of cool cameras! But, I think that my cameras are cooler! I have a multicoloured Holga, a Fisheye and a polaroid camera too!

    Need to get all the film developed too. So, that wont be cheap!


  19. I love manual so much as it looks so much nicer, however the price usually keeps me at bay. Sometimes manual just really doesn't cut it either when you need an immediate photograph of something, especially for the likes of the internet etc.

    This is a really great post as it also kind of acts as a guide to what different images will look like from different cameras, amazing! And thank you,

    R x

  20. All those photos are so beautiful, there is something to be said about going back to basics.

  21. this is the best post ever! i even read it twice. you've inspired me to invest in a fish eye (as soon as the student loan kicks in) - in love with the effect.


  22. Great post! I only have a digital camera but would love to learn how to use a manual one properly!

  23. I love this post, all of the photos are so cool. You've made me want to buy a new camera so badly. I also spied your swallow tattoos in one of them, and I LOVE them. I know you said on your Formspring that you want one on your ribs but not too high cos you're a wuss - I recently got one on my ribs high up and it's not too bad, so don't worry! I think you could deal.
    Love your blog heeeaps! xx

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