3 reasons to pack a film camera on your next trip

5 May 2021

We’re always dreaming of our next safari. While we patiently wait for travel restrictions to loosen up, we’re thinking through our travel packing list to see what we can bring to make our trip even more memorable. On past holidays, we’ve always used a digital camera or smartphone to capture our travel photos, but we want to try something different.

Since we like the look of vintage travel photos, we asked the experts at Ted’s Cameras to give us the lowdown on film photography — and why it’s worth travelling with a film camera.

3 reasons to use a film camera for travel photos

There’s something so nostalgic about film photography, which is why many of us apply a retro-inspired filter to our Instagram photos! With its vivid colours, flares and grainy texture, this style of old-school photography has a unique aesthetic that has stood the test of time.

While you can always add a filter to your travel photos, why not try your hand at shooting with a film camera? You’ll get the best results that way, and leave your trip with a roll full of travel photos that have a vintage feel.

Here are a few reasons why it’s worth packing a film camera:

  • It helps you to capture creative travel photos. You’ll make creative choices at every single step of the process, which means you’ll end up with one-off travel photos to treasure forever. For example, before you even head off on the day’s adventure, you’ll have to choose between black-and-white or colour film, and then stick with it until the roll is done. Since you can’t switch settings and gears as much as you can with a digital camera, you’ll learn new techniques along the way.
  • It helps you live in the moment while you’re travelling. We’re all guilty of snapping dozens of photos in rapid-fire succession, only to get home and realise we experienced that scene from behind a camera lens. A film camera can help you stay present. A standard roll of 35mm film can capture 24 or 36 shots, so each one is precious. Thanks to this, you’ll be more selective and intentional about the photos you take, and give yourself plenty of time to enjoy the landscape in front of you in real time.
  • It improves your photography skills. Film cameras are easy to use, but it’s harder to edit your photos in post-production. When you shoot with film, you’ll naturally sharpen your skills in everything from composition to framing and lighting, because you’ll want to nail your image the first time.

What’s the best travel film camera?

Ready to try a travel film camera? There are a few options on the market, and the best one comes down to your skill set as well as how much you want to invest in this style of photography.

If you’re new to film, a point-and-shoot model is the best film camera for beginners. Once you’ve loaded your film, all you need to do is find your subject or scene and literally point and shoot. When you’ve made your way through the 24 or 36 shots, drop your film roll off at a photo processing place and your vintage travel photos will  be ready in a few days. You can either buy a disposable camera or a reusable camera, which you can load with fresh rolls of film over and over.

If you have a little more photography experience, you can scour the second-hand market for a film SLR or medium-format camera. These cameras have advanced functions, and give you more control over the manual settings so you can take the sharpest and most detailed film photos. Plus, you can change lenses and add accessories, just like you can with most modern digital cameras. However, since these cameras come from the film era, make sure you purchase one from a trusted dealer that offers some sort of warranty. That way, if something happens to your pre-owned, older camera, you’ll be able to fix or replace it without losing out too much.

Ted’s top picks:

travel film cameras 2

Or opt for a telephoto zoom lens!

If film photography isn’t your style and you’re going for a crispy, sharp look on your photos, pack a telephoto zoom lens in your camera bag. They’re the best kind of camera lens for photographing far away subjects. Portable and versatile, they’ll allow you to snap action-packed scenes and photos of exotic animals from a safe distance. Thanks to their long reach and zoom capability, you won’t have to switch out the lenses on your digital camera and will be able to use your trusty telephoto zoom lens for the whole trip.

Is there a way to add the film look to your digital photos?

The answer is yes! Even if you’re snapping your photos on a digital camera with a telephoto lens, you can still add a grainy film look to your photos after capturing them. Here’s how to make your photos look vintage.

The first and easiest option is to add a retro-inspired filter to your photo when you upload it, which you can do on sharing platforms like Instagram. Or, editing software programs like Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom can mimic film photos. You can experiment with settings such as colour saturation and contrast, add a lens flare effect, and dial up the “noise” in your image to make your photos look grainy and gritty.

Browse film cameras & lenses online

If you’re ready to purchase your travel film camera, chat to the team at Ted’s Cameras or shop the best travel film cameras on their site. Or browse Ted’s Cameras’ telephoto lenses online to capture wildlife photos with amazing quality. Happy holiday planning!

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