Over the past decade or so film photography and the analog industry in general has started to make a great comeback. One of the many steps of this resurgence is the introduction of all the ‘disposable camera apps’ for your mobile phone. These apps have introduced analog photography and other retro film looks to the younger consumers and many other phtoographers.
For those who knew what film was before the apps – these mobile apps are making huge strides in the photography world. It makes ‘shooting film’ significantly cheaper; much, much easier to control, and takes a lot less time than real film would.
For consumers everywhere, Huji and many other film camera apps have provided tons of benefit, so what’s the point of still shooting film?
Let’s take a look.
Huji App vs. Real Film
One thing that’s for sure – whether you’re a fan of real film or film emulation apps, or both – we are all fans of the unique and spontaneous effects that occur in the photography in our everyday lives. That’s one major point that both Huji App and real film have in common and it is a big reason for the success and rise of the app. Let’s check out some more of the similarities and also some differences between the Huji App and real, color negative film.
Some of the common traits we see with real film and the Huji App are the light leaks and sun flares. We see these with regular 35mm and 120mm film all the time if there is an actual leak of light in the camera back or if you are experimenting with your camera/intentionally trying to create some fun light leaks.
On the Huji App, you now have the ability to emulate these light leaks and sun flares and all you need is your mobile phone. These vibrant effects that consumers are raving about are all created at random after you take your photo during the ‘developing’ process and the possibilities seem endless.
This feature, along with some more reasons we will go over, are all huge for the photography community because this has not been done in such a unique way with a mobile device before. Once Huji released their services and the community saw the possibilities on their favorite celebrities’ Instagram accounts, everyone wanted to start ‘shooting film’, or at least emulate that look.
Another major feature that is a fan favorite on the Huji App that is also common with many film cameras we know is the timestamp. the timestamp, or the date in the bottom corner of the screen, is a great way to elicit the feeling of a memory and makes you think of where you were when you captured your photo. Although this is not a feature on all film cameras, it is common with many point and shoot cameras, and especially familiar to those who have used disposable cameras in the past.
HUJI Cam makes your moments as precious as the feelings of analog film with old memories.
See more examples of light leaks on film and HUJI App below:
Although many photographers that use the Huji App are raving about it and more people continue to use it every day, it is still quite different than if you were shooting film. Which is good, and bad, in a sense. If Huji is too good then film might go obsolete, but if Huji isn’t around, then there is no ‘film’ for the mass population of photography consumers.
However, this is something that needs to be understood. Even though film is available, and significantly better than the Huji App to many photographers, there is still a large barrier to entry with film photography. Equipment, costs, time, and everything else along the way takes much longer and creates a lot more stress. This is still one of the major reasons why people don’t shoot film and a big reason why Huji was able to make a name for their product.
With that being said, let’s look at some of these differences, and why I still consider film to be better than the Huji App.
One of the main differences between the two is where the light is coming from. What I mean when I say this is that the light on Huji App will all be manufactured and manipulated. On the contrary, the light on a film slide will be stuck “in” the negative, meaning you can’t move it or make it smaller or bigger, it is simply there. To me, this is more natural. When you have a light leak, it truly means there was a leak in the camera and a tiny particle of light hit the negative that you were shooting on and it became exposed, in an abnormal way, and became engrained into the negative as a light leak that you would then see while scanning your film.
With the Huji App, you will be using a post-processing filter to add in light on top of your photo, and although it may look similar, a trained eye can still tell that there is photo underneath, which would not be there on a film negative.
See more examples of time stamps on film and Huji below:
This same note can be applied for the timestamp as well. When a photo is taken on a film camera with a timestamp feature, the camera automatically stamps the date into your negative, meaning that it is not something that you add in after the picture has been taken, it is just naturally engrained onto your film negative. With the Huji App, you can see that the timestamp is actually a little bit fluorescent and uses a slightly different font than many normal film cameras as it sits atop the image.
Another major component of film that can be a hassle to deal with, and is irrelevant to Huji users, is dust. With real film you will need to scan your negatives if you’d like to get have them digitized. This is a very time-consuming aspect to film photography, but it is also where your skill and knowledge truly shows. When scanning, it is difficult to not get any dust, hair, or junk on your slides/scanner, even if you are using clean micro-fiber cloth and an air tank to blow everything off the glass. See an example of what a raw scan looks like vs. what a cleaned-up negative looks like below.
Regardless of the similarities and differences, some consumers will still choose to shoot film and some consumers will still continue to use Huji.
As an advocate and user of both, I will say the funniest part about the division between the two is that Huji consumers don’t care about the subtle differences, and film consumers don’t care for the ease of use and time saved. It seems to be all a preference issue and truly, that’s fine with us. As long as you’re having fun while you’re shooting!
Huji photo contributions provided by Tessa Houston.