I have shot all sorts of film, and it really is a most enjoyable process. There is nothing like nailing the exposure and focus on a manual film camera, be it TLR, Rangefinder, Medium Format, or SLR. Film allows you to approach your shooting sessions differently, giving you an almost extra sense of awareness. You know you are limited to a small number of shots, and more than likely only an exposure meter to help you.
All bets are off! No IBIS, no autofocus (unless you have one that autofocuses - you dude you!), and no memory card for hundreds of shots. It’s just you, your skill as a photographer, and potentially the aid of someone else developing your film.
So you have nailed your exposures, and most of your focus (you think). You re-wind your roll, pop it in a safe place, and run it down to get developed. You hand over your cassette of powerful unique images to the tired assistant, and pay for services rendered.
If like me you ask them to develop only, and scan yourself, then you get home take off your lenses and cloths off of your scanner, blow away the dust with an air duster- because you are Thor and command the powerful wind like a mother bitch! You scan Tiff files, open them into lightroom just to clean them up a tad- oh white balance you cheeky sod you... - and then everything is not what you imagined.
The film looks grainy and overexposed for a 100ASA fine grain film. Shamone! You exclaim aloud. Double-u-tee-eff you venture. you check your camera and have a long hard think about your shooting. The camera is fine, your light meter is accurate, your exposure was pretty standard. Clearly the issue lies else where; clearly someone else is to blame for ruining your modern retro take on moments captured in life! Well my friend, welcome to film.
Now, I am very much aware the developing where I get my film developed is not how I would ultimately love it done, and how I have in the past. However, they are usually very competent. Unfortunately for me, I get the impression the person that had film developed before me had his film pushed, and the settings on the C-41 machine were possibly not reset. This itself is not really an issue, lucky for them I am a street shooter and grainy images are fine with me.
What irks me is I was trying to go for the less grainy look for once, but such is life. You just have to except when you shoot film there are so many factors that go into the whole process that is out of your control, that you just have to accept the results as they are given. It could have been a combination of things, including the fact I may or may subconsciously not like the film I shot.
Regardless, less re-freshened. When you shoot film enjoy it for what it is, and except the many imperfections. I enjoyed the rest of the day, had good coffee, good food, lovely walks, and some cool moments. A perfect imperfection would have been the icing on the cake, but it became a lesson in reality.
I will always recommend shooting film, as it is fun and challenging. I still recommend it now. I also recommend patience and lowering ones expectations to match the situation at hand.
Happy shooting - Sly.