Film cameras and film, in general, saw an uptick in sales during the pandemic. (I’m not just saying in 2021, but I’m specifically saying in the pandemic because we’ve been going through two years of this nonsense.) In 2021, The Phoblographer saw sales of lots of film cameras and film through affiliate efforts. But it’s also proving to me that this could be the perfect time for film cameras to return. Why? Well, manufacturers are complaining a lot about global supply chain issues. So why not cut down on the materials needed to create something new? Or better, bring back something old! For this reason, I think 2022 is the best time for film cameras to return.
Some of the biggest issues around cameras currently is that there are shortages on things like motherboards, chips, semiconductors, motors, etc. Now, this isn’t sarcasm at all, but just think about it. Why not eliminate the issue of sensor shortages by making a film camera? Why not bring something back from a nostalgic time when we didn’t need to wear masks all the time? If you will dream with me for a minute here:
- Bring back the Nikon F series camera lineup that were all metal, glass, etc. Nikon has the lenses made already. Lots of them are out there and they could just make the cameras.
- Sony could bring back a Minolta camera or two. I know of a few Sony Artisans that have told Sony to do exactly this.
- Canon doesn’t have to make anymore EF lenses at all. There are lots of them already on the market and they still hold value. But they could easily bring back a film SLR of some sort.
- Pentax, I mean, come on. A pink Pentax film SLR would be cool.
- Fujifilm could bring back a film point and shoot camera of some sort. They basically have all the necessary components within Instax cameras.
- Zeiss could bring back the Contax T2.
- Leica could bring back the M6, though I know I’m dreaming there.
You might say this is a fad, but it isn’t. Digital photography and film photography can absolutely co-exist. We aren’t in the year 2005 anymore and the methods around film photography have evolved. If you’re wondering why you’d shoot film if you can just get the look digitally, then you’re thinking about film wrong. I too, have sometimes just wanted to shoot digitally just for convenience and to save money. But like many of you, I’m passionate about photography. And there are times when nothing can stop me from picking up my M6. My Fujifilm Natura S is my constant party companion. My Mamiya 6 is just plain fun.
Film photography needs to be treated like a passion product all over again. Film cameras can look like pieces of jewelry that you bring with you everywhere. In fact, I just took a break from writing this article to drool over old refurbished film cameras that have been made to look gorgeous. Modern camera manufacturers could do something very similar. A lot of parts could be 3D printed and made in bulk.
I sincerely think it’s time for camera manufacturers to try something else. Instead of looking so deep into the technology of it all (which they still should do), they should also appeal to anyone with a passion for the product.