Q: I am searching to replace my dropped/broken point-and-shoot film camera (was a Nikon but have had other brands). I have not ventured into digital because I always wear polarized prescription bifocal dark glasses outdoors, which requires my switching to nonpolarized clear glasses that generate on/off issues at every shot; I also wish to keep it simple, striving for limited and good first shots; I take landscapes, not people.
Can film still be purchased at/developed by camera stores/big boxes? What is the best resource for obtaining a new or refurbished simple point-and-shoot with telephoto/wide angle possibilities? What would be an appropriate price to pay?
I was always pleased with both my black-and-white and color photos: Disposable cameras yield poor-quality prints, have little or no flash control, and no telephoto or wide-angle possibilities.
I'm a senior who still appreciates the simplicity of film camera procedures and having paper prints not on cards or computers. Yes, they may deteriorate with time, like me, but so far, we're both holding our own!
Thanks for your quick response.
Dear Julie: Ritz Camera stores in southern Connecticut still do one-hour film processing. Check ritzcamera.com, and at the top of the screen, click the well-hidden "Store Locater." Enter your ZIP code and find the store closest to you.
If that's not a hassle-free option, there are still mail-order outfits that develop film, such as Dwayne's Photo in Kansas (www.dwaynesphoto.com). Dwayne's charges $2.99 to develop a 12-exposure roll of 35 mm color film and $4.50 to deliver it to your mailbox, for a total of $7.49.
But to use Dwayne's, you'll need to print out their order form, so I hope you can connect your computer to a printer. If not, call them at 800-522-3940 and ask for assistance.
Film photography is a dying art.
An analyst at market researcher InfoTrends told The Associated Press earlier this summer, "If I extrapolate the trend for film sales and retirements of film cameras, it looks like film will be mostly gone in the U.S. by the end of the decade."
Opening a packet of recently developed pictures forces you to look at each shot, because you have to handle each photo. When digital photos are conveniently jettisoned to the computer for storage, it's so easy to for the eye to skim over the digital thumbnails and overlook a potentially great shot. Using film cameras is good for a lot of reasons in addition to the ones you mention.
Alas, because the film camera market is shrinking, your choices for a camera will be extremely limited. For that reason, it's best to phone someone at a camera store who will listen to what you want and walk you through your options.
Try B&H (800-952-1815), Focus Camera (800-221-0828; they also develop film by mail), Dwayne's Photo (800-522-3940) or the Ritz Camera store nearest you (ritzcamera.com, click "Store Locater" at the top of the page).
Good luck, Julie