In a world where most things are instant (and Instagrammable), there's a certain nostalgia in exploring timeless hobbies that make us slow down and enjoy the process (pun intended).
Film effects are a desired aesthetic on social media these days, so why not get the look organically through your actual camera? With more time to explore hobbies and get back to the simple things, it's no surprise that many are turning to analog photography as an exciting adventure and escape from today's busy world.
Toronto’s Downtown Camera is the go-to place for all things analog photography. From instant, disposable to professional cameras and at home processing kits, they’ve got it all. Whether you’re new to the craft or you’re a seasoned pro, their shop will certainly cater to all your photographic needs.
Since Downtown Camera is independently and Canadian-owned, you can support local while snapping away to your heart's content. New customers who mention having read this Narcity article can get an extra 5% off their order and sign up for the annual AMFM Membership for just $15. Another added bonus: you'll also get a free roll of Kodak film!
Here are eight things you can purchase to level up your photography quarantine hobby.
1. A Hassle-Free Way To Develop Your Next Memory
If you've been shooting tons as of late and have rolls and rolls of film to develop, then there’s some good news for you. No matter where you live in Canada, new and seasoned analog shooters alike can send their film off for developing at Downtown Camera.
The shop will also be launching their new Analog website soon, where you'll be able to find more in depth information and support regarding film processing and purchase options.
During lockdown, keep your distance with mail-in service or drop off mail box service. All rolls are developed and finished in-house for both black and white and colour film of all sizes using their dip and dunk machines. They also have outlab partners that can develop E6 slide film! After developing the film, they can digitize your images, send them to your email and/or print them out for you.
Downtown Camera will always return your negatives after completing orders if you didn’t request to destroy them.
2. The Ultimate Beginner's Film Camera
Curious about analog photography and that oh-so-desired film aesthetic but not ready to shell out the big bucks just yet? Ease into analog with a disposable camera.
You can start and end your shoot at Downtown Camera: drop off or mail in your expended camera for development and you'll have your precious Kodak moments in no time!
Fun for parties, road trips, and outdoor adventures, a disposable camera makes snapping some quality shots a breeze.
3. An Analog Shooter's Essential: Film
Chances are, you've found at least one working 35mm camera in a relative's basement or you nabbed an old Canon film camera with a multi-lens set at a garage sale last summer. Now all you need is film.
With one of the largest collections of film in Canada the possibilities are endless.
If you're looking to get a little creative, try film with an experimental effect or colour tone built right into the roll, like the Psych Blues. Add a unique twist with colours ranging from pink to fuchsia and red straight out of the camera — no edits or filters necessary!
4. A Cult-Fave Medium Format Camera
For quite a while now, portability has become a main factor in how photographers choose their gear. If only they knew the many creative options they are sacrificing for the sake of carrying a few less pounds around on their shooting expeditions...
If you’re one of the passionate souls who dares to explore the world of Medium Format Camera, you are likely aware of the finesse of grain and incomparable texture they produce in their images, making them perfect for large prints. While these cameras may be slightly bulkier than the standard 35mm ones, they capture more detailed photos with better tonality and smoother gradation.
5. An Analog Club Membership
Whether you’re new to the analog world or an already seasoned pro, this membership helps you connect with other analog shooters in the AMFM Club.
Short for "Analog Member/Film Member," it’s Downtown Camera's homage to analog radio in a digital world.
Besides becoming a part of a new community, AMFM club members enjoy perks like 25% off all Kodak film and chemistry, 10% off all other films, exclusive deals and more.Typically $25 per year, membership is free with an analog purchase of $150 and more. With their $10 discount, students and teachers pay only $15 per year. And if you mention this Narcity article, you can also snag it at that price!
Oh, and helpful hint: if you get your card stamped each time, on your 10th stamp, you’ll get a free development and scan!
6. A Steady Helping Hand
You've mastered the point and shoot and now you're looking to get a little creative with night photography, catching light trails or smooth flowing water. Your new best friend is a quality tripod.
After all, if you want to take an awesome picture of the Toronto skyline, you’re going to need a tripod to achieve this; plus, you might want to consider getting a light meter as well, since we all know top notch lighting equals a top notch photo.
If you're looking for a great starter, the Benro Slim Tripod Kit is a lightweight aluminum addition to your kit. Don't let the slim build fool you — a weight hook is located underneath the centre column for windy conditions.
If you're ready for the next step up in quality tripods, the Manfrotto BeFree GT Aluminum Tripod is a top travel option.
7. Fuji Instax instant film Camera
It may have seemed like instant cameras were going to disappear with the ‘90s, but if there’s something vinyls have taught us it’s that some technologies are classic and immortal.
When it comes to taking pictures with a Fuji Instax Instant Film Camera, it combines the spontaneity of shooting with your phone, with the image quality and feel of organic photography.
Plus, you’re sure to enjoy your mementos all the more in physical form, rather than keeping them sealed from view on some hard drive at the bottom of a drawer you haven’t opened in 3 years.
8. Essentials For Your Own At-Home Darkroom
As you get into analog, you'll find the excitement doesn't stop at just shooting.
The thrill is in the whole creative process — from composing a shot to developing your negatives.
You can easily set up your at-home darkroom with a few key accessories like this Paterson Universal Film Tank, a light-sealed changing bag, and, of course, the chemistry needed to turn your negatives into keepsakes.
Now that you're all set to begin shooting your quarantine photo series, don't forget to mention Narcity for an extra 5% off your order!
With their expertise and passion, Downtown Camera is where photography lives. Not only do they have a wide selection of film, chemistry, and photo-finishing services, but they also offer the latest digital photography gear and accessories.
Are you ready to start your photography journey?