The Cameraventures team launched the „Save Analog Cameras“ campaign to look into the current status of film photography in the world and forecast its direction in the near future. Out of the over 4000 form entries that we received from all countries, 244 come from the German-speaking countries of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland (as of 04.07.2017). From these group, 211 entries were answered using our English-language form and the remaining 33 were from our German-language form. To our fellow German-speaking analog photographers, we are very thankful for your participation and contribution to our movement! If you haven’t yet filled up our form, you can do so here: https://cameraventures.com/save-analog-form.
Developing and scanning film is the part of film photography that no one likes to do yet everyone has an opinion on how to do it. But in the German-speaking region of Europe, most analog photographers prefer to walk the talk, developing and scanning films by themselves, especially if shot on black-and-white film. For many, this is an essential part of the whole process and as such must be done to taste as well, and some think that it is cheaper in the long run.
The German-language results show this trend: 60% would prefer developing film by themselves. Out of this result, 33% do so because they are better, 25% do so because it is cheaper, and 20% do so because it is faster. The rest of the participants (40%) would send their film to lab for development, the most recommended being MeinFilmLab (in Hürtgenwald, near Aachen) and the drugstore chains dm or Rossmann, as both offer a three-day film development service (printing and CD delivery included).
The English-language still show this trend, as 38% would develop their film by themselves, however a similar number of photographers would send their film to a local lab for development instead (35%), followed by those sending their film to a lab with an online service (14%) and finally through other means (12%). Out of those who would prefer self-developing their film, 37% say that it is cheaper, 34% say that get better results, and 29% say that it is faster. With regards to their recommendations, they still point to the same places as above, but in addition a few recommended some international shops and labs like Indie Film Lab and Carmencita Film Lab (United States), AG-Photographic (United Kingdom), and local labs too like PhotoStudio13 (Leinfelden-Echterdingen), Foto Gregor (Cologne/Hamburg/Hannover/Munich), and Jet Foto (Berlin).
A similar trend also emerges when the participants were asked about their scanning choices. Almost all would admit to digitize their negatives (with 15 English and two German-language responses saying that they do not); most English- and German-language participants say that they scan their films by themselves since they develop it themselves (29% and 40% respectively) and that they make better results (23% and 25%). 26% of the results say that they would let the same place, where they send their films to be developed, scan their film. Finally, 11% would have other means of digitizing their film, such as using a digital camera and a macro lens to take photos of the negatives.
From these results we can see that German, Austrian, and Swiss photographers indeed love the process of analog photography and believe that development and scanning are part of the whole film photography process and experience, despite the labor and time needed. Nevertheless for those who do not have enough time to spend, film labs are ready and waiting to process and digitize your photographs – for a fee, of course.