Film cameras and devices are cameras that have the main mechanism as same as in digital cameras. The difference is that, instead of using the sensor to capture the image, it uses the film which is a material that is sensitive to light and will react when being exposed to light resulting in a picture. For the process of taking pictures, users will not be able to see those images instantly after shooting like in digital cameras. The used film must be taken through a process called "film developing" which is applying some chemicals on film in a dark room. After the developing process, you will finally get the images you want. In the past when the computer was not that popular, each film will be light-projected to the paper by enlarger machine. So you might need to go through many photo albums to see your filmed photos. However, with the current technology, it makes film photography a lot easier and more convenient. You do not need to develop the film and print it out through the enlarger machine anymore. You can just use the film scanner to directly scan the film to the computer and post them on Facebook or Instagram.
Types of film cameras and devices can be divided into many categories depending on the criteria. Based on the format or the size of the film, we can divide them into 3 types.
1. Small Format: The camera uses a small film such as 35mm film which is the common size we usually use.
2. Medium Format: The camera uses a 120 film format (size 6"x6" or 6"x9").
3. Large Format: The camera uses a large film such as 4x5 inches or larger, which we rarely see in general. It is more difficult to be used than other types because the camera body is bulky. Of course, the photo quality from large format film camera is better than small format film camera due to the large image area which captures more image details as well as the photo dimensions.
However, if we consider the focus systems, they can be divided into two categories.
1. RF film camera (Range Finder): This is a film camera that has the focus system by looking through the viewfinder which is a different channel from the lens. Focusing can be done by the camera's distance meter along with the lens focusing ring adjustment. The focus will have a unique feature called Parallax Focus (double image).
2. SLR film camera (Single Lens Reflex): This is a film camera that will have a focus system through the lens. The image you get will be the same as what you see in the viewfinder. SLR film cameras are developed from RF film cameras by improving their certain weaknesses. However, most RF film cameras are small so it is easy to be carried around. The camera body also looks like an authentic vintage camera that makes you look good by just hanging it around your neck. But there are also disadvantages of this type of film camera. Most RF film cameras cannot change lenses making them less flexible to use. Another disadvantage is the focus of the RF film camera does not look through the lens so the photographers need to make some distance estimation when looking through the viewfinder which requires quite a bit of experience.
Then the SLR film camera is coming in by fixing all of RF camera’s problems. The lens can be changed to focus easily and provide more flexibility. It can create a variety of works, but of course, have to exchange for larger sizes which is more difficult to be carried around (*Current DSLR cameras are digital SLR cameras DLSR = Digital Single Lens Reflex)