film photography

Canon EOS-1V Review

Introduction to the Canon EOS-1V

When it was released in the year 2000, it was the greatest film camera ever made. In 2019... It is the greatest film camera ever made. 

OK, perhaps claims of it being the best is  somewhat debatable. Some may argue that Nikon’s f5 of 1996 was up there with the Canon 1V. But one thing is for sure, the Canon 1v represents the pinnacle of professional sports film cameras. It was the end of an era; The end of the line for flagship film cameras. It would be just two years later that Canon would release the digital 1D. We face something similar today in which the upcoming (yet to be announced) Canon 1DX iii, will likely bookend the legacy of the EF mount DSLR. I suspect we will see an RF mount version based on it within the next two years of its release. 

Canon 1V with my 85mm 1.8.

Canon 1V with my 85mm 1.8.

How I got my 1V

I got my Canon 1v a few years ago when I realized that the poor college kid who could never afford decent gear could now easily buy Canon’s best for a mere $499. At the time of writing this article, they seem to be going for closer to $700 on average. Mine was in brand new condition and I was able to order it on Amazon. 

But fulfilling my former, poorer self’s dreams was not the only reason to pick up a 1V. There are more and better reasons for having this camera other than having the best in class.


If you’re at all familiar with current pro DSLRs by Canon, you will feel right at home with the 1V. It’s form factor and button layout are all very Canon-like. I am able to use my 1V exactly as I would my 5diii. Including with back button focus, one of the most important things to me. The only thing you will find missing is  a controller to set your auto focus point. Rather, setting your focus point is achieved by pressing the [•::::•] button and use a combination of your shutter dial and rear controller to move your focus. To this day, you can still set your focus point this way on most Canon cameras- even those with directional controllers. 

Truthfully, as a working professional, this would be a non starter for me with any new piece of gear. But although I would find a focus point controller welcome, I have found that not having one is not too much of a hindrance and I quickly got used to setting my focus point this way. In fact I have felt right at home shooting professional work this way and in practice it has hardly affected my hit rate of keepers. 

Canon 1V with 70-200mm f2.8 and the 24-70mm f2.8

Canon 1V with 70-200mm f2.8 and the 24-70mm f2.8

It’s The Lenses, Stupid

In addition to being instantly familiar with the layout and feel of the 1v, it is entirely compatible with all of my pro glass. Every EF lens I own works flawlessly with the 1V, including those with image stabilization. I have even used vintage m-42 glass on it using an adapter I bought for my 5diii.

Using this camera with all of my pro lenses is like living the dream of my former self. Sure, I have been shooting with pro glass professionally for 10 years, but that was always on digital bodies mostly doing work for other people. Shooting on the 1V is for me. 

EX Flash Compatibility

The 1V is completely compatible with all EX and EZ flash units. I even use Canon’s latest flagship flash, the 600 EX II-RT. Using TTL, the flash works exactly as it should and you can expect consistent results as you would with digital. 

Build Quality, Durability, and Whether Sealing

The EOS-1V is almost entirely made of magnesium alloy. It is robust and feels great in the hand. This is a camera that can take a beating in just about any condition. But more importantly, as a Canon shooter, using it is a pure joy. 

I personally really enjoy shooting with a variety of film cameras. I especially enjoy the ones with the most quirks (Anscomark m, Rollei 35s, Voigtlander Vito ii, etc.), often making them the most difficult to use. But when I want a camera that just does the job, effortlessly and in a way I am used to when working, I choose the 1V. 


Curved, with rounded edges, the Canon 1V is a camera that embraces design ethos of the 90s. It is a minimal camera. Missing are certain dedicated dials like you would find in the Minolta Alpha 9 or Nikon F5. The top left plate has just 3 buttons to control 7 different functions. Changing certain things like drive mode require you to press two buttons in unison and then rotating your shutter dial.

top left plate of the canon 1v.

top left plate of the canon 1v.

Although I am someone that really enjoys the tactile experience of using a camera, the truth is that Canon’s choice in how you operate the camera in no way slow you down once you are used to it. In fact, by clustering everything together so that they are all operated in a similar way, I think there is an argument that the 1V is more efficient than having to reposition your hand to change various dials.

I’ll be honest, as a long time Canon shooter, I have always visually admired the hard lines of Nikon cameras. But design-wise, Canon cameras have always just made sense to me.


Feature wise, the 1V is designed for working professionals. It’s 45 Autofocus are fast even today. Everything a working professional needs is at their fingertips and nothing more. Because I want to focus on sharing what it is like to use the camera, I am going to avoid listing off specs here. However, will link to a resource for that and to a full spec sheet at the end of this article. 

Interesting Features Worth Noting

The Canon is capable of roll number imprinting. Is this feature useful to you? Maybe not. I have yet to use it, but I may play around with it a bit. I think this was most useful in determining who shot what when multiple rolls are developed by a team of photographers. 

The 1V also tracks exposure data. For sure this could come in handy, but accessing it requires dated software on  a dated computer. It’s not worth the trouble to me.

With the 1V you can register a focus point so that you can instantly return to it. This feature is still present in current Canon cameras. I do not use it too often, but I am sure to some it may be helpful. By default, this is set to the middle autofocus point.

My favorite interesting feature of the 1V is the ability to set it to leave your film leader out when you rewind. As someone that develops all their films at home, I love not having to break open a roll to load it onto a reel. Click here to see my savage method of opening film cassettes. 

Rear view of the Canon 1V.

Rear view of the Canon 1V.

Purchasing the 1V

If it’s not already clear to you, any film shooter with existing L grade glass that wants top notch shooting experience and quality of images should own a 1V. When searching for a 1V keep in mind that there are two versions: the base 1V and the 1V HS. The HS model is identical but includes a battery grip that brings its shooting speed up to 10 FPS. However there are 3 different grips that are compatible with the camera in total. I personally use one I rescued from a Canon 1n. It had lots of battery corrosion, but with some white vinegar and q tips I was able to clear it up. 

I bought my 1V on Amazon just a few years ago for $499 with prime shipping and it was worth every penny. It was in like new condition and included the box with all its accessories. At the time of writing this article, prices seem to be averaging around $700 and I doubt they are in the condition mine was in. 

The 1V was a camera built for and used by working professionals. It is not a Leica or collectors item. Because of this, you can expect a fair amount of them to be beat up by now. However, it stayed in production until somewhat recently so you should be able to find some in solid condition.


For any film shooter with existing EF glass, the 1V is a must own piece of equipment. 

If you’re shooting a mix of film and digital, throw it in your bag and effortlessly swap between the two without the need for separate lenses. 

If you want a professional grade film camera that reliably gets the job done with the modern features you’ve come to love and rely on, then the Canon 1V will feel right at home, all while delivering  top notch image quality from your pro lenses.

In the digital age, the best film camera of 2000 will stay the best for the foreseeable future. Do yourself a favor and get one now. 

My First Roll with the Anscomark M

Anscomark M a Quirky But Fantastic Rangefinder

I recently shot my first roll with the Anscomark M, a little known, but incredible vintage camera. I hope you enjoy it! I will complete a full review of the camera down the road.

Until then, heres a little bit of information about the Anscomark M:

The Anscomark M is a 35mm rangefinder style film camera released by Ansco around. 1960. Although an Ansco branded camera, it was manufactured by Ricoh and sold as the Ricoh 999 in Japan. Fun note, Ricoh is still a big manufacturer of cameras although not well known. Today, Pentax cameras are in fact Ricoh cameras with Pentax branding. The Anscomark M has An internal leaf shutter. Three lenses were made: a 35mm, 50mm lens, and 100mm lenses. The camera included frame lines for each! The camera's nameplate flips up to reveal a selenium meter coupled to the lens's aperture. Exposure is achieved using a match needle. The Anscomark m is non mainstream in its design in that the body has a bottom-mounted film advance lever, and a peculiar shaped triangular shutter release located in the front of the camera.

Bulk Film Loader

Bulk Film Loader

Thank you so much for this, David. I will have a video coming soon on how to use this bulk film loader as well as how to use a camera that takes a 126 cartridge. I believe that I should be able to load it with film from the bulk loader. I've already loaded it up with Adox APX 25, a super slow film.

Heres some info on the Legacy Pro Lloyd 35mm Bulk Loader:

"Legacy Pro 63000 Overview Designed to be economical when shooting 35mm roll film, the Lloyd 35mm Daylight Bulk Film Loader from Legacy Pro allows you to load your own 35mm film cassettes for use. This classic daylight loading machine accepts one 100' roll of 35mm film, which can then be manually spooled out into individual cassettes for use. A helpful guide is also printed on the front of the machine to indicate the number of cranks needed to produce 12-, 18-, 24-, and 36-exposure rolls."

I have been a professional photographer for 10 years while teaching photography at the same time. Follow the links below to see my work.

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Why I Shoot Film

Why I Shoot Film

There are a lot of reasons to shoot film, many of which I am sure you've heard. But this video is about why I shoot film. It all comes down to this: I shoot film as a reaction to the over perfected and curated images everywhere we turn. So what is it about film that counters that?

1. the implicit understanding that an iconic moment or any decisive moment came down to the photographer's timing. When you know the photographer used a camera with a 30 frame per second burst, images can feel less significant.

2. Imperfection. Back in college I wanted my film photographs to be perfect. But it made sense back then: film was your only option for the most part of making an image. But now that that has changed, I like my film work to have some imperfection at times.

I have been a professional event photographer in Los Angeles for 10 years. I also teach photography at Barnsdall Art Center. Follow the links below to see my work.

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My New Favorite Black and White Film


AGFA APX 25 is my new favorite film! Will I use it often? Probably not. Since it's been discontinued for some time now, I am going to cherish what I have left. Although the results when developed in Diafine were unremarkable, this film truly shines in Rodinal. Personally, this is the finest grained film with the best tonal range of anything I have shot so far. Let me know your thoughts! I have been a professional event photographer in Los Angeles for 10 years while teaching photography at the same time.

Follow the links below to see my work.

Instagram | @retrograding

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Instagram | @retrograding

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Anscomark M Film Camera

Anscomark M Film Camera

The Anscomark M is the sturdiest camera I have ever held. "Built like a tank," is one of the most overused expressions when it comes to cameras, but it really does apply here; We are talking WWI era tank to be clear ;) This camera is feature-full from built in selenium light meter, threaded cable release hidden below the shutter button, to it's interchangeable lenses. Unfortunately it can be very hard to find lenses for this camera if you can even find the camera at all. I am looking forward to shooting with this camera and I'm very excited to share my results with you all!

I have been a professional event photographer for 10 years while teaching photography at the same time. Follow the links below to see my work. Instagram | @retrograding Facebook | Instagram | @retrograding Facebook |

My Film Camera Collection

Here are just a few of my film cameras in my "collection." Consider them my favorites of each type of film camera I have.

Pentax 67

My go to, well my only, medium format camera with interchangeable lenses. Perfect when I am in "work mode." I love this camera, but due to its size its not something I like to carry around with me. But its definitely a work horse.

Rolleiflex 3.5

Possibly my all time favorite film camera to shoot with. There is nothing like shooting with a TLR. It's just an entirely different approach to shooting compared to modern SLR style cameras or even rangefinders. The Rolleiflex is a gorgeous, well built camera.

Canon 1V

A MUST HAVE FOR ANY CANON DSLR SHOOTER. You will feel right at home here. Although its autofocus and burst rates aren't quite up to snuff compared to its modern equivalent, the 1dxii. Theres nothing like shooting film and having pro lens options!

Leica M3

What can be said about the Leica m3 that hasn't already been said by too many to count. It is legendary for a reason. NONE of my other cameras rival its build quality, though some come close in their own ways.

Voigtlander Vito ii

This camera made me fall in love with folding cameras- I want more! It's such a quirky experience, using one. But once you figure it out its such an enjoyable experience and challenge.

Rollei 35 s

My favorite compact camera dependent on a distance scale for focussing. To my knowledge there is nothing that comes close to it in design and quality.

I have been a professional event photographer in Los Angeles for 10 years while teaching photography at the same time. Follow the links below to see my work and be sure to subscribe to my channel on Youtube for more videos


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5 Tips for getting Into Film Photography

Today I have Five tips for those of you just getting into film photography!

5 tips for getting into film photography



Contrary to what many say, (specifically people who have never taught a photography class) I recommend you understand your photography fundamentals FIRST. Yes, an all manual film camera distills photography down to the basics, but if you’re just learning, not being able to see instant results, not to mention the delay in which you will see your work will slow the process of learning down. And that's not to mention that by the time you see your work, you may forget what your settings and lighting conditions were. If you still want to jump right in, I recommend you get either a point and shoot or any camera with an auto feature. DO NOT LISTEN to people saying you learn best on a manual camera. That sounds good on paper, but in practice getting a blank roll back is a huge disappointment and very off putting. You want to be able to get excited about the process- the technical stuff can come later


Maybe you’ve heard that black and white is more pure and all that- and that may be true. But if you’re just starting out I recommend shooting black and white because you have a greater leeway when it comes to properly exposing your image. Color requires you to be more precise. And while on the topic of Film...


400 speed film will give you good amount of flexibility in getting a proper exposure in varying lighting conditions. Sure, it's technically not as “sharp” as a slow speed film, but if you want perfect, you may as well shoot digital.


Film photography is better at preserving the highlights and... When exposing film it’s better to have too much information than too little


One of the many reasons to shoot film is because of how enjoyable the hands on process can be and it’s ability to put you in the moment. Never forget that and have fun!

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Pentax SMC Takumar 1.4 vs Yashinon-DX 1.4

Check out this comparison video between the Pentax Takumar SMC Takumar 1.4 and the Yashica Yashinon-DX 1.4 I honestly like them both and will probably use them quite differently. The Pentax 1.4 has a warm, rich, earth tone feel. In my opinion it far rivals the Canon 50mm 1.8. I did not find any cons to it. The Yashica Yashinon-DX is quite a bit different. I was surprised by how much it flared, which lead me to believe that it must have had haze in it. I didn't find any. More light just seem to transport through it and it has an overall cooler, flatter profile. The cool thing about these lenses are their compatibility. If any film camera with an M42 mount can take them or use them digitally with an adapter. What do you all think?

Using Vintage Lenses on the Canon M50

Shooting with vintage lenses on the Canon M50 is so much fun. Even though you lose your autofocus when doing so, getting footage with character is awesome- and affordable! I will be experimenting with shooting with my m50 and vintage lenses for a while. I have to say, I am liking the m50 more everyday.

Videos of the Canon fd 50mm 1.8, Pentax 50mm 1.4, Minolta 58mm 1.4, and the Yashica 50mm 1.4

How to Find Cheap Film Cameras

If you're looking to get into film photography but you're on a budget, I highly recommend looking at cameras from manufacturers you may not be familiar with. Some of my favorites come from Yashica and Konica. At this point perceived value of old cameras far outweighs their original costs.

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Rollei 35s with Supra 400

The Rollei 35s is still one of my favorite film cameras. Here is an update on what it's been like shooting with it. Scale focussing can still be a limitation, but that will largely depend on what kind of shooting you do. For street photography, it's a gem. Stay tuned for more film camera updates!

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Pentax 67 diopter (why I almost sold my Pentax 67)


The Pentax 67 does not have a built in diopter. Rather, if you wear glasses, you will need to purchase an aftermarket eye piece. Well it turns out that whoever owned this camera before me did just that which is why it always looked blurry to my eyes.

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5 Reasons You Should Get the Canon A1

Canon A-1

Canon A-1

More Camera

You may be familiar with the Canon AE-1, perhaps Canon’s most iconic manual focus film cameras. The AE-1 has surely secured its position as an icon. And as such, with the resurgence of film, commands quite a price. At the time of writing this article, an AE-1 can run up to $250.

Conversely, the Canon A-1 is far less iconic of a camera. Yet it is a superior camera in most ways. The Canon A-1 sits atop Canon’s prosumer line of the era and features full manual control, shutter priority, aperture priority and full auto control.

Build Quality

The Canon A-1 is built with more premium materials than the AE-1 or some of its competitors such as Minolta’s X-700.

canon a-1 features


During the production run of the A-1, there were over 50 lenses available. That means there are lots of options and lots of them out there.

Be proud

Proudly smirk at all those suckers with an AE-1, knowing you have more camera.


You can get an A1 for about $100 at the time of writing this article. That’s not bad at all.

top of Canon a-1