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A decade after it was written off as a relic of the twentieth century, traditional camera film is making a comeback as young consumers enjoy discovering the joys of old-fashioned photography.
Described as the "vinyl effect", sales of 35mm film and the rare 120mm film, have increased substantially in the last year, with some independent camera shops saying they are processing far more traditional pictures than digital snaps.
According to Harman Technology, the company which bought Ilford – the country's best known black and white photography supplier – after it collapsed, sales of film have increased by about 8 per cent over the last year, following years of decline.
Steven Brierley, the sales manager at Harman and one of the team that rescued the company, said: "Many young people see it as something cool. They want to do something different than point their mobile camera and take a picture.
"Shooting in black and white is very exciting."
It is a sales trend that echoes the surprising renaissance of vinyl records – one of the few areas of the music market that is actually seeing an increase in turnover, from a very low base. Last year 243,000 records were bought.
Edgar England, the manager of West End Cameras, a shop in central London, said that he was processing between 10 per cent and 15 per cent more traditional pictures than a year ago, with traditional film outstripping digital prints by a ration of 25 to one.
He said: "A lot of people who are too young to have known anything other than digital enjoy learning proper technique on a manual camera. With a digital you shoot ten or 20 shots, pick the best one, and delete the rest. You can't do that with a 35mm camera. And watching it develop is magical."
Manual cameras were thought to be consigned to history once digital cameras took off, and especially once all mobile phones came with one included. In 2005 Dixons stopped selling them, saying the market had collapsed. In 2008 they were dropped from the official Consumer Prices Index used by the Office for National Statistics to measure inflation.
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