I admit I am a bit unorganised at times and whilst I am trying to be more diligent when it comes to my photo equipment I sometimes forget which film is in which camera. Sometimes I forget to take out (or put in) that little cardboard piece from the film pack and some older cameras don’t even have a holder for it. (Yes, there is always the sello tape option which is what I currently do). And even if I do know what film is in my camera at the moment I might have forgotten all the details about a particular film when I get around to developing it weeks later. Today, I want to look at two apps and services that can help to be more organised about your films and how you used them.
A new service is Film Trackr. It is a web app that works both in your web browser or on pretty much any internet enabled mobile device. You don’t have to install anything (you can save a shortcut on your iPhone’s homescreen, though) but that also means that you have to have an internet connection to use it.
What does it do? Basically, it is nothing more than a dedicated film data base. You can save your camera collection in the data base and then assign films to them. The section “Rolls in Progress” then shows you which one of your cameras holds what film. The information for films include the name, catalogue number (if any), film speed, format, etc. as well as start, end, development, and scan dates.
The only other feature is a statistics function that shows you what cameras you used most, or what film types, how many rolls per month and so on.
Of course, its usefulness depends on how consistently you’re using it. If not, you got the same problem all over again: What’s in that cam? But if you would rather not put too much sticky tape on the back of your Leica this might be the solution. I will try and see how this tool works out in practice.
The great thing about Film Trackr is that it’s easy, device independent, and free.
However, there are some potential improvements:
- Build this as an add-on to Evernote! One less account to create and worry about!
- Let me add information per frame! I recently started using an old school notebook to note down the settings (lens, EI, f-stop, exposure) for every picture I take, because I realised that I would never improve if I could not learn from what I did wrong and what I did right in a photo. I also noted down which camera I used and numbered the films. Thus, what Film Trackr is currently doing is already pretty close to what I’d need… (That’s a hint to you dear developers! ;-)) EDIT: As per John’s comment below this is a feature currently under development!
Having said that, there is hardly anything you can think of that hasn’t been turned into an app already. Welcome PhotoExif for iPhone!
PhotoExif is an iOS app that lets you catalogue your cameras and lenses so that you can record each camera setting, film, geolocation, etc for each of your pictures. It looks very nice, is fairly straightforward to use, and comes with a companion desktop app that allows you to link all the data with the finished, scanned images on your computer. That’s probably the next best thing to having an EXIF-enabled analogue camera (I am only aware of the Nikon F6 in that respect). The app is priced at 1.79 EUR, but the desktop application is free. The only potential downside is that it’s iOS and MacOS only.
Of course I was just as happy using a little notebook but I am going to give it a go. I carry my phone with me anyway – especially when I am using it as a light meter!