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View Poll Results: How do you use film (if at all)?

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  • Love it! Use it nearly all of the time.

    4 10.26%
  • Use it nearly equally with digital.

    4 10.26%
  • Use it very occasionally, primarily for special projects.

    12 30.77%
  • Thinking about using it again, haven’t got back into it.

    13 33.33%
  • What’s film? Never heard of it

    6 15.38%
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  1. #1
    Nature/Wildlife Forum Co-Moderator Loupey's Avatar
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    Film: Hello or Goodbye?

    For many years I've been wanting to get some of my early work (medium format) scanned. But waiting for medium format film scanner prices to come down and not wanting to send my originals out to be drum scanned and whatever other excuses kept me from digitizing my work.

    I finally got my hands on an Epson Perfection 4490 flatbed scanner recently and the film scanner feature worked quite well (better than I expected actually). Not wanting to rescan and reprocess these images in the near future, I scanned my images at 4800x4800 dpi. The resulting 48-bit images were over 400 MB each! Needless to say, cleaning up these images has not been very fun - and before I thought the occasional dust speck on the sensor was "inconvenient"

    I was contemplating going back to shooting film (I kept all my MF and some 35mm pieces). But this whole process got me second-guessing myself. The ease of digital, the wide latitude of digital, and the sharpness of digital imaging sensors make it tough to "go back". So I thought I'd post a poll (hope it works, never done one of those before). Also, if you have some additional thoughts, comments, or sample images of when you used film, please feel free to post them here.

    This shot was taken with my Bronica ETRS (6x4.5) probably with my 50mm and warming filter (can't recall exactly now). The stranger was incidental and I actually remember being a little upset that he was there at the time - worked out well now. Fuji Velvia film.
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  2. #2
    Learning more with every "click" mjs1973's Avatar
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    Re: Film: Hello or Goodbye?

    I hear ya Loupey. I use film on occasion, but not very often. I have 2 rolls of B&W film I need to develop, and a bag full of E-6 film in the freezer. I use it on special occasions, like a big trip and things like that. I love the look of E-6 film, but getting it digitized is a pain in the butt.

    I do want to try to shoot with a 4x5 sometime, but I'm not in a hurry to go down that road. I know that if/when I do, it will only be used a few times, so I can't justify the cost. Still something I want to do. I would actually like to build my own 4x5 camera.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member danic's Avatar
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    Re: Film: Hello or Goodbye?

    I bought digital, then got into film.

    It does have unique qualities that I feel can't be replicated in PS. Some people will differ with me. It doesn't bother me. I do know some people still use film for long night exposures, as digital can't compare there.

    The only thing stopping me using film at the moment is the lack of time to develop and scan. I have everything sitting in the bathroom ready to go, including a roll.

    I really like this photo. I've been meaning to get it printed as large as I can....one day



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  4. #4
    Senior Member LightBright's Avatar
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    Re: Film: Hello or Goodbye?

    Film will always be here. I love film and I love digital. My dad always complains how much film costs and asks me why I still sometimes use it. I think in today’s society they think newer usually mean's better. Film has all the potential digital has and vice versa. If everything wasn’t so driven on money, I bet that film can be improved beyond what we think its limits are. But to tell you the truth, I think film's "limits" gives it potential. Lets face it, digital gives us amazing control or to much control over the image. This is good and bad to some. For example like air line pilots, I bet they would absolutley hate it if there planes can fly 20,000 mph safley, but most of there passangers would absolutely love it. Sort of the Same with digital, I dont like the fact that I can replecate anything on the computer rather than doing it in real life. Captureing a breed of flying elephants in real life is almost imposible but in digital, we can digitally put it in the photograph. Thats not to say that all digital photographers do this, I certainl dont. I my self shoot digital most of the time, and I never tweek my photos too much. FILM FILM FILM!!

    Really great shots guys or girls!!! I got to get me self a decent scanner
    Last edited by LightBright; 02-27-2009 at 09:33 PM.

  5. #5
    light wait photophorous's Avatar
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    Re: Film: Hello or Goodbye?

    Loupey, that's a fantastic shot! It would be great with out the guy, but I think it's even better with him there.

    There are many things that contribute to the allure of film for me, but frankly, one of the biggest is the cameras. I like turning the film advance lever, I like focusing manually, I like turning an aperture ring, I like big bright viewfinders with matte screens, and I like the simplicity, solid feel and small size of 70s & 80s manual focus bodies. I like the huge selection of fast, sharp, small and solidly built prime lenses that can be had for cheap. And most of all, I like how all of this comes together to force me to pay attention and think about what I'm doing. I guess I'm the kind of person that needs that. If someone would make a full frame digital camera body that had the form of a small 70s or 80s manual focus body, and the same basic features, just with a digital sensor and no film, I'd buy it and I'd use it a lot more than I use my 450D. But, I'd still shoot film.

    Film will probably get more expensive and there will be less and less variety, but it is still being improved and it will be a very long time before it's gone completely, if ever.

    Paul

    Last edited by photophorous; 02-27-2009 at 09:38 PM.

  6. #6
    Co-Moderator, Photography as Art forum megan's Avatar
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    Re: Film: Hello or Goodbye?

    I only shoot digital because the client demands it. I need to be able to give them images fairly immediately. For my personal work, which is no small hobbyist endeavor, I shoot film. I develop in my bathroom, on the average, 2x a week. Both mediums have their advantages. I like burning a CD and sending it off to the client and being done with it. I also love sitting in my bathroom, agitating every 30 seconds, and anticipating magic when the images are finally revealed. I hope film never goes away.
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  7. #7
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    Re: Film: Hello or Goodbye?

    Funny that you posted this. I bought two rolls of film today. After two years of learning my dslr, I thought I'd see if I have actually learned how to take a picture without the lcd/histogram and the knowledge that I could "tweak" it in PS. (I won't be developing my own).

    And because it's more expensive than digital, I'm going to try use it in an effort to slow down and think about my shots a bit more.

    I'm calling it the "film experiment". ;)

  8. #8
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    Re: Film: Hello or Goodbye?

    Frankly, I think you might want to keep up with film if only for the advantages of the Medium Format size and lenses. For the stuff you do now, maybe don't go for a 48-bit scan (seriously, anything over 16 bits is going to be major overkill), and scan the stuff you know is really good at the higher quality.

    I just got myself a 6x7 camera, actually, because I wanted the advantages of the MF system and to start working with film seriously.
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  9. #9
    Mtn Bike Rider Singletracklovr's Avatar
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    Re: Film: Hello or Goodbye?

    I remember the first time(1968) my Dad helped me develop my first roll of B&W film using the little black plastic thingy(one step something).

    And then he showed me the magic you could do with the photo enlarger.
    Very fond memories...The digital generation will miss those experiences.
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  10. #10
    Nature/Wildlife Forum Co-Moderator Loupey's Avatar
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    Re: Film: Hello or Goodbye?

    Thank you, everyone, for the thoughtful posts - I very much enjoyed reading them.

    While I hope this thread does not become a which-is-better-thread, I do see the allure of using film (again). I too think and hope that film will be around for a long time.
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  11. #11
    Nature/Wildlife Forum Co-Moderator Loupey's Avatar
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    Re: Film: Hello or Goodbye?

    Quote Originally Posted by photophorous
    ...There are many things that contribute to the allure of film for me, but frankly, one of the biggest is the cameras. I like turning the film advance lever, I like focusing manually, I like turning an aperture ring, I like big bright viewfinders with matte screens, and I like the simplicity, solid feel and small size of 70s & 80s manual focus bodies. ...I guess I'm the kind of person that needs that. If someone would make a full frame digital camera body that had the form of a small 70s or 80s manual focus body, and the same basic features, just with a digital sensor and no film, I'd buy it and I'd use it a lot more than I use my 450D...
    That's the big draw for me too and probably the reason why I held on to my equipment. Like cars, "they don't build them like they used to" and for good reasons.

    In scanning my images, I discovered that these images are not at sharp as I had expected. It very well may be the consumer grade scanner at fault here, but the fine detail is not as well rendered. Something I couldn't see directly by using a 10x loupe.

    I wonder if my current Canon "L" lenses are actually sharper than my older medium format stuff. Too bad I can't mount new lenses on old bodies to shoot film (I have a 35mm film back also) - fun to think about tho
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  12. #12
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    Re: Film: Hello or Goodbye?

    Certainly some people will stay stuck in the which-is-better debate, but I prefer to see the two (film/digital) as different, but fundamentally the same, in that they are for capturing images and understanding light.

    Though I also remember the sense of wonder from seeing an image appear, like magic, in the developing bath, I confess to preferring processing digital images on a computer.

    Thanks for the thread, Loupey.

    Cheers,

  13. #13
    Nature/Wildlife Forum Co-Moderator Loupey's Avatar
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    Re: Film: Hello or Goodbye?

    It's fun looking back through the old shots - I see just how few images I took. I couple times I would shoot one scene with a whole roll, perhaps a roll and a half - but that's still less than 2 dozen images Usually it was just 3 or 4 shots.

    I never had a working in-camera meter - usually shot with a waist-level finder or the standard prism finder (mechanical only - no electronics) - so everything had to be meticulously thought out. I eventually bought a used AE prism finder but it never worked right.

    But everything was slowed down. And there didn't seem to be so many other photographers running about

    Another shot. Probably with the 75mm this time. Again the film was the Fuji Velvia (my film of choice).
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  14. #14
    Learning more with every "click" mjs1973's Avatar
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    Re: Film: Hello or Goodbye?

    I'm in the same boat as danic in regards to getting into film AFTER digital. I did shoot film long before digital came around, but I would consider my film days as nothing more than snapshots. I had no idea different types of film gave different results. I had no idea that the lab was making changes for me, no idea there was a difference in the quality of lenses etc. When I got my first DSLR in 2004 it was a huge eye opener. I really started to get into photography and I leared a great deal in that first year. The practice I got with my DSLR, gave me the confidence to know how to use the manual settings on my film cameras. From there, I took a B&W film class, started experimenting with different types of films and went from there. Here is an image I shot back in 2004 on Velvia 50. I think this was shot with my AE-1. It was scanned my a PR member (Loren) who I haven't seen around in a while. The file size from the 35mm slide is 107MB at 5295x3530 pixels. It was scanned with a Nikon Coolscan. If I remember correctly he used the 8000 model.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Film:  Hello or Goodbye?-mjs_car_tiff.jpg  
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  15. #15
    Learning more with every "click" mjs1973's Avatar
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    Re: Film: Hello or Goodbye?

    This discussion reminds me of a discussion I heard on a podcast earlier this week. They were talking about the current #1 song. I don't remember what the song was, but it was a remake, or had parts of an older song in it. They were talking about how the younger generation doesn't have any clue that the song is a remake, because they had never heard the original. I wonder, is the same thing is going to happen to film some day, or is it already happening? Do some young people only know photography through digital?
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  16. #16
    Nature/Wildlife Forum Co-Moderator Loupey's Avatar
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    Re: Film: Hello or Goodbye?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cathathome
    Certainly some people will stay stuck in the which-is-better debate, but I prefer to see the two (film/digital) as different, but fundamentally the same, in that they are for capturing images and understanding light.

    Though I also remember the sense of wonder from seeing an image appear, like magic, in the developing bath, I confess to preferring processing digital images on a computer.

    Thanks for the thread, Loupey.

    Cheers,
    I think a student of photography today, using only digital equipment, has the same appreciation and will require the same understanding of light as those who grew up with only film.

    The tools are different. The fundamentals are the same. The final result is up to the individual.

    Several years ago I was shocked to learn that my son's elementary "progressive" school did not offer handwriting courses (no cursive whatsoever) because they felt it was obsolete. Kids were still taught to "write" but without writing.

    Despite our best efforts, my son still has terrible handwriting. But loves English and excels in class...
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  17. #17
    Nature/Wildlife Forum Co-Moderator Loupey's Avatar
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    Re: Film: Hello or Goodbye?

    Quote Originally Posted by mjs1973
    Here is an image I shot back in 2004 on Velvia 50. I think this was shot with my AE-1. It was scanned my a PR member (Loren) who I haven't seen around in a while. The file size from the 35mm slide is 107MB at 5295x3530 pixels. It was scanned with a Nikon Coolscan. If I remember correctly he used the 8000 model.
    Mike, this is a GORGEOUS image! The subtle hues and the whites are a perfect match for film IMO.
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  18. #18
    light wait photophorous's Avatar
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    Re: Film: Hello or Goodbye?

    Quote Originally Posted by Loupey
    That's the big draw for me too and probably the reason why I held on to my equipment. Like cars, "they don't build them like they used to" and for good reasons.

    In scanning my images, I discovered that these images are not at sharp as I had expected. It very well may be the consumer grade scanner at fault here, but the fine detail is not as well rendered. Something I couldn't see directly by using a 10x loupe.

    I wonder if my current Canon "L" lenses are actually sharper than my older medium format stuff. Too bad I can't mount new lenses on old bodies to shoot film (I have a 35mm film back also) - fun to think about tho
    I don't mean to start a film vs digital debate. There are many things that are different and hard to compare. But I think in terms of resolution, how much real detail can be recorded, 6 x 4.5 film still has an edge on any DSLR under about 20 MP. It just might not be practical for most people to extract all that detail (drum scan or wet print). I suspect your scanner is your limit. 4800 dpi is probably more of a marketing spec than a realistic capability of the scanner. Have you scanned at 2400 dpi and compared to see if there is any less detail?

    Even a good film scan will need some sharpening, just like a digital camera image. But sharpness is a different thing altogether. A 6MP DSLR will look sharper up to the point where it runs out of detail. That's just the nature of digital sensors.

    Paul

  19. #19
    Ex-Modster Old Timer's Avatar
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    Re: Film: Hello or Goodbye?

    I kept shooting film when I got my P&S digital. A year latter when the D70 came into my life I put all 8 of my film cameras in the camera cabinet and they have not had a roll go through them since, nearly five years now. I kept thinking that sure I'll shot film for some things but it just never happened. I love digital! Now if I could get my hands on a vintage Leica that might change.
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  20. #20
    Film Forum Moderator Xia_Ke's Avatar
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    Re: Film: Hello or Goodbye?

    Guess you guys know where I stand on this. Shot some P&S film when I was a kid. When I decided to really get into photography, I started with digital and it helped me to learn a lot quickly. There was always something about black and white film that intrigued me though and once I developed my first roll, it was bye-bye digital with the exception of using my housemates digi P&S for posting stuff on Ebay, etc. For me, I just love the whole process of it. I like taking my time when I shoot now and driving home with the anticipation of what will come out of the developer. I love sitting in the darkroom huffing fixer and stop bath...lol As a matter of fact, just spent the last 3 hours sitting over trays doing the first round of film speed testing for the 4x5.

    For all you guys with MF and LF gear sitting around that you don't want, I'll dust it off for you I'll even pay the shipping...lol
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  21. #21
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    Re: Film: Hello or Goodbye?

    Quote Originally Posted by Xia_Ke
    When I decided to really get into photography, I started with digital and it helped me to learn a lot quickly.
    So there's hope for me yet?

  22. #22
    Film Forum Moderator Xia_Ke's Avatar
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    Re: Film: Hello or Goodbye?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cathathome
    So there's hope for me yet?
    LOL

    Shooting solely in manual mode, the ability to get instant feedback on setting changes with digital was a big help for me.
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  23. #23
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    Re: Film: Hello or Goodbye?

    I have probably 4-5 times as much film gear as I do digital. And that's a lot! Never stopped using film but it has declined tremendously in quantity.

    There's the $100 Film Project which is posted in the Film Photograph Forum which is my way of encouraging people to get out and use their film burners! Shoot a photo or two a day just to keep your skills.

    There's a continuing belief that if you don't want to lose it, use it and how that applies to film.

    The sad part is that there's really nothing you can't do with digital now quicker than with film.

    Printing is another topic. The part I want to see continue is the printing process. Silver prints well made and displayed are just magical.
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  24. #24
    Senior Member Rivman's Avatar
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    Re: Film: Hello or Goodbye?

    Interesting topic -
    While I still have fond memories of my AE-1P, (which I still have), along with all the gear + albums of 4x6, 5x7, 8x10 B&W and colour pics. It was a lot of fun, in addition to being a learning experience, but I doubt that I will ever go back to film - the convenience and instant gratification of digital, combined with aquiring new skills and knowledge of DSLRs,
    is quite sufficient for now ! :thumbsup:
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  25. #25
    Nature/Wildlife Forum Co-Moderator Loupey's Avatar
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    Re: Film: Hello or Goodbye?

    Quote Originally Posted by Xia_Ke
    ...For me, I just love the whole process of it. I like taking my time when I shoot now and driving home with the anticipation of what will come out of the developer. I love sitting in the darkroom huffing fixer and stop bath...
    I miss those times.

    Because I also made all my enlargements, I also miss printing the color test sheets, then printing the color exposure test sheets, and then lastly the final print - waiting to pull the paper out from the drum agitator to see the completed work over an hour after I had started.

    Interestingly, the big part holding me back is printing the color test sheets, then printing the color exposure test sheets, and then lastly the final print - waiting to pull the paper out from the drum agitator to see the completed work over an hour after I had started.
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