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Technique and Advice => Photography Technique => Topic started by: JumboShrimp on April 09, 2014, 01:00:58 AM

Title: What if we were still shooting slide film?
Post by: JumboShrimp on April 09, 2014, 01:00:58 AM
Back in the day, it would not be unusual for me to take 100-120 rolls of slide film on a 2-week international trip, all sorted and packed in several somewhat-heavy zippered bags. Some of the time I would exposure bracket important situations "just to be sure". Whenever I would bracket with a click-click-click, my dear wife would translate that into kaching-kaching-kaching! (Back then, I think each shot cost me about $0.25 for film and processing ... it's more than double that now.)

In reviewing my scanned slides, I am struck by how much better I was then than now. Why? In large part, I think I paid much more attention to subject, composition and lighting BECAUSE I KNEW HOW MUCH IT WAS COSTING ME. I was more careful, more focused, more stingy with the shutter release (and my limited supply of film), and much more patient for the shot to unfold.

Now, with my digital everything, I tend to just fire away, hoping to make up what I lack in quality by much more quantity. Of course, the results are technically better, but the soul is missing.

Would like to hear your thoughts on this. Are you shooting more but getting less keepers? Or is the opposite true? Would we all be better photographers if we were still shooting slide film?
Title: Re: What if we were still shooting slide film?
Post by: dgatwood on April 09, 2014, 03:16:11 AM
Would like to hear your thoughts on this. Are you shooting more but getting less keepers? Or is the opposite true? Would we all be better photographers if we were still shooting slide film?

Percentage-wise, I'd imagine my keeper rate is lower, but I shoot more in an average day than I could afford to shoot in a year with film, so I still have orders of magnitude more keepers quantity-wise.

Of course, a lot of my favorite shots these days tend to be candid shots, where doing a lot of composition is pretty much impossible without alerting the victim^H^H^H^H^H^Hsubject to your presence.  Back in film days, that didn't work too well at all, because the cost was too high for the inevitable reject rate.  Now, I can just burn through a dozen shots and pick the one where everybody's eyes are visible or whatever.

So no, personally, I can't imagine going back to film.  :)
Title: Re: What if we were still shooting slide film?
Post by: RLPhoto on April 09, 2014, 08:10:24 AM
Ekta chrome and velvia 50 were my favorites. It was much cheaper then and still is cheaper to shoot MF film now. I used 501cm Hasselblad with an 80mm 2.8 for everything when I was a teen.
Title: Re: What if we were still shooting slide film?
Post by: privatebydesign on April 09, 2014, 08:34:02 AM
I end up shooting roughly the same, I'd do 10-14 rolls of 36 at a wedding , I shoot around 600-800 images at a wedding digitally.

My Velvia used to average $1 a shot for 135, but wedding shooting was always much cheaper as neg film and developing was, even hand adjusted 5x7 proofs only cost 60c each.

I've had seconds shoot 4,000 digital images at a wedding!

Oh, I do shoot more shots for real estate, but that is because I bracket to blend as customer expectations is vastly higher nowadays.
Title: Re: What if we were still shooting slide film?
Post by: mackguyver on April 09, 2014, 10:03:37 AM
I've had seconds shoot 4,000 digital images at a wedding!
LOL! I know someone who shoots portraits in burst mode and ends up with hundreds of nearly identical shots from a short press conference.  She swears that it keeps her form having a shot with the eyes closed, but it cracks me up when I see her shoot.
Title: Re: What if we were still shooting slide film?
Post by: JPAZ on April 09, 2014, 10:16:58 AM
I've been guilty from time to time of taking a less than stellar shot thinking I'll fix it later in post (which never turns out to be such a wonderful image anyway).  I'd never do this with film because working in the darkroom to get the guy out of the background is much more difficult than using the clone stamp in PS.  Certainly not all of my film exposures were keepers, but I think I was more careful and more selective.
Title: Re: What if we were still shooting slide film?
Post by: Don Haines on April 09, 2014, 10:59:04 AM
I've had seconds shoot 4,000 digital images at a wedding!
LOL! I know someone who shoots portraits in burst mode and ends up with hundreds of nearly identical shots from a short press conference.  She swears that it keeps her form having a shot with the eyes closed, but it cracks me up when I see her shoot.
I shot about 30 pictures of "the group" at a family reunion... and every picture had someone with thier eyes closed or yawning.... Photoshop to the rescue!
Title: Re: What if we were still shooting slide film?
Post by: thepancakeman on April 09, 2014, 11:48:10 AM
As a sport shooter, I cannot imagine trying to work with film. 

The only way (for me at least) to repeatedly capture "the moment" is with a burst.  If I had to hear the "ka-ching" with ever shutter release, I'd miss shots because I was worried about wasting money, or I'd miss the attempted one-shots because my timing sucks, or I'd be bankrupt.   :-\
Title: Re: What if we were still shooting slide film?
Post by: dcm on April 09, 2014, 12:13:09 PM
Also started with film, shooting several hundred rolls as my kids grew up.  I usually shot multiple frames at a time on film for exposure bracketing or catching a sequence.  I seldom had just one image to choose from even with film.

Digital really helps with continuous or rapid fire shooting with children.  I have a very animated granddaughter now (2 yrs) and her expression changes continuously, even when posing. 

I'd miss quite a few shots of my kids even with an film auto winder so I shot a lot more video than I do with my granddaughter.   It will be interesting to see if that changes.
Title: Re: What if we were still shooting slide film?
Post by: AcutancePhotography on April 09, 2014, 12:21:16 PM
I think with digital, it is easy to get in the habit of spray and pray.  I feel this is especially true for those photographers who never shot film.

Now that we are getting close to the point where we can buffer dump RAW files almost non-stop, there is nothing technically slowing down the photographer. 

There are, however, types of photographers who don't want to slow down.  Fencecheckers and sport photographers or anyone trying to photograph fleeting subjects want as many shots as they can.

But for some of us, photography is a slow process.   I am one of those types that uses a tripod and takes about 5 minutes for every shot.  :o

Different togs need different speeds.  But unless you truly need the speed, I feel that photographers would benefit from slowing down. Yeah, we used to think a lot more in the film days.  Not only from the expense viewpoint but also because we only had 24/36 exposures before we reload.  These days it is not unreasonable to be able to store 500 full frame RAW images on one SD card.

If a shot is worth taking, it is worth taking it slow.  LoL
Title: Re: What if we were still shooting slide film?
Post by: Drizzt321 on April 09, 2014, 12:27:43 PM
I think with digital, it is easy to get in the habit of spray and pray.  I feel this is especially true for those photographers who never shot film.

Now that we are getting close to the point where we can buffer dump RAW files almost non-stop, there is nothing technically slowing down the photographer. 

There are, however, types of photographers who don't want to slow down.  Fencecheckers and sport photographers or anyone trying to photograph fleeting subjects want as many shots as they can.

But for some of us, photography is a slow process.   I am one of those types that uses a tripod and takes about 5 minutes for every shot.  :o

Different togs need different speeds.  But unless you truly need the speed, I feel that photographers would benefit from slowing down. Yeah, we used to think a lot more in the film days.  Not only from the expense viewpoint but also because we only had 24/36 exposures before we reload.  These days it is not unreasonable to be able to store 500 full frame RAW images on one SD card.

If a shot is worth taking, it is worth taking it slow.  LoL

Completely agree with this. A year ago I started shooting a bit of 120-film (Mamiya RB67, no way to move that around fast!), and I really slowed down and thought more. It carried over some to my digital shooting, and I think it's a positive thing for me. Plus, 6x7cm slides are OMGAWESOME. Too bad it's really hard to find an inexpensive used 6x7 slide projector. I suppose I could cobble one up somehow...
Title: Re: What if we were still shooting slide film?
Post by: distant.star on April 09, 2014, 01:01:20 PM
.
For me, it has little to do with the capture medium. Call me a sniper in a world of machine gunners, if you like, but I think you either have the discipline and skill and thoughtfulness to set up a capture correctly or you do not. Film or digital sensor doesn't change that for me.

A good thing about the digital sensor is that it can sometimes save what would otherwise be wasted film in some situations. No matter how good or thoughtful you are, some people are very difficult to shoot (with a camera!). I came across one the other night at an event I was shooting. She was speaking from the audience, and I wanted a shot of her speaking as part of the audience. But every time I took a shot something was off -- her eyelids half closed, her mouth twisted, etc. So I turned to 6 FPS (5D3) to get one acceptable shot. With a film camera (my old 1V HS, e.g.) I'd have burned up most of a 36x roll just to get one shot of her. That's one of the few instances I can think of where digital makes a real difference. Folks talking about moving kids have the same issue.

A big part of my satisfaction in photography comes from a picture derived from well planned composition, exposure, etc. I wouldn't get nearly the enjoyment from an accidental good picture that came from a haphazard approach.
Title: Re: What if we were still shooting slide film?
Post by: MrFotoFool on April 14, 2014, 02:10:00 AM
I was relatively late into digital, shooting slide film until about four years ago when I bought a 5D2. (This Christmas I replaced it with a 5D3). Learning with slide film (even more than print film) made me a better photographer not only due to being more selective but also learning how to read light and nail exposures. Slide film has zero tolerance for over or under exposure, so you really had to know how to expose.

However, I certainly never took 100 rolls on a trip like you did! Usually a week trip would be ten or twelve rolls. Of course I shoot many more frames with digital, but still nowhere as many as other people. Lately I am deciding to slow down even more because I delete so many I am learning what is the point?

The one area where digital completely surpasses film is in high ISO capabilities. I can get very usable shots at iso 3200 and higher, which is unthinkable with slide (or even print) film.
Title: Re: What if we were still shooting slide film?
Post by: mackguyver on April 15, 2014, 10:54:25 AM
One more thought as I stare at my expen$$$ive transparency scanner (with optional Firewire interface...) collecting dust in the corner.  If I were still shooting slide film, I'd still have a local camera shop on the corner, I'd still be requesting "process only/don't cut" for my rolls, I'd still be using my white cotton gloves, duster, light table (long since sold) and overpriced loupe.  I'd still be telling clients that it would be 3-4 days to process, scan, & retouch their photos, and I'd still be using SilverFast, which is/was the king of scanning software.

Ok, thanks for the trip down memory lane to the last years of film...at least for me...
Title: Re: What if we were still shooting slide film?
Post by: jhpeterson on April 17, 2014, 11:51:04 AM
Back in the days of film, I was usually taking a few hundred rolls of slides a year and close to as much black and white. Today, I probably shoot three or four times as much. So, yes, I'm probably a good bit less critical when I press the shutter.
Like most, I'm often guilty of taking many shots these days, where in the past I would have been satisfied with one or two, figuring what each exposure cost. So, yes, my percentage of keepers has gone down.
But, in part because digital is almost free, I try many more things today than I would have done a couple decades back. Sure, a lot don't pan out, but I've gotten many images that I could never have captured on film.
And, funny thing, looking at my favorite slides these days, I've noticed that they're either not as great as I thought they were, or I've become a better photographer.  True, 20+ megapixel sensors and fast L glass doesn't hurt, but even the 10 MP files from my 1D, blow away all but the best of the best from my film days.
Title: Re: What if we were still shooting slide film?
Post by: traingineer on April 18, 2014, 04:15:42 PM
Well I think if we were still shooting with film, selfies would be much more difficult. 0 ͜ʖ 0
Title: Re: What if we were still shooting slide film?
Post by: Don Haines on April 18, 2014, 04:26:10 PM
The iPhone would not easily slip into a pocket :)
Title: Re: What if we were still shooting slide film?
Post by: Mt Spokane Photography on April 18, 2014, 07:56:57 PM
I virtually never use burst mode.  I was used to timing my shots and looking for things like closed eyes.  Occasionally, I see someone close their eyes just as I shoot, so I quickly open the shutter a 2nd time.
 
Still, I do take a lot more digital photos than I did with film.  The cost of film was high.
Title: Re: What if we were still shooting slide film?
Post by: IMG_0001 on April 19, 2014, 01:24:08 PM
I came into photography in the digital age, but I still shoot film just for fun. At the moment, the camera which stands on the top of my bookshelf, ready for action, is an old Nikkormat EL-2 with a 50mm and loaded with B&W film (admitedly, it is only Ilford XP2 super and not TRI-X, since it is easier and cheaper to have my shots C41 processed. Sadly, I don't have access to a darkroom).

I do find it makes me take more time to consider each frame I shoot, but there are also so many missed shots because I'm not that great at manually focusing on moving subjects or gauging exposure. At least there is a built-in meter to help me save a few images.

All this to say that I find a lot more pleasure with that old device than my DSLR just because of the challenge and of the expectation of developing that roll and finding some image I don't even remembered shooting...

As a learning tool for the technique, digital is great as it does not cost as much to see where you failed and it embeds the info on the shot parameters. However, for the composition and pictorial learning process, analog is great as it slows you down.
Title: Re: What if we were still shooting slide film?
Post by: dak723 on April 20, 2014, 10:43:03 PM
My percentage of "keepers" may be smaller, but the number of keepers is much higher in the digital age.  Sometimes the photo you think is going to be great turns out to be a dud.  And sometimes the ones you think will be duds, turn out to be the keepers.  In the old days - when each pic cost money, a lot of those pics were never taken - now they are.