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Author Topic: Film is still hard to beat  (Read 98870 times)

Hillsilly

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Re: Film is still hard to beat
« Reply #135 on: April 04, 2016, 04:25:59 AM »
...You've still failed to build a case for films practicality!

Personally, I think it is film's impracticality that makes it special. 

Because every shot costs $$, you think twice before pressing the shutter button.  The percentage of keepers is a little bit higher.

Because you (generally) take fewer shots, you tend to remember each one and they feel more valuable to you.

Because there are so many choices to make - type of film, format, style of camera, do you develop it yourself, are you going to scan it, work in the darkroom, send it to a lab - you feel more involved with the process.

Because you're not using the same camera as 100's of thousands of other people, you feel like you are making a more individual statement.  And some film cameras are a lot of fun to use.

Because of the skills that you pick up using digital cameras, you have the confidence to be more creative with film.  And with all of the development that has gone into film over the last ten years, you can get some pretty awesome results.  Have you used Portra recently?  Or Ektar?  Or Cinestill?  The quality of current films is amazing and part of the reason a noticeable contingent of high end wedding photographers shoot film.
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Re: Film is still hard to beat
« Reply #135 on: April 04, 2016, 04:25:59 AM »

Hillsilly

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Re: Film is still hard to beat
« Reply #136 on: April 04, 2016, 04:58:08 AM »
Here was my question: "Now, can anyone recommend a good 35mm black and white film I can get from Adorama or somewhere? I just got a 56 year old Voigtlander Vito CL (mint condition) that I want to play around with. Also, I need a good recommendation for where to process. Got rid of all my amateur darkroom stuff 20 years ago. :)"
Looks like a cool camera.  Hope you have some fun putting a few rolls through.

For 35mm B&W film, for getting started, I'd stick with either Kodak or Ilford and just choose a film based on ISO.  A lower ISO will have less grain and a higher ISO more grain.  For general purposes, you can't really go wrong with tri-x 400 or TMAX 100 or 400.  TMAX has been around for a while, but it is one of the newer B&W films.

I assume you live in the states?  I really don't know the best places to recommend for developing over there.  But for what its worth, I usually shoot colour film and later convert it to B&W in post if I want to.  When choosing a place to develop your film, make sure they offer a high quality scanning service.

When I do shoot B&W, I go with Foma films (because I can get them at an affordable price from blanconegro.com.au).  If you want to try colour film, you can't go wrong with Ektar (if ISO 100 is your thing) or Portra 400 (if you want a bit more speed).  Ektar has a more saturated, contrasty look - great for landscapes, sunsets etc.  Portra is for making people look beautiful.
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pwp

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Re: Film is still hard to beat
« Reply #137 on: April 04, 2016, 08:56:28 AM »
But you can work the same way with digital, if you like to.

Good post.

I do exactly this because a shutter has a finite life. I have a very low income so replacing a shutter would be very expensive for me. I try to be careful and methodical for the sake of my photos, but also for the longevity of my equipment.

Even the best SLR film bodies had shutters rated at numbers that would be laughable today in premium bodies. When the EOS 1n was announced in 1994 one of the big deals was the upgraded shutter durability, 100,000 exposure cycles without maintenance and 150,0000 cycles with maintenance. Whoo-hoo! That was probably plenty because film tended to keep your shooting rate well down from 2016's day to day requirements.

My comments caught a bit of flack earlier in this thread, but I stand by my comments. They were not intended to put down anyone with a love of shooting film, and I apologize if that's what you read into it. My comments come from a working professional viewpoint with high client expectations and tight deadlines. From a commercial business viewpoint dropping film like a hot potato was a financial imperative. Client perceptions (misguided or not) of a photographer stuck in the past vs constantly introducing them to a fast evolving future counts for a lot too.

I did shoot film professionally for over a dozen years and loved every minute of it. There was certainly a "craft" about it that you had to be highly focused on to have consistent and evolving success. Incidentally my respiratory health improved enormously after I closed the door on the darkroom for the last time. As someone who continually pushed what was possible in making images, digital and the equipment revolution that followed was a gift from the gods. Just about every innovation over the past 15 years or so has offered the means to attempt shots that you wouldn't have even dreamed of last century.

So that's how it's evolved for me and my way of doing things. And as aj1575 posted, you can slow right down to a filmic pace any time you like or when the project requires it.

Film? Vinyl? 1968 Mustangs? All gorgeous with a unique aesthetic, just not remotely relevant in 2016 for this photographer.

-pw

risc32

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Re: Film is still hard to beat
« Reply #138 on: April 04, 2016, 08:58:56 AM »
Nice, I just got a Fuji GW690ii of ebay, and I can't wait to run some film through it this weekend.

I have this camera. It's just great, you'll love it. I use whatever digital camera i have handy as a meter. just got a few rolls of film back, and i swear, it's some of the best stuff i've ever shot. I really like my 5d, and 5dmk3, they are a dream. They just work. But, that 6x9.... i can't explain it,won't even attempt. When you look at the slides with a loupe, damn. Of course when i look at a 4x5 slide i am again just totally impressed.
 anyway, hope you enjoy it.

slclick

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Re: Film is still hard to beat
« Reply #139 on: April 04, 2016, 08:47:00 PM »
I happen to enjoy the process of film far more than the final image -for obvious reasons (the reverse of the digital experience) and when practiced enough, the final image is equal to the satisfaction of the process as well.
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CanonFanBoy

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Re: Film is still hard to beat
« Reply #140 on: April 04, 2016, 11:34:11 PM »
Here was my question: "Now, can anyone recommend a good 35mm black and white film I can get from Adorama or somewhere? I just got a 56 year old Voigtlander Vito CL (mint condition) that I want to play around with. Also, I need a good recommendation for where to process. Got rid of all my amateur darkroom stuff 20 years ago. :)"
Looks like a cool camera.  Hope you have some fun putting a few rolls through.

For 35mm B&W film, for getting started, I'd stick with either Kodak or Ilford and just choose a film based on ISO.  A lower ISO will have less grain and a higher ISO more grain.  For general purposes, you can't really go wrong with tri-x 400 or TMAX 100 or 400.  TMAX has been around for a while, but it is one of the newer B&W films.

I assume you live in the states?  I really don't know the best places to recommend for developing over there.  But for what its worth, I usually shoot colour film and later convert it to B&W in post if I want to.  When choosing a place to develop your film, make sure they offer a high quality scanning service.

When I do shoot B&W, I go with Foma films (because I can get them at an affordable price from blanconegro.com.au).  If you want to try colour film, you can't go wrong with Ektar (if ISO 100 is your thing) or Portra 400 (if you want a bit more speed).  Ektar has a more saturated, contrasty look - great for landscapes, sunsets etc.  Portra is for making people look beautiful.

Thank you Hillsilly. By looking at some of the film presets I have in lightroom I get the impression that some of that look is supposed to look like the print aged or that expired film was run through a camera. Is this correct? I seem to have read somewhere that some folks seek out old expired film to shoot with. Thanks for the advice!

The Voigtlander Vito CL does not have the ability to interchange lenses. I'm still working through the color roll I bought at Walmart. I actually have to guess at the distance to subject too, so this id going to be fun to see the results once developed.

One thing that does intrigue me are the old Soviet cameras I see on ebay with the Jupiter 9 lenses. It seems old film cameras go for next to nothing. I just watched a "minty" Canon A700 with four lenses go for $49.
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jarrodeu

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Re: Film is still hard to beat
« Reply #141 on: April 05, 2016, 12:45:39 AM »
There are a lot of people coming back to film. Those going film only and those keeping both mediums. The problem is not which is better or for what: the issue seems to be people lack of understanding it serves a purpose, offers a different look, gives pleasure and has just as much right to exist as digital.

Yeah, and vinyl is coming back, too.  If it gives people pleasure, great – although I think it's mostly nostalgia.  The 'advantages' are really limited to lower cost (provided not too many images are taken).
Some landscape shooters find the extra resolution of Large Format film to be worth the hassle.
I am fairly lazy so between the extra effort(which does make me take better pictures) and the cost, I'm mostly digital.

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Re: Film is still hard to beat
« Reply #141 on: April 05, 2016, 12:45:39 AM »

leGreve

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Re: Film is still hard to beat
« Reply #142 on: April 05, 2016, 01:17:34 AM »
Thank god.... thought this was a recent thread.

leGreve

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Re: Film is still hard to beat
« Reply #143 on: April 05, 2016, 01:23:29 AM »
...You've still failed to build a case for films practicality!

Personally, I think it is film's impracticality that makes it special. 

Because every shot costs $$, you think twice before pressing the shutter button.  The percentage of keepers is a little bit higher.

Because you (generally) take fewer shots, you tend to remember each one and they feel more valuable to you.

Because there are so many choices to make - type of film, format, style of camera, do you develop it yourself, are you going to scan it, work in the darkroom, send it to a lab - you feel more involved with the process.

Because you're not using the same camera as 100's of thousands of other people, you feel like you are making a more individual statement.  And some film cameras are a lot of fun to use.

Because of the skills that you pick up using digital cameras, you have the confidence to be more creative with film.  And with all of the development that has gone into film over the last ten years, you can get some pretty awesome results.  Have you used Portra recently?  Or Ektar?  Or Cinestill?  The quality of current films is amazing and part of the reason a noticeable contingent of high end wedding photographers shoot film.

If you need film to invoke those feelings then you need to look at your skill set honestly.
NOTHING prevents you from thinking twice before acting, only your own choice of jumping the low part of the fence.

I'm getting sick of all you romantic fools who still cherish film.... NOONE who watches a still or a movie will at ANY point go "OH MY GOD.... I can totally tell you shot this on film, it's so freaking amazing and much more rich."
Noone......

And when you take that away, all you are left with is all the bullshit work that comes with developing and scanning.

I'm a schooled photographer and was part of the last class that used the developing room at school. After graduating, I never looked back and I have never used film since, and I never will. This was in 2008.

That's the deal with progress.... it moves things forward and leaves nostalgia behind. Things are supposed to become easier and give faster turn arounds. If I was a client and you told me "oh... just have to go back and develop the shots before we can take a look at them" I'd go.... "you know what, don't bother." and leave.

Hillsilly

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Re: Film is still hard to beat
« Reply #144 on: April 05, 2016, 04:31:48 AM »
I agree.  Its not a competition with a winner and a loser, so no need for people to get so worked up.  Film and digital look different.  They have different tonal characteristics and produce different results.  Nobody would force all painters to use the same canvas or oil paints.  So why would anyone expect us all to to use digital?

In relation to movies, most Hollywood movies incorporate some film shooting.  And there are a number of high profile producers and cinematographers who prefer to only shoot on film.

LeGreve, your clients sound like they control how you work.  That must be stressful.  Maybe one day you'll have the freedom of JJ Abrams, the Coen Brothers, Sam Mendes, Christopher Nolan, Quentin Tarantino, Steven Spielberg etc and be able to tell your clients that you'll be the one making the artistic choices.  Maybe, one day, you could choose film! 

Kodak is likely to make a profit this year, driven largely by sales to movie makers.  They're not shy in promoting their involvement with Hollywood - http://motion.kodak.com/motion/customers/productions/default.htm

There are some pretty big movies on their list, including Star Wars VII, The Walking Dead, Interstellar...  And, anecdotally, the only reason why some films aren't shot on film, but are instead captured on digital, is for budget purposes.  Its a bit sad when the accountants control creative processes.

Yesterday, I mentioned that Portra "is for making people look beautiful".  Portra is based on Kodak's movie film stock.  In doing 30 seconds of research for this post essentially the same comments are regularly made - movie producers prefer film because they feel it is more flattering on the actors than digital.  Unless we're all suffering from some form of group brainwashing, it is interesting how a lot of knowledgeable movie makers instinctively prefer film.

Thank you Hillsilly. By looking at some of the film presets I have in lightroom I get the impression that some of that look is supposed to look like the print aged or that expired film was run through a camera. Is this correct? I seem to have read somewhere that some folks seek out old expired film to shoot with. Thanks for the advice!
 

Get as creative as you want. eBay is a good source for expired film.  You can also use slide film (eg Velvia, Provia) and process them as if they were normal colour negative films.  This is called cross processing and also gives unusual results.  Also, an old camera is likely to have light leaks, which will replicate some of that look.

But I'd say most people shooting film just try to make good / normal photos.  They use current film in a camera that doesn't have light leaks.  We're pretty boring, really.

You can also try to make your shot as perfect as possible in camera and then use the Lighroom presets later if you want.  Best of both worlds. 

There are a lot of good, cheap film cameras.  For between $200-$350 there are also a lot of good medium format options.
« Last Edit: April 05, 2016, 05:14:52 AM by Hillsilly »
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symmar22

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Re: Film is still hard to beat
« Reply #145 on: April 05, 2016, 08:23:03 AM »
I don't really understand the war over film vs digital. Maybe that because I was in my photo school in 1988, when digital photography was only a dream. Nowadays I still use film and digital they are just different mediums, and it's perfectly OK to use both. There's no debate that digital offers more possibilities, a more flexible workflow, better resolution (in most cases) and saves time.

On the other hand, it never gave me the same excitement I have as when I open the film processing tank or the image appears on the paper in the tray (though I don't print much any more).

When I work it has to be digital, and it makes it extremely easy compared to the old times when I had to deliver slides to my clients. However, when I picture for fun, digital gives me no real pleasure, so I use a Linhof Technikardan as my main camera, and my digital Canon gear gets little use for my personal work. I use sometimes my EOS 1V I got like new on eBay for 250$, and an Olympus OM4Ti that is a joy to use. None of the 35mm film cameras come close in sharpness to digital, but a good picture is not only about sharpness (on the other hand with the 4x5, resolution is not really an issue).

Can you commercially work with film ? Nowadays that sounds difficult, unless you've reached the status where you can impose your choice to your clients.

Can you use film as a hobby photographer ? I don't see any reason not to. If you do it for fun, then you should use the tools and medium you have fun with. IMO the film has one virtue: its cost. That forces a slower pace, where one needs to think the composition and wait for the right moment to press the shutter. That is how you learn to make good pictures, not by cropping a frame out of 50 MPX from a 15 FPS burst.

IMO lots of photographers could use the learning process from film cameras. If you keep using it for your own style of shooting is something else, but it's nevertheless an excellent learning tool.
« Last Edit: April 05, 2016, 08:33:59 AM by symmar22 »

CanonFanBoy

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Re: Film is still hard to beat
« Reply #146 on: April 06, 2016, 02:04:29 AM »
I agree.  Its not a competition with a winner and a loser, so no need for people to get so worked up.  Film and digital look different.  They have different tonal characteristics and produce different results.  Nobody would force all painters to use the same canvas or oil paints.  So why would anyone expect us all to to use digital?

In relation to movies, most Hollywood movies incorporate some film shooting.  And there are a number of high profile producers and cinematographers who prefer to only shoot on film.

LeGreve, your clients sound like they control how you work.  That must be stressful.  Maybe one day you'll have the freedom of JJ Abrams, the Coen Brothers, Sam Mendes, Christopher Nolan, Quentin Tarantino, Steven Spielberg etc and be able to tell your clients that you'll be the one making the artistic choices.  Maybe, one day, you could choose film! 

Kodak is likely to make a profit this year, driven largely by sales to movie makers.  They're not shy in promoting their involvement with Hollywood - http://motion.kodak.com/motion/customers/productions/default.htm

There are some pretty big movies on their list, including Star Wars VII, The Walking Dead, Interstellar...  And, anecdotally, the only reason why some films aren't shot on film, but are instead captured on digital, is for budget purposes.  Its a bit sad when the accountants control creative processes.

Yesterday, I mentioned that Portra "is for making people look beautiful".  Portra is based on Kodak's movie film stock.  In doing 30 seconds of research for this post essentially the same comments are regularly made - movie producers prefer film because they feel it is more flattering on the actors than digital.  Unless we're all suffering from some form of group brainwashing, it is interesting how a lot of knowledgeable movie makers instinctively prefer film.

Thank you Hillsilly. By looking at some of the film presets I have in lightroom I get the impression that some of that look is supposed to look like the print aged or that expired film was run through a camera. Is this correct? I seem to have read somewhere that some folks seek out old expired film to shoot with. Thanks for the advice!
 

Get as creative as you want. eBay is a good source for expired film.  You can also use slide film (eg Velvia, Provia) and process them as if they were normal colour negative films.  This is called cross processing and also gives unusual results.  Also, an old camera is likely to have light leaks, which will replicate some of that look.

But I'd say most people shooting film just try to make good / normal photos.  They use current film in a camera that doesn't have light leaks.  We're pretty boring, really.

You can also try to make your shot as perfect as possible in camera and then use the Lighroom presets later if you want.  Best of both worlds. 

There are a lot of good, cheap film cameras.  For between $200-$350 there are also a lot of good medium format options.

Thanks again!
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CanonFanBoy

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Re: Film is still hard to beat
« Reply #147 on: April 06, 2016, 02:30:21 AM »
But you can work the same way with digital, if you like to.

Good post.

I do exactly this because a shutter has a finite life. I have a very low income so replacing a shutter would be very expensive for me. I try to be careful and methodical for the sake of my photos, but also for the longevity of my equipment.

Even the best SLR film bodies had shutters rated at numbers that would be laughable today in premium bodies. When the EOS 1n was announced in 1994 one of the big deals was the upgraded shutter durability, 100,000 exposure cycles without maintenance and 150,0000 cycles with maintenance. Whoo-hoo! That was probably plenty because film tended to keep your shooting rate well down from 2016's day to day requirements.

My comments caught a bit of flack earlier in this thread, but I stand by my comments. They were not intended to put down anyone with a love of shooting film, and I apologize if that's what you read into it. My comments come from a working professional viewpoint with high client expectations and tight deadlines. From a commercial business viewpoint dropping film like a hot potato was a financial imperative. Client perceptions (misguided or not) of a photographer stuck in the past vs constantly introducing them to a fast evolving future counts for a lot too.

I did shoot film professionally for over a dozen years and loved every minute of it. There was certainly a "craft" about it that you had to be highly focused on to have consistent and evolving success. Incidentally my respiratory health improved enormously after I closed the door on the darkroom for the last time. As someone who continually pushed what was possible in making images, digital and the equipment revolution that followed was a gift from the gods. Just about every innovation over the past 15 years or so has offered the means to attempt shots that you wouldn't have even dreamed of last century.

So that's how it's evolved for me and my way of doing things. And as aj1575 posted, you can slow right down to a filmic pace any time you like or when the project requires it.

Film? Vinyl? 1968 Mustangs? All gorgeous with a unique aesthetic, just not remotely relevant in 2016 for this photographer.

-pw
Your comments caught no flak from me. :) In fact, I believe I agreed with them completely. :) I shoot digital. Last week I was given an old film camera (Mint circa 1960) with a non-interchangeable lens 50mm f/2.8 (Voigtlander Vito CL). I'm going to run a few roles through it for fun and on occasion, but not because I think it could be superior, just for nostalgia's sake. :)
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Re: Film is still hard to beat
« Reply #147 on: April 06, 2016, 02:30:21 AM »

Hillsilly

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Re: Film is still hard to beat
« Reply #148 on: April 06, 2016, 04:07:30 AM »
And, in full disclosure, I shoot 99% digital to 1% film.  Last year, I shot around 20 rolls - and all for personal use.  Most of this was 6x4.5, so we're only talking around 300 shots.  There's no argument from me on digital being technically better and much more efficient to work with.  Film still looks better, though.
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Hector1970

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Re: Film is still hard to beat
« Reply #149 on: April 07, 2016, 04:03:46 AM »
I had the experience recently to spend time photographing alongside someone who only shoots film.
It was very interesting.
I was taking about 1000 shots a day and he was shooting max 1 roll of film.
He was very particular about when he took a shot and when he didn't.
He was very careful and precise about taking a photograph.
He looked for very particular light and took his time to carefully study his subject.
I was very impressed and it really made me think about my photography.
Digital makes it too easy just to shoot and shoot.
Part of why film photographs look better is probably because the photographers are more careful and deliberate to set up correctly and expose properly.

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Re: Film is still hard to beat
« Reply #149 on: April 07, 2016, 04:03:46 AM »