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09-03-2007, 09:45 AM   #1
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A Few Questions for Film Users

After purchasing my K100 my girlfriend made a switch to Pentax and I thought Id give her it and buy a second used body to use as a backup/main body. Now Im low on cash [ <300CAD ] so I thought maybe trying out film would be interesting.. Now I have very little experience with film! I used a film P&S for a year and thats about it! So I was wandering if some people could answer a few questions!

1. What type of film do you guys shoot? 35mm? Medium Format [ that is still film right? ]?

2. How do you get your negatives done? Your own darkroom? Local drugstore?

3. What do you do with them? [ negs ] Scan? Print?

4. and if you can only answer one please answer this one! Why do you still shoot film? Why not make the move to digital? Isn't film a lot more expensive/time consuming than digital?

Thanks guys!


EDIT: Ah darn I was in the wrong forum/posted in the wrong forum! Mods/Admins do you mind moving it?


Last edited by Mikhail; 09-03-2007 at 12:57 PM. Reason: Wrong forum
09-03-2007, 11:11 AM   #2
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...#4 is what I was going to say... Moneywise I think you are better off sticking to digital! The camera costs more, but you definitely save money and space in the long run.

Did you post this in the film section? ....cuz ya should
09-03-2007, 11:01 PM   #3
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O.K., I'll bite in spite of the thread being in the wrong list.
1) I use both 35mm and medium format, in about equal amounts. I'd add that I also use digital a little here and there.
2) Both, but far more at home in my own darkroom; color negatives are still better than digital for long exposures and (for me) because I happen to have a 15mm lens (not Pentax) and no way to capture similar views with my digital setup.
3) Both. I scan both color and B+W negatives, and used to use slides too. Scanning in my experience is best when you need to for the web, not printing. In fact, the best scans of B+W's are on a flatbed, from prints... For B+W's, there is still nothing like real wet print from a real negative. You'd just have to see it in person to see why I say. Adding larger format negatives to that, and inclination to "go digital" just isn't there for me. The same is not nearly so true for color IMHO.
4)Film is FAR more time and cost intensive than digital under most circumstances. I figure I can make 10 good copies of a single print in my darkroom in a 10 hour day, and the cost in paper and chemistry is about $30. It seems less important though when you see the results, particularly with time exposures and medium format. The equivalent images made digitally would be impossibly expensive.
Adding to that, there is a certain feel of craftsmanship that comes from making your own prints the old fashioned way- especially when they are flat out better than you can get with a computerized system.
If cheap or quick are the things that compel your picture taking, film isn't likely for you. I use it when I want the absolute best I can get (B+W only, in combination with medium format), when I need extreme wide angle (wider than 24mm perspective), when I need a lot of exposure latitude (c-41 film), or when only a long exposure will do.
09-04-2007, 02:56 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mikhail Quote
After purchasing my K100 my girlfriend made a switch to Pentax and I thought Id give her it and buy a second used body to use as a backup/main body. Now Im low on cash [ <300CAD ] so I thought maybe trying out film would be interesting.. Now I have very little experience with film! I used a film P&S for a year and thats about it! So I was wandering if some people could answer a few questions!
If she plans to shoot much at all, then digital pays for itself very quickly. Unlike film, the more you shoot the cheaper it gets.

For example:

If you pay $500 for a digital camera and shoot 500 pictures, that's a dollar a picture. But if you shoot 5,000 pictures, you're down to a dime per shot. 10,000 and you're down to a nickel. 50,000 and you're looking at a penny.

With film cameras, the additional cost of film and developing means you are always adding to the expense and making it a much slower process of amortizing the equipment cost into lowering the per photo cost.


QuoteQuote:
1. What type of film do you guys shoot? 35mm? Medium Format [ that is still film right? ]?
In spite of what I wrote above, I do like to shoot both 35mm and medium format. Why? Because I have some antique and "obsolete" cameras that I enjoy using. They're my "alternative" cameras that I shoot just for the heck of it and due to the cost associated with them, they make up a small portion of my shooting. I can dedicate to them whatever amount of money I feel like using for indulging in them, knowing that I am still free to shoot to my heart's content with my digital without having to worry about cost.

I use some antique (1950s~early 1970s) 35mm rangefinders and some 1950s~1960s medium format twin-lens reflex, a folder, and a 1930s box Brownie.

QuoteQuote:
2. How do you get your negatives done? Your own darkroom? Local drugstore?
I take all my stuff to my neighborhood pro photographer who runs a small camera shop and handles sending off film as a sideline. Mostly because he is the only nearby source of 120 (medium format) film.

QuoteQuote:
3. What do you do with them? [ negs ] Scan? Print?
For negative film, I only have the negatives developed; no printing (saves money). For slide film (which I prefer), I just have the slides developed and not mounted. I don't have a slide projector anyway. I scan the images into my computer and then manipulate them with the freeware "The GIMP". Images I want to print, I do myself from the computer.

QuoteQuote:
4. and if you can only answer one please answer this one! Why do you still shoot film? Why not make the move to digital? Isn't film a lot more expensive/time consuming than digital?
As I indicated above, I do the film just for nostalgia's sake for the most part. If I were limited to film only, I wouldn't be able to shoot as much as I do.

That being said, I find that I tend to get more "useable" images from film precisely because of the cost...especially with medium format. Knowing that every time I press the shutter it is costing me between a buck and a buck and a half makes me slow way down and much more carefully select and set up my shots.

And there are some situations for which some of the old cameras are just better suited than an SLR, whether film or digital.

For example, some of my favorite cameras are 1970s Yashica Electro 35 rangefinders. They have the benefit of having relatively fast (f1.7) lenses and extremely quiet shutters, making them ideal for situations where the noise is an issue. Also, having leaf shutters means they can flash synch at any shutter speed. I can do flash photography with the shutter at 1/500, as compared to the maximum of 1/180 on my K100D. Since it is an aperture-priority auto-exposure camera, it also means daylight fill flash is easier than rolling off a log. You just set your camera aperture one stop smaller than your auto flash and the camera does the rest.

A further benefit of the YE35 is that you can pick one up for a song.

If you're not going to be shooting a buttload of stuff, save expenses by having your film developed but not printed, and scan it yourself, you can get by quite well with one of the vintage rangefinders.

09-04-2007, 06:55 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mikhail Quote
After purchasing my K100 my girlfriend made a switch to Pentax and I thought Id give her it and buy a second used body to use as a backup/main body. Now Im low on cash [ <300CAD ] so I thought maybe trying out film would be interesting.. Now I have very little experience with film! I used a film P&S for a year and thats about it! So I was wandering if some people could answer a few questions!

1. What type of film do you guys shoot? 35mm? Medium Format [ that is still film right? ]?
I shoot (shot) B&W 400 ISO and 100-400 ISO color film depending on situation
QuoteOriginally posted by Mikhail Quote
2. How do you get your negatives done? Your own darkroom? Local drugstore?
B&W I processed myself as I often pushed the film 2-3 stops (i.e. under expose by 2-3 stops and then extend processing time from 6 1/2 minutes to about 30 minutes at 20C to compensate)
Color is done by a local camera shop
QuoteOriginally posted by Mikhail Quote
3. What do you do with them? [ negs ] Scan? Print?
I scanned all my negatives, and any new color negatives I request scanned image along with prints
QuoteOriginally posted by Mikhail Quote
4. and if you can only answer one please answer this one! Why do you still shoot film? Why not make the move to digital? Isn't film a lot more expensive/time consuming than digital?
I moved to digital in 2003 with purchase of *istD but until I got an ultra wide this year, continued to shoot film for wide angle shots and scenic photos. Since I got my 10-20mm zoom, I am only shooting film to see if my cameras still work.
09-04-2007, 07:56 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mike Cash Quote
If she plans to shoot much at all, then digital pays for itself very quickly. Unlike film, the more you shoot the cheaper it gets.

For example:

If you pay $500 for a digital camera and shoot 500 pictures, that's a dollar a picture. But if you shoot 5,000 pictures, you're down to a dime per shot. 10,000 and you're down to a nickel. 50,000 and you're looking at a penny.

You need to add in the price of a good computer, otherwise you're left with just viewing your images on the camera's LCD screen. Also, you'll need some sort of image processing software, as well as a storage drive and/or a CD/DVD burner. Yes, digital is much cheaper at the shooting end of things. It's the after-the-exposure expenses where the real cost of digital is revealed. IMO, digital is still more cost effective, but folks need to realize that buying the camera is only the start of their expenses.
09-04-2007, 08:33 AM   #7
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True, but since we're all already on the net I just take the possession of a computer for granted. Software can be had for free.

You just reminded me, though, that here in Japan they market (small) printers for folks who own digital cameras but either don't own or don't feel comfortable with using a computer. Plus these days practically every convenience store here offers digital printing on-the-spot and you can't throw a rock in Japan these days without busting a convenience store window.

So, OP, assuming you and she already have computers, what I said earlier applies. If not, factor those costs in as well.
09-04-2007, 09:00 AM   #8
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Having enough computer to surf the net vs having enough computer to manipulate 6-10mp digital files are two different things. I'm just trying to make the point that if we're going to include the costs associated with processing & printing film, we need to also include the costs for processing & printing digital pics. The costs for film are spread out over the long run. With digital, the costs are upfront, then the savings begin from there.

09-04-2007, 09:06 AM   #9
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Thank you. I believe the OP should be able to make a more informed judgment now either which way.
09-04-2007, 05:45 PM   #10
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Original Poster
Greatest thanks to every one for reply [ and even bigger apologies for it being in the wrong place! ].
Im still not certain which way to go... I like the idea of film as I like old lenses and old camera's [ also gear itself will be cheaper! ] but the cost of printing and film is the problem.. and lacking the ability to review pictures in the field or the minute I get home. Also I dont know anywhere in my area where I can get negatives done...
ive heard slide film is better than 35mm? Whats the difference? Sorry for the many questions but Im starting to like the idea about film [ although the girlfriend pukes at the idea ].

Thanks
Mikhail
09-05-2007, 02:57 AM   #11
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Slide film is available in 35mm as well.

The difference between slide and regular negative film is that when the slide film is developed, the image comes up in its proper colors, not as a color-reversed negative image.

A plus to this is that the automated equipment used for negative film normally "corrects" your colors and they might not end up as what you thought they were. This doesn't happen when slide film is developed.

A drawback is that slide film has a narrower latitude for exposure. Also, you have to be pretty well on the money with your exposure. The automated machines for negative film can adjust the processing to pull a good exposure from a somewhat over or under exposed image. With slide film, that monkey is strictly on the photographer's back.
09-05-2007, 04:10 AM   #12
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I still shoot film about 20% of the time, mostly because I like shooting B&W and shooting digital and converting it to B&W just seems weird to me. Besides, there is a "look" that you get with T-max or Tri-x that you simply cannot reproduce with a DSLR.

I take my film to our local camera store, and have them develop it and scan it to cd. The scan quality is pretty abyssmal, but at least then I have a "contact sheet" of sorts and can do a better scan of the good ones.

All in all, there is something fundamentally more satisfying in shooting film. Now maybe if Pentax made a DSLR out of chromed brass and leather I might feel differently...
09-05-2007, 04:39 AM   #13
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#1 I shoot both 135 and 120 Medium Format 6x6. I use a few cameras including a 1939 Leica III, 1963 FED-3a, Zorki-4K and a Yashica Mat-124G

#2 I usually get them done at either the local Wal-Mart or as i've been doing more recently sending them to be professionally processed in a lab.

#3 Sometimes I scan my own, when i'm flush I get the lab to do them. I usually get a set 6x4s at the time of developing and then I sometimes get enlargements of the best.


I shoot film because I like the look of it. As regards Digital I already shoot digital with a Samsung GX-10 and Samsung GX-1L. I see digital as an alternative to film. For me it's not an either-or situation. I shot whatever I feel like using at the time or what is most suited to the conditions at that time. Why limit yourself?


I guess for some of us film is a way of life. Even though I'm only in my early 30s I've always shot film and enjoy the whole process of loading the film, selecting the appropriate shutter speed, adjusting the aperture to match and then squeezing of a shot. The anticipation of the film coming back is also something that adds to the anticipation. Until recent times, photography has never been an instant process and to a certain degree digital makes you lazy.

Last edited by Trawlerman; 09-05-2007 at 10:29 AM. Reason: Additional
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