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03-02-2013, 01:25 AM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by tibbitts Quote
I'm not seeing the point of film as a learning tool. Most of us learned with film for no other reason that it was the only/best technology available.
This is a very good point, unless of course you are wanting to learn the basics of film photography. Here in the Portland area film is pretty trendy and there a lot of hipsters shooting with vintage gear as an art medium.

Interestingly, most, if not all, of the photography courses at my local high schools and colleges teach film in preference to digital for the introductory course. The working philosophy is that the fundamentals of exposure and focus are more easily learned with film and a simpler camera. An unfortunate side effect is that trend has kept the cost of the K1000 unreasonably high.

I sort of go both ways on the matter. I shot film for about 35 years before I got my first digital camera and can honestly say that the digicam improved my photographic skills, though not in the area of exposure or composition or camera skills. What digital did was free me to more fully explore the subject and do a better job of "seeing". As a result, my film photography has benefited as well with a resulting higher ratio of keepers per roll. As for expense. That is hard to say. A 35mm camera with normal lens and a decent scanner is about the same price as a low-end dSLR. Film + processing for C41 color negatives is $5 - $7 per roll negatives only(doing your own scans). Where the value proposition kicks in is with medium and large format, but that is another story!


Steve

(...shoots about 50% film for a number of reasons...all complicated...)


Last edited by stevebrot; 03-02-2013 at 01:31 AM.
03-02-2013, 01:39 AM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by boriscleto Quote
I've heard that they do and I've heard that the don't.
I have read both as well, though I also believe that Internet fiction has a longer life span than Internet fact. The meter in my SP using a 1.55v silver cell agrees nicely with both my KX and my SP II using the same voltage battery.


Steve
03-02-2013, 06:20 AM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
I have read both as well, though I also believe that Internet fiction has a longer life span than Internet fact. The meter in my SP using a 1.55v silver cell agrees nicely with both my KX and my SP II using the same voltage battery.


Steve
I have a very early Honeywell Spot, but I've never been able to test the meter. The battery door is fused shut. My suspicion is that someone left a Mercury battery in there
03-02-2013, 08:17 AM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
This is a very good point, unless of course you are wanting to learn the basics of film photography. Here in the Portland area film is pretty trendy and there a lot of hipsters shooting with vintage gear as an art medium.

Interestingly, most, if not all, of the photography courses at my local high schools and colleges teach film in preference to digital for the introductory course. The working philosophy is that the fundamentals of exposure and focus are more easily learned with film and a simpler camera. An unfortunate side effect is that trend has kept the cost of the K1000 unreasonably high.

I sort of go both ways on the matter. I shot film for about 35 years before I got my first digital camera and can honestly say that the digicam improved my photographic skills, though not in the area of exposure or composition or camera skills. What digital did was free me to more fully explore the subject and do a better job of "seeing". As a result, my film photography has benefited as well with a resulting higher ratio of keepers per roll. As for expense. That is hard to say. A 35mm camera with normal lens and a decent scanner is about the same price as a low-end dSLR. Film + processing for C41 color negatives is $5 - $7 per roll negatives only(doing your own scans). Where the value proposition kicks in is with medium and large format, but that is another story!


Steve

(...shoots about 50% film for a number of reasons...all complicated...)
Steve,

I'm convinced that the high school / college reliance on film is nearly 100% a function of instructors that are either intimidated by digital or at least feel they don't have the same advantage in knowledge compared to their students that they do with film. It doesn't have anything to do with them believing film is better for learning - it's more a situation of "I had to learn that way, so you should to." Eventually these instructors will die off and we'll be all-digital at the intro level, which is where we need to be. A film-based class could certainly be reasonable for an upper-level college or grad-school-level class, but not an introductory class. to me the expense issue is huge - education is expensive enough as it is without forcing students to buy needless supplies.

Paul

03-02-2013, 08:48 AM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by tibbitts Quote
A film-based class could certainly be reasonable for an upper-level college or grad-school-level class, but not an introductory class. to me the expense issue is huge - education is expensive enough as it is without forcing students to buy needless supplies.

Paul
When I was in school everything except the RC photo paper was provided. Cameras (if you didn't have your own), film, chemicals, and matte board for the prints were all provided by the school. Of course that was 20+ years ago...

I was unique in that I not only had my own SLR, but I also had my own set of Kodak Polycontrast filters. I never had to fight for the #4 filter (in those day I really like grungy/high contrast prints, still do )

My high school even had 2 darkroom, though the one the art department had could only be used for B&W. The technology department had a better darkroom, but nobody used it...
03-02-2013, 01:20 PM   #21
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Had photography as a subject in the equivalent of college about 20yrs ago, could only afford a fully manual Zenit back then (there were two other more modern options, but were way beyond my budget). We had our own darkroom, they supplied paper and chemicals, think even the film. Think I may still have that camera at home somewhere, maybe.

About 7 years ago, did an Intermediate Photography course, and got myself a Z20, plus the F and FA lenses I currently have, for that (was my introduction to Pentax). For that, they insisted we use slide film, which we had to buy ourselves, but they paid for the processing costs.

TBH, I don't think it is realistic to use film for Intro level classes these days, it's not where the technology is anymore. Think it should rather be at higher levels for specialist classes. Dunno when/if I'm going to shoot film again, the local lab I was using to get it from, doesn't even seem to stock Ilford anymore, nevermind colour negative/slide film.

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03-02-2013, 03:34 PM   #22
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I think learning with film is a great idea. Because film and development cost can get expensive, it forces you to really think not only about the composition of a shot but make sure you have the exposure correct. With digital you can take a million shots without learning what is going on but randomly stumbling on a good result or, as many do, never take the camera off P-mode.
03-02-2013, 05:18 PM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by boriscleto Quote
When I was in school everything except the RC photo paper was provided. Cameras (if you didn't have your own), film, chemicals, and matte board for the prints were all provided by the school. Of course that was 20+ years ago...

I was unique in that I not only had my own SLR, but I also had my own set of Kodak Polycontrast filters. I never had to fight for the #4 filter (in those day I really like grungy/high contrast prints, still do )

My high school even had 2 darkroom, though the one the art department had could only be used for B&W. The technology department had a better darkroom, but nobody used it...
I can tell you that for some recent classes that I've heard of, students have been required to buy their own supplies including film. But the point is that somebody has to pay for it, and it adds to the already astronomical cost of education, either directly or indirectly.

Paul

03-02-2013, 06:03 PM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by tibbitts Quote
I can tell you that for some recent classes that I've heard of, students have been required to buy their own supplies including film. But the point is that somebody has to pay for it, and it adds to the already astronomical cost of education, either directly or indirectly.

Paul
The film we used was Ilford bulk film loaded in reusable cartridges. Even today a 100' roll of Kentmere is $30-35. Chemicals were bought powdered and we mixed it ourselves. I remember spending entire class periods mixing developer and fixer in gallon jugs. A gallon of Kodak D-76 developer is less than $6 today, a gallon of Kodak fixer is $5. Stop bath is around $6.50. Total cost for the year wouldn't have been more than a few hundred dollars for everything we were provided (and I know that some of the supplies were bought by the teacher out of her own pocket). The matte board we used was from supplies provided for the entire art department. And this was at a time when budgets for the high school were being cut every year. The echo boom was just starting elementary school at the time and the district was looking to build a new elementary school (In recent years they have closed 2 elementary schools and want to close more).

Going all digital would have costs as well. Good photo printers aren't cheap, and ink is ridiculously expensive. The cost of ink can be $1000s/gallon when you consider that an ink cartridge contains milliliters of ink. The cost of varies between printer but runs from $.125 to $.767 per photo.
03-02-2013, 07:33 PM   #25
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I agree that printing digital can be expensive, but the advantage is that you don't have to print digital. With a b&w (or color) negative, you can't practically share/show it without printing - or scanning, in which case it becomes a digital image anyway. With digital, you can easily project it in a classroom envrionment, share it on the net, etc.

Paul
03-02-2013, 09:16 PM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by tibbitts Quote
I agree that printing digital can be expensive, but the advantage is that you don't have to print digital. With a b&w (or color) negative, you can't practically share/show it without printing - or scanning, in which case it becomes a digital image anyway. With digital, you can easily project it in a classroom envrionment, share it on the net, etc.

Paul
I left out the other part of the cost saving illusion of digital. Computers and software become obsolete within a few years. Digiatal Cameras become obsolete even more quickly. Projectors are expensive and require maintenance. The developer tanks and reels we were using had been around the school since the '70s. The enlargers and cameras were all more than 10 years old. For all I know they could all still be in use. I can guarantee you the Apple IIe and Macintosh LC computers the school had when I went there are no longer in use.

I'm all for technology in the class room, but you still need to learn the old ways. The Instagram generation thinks this is good photography...

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03-03-2013, 01:29 AM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by tibbitts Quote
I'm not seeing the point of film as a learning tool.
Its a lot like saying you have to master a manual transmission before you can use an auto.

If you are going to go the film route at least get a 4x5 view where there is some potential real advantage to it in its own right.

Speaking only for myself I would no more learn film to use a camera than to learn horse shoeing to use a car.

Last edited by wildman; 03-03-2013 at 01:38 AM.
03-03-2013, 07:13 PM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by boriscleto Quote
I left out the other part of the cost saving illusion of digital. Computers and software become obsolete within a few years. Digiatal Cameras become obsolete even more quickly. Projectors are expensive and require maintenance. The developer tanks and reels we were using had been around the school since the '70s. The enlargers and cameras were all more than 10 years old. For all I know they could all still be in use. I can guarantee you the Apple IIe and Macintosh LC computers the school had when I went there are no longer in use.

I'm all for technology in the class room, but you still need to learn the old ways. The Instagram generation thinks this is good photography...

You Are Not a Photographer | Exposing fauxtographers since 2011
Where I find this philosophy falls short is that so many people, including instructors in school/college, consider the "old ways" to coincidentally start with what they happen to have started with and spent years mastering. So students end up starting being forced to start with film rather than, for example, daguerreotypes, or coated glass plates.

It is true that my film cameras lasted for decades (although they took some dollars out of my pocket periodically for CLAs, mechanical shutter adjustments, new seals, etc.), after which they could typically still take pictures that were as good as the very best new film models. While my digital cameras might theoretically last a long time too, I trade them in, because after some years they can no longer take pictures that are as good as newer models. I still tend to remain a digital generation or two behind, for economic considerations. But the money I spend on those digital bodies, plus the digital storage for my images, are - depending on the volume of photographs I take - compensated for not having to buy film, space-consuming storage containers, etc.

Paul
03-05-2013, 01:05 AM   #29
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Comparing total cost per photo is one thing, but marginal cost to me is at least equally important.

The marginal cost of a digital photograph is essentially zero. (The only thing you could argue is depreciation of the body via its shutter count... a tiny amount per actuation.) That is, if I buy all the gear and take 1036 photos, it costs exactly the same as taking 1000 photos. When shooting film, every time you press the shutter it costs you money that you would save if you didn't press the button. That forces you to decide not to take a certain fraction of exposures.

Is there virtue in picking your shots? Yes. And I agree there is no skill in spray-and-pray photography.

But there is learning value in it for those who choose to take that advantage. You learn by making mistakes and by having successes - even if they weren't deliberate, you have there an opportunity to analyse why they were mistakes or successes and then put that knowledge into deliberate use next time. If you multiply the number of mistakes and the number of successes with each outing, you multiply the rate of learning, even if the failures are multiplied by a greater factor than the successes. Add to this that the each cycle of shoot, process, critique, learn is shortened with digital because the processing can happen more quickly and/or more often (due to zero marginal cost) and you have two factors accelerating your learning.
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