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08-12-2012, 09:48 PM   #1
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How do you shoot film nowadays?


I've done some photography in the past with Nikon digital cameras, but nothing fancy. Basic bodies, basic lenses, basic photos. Then I got a D7000, which make 1080p movies, so I used my only camera as a camcorder and actually forgot that I had a Nikon SLR in my hands! So I ended up not doing any photography with my Nikon. Recently, I started a book about the history of photography, by Naomi Rosenblum, and I got really interested in the basics of photography, about the origins. I made some research and found a perfectly preserved K1000 on ebay with a 50mm and a 28mm for 100$, so I bought it. The K1000 had everything I wanted : entirely mechanic, metal body, no automatic controls, only 36 B&W pictures with a 35mm roll... It was the fact that the K1000 had nothing but the necessary that caught me, because as I see it, one can't make a good picture with a fancy digital camera if he can't do one with a camera like the K1000.

So I got interested in black and white 35mm film photography. But as a newbie, I was wondering how do you organize yourself when shooting with 35mm nowadays? I mean, you got 36 photos in a roll, fine, but what do you do next? Do you process them yourself or get them to a lab? I understand it is not too complicated to develop 35mm black and white film. But then, do you have a darkroom? What do you do with your negatives? Scan them? Get them scanned?

I'm good with taking photos with my camera, I actually like the feeling of taking B&W pictures with a K1000. But my dilemma is after, when my roll is finished. Being in a digital era, is the best way of dealing with processed negatives to scan them? Or get some kind of contact prints?

As you see, I'm now this process of 35mm film photography, but I'm really looking forward to learn more and more about it!


08-12-2012, 10:47 PM   #2
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I've been taking mine to the local Target but that may not be an option come Fall actually. I'm running out of places to take it locally. I may have to resort to developing it myself one of these days or sending it out to online labs. I don't really want to go there. I have chemical issues, but I'm thinking I'd better learn to develop my own film or forget using it soon. I don't want to give it up. I like it and I don't mind scanning negatives.
08-12-2012, 10:59 PM   #3
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I have a lab locally that specializes in film processing. As long as they are there I am ok. Lomography seems to be big here so I am ok for awhile.

I only have the develope the and then scan the negatives myself , edit the pics in lighroom and then print on my printer if I want prints.
08-12-2012, 11:06 PM   #4
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I usually don't get mine scanned, I just get them devloped and printed at Big-W.

There's a photo clip/mobile thingy I've got hanging from the light fitting above my bed, I just tend to rotate the prints on it as I get rolls developed.

It's good, the prints don't sit hidden in an album or on a shelf, it makes the room look nice, and my partner likes how every few weeks it changes.

It's one of these:

08-13-2012, 01:04 AM   #5
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Hello! I'm 23 and only few months ago I rediscovered, like you, film photography. Yes, I have a DSLR, but .. you know .. I like to complicate my life
No, seriously, I was literally caught from this type of photography, and I read a lot, ending up buying chemicals, a tank and some days ago an enlarger to stamp my first photos.
I think that what is really beautiful (nowadays) is that you have to be completely sure of what you are doing, otherwise you make mistakes.
And I completely LOVE to be the photographer and the developper of my own works.
It is not difficult if I can do that!! And it require very little time.
In addition to this, you can save up lots of money (here to develop just the film is 8€ (36pics), then you have to stamp it. And I have, with like 10€, 1L of chemicals (I've developped something like 5 films by now and it is not finished yet). I adopted this method also because many times the results are not what I want, so that would be losing my money. Of course, the "bad" thing is that it's only BW (but for colors you have your DSLR ).
One tip that I learned is that my tank can contein 36 films, but unfortunately if I fill it completely, sometimes some frames of the film don't develop. So I usually make 30 on 36 shots, in order not to worry if the last part will be ruined by air or sometinh else inside the tank.
In any case you can develop your own films and then go to scan them and stamp just the few you want!
08-13-2012, 01:16 AM   #6
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after constant destruction of rolls of film by labs I've given up on film till the time being till I relearn how to develop it myself (ya years ago I was in college for photography before the military and I knew how to develop B&W film but for some reason cant remember anything???) so I plan on taking a class soon and developing it myself, I honestly feel its a waste to shoot film and have someone else develop it for you, it becomes a "pic" after that as you had no control over the final outcome of the image...
08-13-2012, 02:26 AM   #7
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I recently got into film photography after a few years with a digital SLR (K200D). I've produced overall better results from B&W than colour. I initially didn't intend to develop them myself but the price of development forced me to do it myself. It's really not very difficult, you'll find good instructions on Ilford's website. The only part of the process for which you need a completely dark room is to take the film out of the canister and put it into the development tank. I use a Paterson tank and it's pretty easy to do by feel with very little practice. After that, with all the chemicals, it's done in daylight and it's simply a matter of adding and removing the chemicals at the right time.

I currently have my films scanned to CD, but have found that quality is very poor. A typical place that does it will have "good" and "high" scan quality. In reality these correspond to "piss-poor" and "mediocre-at-best". I plan to get an Epson V500 very soon and scan them myself. This will give me far better results, TIFF files instead of jpeg, much greater control, and the power to compensate for some of the piss-poor developing that seems to go on sometimes too. And it will be cheaper.
08-13-2012, 04:19 AM   #8
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I send them off for dev+scan. I've found a place that does a fairly decent job, after being disappointed at a couple of places. I was happy with their medium quality jpegs which are 3130x275 (I asked for a tiff as well, for comparison, and couldn't see any difference. I've just ordered some 'best quality' scans (23mb jpegs) and will let you know how it goes!

08-14-2012, 04:51 PM   #9
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Until recently, I sent my film to the local WalMart or Target for developing, prints, and scanning. The results were usually acceptable. But within a month, both shops stopped there local developing service and would only send them out to another shop.I figured if the rolls were gonna get sent somewhere, I wanted to control where there would go. I found a shop with some good references and started mailing all my film there. I've been very please with the results (much better than the local shops in all aspects), and they are even cheaper than WalMart for the same service. The only issue is it takes about two weeks from the time I drop the film in the mail until the finished product arrives in my mailbox.
08-14-2012, 07:23 PM   #10
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For me it depends on the type of film and format.

6x7 Negatives or Slides:
Take to one of three local pro labs for processing and medium resolution scans. (My scanner only does 35mm)

35mm Colour Negatives:
I rarely shoot 135 colour negative film. But if I do I take it to one of three local pro labs for processing and low resolution scans.

35mm Colour Slides:
I take to one of three local pro labs for processing, mounting and scan the odd slide myself. I would rather view my slides on a light table using a photo lupe, than view them as a scanned image.

35mm B&W Negatives:
I take it to one of three local pro labs for processing and low resolution scans.


I send to a lab in Denver for processing as a positive & mounting and scan the odd slide myself. I would rather view my slides on a light table using a photo lupe, than view them as a scanned image.

35mm B&W Slides:
I send to a lab in Denver for processing and scan the odd slide myself. I would rather view my slides on a light table using a photo lupe, than view them as a scanned image.

Summary: I hate scanning/post processing and prefer sildes over negatives any day. Nothing beats viewing a slide on a light table with a photo lupe!


Last edited by gofour3; 08-14-2012 at 07:38 PM.
08-15-2012, 01:04 AM   #11
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I got into shooting film maybe two years ago. The thought of an FF k-mount at $30 was just too compelling. I then started developing my own B&W negs. Nowadays, I know labs that would do it for me, but can't justify the increase in expense. I sometimes shoot color, mostly reversal. I have yet to try my hand at developing it, but some folk at my local club are eying the possibilities. So far I go to labs.

Now, maybe half a year ago, I started shooting 645 film. Same story there, except that I also note down exposure data in a booklet for my color film.

I scan the MF shots in a friend's Nikon 8000 at 4000 DPI. Then I do minimal post (framing, shadow recovery). Seems to work pretty well.

To develop B&W negs, you don't need very fancy equipment. A tank, dev, fixer, a bottle opener, either a room without windows or a changing bag as well as somewhere to put your processed film will get you started. Then of course, you'll want to either copy or scan it to get positive pictures.
08-15-2012, 06:28 AM   #12
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I used to shoot nearly all slides but since I now use Powerpoint for teaching and Kodak ceased making Kodachrome I have given up on slides. I now shoot a wide variety of BW films and Kodak Ektar 100 for 35mm colour almost exclusively. For medium format (mainly on my Lubitel 2 but also my Yashicamat 124G and my Moscow 5) I use a variety of different films, quite often one of the Fuji Pro emulsions.

All of these get sent away to a pro lab for dev, 6x4 prints and lo res scans. Costs a bit but I don't have the time or facilities to muck around with it that much, as much as I would like to. The scans are generally excellent although I often tweak them a bit in Lightroom. They get used for posting to flickr etc. If I need hi-res scans I can do 35mm myself as I have a film scanner, or I have to send off for the medium format images.

Large format... I'm only just starting to get my head around that although again the developing gets done by a different pro lab.

Cheers, Kris.
08-15-2012, 10:56 AM   #13
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As you can see from above there are as many ways to manage film and development as there are people shooting. I myself like to shoot B&W in my SLRs and colour (typical Ektar or Portra) in my compact and MF toy cameras. I get my film professional developed which isn't a big deal for colour, however, for B&W if you live in a smaller city can sometimes be a problem (my photoshop doesn't develop B&W anymore, one of the employees takes it home to develop in their own darkroom). I have thought about developing at home, but with a new baby and a degree to finish, I think that would end me in divorce. This being said though there are lots of resources on the internet. I suggestion you look up the Film Photography Podcast (Film Photography Project | An Internet Radio Show & On-Line Resource for Film Shooters Worldwide) or the Analogue Photography Users Group ( Aside from this there are millions of videos on you tube. Everything from home developing both colour and B&W film (without a darkroom), to all sorts of crazy techniques. You can go as deep as you want.

Good Luck

08-15-2012, 11:37 AM   #14
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If I am shooting C41 I take them into the local lab for processing only no printing or cutting then take them home and eventually scan the negatives I want. For E6 I take them to London Drugs where they send them to the wrong lab which sends them back and they then go to the correct lab, same as the roll I shoot in my Pentax A110, not sure if they knew where to send it but supposedly all the way to Calgary but it is taking a long time for being only a three hour trip away.

But the majority of film I shoot is black and white so I take that upstairs to the darkroom for development and after drying they go into negative files. When I feel like it or they pile up I make contact sheets, normally with outdated paper I have been given. Then sit with a cup of tea in an easy chair and decide what I am going to do with any particular image and also critice my images. During darkoom sessions I will print of course but what I print unless I need some image right away will be on format of film or one paper size per session to decrease the adjustments to the enlarger. A couple of black and white negs I have scanned and there are a few that I might this winter. I have a good scanner for 35mm and 120.

So the answer is put the film in the camera, shoot, take it out, develop, dry, file, contact sheet, print, put in porfolio or mat and frame and finally marvel at how good I am (well actually its my wife who does the matting and framing and my dearly departed dogs who did the marvelling). I shoot film the same now adays as I did pre digital at least in B&W. For colour mostly digital and it is not uncommon for me to have the film developed and even contact sheets before anything other than downloading is done to the digital.

This fall I will need to start tray developing as going to be using the whole plate and do not have tanks or hangers that large. Developing film is an excellent time to be listening to the film photographu podcast
08-15-2012, 11:49 AM   #15
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lot's of answers
For me the process is as follow
- 35mm to a local drugstore for minilab develop scan for $3
- 120 - to a local pro lab develop only then i scan myself
E-6 - both 35 and 120 to a local pro lab develop (and mount the 35) then I scan myself
B/W - I do My own now it's pretty easy and what you need costs little. In the past I had a very good b/w pro lab but they have closed they used to do proofs for me as well, and any fine art prints i wanted done
b/w reversal - send to dr5 CHROME - Black and White slide - transparency process + THE ONLY AGFA SCALA PROCESSING WORLDWIDE, or if you are up to it try it yourself (a little more complicated than straight b/w) - they also do very good b/w work if you don't have a local lab

For scanning get yourself a decent scanner and software. If you are only doing film the Plustech scanners are good and reasonable
Vuescan is a very good program for scanning

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