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08-03-2013, 01:43 PM   #1
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Stepping back requires thought

There have been several posts and threads about returning to film photography again and many have done it. I feel certain that most (if not all) have continued shooting digitally also. After reviewing those posts and threads, I decided to give it a try. I own two film 35mm SLRs so decided to go give them a little work yesterday. I have a Petri FT and a Pentax K100SE, both manual cameras and each with a couple extra lenses. Sorry, but I do not have the photos developed yet (I need to find a quality lab). Depending on the results, I may post a couple later.

One important thing I discovered, the film must be advanced after each shot. Also, I cannot rely on the camera to make settings decisions. Film limits the sensitivity (ISO) and thus the only adjustments one can make are the shutter or aperture setting. It certainly slows the process for me. Another thing I found myself doing, looking at the back of the camera for the preview that did not appear.

I think that going back to shooting with film is an excellent idea for many of us, if nothing more than to gain the realization of how much photography has advanced (or regressed maybe) with digital cameras. Now the cameras can do a significant amount of thinking for us and we do not need to think about how a photo is made, or how much actual scientific theory goes into getting a good photograph. know yesterday awakened in me a desire to think more before taking any photo, including the quick family "snapshot" that will actually be bad, even if taken with film.

08-03-2013, 02:43 PM - 1 Like   #2
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I'm of the opinion that any reason to shoot film is a good reason
08-03-2013, 02:57 PM   #3
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Remember that with negative film you have a fair amount of latitude - e.g. you can set the ISO on the camera up to 2 or 3 stops above or below the film's actual ISO, depending on the effect or results you want. With positive (slide) film it's closer to only 1/2 stop of latitude, though some films claim to have more than this.

Naturally you can also set the camera's ISO to match the film and then intentionally under- or over-expose each individual shot.
08-03-2013, 04:00 PM   #4
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I always find nostalgia for old ways interesting. When Plato was contemplating the written word, he objected on the grounds that it would make the mind soft and forgetful. Can you imagine thinking of the written word as a newfangled invention that is ruining the younger generation? At each step in progress, we should be mindful of what we may be losing, but never let it slow the advance of progress.

08-03-2013, 04:25 PM   #5
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ISO issue resolved... have more than one roll on the go at any given time!

I've taken to have a roll of ISO 100 something in my K1000 and a roll of iso 400 HP5+ (maybe pushed) in my ME Super (that extra stop of shutter speed can be handy with faster film). i am enjoying it thoroughly. A couple from Pentax M 85mm f2.0 on Fuji Pro 400 H.
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08-03-2013, 05:28 PM   #6
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Digital cameras certainly do a lot of the thinking, but that takes away what, in my opinion, is the most important part of the learning process, failure. Failure is a blessing. When we surrender creative control to the camera, sure, we may get better pictures, but are we really responsible for the successes? When we fail, we get frustrated, even angry at ourselves, but we remember those mistakes and try like hell to avoid them the next time. Film, especially transparency film, has a way of keeping a person honest and humble. Learn your craft, get it right, or you will know you didn't. You just don't get that with digital cameras, at least the way most people shoot them.
08-03-2013, 06:13 PM   #7
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I'm done with film. If I can't find slide film or the one I used to use, it's of no use to me. To stop digital cameras from thinking for you, go manual.
08-03-2013, 07:25 PM - 1 Like   #8
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I always use the following analogy in my photo club:
A digital camera is like a machine gun or an automatic rifle. Versatile and very capable.
A film camera is like a sniper's rifle: Pressing the trigger is the last step of the process and each one counts.
But they both need a competent user to be effective.........

Thanks,

08-03-2013, 11:58 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by ismaelg Quote
I always use the following analogy in my photo club:
A digital camera is like a machine gun or an automatic rifle. Versatile and very capable.
A film camera is like a sniper's rifle: Pressing the trigger is the last step of the process and each one counts.
But they both need a competent user to be effective.........

Thanks,
To me, film is like a rifle with bolt action and digital is like a rifle with a night scope:modern, efficient and repeatable.
08-04-2013, 01:14 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Photos-by-Chas Quote
Stepping back requires thought
I saw the thread title and straight away confirmed, that it rules me out then.
08-04-2013, 04:16 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Photos-by-Chas Quote
One important thing I discovered, the film must be advanced after each shot.
That still trips me up once in a while with my older cameras, especially the Ricoh Diacord which has no interlock between the winder and the shutter. I've gotten a couple of funky, unplanned, double exposures out of it. The Diacord requires so many discrete steps for every shot, it demands mental focus to operate. (But the images I've gotten from it are outstanding!)


QuoteQuote:
Also, I cannot rely on the camera to make settings decisions. Film limits the sensitivity (ISO) and thus the only adjustments one can make are the shutter or aperture setting. It certainly slows the process for me.
With my Ricoh XR7 it's got a coupled light meter and aperture priority, so the decision is easy: simply aim the camera and turn the aperture ring until the shutter speed goes into a range that I'm OK with! There are situations where one must be more mindful, such as taking action shots or manipulating the depth-of-field (and the XR7 has a DOF preview lever!), but for most everyday snapshots the exact balance of aperture versus shutter speed doesn't really matter that much.

It's not as fussy as the old Diacord, but the XR7 still requires me to have my brain engaged. I recently shot a whole roll of film at ASA 400 speed. It was Kodak Ektar 100. The results were not good. Sometimes I forget to wind it after a shot, then have to fumble around with the next shot. Sometimes I forget to focus (although not often, with the split prism and microprism screen right in front of my eye). Sometimes I forget to check the exposure. So, I flub a few shots. But you know, if you have a camera with everything on automatic, it's going to make the wrong assumptions and flub a few shots too, and you never know when it'll happen. At least with the XR7 I know when I'm paying attention and not too hurried, I can definitely get it right.

I also got a Pentax ZX-5n off eBay for $50. It really does a good job of automating things -- DX code, program mode, motor winder, autofocus -- without adding all the bulk and complexity that plague DSLRs. There are no menus and no "scene modes". I feel like it's just about the perfect user interface for a film camera. It's more forgiving when I'm in a hurry, but I still have full control when I want it. (I do miss the split prism focuser sometimes, though.)

QuoteQuote:
Another thing I found myself doing, looking at the back of the camera for the preview that did not appear.
You'll get over that pretty soon.

I've also done the opposite, raising my K-01 to my eye before realizing there's no VF to look through!
08-04-2013, 08:17 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tony Belding Quote
That still trips me up once in a while with my older cameras, especially the Ricoh Diacord which has no interlock between the winder and the shutter. I've gotten a couple of funky, unplanned, double exposures out of it. The Diacord requires so many discrete steps for every shot, it demands mental focus to operate. (But the images I've gotten from it are outstanding!)
You also have to watch this on the Argus - affectionately called the Brick!



And it came with a lifetime warranty . . .




I was just reading an article in a 1983 Pop Photo magazine that Kodak just started making DX coded film canisters. I didn't realize that technology only came about then!
08-04-2013, 11:04 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tony Belding Quote
With my Ricoh XR7 it's got a coupled light meter and aperture priority, so the decision is easy: simply aim the camera and turn the aperture ring until the shutter speed goes into a range that I'm OK with! There are situations where one must be more mindful, such as taking action shots or manipulating the depth-of-field (and the XR7 has a DOF preview lever!), but for most everyday snapshots the exact balance of aperture versus shutter speed doesn't really matter that much.
Love my XR7s (I now have two...go figure).


Steve
08-04-2013, 12:40 PM   #14
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I did not expect such a response when I started this. All your comments are relevant and appreciated. Also, it is nice to know that a significant number of us still think of film. Personally I like to try getting most of my photos in the manual mode, that is what I started out doing with my Petri. It is a totally manual camera, as is the K1000. They both have a light meter and that helps get a good exposure, but it certainly requires the thought process.

I never really understood the need or desire for an automatic camera. I figured my manual one took appropriately good shots even with my untrained mind and eye. They seemed good enough for the Captain of a ship I was on, to ask me to take photos of a couple Russian ships at sea while I was in the Navy. However, the quality of those photos will remain a mystery as I never saw them.
08-07-2013, 04:01 PM   #15
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I really have been loving shooting film again, for many of the reasons you mention but also because I find that I'm much more content with the image "as is". I love the look of the different emulsions so much that I don't really feel the need to tinker, not to mention that there's way less latitude than with a giant RAW file and endless filters, curves, etc. in Lightroom. So while there's the delayed gratification (which is kinda fun in itself - how did they turn out?!), it probably ends up expediting things for me. No backlog of zillions of images to sort through, then edit/post-process, etc.

Just adds to the pleasure!
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