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12-09-2013, 01:17 PM   #1
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I'm giving all you film camera lovers homework.

Your homework is to get at least one other person to seriously shoot film as a hobby.
Maybe many of you have already done this.
I have found when I walk around with my film camera many people are fascinated by it, but assume that there is some sort of black voodoo required to develop film or that its all super expensive and a waste of time (partially true I suppose).
Especially with all the young hipster wannabes, with a little education I have encouraged many people to check out how easy it is to develop black and white film without a darkroom using a changing bag and light tight can. And if they don't want to or can't put up a full darkroom they can buy a reasonably priced film scanner to finish the process.
If you actually have a darkroom you are obligated to teach others, especially college age, how to operate it as that seems to take the fear of the mystical process out of the equation and usually gets them interested (at least until they see what chemicals and paper cost these days).

I would rather like to see film not die out any further, and I am finding that ignorance is the greatest thing killing it for people that might otherwise be interested. Many people are honest to god baffled when I tell them you can still use film cameras and buy stuff for them, and even have color film developed if you feel like it at a few remaining places.

12-09-2013, 01:32 PM   #2
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I only have one lens that truly benefits from film.
12-09-2013, 02:55 PM   #3
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Well here's my take on things:- 99.9% of all photo shots never make it off the computer screen or smartphone. IMHO a photo only comes into its own when its printed. Most digital or smartphone users don't want any additional expense of printing out their shots and that's really what you have to do with film.

To be honest, I don't think I'd pay for it. I think it costs around the equivalent of $10-15 in the UK to have a film developed and a set of 6"x4" prints made. And who wants prints that small anyway? When I wet print my b&w shots the minimum size would be 10"x8" and often I use 16"x12" for maximum impact. So your average Joe isn't going to turn to film. Its enthusiasts like us who appreciate the special characteristics and often superior quality of film, who will keep it going. I know quite a few friends who have Pentax P30t/Canon AE1/Olympus OM10 tucked away at the back of a drawer somewhere and they will never use them again.

I keep asking the guy with the P30t to sell it to me but the going rate is $25 and although he knows that is the right price, he won't sell because he paid a lot of money for it 20 years ago. So it will sit in his drawer forever. Such a shame
12-09-2013, 02:55 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by PPPPPP42 Quote
If you actually have a darkroom you are obligated to teach others, especially college age, how to operate it
So how do you alleviate their concern about the effect of the chemicals on their environment?

Electronic waste isn't harmless, either, but does seem to be less of a problem.

12-09-2013, 03:03 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by lytrytyr Quote
So how do you alleviate their concern about the effect of the chemicals on their environment?
And what might those be???


Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 12-09-2013 at 03:13 PM.
12-09-2013, 03:23 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by lytrytyr Quote
So how do you alleviate their concern about the effect of the chemicals on their environment?
Pro labs know what to do. I use Rodinal which can safely be put down the drain. Fixer retains silver and gets recycled. I don't process paper.
12-09-2013, 03:27 PM   #7
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I have found promoting film photography to be a hard sell, particularly to the non-enthusiast. And even with the enthusiast, the inevitable issue of scanning often becomes the major sticking point. In my mind, the main selling points to using film are:
  • The option of using vintage gear
  • The capture characteristics of B&W films*
  • Fairly economical access to 35mm and larger formats
  • End-to-end control over the image-creation process
Clearly we are talking about gearheads, photo-enthusiasts, and dedicated photo artists.


Steve

* I may make a few enemies here, but I find little to recommend color film photography over digital except for medium and large format.
12-09-2013, 03:33 PM   #8
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Actually I would agree with your * concerning color film. When I lived near the Target store that still develops and puts to CD a roll of color film for $3 or so I was shooting it all the time, but not any more, its not worth the minimum of $7 a roll to have it developed.
Medium format however makes me want to try to dive into the photo every time I get to see the ridiculously high resolution on one of those, so I would also agree that it is still well worth it. It takes a whole lot of MF film to equal the cost of one 645D.

12-09-2013, 03:36 PM   #9
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Steve,

I have only been doing film this year, and mostly because of the alien skin exposure program. I don't think you will get anyone to do film for snapshots but for me these are the reasons to do it:

1) Black and white (especially tri-x) that is pushed looks so much better in real film than plugins.
2) Pentax doesn't have a full frame yet and for people photos with shallow depth of field you can't beat FF (granted this argument goes away at some point)
3) Time savings:
a) Portra 400 lab scanned already looks incredible, there just isn't much work to do on it
b) You don't have to look at the camera etc after every shot
c) You take less shots, less to mess with

If I am after a snapshot, I have my iphone. Video for that matter too :-)

Jamey

Edit: Thinking about speed, I somehow think that I am faster at manual focus after going 95% film this year...... autofocus is quite startling if you haven't used it in some time!
12-09-2013, 03:44 PM - 1 Like   #10
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My daughter is hooked. She shoots Tri-X with a MX, her underwater Minolta and a Yashica Mat for college courses. Loves the MX, that's the second MX I've given to the youth (the first was to my nephew)... And I'm proud of still remembering how to use the enlarger, though I haven't touched one in 35 years, today daughter asked me about how to increase contrast in her print. Ol Daddy came through with the knowledge.
12-09-2013, 03:56 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Jamey777 Quote
Steve,

I have only been doing film this year, and mostly because of the alien skin exposure program. I don't think you will get anyone to do film for snapshots but for me these are the reasons to do it:

1) Black and white (especially tri-x) that is pushed looks so much better in real film than plugins.
2) Pentax doesn't have a full frame yet and for people photos with shallow depth of field you can't beat FF (granted this argument goes away at some point)
3) Time savings:
a) Portra 400 lab scanned already looks incredible, there just isn't much work to do on it
b) You don't have to look at the camera etc after every shot
c) You take less shots, less to mess with

If I am after a snapshot, I have my iphone. Video for that matter too :-)

Jamey

Edit: Thinking about speed, I somehow think that I am faster at manual focus after going 95% film this year...... autofocus is quite startling if you haven't used it in some time!
I like your list. I almost added a point about ease of shooting. Almost all of my film cameras are much more capable of simply catching the image than my K10D. This is despite the encumbrance of manual focus/wind and in a few cases, lack of exposure automation or even in-camera metering.


Steve
12-09-2013, 04:58 PM   #12
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I take a photography course every year at one of the local schools here in Vancouver. As I shoot only film I have to stick with either film only courses, like darkroom, or mixed courses like portrait & macro.

I’m always the only one shooting film in the mixed film/digital classes. When we have to submit our assignments for class critique my film shots always get the same response from the digital shooters; “I love the look of film, maybe I should try some again”

That’s my contribution to the cause!

Phil.
12-09-2013, 05:17 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
* I may make a few enemies here, but I find little to recommend color film photography over digital except for medium and large format.
I would agree and also add 35mm slide film. Unfortunately most people shooting colour film now never try transparencies and are missing the experience.

When I started with photography in the early 1970’s colour negative film was considered a consumer/amateur film and anyone serious with photography shot transparencies. Even today I still shoot 95% of my colour work on slide film and can’t seem to warm-up to the C-41 stuff. I'll never change either, as long as someone makes slide film.

Phil.
12-09-2013, 07:29 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
And what might those be?
Photographic processing - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

You're welcome to edit the Wiki if you can provide accurate, referenced information.
12-09-2013, 07:52 PM - 2 Likes   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by lytrytyr Quote
Photographic processing - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

You're welcome to edit the Wiki if you can provide accurate, referenced information.
I understand the Wiki entry quite well (strong background in chemistry) and still fail to see the issue for most home darkroom use. Mitigation for commercial operations is well-established, is detailed in the article, and is mandated by law based on the volume of waste they produce. I could answer point-by-point for each of the substances listed, but it would be wasted key-strokes.

To be quite honest, a home darkroom for B&W* present less risk than the witches brew of cleaning supplies, pharmaceuticals, dietary supplements, cosmetics, and partially processed food (feces) that constitute normal household sewage**.


Steve

* Home processing for C41 color is marginally more of a problem, but only marginally.

** Almost all of the listed chemicals in the Wikipedia section are common constituents of household waste streams. The exceptions might be the reducing agents used in some developers. For what its worth, hydroquinone (reducing agent in HC 110 developer) is found naturally in beer and coffee.

Last edited by stevebrot; 12-09-2013 at 08:55 PM.
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