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04-05-2018, 01:30 PM - 3 Likes   #31
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I shoot film because I like b&w photography and I like to print my shots rather than view them on a monitor. I found it difficult to get a proper digital b&w print from a CMYK printer. There was always a slight colour cast. So I shoot b&w film and wet print in the darkroom.

I use my DSLR for colour work but for b&w work.... nothing gets close to b&w film and a traditional wet print.

04-05-2018, 01:37 PM   #32
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From dsmithfx: :cool: Lets see those ''film'' shots - Page 1108 - PentaxForums.com Queen St W 2005, Rebel Ti, Tamron kit zoom
04-05-2018, 02:26 PM - 4 Likes   #33
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QuoteOriginally posted by CarlJF Quote
Outside of learning how things were done in the film era, there's nothing to learn or benefits from a film era camera if you want to improve your photography.
I have noted that disparaging remarks on film photography are a compulsion, but I will craft a few words in reply even though. (not helpful) Whether your statement quoted above is true depends a lot on the photographer and the camera. Digital photography tends to make understanding basic concepts such as exposure all the more difficult or so it appears. I take the frequent help requests on this site as evidence.

Your example of comparing a K-3II with fixed ISO and daylight balance to slide film is very appropriate. Yes, the K-3II and other digital cameras suffer from many of the same limitations of slide film, namely limited dynamic range and limited color response. ISO and white balance are red herrings unless one wants to consider that quality is compromised at higher ISO and that white balance is a limitation for both media. It is a pity that an expensive digital camera continues to be so limited. The difference is that color slide film is not representative of film photography as a whole.

As for the OP's questions, here is a short list of comments and opinions.
  • If you have any interest at all, take advantage of your friend's offer. The Super Program was a high-end offering in its day and is a fine tool with an extensive feature set.
  • Many, if not most of the lenses and accessories may be usable on your K-3II. For example, on my shelf is a Pentax AF 280 T flash. It was originally designed to be paired with the Super Program. It also provides a high degree of dedicated function on your K-3II. The same may be true for any flash included in the kit.
  • As for direct benefits of learning film photography, I am a little biased in that I had been shooting film for almost four decades before buying a K10D in 2007. In regards to compare and contrast, here is what I have determined:
    • Digital capture is strictly analogous to film capture. A full discussion would require a small book. Just believe me when I say that an understanding of how film works translates directly.
    • While the Super Program has capabilities similar to that of your K-3II, simpler cameras make learning the fundamentals of exposure, focus, depth-of-field, flash exposure, and so on much, much more direct.* For example, proficiency in manual focus helps one understand why auto-focus often fails to deliver. The machine "eye" works off the same image as your eye and if you have trouble, so will the machine. Another example might be non-TTL flash where the relationship of distance and aperture for exposure control is painfully obvious and where exceeding the X-sync speed is not only possible, but also leaves tell-tale evidence.
    • When coupled with home processing of B&W negatives, the science of exposure and media response to light is potentially more clear.
    • 35mm film cameras often feature much easier handling than most dSLRs and in my experience can be MUCH more fun even without the benefit of thousands of images per card and 8+ fps. For example, I was out by the Columbia River with a compact film SLR after having taken a three year break doing only digital. I had taken a few photos on that first roll when I heard a flock of Sandhill Cranes flying toward me from behind. I simply turned around, framed, focused, and shot as they passed to my left...no drama, no strained neck, no hassle (see here).
    Cautions and advice:
    • While the price of entry may be very low indeed, ongoing cost per exposure may give one pause
    • The number of exposures per roll (36 maximum for 35mm and 16 or less, depending on format, for 120 roll film) will impact one's shooting habits. This was as true in 1968 when I first took up the hobby as it is today. Cost per frame as well as the number of rolls in the bag do weigh in on how much attention is given a particular subject as well as whether a subject is addressed at all. Conversely, limited opportunities tends to lead to greater skill with the craft. Choose your poison.
    • While I very much love traditional wet darkroom printing, my advice today is to pursue a hybrid analog-digital approach where the source image is made on film, but images for display are derived from scans of negatives or slides and subjected to processing in a manner similar to pure digital captures. Yes, Lightroom will work nicely. A side-effect of that approach is the eventual need for high quality scans. Drug store (mini-lab) scans are suitable for proof sheets and snap shots, but inadequate for fine-art purposes. Most of the PF members that share images on this site own their own scanners, the cost of which is similar to a good quality used dSLR body.
    • For the most part, shooting color film (whether negatives or slides) is more for the novelty than anything else. A dSLR will almost always provide better results, unless one is confident that the "look" of the film is required for the desired final display image. For example, I am fond of the characteristics of Ferrania Solaris 100 and 400 ISO color negative film. It is not longer made, but I have a stash. Its colors are quirky, but can be visually striking. I like it and have so far been unable to replicate its quirks with a digital capture...end of story.
    • B&W negatives, on the other hand, win hands down over a monochrome digital capture with the possible exception of the Leica M Monochrom 246 rangefinder camera. A full explanation goes far beyond resolution (very high for some films) and would require several pages. It is enough to say that it is all about dynamic range and tonal information. Even the best digital film emulations fall far short.
    • There is an advantage to buying 35mm film in bulk and rolling one's own. The cost is usually less than half the single roll price.
    • I don't recommend B&W film if one is not willing to process the negatives themselves. A lab will charge a premium for B&W processing and will generally not do a better job. The chemicals and setup are not expensive and the sense of personal satisfaction can be huge.
Have fun!


Steve

* Like the K-3II, the Super Program is capable of full manual operation. It is that mode that provides the best learning experience.

Last edited by stevebrot; 04-05-2018 at 02:48 PM.
04-05-2018, 02:35 PM - 2 Likes   #34
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QuoteOriginally posted by Alex645 Quote
The biggest difference I see is "vision" and "intentionality".
This short phrase is priceless.


Steve

04-05-2018, 02:36 PM - 1 Like   #35
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
B&W negatives, on the other hand, win hands down over a monochrome digital capture with the possible exception of the Leica M Monochrom 246 rangefinder camera.
There is an advantage to buying 35mm film in bulk and rolling one's own. The cost is usually less than half the single roll price.
I don't recommend B&W film if one is not willing to process the negatives themselves.
I totally agree with @stevebrot here especially his suggestion of a hybrid solution. For B&W Ilford XP2+ is excellent for sending to a lab as it is processed in color chems, but is scanned as a monochrome. For color print or neg film, there are many options, but if you don't want to spend the time to scan them yourself, the lab can scan the negs and save it to the Cloud or to a CD/DVD.
04-05-2018, 03:14 PM   #36
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QuoteOriginally posted by 24thNomad Quote
However, I just have a vast curiosity with trying new things in general; especially in photography.
That is all the justification you need. Itís not like film equipment of good quality is expensive.

But it isnít just composition you have to see. In fact, the tight feedback loop of digital gives me ways to explore composition, doing in an hour what used to take a month of experimentation. My composition is better with digital.

You also have to see tonality. Film is narrow, and you have to clip highlights and shadows and as part of the seeing. New digital stuff is so broad that it brings up new strategies, such as holding shutter speed and aperture at optimal settings for the desired look, and the adjust iso to get the desired exposure.

One has to learn how to look at the world and predict how it will look, based on a calibrated mental model of the film and display medium. We used to do it with slidesóhyper-narrow, viewed directly with no possibility of post processing, and exposure latitude measured in fractions of a stop. It was easy to get blown highlights, sooty shadows, and nothing in between. No photoshop to the rescue, either.

And we used to just not miss. When I did a wedding back in the 70ís, I used a Mamiya C3 with a Sunpak 611 potato-masher flash. Iíd walk in with two Pro Packs of Vericolor Type S Professional. Thatís ten rolls: 120 pictures. And I would deliver a proof book with 120 unique photos in it. I checked the flash synch setting before every photo. I could reload film in that beast in 30 seconds. I could hold the camera in my right hand, the flash in my left, and aim the light however it needed to be aimed. Negative film was hard to overexpose, so dress texture would be fine, but black tuxes could become a black hole. Thatís what film is like. Itís demanding and fun, but to be honest I can do without the stress. We didnít spray, but we certainly did pray.

Now, when I shoot film, which I do for fun, I make a digital photo of the same scene as a backup, unless itís an easy place to visit again. But for the very few pay gigs that come my way these days, Iím digital all the way. But I still take no more than a quarter of the pictures I see other photographers make. My wife will make twice as many photos at a wedding, and sheíll spend four times as long editing them, too.

Rick ďwhose smallest film format in common use is 6x7Ē Denney

---------- Post added 04-05-18 at 03:44 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Ranchu Quote
Negative film has 15 stops of DR, including an S curve, there's no digital that can accomplish that. Even if there was a digital camera that actually produced 15 stops, adding the S curve would add midtone contrast. Negative film decreases midtone contrast .7

What negative film?

Iíve never gotten more that 10-11 stops from color negative film, at least with tones that you could separate without photoshop and a $75 laser scan. And I have shot...a lot of color negative film. With C-prints, you wonít see those 10 stops. Cibachrome came closer, but the it was a positive process and Iíve never gotten more than 6 stops of subject brightness range in a color slide.

You can get 15 stops from black and white, but only with slower film and only with particular developers (Pyrocat, for example). Iíve done that for more than a couple of weeks, too.

But if you want a print with good microcontrast, you have to separate those mid-tones.

The 645Z has 14.7 stops of dynamic range and itís linear, meaning you can do whatever you want with it.

I still use film and have a freezer full of it. But for me, the format size has to have the advantage to overcome the other constraints. 6x7 is on that boundary, 4x5 for sure, particularly with the image management capabilities of large format. But if they ever made a true 4x5 sensor usable in my view camera, I will want it.

I shot this on 6x12 Velvia. I missed the exposure by about a quarter of a stop. Itís fine, but the shadow of the tree lost detail because of it. And that was on an overcast day with flat lighting. Negative film would have held it, but not with that intensity of red.


Japanese Maple, 6x12 Velvia, f/16 at 1 second, 121mm f/8 Schneider Super Angulon, Sinar F2 with Sinar roll film holder. Scanned in a Nikon 9000ED, but those shadow details are gone on the transparency, too.

Rick ďthe Zone System works to 10 stops, 12 if you can get your N-2 processing dialed inĒ Denney

---------- Post added 04-05-18 at 04:02 PM ----------

Some folks are conflating camera automation with digital. Camera automation is what keeps people from learning about exposure. Put a digital camera in M and adjust aperture and shutter speed to ďcenter the needleĒóthatís how one learns about exposure.

The extension of that leads to metering 5 or 10 parts of the scene with a 1-degree spot meter to fit them into the sensitivity of the film. That can be done with digital, too.

Program automation existed before digital cameras. I had two film cameras with Program exposure automation for a total of about 15 years before I bought my first digital camera in 2003, and that was a Canon 10D, so itís not like it was last week. My Canon T90 or EOS Elan II didnít require any knowledge of exposure to get good ones. It helped, but it wasnít necessary.

Rick ďwhose wife has good timing but no head for the technical stuffóguess which Iíd rather haveĒ Denney
04-05-2018, 05:27 PM   #37
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QuoteOriginally posted by rdenney Quote
You also have to see tonality. Film is narrow, and you have to clip highlights and shadows and as part of the seeing. New digital stuff is so broad that it brings up new strategies, such as holding shutter speed and aperture at optimal settings for the desired look, and the adjust iso to get the desired exposure.
Well, with negative film, you have a lot of room for overexposure, and digital has almost no room for overexposure, but will handle underexposure very well.

That said, I think I've been burned more by highlights with digital images than shadows on film.
04-05-2018, 05:49 PM   #38
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QuoteOriginally posted by CarlJF Quote
I just don't see any great lesson that could be learned on film that couldn't be learned on digital in a more efficient way.
.
I think thatís the point though, efficiency doesnít always make a good teaching tool...

04-05-2018, 05:54 PM   #39
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QuoteOriginally posted by CarlJF Quote
Outside of learning how things were done in the film era, there's nothing to learn or benefits from a film era camera if you want to improve your photography.

But you can have an idea of what is was to shoot slide with your K3-II. Set the camera in jpg only, select a picture mode, set the ISO at max 400, the WB to sunny, and keep these settings for the next 36 shots, no matter the situation. You can change these settings only after each 36 shots (you can use a 256MB or 512MB SD card). For each of these 36 shots, give 20$ to someone (film and developing weren't free). Use MF and only M, Av and Tv exposure modes. If you use a flash, you can only use it in manual mode. Shut down the back LCD, chimping is completely forbidden, you can only look at the pictures once they're downloaded to your computer, and you can look at them only 2-3 days after they were taken. No PP is possible, not even cropping. Enjoy!
Iíd say Ďno croppingí is a step too far; in my living memory I could walk from my office to a professional lab on my lunch hour, select exposures from a contact sheet and the next day mark up test prints with a grease pencil with a lab printer looking over my shoulder

My wife could take prints of her ancestors to a lab - even 11 x 1 7 art prints - and have them reproduced on her selection of paper, retouched to fix age spots and marks, tinted to her pleasure, and have multiple prints made for her siblings (and the Colorado History Museum).
04-05-2018, 05:57 PM   #40
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QuoteOriginally posted by timw4mail Quote
Well, with negative film, you have a lot of room for overexposure, and digital has almost no room for overexposure, but will handle underexposure very well.

That said, I think I've been burned more by highlights with digital images than shadows on film.

Used to be the same with transparency film, which was the standard for color photos to be published using process color. Commercial photographers had to make it work in six or seven stops.

Rick ďthe trick was to get mid-range values in the part of the curve that would separate themĒ Denney
04-05-2018, 07:05 PM   #41
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digital can be better if you learn through iteration because you can iterate quickly. But sometimes that speed and ease can cause you to take shortcuts or not spend the time that intentionality needed to get it right the first time. If that doesn't happen to you, great, but it does to me. Since I started shooting film again three months ago, I haven't so much as powered on my any of my digital cameras, and I am having far more fun groking the process, so much so that I'm investing in a medium format camera and darkroom. Thats not for everyone, and I don't think film shooters are "better" but is is absolutely better for me. When I leave for my trip through Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Gran Tetons, Yellowstone, Zion and a lot of other places this summer, I'm seriously considering leaving home my K-3ii and taking my SuperProgram with 10 rolls of 35mm and whatever medium format camera I end up with (Pentax 67, Bronica ETRS, or Mamiya 645) and 10 rolls of 120.
04-05-2018, 07:08 PM   #42
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If the price is right and you have the desire - go for it.
The learning curve is slower (& infinite) but well worth while.
And the techniques learned from film will only improve your digital abilities.

The big advantage film offered me over digital was learning how to read and understand light (or the lack of it) and that's what photography is all about.
I haven't shot film in a few years now but still take every photo as if I was using my old M42 Cosmorex slr.
One of my instructors used to always say "You can get a bad print from a great negative but you can't make a good print from even a mediocore negative. You can't add detail to a negative after it's made."

As others have mentioned, the other half of film is the darkroom. I miss this part of photography more than anything else from my film days.
Very meditative and relaxing. Very little can be done in post that wasn't done in the darkroom.
Superimposing one image into another would take hours of calculating light intensity and position, testing, recalculating until the image you sought came to be.
Now this is done in just minutes, but knowing the old process has made it easier for me to determine my calculations in the beginning of PP with the computer,
(The only thing I've been able to achieve in post processing that I couldn't achieve in print is the semblance of texture missed in a shot.)
AND the gratification of holding a well made final print can never be replaced by an image on a screen.

Just like digital though, if you go the film route make sure you're enjoying it. It is slower but a lot of fun.

Last edited by pcrichmond; 04-05-2018 at 07:14 PM. Reason: added text
04-05-2018, 08:34 PM   #43
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QuoteOriginally posted by rdenney Quote
What negative film?

Iíve never gotten more that 10-11 stops from color negative film, at least with tones that you could separate without photoshop and a $75 laser scan. And I have shot...a lot of color negative film. With C-prints, you wonít see those 10 stops. Cibachrome came closer, but the it was a positive process and Iíve never gotten more than 6 stops of subject brightness range in a color slide.

You can get 15 stops from black and white, but only with slower film and only with particular developers (Pyrocat, for example). Iíve done that for more than a couple of weeks, too.

But if you want a print with good microcontrast, you have to separate those mid-tones.
Kodak's new Portra 400 film - On Landscape
QuoteQuote:
The 645Z has 14.7 stops of dynamic range and itís linear, meaning you can do whatever you want with it.
And anything you do, like adding an s curve, will increase contrast somewhere from linear, 1stop=1stop, in that case in the midtones. Negative film has an s curve already, and lower contrast in the midtones 1stop=.7stop. You won't be lowering contrast with digital, no matter how much you want to. That has real consequences for the way your pictures look, dsmithfx's picture I posted above as an example, there's no reason to even attempt this picture with digital, it would look so bad, imo. On film, it's magic.

Last edited by Ranchu; 04-05-2018 at 08:50 PM.
04-05-2018, 08:42 PM - 1 Like   #44
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QuoteOriginally posted by 24thNomad Quote
Just wanted to get some insight since many people here have doing this far longer than I have.
As someone who has been doing it far longer then you, I can only warn you to stay away because you might end up like me - totally immersed . . .



If you're coming into film (C41 negatives, E6 slides or true b&w) completely new with only digital experience then the first obvious difference will depend on the film type. Likely you may try color negatives first - since it is more commonly available, so the first thing you will notice is the near impossibility of blowing out the highlights. Digital has an advantage - a necessity, of having an LCD to show you a histogram - and twinklies, to help you keep from blowing out the scene. Below you can see how digitals and color negative films react to overexposure.



QuoteOriginally posted by rdenney Quote
The 645Z has 14.7 stops of dynamic range and itís linear, meaning you can do whatever you want with it.
Rick, If you have the 645Z, I would appreciate it if you can do the same test I did above. Simply get a perfect exposure then simply increase exposure up a stop until it is blown out. TIA.

Knowing this film characteristic, I came upon a scene that my meter recommended a 1/60 shutter speed at my selected aperture using Kodak Ektar 100. I wanted 1/2 shutter speed to smooth out the waterflow and I confidently shot the scene - even though I didn't have any ND filters with me, knowing I will get the results I wanted with no issues at all.



Another thing I discovered in my immersion was that I finally found the only camera that can aperture priority autoexpose a scene for as long as it takes - all the while monitoring the scene for changes in lighting conditions and changing exposure accordingly - the Pentax LX. Using this capability, I autoexposed this scene on Kodak Ektar 100 that took about 45minutes to complete.



Have fun and enjoy the exploration!
04-06-2018, 02:58 AM   #45
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I have a roll of b&w film which I've shot over the last month. This includes a brief European trip and Easter with the family. I'm going to develop it at home tomorrow and then scan. Not only have I had to wait weeks to see what's there, but I've almost completely forgotten what photos I've taken. The anticipation and the surprise and joy and even disappointment are what makes film worthwhile. In an instant gratification age the film experience is a treasure.
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