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03-03-2019, 10:40 AM - 12 Likes   #1
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I love film

Let me preface this and say that while I'm old enough to remember people using film, I grew up using digital. My first "real" camera was a Sony DSC-H20, a great point and shoot with decent manual controls for the time. Then years later I got myself the K-01 as my first IL camera and began my journey into "serious" photography.

Since then I've been trying to learn and experience new things with photography. So at the end of last year I saw a posting for a dark room class, where you develop your own film, do contact printing and other fun stuff I've had no experience with. So a few weeks ago I finally started the course and have been having a blast developing and printing in the dark room. It's amazing to me that while the methods are completely different, you can do very similar things in the dark room as you can in lightroom, albeit with more trial and error. But those differences really opened up my mind and allow me to think in a different way when shooting.

However the best part for me wasn't even the class, it came with just shooting film itself. I had owned a film camera for a while now, I bought a rather nice condition Yashica electro years back that I had shot a couple rolls through but the film was really expired and heavily magenta shifted so I don't think I really enjoyed it all too much. But this time around a couple forum goers here had gifted me their unused film cameras this Christmas (you know who you are! Thank you so much!). It was a Pentax ME and a black Spotmatic. These cameras really changed my perspective on everything when it came to shooting film.

My favorite part of the process is imagining the shot. See with digital I had a habit of having an "idea" for a shot, but I would mainly take shots and see how they turn out and adjust off the instant feedback to what would be good. With film however such "instant feedback" to get good framing and good exposure just aren't there. When I was shooting I had to plan it all in my head with the experience I had and the knowledge I've gotten from here and elsewhere. It was truly a wonderful experience to frame in the viewfinder and imagining how it would come out on the black and white film I was shooting on.

That brings me to my next point. Lack of chimping. There's just something that feels free about not having a screen on the back of your camera. When you plan and take your shot carefully you're not digging into the shot to see whether not it was "pin sharp"; you move on and find the next thing and truly enjoy what you're doing. It's almost organic how the photo making process and the activity you're doing seamlessly mesh together when you're not super worried about how you did.

And finally, for me one thing I wasn't expecting film to do for me was make it far easier to interact with people. I've never been one to talk to people and ask for their pictures when shooting digital, but something with film just gets "positive" attention. People love to ask questions about the cameras. "Wow is that film?!" "How old is it?" "I think my grandparents had one of those!" A film camera just seems to break the ice and put me into situations I had never been before; talking to random people. I didn't feel afraid to ask people "can I take your photo?" for the first time.

Film has been truly a great experience for me so far, and I think anyone who has only shot digital needs to experience it.

I hope I can edit this thread in a couple days with some examples, going to finish printing some of the negatives this upcoming monday.

PS. The ME makes me yearn for the ME super, what a wonderful little camera.


Last edited by ZombieArmy; 03-03-2019 at 10:51 AM.
03-03-2019, 10:55 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by ZombieArmy Quote
With film however such "instant feedback" to get good framing and good exposure just aren't there
Agrred, you have to really think about framing and exposure for every shot, and that can only make you a better photographer whatever format you use the most.

QuoteOriginally posted by ZombieArmy Quote
but something with film just gets "positive" attention
I had the same experience a couple of weeks ago.

Really like this post and look forward to seeing your results.
03-03-2019, 11:13 AM - 1 Like   #3
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Nice story!

There's something deep in the human psyche that makes us naturally care about things that take care to get right and to not really respect things that are too easy. Digital's zero-cost of spray-and-pray and chimping make it easy to become a lazy photographer. Film, on the other hand, requires that we really pay attention to what we are doing in order to justify the extra cost and labor of film.

Film makes us care about photography!
03-03-2019, 11:16 AM - 1 Like   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by ZombieArmy Quote

However the best part for me wasn't even the class, it came with just shooting film itself.
I also agree with everything you expressed about what you're enjoying with shooting film.

If I may add, I also enjoy the ability to pick and shoot different emulsions. Although you can sort of do this if you shot jpegs and altered the settings in the menu (monochrome vs vivid vs portrait, etc) there really is only one sensor with a digital camera. To be able to choose from a variety of B&W films and color negs or slides and to know you're committed to that look or rendering for a set of 24-36 images, brings a sort of structure or lens on how you approach what you're going to shoot and why.

This linear and committed approach can be extended to the lens filter used, the developer, and many other nuances in the analog darkroom. It does take patience, and it isn't for everybody, but for those who can appreciate the qualitative experience of slowing down and literally having more of a hand in the process, it's worth it.

03-03-2019, 12:27 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by ZombieArmy Quote
And finally, for me one thing I wasn't expecting film to do for me was make it far easier to interact with people. I've never been one to talk to people and ask for their pictures when shooting digital, but something with film just gets "positive" attention. People love to ask questions about the cameras. "Wow is that film?!" "How old is it?" "I think my grandparents had one of those!" A film camera just seems to break the ice and put me into situations I had never been before; talking to random people. I didn't feel afraid to ask people "can I take your photo?" for the first time.
Your next step is to get a Pentax 6x7/67/67ii body with a wooden grip attached, if you like people asking questions about your camera. People seem to be gobsmacked with the wooden grip on a body that looks like a 35mm camera on steroids!.

Enjoy using film, nothing else like it for relaxation.

Phil
03-03-2019, 01:16 PM   #6
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Good story Zombie...

One of my really WOW moments was the first time I processed a roll of color slide film. It came out of the tank with all those beautiful colors and magical images.

As you have discovered, chimping was out, and each of those images involved a bit of forethought and planning to get the most out of the limited number of frames on a roll. I had learned that much earlier on when I got to use my first roll of color film which was priced well above $5 (for 12 exposures) which at the time was the equivalent of $30 or so in present day dollars (and then the pricey store developing). THAT really made you think twice but I was so young then that I'd end up wasting most of the roll so my parents limited the amount of color I could deal with.

Film certainly has an attraction which can't be compared to the digital medium. The result is tangible and you can feel and touch it. It stores in a shoe box and not on some "cloud". I think there will be a good many film images that outlast digital ones simply because of that.

Good luck with further adventures in film (you might check into the Pentax PZ1-p cameras as they offer great features also and can be had for not too much on ebay).
03-03-2019, 03:07 PM   #7
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Wait 'til you get onto 120 film with twelve or eight exposures to hand per roll: you think a bit harder before shooting and curse like mad when you maff a shot!
03-03-2019, 03:15 PM   #8
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So glad you are enjoying shooting film! It's good to hear that you are getting so much out of it. I began taking photos just before digital was a thing... and it took a long time for digital cameras to achieve anything more than novelty point and shoot Polaroid status. Never could quite really get into digital, but film is always magic. Yes, please post some of your results... and keep shooting film!!

03-03-2019, 04:02 PM   #9
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03-03-2019, 04:18 PM - 2 Likes   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by boriscleto Quote
03-03-2019, 04:40 PM   #11
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For me, one of the great joys of returning to film is getting back to basics and shooting all mechanical cameras with no batteries, built-in meter, etc. I started with Pentax back in 1965 with the H1a, much like a Spotmatic without a meter. I didn’t use a light meter for some years - just learned to judge the light and subject tones when encountering a scene, set the camera, and then just compose and shoot without fretting about settings on each shot. Later added a hand-held meter to check my evaluation, but still didn’t check every shot - just trusted my eye.
I shot mainly Tri-X for reportage work, so didn’t worry about different “ISO” film speeds.
Color negative film today has enough latitude to still work this way. Think about finding a Pantax SV and simplify your experience. (Or, you an still buy an excellent new all mechanical camera. The Leica M-A is still in production for less than $5,000.)
03-03-2019, 05:04 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by gofour3 Quote
Your next step is to get a Pentax 6x7/67/67ii body with a wooden grip attached, if you like people asking questions about your camera. People seem to be gobsmacked with the wooden grip on a body that looks like a 35mm camera on steroids!.

Enjoy using film, nothing else like it for relaxation.

Phil
Yah I got to hold a Pentax 67 at my local camera store recently. It was shocking to me and I've been around quite a few cameras

It's something I'd love to save up for.
03-03-2019, 05:10 PM   #13
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The thing that I miss about film and not being able to get instant feedback like what you can with a digital camera is finding out how right or wrong the aperture/exposure/light sensitivity equation went for a shot.

So many underexposed frames... I still enjoy film quite a bit. I'm actually developing a roll of Foma 400 while I type this. I've got about 7 more frames of Foma to shoot in a camera here and then I'm shooting color for a month or more.

I really don't need another film camera but a Super A sounds nice. Mix with a DA 70 perhaps, and a good small 28, and go do some walking.
03-04-2019, 04:35 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by ZombieArmy Quote
Let me preface this and say that while I'm old enough to remember people using film...
What a great post! I agree with most of what you said... except I've started more conversations with film shooters than I've had started with me when I've had my film units out.
03-04-2019, 06:12 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by photoptimist Quote
Nice story!

There's something deep in the human psyche that makes us naturally care about things that take care to get right and to not really respect things that are too easy. Digital's zero-cost of spray-and-pray and chimping make it easy to become a lazy photographer. Film, on the other hand, requires that we really pay attention to what we are doing in order to justify the extra cost and labor of film.

Film makes us care about photography!
Yes, every film picture taken can proudly claim: taken without chimping.
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