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10-25-2009, 03:52 AM   #1
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Has digital taken the fun out of a good simple film shot?

Another weird thought for the day.

I check this thread all the time and the other film posts. When I see the shots posted and the comments from film shooters, There's a real pleasure from a well taken shot that can be very 'simple'. Those that have shot or currently do, shoot film, realize that you actually have to have some skill to get a well exposed well framed shot.

With a digital camera and all the auto controls, you just fire away at the scene and keep looking at the LCD to see if you finally nailed the shot. It's like cheating. I almost wish we could go back to cameras like the MX, Me super or LX with no LCD and just a digital sensor.

I think so much more goes into a film shot because when a 36 roll of bad images comes back, you work harder at doing better with the next roll. Plus very few film shooters would consider taking 24 or 36 frames of the exact same thing to try for one good shot.

I know it would be a heck of an eye opener to give 50 DSLR shooters (who have never shot film) an MX and a roll of film. The results would be educational to say the least.

10-25-2009, 04:57 AM   #2
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Yesterday I was disgusted enough to think maybe this film thing is a big bad mistake, I mean, in the 70s and 80s you sort of had to put up with all the problems, but not now. I was having a bad scanner day: lots of dust, the scanner had one of those lines it drags across every scan, and to top it all off I was getting Newton rings.

So there is a down side to film, as you know.

The other thing I've been thinking of: how my previous hobby, High End audio, is slowly choking itself... the consumer's getting older and the audio action is elsewhere entirely.

The problem there is that the 'fun' of exploration and play has been taken out by an anal and/or politically motivated fixation on only the best reproduction of the original event. Which of course comes at a cost, and is used to disqualify others "show me your equipment list"...

Thank god photography, even the *NEW* *Improved!* crowd, isn't at that point. And that film photography is nearly completely off that equipment rat race thing, as there simply isn't any *NEW* *Improved!* stuff being marketed. And even if not everyone likes the Holga aesthetic, it still is a vitalizing force bringing people into film.

Which is a long way of saying: film shooters are free to have fun rather than obsess about status and quality - though film shooters are free to do that too, we just don't mind it as there's so much variety here. And we consciously adapt the fun and accepting mentality here.

Actually, I want to thank everyone on the film camera section here for being such great people.
10-25-2009, 06:02 AM   #3
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It's the best slide film with their unmatched colors and color rendition , the fast lenses that produce minimal DOF at the FOV I want ( 55mm f/1.2 ) that makes it for me .

If there was a FF camera with a better sensor that would match the colors slide film produces I don't think I would shoot film. But yes I find the film procedure makes me a better photographer and I indeed enjoy it more but then again I've lost some VERY VERY good shots due to the shot being underexposed or overexposed ( slide film sometimes can be quite hard to expose correctly with the ME Super ).
10-25-2009, 06:52 AM   #4
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The last couple of days I've been over in Liverpool shooting, I absolutely love my K20D but I had my P50 with a 50mm on the front in my pocket.There is no way I could fit any DSLR in my pocket, shooting both way fun but I was mainly using digital.

Luckily, OK slightly planed, most of my glass is FF compatible. I will my doing more film shooting because I think it does give you back the pleasure of shooting, digital can fell a bit clinical.

10-25-2009, 07:56 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Peter Zack Quote
Another weird thought for the day.

I check this thread all the time and the other film posts. When I see the shots posted and the comments from film shooters, There's a real pleasure from a well taken shot that can be very 'simple'. Those that have shot or currently do, shoot film, realize that you actually have to have some skill to get a well exposed well framed shot.

With a digital camera and all the auto controls, you just fire away at the scene and keep looking at the LCD to see if you finally nailed the shot. It's like cheating. I almost wish we could go back to cameras like the MX, Me super or LX with no LCD and just a digital sensor.

I think so much more goes into a film shot because when a 36 roll of bad images comes back, you work harder at doing better with the next roll. Plus very few film shooters would consider taking 24 or 36 frames of the exact same thing to try for one good shot.

I know it would be a heck of an eye opener to give 50 DSLR shooters (who have never shot film) an MX and a roll of film. The results would be educational to say the least.
And then scanning ruins the subtle nuances that film brings to the table....
Seriously, if you think it's disappointing to get a roll of 36 frames back from the lab with nothing good, try pulling 40 sheets of 4x5 out of the processor and realize you have nothing good....
Were I to go back to teaching photography, I think I would have my students use small enough cards that they could only get a couple of dozen shots on it to force them to think a bit more.
10-25-2009, 10:09 AM   #6
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In my case I never lost the passion for shooting digital, I just lost the passion of sitting in front of the computer. Which is why I rarely shoot digital these days.
Thankfully it doesn't happen all that often, but I'm ocasionally stuck in front of a computer up to 10 hours a day, while in the lab and that's more than enough time for me.

QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
I think I would have my students use small enough cards that they could only get a couple of dozen shots on it to force them to think a bit more.
I was thinking about the same thing, for when I actually shoot digital. So I tried looking for some professional 256mb CF cards, for my digital, and wasn't having good luck finding them.
10-25-2009, 10:12 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
I think I would have my students use small enough cards that they could only get a couple of dozen shots on it to force them to think a bit more.
I now do this because I am becoming a "machine gun" digital shooter instead of a film "sharp shooter" like i was back in my large & medium format days.

Now, I leave with a few 512 cards, and when shooting @ 14mp, its like a few 36 exposure rolls.
10-25-2009, 11:03 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Peter Zack Quote

I know it would be a heck of an eye opener to give 50 DSLR shooters (who have never shot film) an MX and a roll of film. The results would be educational to say the least.
That is an interesting idea. I have been active in the "Sightseeing Screwmount" project and it has been a real eye-opener to many of us who have been taking part. I was fortunate to have gotten a fair number of keepers to add to the pool, though I think it is safe to say that most of us have found using the fully manual Pentax SV a challenge.

The hardest part for me was trusting the vintage hand-held selenium meter and modifying my technique appropriately. I had never used a hand-held meter before and it was a real revelation that I truly only needed to meter the subject once. (Assuming, of course, that I was metering it correctly )

Steve

10-25-2009, 11:32 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Peter Zack Quote
I check this thread all the time and the other film posts. When I see the shots posted and the comments from film shooters, There's a real pleasure from a well taken shot that can be very 'simple'. Those that have shot or currently do, shoot film, realize that you actually have to have some skill to get a well exposed well framed shot.

With a digital camera and all the auto controls, you just fire away at the scene and keep looking at the LCD to see if you finally nailed the shot. It's like cheating. I almost wish we could go back to cameras like the MX, Me super or LX with no LCD and just a digital sensor.
i'm gonna be critical at what you've written here. what is so 'simple' about those pictures. and it's not like film cameras cannot have auto exposure, i can just fire away with my pentax film gear as well. and conversely, just because you have a digital camera doesn't mean you can get a well exposed well framed shot either.

it's like cheating then maybe we should all go back to typewriters too because word processors are cheating too.

QuoteOriginally posted by Peter Zack Quote
I think so much more goes into a film shot because when a 36 roll of bad images comes back, you work harder at doing better with the next roll. Plus very few film shooters would consider taking 24 or 36 frames of the exact same thing to try for one good shot.
if you use digital and you mess up one shot, then you work harder at the next shot. so the feedback loop is much shorter. by the time most people get their roll of film back, they've probably forgotten what they did that messed up that picture anyways.

i love film, but there's no need to be patronizing. everybody uses the equipment they choose for different reasons. generic common remarks like "manual exposure makes me smarter", "film makes me a better shooter", "primes make me work better", that's all mental.
10-25-2009, 12:45 PM   #10
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I see it as the difference between a new Nissan GTR and a classic Lotus.

If I wanted to get photos of an event and have them ready to post online that evening, I'd use digital. My K-m is pretty much free to run (aside from new batteries every so often - it still hasn't finished the first batch that went in in July!) and I only print the photos that are worth the paper. It costs a fraction of film, and there's no need to take films to be processed or collect them later. I simply have to plug the camera in and print them.

Yet, in the same way that a car enthusiast might have a GTR for daily use and a Lotus Europa for the weekends, I'm hanging onto my old film SLRs and even adding to the collection. I like the tactile nature of the older hardware, where you can feel the parts meshing as you turn the controls. I spent a couple of hours today with a 7 ebay find Olympus OM-10 and a roll of black and white film, which I intend to process at home. I enjoy picking up battered or broken kit for pennies and restoring it to working order, so shooting a test roll or two is a natural end point for this.
10-25-2009, 12:53 PM   #11
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I don't think anybody is saying that they are superior because they shoot film. Quite the contrary I think. People that need to shoot film are saying that they require the constraints to force them to act a certain way.

Digital photography with zooms is lazy (yes, I count myself as lazy at times!) and a lot of the people who use that kind of setup can luck out and get a good shot every now and then. There is a challenge with film which means I give more kudos to a great shot on 35mm then I do on a dSLR.
10-25-2009, 01:12 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by k100d Quote
i'm gonna be critical at what you've written here. what is so 'simple' about those pictures. and it's not like film cameras cannot have auto exposure, i can just fire away with my pentax film gear as well. and conversely, just because you have a digital camera doesn't mean you can get a well exposed well framed shot either.

it's like cheating then maybe we should all go back to typewriters too because word processors are cheating too.
I can see how you could interpret Peter's thoughts in this way. Digital provides a quicker means of feedback to enhance and speed up learning - IF the person behind the camera can recognise flaws, exposure problems and interpret the histogram correctly for the desired effect.

Being forced to learn from first principles makes someone seriously think hard before releasing the shutter, something that is done less with digital. I did this myself. Even after I got my first dSLR, as I'd not mastered the basics of photography, I wanted to delve deeper and learn how to create the shot myself.

So I read a lot and bought myself a simple, fully manual film SLR coupled with some ordinary zooms and a 50mm prime. Which each roll of film I tried new ways of creating new styles of photos, and learnt "the hard way". Now I look back at that stage and think I could probably have done just as well with the K100D, only quicker, but the film SLR compelled me not to release the trigger on any shot without being sure of the settings first. The common factor in people growing in photography is the heart and a right attitude to learning, not necessarily the method employed.

QuoteQuote:
if you use digital and you mess up one shot, then you work harder at the next shot. so the feedback loop is much shorter. by the time most people get their roll of film back, they've probably forgotten what they did that messed up that picture anyways.

i love film, but there's no need to be patronizing. everybody uses the equipment they choose for different reasons. generic common remarks like "manual exposure makes me smarter", "film makes me a better shooter", "primes make me work better", that's all mental.
The fundamentals of photography still apply on digital, and if being taught properly, learning will be just as good, just faster. A misguided photographer will find digital feedback fun but not a teaching or guiding tool for improving results.

QuoteOriginally posted by Dangermouse Quote
I see it as the difference between a new Nissan GTR and a classic Lotus.
I knew a car analogy had to come in at some stage!
10-25-2009, 01:18 PM   #13
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Okay, the answer for me is no. Digital photography hasn't taken the fun out of shooting good, simple film photographs. Perhaps I'm off in left field here but twenty years ago when I was first getting into photography I simply didn't care that much about the quality of my camera gear because I couldn't afford anything better. I thought of my K1000 and M50/2 as being more than capable of exceeding my own abilities. I didn't care about testing a whole gamut of films because I simply bought a roll of film I could afford at a time and shot a frame now and then until it was complete. Talk of 36 exposure rolls was somewhat foreign to me because I typically bought Kodak film in 12 exposure rolls, 24 shot rolls when I splurged. A 12 shot roll of Kodak might last me two weeks. And I didn't care that much about critical exposure metering because I simply trusted the little swinging needle. Exposure compensation conisted of placing the needle slightly above or below the center of the bracket area in the finder depending on what I guessed I needed for my photograph. More often than not, my guesses were pretty accurate.

So for me, the satisfaction of taking a nice photograph on film, one at a time, has prevented me from appreciating all of the fun of digital photography. Not because of the means of recording an image but because of the automation offered by my modern cameras. A digital K1000 might be what I need.
10-25-2009, 01:34 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by keyser Quote
I don't think anybody is saying that they are superior because they shoot film. Quite the contrary I think. People that need to shoot film are saying that they require the constraints to force them to act a certain way.
these "constraints" can easily be applied using digital gear as well, for most people it really isn't necessary to jump into film to "learn" these photographic primciples.

QuoteOriginally posted by keyser Quote
Digital photography with zooms is lazy (yes, I count myself as lazy at times!) and a lot of the people who use that kind of setup can luck out and get a good shot every now and then. There is a challenge with film which means I give more kudos to a great shot on 35mm then I do on a dSLR.
why is digital photography with zooms lazy? how about all those sports photographers with big zooms are they lazy? or pj's with zooms. are they lazy too? does setting your focus aperture and shutter speed yourself imply that you are "working hard"?

QuoteOriginally posted by Ash Quote
I can see how you could interpret Peter's thoughts in this way. Digital provides a quicker means of feedback to enhance and speed up learning - IF the person behind the camera can recognise flaws, exposure problems and interpret the histogram correctly for the desired effect.
but what does that have to do with film or digital? are you implying that film users are smarter than digital users and more likely to recognize those problems that you mentioned?
10-25-2009, 01:38 PM   #15
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i have an issue with film users being portrayed as "simple folk" or "smarter people" or "better than digital users" ... it's gear used to take a picture, shouldn't be used to classify groups of photographers and assign stereotypes
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