5 Reasons to Shoot Film -- Popular Photograghy Article

Discussion in '35mm Cameras' started by Summer Wind, Dec 27, 2006.

  1. <snip story about a bad photographer>
    Bad photographers are bad photographers, regardless of whether they do
    it with film or with digital. When it comes to wedding photographers,
    I'd have to say I've seen far more crap "professional" photographers
    using digital, than using film. Since the digital revolution, the number
    of "professional" photographers in these parts has skyrocketed. It seems
    almost anyone who can afford a 20D or better, decides that since they
    have a "professional" camera, that they are a professional (gotta pay
    for that expensive camera somehow, maybe soon they'll be able to afford
    better than the 18-55 kit lens). I've seen some nasty nasty work come
    through the lab that customers have paid a fortune for. Probably the
    worst error I see is composure and poor use of DOF - a very common one
    is for the wedding party to be photographed in a park with the horizon
    line straight through the heads, and clear-as-day in-focus details in
    the background. Overpowering flash is another common one, but not as
    common as people with sun on half their face, with pure blown highlights
    in the sunlit areas.
    Just as you have your wedding story, I have one from a friends wedding
    that I shot with film, and the pro shot with digital. I had my processed
    film and proof-prints to the couple before the pro had finished working
    with his digital files. They ended up taking more enlargements from me
    than from the pro. Overall my shots were more appealing to them than the
    pro's shots (and I'm the first to admit that I suck at wedding
    photography - I don't think it was so much that my shots were good, as
    his shots were terrible).

    It's not the medium, it's the photographer. Put my film camera in the
    hands of that pro, and he still would have had crap photos. Put his
    digital in my hands, and the photos would have been better than his.
    Likewise with the wedding you attended - if you were shooting with a
    film camera your shots still would have been better than the pro's
    shots, regardless of if he used film or digital.
    And I have film shots that technically might not have as much dynamic
    range, tonality or smoothness, but they still look very nice, and to my
    eye at least have a more pleasing look than similar digital shots. I
    also have film shots that DO have more range, and DO have better
    tonality and DO have better smoothness than similar digital shots. It
    all depends on the film, the way it is exposed, developed and printed,
    compared to the digital camera and the settings that were on it.
    I hope your happy with your decision. But don't assume that just because
    you don't want to shoot film that that decision is right for everyone. I
    shoot a mix of film and digital - for me, digital is a tool, whereas
    film is more of a hobby. They are both capable of beautiful images, but
    both have different nuances. To my eye at least, film wins on overall
    appearance, even if digital wins on numbers. Being able to exploit
    different films to get different colour renditions, or different grains
    and different characteristics is something digital can't do well (all
    the effects in photoshop can't match velvia, 3200TMZ, pushed HP5 etc).
    I find digital images have a certain sameness about them which I would
    quickly find very boring if I was to give up my film completely.
    Graham Fountain, Dec 29, 2006
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  2. Summer Wind

    wgriffin1 Guest

    When everyone was buying dslr's I bought a Leica M7. I used leica range
    finders in college and always loved film and how quiet the camera
    capture was. I shoot b&w and have found that my images allow me to get
    contrast and and highlights because of the quality of the lens. I shoot
    on the low end and my lens of choice is a notilux 50.1. I love stark
    images and I'm very happy with my film images and if I need a digital
    image I can make a scan.
    wgriffin1, Dec 29, 2006
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  3. Summer Wind

    That_Rich Guest

    Annika is *your* digi-cam spokesperson?(!)

    That_Rich, Dec 29, 2006
  4. The key lies in *yet*: While there are already a couple of digital
    cameras which I could imagine using (though they aren't perfect), I
    can't afford them.

    The key is a full-frame camera which I can use my favorite lenses on and
    is conceptually a manual focus camera (a full-frame Leica M8 or R8/R9
    back is what I'm waiting for).
    If you want to spoil my party by saying something like "Leica will go
    broke soon anyway" or "you're a Luddite for wanting manual focus", go
    Chris Loffredo, Dec 29, 2006
  5. Summer Wind

    Scott W Guest

    On the flip side of this Chris many film uses seem to blame digital
    users for the demise of film. And if we take issue with statements
    that film will be around forever it is taken as an attack on film.
    There seems to be a sense by some that just talking about the
    collapsing film market is somehow in part responsible for the collapse.

    And when you say you have nothing against digital, that is just a bit
    of B.S. don't you think? After all you are found of saying that
    digital is like fast food whereas film is like a finely prepared meal.

    Scott W, Dec 29, 2006
  6. If you read your own messages carefully, you'll see that you retaliate
    against any statement (or even hint of one) that digital is not always
    and exclusively vastly superior than film.
    Who attacks whom? Please, where do I (at least without provocation)
    attack digital users?
    The Church of Digitology's number one requirement is that their adepts
    be humor-challenged.
    Please, where have I don't all those things, at least without being
    attacked first?
    If you consider an "attack" as being *not* agreeing that "digital is
    always the best and the greatest", then you are right (and what a
    dreary, conformist World you must dream of).

    I realize that phrase is low, did not enjoy making it and am not proud
    of it but:
    => If you do not want such responses, DON'T TROLL FOR THEM!
    Chris Loffredo, Dec 29, 2006
  7. Using non-Canon lenses on the 5D (apart from any
    advantages-disadvantages of the body itself), involves using the
    diaphragm fully manually. If I want to use a fully manual diaphragm,
    I'll use my 1954 Exakta Varex (many of whose manual lenses are actually
    more convenient pre-select models). In any case I find that a big enough
    disadvantage to outweigh the advantages the 5D would bring.

    From what I've read, the AA filter problem is solved through
    firmware/software post-processing (whether that can also work with
    non-Leica lenses is still not clear to me).

    The IR problems may look pretty bad, but in many of the real-life
    applications of the M8 (or at least what I'd use it for, if I had it),
    it doesn't play such a big role.
    For example, when I need accurate color reproduction (for example
    photographing works of art), I'll grab and SLR with a macro (flat-filed
    & low distortion) lens + Fujichrome 64T, not a Leica rangefinder.
    Chris Loffredo, Dec 29, 2006
  8. The 1.3 crop *is* a disadvantage. Again, I'm waiting (hopefully) some
    something comparable toi come out in full-frame.
    Not magical at all, but they do definitely score some points over the
    plastizooms made by some leading brands (no matter what color the
    marketing department paints them, or which letters of the alphabet they
    stick on them).
    Chris Loffredo, Dec 29, 2006
  9. Again, I'm not trying to play down the problem, but the nature of the M8
    itself does limit cases where the problem is serious: I think few M8
    buyers are planning to shoot weddings with them (or if they do, the are
    probably for the informal "captured" shots rather than the big posed
    stuff, where perfect color is important).
    Chris Loffredo, Dec 29, 2006
  10. Summer Wind

    jeremy Guest

    jeremy, Dec 29, 2006
  11. Summer Wind

    jeremy Guest

    How you forget . . .

    All we film users have heard for 10 years now is that "Film Is Dead!"

    And it was always stated in a gloating sort of way.

    Guys shooting 1 megapixel P&S digitals, proudly revealing to the rest of us
    that film was no longer valid!

    I'd like to see some of their earlier digital work, done on their 1 MP

    I shoot film. I shoot digital. I am the one that decides which medium is
    best for my intended purpose, not some stranger hiding behind a nickname on
    an anonymous USENET group. Film may be "dead" for THEM, but they do not
    define the environment for others.
    jeremy, Dec 29, 2006
  12. Summer Wind

    Scott W Guest

    Well when I was shooting with even a 3 MP camera I was also shooting
    with film and scanning it. So clearly I was not saying film was not
    valid when I was shooting with a 1 MP camera.
    Well since you asked so nicely, here is one of my all time favorite

    Here is a more typical shot, you know the kind that don't really
    matter nearly as much later on but are still nice to look at.

    And here is another shot that at the time seemed unimportant but I took
    it because I was not wasting film
    One day I when around and photograph a bunch of my co-workers. I now
    really wished that I had done this at all the places I worked over the
    years, but then I did not want to waste film.

    The point is that even with a 1.2 MP digital you tend to get photos
    that you would not have gotten with film, and many of this photos turn
    out to be the ones that are important to you later on in life.

    Scott W, Dec 29, 2006
  13. Summer Wind

    Matthew Winn Guest

    Being able to select the speed is the main thing that tempts me about
    digital: the extra flexibility of having one more parameter to select
    if there's not quite enough light for the shutter speed and aperture
    I want.

    ....that is the single absolutely-must-not-have feature of digital for
    me. I rarely use any focal length longer than 50mm on 35mm film. There
    are occasions when I use a 105mm lens, but the 200mm I bought a couple
    of years ago has only been used a handful of times and so far the cost
    has worked out at around £10 a frame. I'm sure that for every person
    who likes having longer effective focal lengths there's one who can't
    bear the thought of having to set aside a much-loved standard lens and
    buy new wideangles and fisheyes.
    Matthew Winn, Dec 29, 2006
  14. Summer Wind

    Alan Browne Guest

    Right on.
    Alan Browne, Dec 29, 2006
  15. Summer Wind

    Scott W Guest

    Well I would certainly agree that a full frame digital would be very
    nice to have, and if I was willing to put up the money I could get a 5D
    but right now the price it higher then I am willing to pay.

    But the large part for wanting a FF camera is to be able to use fast
    prime lenses that are fairly cheap, like all the 50mm lenses out their.
    But the higher ISO setting more then offsets the higher f/numbers I am
    forced to shoot with slower lenses. Even with the kit lens I can
    shoot at f/3.5, if I shoot at ISO 800 then gives me a faster shutter
    speed then I would have gotten with my 35mm film camera at f/1.4 with
    ISO 100 film. And since I now have a 28mm f/2.8 lens if I shoot at
    ISO 400 I get the same shutter speed that shooting ISO 100 film at
    f/1.4 would give, but I can bump the ISO up to 1600 and get shots I
    could never get before. And I get much better DOF with the 28mm at
    f/2.8 then I would have gotten with a 50mm 1.4 on a 35mm camera.

    What's more my 50mm lens now acts like a 80mm lens, and that is
    pretty nice for shooting people.

    Scott W, Dec 29, 2006
  16. Summer Wind

    Scott W Guest

    Have I ever said anyone was a Luddite at all? And I don't think I have
    ever given anyone
    grief for wanting manual focus.

    Leica stumbled pretty bad on the M8, I would expect the M9 to fix most
    of the problems. As for a full field M9, I don't know if this is
    likely to happen as Leica is struggling to deal with the non-retrofocus
    lenses as it is. It turns out that what was a problem for SLRs,
    needing a large working distance from the lens to the film, is an
    advantage when going to digital because it keep the angle that the
    light comes into the sensor fairly limited.

    Will Leica make it long enough to produce a M9, who knows but they have
    managed to piss off some of their loyal customers with the M8.

    Scott W, Dec 29, 2006
  17. Given that Leica's customers sort of have unlimited budgets anyhow, I
    wonder for how many lenses that backfocus distance is really an issue (as
    in no space for the IR filter), and what if Leica would just replace
    them with designs that are a slightly further for the focal plane.

    Other, more serious issues are the lack of the AA filter, the high ISO
    performance, and whether they can just order a fullframe sensor if they
    need one.
    Philip Homburg, Dec 29, 2006
  18. Blown-out highlights seem to have become acceptable in digital photography.
    For color negative film it is almost impossible to overexpose so that
    the highlights blow out completely. I use VueScan so that I still can
    capture structure in quite opaque areas of the negative (of course not
    full detail), even if it is indoors' ambient lighting against windows
    or open doors. Color negative film has a dynamic range of at least 1 :
    2000 (11 f-stops), which of course squeezes into 1 : 8 on an 8-bit (per
    color channel) image. Nevertheless, our visual perception appears to
    work in a similar way.

    I have seen full-frame photos of outdoor summer sceneries taken with an
    EOS 5D reminding me of tightly exposed slides, with shadows obscured in
    hardly noticeable grades of black. Of course there is much less noise
    in such underexposed areas than on film. But I wasn't convinced, since
    I can get much more detail out of my properly exposed negatives with
    the appropriate scanning software.

    Today I have purchased 60 rolls of Polaroid-branded Agfa Vista 200 at a
    bargain price, which will be kept refrigerated for the next years.
    Maybe the Fuji S5 will finally provide the digital equivalent to color
    negative film.

    Dr. Heinz Anderle, Austria
    Dr. Heinz Anderle, Dec 29, 2006
  19. Summer Wind

    Scott W Guest

    But Leica users seem to often have a large collection of lenses and
    that is the draw to the M8, otherwise for many the 5D would be more

    It looked like the lack of an AA filter would be a big issue, but the
    IR problems have made it look pretty small in comparison. Even with IR
    blocking filters there seem to be a number of lingering problems.

    Scott W, Dec 29, 2006
  20. An astounding statement.

    See Figure 8a and Figure 8b. As the text explains, the charts show
    a comparison between images from a Canon 1D Mark II digital camera,
    Fujichrome Velvia slide film, and Kodak Gold 200 print film.

    The slide film demonstrates a dynamic range of 5 f/stops, the
    print film 5 f/stops, and the digital sensor captures 11

    Granted that is the top of the line Canon digital camera and
    that not all digital cameras can get anything like 11 f/stops of
    dynamic range. However, almost any digital will probably best
    the 7 f/stop range of Kodak Gold 200 film.
    Floyd L. Davidson, Dec 29, 2006
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