Film. Never say die....

Discussion in 'Digital SLR' started by RichA, Sep 20, 2007.

  1. RichA

    RichA Guest

    Film still clicks with professional photographers

    They use digital out of necessity but go old school for special tasks,
    a Kodak survey finds.
    September 20, 2007

    ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- -- Photojournalist Chris Usher usually relies on
    digital technology. When he wants something special, though, he
    reaches for a film camera.

    "I shoot just as much digital as the next guy out of necessity," Usher
    said. "I use film probably a third of the time, on personal projects
    100% of the time. There's a richness and a depth of field that becomes
    more prevalent when you're shooting film as opposed to digital. It has
    a tangible feel to it."

    Even as the digital revolution is transforming photography, more than
    two-thirds of professional photographers in a survey released
    Wednesday said they still preferred using film for certain tasks,
    praising its ability to add an almost organic quality to pictures.

    Eastman Kodak Co., which surveyed 9,000 U.S. photographers who earn
    their livelihoods freeze-framing news, weddings, nature, fashion and
    other worlds, will draw some comfort from its findings.

    Putting the finishing touches to a drastic, four-year digital
    makeover, Kodak is still betting that film, its cash cow for a
    century, will continue to generate enough revenue to see it through
    the most painful passage in its 126-year history. Kodak's workforce
    will fall to 34,000 at year-end, half what it was five years ago.

    Even while its chemical-based businesses shrink, Kodak remains the
    world's top maker of silver-halide film, and the storied product --
    which George Eastman launched in 1889 -- retains an ardent following.

    "If a client gives me the choice, I'm going to shoot film," said
    Matthew Jordan Smith, a fashion and celebrity photographer in Los
    Angeles. "With digital, there's this whole thing of, 'Oh, it looks
    good enough to get by, it's fine, it'll do.' You didn't have that with
    film. Was it good enough? It was great!

    "Digital will continue to get better and better and better," Smith
    said. "Maybe film will become an art thing, who knows? But there will
    always be those who want to shoot film."

    The survey was mailed in mid-August to more than 40,000 of the
    nation's estimated 64,000 full-time and part-time professional
    photographers, and 75% of the 9,000 who responded said they would
    continue to use film even as they embraced digital imaging.

    Sixty-eight percent said they preferred film over digital for a
    variety of applications. Many cited its superiority for shooting
    larger-format and black-and-white images, the adaptability of color
    film to a wider range of lighting conditions, and film archives being
    far easier to store than electronic ones.

    Usher, a freelancer who covers the White House for Newsweek and Time
    magazines and is coming out with a book illustrating hurricane-ravaged
    New Orleans, isn't surprised that his colleagues have a lingering
    loyalty to some of the old methods.

    "Film by its very physical nature is layers of grains of different
    colors," he said. "It's hard to describe, but it does actually have a
    micro three-dimensionality that you can see in that weird way."

    By contrast, he said, "digital pictures look very flat, and even the
    prints. . . . Digital looks literally cut-and-pasted.

    "Probably the biggest disadvantage of digital -- I think if you ask
    most photographers, at least the ones that are honest will admit this
    -- is you end up spending more time behind the computer than you do
    behind the camera. If you're shooting raw, you still have to go in
    there and adjust the images, tweak 'em, tone 'em and get everything
    just so. With film, there it is."

    Although "digital is here to stay," Usher expects film's fortunes will
    someday brighten once more.

    "In fact, now that the honeymoon and the infatuation is starting to
    run its course," he said, "I think that in the next five years you're
    going to see almost a retro backlash because of the things that film
    gives you that you can't get with digital."
    RichA, Sep 20, 2007
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  2. RichA

    Pboud Guest

    See, what you *should* have done is found a way to mix the Film/Digital
    debate with the Canon/Nikon debate...

    That would have gone for miles....

    Pboud, Sep 20, 2007
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  3. RichA

    steve Guest

    I use film when there is a need to change lens after messing up the sensors
    on two Nikon SLR's as a result of dusty pollen laden environments.

    The funny thing is, I had also forgotten how important it had been to think
    about my photography before pressing the shutter.
    steve, Sep 20, 2007
  4. RichA

    Guest Guest

    gee... a survey sponsored by someone who makes film and is watching
    their film revenue dwindle into almost nothing.
    they're going to lose that bet. film *is* dying.
    continue to use film in what capacity? one roll every year could be
    considered 'using film' but hardly something that is going to keep
    kodak afloat.

    how many use film for more than half of their workflow, and plan to
    continue doing so?
    micro three-dimensionality? where do people come up with this stuff?
    only because with film, the photographer gave it to the lab and
    *someone else* spent all that time tweaking and adjusting it.
    he's in for a surprise.
    Guest, Sep 20, 2007
  5. RichA

    RichA Guest

    If I were Kodak, I'd be happy that movie film is still in high demand,
    the switch to digital there is turtle slow.
    RichA, Sep 20, 2007
  6. RichA

    TRoss Guest

    Ahem. Rather than take the word of an AP reporter, why not read the
    original Kodak News Release. You'll find it at:

    Here are some tiny details that make the results less alarming or

    According to the U.S. survey results, more than two-thirds (68
    percent) of professional photographers prefer the results of film to
    those of digital for certain applications including:

    -- film's superiority in capturing more information on medium and
    large format films (48 percent);

    -- creating a traditional photographic look (48 percent);

    -- capturing shadow and highlighting details (45 percent);

    -- the wide exposure latitude of film (42 percent); and

    -- archival storage (38 percent).

    News Release also mentioned 90% of the photographers produce
    black-and-white images and 57% of them prefer using film.

    What isn't mentioned is how many film shooters are using medium and
    large format kit, what percentage of their work is film, or how many
    are processing their images in a digital darkroom.

    I really like Chris Usher's work, but some of his comments in the AP
    story were bizzare.

    TRoss, Sep 20, 2007
  7. RichA

    Doug Jewell Guest

    Doug Jewell, Sep 20, 2007
  8. RichA

    G.T. Guest

    I just bought a used Mamiya 645 Pro today for B&W use because I have yet to
    see a nice B&W digital print. I've visited about 40 galleries here in LA in
    the last 3 weeks and the only B&Ws that I was interested in buying were from
    35mm or medium format film, the digital B&Ws all looked flat and drab.

    G.T., Sep 20, 2007
  9. RichA

    frederick Guest

    LOL - they need to shoot digital using their tin helmets on.
    If it's one thing about digital that strikes me most, it's
    the dimensionality, that I'll put down to far better shadow
    detail and tonality.

    The problem with some pros and digital is that digital
    presented some of them with a revolution that they didn't
    have the ability or will to join - or that some of them
    couldn't or didn't want to fork out the $$ for pro level
    digital gear knowing that it was going to devalue faster
    than a Yugo. So instead, they've spent all of this century
    so far whining and bleating. Shit it's tiresome.
    frederick, Sep 21, 2007
  10. RichA

    frederick Guest

    frederick, Sep 21, 2007
  11. They're probably still wearing clockwork watches too, because they
    have that timeless quality :)

    The slowest people to adopt a new technology are those who have
    invested a great deal of money and expertise in old technology. They
    have the most to lose, and when they make comparisons they compare a
    technology they know backwards with one whose differences confuse and
    annoy them.
    Chris Malcolm, Sep 21, 2007
  12. RichA

    RichA Guest

    What if B&W is taken on film then scanned into digital format and
    printed? What ever happened to the digital enlarger, that could
    project a digital image onto film paper?
    RichA, Sep 21, 2007
  13. Are we talking about differences between the original--digital capture
    vs film--or the final media--wet darkroom silver emulsion vs printer

    When it comes to B&W, the best I've ever seen were actually four-color
    sheets from a press, which looked like B&W but were actually quadtones,
    using two different black inks + a warm gray + metallic silver.
    Gorgeous. This is highly subjective, of course: an Ansel Adams print
    can hit the brain as just as hard using nothing more sophisticated than
    simple photo paper and a relatively primitive darkroom.
    sheepdog 2007, Sep 21, 2007
  14. RichA

    Paul Furman Guest

    You can get lightjet prints on chemical photo paper although silver
    lightjet prints may not yet be widely available, it's possible.
    Paul Furman, Sep 21, 2007
  15. RichA

    Dave Guest

    "> The slowest people to adopt a new technology are those who have

    Very well said

    pictures at
    Dave, Sep 21, 2007
  16. RichA

    Charlie Self Guest

    Charlie Self, Sep 21, 2007
  17. RichA

    G.T. Guest

    I think very few people have digital B&W printing down, very few.

    Obviously this is very subjective but the pieces I'm currently
    interested in buying were all shot with Tri X 400 and developed with
    Accufine developer and printed on a variety of papers. The tonality and
    grain are beautiful.

    G.T., Sep 21, 2007
  18. RichA

    Doug Jewell Guest

    Yet, the most popular watches and clocks still present the time in an analog
    format. There are fully digital clocks, and fully mechanical clockwork
    clocks, but the most popular ones are the clocks that use modern electronics
    to control the accuracy, but use the older methods to actually display the
    information - IOW a composite of old and new technology.

    Could a photographic equivalent be taking the photo on a digital camera,
    then exporting it to slide for viewing? I doubt this will take off, but many
    film photographers convert to digital for manipulation - again using a
    composite of technologies to get the most out of both.
    Could the same also be said about people who have invested a fortune in a
    new technology, so now they have to justify that purchase by saying the
    older, cheaper technology is obsolete, and has no place in the modern world?
    What's wrong with recognising that film and digital behave differently, and
    have different characteristics, and sometimes the characteristics of film
    are beneficial to the image. It is actually possible to use both.
    Doug Jewell, Sep 21, 2007
  19. RichA

    Tony Polson Guest

    Absolutely, 100% correct.

    I use both, recognising that digital is better for some tasks and film
    is better for others.

    But a lot of photographers have had to sell a lot of their film gear
    to buy a DSLR, and maybe a lens or two, a photo inkjet printer, image
    editing software, memory cards etc., costing $1000s, and they cannot
    afford to admit that they might have made a mistake.

    I suppose I am lucky in that I could afford to retain my film
    equipment while investing in some top quality digital gear. But many
    cannot, and that means it is difficult to admit that film can
    sometimes be better than digital. Also, getting rid of their film
    SLRs means that the film/digital comparison is no longer available.
    Tony Polson, Sep 21, 2007
  20. RichA

    frederick Guest

    I've got an R1800 too.
    My favourite colour prints from my 35mm film days were
    Cibachromes from iso50 transparency. For a combination of
    reasons, my R1800 prints from digital are much better.
    frederick, Sep 22, 2007
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