Reasons To Still Love 35mm

Discussion in '35mm Cameras' started by carrigman, May 31, 2005.

  1. carrigman

    carrigman Guest

    Anyone care to add to the list?



    1. You don't have to upgrade your camera every year. In fact, chances are
    that a good film camera will outlast you.

    2. No shutter lag.

    3. You can change lenses at will without worrying about sensor dust.

    4. You can buy some great second hand 35mm gear because of all those folks
    moving to digital and trading in their film equipment.

    5. 35mm has reached its perfection level whereas digital is evolving by the

    6. Tri-x, Velvia, Kodachrome, Elitechrome, etc. Superb emulsions. Stunning
    results (in the right hands).

    7. Large enlargements? No sweat.

    8. Each shot costs processing money and that results in greater care and
    concentration before pressing the shutter and makes for better quality
    in the long run.

    9. If you shoot print film the chances of getting a poorly exposed shot are
    pretty remote. Even with slide film any experienced photographer
    will get it right most of the time.

    10. With print film you have to get prints to see the results. With slides
    you have also something tangible. Very few digital shots are actually
    printed and reside only on a computer or CD ROM with highly
    questionable prospects for survival in the longer run.
    carrigman, May 31, 2005
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  2. Agree with all of the above, though 10. is a bit iffy - the debate goes
    on... But I'll add a few of my points...

    11. The film 'look' comes as standard, esp in B&W.

    12. Blown highlights don't look too bad

    13. Happy in the knowledge a microprocessor hasn't been screwing with your

    14. Many second cameras have been built, giving you a large choice, and the
    ability to not look like paparazzi when taking photos.

    15. Professional quality at smaller sizes (Pentax MX, Nikon F6, EOS1v) than
    their digital counterparts, and no less the quality. (This advantage will
    go in the next few years, though).

    16. Batteries last longer!

    17. Less extra expensive equipment to worry about, particularly if you're
    traveling with a bashed K1000. And then if your camera gets stolen, at
    least they'll leave you with your rolls of exposed film, whereas with
    digital, they'll have nicked your laptop, too!!
    Duncan J Murray, Jun 1, 2005
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  3. carrigman

    JohnT Guest

    "Duncan J Murray"
    18. Family photos deemed "just ok" aren't deleted automatically, but remain
    in a shoebox, to be adored years later.
    JohnT, Jun 1, 2005
  4. carrigman

    That_Rich Guest

    19. There are no digital cameras built from 1900 - 199x.
    If I was able to get my hands an a 1952 digital rangefinder
    built like a tank, with a lens set to match, digital *might* be
    more appealing.
    That_Rich, Jun 1, 2005
  5. carrigman

    Colin D Guest

    You don't really have to upgrade your digital camera either, unless you
    want a more capable model. Digital cameras don't die on their first
    The only cameras with *no* shutter lag are rangefinder cameras. Digital
    slr cameras have minimal shutter lag, mostly due to the mirror and
    autofocus - and that goes for film cameras as well. Compact
    point&shoots do have lag, but those cameras are not on-topic in this
    Yes, but all cameras should be protected from dust as a matter of
    Some 35mm films have ceased or are ceasing production, so your choices
    are being reduced. Already digital high-end cameras are challenging
    film and winning, particularly in high ISO performance.
    Some of those are obsolescent already. And, in the right hands, digital
    is no less stunning.
    What's large? 20x16? 30x20? 3 metres by 2 metres? Digital can do all
    that, and look better at the right viewing distance.
    It can result in missing a shot as well. Ask a sports photog.
    That's saying that sloppy or inaccurate exposure can be rescued by the
    latitude of negative film.
    An experienced photographer will get digital right most of the time as
    well. Getting it right is up to the photog, not the imaging medium, and
    exposure calculation done by modern cameras is pretty spot-on in any
    Unwarrantable assumptions here. Some people may not print their images,
    but others, myself included, do. Some film photogs also get their films
    developed only, and choose what they want printed, which is also what
    most digital photogs do.

    You cannot say that CD-roms are 'highly questionable'. The problem with
    CD's is the plethora of cheap, un-named varieties available. If one
    buys gold phthalocynanine CD's their life is much longer than the junk.
    And, they can be copied at intervals with no quality loss, and copies
    can be stored in more than one place, neither of which can be done with
    film. Also, DVD's are showing reliability as well.

    I have rebutted most of your assertions, not in order to offend you in
    any way, but to give a better balance, specially for lesser-informed
    persons, or 'newbies' who read these posts and may be misled by
    unbalanced statements.

    Colin D, Jun 1, 2005
  6. I won't get into the film v digital thing, I still use both but I do
    want to point out that good quality CDs are indeed long lasting and will
    outlast much film developed by mini labs. I have some Mitsui CDs
    recorded in 1994 on a Sony 2x recorder which have not had any special
    storage, just a normal CD wallet and are still quite readable and
    copyable. The re writable ones are the real killers. As little as a year
    and all the data is gone.

    I have film processed in an Agfa mini lab which had daily monitoring of
    chemicals by Agfa which now, less than 2 years later, are degrading to
    the point of no recovery. I checked them too late to scan to CD for
    preservation. Many of the scenes on those films are no more... Lost to
    developers. Any historic value they may have will be affected by the
    faulty processing. It's not as if I sent it to K mart or something.

    If these images had been digital and on a good quality CD, degradation
    would not be present. So please... Don't slam digital because it's
    digital. It's longevity is yet to be determined but for me, at any rate,
    it is bound to be a more acceptable storage than the uncertaintity of
    film... Who can say ever processed in a Pro lab, it won't suffer the
    fate many of mine have?
    [email protected], Jun 1, 2005
  7. carrigman

    casioculture Guest

    You almost had me rebuilding my 35mm collection! So I'll be the devil's
    advocate here, for the sake of refining the list.
    It may also outlast the wide availability of film itself!

    True. Though you don't have to upgrade every year.

    Here's a guy who takes nice landscape shots with a 2mp digicam Kodak
    DC280 that he even enters in fine art exhibitions
    And here's a girl who took nice portraits with a 2mp digicam Nikon
    Coolpix 2500

    I don't need the camera itself to outlast me, but I do want "lasting"
    pictures. Current generation of digital cameras, at ~7-8mps, provide
    for my needs, and I'd argue, most needs. I am getting much better
    results from my fuji f810 than I scanned from film prints on my modest
    scanner. I think 5 years is a good timeframe for any device, and if you
    choose a well-made camera, such as those by Olympus, it'll last that
    much at least, especially if you buy a fitting lowepro bag. If you
    intend a digicam to last long, I'd avoid proprietary batteries and go
    for something like AA rechargeables. In 5 years time my interests, and
    my needs, will likely shift, hence a change of device may be nice.
    Latest Fujis, such as my F810, have no discernible shutter lag.
    True! This is a reason I won't be buying a DSLR and if shooting digital
    I much prefer a quality P&S digital. But then again, I don't need
    Film processsing is the prime cost of 35mm gear. I have not spent a
    penny on my digicam since I got it.
    True. But this can be a good thing about digital; Photoshop and GIMP,
    more readily complementary of digital than film, are evolving by every
    release, and I'd miss out on them.
    Digital RAW! What eventually put me off film was that processing was
    something I could not control.
    Neither is with digital as long as you look at an image as a whole and
    don't dig your eyes in!
    True, though you can still exercise care with digital, and you can even
    emulate the scarcity of film by getting a smaller memory card.
    Hey, many digicams have live histograms that ensure you get it right.
    Additionally, RAW is great for that. Besides, with digital you
    instantly see what's happening and can reshoot if badly exposed.
    Additionally, you can easily take shots with digital at different
    exposures, and many cameras can do it automatically.
    Well don't buy crap CDs; get verbatim datalife optical media, which can
    be found for cheap online, and use CDCheck every year or two to check them byte by
    byte, and backup or replace, or even recover, as necessary. You can't
    get that with film, and personally I think a quality optical media in a
    secure spindle is safer than film. Use the CDs for archival only, and
    keep those shots you use often on the harddrive; failing that, make two
    copies of a CD, one archival, and one for regular use.

    To sum up, processing costs and lack of flexibility in "processing"
    (RAW) were the archilles heel for film as far as I was concerend.

    That said though, film still has its uses and joys. Nothing beats the
    ease of use of an analog mechanical film camera, one with dials. I
    personally dislike film cameras with LCDs or buttons/menues. Film is
    convenient in remote locations, without batteries, but I hardly find
    myself there, and I only need a battery to last a shooting session, and
    anyhow always have two spare.
    casioculture, Jun 1, 2005
  8. carrigman

    Colin D Guest

    My experience as well, tho' not as far back as 1994.

    Colin D, Jun 1, 2005
  9. carrigman

    Mr. Mark Guest

    10. With print film you have to get prints to see the results. With slides
    Very few images /should/ ever get printed. Edit, edit, edit. :)
    Mr. Mark, Jun 1, 2005
  10. carrigman

    Mr. Mark Guest

    1. You don't have to upgrade your camera every year. In fact, chances
    Both of mine did. Actually the Sony 717 died 4 times - the first 3 times
    under warranty. Most of the warranty time was spent at the repair center.
    Compact point and shoot 35mm don't have lag.
    Really? 3 cheers for digital noise.. yuck.
    That's like saying oil paints and brushes are obsolescent.
    It's like FOX News :)
    Mr. Mark, Jun 1, 2005
  11. carrigman

    Dick R. Guest

    Hi all,
    For me, it's a question of $$$, and what to spend them on.
    I've been accumulating Canon FD bodies and lenses ever since
    my purchase of a new Canon FTb (too many years ago). Sure,
    I have a digital point and shoot that's nice to have at
    birthday parties and family gatherings, but when I want to
    take some serious shots I'll use the manual focus Canon
    stuff. In my case the next logical step would be to sell
    all my 35mm stuff and go digital, but that would take lots
    of $$$ to replace the functionality that I presently have.
    I might just keep my 35mm stuff until they pry my cold,
    dead fingers off the shutter release. :) or :-(

    Dick R.
    Dick R., Jun 1, 2005
  12. The compact 35mm's are actually on topic for this group.

    As for all you digital image capturers, rather than trying to convince
    us that you bought the right digital camera / camcorder / cellphone,
    why not go to or or start or and search
    for validation among yourselves.
    bob.kirkpatrick, Jun 1, 2005
  13. carrigman

    Gordon Moat Guest

    That can vary a bit, depending upon future support for old gear. These cameras
    are software dependant. If your old camera and software will not run on your new
    operating system, then you could be in trouble. Removable memory can help.

    Since direct digital users can shoot many more frames at little expense, the
    shutters are capable of expiring sooner. Digital imaging sensors also fail, or
    develop dead spots, or simply electronics degradation. Proprietary batteries are
    another thing to watch out for, with some Lithium batteries barely lasting three

    Some digital P&S cameras have indeed died barely past the warranty period. I
    have seen several Sony models do just that, with a life span of thirteen to
    eighteen months. Of course, those are cheaper to replace.
    We have discussed 35 mm P&S cameras on this news group, and I don't see anything
    wrong with them. While some have slow autofocus, there are several that are very
    fast on shutter release.
    Grain is uniform hue, while noise is multi hued. The look is entirely different.
    I think it comes down to personal preference more than technology. There are
    many low light photography situations in which there is no "white point", since
    the scene is limited illumination. In some ways, cameras are more limited than
    the film or imaging sensor when used under low light conditions.
    I don't understand "obsolete" about films. I guess that could be stated of many
    technologies, like manual and automatic transmissions, but it disregards how and
    why people use these things. Nothing is obsolete if it still serves a purpose.
    Since a great deal of enlargements today are somehow driven by digital printing,
    it is tough to draw the line against images from film, or images from direct
    digital. If the content is compelling, the technology or method of printing will
    not be important to the viewer.
    Things never are as simple as they seem, or as some people would like them to
    be. Newbies are advised to check as many sources as possible, learn, experiment,
    question, then draw their own conclusions.


    Gordon Moat
    A G Studio
    Gordon Moat, Jun 1, 2005
  14. carrigman

    Colin D Guest

    That is unfortunate, but not typical. My daughter's EOS 10 film slr had
    a new shutter within warranty as well, but that wasn't typical either.
    It doesn't support your implication that all digitals die early.
    If they have autofocus, they do. The only P&S film cameras that don't
    are the so-called 'focus-free' models, and they are obsolete by now.
    You are obviously basing that remark on your experience of small-sensor
    cameras like your 717. Digital slrs like the 300D/350D/10D/20D/1D and
    the D70 have very low noise at 800 ISO, and not too bad at 1600 or 3200,
    certainly far better than the equivalent film grain at those speeds.
    That's like saying oil paints and brushes are obsolescent.
    (You omitted my response about digitals being stunning in the right
    No, it's not. Different market. If you are a painter, paints and
    brushes are essential, as there is as yet no alternative. If you are a
    photographer, film is not essential, since alternative technology in the
    form of digital imaging is available.
    Well, I don't know about Fox News, but, kindly and without offence, I
    think your experience of photography in general needs to be a bit wider
    than your posts suggest you have.
    Colin D, Jun 2, 2005
  15. carrigman

    Colin D Guest

    You're off the mark there. The remarks quoted above were a statement by
    me in response to Mr. Mark's original post. In the context of the OP's
    post, my remark about lag refers to digital camera lag vs dslr lag, and
    compact digitals are not on topic for this group.

    It's my understanding that digital cameras that are derived from film
    cameras and use 35mm components like lenses are accepted as on-topic in
    this NG.

    There are already three digital groups running, r.p.d., r.p.d.zlr, and But a number of long-time posters in this group,
    originally film users, have migrated to using digital as well as
    retaining film cameras. These posters usually have considerable
    experience in photography in general, and their posts are usually
    regarded as welcome and valuable. Shut these people out and the group
    will be that much poorer.

    No offence intended.

    Colin D, Jun 2, 2005
  16. carrigman

    Javi L Guest

    BW prints come to light wet, just as life does.
    Javi L, Jun 2, 2005
  17. carrigman

    Colin D Guest

    With the demonstrated degree of backward compatibility in operating
    systems - Windows at least, I don't know about Mac software - I think
    the possibility of imaging software not running on an OS upgrade would
    be fairly small. There will always be imaging software that will run,
    and with card readers I can't foresee any problems along those lines.
    Points taken, but it's still nowhere near 'every year' as stated by the
    My wife's last three cameras, a Nikon and two Pentax film P&S's have all
    needed service, or died in the last five or so years. I did have in
    mind, though, better cameras than the cheaper P&S's. Perhaps I should
    have qualified my remark to make that clearer.
    My remark about P&S's here followed after talking about digital slr's,
    and referred to digital P&S's only. It could have been clearer, I
    In my experience, dye clumps in color film are multi-hued. Grain is
    only uniformly 'hued' in black/white films. Of course, in low-light
    situations, the light is almost always mixed and of indeterminate
    balance, the contrast range is often beyond the film/sensor capability,
    and the resulting image is usually adjusted to give a pleasing, rather
    than accurate balance.
    Obsolescent is not obsolete. By 'obsolescent' in this context I mean
    'of diminishing commercial or technical viability', 'nearing the end of
    availability and/or demand'. A number of film types have already gone,
    and a number are rumored to be going. The latter are 'obsolescent'.
    Agreed. But the OP's statement implied that film enlargements were
    better than digital, since he was making points against digital images.
    I attempted to rebut that implication.
    Colin D, Jun 2, 2005
  18. carrigman

    Colin D Guest

    Correction: It was not Mr Mark, it was carrigman who was the OP.
    Apologies. Sometimes these threads get tangled {:)

    Colin D, Jun 2, 2005
  19. Best contribution yet...

    Ken Nadvornick, Jun 2, 2005
  20. carrigman

    Mr. Mark Guest

    You're off the mark there. The remarks quoted above were a statement by
    Mr. Mark, Jun 2, 2005
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