The demise of film cameras - I don't like it

Discussion in '35mm Cameras' started by Dick R., Jan 20, 2006.

  1. Dick R.

    Dick R. Guest

    I didn't get the whole story on Nikon getting out
    of the film camera business and focussing on digital,
    but it's bad news for us film junkies.
    Ya, everyone has a multi-thousand dollar digital camera
    with thousands of dollars in lenses, a brand new computer,
    a photo quality printer, and wants to do their own
    "processing". Personally, I don't have the time, equipment
    or inclination for digital. I would rather bring my 35mm
    photos to a lab for processing.

    Just observations from an older "gentleman" who has a lot
    of 35mm cameras that work quite well!

    Dick R.
    Dick R., Jan 20, 2006
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  2. Simple answer:

    Buy that Leica outfit you always wanted...
    uraniumcommittee, Jan 20, 2006
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  3. Dick R.

    Jerry L Guest

    It may be the best of both worlds.

    One can shoot film and get the images scanned to a CD __ then you may
    use your computer as you wish.

    Or one can shoot with a digital camera and by-pass the film stage.

    ....maybe some company in China will begin to market SLRs for film and
    then Nikon will have to go figure.

    = = =
    Jerry L, Jan 20, 2006
  4. Dick R.

    Dick R. Guest

    Hey UC,
    I notice we both have an interest in photography and wine.
    It's too late to turn back now (whoa, that would be a good song),
    but I'm totally Canon 35mm, manual focus FD system and not
    financially interested in changing to any "newfangled" stuff.

    Dick R.
    Dick R., Jan 20, 2006
  5. I guess all I can say is "I'm sorry". I'm one of the digital
    winners. I've always done my own B&W darkroom work, going back to the
    1960s, though I never got very good at color. Digital has my color
    work looking *much* better than before (and the B&W not as good given
    that my quadtone inkjet printer is down). Printing is *such* an
    important part of the overall process of getting good-looking

    For my level of use, the digital SLR body has saved me considerable
    money in lab fees in the time I've had it. The computers are
    expensive, but I had them well before I started doing anything with
    digital photography.
    David Dyer-Bennet, Jan 20, 2006
  6. Dick R.

    Scott W Guest

    Be prepared to see others follow Nikon in dropping their film camera

    The future of photography is digital. This does not mean that you
    can't continue to use your film cameras and enjoy them but the
    manufacturers in the photographic business are all looking towards

    35mm film cameras are going to have an increasingly hard time of it,
    and they are already barely selling now. For those people who shoot
    the normal print film you find in most stores, say Kodak Gold 400, they
    can get better looking prints using a fairly cheap point and shoot
    digital. And they don't need a computer or printer to do it, just
    take the camera to any number of places and get cheap prints done fast.

    But the point and shoot camera keep getting better each years, in a few
    years even a point and shoot digital will out perform the best 35mm

    There seem to be two types of people in photography, those who really
    hate change and those who like to see things progress. Most of the
    last 30 years have been very good for those people who hate change, the
    next 10 years are going to be very bad from them.

    Scott W, Jan 21, 2006

  7. You're not the first to voice this polarized view. Why does it have to
    be all or nothing? Can we please leave room for a large group of peeps
    who acknowledge that change is inevitable, but don't leap at change for
    it's own sake? There is a huge spectrum of views that fit somewhere
    between the stodgy 'give me grain, or give me death' reactionaries and
    the smug, condescending 'my toy's better than your toy!' brats like

    Greg Campbell, Jan 21, 2006
  8. Dick R.

    Mike Guest

    This is probably a safe bet.

    But don't count on the increase in megapixels to continue at their current
    rate. At a given sensor size, noise in bayer-technology sensors is
    becoming a huge problem that fundamentally cannot be overcome.

    Of course you can get more megapixels with larger sensors. But for the
    last 30 years, one thing in semiconductors has not changed: manufacturing
    a large piece of defect-free silicon is very very expensive and not
    feasible at a certain point. Microprocessor die sizes are no bigger than
    400mm^2 (for server-class processors) because anything larger, even for
    high-paying customers, is infeasible.

    And if/when there is a technological breakthrough, small sensors will be

    So the only solution I see for lots and lots of megapixels (way more than
    current generation) is a larger sensor...and my economic arguments above
    will make this infeasible except only for the very top of the market.
    Mike, Jan 21, 2006
  9. Dick R.

    Gordon Moat Guest

    Well stated Greg. It seems that some people dismiss all images of the
    past . . . as in "can't possibly be a good image, because it came from
    film" sort of mentality. Many of these "advocates" have no talent, and
    would not know a good photograph if they sat on one. The reality of
    today is those using film can only hope to get as nice images as the big
    name photographers of the past, and those shooting direct digital are
    not any closer to emulating the great images of the past. Just because
    the technology changes, or people throw more money at something, does
    not mean the results are instantly better . . . I think too many people
    forget that too often.
    Gordon Moat, Jan 21, 2006
  10. Well, there are also some other reasons why digital photography can be very
    nice. I always confined myself to B&W film when I was younger because I did
    my own darkroom work, and I frequently took pictures of naked girlfriends,
    and I didn't have to worry about some prissy processing labs destroying my
    images. Doing my own color processing was way too much trouble for me, and I
    never bothered with it. Today, one can take color pictures of anything they
    want, and do all the follow up work inside their own computers and not have
    to worry about anyone else seeing their stuff. IOW, digital gives one
    complete independence from others, even if one wants to work in color. It
    isn't cheap, but you can buy a good digital camera, a computer, a good
    quality printer, and for perhaps $5000 to $10,000 (depending on the quality
    of your lenses) you can do anything you want without worrying about the
    tight-lipped American religious nuts getting on your case.....:^)
    William Graham, Jan 21, 2006
  11. Dick R.

    george Guest

    Looks like that leaves Canon as the only system manufacturer of film and
    digital cameras with lenses that can work without a crop factor on
    either...I hope they appreciate that and take advantage of it. Now, it'd be
    nice if they built on that and got KM's line of exposure meters and film
    scanners...I don't see Sony doing anything with either of those.

    george, Jan 21, 2006
  12. Dick R.

    Scott W Guest

    There is 100 year history of photography, it has only been the last few
    years that digital has started to come of age. Is it any surprise then
    that the majority well know photographs were taken with film, or most
    of the well know photographers shoot with film?

    That an improved method of photograph is coming into existence does not
    diminish the work of past photographers. Not any more then the piano
    diminished the works that Bach did on the Clavichord. But do you think
    that just because Bach did monumental work on the Clavichord the world
    would have been better off is Mozart did not take up with this new
    upstart the piano and kept to the Clavichord?

    Scott W, Jan 21, 2006
  13. Dick R.

    bjw Guest

    I don't think the majority of people who use point and shoot
    film cameras or point and shoot digital cameras are switching
    because of the relative quality of the prints. They are switching
    because of the convenience factor. I mean, jeezus, P&S digitals
    are no better than P&S film in terms of producing pictures with
    missed focus points or glaring on-camera flash, which are two
    of the most common ailments of P&S pictures. Resolution is
    not the issue: Kodak Gold 400 is perfectly capable of making
    an excellent 4x6 or 8x10 print which is all many users want.

    However, the P&S digital is a lot more convenient than P&S
    film for getting immediate feedback, for emailing pictures
    or putting them on the web, and for making that 8x10 print
    by uploading a jpeg rather than taking the negatives to a lab.
    Hell, many people were switching from 35mm P&S to 2mp
    P&S, and a 2mp P&S is clearly inferior to Kodak Gold 400
    strictly in terms of resolution.

    This is not a pro-digital, film-must-die polemic; it's just an
    observation. There are arguments that the convenience
    has a cost, that the issue is still unsettled if you want more
    than 8x10 or good black and white prints or that
    archiving is a problem etc etc. I don't care to argue about
    it since I think cameras are just tools, albeit tools to which
    I might form an emotional attachment. My point is just
    that resolution debates are now irrelevant in terms of the vast
    majority of the market. In fact, the inevitable 10 mp digital
    P&S will be more inconvenient than the 2 mp for the user
    who just wants to email pictures or put them on the web.
    bjw, Jan 21, 2006
  14. It's more like you making fun of Bach because he isn't playing a Casio
    MIDI keyboard (Jeez, how change-hating can you get?)
    Chris Loffredo, Jan 21, 2006
  15. Hmmm; and how would they do that?

    Seems to me they've just created a situation where they have to keep a
    much wider range of exotic lenses in production, or start losing
    market share.
    David Dyer-Bennet, Jan 21, 2006
  16. Dick R.

    Gordon Moat Guest

    Not at all. That is not to state that I have not seen good images from
    direct digital capture, but the choice of camera was rarely the reason
    why the image was good. Amongst current well known photographers, few
    ever state what they use; it is more often some article about them that
    might reveal their gear choices. Even if we buy the same gear, we should
    not expect to do as well. I notice more often with either event
    photographers, or those at the lower scale of professionals that they
    will try to sell themselves on the gear they own . . . to me this seems
    more like advertising yourself as a gear rental. If your images are
    good, people will notice and (in a professional realm) not care what you
    used to capture those images.

    Mozart would have done a good job if all he had was two spoons and a
    plastic bucket. You have it right, but worded it in a poor manner.
    Mozart found a tool that did not impair his creativity. If we extend
    that to photography, then the best cameras and lenses are those that
    allow you to achieve and express your creative vision.

    Don't take offence at my statements. You are not one of the clueless.
    Gordon Moat, Jan 21, 2006
  17. My experience is that ISO 100 color print film from the late eighties /
    early nineties has small enough grain, that you can easily make
    50x75cm (20x30") prints from 35mm that don't look absolutely horrible.

    Film didn't get worse in the last 10 years, so you can still do that.
    And these days, anybody with a scanner can easily scan and print slide
    film as well.

    As long as film and processing remain available, people who have perfecting
    their technique using film are likely to come home with better images
    than most people manage to get on digital.

    Of course, the >10Mpixel digital SLRs are likely to be able to provide
    better better technical quality than can be achieved with 35mm film.

    But for most subjects, you don't need that many pixels. The end result
    depends much more on the skills of the photographer than on whether he
    happens to use film or a digital camera.

    For most images, whether film or digital was used is about as relevant as
    whether the body was made by Nikon or Canon or Leica.
    Philip Homburg, Jan 21, 2006
  18. Dick R.

    Scott W Guest

    I would agree with what you have said, to a point. I do have to say I
    would have a problem with a high priced wedding photographer trying to
    use a 35mm camera or even a 20D for that matter. I kind would like
    them to have either a good MF camera or a higher end digital. When we
    have had commercial photography done we would not even have thought
    about using a photographer that was shooting 35mm. Our graphic artist
    was pretty demanding that the photos he was going to be incorporated in
    ads and other items be of very high quality. This made his job much
    easier. This of course is not artistic photography but it is a large
    part of professional photography.

    But the main point is that film is a pain to deal with compared to
    digital. So for film to maintain any kind of market share it needs to
    offer something that you can get from digital. Since MF and LF are
    such a small market even if film could dominate this area it would be
    of little help over all. In the largest area of photography, 35mm,
    film is loosing its few remaining advantages pretty fast.

    It takes a lot of work to get a good photo from a 35mm film camera. To
    get a photo that has good detail and not much grain it would seem most
    people are shooting slow slide film and then scanning that. When the
    exposure is right and the scene does not have too much range in it and
    when the slide is scanned on a high-end scanner a good image can be
    had. But the vast majority of people just want to pop a roll of print
    film in and get their prints back from the mini lab.

    There has been a reversal in infrastructure, a few years ago it was
    much easier to get prints made from film, now it is easier to get
    prints made from digital cameras.

    There are some pretty amazing point and shoot digital cameras out
    there, like the Fujifilm FinePix F10. This little camera does very
    well even when shooting at ISO 400. At is wide-angle lens position it
    is a f/2.8 lens. For shooting indoors with available light this little
    cheap point and shoot will be hard to beat using a film SLR. This is
    a little cheap camera and yet the 8 x 10 prints that it can produce
    will blow you away. And memory is getting so cheap that many people
    can put one card in and use the camera on two-week vacation and never
    have to change the card.

    The worst news for 35mm film cameras is that the point and shoot
    cameras are not nearly as good as they could be, and will be in the
    next few years. Good as it is the F10 still has more shutter lag then
    it really should and the shoot to shoot time is slower then it could
    be. But even with all of that many people are more then happy to leave
    their film SLR at home and use a camera like the F10. But if we look a
    the trends it is clear that such things as shutter delay and shot to
    shot times will be come much less of an issue with time.

    I have heard it stated many time that people are trading quality for
    convenience when they go to digital. But the vast majority of people
    who were using film were not getting anywhere near good quality. How
    many people shooting film where getting their film developed at a good
    pro lab? How many were shooting a good slow pro film? How many have
    high-end scanners? Most would simply drop their film off at the
    mini-lab and hope for the best, the best rarely came.

    Scott W, Jan 21, 2006
  19. Dick R.

    Scott W Guest

    Well this is hard to argue with, since the number of people who have
    been perfecting their technique using film is very small and the number
    of people shooting digital is very large.

    But try stating it another way, how about the people who have been
    perfecting their technique using film but now are using a camera Like
    the 1D Mark II. Roger Clark comes to mind in this category.

    Scott W, Jan 21, 2006
  20. Dick R.

    Jim Guest

    Well then you film junkies need to buy more cameras. None of these
    manufacturers are in business for their health.
    And my old Nikon S2 is still operational after all of these years. Nikon
    hasn't sold RF lenses for a very very long time.
    Jim, Jan 21, 2006
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