Why I Went Back to Film Photography

Discussion in 'Photography' started by cfb, Nov 11, 2006.

  1. cfb

    smb Guest

    I'm not a gear-head, but I will put in a shameless plug for my camera.
    The D200 is anything but a plastic digital wonder. It feels just as
    hefty and substantial as my older film gear, and is just as at home
    being used manually as it is in the automatic modes. Not bragging,
    but just pointing out that not all digital gear feels cheap. The
    right dslr can bring plenty of joy to those who like the feel of good

    smb, Nov 17, 2006
    1. Advertisements

  2. cfb

    jeremy Guest

    If I were just starting to build up my system I'd certainly have gone with
    the current technology. I have a huge investment in my film gear, I am
    pleased with the results, it would cost me a fortune to try to duplicate my
    current setup in digital, and I just don't feel inclined to bother. I am an
    amateur, I shoot to please myself, not an editor, and I have no time
    deadlines to worry about.

    The one area that I did migrate to was post-shoot digital processing. That
    has had a much greater impact on my results than the method of image capture
    did. I never liked darkroom work and I abandoned doing my own printing in
    the late 70s. I detested it. Now I can tweak the image on my computer, at
    my own convenience, and that is the area that has had a real impact on my

    I have had many of my bodies and lenses for over 3 decades, and I could
    shoot in my sleep. I'm in no hurry to dump all that. When I need my
    occasional fix of instant gratification I trot out my 6 year-old digicam for
    a few snapshots. I really dislike the idea of a digital camera being
    eclipsed by new technology in a period as short as one year. The gear has
    been replaced by a new model before one even learns how to use it. Too fast
    for me, and considering my situation, I ask myself "Why bother?" There is
    more to my life than constantly learning to use new cameras.

    There is no one-size-fits-all solution. But I note that LF photographers
    continue using century-old technology, lenses that are often a half-century
    old, and cameras that look like they did back in the days of silent movies,
    and they often produce incredible images. Not everybody is going digital.
    Most importantly, I shoot to please myself, not to conform to someone else's
    idea of what type of equipment I should be using. If anyone doesn't like
    it, well, screw 'em!

    My situation is not typical, but it works for me.
    jeremy, Nov 17, 2006
    1. Advertisements

  3. cfb

    smb Guest

    As an amateur for over three decades myself, I understand the compete
    freedom that it brings to do what you want!

    So essentially, now you are a digital photographer, you just use film
    as an intermediate step. Right?

    Intant feedback is perhaps one advantage of digital, but not instant
    gratification for its own sake. Film cameras were also being updated
    and replaced frequently with new technology, as well. For example,
    Canon dumped and obsoleted their entire line of manual focus lenses
    when they went to their EOS system. Truly, the only difference I see
    between film and digital is the logistics of the image capture.
    Everything else is the same.

    The function of a dslr is really no different from a film slr, short
    of the image capture. Instead of changing film, you change a memory
    card. Otherwise, the need for correct exposure, proper focus, good
    composition, etc are identical. As to the peculiarities of a
    particular image sensor, that's no different than the peculiarities of
    using a certain film. You learn its characteristics and limitations,
    and use them to best advantage.

    No, not everyone is going digital, but it's a fair bet that most
    everyone will before too long. It will be a matter of simple
    economics. As fewer and fewer people use film, it will get more
    expensive and harder to get for those who still do. I don't think
    anyone will fault you for continuing to use film, but there will come
    a time when it will get painful to do so.

    When gelatin-emulsion film was invented, there were no doubt those who
    stuck with wet plates for a time. Nothing wrong with that, but times
    change and the older technologies always get swept away by the new.
    Digital has gone from being a curiosity to mainstream in just a few
    short years. How long do you think it will be until it totally
    replaces film?

    I don't know what kind of older gear you have, but perhaps your
    reluctance to embrace digital has more to do with new cameras in
    general moreso than new digital cameras in particular. The operation
    of a modern film slr really isn't much different from a digital slr.
    They all have electronic controls nowadays.

    Don't get me wrong, I love my older gear, too, and I doubt I'll ever
    get rid of it. I just don't see the need to keep feeding it film,
    which keeps getting more and more expensive.

    And no criticism of your situation is intended whatsoever. At the end
    of the day, it's all about the pictures, not the boxes we use to
    capture them.

    smb, Nov 18, 2006
  4. cfb

    jeremy Guest

    Exactly! All I do with film is to get it processed (no prints) and I feed
    it into my scanner. All post-shoot processing is digital. Enlargers,
    chemicals, trays and temperature control are thing I do not miss--and my
    images are better because digital editing gives me infinitely more control.
    jeremy, Nov 18, 2006
  5. cfb

    John Boy Guest

    Please don't let that stop you from using a digital camera. Find one that
    works for you and keep it for a few years, and don't let the hype about all
    the latest bells and whistles influence you. If it takes good pictures, now,
    all the new stuff probably won't change much, if anything, over the old
    camera. You don't even have to go expensive right from the start. I use a
    Nikon D50 but carry a Kodak Easyshare C643 p&s ($175) with me in my vehicle
    for quick shots on the road. It takes excellent pictures and will be with me
    for a long time even though there are newer and better cameras out there. It
    does what I want it to do, and I can slip it in my pocket for easy carrying.
    If you have not seen what these little p&s cameras will do, you'll be
    surprised. The only advantage my DSLR has over the p&s is the
    interchangeable lenses.
    John Boy, Nov 19, 2006
  6. cfb

    jeremy Guest

    I have owned a digital camera since 1999--a 2.3MP Ricoh RDC-5300, which sold
    for $700 and was considered prosumer back in its day. It takes amazing
    snapshots, using the Fuji Super CCD sensor. It has a 9-element all-glass
    lens with 3 aspherical surfaces. Also has full-featured remote control,
    auto bracketing, interval timer, day-date imprinting, a real-image optical
    viewfinder, the ability to operate the camera without turning on the LCD
    screen to save batteries, uses 4 AA cells not proprietary batteries, and
    bears an uncanny resemblance to the Contax G2. It focuses in Super Macro
    Mode down to 1.5 inches. It has a text mode which makes it the equivalent
    of carrying a photocopy machine along everywhere I go. It has a true 3:2
    aspect ratio, just like 35mm film, and I've made 11x14 enlargements through
    OFOTO/Kodak Gallery that had no pixellation. At 4x6 print size the camera
    delivers 300 ppi resolution.

    They can still be had on eBay for about $60.00 today. I bought two
    additional units, as backups. I liked the way the camera performed 6 years
    ago, and I still like it today, for non-critical work like home inventory
    shots, snapshots, etc.

    My 35mm SLRs produce digital scans of 17.5 MP. I'm in no hurry to upgrade
    to a 10MP digital camera . . .
    jeremy, Nov 19, 2006
  7. Do you actually think that scanned 17.5 MP image is better than a 10 MP
    image directly from a DSLR sensor?
    Floyd L. Davidson, Nov 19, 2006
  8. cfb

    jeremy Guest

    jeremy, Nov 19, 2006
  9. cfb

    Steve B Guest

    Isn't some of the debate about just that topic?

    Pictures have an end use. If one is going to blow them up, then the bigger
    formats are the thing.

    Remember the 2 1/4" x 2 1/4" cameras and the old big 4" x 5" Speed Graphic
    Graflex press cameras? Those had large negatives. They were the standard.
    I wonder what those old guys would do now when the same thing is about as
    big as a pack of cigarettes.

    And so it is with cameras with big mp ratings.

    But when you come down to it, and all you want is pictures you can put on a
    cd or send e mail or to a binary group on the internet, you have to choke it
    down anyway so as to not overload the dialup user or the cell phone internet

    And then all that mp strength goes for naught.

    And having huge negatives that you can blow up to poster size don't matter.

    So, really, in reality, if it's good enough, it's good enough.

    Steve B, Nov 20, 2006
  10. That was not the question. If you had said only that scanning
    35mm negatives produced acceptable results and therefore you
    were in no need of moving to a digital camera, I wouldn't find
    much to disagree with. Instead you appear to be saying that the
    reason you don't want to move to digital is because your current
    methodology with scanned 35mm negatives gives you better results
    with 17.5 vs 10 mega pixels.

    That, of course, doesn't wash well.
    Floyd L. Davidson, Nov 20, 2006
  11. That use to be true 10 months ago, but much has change in the availability
    of ultra high-end medium and large format digital cameras since your post
    here. It's amazing just how fast the digital revolution in cameras are

    However, why choose one camera over the other anyway if you can indulge in
    © James Roney, Jul 17, 2007
  12. cfb

    Noons Guest

    No, what has changed is the amount of hype
    used to "explain" how digital is "better" than
    medium format. The cameras that were used
    in that particular "test" have been available
    for a lot longer than 10 months...

    Noons, Jul 18, 2007
    1. Advertisements

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments (here). After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.