Film Photography Survey

Started Nov 14, 2012 | Discussions
The A-Team
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Film Photography Survey
Nov 14, 2012

I'm getting more into film lately. Sorry if this is not "digital"....

  • Do you shoot film?
  • Which film camera(s) do you shoot with?
  • Do you shoot film professionally at all?
  • How has film changed your photography?
  • How would you describe the difference between film and digital?
  • Please share a few photos with us!

Just had an interview with a film photographer here: http://www.aputure.com/blog/?p=4248

Note: posted this previously in the Canon Lens forum, but someone suggested that I post it here. Sorry for the repost if you've seen it twice!

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GodSpeaks
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Re: Film Photography Survey
In reply to The A-Team, Nov 14, 2012

The A-Team wrote:

I'm getting more into film lately. Sorry if this is not "digital"....

  • Do you shoot film?

Not since 2000

  • Which film camera(s) do you shoot with?

Previously:  Nikon N90s and F2As

Currently:   Nikon D800E

  • Do you shoot film professionally at all?

Not any more.  Now 100% digital

  • How has film changed your photography?

It was a much slower process (develop/print etc.)

Digital is MUCH MUCH faster.  Shoot.  Copy to PC.  Process RAW into jpg.  Review.

  • How would you describe the difference between film and digital?

Film:  Old technology.  Expensive.  Slow.  PITA to use.

Digital:  New technology.  Now surpasses film by a healthy margin for image quality.

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tex
tex
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Re: Film Photography Survey
In reply to The A-Team, Nov 14, 2012

The A-Team wrote:

I'm getting more into film lately. Sorry if this is not "digital"....

  • Do you shoot film?

yes

  • Which film camera(s) do you shoot with?

Fuji GSW690II and will start with a newly purchased Pentax 645N

  • Do you shoot film professionally at all?

Used to a bit, but not now.  Plan to do so in the coming years

  • How has film changed your photography?

I learned on film, starting in 1978 (earlier, really...).  So, it's digital that changed my photography.

  • How would you describe the difference between film and digital?

For most people and most uses, digital is far, far better and cheaper by a lot.  And remember that if you are scanning your film, then you are really doing digital.  Where digital is much better is in PP and the ability to review on the fly, which was only possible using a pola back in film days.  This was relatively common for those using sheet film, not so common for those using 120/220, and almost never done with 35mm ( I think I only remember one pola back for Nikon, an exotic piece of kit).  Thing was, pola backs were of course using a different film from the one in the camera so there was always a little interpretation going on ( in at least one case you had to expose the pola film totally differently depending on whether you wanted the print or the neg).

Where film still has an edge is in MF and LF, where you can get big rez gains without big money and a lot better tonality, especially as you get into LF.  In a good LF neg or transparency the difference is really obvious.  And of course with LF you get movements, which are still mission critical in some applications and/or just easier/more straightforward and better than adjusting stuff in PP, even though that's gotten pretty good.  This is especially true with simple rise/fall or simple shifts.  The other thing that film cameras have an edge on, which doesn't get talked about much, but is significant, is that if the cameras/lenses are mechanical, then they last for decades.  This is especially true fro LF.

  • Please share a few photos with us!

Wish I could, but----1. not all my stuff is scanned, and 2. A lot of the real differences cannot be seen using monitors---it's just the way it is.  This is absolutely true for tonalities.  You have to see the negs, trans, or prints.  So, mostly they don't look much different than good digital images when viewed on a monitor.

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tex_andrews
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JoeR
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Re: Film Photography Survey
In reply to The A-Team, Nov 14, 2012

The A-Team wrote:

I'm getting more into film lately. Sorry if this is not "digital"....

Do you shoot film? Not since 1997.

Which film camera(s) do you shoot with? Used a variety of film and digital camera but currently Canon 5DII, Nikon D700, D7000 and P7100.  Last film camera used was a Minolta SLR.

Do you shoot film professionally at all? No; although I have shot several weddings (film & digital) I shoot mainly for enjoyment.

How has film changed your photography? Going digital renewed my enthusiasm and improved my photography geometrically.

How would you describe the difference between film and digital? Film: Slow, unreliable, limited control, expensive and lacks versatility. Digital: Completely opposite. IQ now at least as good, if not better.

Please share a few photos with us!  http://www.pbase.com/joer

Just had an interview with a film photographer here: http://www.aputure.com/blog/?p=4248

Note: posted this previously in the Canon Lens forum, but someone suggested that I post it here. Sorry for the repost if you've seen it twice!

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tex
tex
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disagree on a couple of points
In reply to GodSpeaks, Nov 14, 2012

  • How would you describe the difference between film and digital?

Film: Old technology. Expensive. Slow. PITA to use.

I'd say that depends on your existing skills, the PITA bit that is.  Expensive also depends on the format and its relation to digital formats.  35mm film is dead AFAIC.  MF will be when digital MF gets down further in price---which is still going to be a while.  LF?  Nothing affordable on the horizon that I know about in digital that doesn't involve stitching----scanning backs being a different animal and not suitable for a lot of applications (and still not cheap!).

Digital: New technology. Now surpasses film by a healthy margin for image quality.

No.  Only in 35mm. There it does now surpass by a wide margin. Arguably equal in 645, although not in price!  Nothing digital out there that can compete with 6x7 and above film formats in rez AND tonality AND price.

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Scott Eaton
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Re: disagree on a couple of points
In reply to tex, Nov 14, 2012

where you can get big rez gains without big money and a lot better tonality,

I'm betting I can randomly select any challenge winner on Dpreview and that image will have better tonality than anything posted on your web-site site.

If chemical film provided such a better medium than professional digital capture then professional photogs would be using it. Instead the only people still using film don't seem to want to make claims like this and not back it up, and / or have multiple names on Dpreview because of constant banning / trolling.

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Barry Fitzgerald
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Re: disagree on a couple of points
In reply to Scott Eaton, Nov 14, 2012

Scott Eaton wrote:

where you can get big rez gains without big money and a lot better tonality,

I'm betting I can randomly select any challenge winner on Dpreview and that image will have better tonality than anything posted on your web-site site.

If chemical film provided such a better medium than professional digital capture then professional photogs would be using it. Instead the only people still using film don't seem to want to make claims like this and not back it up, and / or have multiple names on Dpreview because of constant banning / trolling.

No Scott people just want to have fun and enjoy the "craft" side of photography.

We've long since gone past the tiresome film v digital debate, it comes down to the look which is quite different.

I see no problems with people having fun and using film if they enjoy it. I use both formats and enjoy them equally in their own right.

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Art Jacks
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In reply to JoeR, Nov 14, 2012

I have used many film format cameras over the years giving up film totally around 2001 when I bought a D100 and was shown how to process a nef file, Following reading the comments above I dug out my last remaining 6X6 camera a Mamiya C33 just to refresh my memories, I have more admiration for photographers ( me ) from that age, just how we managed to cover weddings etc I do not know, the camera is a nightmare, the viewfinder reversed image etc, I am surprised I managed to get shots without camera shake ! 12 shots per roll and then the wait for the processor to return the prints to find out how you had coped, I have also looked at some prints from that era and I feel the DR etc from my D800 is far superior.

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tex
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Well, Scott....
In reply to Scott Eaton, Nov 15, 2012

Scott Eaton wrote:

where you can get big rez gains without big money and a lot better tonality,

I'm betting I can randomly select any challenge winner on Dpreview and that image will have better tonality than anything posted on your web-site site.

For the most part that is true, because most of what is on my website right now was done with 8mp digital cameras.  There's not a lot on there at this time that was scanned, at least not from large negs.

But again, it's a moot point because it's largely not possible to see those differences on a monitor.  The viewing medium has a lot to do with this.  As you well know, monitors' ppi is far below best print rez of 300ppi

If chemical film provided such a better medium than professional digital capture then professional photogs would be using it.

Ummmm....they are.  What do you think is going on with so many architectural, landscape, and still some product photographers shooting LF?  It's true, those shooting MF have largely moved to digital, but not for the rez or tonality gain.  And it's true that some architectural, landscape, and maybe a lot of product pros have started putting digital MF backs on their LF gear. Again, not because they gained anything in rez or tonality. They did it because they could afford MF backs and it made sense for their business workflow.  They didn't do it for the lower capital outlay!

Instead the only people still using film don't seem to want to make claims like this and not back it up, and / or have multiple names on Dpreview because of constant banning / trolling.

I wonder if you could provide me with my multiple names?

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tex_andrews
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Mako2011
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biggest
In reply to tex, Nov 15, 2012

tex wrote:

....because it's largely not possible to see those differences on a monitor. The viewing medium has a lot to do with this. As you well know, monitors' ppi is far below best print rez of 300ppi

That's really the biggest disadvantage to film now.....so very few people actually get to see the few works that still show the advantages of film. Driving to see a good film print...uses too much gas.

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TRIODEROB
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Re: biggest
In reply to Mako2011, Nov 15, 2012

i wonder about people who switched over to digiital 12 years ago and gave up on film at that time.

those early digital cameras were not even in the same world as 120 or 4x5

they had poor colors, horid dynamic range, devoid of tone ect....

on the other hand 4x 5 was the stuff that masterpieces were made of

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DenWil
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Re: Film Photography Survey
In reply to The A-Team, Nov 15, 2012

The A-Team wrote:

I'm getting more into film lately. Sorry if this is not "digital"....

  • Do you shoot film?
  • Which film camera(s) do you shoot with?
  • Do you shoot film professionally at all?
  • How has film changed your photography?
  • How would you describe the difference between film and digital?
  • Please share a few photos with us!

Just had an interview with a film photographer here: http://www.aputure.com/blog/?p=4248

Note: posted this previously in the Canon Lens forum, but someone suggested that I post it here. Sorry for the repost if you've seen it twice!

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Yes.

Pentax 67

All my professional work originates on MF film.

Always film. MF at that.  Haven't even shot  with  a 35mm camera in decades.

Working in film, one frame at a time and my style of images  combine to be almost entirely pre exposure oriented.   At least based on DPR posts digital seems to be heavily spray and post processing oriented.

My entire portfolio is a click away.

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Mako2011
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In reply to TRIODEROB, Nov 15, 2012

TRIODEROB wrote:

i wonder about people who switched over to digiital 12 years ago and gave up on film at that time.

those early digital cameras were not even in the same world as 120 or 4x5

they had poor colors, horid dynamic range, devoid of tone ect....

on the other hand 4x 5 was the stuff that masterpieces were made of

Unfortunately, so few masterpieces made. Looks like digital will not be making that same mistake.

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skysurfer5
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Re: Film Photography Survey
In reply to The A-Team, Nov 15, 2012
  • Do you shoot film? — My film cameras are now used exclusively for astrophotography with the ocassional daylight shot thrown in to "register" the frames on the roll.  The last time I shot film for the express purpose of "regular" photography was in 2005, when my wife and I went to Hawaii for our 25th anniversary.  I had just bought an Olympus E-1, but I only had one lens for it (14-54), so I also carried my Olympus OM-4T with 15 mm Sigma fisheye, 28 mm, 50 mm, and 135 mm lenses so I could cover a wider range.  The fisheye was especially important because it allowed me to photograph all of the Keck I telescope from the viewing room and allowed me to do some fun stuff with the 16-inch gun barrels on the USS Missouri in Pearl Harbor.  With respect to film astrophotography, I mainly shoot star trails (up to 5 hours) and wide-field piggybacked images (up to 45 minutes tracked).  I also shoot the Sun and Moon with my 5" and 8" telescopes using my film cameras and my DSLRs.  The only recent films I have found that will pick up the red emission nebulas are Fuji Provia 200 and 400 and Kodak EliteChrome 200 and 400.  Over the years I have accumulated >7000 slide and >5000 negative/print images.  Of these, all were color except two rolls of B&W and one of IR.  My favorite film of all time was Kodachrome 25.
  • Which film camera(s) do you shoot with? — I have an Olympus OM-1N and an Olympus OM-4T.  Also, my dad gave me his OM-1N several years ago when he switched to a digital P&S, but I haven't used it.
  • Do you shoot film professionally at all? — Except for selling two astrophotos and donating several more for fund raisers, no.
  • How has film changed your photography? — It hasn't, digital has.  However, I do handle things a bit differently with the two technologies.  For example, K25 made it easier to get slow shutter speed for streaking waterfalls than a base ISO of 100 or 200 in the typical DSLR.  On the other hand, once the equipment is paid for, digital frames are free and film frames are not.  Thus, I can experiment in ways and in quantities that I never could with film.  This hasa helped me to improve my photographic eye.  I learned the basics of photography with the fully manual OM-1N, got better with the automatic OM-4T and its wonderful mult-spot meter, but it wasn't until I got into digital that I reached the level I wanted to be at.  I will never have professional skills (partly due to not being particularly artisitc, partly due to lack of formal training, and partly due a really variable schedule with which to pursue photography), but I am now finally satisfied with my results most of the time.
  • How would you describe the difference between film and digital? — Film can be "silkier", but even K25 isn't as good as OOC JPEGs with default settings from my Olympus E-1 and Olympus E-5.  However, part of this due to having better optics for my digital cameras than I ever had with my film camera.
  • Please share a few photos with us! — My dpreview gallery has some astrophotos that were captured with film.
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GodSpeaks
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In reply to tex, Nov 15, 2012

tex wrote:

Sorry, perhaps it wasn't clear, I was really talking about 35mm and below.

I'd say that depends on your existing skills, the PITA bit that is. Expensive also depends on the format and its relation to digital formats. 35mm film is dead AFAIC. MF will be when digital MF gets down further in price---which is still going to be a while. LF? Nothing affordable on the horizon that I know about in digital that doesn't involve stitching----scanning backs being a different animal and not suitable for a lot of applications (and still not cheap!).

Now, when comparing the whole workflow of film vs digital, film is a PITA to use.

We are now spoiled:

- no more 36 shot limitation

- no more stuck with one ISO speed when shooting

- no more white balance problems

- instant gratification seconds after taking a shot

Film is expensive in that we would have to a) pay for each roll of film, b) pay to have each roll developed and c) pay to have the prints made.

With digital, the memory card is reuseable.  Images are downloaded to the computer for viewing, so no developing and printing costs.   We pay only for those few images we deem worthy of enlarging to make nice big prints.

Yes, 35mm film is dead for all practical purposes.

Medium format (digital) is also dead for everyone except the hardened professional.  Mainly due to very high entry costs.  Plus cameras like the D800 have now clearly stepped into MF IQ territory.

I just sold off my medium format digital and bought a Nikon D800E.  No regrets what-so-ever.

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GodSpeaks
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Re: biggest
In reply to TRIODEROB, Nov 15, 2012

TRIODEROB wrote:

i wonder about people who switched over to digiital 12 years ago and gave up on film at that time.

those early digital cameras were not even in the same world as 120 or 4x5

they had poor colors, horid dynamic range, devoid of tone ect....

on the other hand 4x 5 was the stuff that masterpieces were made of

Actually one of the biggest problems back then was that the raw conversion software was not very good.

If you were to take any raw image from a camera back then and reprocess it today in Photoshop or Lightroom, you would be surprised at how much better it looks now.  And yes, sensors have improved dramatically too.

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tex
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About 90+% agreement, and a question at the end
In reply to GodSpeaks, Nov 15, 2012

GodSpeaks wrote:

tex wrote:

Sorry, perhaps it wasn't clear, I was really talking about 35mm and below.

I'd say that depends on your existing skills, the PITA bit that is. Expensive also depends on the format and its relation to digital formats. 35mm film is dead AFAIC. MF will be when digital MF gets down further in price---which is still going to be a while. LF? Nothing affordable on the horizon that I know about in digital that doesn't involve stitching----scanning backs being a different animal and not suitable for a lot of applications (and still not cheap!).

Now, when comparing the whole workflow of film vs digital, film is a PITA to use.

We are now spoiled:

- no more 36 shot limitation

- no more stuck with one ISO speed when shooting

- no more white balance problems

- instant gratification seconds after taking a shot

All true, except LF is not in 36 shots....

Film is expensive in that we would have to a) pay for each roll of film, b) pay to have each roll developed and

True, and MF film is even more expensive now and harder to get processed unless you're doing it yourself

c) pay to have the prints made.

Well, this is a mixed bag.  You still have to pay for prints if prints are what you want.  For DIY, the cost has gone down, especially for large prints, because now you don't need a darkroom

With digital, the memory card is reuseable. Images are downloaded to the computer for viewing, so no developing and printing costs. We pay only for those few images we deem worthy of enlarging to make nice big prints.

Yes here also---especially the good point about only having costs associated with the ones we print.

Yes, 35mm film is dead for all practical purposes.

Medium format (digital) is also dead for everyone except the hardened professional. Mainly due to very high entry costs. Plus cameras like the D800 have now clearly stepped into MF IQ territory.

I just sold off my medium format digital and bought a Nikon D800E. No regrets what-so-ever.

!  This I'd like to hear more about.  i watched an interview with a couple of Canadian portrait/fashion photographers who were very impressed with the D800 (not the E I don't think), but who were sticking with MF for now because they felt MF still had the tonality edge.  So I would LOVE to hear what you have to say on this point!  What differences are you seeing there?  Thanks!

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tex_andrews
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JackM
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Re: Film Photography Survey
In reply to The A-Team, Nov 15, 2012

The A-Team wrote:

I'm getting more into film lately. Just posting here because I am a Canon shooter. Sorry if this is not "digital"....

  • Do you shoot film?

Yes

  • Which film camera(s) do you shoot with?

Leica IIIf, Pentax MX

  • Do you shoot film professionally at all?

No.

  • How has film changed your photography?

It makes me think more about my shots and I think it's part of why I enjoy shooting manually. I started with film though.

  • How would you describe the difference between film and digital?

Digital beats 35mm film in every qualitative, objective measure, including DR, in my experience. However film just has a different look and "feel" to it that is very hard if not impossible to reproduce digitally. Grain is not the same as noise, and it gives the photo a certain life of its own. Each film lends its own artistic impression to your shots, whereas a digital sensor is only trying to accurately reproduce the scene as it was.

Shooting film manually is a wonderful change of pace. Everyone should try it.

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JackM
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4x5 Kodachromes
In reply to Scott Eaton, Nov 15, 2012

Scott Eaton wrote:

If chemical film provided such a better medium than professional digital capture then professional photogs would be using it. Instead the only people still using film don't seem to want to make claims like this and not back it up, and / or have multiple names on Dpreview because of constant banning / trolling.

I think pros' preference for digital has nothing to do with IQ and everything to do with workflow.

Have a look at these 4x5 Kodachromes:

http://pavel-kosenko.livejournal.com/303194.html?thread=22669914

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Mako2011
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Re: 4x5 Kodachromes
In reply to JackM, Nov 15, 2012

JackM wrote:

Scott Eaton wrote:

If chemical film provided such a better medium than professional digital capture then professional photogs would be using it. Instead the only people still using film don't seem to want to make claims like this and not back it up, and / or have multiple names on Dpreview because of constant banning / trolling.

I think pros' preference for digital has nothing to do with IQ and everything to do with workflow.

Have a look at these 4x5 Kodachromes:

http://pavel-kosenko.livejournal.com/303194.html?thread=22669914

Seen many times here before.  Just posed snapshots from the past that have been enhanced.  Nothing special really. Beautiful in there own way but not something particularly unique.

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