What is a practical end process for amateur film?

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hobsonp New Member • Posts: 7
What is a practical end process for amateur film?

After 15 years of digital, I want to get into film again. My main motivation right now is because I'm intrigued by the mechanical film cameras like Rollei and Nikon F. If I get into it, I need a practical process for an end result, either a light table, a scan or a wet print.

I have some Nikon lenses and some later model electronic film cameras. If I started with a Nikon FM and some E6 film, my end process would be very simple. I'd develop the transparencies and be done. I could look at them with a light table or mount them and project. For anything more remarkable, I would just outsource it.

I'm wary of jumping into manual exposure shooting E6. My oldest film camera is an N8008s which has a clumsy autofocus, but quite good matrix metering. When I last used it 15 years ago, I wasn't shooting E6, but always something with more exposure latitude, C41 or Tri-X. Should I not worry about it, just jump in and swim? Or should I shoot a black and white print film? And if I shoot negative print film, should I wet print or scan it?

Considering that it's more cost effective for me to outsource the very low volume of high-demand jobs I would have, I would need a low-cost process for day-to-day work.

Should I get a 67VC enlarger, lens, and a stack of photopaper or get an Epson V850?

They both cost about the same. That enlarger is a little less up-front especially since I can buy it used, but the cost of paper would easily pass the expense of the scanner over time.

The difference is with the enlarger I'd end up with a stack of prints in a box and maybe my favorite ones in Prat books or another album. With the scanner I'd end up with a bunch of files on disk.

If the savings in paper costs aren't enough, another advantage of the scanner is it would work great for E6 also. It's not lost on me that this leaves one of my feet still firmly in the digital world. I'm ok with that. I'm not some kind of luddite purist. Besides, for the rare occasion it counts, the hybrid process means I'll have the image on film to do whatever. For the more ordinary, I just need something practical so I can look at my photos on a light table, an 8x10 print or an 8 megapixel screen.

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