Is it worth using film anymore?

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njurgensen

Railfanning Meteorologist
I had my dad dust off his old Nikon 35mm film camera for me and thought I would play with it for awhile. Is it even worth the time to shoot on film anymore? And if it is, where is a good place to get your film developed at or do you just scan it onto your computer? Any advice or tips would be appreciated. Thanks.
 

Pat

Photo Critiques Welcome
Unless you’re shooting demands a characteristic of film that digital doesn’t duplicate, in my opinion there is no advantage to film at 35mm.

Looking at what I’ve shot digital and on film, in most situations I think the digital image is more consistent exposure wise and at final output as detailed as film. I can shoot 4x5 or look at what I shot on 35mm Technical Pan and see a better image than my digitals. But ordinary ISO 200-400, 35mm shooting, I think digital has taken the lead. For me this is in part being able to check the histogram right away and finding digital post processing easier than the darkroom.

There are slide film shooters who feel digital can’t capture the detail and color depth film can. There are fine art shooters who prefer the tonal range and grain film gives them.
 

kenw

5th Generation Texian
I pretty much agree with Pat, the remaining users of film are primarily after some artistic effect that is easier to get with film. It's fun, but unless you really develop (no pun intended) a passion for film, it really isn't for most casual shooters.

Reslize that there is slide film (makes slides, duh) and print film. Print film is a negative but slide film isn't.

Very few places develop film anymore, but those that do will scan the negatives so that you don't have to do the interim process of making prints to scan. Scanning the negatives will give you much, much better results. It takes a somewhat dedicated film scanner to scan film properly, I find it best to find someone to do it rather than do it myself. I still have a few special images around that only exist on negatives and prints, and I find it is much better (and less hassle) to take the negative to someone to scan.
 
Any modern DSLR (Since, say, 2005) will give you better results than almost any 35mm film, and though some would probably argue this, a lot will agree with me. I've shot film sizes from 110 cartridge up to 4x5, and I don't shoot anything smaller than 6x6cm because at most ISOs the grain makes it unusable at anything bigger than an 8x10. Shooting film is kind of fun, and if you're of a certain mindset it will help you shoot better in general as you'll think more about your shots (and the money it costs)
Digital is better than any film out there above 400 ISO. Period.
 
R

RailfanRails

Guest
Any modern DSLR (Since, say, 2005) will give you better results than almost any 35mm film, and though some would probably argue this, a lot will agree with me. I've shot film sizes from 110 cartridge up to 4x5, and I don't shoot anything smaller than 6x6cm because at most ISOs the grain makes it unusable at anything bigger than an 8x10. Shooting film is kind of fun, and if you're of a certain mindset it will help you shoot better in general as you'll think more about your shots (and the money it costs)
Digital is better than any film out there above 400 ISO. Period.
Its incredible difficult to capture a b&w imagine with digital. Yes, I know you can "create" the b&w effect with a digital image but it lacks depth and is often "shiny". To those that have never lived in a b&w film world the grain is a chief complaint. They never learned that the grain is a part of what made for good b&w shoots.

The only reason digital is better than film is the market has left film. You also can't get the types of film that produced the best images anymore. K25, K64, Plus X, Panalure (sic), etc beat digital hands down. Todays ISO 200-1600 color film is typically bleached out or just too grainy especially when machine processed by someone who only gets paid to feed the machine. Its extremely rare and expensive to find a place the will hand process film anymore. This is one reason I develop my own b&w.

In my opinion anyone can shoot digital well (especially with Photoshop fixing mistakes) but it is a rare feat when someone can shoot digital and film with perfection.
 
Its incredible difficult to capture a b&w imagine with digital. Yes, I know you can "create" the b&w effect with a digital image but it lacks depth and is often "shiny". To those that have never lived in a b&w film world the grain is a chief complaint. They never learned that the grain is a part of what made for good b&w shoots.

The only reason digital is better than film is the market has left film. You also can't get the types of film that produced the best images anymore. K25, K64, Plus X, Panalure (sic), etc beat digital hands down. Todays ISO 200-1600 color film is typically bleached out or just too grainy especially when machine processed by someone who only gets paid to feed the machine. Its extremely rare and expensive to find a place the will hand process film anymore. This is one reason I develop my own b&w.

In my opinion anyone can shoot digital well (especially with Photoshop fixing mistakes) but it is a rare feat when someone can shoot digital and film with perfection.
Black and white's grain is completely subjective...not everyone who shoots it wants grain.
And no, not everyone can shoot digital well. Regardless of how good your camera is, you still need a basic understanding of light - something many people lack.
 

martin burwash

New Member
Since for the vast majority of us this is a hobby we do for enjoyment, it really depends on what you like to do. For instance, I have no interest in trying to figure out a camera that has a phone book sized owner's mannual. I'm very comfortable with a camera that doesn't even have a compartment for batteries and have a lot of fun using it. Digi cameras hold no interest for me.

Negatives "have no value" one person says? I'll put my negative collection up against his digi files any day. Personally, I think there is value in both. I keep shooting black and white negatives and my collection slowly gains in value.

As for grain, yes there is a degree of subjectiveness as in any visual medium. For black and white, "texture" (grain) is an essential part of the art form. Also agree, black and white negatives are a real challenge to scan and post and still have the image look as good as a print coming out of the darkroom. That said, it's been 3-4 years since I actually printed. I now scan my negatives for mag articles and my own enjoyment. And agree, there are details I can pull from negatives with Photoshop that would be far more difficult to do in the wet darkroom.

To answer the original question, if you really aren't all that interested in shooting film, I think you will not be happy with the experience. If digi photography is what you are now uesed to, I think you would be wise to stick with it. For sure, if you do have a little fun with that old film camera, don't photograph anything that is important to you, and for sure shoot color, not black and white.


Martin Burwash
 
R

RailfanRails

Guest
...
And no, not everyone can shoot digital well. Regardless of how good your camera is, you still need a basic understanding of light - something many people lack.
You overlooked my qualifying statement ..... Photoshop and its equivalents usage. There are a lot of photos posted here and other places that are nowhere near there original capture state. Someone can make a crappy shot into a "perfect" shot with less than 20 mins post processing work. One trick I see a lot of is blending the best parts of bracketed shots into one image.

Going back to the OP's question. Rockbrook Camera is the only local shop for us here in Omahahahaha. You can get slides, color and b&w film processed through them. You can also send it directly to Dwayne's Photo in KS or any number of other processors like A&I. Rockbrook also has a modest variety of b&w film stock, color film stock and that nasty green box slide stuff.
 

kenw

5th Generation Texian
"Someone can make a crappy shot into a "perfect" shot with less than 20 mins post processing work."

highly doubtful. I've been doing photography from 20+ years and digital work for at least 10, and while you may improve a marginal pic in PS, a perfect pic is made in the camera whether film or digital.
 
"Someone can make a crappy shot into a "perfect" shot with less than 20 mins post processing work."

highly doubtful. I've been doing photography from 20+ years and digital work for at least 10, and while you may improve a marginal pic in PS, a perfect pic is made in the camera whether film or digital.
Agree. I use photoshop a lot more than a lot of people, but to get a good result (Not a borderline acceptable result) you have to know what you're doing when you take the picture. Even if I'm going to photoshop the living daylights out of a photo (And I only do exposure adjustments in photoshop, rarely cloning and never effects) I still have to shoot the photo in a way that the photoshopping can work. I couldn't just take any photo, throw it into photoshop, and magically make it perfectly exposed. Many people expose shots with blown highlights, and there is absolutely no way you can recover those!
 

SamReeves

Foamer!
Much of film's viability is dependent on those who want to create art. The digital prints are certainly fine, but there's art in creating the art when it comes to film. Processing, zone system, printing, toning, matting, all of which are becoming lost skills in the trade of photography. Most people elect to do a majority of it in Photoshop, even after developing a negative. I have the satisfaction of knowing it was done by my two hands in the darkroom from start to finish, especially with B&W.
 

Pat

Photo Critiques Welcome
If you haven't done it, film is worth shooting.

If you want the full experience see if there is a community college or art museum near you that offers a film photography class. If they do they will likely have a dark room with open hours. You can shoot black & white, do your own processing and make your own prints for the cost of film and paper. I haven't printed in a long time but I have to agree with Sam. There is a satisfaction holding a print you created.
 

Ryder P. Moses

Half Man Half Loco
Film is not worth using anymore. We are all going to have 2-3-4 high-end
35mm cameras and lens that are going to end up sitting in our closet
forever. The digital camera is a marvelous invention. Want to see if
that shot turned out like you wanted...just wait 2 seconds. Want
to blow up your photo to the size of a roadside billboard without distortion?
Hard to let go of those trusty film cameras. Mine are in my closet until
forever.
 

Pat

Photo Critiques Welcome
Digital is indeed a superior system in many respects. This is evident in the exodus of work-a-day professionals from film to digital. There are however many art photographers who shoot both digital and film depending on what they want to deliver to the viewer. There are publishers who accept digital but prefer transparencies. Will film make a come back? No.

If film remains worth shooting depends on the person and the purpose of the shot. If he hasn’t shot film why not dust of Dad’s 35mm, give it a go and experience the craft; particularly if he could process and print black & white?
 

martin burwash

New Member
" We are all going to have 2-3-4 high-end 35mm cameras and lens that are going to end up sitting in our closet forever."

Love these broad generalities. I've never owned a "high-end 35mm" and my RB67 is still in my camera bag, loaded with film and is the only camera I use....

Martin Burwash
 

Passin Thru

New Member
I agree with trainboy. I have a Canon in the closet with 3 lens' and won't use it because I just want to make the pics digital. I have a tripod I dont use but may get it out again.
 
Absolutely. Make sure the light meter works properly! Slide film is the hardest to expose correctly. If you like saturated colours, go for fuji Velvia. If you like boring roster shots with faithful, flat colours, go for provia ;)
 

pmpete

Got RAW?
I think all kiddies need to borrow a 35mm and shoot a roll of film. Most labs will can your film to disc while processing. I think it will them a new respect for how things used to be. Good bad or otherwise.
Pete
 

LoganTrackdog

New Member
I think all kiddies need to borrow a 35mm and shoot a roll of film. Most labs will can your film to disc while processing. I think it will them a new respect for how things used to be. Good bad or otherwise.
Pete
At 48 years old, I'm not a kid anymore!;)

I have had both of my kids shoot 35mm film around our acreage. In fact, at a very young age I sent them out to take photos. It's neat to see the world thru the eyes of a seven year old.
 




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