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Archive 2012 · HELP me understand film......
  
 
NathanHamler
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p.1 #1 · HELP me understand film......


i'm NOT trying to start a war here, and i HONESTLY just want help understanding this....

Over on Fstoppers, i just saw the post about velvia 100f being disco'd, and no longer being produced, etc...millers is no longer offering film services as of the end of the year....i mean, it really is becoming extinct...so it got me thinking...again....why even shoot film anymore??

i've shot film, and yes i understand the "benefits" (in certain situations), and yes i understand the "look" that you get from film...but i just dont see any of that being a valid argument as to WHY you would still shoot film anymore....

I was just talking with a colleague today about him shooting film....he shoots weddings, starts at $5k, some would consider it "high end" others not...i'm not sure what i consider that anymore...but anyway.....he doesn't shoot ALL film, just some...i'd say mostly digital... i know he's not doing it b/c the clients WANT film...at least the MAJORITY of his clients aren't coming to him saying "my wedding HAS to be shot on film.....they just want the LOOK....his photos do have a "look" to them....his digital stuff all has the film look as well...but he shoots film too......and i guarantee they cant tell the look of ACTUAL film, vs the digital file he ran through an action in PS...they just want that look.....TO ME, him saying he "shoots film" is just a way to gain "cred" with other photogs, and up the price a little (which when you think of the added costs, and time, i'm not sure it evens out)....and all he's doing is making his life harder...having to worry about labs getting it right, worrying about what companies are x-raying packages now, then having scans done, etc...

That opens up another argument......As a wedding photographer, we think of ourselves as artists. Some clients see us that way as well, others want us to simply deliver a service. Either way, you better freaking deliver if you're charging someone ANYTHING, price aside. Anything less is just being a bad person. So what happens if something goes wrong with the film...there's a lot that can go wrong with digital as well...i just think the odds are less with digital capture now days, especially when you consider dual card slots, back up drives, recovery software, etc....i mean, fogged film is fogged film. it's done. How do you take someone's money, assure them of your ability to deliver, and then outsource a massive step in the "process", by letting someone else develop your film??

like i said, he's not shooting 100% film....valid point....he's just throwing some shots in there...BUT, there are photographers who DO shoot exclusively film.....those are really mainly the people i'm pondering these questions to...

So to those people....are the MAJORITY of your clients saying they MUST have FILM, or are they saying they MUST have YOU...and your look. That's my question. Because if it's the LOOK they're after....why are you still shooting film to get it, when they prob cant tell the difference.

TRReichman has said on his podcast before that (to sum up) a lot of wedding photographers shoot to impress other wedding photographers....which to me, shooting film is one of those ways of impressing....

(again, i'm SO sorry if this offended anyone, or came across as douchy, just trying to understand)



Edited on Jul 20, 2012 at 05:04 AM · View previous versions



Jul 20, 2012 at 04:58 AM
louloulou
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p.1 #2 · HELP me understand film......


I have had something go wrong with film. It was Ecktachome too, but thankfully only for a University assignment. I received a phone call from the developers.
"Umm sorry, but we used the wrong chemicals and destroyed your film."

Thanks dude. Thankfully my photography lecturer was very laid back and let me have an extension.

But I guess that's stayed with me more than anything else I learned in the film classes!



Jul 20, 2012 at 05:04 AM
TTLKurtis
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p.1 #3 · HELP me understand film......


I don't shoot film, but I'll be honest... I don't think most people who are shooting film are doing it to impress photographers. I think it's because it is something they feel they need to do. It fulfills some personal need or desire. It 'feels right' to shoot film for them, to use these old cameras, etc... I'm honestly quite attracted to the idea of shooting film, but like you I worry about the logistics of it and all the what-if's... I would love to just send film off to a lab and then get back some scans and proofs and not have to go through the whole process of editing a digital wedding. That would be fantastic.

The problem for me is the logistics... Changing film... Different ISOs (I don't know how the hell you'd deal with that without wasting lots of film, having lots of camera bodies, or shooting with interchangeable medium format backs)... Shipping film... Lab developing film... Lot of steps to potentially miss shots or to lose things you did shoot.

I'm also not sure how I'd shoot receptions with film, I guess I'd just play it a little safer than normal with lighting and stop down a bit more than usual.



Jul 20, 2012 at 05:11 AM
stevez32
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p.1 #4 · HELP me understand film......


Why shoot digital just to try to get it to look like film? Getting digital to look like film is a real PITA. With film you just shoot and send it into your lab, if the lab is good you don't have any post processing to deal with.

Film can also force you to slow down and not run and gun.



Jul 20, 2012 at 06:05 AM
Kittyk
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p.1 #5 · HELP me understand film......


1) you can appreciate film only if you shoot it. in theory it makes no sense, yes

2) to get resolution. Over 100Mpixels you wont get in digital. We print big canvases and 120 is simplest way to get it.



Jul 20, 2012 at 07:35 AM
zalmyb
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p.1 #6 · HELP me understand film......


There was a recent thread discussing this (not your exact questions, but they where touched upon in replies).

http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1122923/0




Jul 20, 2012 at 08:55 AM
NathanHamler
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p.1 #7 · HELP me understand film......


Kittyk wrote:
1) you can appreciate film only if you shoot it. in theory it makes no sense, yes

2) to get resolution. Over 100Mpixels you wont get in digital. We print big canvases and 120 is simplest way to get it.


but see (to me) that's another point of contention....even a 40x60 canvas doesn't NEED 100+ mp to be able to print well....especially when you factor in (wait for it......)........viewing distance....(i know pixel peepers hate that argument)...but the truth is, 40x60 isn't even that hard to do for a 16mp camera, much less a 36mp beast like a D800...with PROPER techniques, you can easily get a well exposed, sharp, digital file, to print with excellent results at 40x60, and still hold up to reasonable scrutiny....a photograph is the WHOLE photograph, not a 100% crop at 100dpi on a screen.....again, i'm not sure a client could tell the difference, or me for that matter...



Jul 20, 2012 at 11:31 AM
maxwell1295
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p.1 #8 · HELP me understand film......


I think Kurtis nailed it in his reply. At least I share those same feelings. I don't shoot film for work, but just about everything I shoot for myself is on film. For me, shooting film has actually made casual shooting fun again. In fact my entire Flickr photostream is film stuff.


Jul 20, 2012 at 11:42 AM
NathanHamler
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p.1 #9 · HELP me understand film......


i read through the other thread....a lot of great stuff there....and honestly i didn't even know Josh Gull posted here....he had some good stuff....anyway, i def get what people are saying about it being more of a personal thing, than it is a client demand....and i see what josh was saying about stuff like setting WB not being an issue with film...it just works...

BUT, that doesn't excuse the fact that eventually film will die.

So, new question: What is your estimate at how long it will be before you no longer can shoot film. I.E. it's not available anymore, or no one is developing anymore, or no one is making/selling chemicals anymore...Everyone seems to have a different prediction, from a few years, to "it'll never happen"...



Jul 20, 2012 at 11:53 AM
Kittyk
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p.1 #10 · HELP me understand film......


NathanHamler wrote:
but see (to me) that's another point of contention....even a 40x60 canvas doesn't NEED 100+ mp to be able to print well....especially when you factor in (wait for it......)........viewing distance....(i know pixel peepers hate that argument)...but the truth is, 40x60 isn't even that hard to do for a 16mp camera, much less a 36mp beast like a D800...with PROPER techniques, you can easily get a well exposed, sharp, digital file, to print with excellent results at 40x60, and still hold up to reasonable scrutiny....a photograph is the WHOLE photograph, not a 100% crop at 100dpi on a screen.....again, i'm not
...Show more

we print way beyond 40x60, crop a lot to match the weird crop sizes nicely and last but not least, our customers live in Europe, we have small flats and houses, so viewing distance is requiring 100+dpi on many prints should you chose to want them sharp.
But i will say it again, there is more to film, and large/medium format photography then what meets the paper specs :-)

And to your last question: it will not happen in our lives. It is just less mainstream. Here you can still get fully developed film in 20 minutes in every bigger photo shop. Rest of the process is same as once you download the cards.



Jul 20, 2012 at 01:03 PM
 

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sherijohnson
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p.1 #11 · HELP me understand film......


I think your questions are valid. I could shoot film if I wanted to, but I don't really have any desire to do so. When I was still building my digital kit, I pulled out my film cameras to compare a few things and considered for a little while about using them and quickly dismissed that thought. When I first started shooting digital, I quickly learned the differences from film and the great thing is that in the process I have become a better photographer. I never considered being a wedding photographer when I was shooting film. I noticed the local camera shop closed down a few weeks ago, it was nice to know the place was there, but even I haven't stepped in there since at least 4 yrs ago. In the days of film, it would have been a regular place for me to go develop film and get enlargements, etc.


Jul 20, 2012 at 01:08 PM
Tony Hoffer
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p.1 #12 · HELP me understand film......


I agree that most film shooters do it just so they can say that they shoot film. But there's nothing wrong with that. I do lots of things just to say I do them. Some looks good to clients, others probably just for my own ego.

I think we always tend to be skeptical about what others are doing even though we have our own things that serve the same purpose. I know I often get annoyed by film shooters, even of its completely irrational.



Jul 20, 2012 at 01:29 PM
benee
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p.1 #13 · HELP me understand film......


Not a wedding shooter, but IMO film seems to be the easiest way to get into medium format. If I really wanted a certain look for some special formals in a wedding say, I would shoot medium format film.

Not too sure about the need for 35mm film these days.



Jul 20, 2012 at 01:40 PM
NathanHamler
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p.1 #14 · HELP me understand film......


benee wrote:
Not too sure about the need for 35mm film these days.


that was what my initial inquiry was geared toward...35mm.....that's what my photographer-friend-in-question is shooting, and a couple others that i don't get why they're shooting it....a friend posted a shot the other day of her film body, with a roll of Superia 400 next to it...i was like "really?" you talk about how great film is, and you're basing that opinion on Superia 400?? I mean, granted it only gets better as you go up from there...but to me i don't see the benefit of 35mm color neg film over FX digital, and in some cases DX digital....aside from the benefit of the "look", and how it makes you "feel" hahah....

MF i can START to see the benefit of the resolution you get from a hi res scan, but even then, i'm not sure the benefits are black and white anymore...KittyK said something about needing 100+ dpi canvas prints to look sharp at larger than 40x60...printing large at 100 dpi isn't breaking a sweat for me...when i do medium size canvas prints (up to 40" wide) i do 300 dpi, and larger than that i do 200-250 dpi......i'm not sure the resolution benefit really becomes unquestionable until you get to 4x5 and larger....

so yeah, i guess the consensus is that 35mm has been surpassed, but not MF and (obviously) large format.... (in terms of IQ, the whole (subjective) hassle and changes to work flow is still the same basically)



Jul 20, 2012 at 02:39 PM
ricardovaste
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p.1 #15 · HELP me understand film......


Jose Villa helps me understand, appreciate, admire.


Jul 20, 2012 at 02:40 PM
Mike Mahoney
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p.1 #16 · HELP me understand film......


The main use for film these days is as a marketing gimmick .. 99.9999% of clients can't tell film from digital.

And if a photographer needs film as some kind of psychological crutch to improve their creativity or slow their shooting down then that's a weakness they can deal with in ways more efficient than film.

To get a grasp on just how affected most film shooters actually are most all their photo posts have film in the title, or the format they use, like 4X5. Suggestion .. have your wife or GF post the same pics without any reference to film and see how few comments they get.



Jul 20, 2012 at 02:55 PM
TTLKurtis
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p.1 #17 · HELP me understand film......


Nathan I don't think the point is pixel peeping image quality. Sure that's a benefit to medium format. But I don't think that is the main driving force because it is obviously overkill.

I'm sure Doug does not use large format just because the resolution. It's an emotional touchy-feely thing.



Jul 20, 2012 at 03:16 PM
marti.g3
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p.1 #18 · HELP me understand film......


No one mentioned the freedom of not being tied to your pc. No post production time. Time is money.

But in this day and age, are the brides going to be happy with straight out of the camera images with zero enhancements ? All depends on your client base.

Most brides could care less, it's only about the end result. So if one can shoot film effectively and within budget, and spend very little time wasted behind the pc and that time is spent on other things like family, marketing and schmoozing, then I could see it being very cost effective.

Time saved vs. cost of film/processing. How much is your time worth in comparison to the money spent on film and processing.



Jul 20, 2012 at 03:17 PM
maxwell1295
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p.1 #19 · HELP me understand film......


I don't think 35mm film will die....at least not in our lifetimes. The movie industry still uses a lot of film. I'm pretty sure Quentin Tarantino shoots film exclusively. I would think that there are many other directors who use film exclusively as well. My thinking is that it will be around for a long, long time. That's not to say that some film stocks won't be discontinued. Film manufacturers are already starting to kill off certain films. Many of the film types available now might not last, but there are going to be some film stocks that will continue to thrive.


Jul 20, 2012 at 03:21 PM
Scott Clark
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p.1 #20 · HELP me understand film......


NathanHamler wrote:
that was what my initial inquiry was geared toward...35mm.....that's what my photographer-friend-in-question is shooting, and a couple others that i don't get why they're shooting it....a friend posted a shot the other day of her film body, with a roll of Superia 400 next to it...i was like "really?" you talk about how great film is, and you're basing that opinion on Superia 400?? I mean, granted it only gets better as you go up from there...but to me i don't see the benefit of 35mm color neg film over FX digital, and in some cases DX digital....aside from the
...Show more

As I said in that other post, 35mm was (and continues to be) the VHS of the photography world...it became popular because it was convenient, and gave a lot of frames per roll. The cameras could also be made a lot smaller and stronger than most roll film cameras. Back the '50s it was actually called the "miniature format". For the most part, it really doesn't have a lot to offer over a decent DSLR today...the resolution has been far surpassed, as has the convenience.

That said, I still shoot quite a bit of film (almost all for my own stuff) in just about every format up to 8x10. I like film. Film is fun. At least for me... I mix my own chemistry, and soup all my own stuff. Also now have a functional darkroom. For a long time with film I've shot almost exclusively black and white, but recently I've been shooting a little color and I have to say this--getting skin tones that actually look like human flesh right out of the box really blew my mind. I go to pretty great lengths to manage color digitally, and not having to jump through all those hoops was...eye opening. At least for me anyway... I wouldn't ever bother trying to shoot an entire wedding on film--the logistics and peoples expectations are of wedding photography is supposed to be are just too far apart. I guess if I had a client who only wanted a hundred shots on film I'd think about it...even then I'd be nervous as hell about getting everything I wanted. I would however think about shooting an e-session on medium format if someone wanted...bring the RB and a couple of 220 backs.

Anyway, for me film is about both the process (which I enjoy) and the results (which I also enjoy). I love both film and digital. They both have their place. Oh, and as far as film dying out completely...I don't personally think it ever will. It will become an increasingly small niche, but it won't go away completely. Living in the US, I think it's easy to forget that there are trends and needs in different parts of the world that don't always follow our own, and there is still a strong use of film elsewhere. You'd be surprised. Even if did completely die, there will always be wet plate .



Jul 20, 2012 at 03:26 PM
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