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Archive 2012 · To film users, a question
  
 
rattymouse
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p.1 #1 · To film users, a question


Reading a lot of the chat here among film users, I find that many take their negatives and then scan them for final use on their computer.

This seems perplexing. Why? Well, I fail to understand why shooting film and then scanning it yields any advantage over shooting digital? Film's greatness is in its "analogueness". Film has the ability to capture an infinite number of tonalities because it does not have to digitize anything. This can be seen looking at the negative, or the print (or slide).

ALL that is lost once digitized. A computer has to sample the image, retain some data, and toss the rest. The image is no longer analogue, but digital. A digital camera digitizes the (analogue) image reflected on the sensor by the lens. A scanner digitizes the (analogue) negative. The end result is the same, a digital image.

So why bother shooting film if your final result is digital? I have encountered several people here and elsewhere who have no interest at all with printing analogue images.

What am I missing here?



Jul 28, 2012 at 11:12 PM
Peter Figen
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p.1 #2 · To film users, a question


I wish you were closer to Los Angeles so I could give you a first hand tour.

The bottom line is that even after you scan your film and digitize it, it retains the basic qualities of that film. They don't go away, they're just represented by ones and zeroes now, but the character of that film and the reasons you chose that film remain. In addition, because there has been such rapid advancement of digital printing technology in the last few years, that many digital print processes surpass analog now, so a hybrid workflow yields the best of both worlds.

I have certain black and white negs that I spent years trying to make what I considered a great print from (and I'm a pretty decent black and white print maker) but really never got that one magical print from, that, after drum scanning and tonal manipulation in Photoshop, then printing on a paper like Museo Silver Rag on an Epson 9900, yields a finer print that I could have ever hoped for. That hybrid workflow has saved many a great image and is a good reason to consider scanning of the film.

Another reason is when you have a portrait that needs some sort of retouching, and the retouching that is beyond simple spotting or use of the etching knife or retouching pencil on the actual neg (who does THAT anymore?) I have several images like this where I drum scanned the original neg, then tonally corrected and retouched the image in Photoshop, then output a new T-Max LVT negative to print in the darkroom. Or just make the digital print from the digital file. Your choice.

I love shooting film and still shoot as much as I can, but not so much for commercial jobs anymore, but I would be lost without my drum scanner and large format printer. It's all a great combination.




Jul 29, 2012 at 12:30 AM
c00kiem0nster
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p.1 #3 · To film users, a question


for me, a big part of the experience is the use of film cameras.
the whole process of shooting is just entirely different when using a tlr for example.
and that leads to drastically different images not only because they were shot on film but also because the whole way of shooting is so much different from using a modern dslr.

do not get me wrong, i love my 5dII but i would not give up shooting film.
i love the feel of an old camera, the fact that i do not have to worry about sensitive electronics in harsh conditions or batteries altogether.

also my approach to shooting film is a lot different. i am a lot more pensive before pressing the shutter, simply because you cannot undo it with the press of a button.

as for the different look of film photography, i'll leave that point to those who have used the medium longer than i have.
i am relatively new to all this and will have to perfect my routines for quite a while longer before comparing looks makes sense for me.
i have taken shots that i imagine i would not have been able to achieve with my dslr. whether that is because of the look of film or simply because i am bad at post-processing my digital stuff, i do not know...yet.

all in all for me, a large part of the joys of film photography, lies within the different style of shooting and the equipment itself.
and since the different routine has influenced my digital photography for the better (in my opinion) i will stick with it for as long as i can.



Jul 29, 2012 at 01:03 AM
Bifurcator
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p.1 #4 · To film users, a question


Peter Figen wrote:

...
In addition, because there has been such rapid advancement of digital printing technology in the last few years, that many digital print processes surpass analog now...
...


What's changed or been improved in specific if I may ask? I don't shoot much film but I find the subject of printing and home printing in specific very interesting.

Thanks!




Jul 29, 2012 at 01:10 AM
Mescalamba
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p.1 #5 · To film users, a question


Dunno, guess bit better papers and pigment inks. Kinda easier to profile stuff, or already finished profiles. I would say its bit easier and even cheaper today.

Tho doing enlargments of photo old way will always has its magic. Dont know much ppl doing it today.



Jul 29, 2012 at 01:57 AM
mawz
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p.1 #6 · To film users, a question


Two reasons:

1. I prefer film cameras. Nobody except Leica has really come up with a digital which handles like a manual film camera.

2. Digitized film doesn't look digital in the least, it looks like film. If my scanned film shots looked like digital I would have long ago abandoned film. But scanned film images retain the 'organic' look inherent to a capture on a non-linear media with randomized grain distribution.

As a side note, I loathe the use of the term Analog to describe film photography. Film is NOT an analog media, it is actually digital (each grain is either exposed or not) although it appears continuous at sufficiently low magnifications, while 'digital' sensors are in fact analog, the sensor readouts must be converted to digital values after capture (which is done by the ADC's, either on-sensor for most Sony sensors, or off-sensor for most everyone else).



Jul 29, 2012 at 02:20 AM
mawz
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p.1 #7 · To film users, a question


Bifurcator wrote:
What's changed or been improved in specific if I may ask? I don't shoot much film but I find the subject of printing and home printing in specific very interesting.

Thanks!



Repeatability, colour accuracy, resolution. For colour prints it's not even close, modern digital printing far exceeds the old analog methods in terms of quality. But colour printing was always the weak spot of colour film work, one reason why optical printing died a well deserved death in the market well before digital photography took over (minilabs moved to scan & digital projection prints over a decade ago). I can repeatably produce colour prints at home that exceed what a professional printer could do with RA-4 or C-type prints in a pro lab.

B&W is another story, you can't beat traditional silver halide paper prints, but you can match them in terms of quality.




Jul 29, 2012 at 02:25 AM
Bifurcator
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p.1 #8 · To film users, a question


Right, I know all that. Peter seemed to be saying that in the last year or two there has been "rapid advancements of digital printing technology" and I was wondering what those were. Sure, about 10 to 12 years ago home printing overtook analogue printing using light and light sensitive paper. But I'm not aware of any significant advances "in the past few years" so i was asking what those might be.

In the past 5 or 6 years I am not aware of any higher resolutions, any improved inks or dyes, any more color separation. All I have seen is a tiny bit more speed, device and module consolidation (form factor), and lower machine costs. Have I missed anything or is Peter talking about advances which are actually 10 or 15 years old?





Jul 29, 2012 at 02:58 AM
mawz
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p.1 #9 · To film users, a question


Bifurcator wrote:
Right, I know all that. Peter seemed to be saying that in the last year or two there has been "rapid advancements of digital printing technology" and I was wondering what those were. Sure, about 10 to 12 years ago home printing overtook analogue printing using light and light sensitive paper. But I'm not aware of any significant advances "in the past few years" so i was asking what those might be.

In the past 5 or 6 years I am not aware of any higher resolutions, any improved inks or dyes, any more color separation. All I have seen
...Show more

The big jump was with Epson's introduction of the K3 inks around 5-6 years ago, which brought a massive improvement in ink quality, it was then that home inkjet printing really matured. That is at the long end of Peter's timeframe, but then again it took a while for word to get around about how good home printing had become, and also for better papers to arrive. The last real advance was the introduction of the Baryta papers for inkjet printing, which happened 3-4 years ago.



Jul 29, 2012 at 03:17 AM
Peter Figen
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p.1 #10 · To film users, a question


It's a combination of the inks and the papers that have hit the market in the last three to four years. Epson introduced the 9900 three and a half years ago and that was a significant improvement over the previous models - in speed, yes, but in color accuracy, gamut, sharpness etc. At the same time, the black and white capabilities are really fantastic, and with the best papers are producing inkjet prints we could only dream about six or seven years ago. That there is not a new Epson on the immediate horizon probably says that we're hitting a level of diminishing returns in improvement of image quality, but maybe Epson will surprise us.


Jul 29, 2012 at 03:36 AM
 

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redisburning
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p.1 #11 · To film users, a question


mawz wrote:
2. Digitized film doesn't look digital in the least, it looks like film. If my scanned film shots looked like digital I would have long ago abandoned film. But scanned film images retain the 'organic' look inherent to a capture on a non-linear media with randomized grain distribution.


a million times this.



Jul 29, 2012 at 04:03 AM
StillFingerz
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p.1 #12 · To film users, a question


To the Op...why shoot film, what are you missing?

The experience. And I don't mean to be flip about it. Many film shooters started a long time ago, it's what we grew up with, learned the art of photography with, formalized our style with. As for myself, my journey began in 1970 with a 35mm rangefinder and a roll of Kodachrome 25 and Ilford Pan F..

Old habits die hard, that's part of the picture certainly. But there's also a discipline shooting film, you don't shoot a few hundred to get perhaps one, it's a slower process. And for me, it's still fun on occasion to give myself only 36 shots to paint a story feeling, happening. There's also anticipation of image, did you capture/compose what that moment felt like, what your minds eye registered, and the wait to find out if you succeed And film, the whole lot from negative to slide, each has a different look and skill to shoot, expose correctly. It's a dying art...

I know it perhaps sounds odd, crazy...for the only digital shooter, don't get me wrong, I love digital capture, the freedom it gives you and of course the cost is pretty cheap.. You can do the math, I've had a camera in hand for over 40 years, the last five included digital as well and shooting both won't stop until film is no longer produced/processed.

I agree with the other film shooters' scanners, post processing and printing comments. Film is part of me, it's still fun to shoot, to wait...for the surprised



Jul 29, 2012 at 04:37 AM
dswiger
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p.1 #13 · To film users, a question


I would echo others comments about shooting film for the experience
I would also add that it slows you down and that's a good thing
You have to really think about the shot, pay attention to the details, etc.
I have found this has had a very positive effect on my shooting with digital.
I take far fewer shots & take more time to make it count.
There are plenty of times I still shoot digital when time is of the essence, say action shots.

Now I shoot a RZ67 MF camera, so its not so easy to shoot handheld on an impulse.
But looking through that huge viewfinder, watching the image come into focus as I turn the knob.
The big "clack" of the mirror, then the subtle "click" of the shutter, its done!
Now I have to wait til the roll is used up & I get it back from the developer.
Then ooh/ah time as it comes off the scanner.

Well, that's the romanticized view of it. Yes its a lot of hard work but somehow feels more rewarding.
Its all about the experience. Its obviously not for everyone.

Dan





Jul 29, 2012 at 05:24 AM
rattymouse
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p.1 #14 · To film users, a question


redisburning wrote:
a million times this.


This is very understandable. Thank you very much.



Jul 29, 2012 at 05:36 AM
rattymouse
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p.1 #15 · To film users, a question


StillFingerz wrote:
To the Op...why shoot film, what are you missing?

The experience. And I don't mean to be flip about it. Many film shooters started a long time ago, it's what we grew up with, learned the art of photography with, formalized our style with. As for myself, my journey began in 1970 with a 35mm rangefinder and a roll of Kodachrome 25 and Ilford Pan F..

Old habits die hard, that's part of the picture certainly. But there's also a discipline shooting film, you don't shoot a few hundred to get perhaps one, it's a slower process. And for me, it's still
...Show more

Yes I understand this as I used to shoot film, a lot of film back in the day. It's been almost 10 years since I have shot a frame of film and I've forgotten a lot.





Jul 29, 2012 at 05:37 AM
rattymouse
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p.1 #16 · To film users, a question


Peter Figen wrote:
I wish you were closer to Los Angeles so I could give you a first hand tour.

The bottom line is that even after you scan your film and digitize it, it retains the basic qualities of that film. They don't go away, they're just represented by ones and zeroes now, but the character of that film and the reasons you chose that film remain. In addition, because there has been such rapid advancement of digital printing technology in the last few years, that many digital print processes surpass analog now, so a hybrid workflow yields the best of
...Show more


That would be awesome if could see all this in person. I am sure you could convince me in mere seconds.





Jul 29, 2012 at 05:40 AM
Bifurcator
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p.1 #17 · To film users, a question


OK, thanks for the answers and clarifications guys!





PS: I sure hope this doesn't turn into yet another Film vs. Digital thread - tho it's already turning in that direction. Booo! Hisss!



Jul 29, 2012 at 05:59 AM
rattymouse
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p.1 #18 · To film users, a question


Bifurcator wrote:
OK, thanks for the answers and clarifications guys!


PS: I sure hope this doesn't turn into yet another Film vs. Digital thread - tho it's already turning in that direction. Booo! Hisss!


I dont see that at all. This is a friendly discussion from which I have learned a lot. No need to flame bait here.




Jul 29, 2012 at 06:16 AM
Two23
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p.1 #19 · To film users, a question


I just returned from being out shooting with my 1951 Rolleiflex. I also use a 1942 Lecia IIIc, a 1937 Voigtlander Bessa, and a 1914 Kodak Special No. 1. And, I shoot 4x5 with lenses dating from 1847 t0 1924. I shoot the film, have it processed, scan it, and then clean up dust spots etc. with CS6. It's a lot faster and easier. I am getting the classic look to my images that I want, and I'm not getting that from my Nikon DSLR system.


Kent in SD



Jul 29, 2012 at 07:05 AM
Makten
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p.1 #20 · To film users, a question


#1: Digital cameras are HUGE in relation to their sensor format. You can get a "full frame" film camera for nothing and it will be a thousand times nicer to handle. Heck, even the viewfinder can be much, much better. Or why not try medium format? The shallow DOF and beautiful bokeh is very different from the 135 format and most people could never afford a digital MF camera. And if they could, the sensors are still smaller.

#2: The experience. You can't see the image until you've developed and scanned the film, which makes you think before you shoot. Fully manual cameras doesn't exist in the digital world either, even if the $$$ M9 comes close.

#3: The files doesn't look at all like digital. A scanned B&W neg can be processed much harder without falling apart.


0909 by Martin Hertsius, on Flickr



Jul 29, 2012 at 08:57 AM
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