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Is film coming back?
  
 
retrofocus
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Is film coming back?


Asking this question here to get opinions and what others experience about this. Personally, I left film for about 10 years after I started photographing digitally. Recently I was fortunate enough that a friend gave me all his darkroom stuff including a big enlarger in mint condition and accessories for film development - hesitant first, but now enjoying it to the fullest. My journey first involved optimizing my process to make negatives from my digital files and print them on photosensitive paper - then I moved on to develop my own B&W film, currently 35 mm based. I find the process itself very exciting and creative. I still do digital photography in parallel, but I find that digital has become the new "standard" out there, and film now makes photography and processing more special. Interestingly, I was approached by several of my photo friends (age range in the 30s) to teach them in film development - there seems to be quite a bit of interest in film out there now! What do you think? Asking this in the Alt forum due to the great film photo thread for example.


Jan 07, 2016 at 12:23 PM
adamdewilde
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Is film coming back?


Film is as in as lumberjacks.. Every 30's something hipster now owns an axe and a flannel shirt. But none of these fellows chop wood for a living

In all seriousness the wedding industry has seen quite an influx in film shooters. And a lot of fine art photographers still use film. Especially larger formats 4x6++
Some of my clients ask me to shoot film weddings. And I infrequently shoot film for fun.

Digital is and will remain the new standard. But there is definitely a growing interest in film and darkroom activities.. And why not, it's REALLY fun!!



Jan 07, 2016 at 12:31 PM
retrofocus
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Is film coming back?


adamdewilde wrote:
Film is as in as lumberjacks.. Every 30's something hipster now owns an axe and a flannel shirt. But none of these fellows chop wood for a living

In all seriousness the wedding industry has seen quite an influx in film shooters. And a lot of fine art photographers still use film. Especially larger formats 4x6++
Some of my clients ask me to shoot film weddings. And I infrequently shoot film for fun.

Digital is and will remain the new standard. But there is definitely a growing interest in film and darkroom activities.. And why not, it's REALLY fun!!


Very interesting - I did not expect to hear that film can still play a significant role in photography business! Also thanks for confirming my impression that there is growing interest in film & darkroom stuff. And yes, it is fun!



Jan 07, 2016 at 12:35 PM
rattymouse
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Is film coming back?


Film is not coming back as a medium for mass image production. There is an increase in the use of film but it is lightyears away from where it was 20 years ago. We will never see mainstream use of film again.

That said, some people (like myself) have largely abandoned digital photography for various reasons and returned to film.




Jan 07, 2016 at 12:49 PM
retrofocus
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Is film coming back?


rattymouse wrote:
Film is not coming back as a medium for mass image production. There is an increase in the use of film but it is lightyears away from where it was 20 years ago. We will never see mainstream use of film again.

That said, some people (like myself) have largely abandoned digital photography for various reasons and returned to film.



Absolutely agree that film will remain in its niche - but I think we agree that it is definitely not dead what some predicted when digital started. That film is not "high" in demand was also practically shown to me last year when my Costco discarded all film development instrumentation. I really like your film shots!



Jan 07, 2016 at 12:53 PM
rattymouse
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Is film coming back?


retrofocus wrote:
Absolutely agree that film will remain in its niche - but I think we agree that it is definitely not dead what some predicted when digital started. That film is not "high" in demand was also practically shown to me last year when my Costco discarded all film development instrumentation. I really like your film shots!


Thank you for the kind words!

Film is showing no signs of death, that is for sure. Fujifilm makes an enormous amount of money from film still, far more than they do from digital cameras. 4.7 million INSTAX cameras were sold last year. Just one year of sales!

Ilford reports that they have robust film sales and Kodak reported a profit selling film last year.

Ferrania is restarting film production any day now, giving us a second supply of E-6 chrome film.

Adox continues to sell film as does Foma.

I have zero worries about finding film for my 4 film cameras.






Jan 07, 2016 at 12:59 PM
johnahill
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Is film coming back?


I was quite late to digital capture and was still using film until around 2008.
I agree that's it's great fun to shoot black and white and develop your own film is a nice adventure. Many people assume that you need a darkroom to develop film but I was just using a 35mm daylight developing tank.

I'm my opinion the biggest issue was getting decent quality digital scans of the film, I often ended up with drying marks or scratches on my film and even when it was clean the scans just weren't as clean as digital capture.that was with a decent film scanner too.

If I went back to film it would be a novelty alongside digital as my main capture method.



Jan 07, 2016 at 01:25 PM
molson
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Is film coming back?


rattymouse wrote:
Thank you for the kind words!

Film is showing no signs of death, that is for sure. Fujifilm makes an enormous amount of money from film still, far more than they do from digital cameras. 4.7 million INSTAX cameras were sold last year. Just one year of sales!

Ilford reports that they have robust film sales and Kodak reported a profit selling film last year.

Ferrania is restarting film production any day now, giving us a second supply of E-6 chrome film.

Adox continues to sell film as does Foma.

I have zero worries about finding film for my 4 film cameras.



Finding film is not nearly as difficult as finding somewhere to have it processed (properly)... and then having it scanned...



Jan 07, 2016 at 01:28 PM
Cadaver
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Is film coming back?


Yes, there certainly is a renewed interest in film much like there's a renewed interest in record albums. I think Rattymouse said it well when he said we will never see mainstream use of film again. The interest in film will never completely disappear, but it will remain a niche. After developing film for many years in the 70's 80s and 90s, I for one have no interest in ever going back to using or developing film. I never want to experience the odor of stop bath again!





Jan 07, 2016 at 01:31 PM
Spyro P.
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Is film coming back?


I switched from digital to film and kept it up for maybe... three years I think. I did everything at home, c41, trannies, printing, the lot. Then work and life in general caught up with me and I had to switch back to digital again.

If there is some sort of charm in developing, I just don't see it. For me it was the same boring routine it was back in the 90's. At least back then I could walk down to the shop and get whatever I needed, but in this century, having to plan months ahead to order consumables and worry if something happens to your carefully selected Minolta or Nikon scanner was just an added pain.

For me the appeal of film was all about the cameras. I think digital cameras are still basically shit, except some categories that I'm not interested in (DSLRs), and some other categories simply disappeared. Good luck waiting for digital to make you a pocket rangefinder, or a mirrorless medium format, or a slim leica, or the selection of tiny wide lenses that we used to have. If you want any of the above you either have to other start shooting film again, or wait for decades and watch digital simply adding megapickles and focus points.

Edited on Jan 07, 2016 at 01:51 PM · View previous versions



Jan 07, 2016 at 01:47 PM
 

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rattymouse
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Is film coming back?


Cadaver wrote:
I never want to experience the odor of stop bath again!



Is the smell of vinegar really that bad for you?

You know you can stop development just using water. I do that all the time.

Also, if you want a faster stop there are citric acid stop baths that are odorless.




Jan 07, 2016 at 01:47 PM
rattymouse
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Is film coming back?


Spyro P. wrote:
At least back then I could walk down to the shop and get whatever I needed, but in this century, having to plan months ahead to orders consumables


Wow.....sucks to live where you live if you need to wait that long. Anything I order from B & H arrives in a few days, not months.





Jan 07, 2016 at 01:50 PM
rattymouse
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Is film coming back?


johnahill wrote:
I was quite late to digital capture and was still using film until around 2008.
I agree that's it's great fun to shoot black and white and develop your own film is a nice adventure. Many people assume that you need a darkroom to develop film but I was just using a 35mm daylight developing tank.

I'm my opinion the biggest issue was getting decent quality digital scans of the film, I often ended up with drying marks or scratches on my film and even when it was clean the scans just weren't as clean as digital capture.that was with a decent
...Show more

Late last year I bought myself a very very nice film scanner and now the entire process is 100% controlled by me, at least for B & W. I'll start C-41 developing later this year and so then color will be too.

I figured that since I have not bought a digital camera in 5 years, I can afford to spring for a ultra nice scanner. I couldnt be happier, except for when I get my enlarger and start making prints. That's the goal for 2016 as well.




Jan 07, 2016 at 01:52 PM
Spyro P.
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Is film coming back?


rattymouse wrote:
Wow.....sucks to live where you live if you need to wait that long. Anything I order from B & H arrives in a few days, not months.


Yeah it sucks a bit. There are still a couple of shops around but they are expensive, their range is very limited and shrinking by the day, and they're not located close to me anyway. I had joined a group of film shooters and we made group orders from B&H and other places, by the time we organised it and it arrived and got distributed usually took nearly 2 months, so it did need careful planning, stocking fridges and other annoyances.



Jan 07, 2016 at 01:56 PM
rattymouse
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Is film coming back?


Spyro P. wrote:
Yeah it sucks a bit. There are still a couple of shops around but they are expensive, their range is very limited and shrinking by the day, and they're not located close to me anyway. I had joined a group of film shooters and we made group orders from B&H and other places, by the time we organised it and it arrived and got distributed usually took nearly 2 months, so it did need careful planning, stocking fridges and other annoyances.


That's an enormous challenge. I am glad I dont have to deal with that. Too bad.




Jan 07, 2016 at 01:57 PM
ken.vs.ryu
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Is film coming back?


There is a little resurgence. Kodak just announced a super 8 film cam where cost of film include processing and digital transfer.

I wish Kodak would sell vision 3 and double x film stock for still cams.



Jan 07, 2016 at 02:10 PM
goosemang
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Is film coming back?


ratty what's your scanning process?

i was using an epson flatbed and i've just given up on film because the process is so damned tedious, plus the results for 35mm were pretty awful. and i got pretty good at tweaking the scanning process.

but the whole tweak every frame, fiddle with the film holder, wait 15 minutes to scan 12 frames, repeat thing really got incredibly tedious, especially because the results weren't great.

i've considered just paying someone to do this, but at least around here the two places that have scanned film for me gave what i consider completely unacceptable results.

so i've just given up unless there's a much easier way



Jan 07, 2016 at 02:11 PM
waterden
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Is film coming back?


I've had a fridge full of unused film for more than 5 years. I still retain my Minolta SRT101b and XD7 (re-leathered in burgundy) along with two barely used Dynax 7s, boxed away for posterity. My Rolleiflex 3.5F will be up for sale shortly. Film is more economical for me than digital because I am able to scan my own negatives on an Epson scanner which was very upmarket in its day. The problem is two-fold. Firstly, it is very, very time-consuming and life is too short to waste doing that. Second, the scanned images are hugely inferior to those I get from my Sony A7, let alone the A7R II. Maybe plate stuff using collodion, etc, has a place but for me film and film cameras are for students, collectors and romantics ☺️. No intention to offend any sensibilities there but that's my opinion ☺️


Jan 07, 2016 at 02:25 PM
chez
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Is film coming back?


I shoot film on occasion but limit myself to medium and large format. Just can't see the benefit of shooting 35mm over digital. I shoot only b&w as again I feel digital is better for color.


Jan 07, 2016 at 02:52 PM
rattymouse
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Is film coming back?


goosemang wrote:
ratty what's your scanning process?



I bought two high end medium format film cameras and so had to go with the best scanner possible to maintain the chain of good IQ from start to finished product. The scanner I ended up buying is a Plustek 120. This can scan 120 sized film along with 35mm. I am rarely OK with 35mm scanned by a flat bed so largely ignored that format. The Plustek scanner does 35mm VERY well and as a result I am 100% satisfied with my scans of all film.

The Plustek can scan quickly, at least in my opinion. I can scan the 10 images from my 6 x 7 cameras in under 15 minutes easily. With batch scanning I can do 36 exposures from a 35mm roll pretty fast too, my guess is 20 minutes or so. Maybe a bit more with high DPI settings. With batch scanning the scanner runs itself so I dont worry about long scanning times.

It's a pricey scanner at $1800, but as I said earlier, I am not in the digital rat race. I see people here at FM who bought the Sony RX1 and then the RXII, or the A7 and then the next model etc... Digital is not cheap because everyone upgrades every few years or so. I stopped buying digital cameras 5 years ago and will certainly not buy one in 2016. Springing $1800 for a top line scanner makes good sense for me.




Jan 07, 2016 at 02:52 PM
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