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Archive 2016 · Could you go back to film?

  
 
dhphoto
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p.16 #1 · p.16 #1 · Could you go back to film?


George Orwell wrote:
This was many years ago, I think Lightroom version 2 or 3. I dont think it did that back then.

Anyway, the point is that digital is not a failure proof medium.

And how can you boost the shadows without actually boosting them?


Because I take a laptop and I can actually see the results and back them up several times before I leave a job. Of course cameras go wrong but I would see that before I left the location or let the sitter go.

You can improve shadow detail by making RAW conversions at different densities (and with different noise reduction etc) and combining them in photoshop. Arguably never quite as good as doing it in camera (or with flash and reflectors) but much better than film, especially slide film



Dec 28, 2016 at 07:35 AM
jj_glos
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p.16 #2 · p.16 #2 · Could you go back to film?


George Orwell wrote:
100% true! Even 110%! Working with film takes loads more skill than digital and you are right, back in the film era people could make a working living from photography. Most of the photo studios that I had in my town have long since closed up. It's pretty rare to find a pro photographer. Many major newspapers now dont even have staff photographers! Digital has reduced the skill level to get "good enough" photos to the point that it is much much harder to earn a decent living this way. Of course, it can be done, but it is
...Show more

Not really, just a different skill set. There are the likes of me who sends their films off to a lab who are easily serviced, just as those who take their card out of their digital camera and stick it into a kiosk to print their photographs out. At the other end you have those in film dodging and burning (and all other kinds of black magic that I know nothing of), and with digital those who spend an inordinate amount of time in Photoshop perfecting their required output. Digital has allowed me to sit in the middle and play around in applications like Lightroom, doing things that I could never just pick up and do easily with Film. That's due to technological progress along with the flexibility and ease of use that digital brings.



Dec 28, 2016 at 08:10 AM
jcolwell
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p.16 #3 · p.16 #3 · Could you go back to film?


jj_glos wrote:
Not really, just a different skill set. There are the likes of me who sends their films off to a lab...


At my 'peak film', I would have 25 to 30 rolls of 135 and a half-dozen or so rolls of 220 developed, per month. My film lab did as-required PP behind the scenes, which I now have to do myself, for digital images. Developing an efficient work flow is a good thing.



Dec 28, 2016 at 08:28 AM
Anthony8858
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p.16 #4 · p.16 #4 · Could you go back to film?


I won't go back to film, but I do use my film cameras in the same manner I take my classic 1998 " like brand new" Jaguar convertible for a Sunday drive.

Let's call it a "nostalgic joy ride".



Dec 28, 2016 at 08:30 AM
retrofocus
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p.16 #5 · p.16 #5 · Could you go back to film?


Some good points made in recent posts regarding digital vs. film pros and cons. Of course it is all very subjective and depends also on the kind of shooting, but for me the advantages of each are the following:

DIGITAL:
+ Modern cameras like my A7R can provide excellent resolution (comparing FF with 35 mm film) with much higher DR than film. For landscape scenes this is very advantageous.
+ Speed: I can directly see the result after I took the photo, and post processing of RAW files is overall quicker than time needed for film development and digitizing.
+ Usage of in-camera apps like dual exposure, time-lapse, smooth reflection, and lens compensation for example can be very useful.
+ Flexibility: I can post process digital files anywhere with my laptop for example.
+ So far I prefer digital for my infrared photography - much easier to focus and expose correctly with LiveView or EVF.

FILM
+ For B&W, the tonal range with grey tones on film is better than digital IMO. I find it hard to achieve the same from a digital file - files from the Leica monochrome camera might be an exemption here, but so far I have no detailed experience with this camera yet.
+ Silver Gelatin Printing: B&W prints directly from a negative on photosensitive paper beat what I have seen compared to B&W inkjet prints. I have no trouble printing on 11x14" paper size from a 35 mm negative - exhibit visitors asked me several times if the original came from a medium format camera since the resolution of the shown prints was so good.
+ Slowing down: is advantageous if the situation permits - limitation in the max. number of frames makes me more considerate about correct composition, exposure, and DoF. My keeper rate of film negatives is usually about twice as high compared to my digital files.
+ Grain effects: this can be both a pro and a con depending on the scene. I personally like a bit of grain but not too much in my film shots. I don't like digital grain effects - they look all unnatural compared to film grain (even there are differences, e.g. T-grain within the TMax films).
+ Color saturation: The color saturation directly coming from color films is simply stunning! Yes, I can achieve the same or similar from digital files with post processing (I did this comparison!) - but in some situations color film still beats digital here, for example fall foliage. But digital comes very close also. Most of my color photography I do therefore digitally.
+ Street photography: I personally like the look of film photos taken on the street from people, scenes, signs etc. Tri-X 400 or HP5+ 400 are my favorite films here. So far I did not attract any attention when taking shots with my black Leica M6 (with taped brand name and red dot).



Dec 28, 2016 at 09:09 AM
chez
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p.16 #6 · p.16 #6 · Could you go back to film?


Another plus for me with film is you can change the type of film from say Agfa to Tri-X and get a totally different print. I know there are a bunch of plugins for LR/PS to try achieve these looks, but they all fall short. To me, one of the enjoyments for me is to pick the film that matches my vision for the outing.


Dec 28, 2016 at 09:23 AM
George Orwell
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p.16 #7 · p.16 #7 · Could you go back to film?


dhphoto wrote:
Because I take a laptop and I can actually see the results and back them up several times before I leave a job. Of course cameras go wrong but I would see that before I left the location or let the sitter go.

You can improve shadow detail by making RAW conversions at different densities (and with different noise reduction etc) and combining them in photoshop. Arguably never quite as good as doing it in camera (or with flash and reflectors) but much better than film, especially slide film



So if you take your kids out to the zoo for a impromptu photoshoot, you'd haul around a laptop too? No way I would encumber myself hauling around a laptop for shoots like that.





Dec 28, 2016 at 09:36 AM
rattlebonez
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p.16 #8 · p.16 #8 · Could you go back to film?


The problem I had with film is getting the negative or slide into a usable digital form.

It seem to me with a film scanner you lose the "film look" and then end up with the "film scanner" look. The film scanner sensor look.

This always seems to take away from the original "film look" or add a digital noise and artifacts in with the existing film grain and artifacts.

Some film scans are great, some an odd mix.




Dec 28, 2016 at 09:47 AM
retrofocus
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p.16 #9 · p.16 #9 · Could you go back to film?


rattlebonez wrote:
The problem I had with film is getting the negative or slide into a usable digital form.

It seem to me with a film scanner you lose the "film look" and then end up with the "film scanner" look. The film scanner sensor look.

This always seems to take away from the original "film look" or add a digital noise and artifacts in with the existing film grain and artifacts.

Some film scans are great, some an odd mix.



This is indeed an issue. Digitizing of negatives can be challenging. I found two ways feasible to do - photographing the 35 mm negative with my high resolution FF sensor or using the Plustek scanner and SilverFast software 8.8. The digital files look very good, but you need to get the workflow right. In the end nothing beats the direct print from the negative on photosensitive paper.



Dec 28, 2016 at 09:52 AM
chez
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p.16 #10 · p.16 #10 · Could you go back to film?


If you use a quality scanner like the Nikon 9000, the resulting scanned image definitely has a different look than one captured via a digital camera. The grain within the scanned image is still random, very different than what digital grain is. With B&W films, I still get a more pleasing tonal range with the scanned negative than shooting digital and converting to B&W.

I agree that the analog print would provide yet a totally different look...done darkroom work for 20 years, but with no darkroom access, I print digitally and only process my own film.



Dec 28, 2016 at 09:57 AM
George Orwell
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p.16 #11 · p.16 #11 · Could you go back to film?


rattlebonez wrote:
The problem I had with film is getting the negative or slide into a usable digital form.

It seem to me with a film scanner you lose the "film look" and then end up with the "film scanner" look. The film scanner sensor look.

This always seems to take away from the original "film look" or add a digital noise and artifacts in with the existing film grain and artifacts.

Some film scans are great, some an odd mix.



Yes, a good point. I loathe scanning film but because I enjoy film photography so much, I suck it up and just do the job and scan as needed. Once my dark room is up and running, my scanning will diminish significantly.

Scanning could be a better process if companies such as Nikon kept up developing their scanner line. Scans from Nikon's Coolpix 9000 are very very good and that's a pretty old machine. Imagine how good the results would be if Nikon continued to improve their scanners.





Dec 28, 2016 at 09:58 AM
dhphoto
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p.16 #12 · p.16 #12 · Could you go back to film?


George Orwell wrote:
So if you take your kids out to the zoo for a impromptu photoshoot, you'd haul around a laptop too? No way I would encumber myself hauling around a laptop for shoots like that.



If it were really that important I'd use a camera with dual card slots. Or I'd view them on my phone or tablet.

I think you are putting problems in the way for the sake of it

After 35+ years as a pro I'd much rather trust digital than film



Dec 28, 2016 at 10:17 AM
Jeff Nolten
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p.16 #13 · p.16 #13 · Could you go back to film?


I was saddened to see that the Coolscan V that I have is no longer being produced. And I've found the 3rd party software problematic for various reasons. The third party scanning services, like processing labs before, don't take the care needed for proper PP - more like living with in-camera jpegs. Fortunately I've digitized most of my 35mm slides. Took a long time cleaning up the "dust and scratches" that the film had accumulated over the years.

I remember taking these flaws for granted when I projected my slides just like I took the pops and clicks for granted when I played vinyl records - and I took a lot of care protecting these fragile media too. I prefer the clarity of digital music just like I prefer digital images even if they may not have the subtle tonal changes of their analog predecessors.

While I don't "machine gun" digital I do take a lot more pictures, trying different variations or at high frame rate, because I'm not worried about the cost of film or development. I end up with a lot more keepers and enjoy more memories of the places I've been. Also, my photo library, just like my digital music library is backed up on a small 2TB hard drive in a safe deposit box. My analog photo library occupies a 2' by 4' stack of boxes in my study - slowly deteriorating. My vinyl records are long gone replaced by a large stack of CDs that need to go to the Good Will. I hadn't even thought of these burdens of analog when I made my first post 15 or 16 pages ago. I see vinyl records are making a come back Enjoy!



Dec 28, 2016 at 12:09 PM
panos.v
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p.16 #14 · p.16 #14 · Could you go back to film?


Two23 wrote:
The gain for me is more fun, and in researching the cameras/lenses/etc. I've learned quite a bit! Without my interest in ancient gear I would not have developed an interest in photo history. ...


If you didn't take that line above out of the context of the rest of my post you'd see that I couldn't agree more with you. Just bought a F3HP to add to my ever expanding collection of ancient gear.



Dec 28, 2016 at 12:17 PM
recordproducti
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p.16 #15 · p.16 #15 · Could you go back to film?


Since getting my Canon D30 some years back, I have been completely digital. Recently though, I bought a photo book by a street photographer that met up with the subjects 30/40 years later and re-shot the images. It was an interesting and touching book but the thing that jumped right out at me was that the newer photos just were nowhere close to the old film photos. I couldn't put my finger on it but it was very clear and it made me think. Anyway, long story short, in addition to my D800, Df, M240 etc I'm now having huge fun with an old Nikon F3. The thing that I enjoy most is the lack of post, i.e., none. I'd not yet take it on a paying shoot but it is adding novelty to what I do and it's fun


Dec 28, 2016 at 01:02 PM
George Orwell
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p.16 #16 · p.16 #16 · Could you go back to film?


dhphoto wrote:
If it were really that important I'd use a camera with dual card slots. Or I'd view them on my phone or tablet.


That's you, not me. I'm not a pro so dont have cameras with that capability.
dhphoto wrote:
I think you are putting problems in the way for the sake of it


A ridiculously half baked comment. The scenario that I wrote about, actually happened. Do you really need to resort to such extremes in order to defend digital? I showed clearly that digital technology can fail. The follow up suggestion that carrying around a laptop to catch such problems isnt going to happen with a non pro like me. I did a little checking while out shooting today. Saw a bunch of families out enjoying the relatively warm weather. Many shooting their kids in the park. Not one had a laptop with them to check their photos. Not a big surprise.

dhphoto wrote:
After 35+ years as a pro I'd much rather trust digital than film




Dec 28, 2016 at 04:03 PM
George Orwell
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p.16 #17 · p.16 #17 · Could you go back to film?


recordproducti wrote:
Since getting my Canon D30 some years back, I have been completely digital. Recently though, I bought a photo book by a street photographer that met up with the subjects 30/40 years later and re-shot the images. It was an interesting and touching book but the thing that jumped right out at me was that the newer photos just were nowhere close to the old film photos. I couldn't put my finger on it but it was very clear and it made me think. Anyway, long story short, in addition to my D800, Df, M240 etc I'm now having huge
...Show more

I think what you are seeing is the negative effect of too much resolution. Today's world has an absolute obsession with resolution. An extreme fetish.

I saw a quote from Steven Spielberg, that summed up digital nicely. He was of course talking about digital moving films vs film. Here it is:

""When I watch the news, I expect and want it to look like live television. However, I don't want that in my movies. I want our century-plus medium to keep its filmic look and I like seeing very fine, swimming grain up there on the screen. To me, it's just more alive and it imbues an image with mystery, so it's never literal. I love movies that aren't literally up in my face with images so clear there is nothing left to our imaginations. "

I think that is what you are seeing when you look at images shot on film.




Dec 28, 2016 at 04:16 PM
recordproducti
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p.16 #18 · p.16 #18 · Could you go back to film?


^^^ Quite possibly. Another aspect is possibly the process. In the music recording industry, since the advent of digital workstations etc, it's possible to have as many tracks as you like and never stop. Before, with analogue, you had to commit, so in a sense had to generally have a concept to aim for or at least make a decision and move forwards. Post with photography in a way has mirrored this. That said, I'm as bad as anyone :-)


Dec 28, 2016 at 05:01 PM
George Orwell
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p.16 #19 · p.16 #19 · Could you go back to film?


recordproducti wrote:
^^^ Quite possibly. Another aspect is possibly the process. In the music recording industry, since the advent of digital workstations etc, it's possible to have as many tracks as you like and never stop. Before, with analogue, you had to commit, so in a sense had to generally have a concept to aim for or at least make a decision and move forwards. Post with photography in a way has mirrored this. That said, I'm as bad as anyone :-)


Your reply here reminded me of yet another quote, this time Keanu Reeves:

"I will miss walking on to a photochemical film set. It has a magic to me. When the director says: "Action", and the film is rolling, it feels like something is at stake. It feels important and intense. In a way, death is present in the rolling of that film we live, right now and the director says: "Cut". And that moment in time is captured on film, really."




Dec 28, 2016 at 06:02 PM
George Orwell
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p.16 #20 · p.16 #20 · Could you go back to film?


recordproducti wrote:
^^^ Quite possibly. Another aspect is possibly the process. In the music recording industry, since the advent of digital workstations etc, it's possible to have as many tracks as you like and never stop. Before, with analogue, you had to commit, so in a sense had to generally have a concept to aim for or at least make a decision and move forwards. Post with photography in a way has mirrored this. That said, I'm as bad as anyone :-)


Another quote on commitment, not related to photography, but a quote I love.

"When you turn seven and a half million pounds of thrust loose on a Saturn V rocket, that is commitment. There's no changing your mind, no turning back from that decision."

Gene Kranz, NASA Flight Director




Dec 28, 2016 at 06:16 PM
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