Anyone into film photography?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by TSE, Sep 28, 2016.

  1. TSE macrumors 68030


    Jun 25, 2007
    St. Paul, Minnesota
    Hey MR,

    my dad passed down his old AE-1, and I can't wait to photograph with it! I've never used film before, but I am an avid mirrorless photographer.

    Just wondering if there are any film photographers here!
  2. bunnspecial macrumors 603


    May 3, 2014

    I'm actually pretty heavily invested in the Canon FD mount. I can warn you that it can be an addictive path to go down, as the lenses and everything else are so expensive.

    I started with-and took a lot of pictures with-an A-1, although have moved on to F-1s primarily and also the T90. The AE-1P is actually one of the only bodies I've never owned(I think it and the T80 are my only ones, plus maybe the AT-1).

    With that said, I probably shoot more medium format these days than I do 35mm, and primarily with a Bronica 6x6 SLR(although I love my Rolleiflex).

    I do a lot of black and white, and Tri-X in particular. I've yet to see software that can completely recreate the look of Tri-X in D76.

    I VERY rarely shoot color print film, but when I do I actually find that plain old Fujicolor is a pretty darn good film. I mostly use ASA 400. I use to shoot Kodak Ultra Color 400 a lot, although that has been lost to time(along with my beloved Plus-X, an emulsion that I haven't forgiven Kodak for dropping). Ektar 100 is also a really great film at least as print films go. One plus is that it was designed with scanning in mind. With a good film scanner(I have a Nikon Coolscan V) it can give jaw dropping results on the screen. One advantage of C-41(color print) is that processing is probably the easiest of any to find. Around here, there are even still some 1 hour minilabs operating. With that said, this is one area where using a higher volume lab has its distinct advantages as they're going to maintain their chemistry and run test strips more often than a minilab that might do two dozen rolls a week.

    For color, though, I still swear by slide film. I've given up on keeping up with Kodak is making these days, and have instead developed my workflow around Fujifilm products. Provia 100(RDP-III) is a great general purpose film and I've shot a lot of it. Velvia is one of my favorite films as long as there are no people in the photo. It's sometimes called "Disneychrome" because of its over-the-top saturation. The original Velvia was ASA 50, and an ASA 100 came later. Most of us who were devoted to the film never really cared for the ASA 100 version, but Fuji discontinued the ASA 50 version a number of years back. The outcry was such that they brought it back, and in side by side tests I can't discern any difference between "old" and "new." This is one of the things that makes me such a Fuji fan. Also, if you ever get into medium format, Fuji builds in some really nice features to make handling easier(and also avoids weird looks from when you pull a roll of film out of your camera and lick it :) ). Most larger cities have at least one lab that can process E-6 on site.

    I can't forget to mention Ilford, as they also are very committed to film. HP5(ASA 400) is a very good film, and I've been familiarizing myself with it in case Kodak decides to kill Tri-X. FP4+ is ASA 125 and is a passable replacement for Plus-X(although it doesn't have the beautiful mid-range contrast curve that made me fall in love with Plus-X).

    In any case, have fun! There's something very gratifying about shooting film. It WILL make you a better photographer since you actually have to think before you press the shutter. If you shoot reversal(slide) film you will learn to get your exposure right the first time. Negative film can be relatively forgiving in that area.
  3. Scepticalscribe macrumors Westmere


    Jul 29, 2008
    The Far Horizon
    I still shoot with film, as I never made the switch to digital.

    I used to shoot with Nikon, but these days, I use a Leica rangefinder, the M6.

    The irony is that the quality of almost all of the film available today is excellent as much of the rubbish that used to be around fifteen or so years ago is no longer being made as there is no demand for it.
  4. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I've long given up using film,

    I'm not knocking it, but I find the digital medium more to my liking, both in instant gratification and also for keeping things organized, i.e., easily imported into my computer
  5. bunnspecial macrumors 603


    May 3, 2014
    That's a very good point.

    I remember there being mail order companies that would give you "free" film every time you sent film to them for processing.

    Some of those went so far as to use motion picture print film, which was cheap but pretty poor for photographs. You also basically had to send it to them as there are some special considerations for motion picture film that your average mini-lab isn't set up to handle. With theaters basically going entirely to digital, there is almost no market for motion picture print film(even though some movies are still shot on film).

    From what I can tell, Kodak's consumer line is basically gone, which is no great loss IMO. Fuji's consumer line has always been excellent in my experience, and rightfully so it has stayed around.

    Kodak does still have their moments, though. I think when Ektar 100 was announced, there was a collective jaw drop from all the film photographers. It's a superb film, though.

    There again, though, Fuji gets a decent amount of my film money because they have the consideration to do things like listen to consumer demand and figure out how to MAKE an emulsion again that they originally dropped due to environmental regulations(as I recall).

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4 September 28, 2016