Does anyone out there still shoot on film?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by mynewromantica, Feb 4, 2011.

  1. mynewromantica macrumors regular

    Aug 3, 2009
    Just curious. I have recently moved to using film for almost everything but fashion work (weddings, portraits, personal work). Mostly for the lack of post processing needed (no blown highlights, amazing contrast and saturation right out of the camera, etc), and the beautiful look not easily replicated with digital.

    Just curious if anyone else shoots on film still.
  2. JeepGuy macrumors regular

    Sep 24, 2008
    I still shoot B&W medium format in my rolliflex. digital B&W still can't compare, but I'm sure it will soon.
  3. Policar macrumors 6502a

    Nov 21, 2004
    I shoot 4x5 and 6x7 because I get a kick out of it. But for most people it's pointless.

    Imo, 4x5 is a little better than full frame digital (5DII, etc.) but most who've shot both feel the opposite. And 4x5 is $6 a shot for color, $2 a shot for black and white! I love waist level finders so I'll never totally abandon the 6x7 slr, except maybe for a 6x6 slr or tlr.
  4. Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

    Mar 25, 2009
    Folding space
    Just to clarify things for me, that's 4X5 inch and 6X7 cm, right? I learned on a view camera (4X5) and it gives you a whole different photographic experience than anything I have ever shot. I shot film until my slr broke. I reinvested in digital rather than have to build a wet darkroom to meet my needs.

  5. acearchie macrumors 68040


    Jan 15, 2006
    Being a student, all the small costs associated with Film are much easier than the big costs with digital.

    I am fortunate enough that my dad used to be a photographer so I have a Hasselblad at my disposal. And whilst that was expensive the films and chemistry costs are not so large so it's not a huge investment for me.

    However, I do miss being able to go out with a digital camera and "just shoot" use the previous shots to gauge how to improve the next. I find it is much easier to learn with digital as you can instantly see it and the delete key means you can go again.

    But film teaches you discipline and aiming to get everything right first time round.
  6. jackerin macrumors 6502a

    Jun 29, 2008
    Right out of camera? Do you shoot with a Polaroid? xD

    Seriously though, I shoot on film sometimes for fun, but it's very rarely as I have more control with less hassle shooting RAW.
  7. Mr_Brightside_@ macrumors 68030


    Sep 23, 2005
    I own four 35mm bodies and a 4x5 (learned on 35). Love it. I find the quality is always superior to digital. OP has it down- there's so little post-work necessary. If anyone is bored/interested, the bulk of the work on my website is scanned 35/4x5 (I just dug up a bunch of amazing negs from Europe in '07, many are on my site).
  8. Edge100 macrumors 68000

    May 14, 2002
    Where am I???
    On occasion I will haul out my Fujica ST-801 and shoot some Ilford Delta 3200 or Portra 800. To be honest, though, I really haven't felt the need to shoot much film since I got my 5D2; I can get results that I'm happy with using the film emulations in Nik Color Efex and Silver Efex.

    But I do shoot film once in a blue moon.
  9. Ruahrc, Feb 4, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2011

    Ruahrc macrumors 65816

    Jun 9, 2009
    IMO for 35mm film/sensor size, digital has pretty much surpassed film in nearly every way. Equivalent or better DR, vastly superior noise/grain performance, higher resolution, convenience, control, etc.

    Where film still rules though is in the larger formats. At those large capture sizes, film is just more practical because the cost of MF sensors is astronomical. You could likely buy a very nice MF film camera and pay for years and years of exposures for the cost of one digital back. There aren't even any LF (4x5 and up) digital cameras out there that I know of. Add to that the superior resolution of large sheet film (very important in large print/output sizes), and it is still one area where I think film rules over digital. The other thing I like about large format is the technical camera movements that the bodies have.

    Another area I think film is still neat is panos. You can buy pano format film and shoot a pano in one go, as opposed to having to stitch. This also gets around some of the temporal issues with stitching multiple frames of a moving subject. To my knowledge there are one or two specialty pano digital cameras out there but they too are astronomically expensive and out of reach for just about every one of us.

    Unfortunately large format film is not that cheap either. As an alternative I try to incorporate LF-type shooting philosophy into my digital setup. LF shooters usually only carry a few sheets of film with them at one time, so they need to make every shot count. I am working to try and be as careful/thoughtful of my exposures with digital too.

  10. bocomo macrumors 6502

    Jun 29, 2007
    New York
  11. Sounds Good macrumors 68000

    Jul 8, 2007
  12. carlgo macrumors 68000

    Dec 29, 2006
    Monterey CA
    I shoot 4x5 in B&W and develop it in a the bathroom. That's not too expensive. And then I scan it. B&W film looks better to me than a B&W conversion of a digital shot.

    Always will have a digital camera. They are mighty fine devices. Film isn't better, just different with its own look and method.
  13. Cliff3 macrumors 68000


    Nov 2, 2007
    SF Bay Area
    Not since the shutter on my FE packed it in sometime in 2003 (I had bought a motor drive and my 20+ year old camera couldn't cope with all the excitement). That was about the time Nikon began to discount the D100 down to $1500, so I replaced it with one of those.
  14. Policar macrumors 6502a

    Nov 21, 2004
    Yup, and agreed. I wish I could drag the view camera out more because it's a blast. For anyone who thinks their dSLR takes too much control away from you it's a really welcome relief.

    One little contentious detail: if you're really into "deep" color, a lot of digital sensors have photosites that let in a pretty broad spectrum of color to improve sensitivity. Like the filters over each photosite don't reject as much light as they could. Velvia 50 (the most-hated film ever made) has very steep peaks of color sensitivity so the saturation is very nice. I also like the look of portra 400 a lot, though I don't shoot it. Black and white film always looks good, of course.

    The digital rebel gets a lot more use, though, to be honest.
  15. walterwhite macrumors 6502


    Jan 22, 2011
    South Central PA
    when you say 4x5 is a little better... are you speaking in terms of quality of the image? Like ppi/grain. 4x5 is WAY better in quality than a full frame 35mm... most of the recent comparisons recently put the P45 (39MB) Hasselblad slightly behind the quality of a 4x5 (both printed to 30x40 inches)
  16. DaveN macrumors 6502a


    May 1, 2010
    Funny you should ask. I should receive my last two rolls of Kodachrome back today. After that, I'm sad to say, I will be going all digital.
  17. Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

    Mar 25, 2009
    Folding space
  18. chmilar macrumors member

    Sep 25, 2003
    My primary camera is 4x5" film, and then I drum scan the film.

    Depending on lens, film, and care with focusing and stabilizing the camera, it is at least 100 mega-pixels, and often better. We are just now seeing 80Mpix medium format backs from Leaf and PhaseOne that are equaling or outperforming 4x5" film. These backs cost $32,000 and $44,000. At $6 per shot for 4x5 color film and processing, that's 5000 or 7000 shots to equal the cost (although you should also count the time and inconvenience of scanning as some additional cost). But the film also captures RGB at every pixel, not a Bayer mosaic that has to be smeared together to get a full color at every pixel.

    I carry a Canon S90 for snapshots. After setting up the large-format camera, I often snap a quick reference shot with the S90, as it will be days or weeks before I see the result on film.

    If I had the spare cash to purchase a 60-80 Mpix digital back, a technical camera (ie. Arca RM3D or Alpa STC), and four Rodenstock lenses I would jump on it. But it is a very expensive proposition. My large format kit is all paid for, so film, processing, and time are my only expenses at the moment.
  19. Policar macrumors 6502a

    Nov 21, 2004
    $6 for processing, but $100-$200 for a drum scan (by local rates). I agree with you that if you're going to shoot LF it's worth drum scanning, though, I just can't afford it for my less-than-inspiring shots.

    I'm curious to see a crop from one of your 100MP images. I believe large format could get close, but at that point it's quite grainy. And at that point almost anything is diffraction-limited at reasonable f-stops. There are other advantages, though. Distortion and chromatic aberration? What's that? (Then again, if you shoot RAW you can correct that out of digital. I think a 5DII is as good as anyone needs for reasonably sized prints. So is 4x5; it's a matter of preference at that point.)
  20. jabbott macrumors 6502

    Nov 23, 2009
    Thanks for posting this link, Dale! I heard that Steve McCurry had sent the last roll of Kodachrome in for processing but hadn't seen any of the photos.

    For the record, I don't shoot on film... I'm sure that I would enjoy it, but digital photography keeps me entertained enough as it is (for now). :)
  21. luminosity macrumors 65816


    Jan 10, 2006
    I shoot film. Have to for school, but was shooting film well before that.
  22. emorydunn macrumors 6502


    Jun 5, 2006
    Austin Texas
    I've personally shot more film in the past year than digital, in part to having a black & white film class and in part to it being quite fun.

    So far my favourite format is (surprise, surprise) 4x5, followed by 6x6.

    One of the biggest reason I can really continue to shoot film is because I can process as much as I want (by hand, of course) at my school's darkrooms and then go upstairs and scan it in on an Imacon Flextight scanner.
  23. BMP84 macrumors regular


    Nov 1, 2008
    Chattanooga, TN
    I shoot film pretty regularly, getting it developed is another story... :D
  24. Arran macrumors 601


    Mar 7, 2008
    Atlanta, USA
    Great link. Thanks!

    You know, looking at the photographs there, the one thing that really distinguishes them for me (apart from their unique color/tonal qualities) is the deliberateness of each shot. Like acearchie alludes to above, perhaps having a strictly limited number of takes (as opposed to the limitless of digital) focuses the eye on capturing something truly worthwhile.
  25. ThomasJL macrumors 6502a

    Oct 16, 2008
    Interesting link! Thanks for sharing that, Designer Dale. :)

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