Looking to shoot film, I have many questions!

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by ppc_michael, Nov 28, 2008.

  1. ppc_michael Guest

    ppc_michael

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2005
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #1
    Currently I'm pretty into photography with my Canon DSLR, but now I would like to shoot film and develop it myself. So I'm looking for a good 35mm body that can use my Canon EF-mount lenses.

    So I have questions!

    1. Where is a good place to purchase Canon bodies from? Places like Amazon seem to deal mostly in the digital realm.

    2. Where's a good place to purchase film? Is film becoming scarce or is it still pretty easy to find?

    3. Is developing film pretty doable or is it more of a pro thing?

    4. From my digital shootings, I tend to like ISO 400 for its noise/"grain" and versatile indoor/outdoor capabilities. Does digital ISO translate pretty accurately into actual film speed or will that be different?

    Thanks very much!
     
  2. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #2
    KEH or eBay are probably your best bets.

    No idea, haven't bought film for years... I'd expect B&H and Adorama to be good places to start though.

    It depends on the film and developer- C-41 is a pain, E-6 is relatively easy, B&W is easy to a pain depending on the developer.

    Then it depends on if you're going to print it afterward or if you're just going to scan it.

    If you're just going to develop, then if you can still get the Kodak 6-bath E-6 kit, that's the easiest color option. For B&W, film/developer combinations are so subjective that you could spend years figuring out what's best for which subjects, exposures and contrast ratios. My favorite B&W film was Delta 1600 shot at EI 800 developed in Hutchins' PMK, though these days I'd probably be looking more at King's PyroCat HD simply due to the decreased toxicity of the chemicals. For E-6 I preferred Velvia at EI 80 developed with a one stop push or Provia 100F at EI 160 with a one stop push.

    Most of my B&W work was done at 4x5, 5x7 or 645- on 35mm, I'd probably stick to Delta 400 at EI 320 or so for a T-grain emulsion and HP5 around the same EI for a non-T-grain film.

    You can do fairly well with a dish washing tub, thermometer and hot and cold tap- add in an aquarium heater and that's pretty good- or you can buy a Jobo and get the same thing. Plastic tanks and reels are easiest in my opinion. I can't imagine Jobos aren't cheap at this point. I've never tried C-41, it always looked like way too much work or way too expensive a processor.

    Again, it depends heavily on the film and the developer and how you expose as to how much grain you get, as well as how it looks.
     
  3. jpfisher macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2006
    Location:
    New Jersey
    #3
    1 - Take a look at KEH.com and bhphoto.com's used selections. You can most likely find a nice non-Digital SLR there for a good price.

    2 - I get all my film from B&H

    3 - I send it to a lab. B&W is doable at home, but it requires some practice, effort, and patience... and a dexterity with a glove bag, if you don't have a proper dark room setup.

    4 - It's roughly equivalent, depending on the DSLR you are used to. Ilford Delta 400 is my favorite ISO 400 B&W stock, Fuji Provia 400X is my favorite color (slide -- not negative) stock. Try some different ones -- for extreme low-light situations, Ilford Delta 3200 is a lot of fun.

    If you find that you enjoying shooting 35mm, you may want to look around for used medium format camera outfits. They are a bit more slow to work with, but the results are worth it.
     
  4. PCMacUser macrumors 68000

    PCMacUser

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2005
    #4
    Adorama.com is where I recommend you look for a film camera and film.

    You can buy a second hand pro camera for a reasonable price. I think you can get an EOS 1V from them for less than $500.

    Developing at home is still kind of restricted to Black and White film. It is very easy to do. You need to make sure that you buy 'true' B&W film, not 'colour process' B&W.

    You will need to buy developer (something like Kodak D-76 or equivalent), some stop bath (Ilford Ilfostop), some fixer (Ilford Hypam Rapid Fixer), and some wetting agent. You'll need to buy a developing tank (such as a Paterson), a squeegee (for wiping down the film afterwards), and a pitch black location for putting the film into the developing tank.

    Film is still relatively easy to come by, especially in the US and in online shops.

    As for film grain, there are a number of factors that affect this in black and white film. ISO400 film, such as Ilford HP5+ is designed for sports and action photography. It is high in grain, but the amount of grain often comes down to the type of developer used. For fine art photography, you need to look for ISO50 (eg, Ilford PanF) or ISO100.

    Making prints from your black and white negatives is another thing. I just scan mine and print them from my computer. If you want to go 'old school', and make prints in trays in a dark room, then you need to buy a whole lot more chemicals, containers, trays and of course, paper. Making prints this way uses a huge amount of water. Better to get a decent scanner and digitise the negatives instead.
     
  5. bassproguy07 macrumors 6502a

    bassproguy07

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2008
    Location:
    Katy, TX
    #5
    I shoot film, and love it. I suggest getting an older camera for your first film SLR. I shoot an AE-1 can be found on KEH or ebay for cheap. Google camera stores in your area, you should have one that still caters to film. Developing black and white is simple, get T maxx film from kodak and get their developer etc. The chemicals arent that expensive if you buy in bulk and you will use them. Get a dark bag, takes a while to get used to but it is better than making a dark room. PM me if you have any questions, I am in school for photography and can answer pretty much any question you have.:D:D:D
     
  6. gtNY macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2008
    Location:
    Queens, NY
    #6
  7. termina3 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2007
    Location:
    TX
    #7
    Find a local store or, as others have mentioned, hit up KEH.

    B&H, local stores…*it's still easy to find if you're shooting 35mm.

    It's very doable…*if you have the equipment. Getting chemicals, trays, temperature controlling devices, safe lights, enlargers, paper, timers, can add up fast and be a pain. There are a lot of options.

    I'm gonna join the "it depends" crowd (as to brand, developer, etc). I prefer 100 Fujifilm over their 400, but at the end of the day it depends on subject matter. I rarely go to 1600, and it's usually conscious decision b/c I want the additional grain or I'm shooting something fast at night.

    My school provides film (Fujifilm, or at the lower speeds, Ilford), so I pretty much decide between speeds, not brands. I've shot Kodak TMax in the past, but I wasn't an experienced enough photographer to be worrying about which film to use.

    Going to film all on your own is quite an undertaking; I'd suggest you find a local high school or university that has a lab. See if you can get into their lab, or even a class (I don't know about your scheduling). If you go to where more experienced film photogs are printing, you'll be able to learn from them. Request a quick intro to the lab or the process, or find someone who'll let you shadow them as they go through the process of developing and printing their film.
     
  8. shecky Guest

    shecky

    Joined:
    May 24, 2003
    Location:
    Obviously you're not a golfer.
    #8
    just to add a bit to what everyone else said, developing B+W film negatives is quite simple and not a lot of equipment/chemicals are needed. developing prints from negatives is more complex + expensive, but still quite doable.

    i shoot a lot of medium format film, and send to a local lab who develops it for $5/roll. i then scan the film and go from there.

    something you should be aware of, if you are a student you may be able to access your school's photo labs - i would highly recommend you look into that. many communities also have public darkrooms you can use for a small fee.
     
  9. ppc_michael thread starter Guest

    ppc_michael

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2005
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #9
    Thanks so much for the replies! It helps a lot.

    After posting this I found some "tutorials" on the web for developing B&W film and it does seem like it would be pretty straightforward after I get the hang of it.

    The weird thing is I go to the largest university in the country and there doesn't seem to be a lab anywhere on campus where I could learn from someone else. I work in the communication college where they have the photojournalism department, and they have converted entirely to digital photography, and same goes for the art department. It's pretty depressing.
     
  10. termina3 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2007
    Location:
    TX
    #10
    I'm skeptical, but you know better than I…*

    Thing is, there's still a place for film in the modern art world. And 35mm B&W film is a great place to start photography.
     
  11. shecky Guest

    shecky

    Joined:
    May 24, 2003
    Location:
    Obviously you're not a golfer.
    #11
    hmm... according to the MSU website (i assume you are there)

    linkage: http://www.art.msu.edu/?page_id=20

    does not neccesarily mean you could use it, but its there. i am friends with some faculty there, i will see what i can do :)
     
  12. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #12
    1. Buy a used one from any local camera shop. Or try keh.com or eBay.

    2. Freestyle in Hollywood CA still caters to students and fine art photographers. http://www.freestylephoto.biz/
    But any big camera store will have this

    3. It's easy. Printing is harder as you need a darkroom and enlarger but processing film is simple and can be done in a daylight tank in the kitchen. The above store has all the stuff you'd need. You can process the film, hang it to dry then scan it. You should be able to get between 12 and 24 MP scans

    4 More or less "yes". There are so many different kinds of ISO 400 film. First are we taking about black and white, color negatives or transparencies?

    What you should do is buy an older manual body for , say about $80 then get some black and white film. If you are really cheap, do what I did when I was 13 years old, buy film in 100 foot spool and re-spool it. It gts down to a buck a roll that way.

    Another option is to buy a Holga and a few rolls of 120 film
     
  13. ppc_michael thread starter Guest

    ppc_michael

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2005
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #13
    What about film scanners vs. this darkroom printing business? We have a few Nikon 35mm film scanners. Are there advantages to having one over the other?
     
  14. anubis macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2003
    #14
  15. ppc_michael thread starter Guest

    ppc_michael

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2005
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #15
    I don't know why either. ;) I was referring to physically large. But that really has nothing to do with anything.
     
  16. Mechcozmo macrumors 603

    Mechcozmo

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2004
    #16
    1 and 2: I've bought all my supplies from Freestyle of late: Linkety
    But B&H sometimes has good deals, too.

    3: You get do black and white pretty easily if you make the right investments, but it isn't exactly cheap by any means. Nothing is... :(

    4: ISO is ISO is ISO. Different films respond differently to different temperatures, etc. but you can safely assume that ISO 400 film will work the same as setting your dSLR to ISO 400 until you learn the intricacies of said film.
    Personally, I like Ilford's stuff. HP5 is amazing... been using it in 4x5 sheets for a bit now, but the 35mm and 120 stuff were also excellent. No reciprocity failure and a 'true' ISO 400-- very good film.
     
  17. termina3 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2007
    Location:
    TX
    #17
    If you're just going to scan the film in, why not just go back to digital? Make some prints, it's an entirely different process.
     
  18. PCMacUser macrumors 68000

    PCMacUser

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2005
    #18
    Darkroom printing requires patience and effort. It involves the use of enlargers, timers, and either developing trays or a Jobo machine. In my film photography course that I completed this year, we were lucky enough to have a Jobo. This is like a big laser printer (although it's not, but let's just say it is) that you just feed your exposed print paper into, and it does the rest.

    Scanning negatives also requires patience and effort. I have a Nikon Coolscan, and it does a great job. However, black and white film absorbs the infrared light that the Digital ICE technology uses, so you can't use that feature. Which means that scratches and dust need to be edited manually.

    I did some direct comparisons between scanned and darkroom prints, and the scanned ones looked better - after a bit of Photoshop work. However, I love the whole darkroom process.
     
  19. bassproguy07 macrumors 6502a

    bassproguy07

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2008
    Location:
    Katy, TX
    #19
    like people have said, dveloping is easy....a 5 year old could do it if he or she was shown how once. Printing on the other hand, I would recomend getting someone with experience to help you print. You have to know which filter to use, how many seconds to expose, what f stop, etc. The one thing that has helped me a lot was having a professor who could say no you need to do this and this to make it look better. After having him tell me what is needed I started being able to judge on my own.
     
  20. arogge macrumors 65816

    arogge

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2002
    Location:
    Tatooine
    #20
    I recommend the Canon 1V camera body. These can be purchased new or previously-owned from several stores. Have you tried your local camera store?

    Some films are becoming scarce in my area, which means that the prices are increasing. The more-common consumer films and black-and-white films have not been affected as much by the shortages.

    Film development has not really changed much, so I'm not sure what "pro" has to do with it unless you consider that having a darkroom in your house and storing hazardous chemicals is "pro" work.

    The problem with chemical film is that noise levels increase significantly at higher film speeds. There is no "digital ISO". The difference is in the dynamic range of the film.
     
  21. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    Location:
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    #21
    There is lots of good advice in this thread, specifically about the details. Film and cameras are easily obtainable, once you know where to look.

    I would just like to add. Find someone who is an old hand at BW printing, and still does it, and would be able to help you get set up. Look around for a club or a public darkroom (ie available for rent). I would be surprised if the university doesn't have a club.

    Reading about how to do things, and being shown - at least in this case - are completely different. Developing and printing BW is as much of an art as a science. A really big part of being competent at this is not just knowing what you're supposed to do, but developing (pun intended :) ) an eye for it. You need to know what its supposed to look like.

    Don't bother with colour (E-6 or C-41) at this point. After working with BW then think about colour. The skills you need for colour darkroom work build on the BW skills.

    If you are going to do this, plan on doing both film and printing, to get the most benefit.

    A really well printed traditional BW print is still, IMHO, better than *most* digital BW prints (with all due respect to the poster who said otherwise). The exception is when a professional printer is working with top end equipment. Home level printers and most pro-sumer level printers can't match a top end traditional BW print.

    Before investing a lot of money, join a group or a club - see if you like it. You will need to invest some time, however.

    Good Luck.
     
  22. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    Location:
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    #22
  23. -hh macrumors 68020

    -hh

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2001
    Location:
    NJ Highlands, Earth
    #23
    B&H also has a used camera department.

    B&H still has a good selection and the stuff is fresh.


    I've found that local E6 developing had dried up; I'm now mailing my stuff out to Albuqurque NM ... Carl's Darkroom. So far (50-100 rolls), they've been flawless.

    In general, I've been cursed with the lack of a basement with which to set up a dedicated darkroom. However, it is a mixed blessing, as I subsequently don't have to worry about chemicals getting old, etc. If I had the room (and time), I'd set up for B&W developing & printing and E6 developing. The rest I'd send out (C41, Kodachrome; Ceibachromes, etc).

    And of course, there's some of us who loathe grain. I still have a few rolls of Royal Gold (nee 'Ektar') ISO 25 in the freezer; maybe even a Kodachrome 25 or 64. :eek:


    -hh
     
  24. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #24
    The only thing I'd mention here as a counterpoint is that if you start with E-6/Ilfochrome, you'll learn to work in complete darkness and be significantly less likely to ruin something because you accidentally turned on a safelight. Getting used to safelights has its downsides if you go to do color later.
     
  25. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #25
    Being able to do a one stop push of Velvia and Provia 100F made doing it myself well-worth it, as these films both had teeny tiny grain and most places wanted $3/roll additional for a push. The Kodak 6-bath E-6 kits were easy to use and I always found I did a better job than many of the labs I'd used before I started to develop my own.

    B&W and E6 really don't require dedicated space to develop, just to print. Printing Ilfochromes (they haven't been branded Cibachrome for years and years) is pretty-much the same as printing B&W, except you can't use a safelight, it is expensive to make mistakes though.

    Try a staining developer like Pyrocat HD or PMK on a non-T-grain film- it'll make you want to go B&W again.

    FWIW, Kodachrome's RMS is 10, Velvia is 9 and Provia is 8. So if you loathe grain, I recommend Provia 100F (I'd generally shoot it at EI 160 with a 1 stop push in development as my general purpose color film in 120/220.)
     

Share This Page