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Thread: Are you still shooting 35mm film?

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    Senior Member bensonga's Avatar
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    Are you still shooting 35mm film?

    A recent post by Jorgen Udvang got me to thinking about the reasons why I am still shooting (now and then) with a variety of 35mm film cameras. Kinda wondering how many others are still shooting 35mm film, given 1) the advances in DLSR image quality and 2) the drop in prices for medium format film cameras and lenses over the past several years.

    How many of you are still shooting 35mm film? What cameras and why?

    Guess I'd better get things started. Nikon F3HP (because I already had a collection of Nikkor lenses), Canon EOS 1V (because I had a collection of EOS lenses for my DSLRs) and Leica R8, because I always wanted a Leica, didn't care much for rangefinders and the price of Leica gear was finally affordable.

    Ok, so that answers what I using. Now for the question of why? Hmmm....I don't have any good reasons, other than the fact that I just enjoy using this gear. As far as I'm concerned, 35mm film generally sucks and I'd much rather be looking at and scanning the 6x7, 6x6 or even 6x4.5 negs/transparencies from my medium format cameras.

    How about you? Other than the fun of using these cameras and perhaps the joy of manual focusing (a definite plus for me), why bother?

    Gary
    Last edited by bensonga; 4th October 2010 at 20:49.

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    Re: Are you still shooting 35mm film?

    For black and white, I think film looks better and I've come to prefer shooting my film Leicas over my M8. They're just a wee bit smaller and that seems to make a big difference. Also, a scanned negative produces a .tiff file that is easily the equal of anything out of the M8. It's more time consuming, but I'm not on the clock anymore, so I can take my time.

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    Re: Are you still shooting 35mm film?

    I shoot with a Hasselblad XPan11 a lot ( which I bought from Woody) - it is my favourite film camera - I also use a film back on my Hasselblad 200 and 500 series bodies - I use TRX because I love the grain and a love B&W.

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    Senior Member mathomas's Avatar
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    Re: Are you still shooting 35mm film?

    I added an M2 to my all-digital lineup because I felt a bit "inauthentic" converting digital files to look like B&W film (my hangup, not a judgement).

    However, I found 35mm to be a bit uninspiring when looking at the results (as opposed to actually using the M2, which is a joy). I bought a Fuji 690 and prefer that for most subjects these days, when I'm shooting film, anyway. Those 6x9cm negs are amazing!

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    Re: Are you still shooting 35mm film?

    I love film. I think it always looks better than digital. I have a Mamiya 7 and a 7II, but I don't process my own film, so it is a PITA to get it developed. That is why I still use 35mm film a lot. Right now my favorite rangefinder is the Contax G2 and I have a Rollei 35s that gets used regularly. I can drop the film off at my local lab and an hour later I can be scanning it. It is the best of both worlds, since I don't have a darkroom.
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    Re: Are you still shooting 35mm film?

    Quote Originally Posted by PeterA View Post
    I shoot with a Hasselblad XPan11 a lot ( which I bought from Woody) - it is my favourite film camera - I also use a film back on my Hasselblad 200 and 500 series bodies - I use TRX because I love the grain and a love B&W.
    Yeah Peter and I wish I had kept it! LOL. Enjoy it and show us some results

    Woody

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    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    Re: Are you still shooting 35mm film?

    I'm partly returning to film these days, and just bought two mint Contax RX, for a string of reasons. Here are the most important ones:

    • I feel that the current breed of DSLR cameras are overloaded with gadgetry that often detracts from rather than add to the photographic process.

    • I have missed using cameras that are designed for manual focus ever since I went digital 5 years ago.

    • When I started using digital cameras, I treated them very much as if there was film inside, taking one or a couple of photos of each motive. That has changed, and like many other digital shooters, I fire off a few shots extra just to be sure, instead of concentrating on getting it right the first time. I would like to force myself into concentrating more before each shot.

    • The build quality of most current DSLRs isn't nearly as good as the best film cameras. The feeling of using a quality tool like the Contax is a sensation in itself.

    • Black & white photography is still best on film.

    • When using film, and can choose the film that reflects the mood I want in my photos. Digital cameras and Photoshop obviously offer endless possibilities in that area, but since each camera has only one sensor, anything "off standard" has to be created on a computer.

    • The whole process of loading a film, knowing that I have only 36 chances of success, and that I won't know if I succeeded until the film has been developed, fills me with joy. It's a much more absolute way of making photos.

    Obviously, I won't give up digital. Most commercial work will still be done with my Nikons and the GH1, but for pleasure, I hope to use film most of the time, at least for the foreseeable future. I did consider medium format, but I feel more at home with 35mm, and I like the relatively compact size. Still, I might buy MF in the future, film or digital.

    I have an extra bathroom that I don't use for anything in particular. Hopefully, I can find a darkroom setup within a couple of months. I would like to play around with that part of the process as well, and if there's sufficient monies available, I will invest in a scanner as well. I have a Coolscan 2000, but it's SCSI and in no way state of the art.

    Edit: It does help that film cameras are dirt cheap these days. The total cost for the two bodies with Zeiss 50 and an 85mm f/1.4 was around $1,000.
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  8. #8
    bruin
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    Re: Are you still shooting 35mm film?

    Lots of reasons for me... #1 is I enjoy using 35mm film cameras, RFs in particular.

    I like the feel, sounds, the "mechanicalness," of shooting this way. I like having only the essential controls to work with, and limitation of 24/36 frames to work with, the little dance of changing a roll of film. I like the variety of people's reactions when they find out I'm shooting film. The whole thing is an experience for me.

    I like how 35mm film imposes it's own character on the image, grain and all.

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    Re: Are you still shooting 35mm film?

    I shoot 35mm for simplicity. Yes the neg is tiny but I don't always want to carry medium format. All my 35s are about as small as they can get for their category...Contax Aria, Contax T3. Lastly, a 70 year old Leica IIIc.

    I'm with Jorgen, too many bells and whistles on modern DSLRs; going back to basics is refreshing. Manual focus SLR with a big bright viewfinder so I can nail focus exactly where I want it. I'd rather have this over AF speed.

    And of course, the film 'look.' I prefer it.

    Contax Aria, 85/2.8 Sonnar


  10. #10
    tokengirl
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    Re: Are you still shooting 35mm film?

    I started shooting film again because I missed the film advance lever when using my dSLR. 35mm because it is convenient.

    Certainly, I can make a "more perfect" image with my dSLR than I can with 35mm film. But "more perfect" does not necessarily mean "more important" or "more significant", does it?

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    Re: Are you still shooting 35mm film?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jorgen Udvang View Post
    • When I started using digital cameras, I treated them very much as if there was film inside, taking one or a couple of photos of each motive. That has changed, and like many other digital shooters, I fire off a few shots extra just to be sure, instead of concentrating on getting it right the first time. I would like to force myself into concentrating more before each shot.
    The more shots I shoot of a motif the worse it gets . . . it's always the first one which is the good one . . . . but digital is my friend here, Thinking more about that first shot kills whatever it is that it has (maybe one day I'll understand it).

    I've made two serious attempts to go back to film in the last two years, and although, like others, I really love black and white film, both attempts have been unsatisfactory.

    Mind you, I agree completely with you about the over-complication of modern cameras, which is why I love my M9 so much, it really is simple and limited (and of course it's only manual focus).

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: Are you still shooting 35mm film?

    Yes, I still shoot 35mm film, mainly Fujichrome Provia 100, with a mechanical Canon F1 or a Zeiss-Ikon Contessa. I also shoot some medium format with an old Pentax 6x7. It takes me back to what I first loved about photography.
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    Re: Are you still shooting 35mm film?

    I shot 35 with a M6 or M3, one loaded with slide the other with B&W, the old fashion way. I develop & scan myself.
    The reasons are quality & compactness of the gear but mostly the simplicty of use and no failure. Prefocus is much faster than AF, used to reading the light make you see differently, it's easy to become a "press button", film reminds it to you once you throw all your slides or neg.

    Then an Hasselblad 501 for MF, both color and B & W when I don't mind to carry weight the basic reasons being the same, simplicity and reliability.

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    Re: Are you still shooting 35mm film?

    Not for my work. There is nothing to stop somebody from working on a dSLR as you do on a film camera.

    I have my LCD turned off when I shoot. If you want 16 shots, put a 512Mb card in it . Any look can be replicated in the digital world.

    I would never shoot film again for work (I photograph weddings). With digital I can switch from ISO 100 to ISO 3200 in a few seconds (and anywhere in between); I don't spend a ton of money in processing.

    For personal projects or small scale photography (portraits..) it's not a problem since the environment doesn't change as much.

    I recently was able to get my very first camera back. I ran a film through it and it didn't do anything for me.

    I think people are shooting film because old gear is cheap now and they can shoot something different (RF, MF ...) and not necessary film. Of course, there are always exceptions.

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    gmanp
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    Re: Are you still shooting 35mm film?

    I recently purchased a DMR which has made it difficult to finish up my remaining rolls of Kodachrome
    I will shoot film occasionally when those rolls are gone in order to use my much loved Leicaflex SL [probably with Portra 160 or 400]

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    Senior Member Lars's Avatar
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    Re: Are you still shooting 35mm film?

    In 35 mm rollfilm, only in my Xpan these days and only in the 24x65 mm format.
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    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    Re: Are you still shooting 35mm film?

    There's one more absolutely great thing shooting film:
    There won't be another, cooler, better, must-have-now model at the camera shop in six months. Except for the odd Voigtländer or Fuji model, what is available now, is what you'll get next year as well. Good for whatever is left of my peace of mind

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    Senior Member kweide's Avatar
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    Re: Are you still shooting 35mm film?

    From time to time a take my old Rollei 35, plug in old film material and enjoy the traditional way. What a joy.
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    Re: Are you still shooting 35mm film?

    I still have a few film cameras. 35mm, Minox, and APS format. I shoot with them occasionally, purely for the entertainment value.

    For me, digital capture is superior in every possible way (cost, quality, flexibility in rendering, etc etc). But I've a fondness for some of my old cameras and enjoy remembering them through use.

    And then there's the fact that a film image simply looks different from a digital capture. It's fun to play with that difference from an aesthetic point of view.

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    Re: Are you still shooting 35mm film?

    I definitely shoot 35mm film (and 120)! I'm currently working through my inventory of Kodachrome so I can get it sent out for developing before the end of the year. I love it, and I'm blessed to be in a community that still has a fair amount of professional services geared at film shooters.
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    Super Moderator Cindy Flood's Avatar
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    Re: Are you still shooting 35mm film?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jorgen Udvang View Post
    There's one more absolutely great thing shooting film:
    There won't be another, cooler, better, must-have-now model at the camera shop in six months. Except for the odd Voigtländer or Fuji model, what is available now, is what you'll get next year as well. Good for whatever is left of my peace of mind
    Oh, yes, but then there is that grey Baby Rollei that you would love to have again...and all of those delicious M's out there...and maybe a Contax G... and what about a Mamiya 7????

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    Re: Are you still shooting 35mm film?

    Never left film and never will. Both 35mm and 120. Current arsenal comprises Contax G2, Contax ST, Hasselblad 500 and Rollei 6002. All scanned through a Minolta Multi Pro.

    Why?

    I shoot for stock - I need to be a little different to compete with 20 mio other images.

    75% of my sales are film!

    My case rests!

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    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    Re: Are you still shooting 35mm film?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cindy Flood View Post
    Oh, yes, but then there is that grey Baby Rollei that you would love to have again...and all of those delicious M's out there...and maybe a Contax G... and what about a Mamiya 7????
    Shhhhhh... don't tell my brain. The G is out of the question, do you hear? Out of the question
    As for the 7... never heard of it. For all I know, it never existed

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    Re: Are you still shooting 35mm film?

    Quote Originally Posted by ReeRay View Post
    Never left film and never will. Both 35mm and 120. Current arsenal comprises Contax G2, Contax ST, Hasselblad 500 and Rollei 6002. All scanned through a Minolta Multi Pro.

    Why?

    I shoot for stock - I need to be a little different to compete with 20 mio other images.

    75% of my sales are film!

    My case rests!
    That's an interesting thought. Where did you find the Multi Pro btw.? I've given up finding a Coolscan for a reasonable price in this country.

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    Re: Are you still shooting 35mm film?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jorgen Udvang View Post
    That's an interesting thought. Where did you find the Multi Pro btw.? I've given up finding a Coolscan for a reasonable price in this country.
    Bought mine off the Multi Pro Yahoo user group. I do believe there's a couple for sale currently, one with a few spare bulbs.

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    Subscriber & Workshop Member GrahamWelland's Avatar
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    Re: Are you still shooting 35mm film?

    Not shooting 35mm any more. I figured that if I was going to shoot anything then it may as well be bigger so I sold off my MP and now my only film shooting is with my Mamiya 7II.

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    Re: ... since I just moved ... film for sale

    Quote Originally Posted by Godfrey View Post
    ... I have loose 35mm film from my freezer available for anyone who wants it. It's a film shooter's grab bag, some types no longer available: ...
    That's been sold, thanks! :-)

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    Re: Are you still shooting 35mm film?

    Time to buy Christmas presents, isn't it? I started today, with one for myself
    A mint Contax RX with a likewise mint Zeiss 50mm f/1.4, plus some film and batteries. Insanely cheap. I've also managed to track down a Coolscan 5000 for a reasonable price.

    GH1 with Zuiko 50mm f/2.0 macro @ f/2.0


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    Super Duper
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    Re: Are you still shooting 35mm film?

    Excellent choice.

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    Re: Are you still shooting 35mm film?

    Lovely camera, Jorgen. Enjoy it.

  31. #31
    tokengirl
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    Re: Are you still shooting 35mm film?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jorgen Udvang View Post
    Time to buy Christmas presents, isn't it? I started today, with one for myself

    Ooooh, nice! Congratulations! My first camera was a Yashica FX3 with exactly that lens.

    I just completed my birthday shopping. Six rolls of Kodachrome 64 and a Fuji Klasse W.



    Maybe for Christmas I can get that nice Mamiya 7ii & 43mm lens that Monza has for sale.

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    Senior Member Leicadoc's Avatar
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    Re: Are you still shooting 35mm film?

    You betcha.
    I shoot a LeicaMP to go with my M8.
    I also play with a re-built Pentax Spotmatic SP2 with its wonderful 50/1.4 and an assortment of fine glass I found for almost nothing. The camera was a gift from a dear friend, I had it re-built by LeZot in Burlington,VT, and have added a 135/3.5, 200/4.0 and 300/6.3 .
    Would prefer the nice 300/4.0, but they are bringing a good bit.
    I also use the 35/3.5, about the size of the Summicron 35. Really great glass, all manual.
    Mostly shoot Fuji Pro 800 or 400, but in the Leica it's Ektar, Kodak 160 Portra, and Plus X.
    Michael

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  33. #33
    Senior Member M5-Guy's Avatar
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    Re: Are you still shooting 35mm film?

    Yes, Here is my rig


  34. #34
    Senior Member Jason Muelver's Avatar
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    Re: Are you still shooting 35mm film?

    I have recently started shooting film again. My dad was a commercial photographer in the 60's- early 90's. He dropped off a mess of stuff, and I've been shooting a Mamiya 645 1000s and a meter less Canon F-1.

    I might start offering film shot packages for portraits, but I don't think I could shoot a wedding with film.

    That being said, I figured out last night that I can use my Pocketwizards and Nikon strobes with my Mamiya. Blasted throu a roll of Portia 400NC last night just giggling and blinding thenpoor mutts.

    Back to the 35mm question, I think I will shoot even more film. I really would like a film Leica kit. What's a good first Leica set up?
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  35. #35
    Senior Member mathomas's Avatar
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    Re: Are you still shooting 35mm film?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jason Muelver View Post

    ...

    Back to the 35mm question, I think I will shoot even more film. I really would like a film Leica kit. What's a good first Leica set up?
    I found my Leica M2 and a Voigtlander 35/1.4 to be a great start (I didn't buy them together, but they make a great team). Less than $1000 invested, and luscious black & white results. I'm sure you could find a similar setup that works for you for under $1000.

  36. #36
    wblynch
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    Re: Are you still shooting 35mm film?

    I went back to film over a year ago. It allows me to use these wonderful old cameras. Now I have a bunch that I've picked up cheap, from Minolta and Yashica TLRs, adding to my old Olympus OM stuff, rangefinders and even some Kodak Instamatics and a Brownie Hawkeye.

    It's a lot of fun. The 127 and 126 cameras are extra challenging since I typically re-roll my own film.

    I even started developing my own black and white and C41 color because finding convenient labs is not easy.

    Instead of shooting 4,000 digital pictures a year, I'm now using about 80 rolls of film. Lots of fun, very interesting and more satisfying.

    Oh yeah, I've now got 6 scanners too!

    One day there will be no more film but I will be happy having used it till the bitter end.

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    Re: Are you still shooting 35mm film?

    Shooting less 35mm and more MF, but still use 35 for X-Pan and specialty shoots-sports multiple images, telephoto wildlife images, some portraiture when smaller prints are O.K., etc.

    Don't appreciate digital much because every month new, better cameras are released. When the technology reaches a stable point, I'll be more interested.

    Mostly shoot panoramic MF(Linhof 617, Noblex 150) and environmental portraits (Fujica G690BL.)

    Texsport

  38. #38
    wblynch
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    Re: Are you still shooting 35mm film?

    Reading back thought this thread I am thinking about what the wedding photographers above said about abandoning film.

    Last year my younger daughter got married and we hired the same photographer that shot my first daughter's wedding in 1997. The first was on film, of course, and the second on digital.

    Looking at the results, the film pictures were far superior to the digital. And one would have thought that 12 years advance experience from the photographer would have given much better pictures in 2009.

    I mean the digipics just look like junk.

    Yes, we got 350 digital pictures versus 150 film. But most of the digitals were just dupes and throwaways. Out of the 350 we only liked 3 well enough to get portraits printed. 100 of the rest went into one of those online 'books' you order that ends up in the cupboard.

    When my first daughter gets remarried, I will insist on film to be used.

  39. #39
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    Re: Are you still shooting 35mm film?

    Sounds like that photographer didn't make the jump from film to digital very expertly to me. Which is not uncommon ... I know a lot of photographers who are still struggling to learn digital photography.

    It's a different set of skills from doing film photography.

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    Re: Are you still shooting 35mm film?

    Quote Originally Posted by wblynch View Post
    Reading back thought this thread I am thinking about what the wedding photographers above said about abandoning film.

    Last year my younger daughter got married and we hired the same photographer that shot my first daughter's wedding in 1997. The first was on film, of course, and the second on digital.

    Looking at the results, the film pictures were far superior to the digital. And one would have thought that 12 years advance experience from the photographer would have given much better pictures in 2009.

    I mean the digipics just look like junk.

    Yes, we got 350 digital pictures versus 150 film. But most of the digitals were just dupes and throwaways. Out of the 350 we only liked 3 well enough to get portraits printed. 100 of the rest went into one of those online 'books' you order that ends up in the cupboard.

    When my first daughter gets remarried, I will insist on film to be used.
    Sounds like the first photographer was not as good as the second photographer.

    Decent Film Camera + Good Photographer = Good Photos
    Decent Digital Camera + Good Photographer = Good Photos
    Decent Film Camera + Bad Photographer = Bad Photos
    Decent Digital Camera + Bad Photographer = Bad Photos

    The only difference is that there are more bad photographers and more bad digital cameras and more bad photographers since the popularization of digital photography. The good photographers are still producing great work.

    The best digital cameras far out perform the best film cameras - but only in the hands of a good photographer.

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  41. #41
    Member cmcmillan's Avatar
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    Re: Are you still shooting 35mm film?

    I still shoot 35mm film from time to time. For certain personal or paid projects where I want a certain look and feel. I enjoy being able to shoot ridiculous ISO 25,600 on my D700, but I really prefer nicely done ISO 3200 B&W film, it has a different look and feel to it. I also still shoot some 6x6 (Bronica EC) and Pentax 6x7 stuff too. I still have a mini fridge in my basement full of 35mm and 120/220 film of different types.

    I feel that you need to take more time composing your shots, checking you exposure, even using a hand held meter with film since if you mess up your shot, you're still going to have to pay to have it developed or spend your own time and materials developing the film to see what you have.

    I still have my Nikon FE that I cut my teeth on, along with a large selection of AI/AIS Nikon glass that I still use with my full frame Nikon bodies as well as with several 35mm motion picture cameras I have that have interchangeable mounts, one of them being a Nikon mount.

    Chris

  42. #42
    wblynch
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    Re: Are you still shooting 35mm film?

    Same photographer, both weddings.

    Quote Originally Posted by dougpetersonci View Post
    Sounds like the first photographer was not as good as the second photographer.

  43. #43
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    Re: Are you still shooting 35mm film?

    The best digital cameras far out perform the best film cameras - but only in the hands of a good photographer.

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    I don't believe that this statement is true.

    I would say that an average 35mm camera shooting fine grained film in the hands of a good photographer blows the doors off digital.

    Of course, a poorly exposed digital pic can be corrected more easily with a computer.

    It's purely resolution and tonality capabilities on film which digital doesn't have.


    Texsport

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    Re: Are you still shooting 35mm film?

    It's about attitude. With digital, you can always take one or ten photos more, hoping that one of them will be good, and people do, even good photographers sometimes. With film, more effort is put into one shot, since it's not possible to see the result there and then, and since every frame costs money. This is one of the reasons why I'm shooting film again, to find back to my rhythm. And added value is the re-discovery of what a wonderful medium film is.

    Digital has changed the way we take photos, but not only to the better.

  45. #45
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    Re: Are you still shooting 35mm film?

    Here's a comparison of digital and film that I found pretty enlightening.

    http://www.imx.nl/photo/technique/page153/page153.html

    Texsport

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    Re: Are you still shooting 35mm film?

    There's a whole lot more here.

    http://www.imx.nl/photo/index.html

  47. #47
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    Re: Are you still shooting 35mm film?

    Quote Originally Posted by Texsport View Post
    I don't believe that this statement is true.

    I would say that an average 35mm camera shooting fine grained film in the hands of a good photographer blows the doors off digital. ...
    I disagree completely. I went to digital capture after forty years of shooting film because it was obviously a better medium for my photography ... even the relatively inexpensive fixed-lens digital camera I bought in 2002 out-performed my Leica and Nikon 35mm film cameras, and when I bought a DSLR a year later, I sold my medium format cameras.

    But this stupid "film vs digital" war, waged with a bazillion personal opinions, feelings and countless pages of ridiculous specifications and pseudo-scientific meanderings, isn't worth continuing. I'll unsubscribe from this thread.

  48. #48
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    Re: Are you still shooting 35mm film?

    I'm not arguing, just trying to learn.

    If you read the most recent posts in what I linked, the author concludes that, as of 2010, the best digital is about equal to the best film.

    Obviously, digital has great advantages for professional photographers with high work volumes.

    For amateur's currently using film, some of us are just trying to figure out if the enormous additional expense of retooling to digital is worth it.

    I wish I could afford every camera that I like.

    Texsport

  49. #49
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    Re: Are you still shooting 35mm film?

    Quote Originally Posted by Godfrey View Post
    I disagree completely. I went to digital capture after forty years of shooting film because it was obviously a better medium for my photography ... even the relatively inexpensive fixed-lens digital camera I bought in 2002 out-performed my Leica and Nikon 35mm film cameras, and when I bought a DSLR a year later, I sold my medium format cameras.

    But this stupid "film vs digital" war, waged with a bazillion personal opinions, feelings and countless pages of ridiculous specifications and pseudo-scientific meanderings, isn't worth continuing. I'll unsubscribe from this thread.
    Has a war broken out that I missed?

    We really *do* need to do something about all these personal opinions being shared on forums.

  50. #50
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    Re: Are you still shooting 35mm film?

    I love shooting film, there is such a different methodology to it. I find myself taking my time to really think and compose a shot, much more than if I had a digital camera in my hands. I am using an xpanII and contax G2.

    And I still get excited about seeing the shots for the first time after picking up the film from the lab. I place the film in print file sleeves and scan a contact sheet from a relatively inexpensive HP flatbed scanner that has an integrated transparency and negative lid. (under $200) The selects are done on the computer monitor and not prints. I find it is easier to see the smaller details from a screen than with a loupe and print. I then scan the originals with a higher end dedicated film scanner.

    Friends still have a laugh at my expense when they see two of my fridge's see-through fruit and vegetable drawers filled to the brim with rolls of film.

    It might be a little more time consuming but the pleasure is inescapable.

    Cheers,

    Roderick Chen

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