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Thread: Transition from Digital to Film - Tips

  1. #1
    nicodemus3d
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    Transition from Digital to Film - Tips

    Hi,

    I have been shooting with a Leica M8 for a little bit now and often find myself using software to emulate the look of film. Because of this I have decided to give film photography a go as well.

    I've just purchased a Yashica Electro 35 gsn and whilst I'm waiting for it to arrive I wondered if anyone knew of any good websites/books detailing the transition back to film from digital. I have very limited exposure to film cameras so am quite the newbie. Any tips or tricks for starting out? Good films to practice with? (I've read that a 400 speed is prob best to start off with)

    Many thanks

    -Mike

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    Re: Transition from Digital to Film - Tips

    Load the film in the back and shoot? Is film really any different from digital? Just make sure you meter for your most important detail. As far as what type of film to use, figure out what lab you are going to use and ask them for recommendations. The lab has as much to do with how the images look as the film you use.

    Make sure you think about what the end product will be. A print, a scan, a slide on a light table or projector? If the answer is a print, how will it be made -- optically or digitally? All of these are considerations that go into film choice (as well as the subject and the look you want). Some films print well optically, but are very tough to scan. Some scan well, but print flat.

    Just load it, burn it, process it and don't think too much about it. Really film is just a recording medium, nothing more.

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    Subscriber & Workshop Member GrahamWelland's Avatar
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    Re: Transition from Digital to Film - Tips

    If you're after a couple of books for the digital -> film transition then two recent are:

    Film is Not Dead - Digital Photographer's Guide to Shooting Film - Kristen Kalp
    Fearless Photographer - Film in the Digital Era - Joe Prezioso

    Both interesting enough and relatively high level but given your questions they may be worth a browse through.
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

    As Oscar Wilde said, "my tastes are simple, I only like the best"

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    Re: Transition from Digital to Film - Tips

    Negative film, at least, is actually easier than digital at the capture stage, because it's much more forgiving of deviations from ideal exposure.

    Are you interested in color or black and white? Who will be processing your film? What is your desired end product?

    An ISO 400 negative film is almost always a good starting point, but which ones will be most "friendly" will depend on the answers to those questions.

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    Re: Transition from Digital to Film - Tips

    If you are shooting B+W I would suggest Ilford XP2. Variable ISO is very useful, superb tones and C-41 development. Very fine grain. I rate it at 200 iso. For colour try Kodak Portra 400. Very easy film and tolerant of under/over exposure. I rate this film at 200 iso for more punch.

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    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    Re: Transition from Digital to Film - Tips

    I tend to use slow b&w film. Ilford Pan F Plus 50 is my favourite, but at the moment, I'm trying out Fuji Neopan 100 which is faster as well as cheaper. For colour, Kodak Portra 160 for people shots and Ektar 100 for anything else are hard to beat.

    The choice of film is always an individual thing, and I would recommend trying out several.

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    Re: Transition from Digital to Film - Tips

    I prefer digital capture as it provides many more options in rendering. And I find that modern digital capture sensors simply have more DR and more exposure latitude than most film, unless you're processing the film yourself and can work it around.

    But film captures look different and process differently. They establish more specific constraints on what you can do. That's why I like them ... I feel that putting constraints on the process of making photographs enhances the mental, thinking, creative aspects in various not easily articulated ways.

    For my film work now, I use one of either the Minox 8x11 subminiature, a Polaroid SX-70 (speaking of constraints ... AND quirky film from The Impossible Project! ;-), or one of several 35mm film cameras: Nikon F, Leica M4-2 (soon, a CL as well), or Rollei 35S.

    For the 35mm cameras, I stick mostly with Ilford XP-2 Super (a flexible film that I can have any one-hour lab run the negs out for me with great consistency, and it scans beautifully), or my remaining stock of Agfapan 25 (I bought and froze 60+ rolls of it when it was discontinued, still have about 50 in the freezer).

    XP2 allows me to push the capture characteristics easily by changing the shooting ISO, scanning, and using the magic of image processing to get what I want. It's wide latitude and easy processing overcome a multitude of ills associated with working with old quirky cameras ... ;-)

    APX 25 is simply the most beautiful, fine grained 35mm film I ever loved. I have my own exposure and processing techniques for it, developed over many many years, and it never fails to make me smile when I run a roll (rarely now).

    But my best advice:

    Photography is an adventure.

    Reading a guide book only gets you started. My favorite book to recommend to anyone learning film photography is long out of print but easily obtainable from Ebay ... the Kodak Pocket Photo Guide. Buy it, read it cover to cover, keep it in your camera bag at all times to refer back to. Let go of meters and automation. Learn to process your own film. Look at other folks' photographs and learn what you're looking for.

    Do it.

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    Senior Member biglouis's Avatar
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    Re: Transition from Digital to Film - Tips

    I would say a good external lightmeter is useful bit not essential if your camera has a reliable one built in.

    I recommend "Understanding Exposure" by Bryan Paterson.

    Louis

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    Subscriber & Workshop Member GrahamWelland's Avatar
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    Re: Transition from Digital to Film - Tips

    I found it easiest to stick to just a few films and I only shoot with medium format so this may or may not directly apply depending upon your walkabout needs.

    Colour: Ektar 100
    B&W for C-41 convenience: XP2 or BW400CN
    B&W long exposure with virtually no reciprocity: Acros 100

    Pretty conservative choices I know. I still have a freezer tray full of slide film to burn up too but haven't bought any for a long time. My slide film tends to be digital these days.
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

    As Oscar Wilde said, "my tastes are simple, I only like the best"

  10. #10
    richard.L
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    Re: Transition from Digital to Film - Tips

    if you aren't going to soup it yourself, don't shoot it yourself, either.

    standard advice{ one film, one developer, one camera, one lens, one roll a day; one month later you'll know whether you're worth more._)

    the sixteenth breakdown: f16 sunny day shutter to ASA ... as your light goes down so does your shutter, until it hits the lens focal length, then the aperture begins to lower.
    Likes 1 Member(s) liked this post

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    Super Duper
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    Re: Transition from Digital to Film - Tips

    The sixteenth breakdown ...

    Essentially my guesstimating scheme, but I use F/11 instead. Better shadows on film, less noise on digital.

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