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Thread: Switching from digital to film

  1. #1
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    Switching from digital to film

    I've considered switching full time to film. The benefits of digital photography are obvious, but the slower pace of composition and exposure have brought a more satisfying experience for me. Another reason for this consideration, is with digital, I was obsessing with absolute perfection in resolution and the high tech involved that provides IBIS, IS, HDR, focus stacking, pano modes, etc...ugh! Perhaps, it's my love for purely mechanical cameras too. Film cameras and lenses are a fraction of the price compared to their digital counterparts. Surprisingly, clients are starting to prefer film images over digital when given the option. I guess this has everything to do with the character of a lens and film or just the appreciation of a more analog process that connects us historically to the origins of photography. Everything old is new again...
    Last edited by jdphoto; 8th June 2020 at 06:04.

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    Senior Member JoelM's Avatar
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    Re: Switching from digital to film

    I find that there's room for both, but that's one of the great things about photography. You get to choose your weapons and shoot away.

    Have Fun,

    Joel
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    Re: Switching from digital to film

    Quote Originally Posted by JoelM View Post
    I find that there's room for both, but that's one of the great things about photography.
    + 1, that's why I use both, they both have their charm.
    My Pics
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    Re: Switching from digital to film

    Obviously, I'm not saying one is better than another. Oddly, switching totally to film is not as easy as I thought, as it's like taking the training wheels off a bike for the first time. You better know what you're doing if shooting professionally. I love my Leica M2r, but primarily use a Pentax spot meter for exposure. However, my Canon F1 has aperture priority which has been a revelation. I never thought I would use as much as I do and it's really helped push me in the direction of "film only" for professional shoots. I also shoot with a Hasselblad 500CM, so I'd need a PME if I want the benefit of a meter. Yes, the sunny 16 rule works too, but I need more practice in placing my zones where I want them. Another aspect is value. Planned obsolescence for digital gear is extreme and I think i've finally tamed GAS knowing that prices are going to reflect that.

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    Senior Member JoelM's Avatar
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    Re: Switching from digital to film

    I shoot aperture priority for both analog and digital. It's not possible with the M4, but I think in aperture priority. The F1 is a great camera and I used them for years due to the fantastic Canon L lenses.

    Switching can be challenging, but just like your exposures, you'll want to slow down and do more thinking. I think you'll like that. The lack of tech is refreshing and there is beauty in simplicity, I find.

    Have Fun,

    Joel
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    Re: Switching from digital to film

    Shooting both, film and digital is where my photographic life lives. I honestly would not be happy without film. Many of us came up on film and never left it. Shooting aperture priority was how I learned how to shoot with my first SLR back in the late 70s and that is how I shoot today.

    I was a commercial photographer during the film era shooting a lot of 4x5 product chromes and 120 portrait negatives. But, I would appreciate the digital workflow for commercial work as it is less stressful to shoot for example a special event and ‘chimp’ than to wait a week or more for the C-41 to come back.

    For me it is similar to cooking; I enjoy cooking when I have the time. The process of crafting a delicious meal is rewarding on many levels and it tastes so much better than anything commercially made IMO. But, it takes preparation and knowledge of ingredients; best use of equipment, a little food science for health benefits, and the time to put it all together. I have a microwave that gets used mainly to reheat what I have cooked prior, but I love the convenience of my microwave.

    We truly live in the best of times for photography!

    Kind regards,
    Darr
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    Re: Switching from digital to film

    Darr,
    Thank you for that perfectly stated analogy. Keep up the great work!
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    Re: Switching from digital to film

    I personally like the aesthetics of film and enjoy the larger formats for their quality reserves and possibility to print large when needed. As of today, when I talk about film, I almost always mean a hybrid workflow with scanning and post in Photoshop.

    However, this does only account for medium and large format for me. I occassionally shoot also 24x36 analogue, but there I feel the quality reserves are really low and digital almost always wins.

    Like you, I do enjoy the mechanical workflow a lot more than a highly technical digital workflow. Downsides are dust clone stamping and correcting smaller film mistakes in Photoshop later. I did not find to date a good workflow that would help with it other than manual work.

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    Re: Switching from digital to film

    So sad for a professional that Fuji discontinued the Fp-100c which could be a safety net. The other option today is to use a digital camera for instant review. I am an amateur and can afford glitches and even downright useless frames, so I can wait for professional development. I am lucky to have one of the last labs nearby. What can't be simulated with digital is the contrasty nature of Fp-100c and the b&w response from it's monochrome sibling, longer ago discontinued. I want them both back!
    Film stock availability could be a problem for a pro and switching materials is not always a good thing.

    I was happy to get an excellent Plustek Opticfilm 120, an affordable modern scanner. What Hasselblad has done to the cost no object scanner is not nice and Nikon are no contender anymore. I personally would never maintain a true drumscanner even if I could get one cheap.

    But ofcourse film is fun and getting all the work done is satisfying. But even I, a modest camera user and buyer can feel the ease and luxury of digital cameras. My main interest is in fat pixel backs and cheaper dbs for digital. It's almost something equally fun like film to use cheap digital backs. You know they were edge technology and quite scarce. So much more fun to me than something mainstream.

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    Re: Switching from digital to film

    I've never stopped working with film, but in the years since a reasonably good quality digital camera first appeared (call it 2002 for me) I've made ten times the number of satisfying photos with digital capture than I have with film (since 1966).

    Working with film and working digital capture are both highly technical endeavors, they're just different. I find the workflow with image processing to render my photos into their final expression works better for me, most of the time.

    Pick what you like to work with, learn your tools, and go make photographs.

    G

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