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Thread: M9 users still shooting film?

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    M9 users still shooting film?

    definitely don't want to get into a film/digital debate just curious to know for M9 owners, why would they continue to shoot with film some of the time?

    besides nostalgic reasons and reasons like convenience if your M9 is in the car and you don't want to get it wet etc...

    the reason i ask is been shooting black and white 35mm and slides for years and i just picked up an M9 to try to break into the digital domain. (definitely didn't want to go dslr not for me)

    i notice that a lot of M9 users still are rocking film M's also. just wanted to know what is the reasoning to still shoot film beside nostalgia etc..

    i am thinking that there is still that film look that you can get right out of an M7 with your favorite film that you would have to post process if you were to use an M9 to get there. does this make sense?

    just looking for some insight.

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    Senior Member Per Ofverbeck's Avatar
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    Re: M9 users still shooting film?

    OK, FWIW, hereīs my take...

    I left film altogether about 6 years ago, with occasional ītest runsī with my old workhorses, until I ran out of chemicals; no use buying new packages of D-76 & c... The enlarging part of my darkroom was irretrievably dismantled, so I scanned those negs. And 4 years ago, I stopped altogether; didnīt miss it one bit, honestly.

    Then, while waiting for my M9, I thought it might be a good idea to practise a bit with my old M2 (hadnīt used a proper RF for 10 years), so I ran a few rolls of slide film and chromogenic b/w. I was shocked with the results; maybe 2 images were worth printing... I totally lost the control that film development gave me, and I didnīt want to start developing again.

    So now, itīs M9 all the time; M2 returned to its glass case. And, as for īfilm lookī, why? Itīs a new medium; why try to emulate old ones? Most of us donīt tried to make our silver prints look like watercolours or etchings... If one absolutely WANTS to get film look from digital, Silver Efex Pro does a quite good job at deception, but, again, why?

    But thatīs me. Certainly itīs not immoral or something to try to get film look from digital, only, it doesnīt interest me any more.

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    Senior Member mathomas's Avatar
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    Re: M9 users still shooting film?

    Quote Originally Posted by Per Ofverbeck View Post

    ...
    So now, itīs M9 all the time; M2 returned to its glass case. And, as for īfilm lookī, why? Itīs a new medium; why try to emulate old ones? Most of us donīt tried to make our silver prints look like watercolours or etchings... If one absolutely WANTS to get film look from digital, Silver Efex Pro does a quite good job at deception, but, again, why?

    But thatīs me. Certainly itīs not immoral or something to try to get film look from digital, only, it doesnīt interest me any more.
    [my bold above]

    Hmm, by that logic we'll never see B&W again if everyone goes digital, because we'd be trying to emulate something from the past (there aren't any B&W sensors that I know of). That would be sad because I like B&W.

    It's funny - I have my own idiosyncratic version on your logic, and came out pointing in a completely different direction . I came back to film after getting an M8 (and having many other digicams) because I found myself doing digital approximations of B&W film all the time. It felt a little inauthentic (this is a judgement of myself on myself, not anyone else). At one point I thought to myself "hey, rather than trying to make my shots look like B&W film, maybe I should just shoot B&W film. What a concept!".

    In the end, I think we all just want to achieve the images we dream of, regardless of the path to get there.
    Last edited by mathomas; 28th April 2011 at 12:58.

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    Re: M9 users still shooting film?

    Quote Originally Posted by mathomas View Post
    ...
    Hmm, by that logic we'll never see B&W again if everyone goes digital, because we'd be trying to emulate something from the past (there aren't any B&W sensors that I know of). That would be sad because I like B&W.
    ...
    In the end, I think we all just want to achieve the images we dream of, regardless of the path to get there.
    B&W photography in the digital age is a rendering process, just like color.

    I've tried to "go back" and use film about once a year since 2004. It's fun, but I get so much more and better work done with digital capture that the only reason for me to do it at all nowadays is for nostalgia. I also like to shoot my Minox subminiature cameras once in a blue moon or three because their imaging qualities are unique and enjoyable to me.

    The goal is always to make the photographs, tell the stories, that we dream of. If film is what does that for you, use film. No audience of any merit really cares what camera or process made the photographs, they care what the photographs say to them.

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    Re: M9 users still shooting film?

    i haven't actually started shooting my m9 as i am waiting for my leica lens to arrive.

    how does b&w film look different then black&white captured on the M9?
    grain different, contrast, sharper,...... what should i except to be different?

    i love shooting slides esp i like kodak e200. if i am used to that look that the kodak e200 gave me for all these years what can i expect of the images that come out of the m9 raw? will they be sharper, less pop, more accurate, contrast.. etc.

    what were your guys take on the different look digital capture of the M9 gave you compared to TriX or Velvia film when you first made the switch to digital?

    good or bad first impression?

    just curious as to what to except for those used to film then making the jump to an M9.

    thanks again for the help.

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    Re: M9 users still shooting film?

    I shoot MF film and M9 because of the sticker shock associated with combining MF and digital. But I love the viewfinders of the bigger cameras, especially the waist level ground glass of the TLRs and Hasselblads.

    Whenever I compare the M9 shots to scanned film I can't believe how far the technology has come. I can't exactly duplicate the look of film, but I can come quite close to the look I'd have wanted from a darkroom in a small fraction of the time.

    Best,

    Matt

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    Re: M9 users still shooting film?

    I don't have an M9. Would rather spend my $$$ on more toys than put it all into one basket . I'd love to have one, though. I'm sure you'll love it. I really like the files coming out of my M8.

    From what I've seen I'd say the M9 has much higher resolution than 35mm film, approaching or equal to medium format. Heck, my lowly M8 even seems close on some subjects. But film has a certain way that lights and darks, and the transitions between, are rendered that is just different (to my eyes) than digital, as is the grain (and different grains with different films). And it's different in a way that I like.

    The resolution thing, with film, and MF rendering qualities, has me shooting MF film most of the time. 35mm is a convenience and I like the feeling of shooting my film 35mm equipment (Leica M2 and Contax RX) better than my digital equipment or MF film equipment, in general.

    My M8 shoots really nice B&W straight out-of-camera (I set it up one notch in contrast). I'm sure the M9 does even nicer.

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    Re: M9 users still shooting film?

    "But film has a certain way that lights and darks, and the transitions between, are rendered that is just different (to my eyes) than digital"

    -Not sure sure with the M9 and i find it hard to explain myself, but digital has looked different then film and not in a good way in the past when i compared the two.

    anyone have any links to any online articles that kind of do a comparison of scenes shot on film then shot on a M9/dslr.
    not looking for like those articles which get into film/digital better debate.

    thanks for all the help. i will let you know how the M9 works out.

    cheers.

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    Senior Member mathomas's Avatar
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    Re: M9 users still shooting film?

    I'm sure you'll like the M9. A big part of it, IMO is the nice lenses you can mount on it (as you know, since you have been an M shooter for a while).

    And, if you don't like it, I'll shoot it for you .

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    Re: M9 users still shooting film?

    I use an M8 and a Rolleiflex, a lot of the time I find the work I do on film has more 'soul' - I don't know how to explain it but it does.

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    Re: M9 users still shooting film?

    Quote Originally Posted by gooomz View Post
    anyone have any links to any online articles that kind of do a comparison of scenes shot on film then shot on a M9/dslr.
    cheers.
    Do you mean something like this?
    http://www.imx.nl/photo/leica/camera...4/page164.html

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    Re: M9 users still shooting film?

    Always have a back up.

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    Re: M9 users still shooting film?

    Quote Originally Posted by mathomas View Post
    "And, as for īfilm lookī, why? Itīs a new medium; why try to emulate old ones?" (your quote from my first post)

    Hmm, by that logic we'll never see B&W again if everyone goes digital, because we'd be trying to emulate something from the past (there aren't any B&W sensors that I know of)....
    Not really. In that case B/W would have died when Kodachrome was introduced (afaik first īnon-geekī colour photography medium that anyone could use).

    Thing is, the peaceful co-existence between monochrome and colour art is centuries (if not millenia) old, so both flourish and have matured long, long before photography appeared. And neither of them have a single, particular īlookī that distinguishes them as a group; theyīre both extremely varied. And both film and digital photography produces images in either of them.

    A handful (well, a box or two) of my old Agfa Record Rapid prints still manage to make me a bit nostalgic, but not to the point of resurrecting that process (and most decent silver papers went away at about the same time as RR anyway....). I can come awfully close to their īlookī with my Epson 3800 and selected papers, but not from scanned negs (my scanner isnīt up to it, by far); I have to use raw files from something real good.

    But, again, itīs not worth it; better spend the same effort on new work

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    Re: M9 users still shooting film?

    Quote Originally Posted by Per Ofverbeck View Post
    A handful (well, a box or two) of my old Agfa Record Rapid prints still manage to make me a bit nostalgic, but not to the point of resurrecting that process (and most decent silver papers went away at about the same time as RR anyway....
    This sounds like the same BS we get every time materials change and older ones are no longer available. I'm sorry, but I have seen modern prints on modern silver gelatin papers that blow absolutely everything on these old "decent paper" out of the water. I feel if you spent just as much time in the darkroom today as you spent in there with those old prints, learning how to print on the new papers as opposed to just trying to do it the old way, you would exceed your old work by a great margin.

    I feel the same thing applies to digital - think about when the M8 came out and the uproar over how horrible it was until people figured out how to better utilize its strengths despite its flaws. Photography is a technology-mediated process and we have to learn to use the tools available to the best of our abilities and be flexible in responding to changes in the technology when it redefines what is considered "best practice" (which is itself a very touchy subject).

    Then again, I'm a curmudgeon in a neophyte's body.

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    Re: M9 users still shooting film?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeremy View Post
    ..... I feel if you spent just as much time in the darkroom today as you spent in there with those old prints, learning how to print on the new papers as opposed to just trying to do it the old way, you would exceed your old work by a great margin.

    ......
    Now, I feel not a little dizzy.... I felt this was just the very point I tried to make in my two previous posts....

    Anyway, itīs what i feel Iīm doing right now. I spend the time printing on new papers - with the Epson.
    Last edited by Per Ofverbeck; 29th April 2011 at 04:16.

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    Re: M9 users still shooting film?

    Quote Originally Posted by gooomz View Post
    i love shooting slides esp i like kodak e200. if i am used to that look that the kodak e200 gave me for all these years what can i expect of the images that come out of the m9 raw? will they be sharper, less pop, more accurate, contrast.. etc.
    The M9 looks nothing like E200 Pro - how I wish it could! Nothing digital looks like it, period.





    The M9 still has excellent qualities all its own though.

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    Re: M9 users still shooting film?

    what traits are different between the M9 raw files and kodak e200?


    guess i will find out soon as my lens is set to arrive.

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    Re: M9 users still shooting film?

    Quote Originally Posted by Per Ofverbeck View Post
    Now, I feel not a little dizzy.... I felt this was just the very point I tried to make in my two previous posts....

    Anyway, itīs what i feel Iīm doing right now. I spend the time printing on new papers - with the Epson.
    No, I understand and I think everyone here understands what you mean, but someone just starting out may not and may think there is no reason to even try silver gelatin printing because the materials today are not any good - which couldn't be further from the truth.

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    Re: M9 users still shooting film?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeremy View Post
    No, I understand and I think everyone here understands what you mean, but someone just starting out may not and may think there is no reason to even try silver gelatin printing because the materials today are not any good
    OK, get you.... no offence taken, really. Only, I donīt see myself as a guru of any stature ("the revered Per says silver gelatin is no good, so we donīt use it" ), so I very much doubt Iīll do much īharmī to newcomers anyway....

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeremy View Post
    - which couldn't be further from the truth.
    With the very important reservation that Iīve not tried any silver papers recently, I beg to differ here. Varicontrast papers arenīt the equal of graded ones, since only one end of the curve is affected by filtering. They do allow split-grading, which is great, but at the cost of many other important characteristics, and theyīre much less amenable to toning (again, last time I tried, but considering the dramatic decrease in sales, it seems unlikely that much development costs have been spent on improving them). Digital gives that kind of control in heaps, easily and predictably, so I use it and spend my darkroom hours out shooting instead.

    I expect disagreement here, of course, and thatīs OK with me. These are matters of taste and feeling, not of objectively measurable parameters. But I feel weīre now at the periphery of the OP:s query.

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    Re: M9 users still shooting film?

    I use the M9 and still use film. I think they both offer great results, and it really depends on what you are after. The M9 is the first digital camera where I have been 100% happy about the color rendering. The color does not look like film, but it looks surprisingly close. It certainly has more resolution than most 35mm films...I would say it is closer to 645 black and white film in resolution. Resolution alone is not the best measure though, as there are a number of other factors involved.

    There is, of course, no (reasonable) way to make a darkroom print from an M9 file, so if you want that as a final result, you need to shoot film. Since darkroom prints are handmade, that can be important for artists (or just people who like working that way!). Analog slide shows will also absolutely blow away any digital slide show, not just for resolution, but for color...color slide projection is still one of the most satisfying way to view pictures. If you have never seen Leica slides projected on a Leica projector, you would be in for a treat! Let alone medium format or larger format projection....

    But fundamentally, the reason I still shoot both film and digital is because I enjoy the process and results of film cameras -- I like the look of black and white film, and I like being able to work with a very wide variety of cameras and film formats for comparatively little outlay -- I can shoot 35, MF and LF film with all different cameras and systems using film -- doing that with digital would mean well over 50,000 USD (to get MF digital, LF digital does not even exist, except in rather limited scan backs).

    I see the M9 as the perfect digital camera for me because it is compact, quiet, uses all my Leica lenses without major compromises, and has a superb output quality with very little effort required to get the images to look how I want. The tend to look great in camera. It was worth every penny to me...I like it a thousand times better than the medium format digital camera I briefly owned (Sinar 54LV).

    I have compared it to film a few times, since I often shoot both side by side. I posted one comparison as a thread here: http://forum.getdpi.com/forum/showthread.php?t=25621

    And here is a quick comparison between Kodakchrome 64 and the M9...
    Kodachrome...though this slide was a bit over exposed, so it has been adjusted. Don't pay attention to the color difference in these shots, as they were processed separately and I made no effort to match them. The resolution difference is clear though...





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    Re: M9 users still shooting film?

    I still shoot film, though perhaps more in MF than 35mm. I do my own B&W at home, but color has to be sent out. So, being a bit lazy I tend to shoot B&W film, but leave the color for digital.

    However... There are times when only film will do! For example, Velvia, Ektar, Provia... They just have such a LOOK to them that lacks in digital.

    So I guess... "It depends."

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    Re: M9 users still shooting film?

    My choices aren't complicated. I use an M9 for things that move, and vintage Rolleiflexes for things that hold still.

    Kirk

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    Re: M9 users still shooting film?

    For me any camera system is about how the glass renders the shot be it whether I shoot B&W film or digital in 35mm or MF. I use film for a different look which even flatbed Epsons are capable of showing. By far and away the best looking digital files are from my M9 and my S2 employing Leica glass and these two cameras as well as some old school Hasselblad and Rollie MF glass make taking pictures a very satisfying hobby.

    I will never go back to a chemical darkroom but processing ones own B&W using a dark bag and some simple chemistry is a simple pleasure. Is anyone a real photographer unless they can soup their own B&W? -

    I am also heartily tired of to much photo shopping - which a lot of MF and 35mm camera systems require to make the most of a file. Again Leica shines here - out of camera files requiring the least amount of mucking around.

    But B&W souped up according to the zone system effect you are after ? IMHO digital is nowhere near it - black blacks and white whites with a lot more subtle tonality in between - and isn't that what everyone's eyes like to see.

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