Back to film - help needed

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by daniele_chiesa, Nov 10, 2008.

  1. Hi all,
    first of all, i searched already on this topic, but still have a few questions...
    Photography is my hobby, and after about 8 years of going digital, i'm going to use film again.
    Since between my father an i we probably have a couple thousand slides and a few hundred negatives that were
    never scanned and sit there unused rotting, i finally took the plunge and bought a coolscan 5000 plus the slide
    feeder, to archive them digitally and see them again (the projector is long broken...).
    Since i'm also using a few 'alternative' lenses on my 10D, i went ahead and bought an Oly OM-1 and still have my
    old plasticky yashica for those zeiss lenses i wish i had :)
    Now, when using film i was always pretty casual about what i used (i'm still young, but was a teenager back
    then...), but since then i learned more and i'm more discerning now (also thanks to digital).
    Since i live in Spain, it is not that easy to get good film around here, hence the question: should i just warm
    up with some generic consumer negative film? How big is the difference between that and the much more expensive
    pro stock?
    Is it ok to develop negatives in a generic store, or i should look for a better lab?
    For you europeans, is there a better place in the eu where to get film rolls?
    Scanning the film and post-processing it, is it still interesting to use slide film or not?
    Also, strictly for nostalgia, i would like to use some kodachrome before it is totally extinct: also, where to
    get it in the eu? And, is it worth it?
    Thank you for all the help,
  2. Congratulations Daniele--you're joining the club. I've gone from 85% digital to nearly 85% film again because I love the look of it--especially the grain. Frankly I shoot the cruddy Kodak Gold and Fujicolor supermarket stuff and run it through a lab for $2.49 USD with an index print. I can't really process B&W on my own that cheaply (or buy the film!). There is a big difference in film quality, but with digital editing, that helps a lot. The biggest difference I see is with grain and color saturation. Although the biggest variable is really how good (or how bad) the lab is that is processing it. I use color negative film all the time because it is so cheap, but I also use higher end films when a job comes along that warrants it. Definitely get some Kodachrome. It's great stuff. It is almost like Nikon scanners and Kodachrome were meant for each other (though I'm still using an old Canoscan scanner. There are some GREAT stores in the UK. Just get a hold of some of the awesome glossy pro photography magazines printed in the UK and they have all kinds of supplies. Have fun!
  3. Generic consumer film, as long as it's from Fuji or Kodak, should be fine. The only real difference between it and pro films
    is usually just in ageing the film a bit to achieve a more consistant color balance from roll to roll that pros prefer. But this
    should not be a problem for you as the film can still be color balanced properly when printed. Off brand or store branded
    films should be avoided except for snap shooting fun as their technology can be several generations older than the afore
    mentioned Fuji and Kodak ones so the color may not be as accurate or saturated plus they may be grainier for the same
    speed as the equivalent Fuji or Kodak ones.

    Yes, you can get any neg film developed in a one hour type minilab, but for critical work you need to be careful of any roller
    processing machine since they have the potential to scratch the film. Professional labs should use a "dip and dunk" type
    processing that cannot damage the film. But these labs are more expensive, and with the advent of most pros switching
    to digital, are also much harder to find.

    As for availablity, I'm not familiar with Europe but I assume that, similar to the U.S., anything can be ordered by mail.
  4. Where are you in Spain Daniele? Decent pro labs are only available in the larger cities. I use one in Valencia called ByN (short for Blanco y Negro, although most of their work is colour these days!). I only shoot black and white and they dev the films and scan the negs onto CD for me. I don't use contacts anymore.
    Consumer level colour films are still widely available in the tourist areas at least, pro films you'll only find in a pro shop, and again these are probably only available in the larger cities.
    Film is available from Eurosimer by mailorder, along with most professional equipment.
    Let me know if you're on the east coast and I can give you some better information.
    Cheers, P.
  5. I think you'll do fine to "work out" with the consumer films for a while. But after awhile, you might find yourself wishing for a little bit different color rendition, or want to experiment some.

    There's lots of good info, complete with samples, all over the web. Maybe a good approach would be to find out what films are available to you -- and affordable! -- and then research those and find the ones you want to try.

    Freestyle Photo in Los Angeles might also be a good source for mail order, if the shipping isn't too expensive. And of course there's B&H and Calumet -- all in the US, but it might be worth looking at while your shopping around. You never know where you'll find the good deals -- of course, local at a good price is best!

    Good luck! Let us know how it goes!
  6. You can get film VAT-free from They are based on the Channel Islands. I am sure they will quote you for delivery cost to Spain. They are very competitive.
  7. Sadly, only deliver to the UK.
  8. Thank you for all the replies; i got already a 3 pack each of kodak gold 100 and Fuji superia 200. That was all i could find locally, and i guess it will be ok to warm up myself and the scanner.
    Paul, i'm in Granada; not much around here sadly; Valencia is probably more mundane than ove here :) But as suggested i can order stuff by mail anyways.
    Reagrding Kodachrome, i just asked 7dayshop if i can order myself and get the rolls delivered to a friend in Kent that comes overe here every now and then... Otherwise, the guy selling the stuff on eb@y in the states can ship me some, but the process is not paid (they say it is at 7dayshop). I also see they have it a calumet uk; more expensive, but maybe another option if everything else fails...
    As a more general question, is negative film better for scanning, due to more latitude or slides are better for some other reason? Also, i would like to use scanned film to get more the character of each film, not to post process it a lot - i have digital for that...
    Again, thank you for all the suggestions,
  9. it would be interesting for you, in a separate message perhaps,
    talk about what is available in Spain.
    and processing and availability of film and cameras.
    here in rural pennsylvania only "consumer grade" films.
    there are small camera stores but at least 35 miles away.
    Wal-mart , grocery stores and drugstores are the only local
    sources for film. and never Kodachrome or any slide film or slower color negative or B&W.
  10. I'd suggest avoiding Kodachrome as it requires more scanning skill for high quality results and isn't possible to process except at Dwane's in the US as far as I'm aware. It's much more practical to try regular E6 slide film like Fuji Sensia or Provia.

    The higher speed "pro" films may do better in mixed lighting and have lower grain than the consumer versions. 36 exp may also be more economical than 24. I personally like lower contrast and realistic saturation films so I prefer the Fuji portrait series to their regular films. It's easier to get a natural-looking result using Reala, 160C, 400H, 800Z or Natura 1600.
  11. Congratulations, and Welcome Back ! Glad to see you want to try a roll of Kodachrome - you wont regret it! And yes, slides are still far more beutiful than negs - better saturation, resolution, and less grain. However, you may find the dynamic range of negs a welcome change from digital. I use negative film for people pics, for which it is excellent. Any landscapes, sunsets, etc. though should be shot on slide. Also, I think some Fuji Superia 400/800 or Kodak Gold 100/200 is fine to use. Use the money saved to buy some slide film. If you really get into it again, then you can start buying some pro stuff like Kodak UC400 or Fuji Pro H/Z.
  12. If you think you will be doing much scanning, I suggest SilverFast for your Nikon film scanner. Scanning software does make a difference, particularly for color negative film. Figure you will need to go up a learning curve when scanning, but it is not too hard to get excellent results after awhile.

    From what I've been told, professional film is not merely consumer film that has been aged. There is a difference.

    As you can see from recent threads, Ektar 100 is a new film. Users are just discovering that this may be a great film. You can't go wrong with the Kodak Portra film line.
  13. Well, Kodachrome has to be sent to Dwane in the USA so for Europe it's in fact already a passed station. But if you have seen a Fuji Provia 100F, Velvia 50 (E6) I do not think you will be disappointed.

    Foto and film materials you will get over the web. For Spain e.g. R3 has a lot.

    For the Benelux our Fotohuis can be your supplier.

    Film is not really expensive. If you look at the Czech B&W Fomapan films, they are still cheap and works fine in Para-Amino Phenol developers like Rodinal or R09.

    So still a lot of choices and even some special films available in Spain. Do not worry, just order and you will be surprized.

    Best regards,

    Robert (from the Netherlands)
  14. There's an address in Switzerland for Europe to send Kodachrome to but it is then forwarded to the Dwaynes in the US I believe.
  15. I suppose that the thing about kodachrome is just pure nostalgia: i remember as a young kid (i'm just 35 now...) to have in my hand those cardboard mounted slides. Then i see sometimes some kodachromes from many years ago and they look so good. So since and especially because it is dying, and a big effort to get and get it developed, it represents the exact opposite to digital and it appeals to me just to have one last roll of it with my images.
    On another subject, please keep some suggestion coming; really good ones so far. Also, if you know of a good source in Europe, it does not have to be in Spain, actually, if it is another country in the eu better still, since i'm VAT registered...
    From what i gather, i think i would like to try some portrait film next; in kodak it's portra; what about fuji?
    What is the difference and what you suggest in the two portra flavors, the normal and the vivid?
    Can't wait for the scanner to be delivered; i shot already some pictures today.
  16. Please try some Kodachrome. The more people we can all get to use this film(even if it is not to often) the better. Any of the Portra films would be good to try....Good Luck!
    PS: What are you using for a camera?
  17. Yesterday I just received six 50 year old Kodachromes from a friend to scan on my Nikon ED 5000.

    These slides are amazing. 50 years old and still useable.
  18. Fuji is just different then Kodak in portrait film. I find Fuji super for the wedding reportages. Normally my choice is for a bit less saturated film: Fuji Pro 160S and pro 400H. If you want the high saturated professional C41 films: Pro 160C and pro 800Z.

    >>if it is another country in the eu better still, since i'm VAT registered... <<
    It's OK to me: Indeed: No VAT paid (19%) if your VAT IDnr. is checked out within the EU.

    As the text is pretty clear: Specialized in analog photo- and darkroom materials. But sending packages abroad is expensive, especially when liquid chemicals are involved. However film is cheap and light in weight. Airpack - low cost Package 0,5-2kg (a lot of films) Eur. 9,10 in whole Europe.

    Best regards from Holland,

  19. Hello Daniele,

    welcome back to film!
    You wrote that you have thousands of slides, but your projector is broken. Buy a new/used one! The prices are ridiculous cheap.
    Projection is the purpose slides are designed for. Concerning Resolution, Color brillance, Color reproduction and the look of a certain three dimensionality slide projection is absolutely unique and outstanding. It's the best way to enjoy slides (looking through a good slide loupe on a lightbox is excellent, too). You get much higher quality by projection than on any computer monitor or beamer with their very low resolution and limited color space and reproduction.

    Availability of films in Europe: Robert Vonk is a very good source and highly recommended.
    In Germany you have in general the lowest film prices in Europe. For example you may have a look at or Excellent suppliers, too.

    Best regards,
  20. Slide film is my favorite, currently I use Kodak Elite Chrome 100, easy to scan for e-mail or internet use. For my personal viewing I use a handheld viewer (no lamps, etc.) just hold up to the daylight. This gives you a much larger image than a computer monitor without the fuss of getting out a projector and screen and you can do it anywhere. Find one on EBay for a few dollars (Euros). With an adjustable eyepiece is best.
  21. I thought about getting a projector, but i think my wife would not be that excited: i'm populating the house with tripods, printer, now a scanner, cameras, lenses; and now what, a projector??? I don't think i can pull it off, but i'll try :)
    As for providers, macodirect seems to only carry b/w stuff, nordfoto needs a minimum order of more than 200 euro, and Robert does not carry Kodak, but i might just get some fuji from him. OTOH, calumet UK just confirmed they can ship to me in Spain, also net of VAT.
    Tomorrow i'll pick up the first roll of cheap kodak gold 100 i ran trough the OM-1...
  22. hehehe...Daniele, I'm getting a projector :)

    I just tried slide film for the first time. Velvia 100. (I didn't get it developed yet though). But the whole reason why I wanted to try slide film was just because seeing my pictures actualy projected on a wall seemed like an interesting idea. And also just simple curiosity. I've never even seen what slide film looks like. I do shoot movies with 8mm film though, and watch them on a projector.

    I don't have my hopes up too high though. I'm sure the exposure on some of the pictures are going to be way off. I'm at the point now where I can usually get decent exposures with negative film even without a meter, just with Sunny 16. For the slide film, I used both a meter and Sunny 16 estimates. But for the first time, I just want to have some fun with it. If they come out at least somewhat decent, I'll be happy.
  23. Pro negative film needs a very good exposure to bring out what you're paying extra for. The colours are more nuanced and can look amazing but if you under or overexpose by a couple of stops you won't see it. You need to treat pro negative film like slide film. It also has less grain and as mentioned better colour consistency batch to batch.

    The standard film, Superia etc is great and made to be punchy and contrasty, this allows for off exposures and the contrast helps poor consumer lenses. That said a lot of pro's will use it especially for it's high saturation. Definitely the best way to start. But play with some pro stuff and see for yourself.

    Also, you'll need to scan or get a very good lab to make your prints. Consumer labs crop the negative, automatically lighten a picture if the machines spot a face in it (regardless of weather that face was supposed to be lit) and can scratch your negs (they'll always blame your camera). Consumer labs played a big part in making film less popular, then again there wasn't a whole lot they could do at the prices people were willing to pay.

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