Digital Angst

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by jesse_hoffman, Sep 1, 2008.

  1. First, thank you for your patience. I'm about to publicly exhibit my own angst about recent technological
    achievements and my uncertain orientation to them. I'll frame my concerns and questions as a narrative, which
    hopefully you'll quickly remedy with your valuable input.

    1) Nostalgia: I'm an avid BW photographer with the pretensions of Francesca Woodman, Bresson, and a little Duane
    Michaels. In other words, while I don't exhibit my work, I take what I do seriously. I've always been disposed
    towards the BW image, and I've almost always shot on 35mm, even though the images I respect are often
    medium/large format. I'm not obsessed with the technical aspects of photography, although I'm well trained in
    conventional BW development/enlarging techniques. I'm interested in the intersection between form and
    content/subject. Unfortunately, I don't have a darkroom, and even the best deals for renting in NYC seem
    ludicrous. I like film--it's what I know. Digital BW seems silly to me.

    2)Reflexes: In an effort to reinvest myself in image making, I found a Mamiya on Amazon. It's a 645AF with the
    55, 80, and 210 lenses, all AF, along with a Metz 40mz-3i. Everything is mint, never used, and I paid only $850.
    The camera is fast and a pleasure to shoot with. I've sent the first rolls off for development. But I'm uncertain
    about whether or not I should keep this bargain or trade.

    3)Bargain: I've found a camera store that will purchase the used Mamiya system I bought for a few hundred more
    dollars than I paid for it, which would fund a DSLR. I'm thinking of purchasing a new Mac Book Pro setup, and I
    could get Photoshop and whatever else I need to do the digital process. Since most of my shots are taken on the
    street and candid, this seems more economical and practical. However, I'm scared. Of course, I've looked into the
    Digital C-Print and advanced digital printing technologies. They look good, but they're different. And the entire
    question goes back to the frequent opposition of Digital vs. Film.

    4)Question: What's the advantage of keeping the Mamiya 645AF system with its various lenses and the high-power
    flash? Is this system as good as the several thousand dollars someone originally paid for it, and will I ever
    find the quality it offers for the $850 price I paid. I define quality here as the quality of a 645 negative with
    its sound lenses. An obvious solution is to keep it and go digital. So, let me rephrase: What can a 645 film
    camera still do that a digital camera can't? Look, it's sloppy, I know, and it deserves a quick, pithy, "It can
    shoot 120 film." Does anyone want to play Virgil to my confusion?
     
  2. Wow, it's a quandary for sure.

    I'd love to have the Mamiya 645 or other similar "medium format" camera, but for the time being will make do with
    my Pentacon 6TL and Weltaflex.

    The future is clearly digital, nice as the larger format cameras are, however. Even scanning 6x6 or 645 negatives
    as an alternative to going fully digital is fraught with expense. Really high-quality scanners for the larger
    sizes are not cheap.

    Large sensor, medium format digital cameras cost as much as a small house in my real-estate depressed area. So
    that's not a real alternative either.

    I guess that if I were you, I'd go for option 3, but you're not going to get Photoshop, a Mac Book Pro, and a new
    digital camera for under a $1000. Photoshop Elements, a Mac Mini, and a Canon XTi might fit.
     
  3. Jesse,

    I think the camera is not the point here.
    BW film and printing is an extremely costly affair unless you have your own darkroom.
    The volume in BW is so small that you will end up with professional labs that will charge by the hour for their work.

    As much as I hate to say it but sheer cost will drive into the digital era.
    Rest assured with a good printer using the correct grade of paper you can get excellent results from
    a DSLR.
    Digital makes your own processing possible without the need for a darkroom.
    Look at digital as an opportunity not as something to fear.
    Find a good store with people that know their stuff by working with the equipment themselves.

    Of course there is also the halfway station. Shoot film and scan the negatives.
    It gives you a chance to see how digital printing and processing goes.
     
  4. Film still has one ace up its sleeve - very long exposures.

    Another point in favour of film is the very nice black and white effect as well as grain available with some stock, with no effort.

    Everything else favours digital. Convenience, speed, price, resolution (at same format size), higher dynamic range, and flexibility. For example, using Photoshop's channel mixer you can use achieve very different B&W conversions on the same image. Or play with all sorts of grain until you find the perfect amount, etc.

    I'd go digital unless I was a long exposure specialist, or shooting such risky things that there is a real chance of destroying the camera. I'd rather destroy a piece of film than a digital back! (underwater is a good example).
     
  5. Ok... here is my tale on this matter, which oddly enough, hits right at your quandry. Within in the last few months I have SOLD much of my
    high end digital gear. This included a Canon 1Ds SLR, a 24 - 70 2.8 L lens, a 70 - 200 2.8 IS L lens, a 135 2.0 L lens, and a 550 EX flash.
    What did I do with the money... put it toward a Mamiya 645 AFD, an 80 2.8 lens, a 45 2.8 lens, and a 150 3.5 lens, and a Vivitar 285 flash
    plus remote trigger. Know what?, I am now enjoying photography again in a way that I was totally losing with the digital. Make no mistake, I
    am VERY experienced with the whole digital thing including Photoshop. But I never felt *I* had a part in the process. Now again using film, I
    feel like an ARTIST again. No more getting lazy with exposure or composition and then "fixing" it later in Photoshop, or looking at a monitor
    on the back of the camera and redoing it until it and reshooting until I get it right. I again am forced to truly look at the lighting in a scene and
    get my exposure RIGHT in the first place.

    The camera itself is a breath of fresh air to use. Modern enough to not be a hinderence, yet old school enough that it is simple to use and
    understand. You do not have to keep an owners manual with you the size of a Sears catalog to find out how to make some setting change
    buried in some menu you have to find on a monitor.

    Sure I can't instantly change ISO, but that is what tripods are for. Sure, I can't instantly change white balance, but that is what 80A and FLD
    filters are for.

    Someone has said... "Digital is for production... film is for art". I agree with that statement. When I was shooting weddings, yeah, the digiital
    was worth it's weight in gold.... but I no longer do weddings. I now shoot mainly for the fine art arena. If I cannot take my time to study the
    scene and take my time getting the shot I want, then I have no desire to be there.

    Until I began again using film, I had forgotten the almost kid like joy of looking forward to getting my photos back from the lab. I STILL love
    that feeling, though I only get a contact sheet and the photos on a low res CD. The photos are sized for excellant 5 x 7 prints, which I print
    myself. I bring the photos into Photoshop and do any tweaking they may need. So yeah, it is a hybrid film / digital process. If I want
    something larger, yeah, I have to pay for a better scan, but I still love the involvement I feel I have in the process much better than the whole
    digital "workflow" bit.

    I do still have my old Canon D60 digital SLR and a Tamron lens for times that digital suits the situation better, such as just snapshots at a
    friend's house or something. So I am NOT totally against digital, but I will NEVER again turn my back on film like I did for a few years.

    I find it comical all the software out that is designed to mimic film "looks". I just want to go screaming into the woods.... "just shoot film and
    do it right in the first place"!

    I shot my wife's Sister's portrait with the Mamiya about 3 months ago. I had the negative scanned for a 20 x 24 print. She was so amazed at
    how "real" it looked as she put it. She said it looked so "nice and soft, not harsh and plastic like other people's photos". I could tell she could
    not really put her finger on just what it was she liked so much about the photo, but *I* knew... It was simply that certain "something" that film
    capture has that the electronic digital "file" just does not equal. It really can't be put into words. Yeah, in terms of absolute sharpness and
    perfection of resolution or whatever, digital may hold an edge... but I am not taking photos for lab testing. I am taking them as art and the
    emotion and mood and look that entails.

    So to sum up, I suggest you can still get into digital in a less costly manner. Get one of the more consumer oriented cameras such as the
    Nikon D80 or Canon XSI and the kit lens. Don't let go of your Mamiya and jump head first into unchartered waters. You may love digital...
    you may HATE it, but at least you will still have your trusty film camera to fall back on.

    Oh.. almost forgot... archiving. That can be a nightmare with digital. I much prefer to keep neat books of negatives and contact sheets.
    Simple, permanent, and will never become obsolete.

    That is the jist of it, maybe some food for thought for you.

    Steve
     
  6. "Oh.. almost forgot... archiving."

    Archiving is difficult but possible with digital. You have to store duplicates in separate locations, check the data periodically, and copy to the latest most reliable technology periodically. A serious pain.

    But film archiving is impossible. A fire, a flood, or a parent on a cleaning rampage, and all your photography is gone.
     
  7. What Steve said.

    My cameras.. RB67: for the FUN side of it, Nikon D40: for those pics I need for Ebay, and the occasional quick family shot.

    No angst about it!
     
  8. stp

    stp

    It's personal and subjective, but I'd be thrilled if I were in your shoes using a Mamiya 645AF and those lenses. I use the
    Pentax version, as well as a Mamiya 7II, and I also use digital (1DSMk3). I have the most enjoyment and best results with
    the Pentax (and the Mamiya if I nail the exposure, which can be a challenge in difficult lighting situations and using a
    polarizer).
     
  9. The Mamiya 645AF is a great camera. I have a suggestion if you do decide to keep it. Instead of getting an expensive scanner. Since, you shoot B&W, then get an enlarger.They are amazing things. B&W film and print developing is easy. The quality of DSLR's are more closely compared to 35 film cameras.

    "But film archiving is impossible. "

    If it is impossible, then why are there negs and glass plates that were created in photography's earliest days still in existence?
     
  10. "why are there negs and glass plates ... still in existence?

    Just because some number of negs/plates survived doesn't mean that hundreds of thousands of others didn't.
     
  11. Steve,
    I agree with most of what you said only your digital experience and results are with 35 mm based digital cameras.
    If you move into MF digital most of your comments to the image quality of digital capture are gone.
    Of course MF digital is a different ball game as far as price is concerned.
    No kits with three lenses under 1000 USD. They are likely to cost ten times that amount.
     
  12. What that other Steve said!
     
  13. Theres some very good answers on here, and good information. I'd like to chip in with my take on this.
    <p>
    Firstly, clearly, both digital and film have their own strengths and weaknesses. For example you'd be mad to shoot sports events or photojournalism with a mamiya 1000s, but on the other hand I think you'd be mad to shoot serious landscape with a Nikon D3 or Canon 5d. Similarly, digital music has been around for decades now and yet I can still walk into a highstreet music shop and buy a piece of vinyl.
    <p>
    Since the boom of digital photography for the masses is a few years old a lot of people are taking a look around and realising its not all about pixels. Resolution is not the only issue. Theres also the issue of the look, the workflow, the state of mind.
    <p>
    I could go out tomorrow and buy a Canon 1DsMkIII for several thousand pounds, it would have resolution to rival my scanned 645s but for the same money I could buy a 645 Pro TL and be able to afford several holidays to amazing photo locations and a lot of film and developing. In 3 years time, the canon would have halved in value, the mamiya would still be worth the comparative next-to-nothing i paid for it.
    <p>
    Theres also the issue of "look" and highlight rendition. I have not seen anything to rival the way velvia looks for landscape, or the true highlight shoulder film has. Now i'm not saying you can't get good landscapes on digital, and you can spend hours in photoshop trying to get the right look, but if you like the look of velvia then the best way to get it is to shoot velvia. I suspect the same it true of whatever B&W film you like. Similarly, remember that anaogue film technology is over 100 years old, and thus has 100 years of work behind it in producing films that render skintones and portraiture well, compared to relatively few years of digital - I still think film looks superior for people shots for this reason.
    <p>
    The way you shoot in film is different too. When I used to go out doing landscape on a DSLR i would take several dozen photos, and when I got back I'd plough through them all, and hopefully one of them would be OK, sometimes i'd never quite get the image I wanted, or the best photo I wished I'd take a bit more time over. Whereas when using film, especially 645, I feel a sharp stabbing pain in my wallet when i move my finger near the cable release, so I only shoot when its right, and I make sure its right. So I get a roll back and they're all good. if you look at the work of large format photographers and you'll see the length they've gone to to craft the composition. being forced to slow down for landscapes is often a good thing. On the other hand, in fleeting changing light you can miss shots, where digital certainly has an advantage, but a modern metered 645 setup can still be used very quickly if you're on the ball.
    <p>
    The instant review of digital is a great learning tool and you can easily condense about 4 years of film-equivalent learning into a year of using digital simply because of the turnaround time and bulk shooting. For some situations the review screen is great - for example if i'm shooting action in difficult contrasty light, or using a lot of offcamera fill flash then I wouldn't think of using film since I could easily burn a lot of it and not get a single good shot. If i need long lenses or ultrawide, and for action, then I reach for the DSLR, no question. On the other hand when you've got a spot meter a bit of experience you simply don't need an LCD review screen for landscape photography.
    <p>
    One thing film does have going for it on medium format is the reduced DOF which can be good for certain shots. Plus if you want to shoot non-stitched panoramic formats then film is your only choice - 6x12, 6x17 etc.
    <p>
    At the end of the day, you need to use whatever tools get you the results you want/need. If you were a carpenter you would not expect to use one tool for every task. Thus if you need fast turnaround for news events then obvisouly go digital. if you want the working style and look of film then go film.
    <p>
    I always find it amusing reading various diatribes on the net about how film is dead and how great it is to spend all night in front of a monitor HDR stitching a photo together, or how film is the only way and everyone else is a phililstine. They're both wrong. Each has a strength and as photographers we aught to be able to recognise these and use the best tool. Neither film nor digital is going away. If you want to play piano you can get a Steinway concert grand, or you can pick up a yamaha synth - both great for certain uses. Theres no angst needed really.
     
  14. Well said Dave<br>
    I have also found that my Fuji Finepix digital compact set to shoot black and white can be a useful check on composition, lighting etc. when using my film cameras.<br>
    Steve
     
  15. "Just because some number of negs/plates survived doesn't mean that hundreds of thousands of others didn't'

    David, do you think that a 100 years from now, that a CD made today, can be read by electronic gear in the year
    2108? That's why on ABC news several years ago. The Time photographer's showed a concern for future news
    photography. That, if they had digital then. We might not have any photos of Abe Lincoln.At least with film, by using
    the same printing process it is possible to print one of Talbot's negs 150 years old.
    I also agree with let people use what they want, film od digital.
     
  16. I'm in the same boat as you and Virgil. I've got a Mamiya M645, and I love it, but every once in a while, I find myself looking at digital cameras. I also scan with an Epson V700 and Silverfast. The one tangible thing I love with film is being able to hold a sheet of Provia slide film up to the light--or in my stereo dissecting microscope--and see the amazing detail (reading glasses help also). Holding a CPU in your hand just doesn't have quite the same romantic touch. I'm contemplating getting a medium format slide projector. As for the archiving issue, you can get fireproof and waterproof safes for not much more than $100.
     
  17. Equipment does not matter. The process does. Choose the tools that make you feel creative and in control. Now look, frame, and press shutter.
    I still shoot a pair of film rolls a year. Nostalgia, but I feel good.
     
  18. "But film archiving is impossible. A fire, a flood, or a parent on a cleaning rampage, and all your photography is gone."

    Not if you have good scans made of your favorites. Then you have the best archiving of both worlds.
     
  19. Since when does a fire or a flood not have effect on digitally stored images?
     
  20. "Since when does a fire or a flood not have effect on digitally stored images?"

    With digital images you can store perfect copies at two locations, something that you can't do with film.

    True you can scan your film, and I have scanned much of mine, but it takes a lot of time to do the scanning. Also if you scan at full resolution and 16 bit/color tiff files the files take up way more room then a RAW file.

    As an example I have copies of most of my parents digital photos, if something happened to their collection I could get them restored with very little work. If they loose their film photos they will mostly be simple gone.
     
  21. What Sven said... the medium is absolutely irrelevant. Film, digital... it doesn't matter. People can argue the merits of both systems until the world ends, but it's completely irrelevant. It's the end result that counts.

    However, in my opinion, Steve hit it on the head when he said "digital is for production... film is for art". For most, if not all the work I do, Digital is pretty much a necessity to stay competitive..... Again, the end result counts. Shooting weddings? a couple rolls of film is insufficient these days. It's expected that everything is done on the fly. Same with a lot of advertising and especially sports. And besides all that, personally, film isn't fun for me. Just as much focus can be put into a proper exposure using digital as it can be with film, but the annoyance of dealing with labs or wet darkrooms, and scanning is now gone. Once the image is taken, it's done... archiving, adjusting and printing can be done quickly and efficiently using Lightroom or Aperture assuming you have a decent printer at home. Otherwise, it's as easy as dropping off a DVD or CD of images at my local printing company and picking them up in a day or 2..... but... that's only personal opinion.

    So... without trying to repeat myself, the medium is completely irrelevant. People who like shooting film (medium format or otherwise) should shoot film, people who like digital should shoot digital. Neither is better, each is only different, along with their respective workflows. That's the final word as far as i'm concerned.
     
  22. Get a Holga.

    The camera for *real* photographers

    ;D
     
  23. Clearly it's all about what you enjoy. I mean, I personally don't see the joy in shooting film unless you're also doing the darkroom work. For me, that's where the real magic was. The excitement of waiting for the film to finish washing (ok, I would peek before it was done), the joy of seeing an image appear before your eyes under the red glow of the safe light.

    So for me to read about how someone thinks shooting film and having a lab develop it and then work with the images provided on CD (referring to Steve's post), well, I have to chuckle at everyone's personal requirements for really enjoying photography. I don't mean that to be a slag on you, Steve. I'm sure someone is probably snorting at my wistfulness of developing b/w 35mm film, thinking that large format is where it's really at.

    The point, of course, is that there is no wrong answer. Just go with what you like. But don't ignore digital completely because it has some very unique benefits over film that you may need some time.

    As for backups, finding old pics and keeping them in good condition is way easier for me if they're digital files. A couple of years ago I had the displeasure of trying to print some slides that my Dad took back in the '60's. It took at least 45 min. of touching up per image just to get something worth printing at 4x6 or 5x7. Colours were badly degraded, too.

    So really, it doesn't matter if you're shooting film or digital, unless you're going to take care of 'em, neither isn't going to last as long as you think.

    FWIW, I upload all my significant photos to Smugmug at full resolution. Smugmug backs those images up to multiple locations in different states on a regular basis. I also backup my files onto an external hard drive. Uploading to Smugmug is an easy process since it's semi-automated and I need to put images up there for display, anyway.

    larsbc
     
  24. "I find it comical all the software out that is designed to mimic film "looks". I just want to go screaming into the woods.... "just shoot film and do it right in the first place"!"

    I find it this statement comical. So someone likes a certain film look but wants to utilize the attributes of digital shooting and processing. Are they supposed to drive to a store expending gas money or order film somewhere to spend money on film, wait for it to arrive, shoot, spend money developing it at home or by sending it to a lab somewhere, wait, maybe wait some more and see if there are any usable images which could have been discerned on the spot with a digital camera, scan it at home with a decent but expensive scanner or send it out with a check to a lab (again) to get it scanned,wait some more and then finally work on it when it arrives all because some film guy says so? Why would anyone care how someone else creates an image at all much less to a degree where they have some though of screaming and running around in the woods?

    Maybe we should eschew photobased artistry and make our visions with paintbrushes and easals so that we may "do it right in the first place"! and not send painters "screaming in to the woods".
     
  25. Jesse - I'm so glad you posted that question and your comments, and I'm delighted to read this rather non-confrontational discourse on the pros and cons of film and it's cameras, rather than a drag out, no holds barred film v. digital debate as so often occurs here.

    I am experiencing exactly the same "angst" your talking about and staying awake some nights considering "what should I do about digital?" Maybe I'm being dramatic, but, like many of us here, making photographs is a very important outlet and means of expression for me and that makes questions like these important. I too, have been on the teetering verge of breaking down, selling my beloved film gear and buying into the digital lifestyle (so to speak).

    I do think the question can largely be answered with asking what kind of work you do and what are the right tools, as has already been said in this post. Yes, I agree that if you shoot weddings, commercial or, really, anything where "production" is a big consideration, you almost have to shoot digital as much for it's inherent efficiency and opportunities for high volume then the fact that it's probably what the client will demand. To be competitive with that stuff, you just have to keep up with the times.

    But you said you shoot fine art, and what's more, fine art in Black and White. That sure is the sticking point I'm running into when considering digital! I shoot B&W too, exclusively, and I too, aspire to fine art and for that, I absolutely can't bring myself to think I'd be doing justice to my ambitions by buying a digital camera and a printer and 'outputting' my efforts.

    I've made comments to this effect here before, but I don't mind reiterating something I feel so strongly about: There is just no substitute for a big silver print, that you printed, made from a big silver negative that you processed yourself, exposed in a camera with an excellent lens, such as the Mamiya you mentioned. Ditto for 35mm too, if you're making prints smaller than 16x20. I've never owned a high end digital camera or printer, but I've seen the results, which, if done well are very impressive. Just....missing something.

    By the way, I'll qualify some of this here. I do have a lowish end (Epson 4490) scanner that does a reasonably good job with all my films and a garden variety inkjet that does a reasonably good job of making a picture I can stick on my wall. But one quick thing to consider: I thought I didn't have the capacity for a darkroom either. I live in a big, one room loft and couldn't imagine how I'd pull off a darkroom. But I do have a bathroom - and you probably do too - and that's really all you need. I recently said "what the he**" and for $80 bucks a got an enlarger and some paper and stuck the whole thing on a little rolling kitchen cart that can roll into a closet in two minutes flat. Now I'm making 11x14 B&W prints with a depth, tonality and...that certain something that seems to be missing from digital and it just takes my breath away! "IQ" isn't even part of the equation.

    All I can say is (after writing quite a bit more here than I had intended) do yourself a favor, pick up an enlarger with all the trimmings on "C.L." for a song, stick some tinfoil over your bathroom window, make a few prints and THEN decide whether you really want to "go digital" or not.
     
  26. I've been after the b&w film look with the convenience of digital printing for a while and the simplest solution that works for me is shooting 120, scanning the negs and printing with Pegasus, Lamda or Chromira.

    Especially with the Chromira, the prints come out better than what I would have achieved on my own in the darkroom.

    I love the fact that I get a different quality/effect by changing the film and developer combination/process in less time than it would take
    in Photoshop.

    Keep the 645!!!!!!!!!!!!!
     
  27. Jesse, Mamiya 645 is a milestone in the world of photography equips. I would suggest you to get a decent digital body and keep your Mamiya with you.

    The 645 is still greater performer than DSLRs in the nature and huge landscape photography. It captures a lot of details on its MF negatives than DSLRs.
     
  28. IMHO, if there is no "commercial" reason to go digital then don't.

    I doubt many individual photographers could be more "Digital" than I am (3 MF digital backs, complete Hassellblad H3D-II/31 & H3D-
    II/39
    and CFV for V500 and V200 MF systems ... and just
    about all of the lenses for both types of camera; 2 DSLRs with an array of lenses; and a Leica M8 system +5 lenses) ... not to mention
    a "Nasa" level
    computer with two 30" monitors backed up by 2 other
    complete computer systems with almost 10 terabytes of digital storage ... all dedicated to making money.

    But I have and still use film backs on the V cameras and just secured a H2F camera to shoot film with. It's very personal and very
    liberating.

    I cannot disagree more that MF film is more expensive than digital to get comparable results ... unless you are a promiscuous shooter
    mindlessly hosing off digital shots and sorting them out
    later.

    I still have a darkroom ... but have less time to use it these days ... so I send my B&W negs to a lab, and get contact sheets. I then
    scan
    selects ... and for 6X6 shots, even a Epson flatbed
    can produce excellent files if you practice at it, use a good scanning program, and master scanning just as you would master the
    darkroom. But I knew I would always be shooting film, so I
    went for an Imacon 949 ... which was about the same cost as a medium level digital back. It all depends where your priorities are.

    If I wasn't doing commercial work, I'd be shooting mostly film and have an inexpensive digital camera for snapshots.
     
  29. Jesse
    I hope by this time you haven't sold your Mamiya. I think you'll find that it is indeed (as others have mentioned) worth what it was sold for in the past. The second hand market is a fickle thing, so you (an others) are picking up bargains. I'm like you in that I don't do this professionally. So to me high volume and quick turn around is not my main criteria.
    While I only scan my film with an epson flat bed I can get acceptable results from 120 with a little technique (also mentioned above). Espeically since you seem more predisposed to B&W negative then these scanners are actually more in their element than they are with colour (I put this finding together on colour registration problems with them and the sorts of D-max you can really get)
    Lastly, if you keep your Mamiya, you still have choices. Perhaps in a few years you might even snap up a digital back when the new ones are perhaps 32 or 64 bit HDRI units and noone wants a 14 bit unit.
    The leading edge costs and is seldom leading for long. So if your not dripping with cash, stick with your nice system (or post it to me :)
     
  30. Ohh ... one more thing

    I too do black and white in my bathroom. I have a Jobo drum (2553) and inserts for 120 and 4x5. I just roll the drum around on the floor (back and forth) in the bathroom. I thus only need to load in darkness (not difficult at night with doors and windows closed. Investment in chemistry and processing stuff is less than $100 (and I use the groslch beer bottles (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grolsch#Bottle_design) to store 4L of developer in smaller air tight containers, one is of course forced to determine the most environmentally friendly way of disposing of the beer ;-)

    home developing and scanning need not preclude then either traditional darkroom work with the negatives or experimenting with digital processes as your interest dictates :)

    I hope whatever you choose works out for you :)
     
  31. If you like to shoot B&W your decision is made for you.
     
  32. Jesse -- how much is "ludicrous" for you in terms of darkroom rental? Have you tried the schools like ICP? Print Space is
    20 dollars an hour for a private room with great equipment, chemicals and so on. They don't charge for wash times or dry
    times etc. You can also get a free hour if you print the 9am to 1pm. I think ICP was around 10 dollars an hour if you are a
    member. That's really not that much when you consider it includes the chemicals, the equipment and the facilities. The key
    is to be efficient. Don't go to the darkroom and spend an hour printing contact sheets. You would be much better off getting
    a basic film processing kit and changing bag at home, along with a cheap flat bed scanner. You can process at home and
    the scanner will give you contact sheets and web prints. Then when you have a few things worth printing, you can rent the
    lab and do it efficiently.
     
  33. Compare a 40" x 50" film print to a 40" x 50" digital print and you'll instantly see the limitation of Digital.
     
  34. Joe, that sort of generalization is not only false but just fuels the fire. Who needs more fan boys spreading misinformation?
    What film size? What film stock? Which digital camera? Unless you are shooting 5x4 or larger film, there will be a digital camera which can beat it. And 99% of photographers don't want to use a view cam.
     
  35. So Bronica, Mamiya & Hasselblad can be out done by a DSLR? For some strange reason I don't think so.
     
  36. Yes. Any of the current 33 or 39 MP digital backs will shame 645 or 66 film, and the new 50 and 60 MP backs even more so.
     
  37. Graham - I don't think you should accuse Joe of "fanning any fires" or "spreading misinformation". At my own risk
    here, I have to support Joe's point: What he said, I think, can be distilled down to the simple fact that the
    differences between a digital inkjet print and an optical film print become much more apparent at larger sizes.
    All "film stock" and camera types aside.

    You don't need to look at a 40"x 50" enlargement made from an 8"x10" negative to see the differences between film
    and digital in the final print. I think that with good equipment, materials, and technique on both sides, a quick
    look at two 16x20 enlargements side by side are enough to sense the differences between the two mediums.

    There are very few absolutes anywhere, in anything. I'm not trying to start an argument here, and I am not saying
    that one medium is BETTER than the other, just that there is a difference.
     
  38. Hi Joe Grodis
    So Bronica, Mamiya & Hasselblad can be out done by a DSLR? For some strange reason I don't think so.
    if you put a prism ontop of a Hassleblad and a digital back on it, will it not be a Digital SLR?
    Such backs exist for the Mamiya and the Blad (and pretty sure the Broncia too
    :)
     
  39. Joe

    http://www.hasselbladusa.com/products/backs.aspx
     
  40. http://www.clarkvision.com/imagedetail/film.vs.digital.summary1.html
     
  41. Joe, that article seems to disprove your point fairly handily.
     
  42. How silly of me (and many others) to waste my money on Medium Format cameras (Mamiya & Bronica) which do both Film & Digital when a Simple Cheap $1,200 12-MP DSLR is better. Just one more question... At what point in enlarging does the 12MP DSLR surpass the Medium Format Film back? I have seen Medium Format Prints that are measured in "Feet" so please do enlighten me on DSLR super enlargements.
     
  43. Ohh ... I see ... one of the religious anti-digital ... indeed, how silly of _me_

    Joe, you seem to ignore handilly that the Hassleblad and Mamiya *are* MF cameras and that you just poke a
    different back on them (39 megapixels in the case of the H3). No reason you can't also use a film back. I just
    wish I had such convenience for my 4x5 camera (scanning backs are more than I care to fiddle with so I definitely
    use film there).

    Joe, you are of course so right, why would anyone waste their money on digital systems, you just keep on
    believing what ever you want ... Ignorance is often bliss I'm told
     
  44. Joe

    perhaps you didn't read the thread well and identify who was saying what and what their opinions are. Perhaps you missed that I supported the OP (you remember, the one who asked the question) keeping his MF camera.

    Your posts contain divisive and polarising language, which is neither helpful or provides anything significant in terms of facts or even experience. Further, you seem to choose to make vague statements about "DSLR" to perhaps confuse a Rebel with a Hassleblad. They are both DSLR's but if you can't see what the differences are then perhaps you should do some reading.

    Personally I use film in my MF and LF stuff (6x9 and 4x5) but rarely bother with film in 35mm preferring the digital and using RAW for that sort of thing.

    Again personally, I feel that in the sort of situations where I would use my 4x5 that I can in the right situation get images from film which will exceed anything. Have you ever tried to do wedding photography with a 4x5? Even with a MF camera it can be trying. I really understand why 645 is the more popular medium as you'll be changing film less often. Without an assistant you may well just loose that moment.

    There are many criteria for photographers, but even for the simple and absolute single criteria of image quality I think you'll find it a very close tie between MF digital and MF film. When you add situation issues labour, film stock, scanning costs and then client delivery requirements to the equation it will be more complex to make a determination.

    Myself for what I do? I'd probably use a negative like Portra for people or Fuji 160S for landscapes. I just can't afford the digital MF.
     
  45. Everyone,

    Thanks for your valuable insight. This has been tremendously helpful. I'm going to keep the system. I agree with splitting the difference and then reintegrating the differences. Obviously, digital and film are not the same, and they produce different results. Art always assimilates the media around it to continue with its unbroken work: innovation, creativity, imagination. I like film for its material qualities; I like that a negative represents a fragment of time, and that the hallides hauntingly remember that lost moment. Digital allows us to alter those moments in ways that are now practically undetectable. And those alterations make a new range of expressions possible. The other night I saw Sternfeld's new work up in Chelsea. Sternfeld uses 5X7 negs to make Digital C-Prints. You can see in his details a filmic tracer that is made painterly by the large negative's digitization, which matches well with Sternfeld's artistic project to remember the Hudson River painters of the 19th Century through the lens of post-industrial warming. He shows us a teetering Wasteland. Anyway, as artists, we need everything available at our disposal.

    Best,
    Jesse h
     

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