Film revival?

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by JDMvW, Jan 27, 2018.

  1. FWIW, sometimes I use the back LCD for "instant gratification" (or instant confirmation) that I got a particular shot but in the majority of cases (when I bother to look), the back LCD is used as a tool to check composition, focus, and exposure. Just one of the reasons why I consider digital the better tool for me and have given up using film a long time ago. Up to the point in time when I press the shutter release, shooting film or digital requires a nearly identical decision-making process (though different in the details); it is what I can do with digital afterward that tips the scale towards digital as the better tool. As an example: shooting portraits of my wife is hard because she is a "blinker" - chances are high that any given image taken will show her with her eye partially or fully closed. With digital, I can check and repeat if necessary. With film, I learn that most of the images have her with eyes closed two weeks after the shoot when I get the film back from the lab; a bit late to do anything about it. Naturally, I would shoot short burst with either medium to increase my chances of getting a shot with the eyes open - more convenient with digital than with film.

    I remember those feelings well - if anything, moving on to digital has cut down on the aggravation part and possibly enhanced the excitement portion.
     
    tholte likes this.
  2. Considering the low quality of the camera's LCD it can't bring the genuine gratification to serious photographers ( and I don't consider here the cellphone snappers.) 3 in screen is not a match to enlarged print. I think the most valuable feature of the camera lcd is a histogram. The first think I look after I scan my film is did my exposure and DOF as I want them, to underline my idea.
    Cheers.
     
    Norma Desmond likes this.
    • Here is my 2 sentence post: Mark, just shot a few rolls and the mystery is refreshing, unlike the instant gratification of an lcd. Not to mention slowing down to craft the image, spot metering the scene, placing tones, not just checking for blinkies. Do you really think just checking blinkies is a better way of crafting an image than carefully making the shot? Sure seems like some folks are pretty sensitive about it. After pages of "angel on the head of a pin" discussion, I don't see any rebuttal of the fact that looking at the lcd is called "chimping" because of the ooh's and aah's of joy when it is viewed after the shutter is released. Evidence of gratification. It takes place immediately after taking the shot, immediacy. INSTANT GRATIFICATION. Fact. The term is recognized by most digital photographers. It is immaterial when the you look at it, an hour later or a week later. The FACT is that is what most folks do after most shots. If you think I have believe that the approach to crafting an image described tha twe are led to employ with film is somehow superior technically, you are absolutely right. It has nothing to do with some old debate about film/digital, it has to do with crafting an image. And guess what, when I have the time and the shot calls for it, I do it with digital. I don't have that option at $ 2 a click with film. Is glancing at the lcd and blinkies strike you as technically rigorous? Do you really think Ansel used a meter only to get an incident reading and set his camera? No he was taking many reflective readings and placing a particular tone in a particular zone. Hmm, But he did look at the image on that huge piece of glass at the back of his camera before taking the shot. It was like looking at the image on an 8x10 lcd. I wonder if he said ooh and aah then? So the gratification from large format could actually take place BEFORE the shot is taken. Now that should be good for 5 pages of discussion.
     
  3. I confess to sometimes doing a little oohing and aahing when looking through the finder of my TLR. Very different from squinting with one eye through the viewfinder of an SLR. Not 8 X 10 but on a bright day it's almost like looking at a large, square LCD. ;)
     
  4. No. I think many serious digital photographers carefully craft their shots and utilize the lcd in a variety of ways.
    Is there something wrong with sensitivity? Try it, you might like it!
    I don't either. I never questioned the fact that that's why it's called chimping and that lots of folks chimp and get immediate gratification from it.
    LOL. Fine. I'll take it as fact. No problem with it.
    I don't know why you're talking about what most people do. I'm talking about something else. That may be part of the problem of our miscommunication and/or disagreement. I'm talking about what I do and what I think other serious digital photographers do.
    Here's where you lose it. You move from "most people do it" to draw conclusions about how images are crafted digitally. Fatal flaw in your thinking. Most people using digital cameras don't actually craft images at all. They take pictures. Who cares? Digital photographers who are in a similar league to yours photographically speaking craft images and the extent of their use of the lcd is not limited to "checking blinkies" or getting immediate gratification.
    Yes, I thought this from the beginning. Some of your defenders here seemed to think you weren't talking about superiority, just difference. But I sensed you were talking about superiority. And that's a good deal of what pierced my "sensitivity."
    No.
     
  5. I hadn't visited PN for quite some time. Maybe years. And here we are. Still debating film versus digital. What a hoot!
     
    john_sevigny|2 likes this.
  6. It must be inconceivable that someone looking at the back LCD does anything more than looking for blinkies. How about carefully studying the histogram - three color channels to boot and doing something that required a lot of work for Ansel Adams in a fairly easy and straight forward way - placing tonalities exactly where one wants them. I am aware that the JPEG I see on the LCD is not a very good representation of the underlying RAW file - but just like with the zone system, experience goes a long way to judge things properly. And sometimes just looking for blinkies is all it takes to get the optimum RAW file for post processing. Because even the most careful zone-system-based image crafting can't place tones any better if there isn't any room to do so.

    I can't speak with the same certainty about what most folks do - I don't think that my sampling has even statistically relevant numbers. I do know that I don't seem to be "most folks".
     
    john_sevigny|2 and Norma Desmond like this.
  7. Statistically relevant numbers, can't speak with certainty what other folks do? Oh, kiss my ass. Either you are full of *X&$#**X&$#**X&$#**X&$#* or you need to get out with other photographers. I have shot with hundreds if not thousands of photographers on 2 coasts, a group of 20 only 2 days ago and that is my sample. Are you actually saying that most folks don't chimp after most of their shots? Is this the night of the walking contrarians? Looks only for blinkies? Where did I say they didn't ?? Study that histogram, it's based on the jpeg It's good enough for government work. I SAID IT WAS NOT AS TECHNICALLY A PRECISE MEANS. Like another poster, you are putting words in my mouth then disproving it. Typical strawman bull *X&$#**X&$#**X&$#**X&$#*. Frank, this isn't a debate of film vs digital, it's just a bunch of trolls with too much time on their hands. I am beginning to realize why numerous folks I admired that used to be on this site are no longer here. I have neither the time nor the inclination to be involved in this crap. I too have reached the end of my patience with this site. Little wonder there are some topics that don't get new posts for months. A site for professionals I am on doesn't have this inane chatter and is more informative. After 10 years with this site, adios.
     
  8. Statistically relevant numbers, can't speak with certainty what other folks do? Oh, kiss my ass. Either you are full of *X&$#**X&$#**X&$#**X&$#* or you need to get out with other photographers. I have shot with hundreds if not thousands of photographers on 2 coasts, a group of 20 only 2 days ago and that is my sample. Are you actually saying that most folks don't chimp after most of their shots? Is this the night of the walking contrarians? Looks only for blinkies? Where did I say they didn't ?? Study that histogram, it's based on the jpeg It's good enough for government work. I SAID IT WAS NOT AS TECHNICALLY A PRECISE MEANS. Like another poster, you are putting words in my mouth then disproving it. Typical strawman bull *X&$#**X&$#**X&$#**X&$#*. Frank, this isn't a debate of film vs digital, it's just a bunch of trolls with too much time on their hands. I am beginning to realize why numerous folks I admired that used to be on this site are no longer here. I have neither the time nor the inclination to be involved in this crap. I too have reached the end of my patience with this site. Little wonder there are some topics that don't get new posts for months. A site for professionals I am on doesn't have this inane chatter and is more informative. After 10 years with this site, adios.
     
  9. It's a good thing actually! It shows that both film and digital photographers are serious about how they take photographs and their methodology for doing so. That it keeps coming up here on PN and other photo sites time and time again just shows the passion involved on both sides.
     
  10. It also shows that people like arguing and debating. :)

    Digital photography has largely replaced film for very good reasons. But with every technological leap forward there is often something lost. There may be applications where the old technology is still a valid or even better choice. And sometimes people enjoy a less automated approach to whatever it is they're trying to accomplish.
     
  11. I'll just leave it at this.

    Both processes have a place in my interests and hobbies. I have standardized on Nikon SLRs, and a lot of what I do is either with a D800, or for 35mm film with an F100 or F5 so I can make full use of some of the latest and greatest optics from Nikon.

    I also shoot formats up to 4x5. Most of my film consumption these days is in medium format, and lately most of it has been going through my Hasselblad. I still shoot 645 and 6x7 also, though.

    BTW, I just put a BriteScreen from Rick Oleson in my 500C. It's a BIG improvement over the c. 1960 course ground glass/fresnel sandwich that was in the camera. A good MF focusing screen, though, still isn't as bright as an LCD. Some are really bad-despite all its other technical merits my Pentax 645 is terrible. TLRs do have an advantage in that the viewing lens can be brighter than the taking lens(and not have to worry about being as well corrected) but most SLRs, on the whole, seem brighter to me.

    There's also a reason why dark cloths are still fashionable for LF photographers working outdoors.
     
  12. Passion for photography? Yes, I get that. Passion for what medium to use? Not so much.
     
  13. I have hunted all my life. Same with photography. I appreciate what
    a modern bolt action rifle can do with one shot at 300 yds. with near monotonous accuracy to put meat on the table.
    But when I started hunting with a bow my ability to hunt was refined by leaps and bounds. The primitive nature of the tool required me to close the range from 300 yds. down to 20 yds. I learned to stalk deer on foot to take them with a recurve. Not near as easy or as high success rate, but more gratifying by far. The “passion” (I dislike the overused misapplication of that term these days) for hunting was magnified. I had to become intimate with my quarry and study it’s diet and daily habits. A process that translates well to photography. The simplicity of the bow was, and remains, very appealing to me.
    This is very analogous to my experience with photography. I still enjoy both methods in both hobbies for different reasons that are distinct in the satisfactions they impart.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2018
    john_sevigny|2 and tomspielman like this.
  14. I've learned a lot more about about photography after a rekindled interest in film. It's nothing I couldn't have learned with a digital camera. Having access to digital cameras has in fact made it easier to practice and learn certain skills, but using old film cameras forced or at least encouraged me to become more skilled than I was.
     
    Stephen_Prunier likes this.
  15. I've never hunted and wish I'd been exposed to it, but growing up in an apartment building in NYC, other than hunting for cockroaches under the bed, there just wasn't much opportunity. I saw a great documentary recently on troubled urban kids who were given the opportunity to be taught how to hunt from an old guy somewhere in the midwest. The film follows six Junior High School age kids (boys and girls) he mentors out in the wilderness over the course of a year. They live and learn how to survive together. He starts by having them make their own ammunition and some very basic life skills and they develop an incredible relationship with each other and their surroundings, and their sense of food, which was obviously quite different from what they experienced in getting food from their city supermarkets. Four of the kids were at the screening, about 5 years later, and the experience definitely stayed with them and still informs how they think about food, getting it, and eating, as well as bigger environmental concerns. They all seemed to have shaped up.

    Someday, it would be interesting to hear from photographer hunters how hunting actually relates to their photography. I'm sure working with film informs a lot about one's making of photos, even when using digital. At this point, that's a subject that's been done to death. From my knowledge as a total outsider to hunting but with at least a sense of its positive primal nature and the potential to bring one into a certain kind of harmony both with nature and prey, its commonalities with photography are probably significant. After all, we do refer to going out with a camera as shooting and what we come home with as capture.
     
  16. The two definitely compliment one another.
     
  17. I think I'm better at digital photography because I started with film.

    Regarding the debate between film and digital, I just took a walk in the snow with a mirrorless digital on one arm and a Holga in my pocket. I love that film has not died, digital has improved, and I can work with both.
     
    Uhooru, wogears, tholte and 2 others like this.
  18. You nailed it John
     
    Uhooru and john_sevigny|2 like this.
  19. This may well be true and I can understand feeling that way. Of course, it's pretty impossible to know, since you can't go back in time, do away with your film years, and compare how good a photographer you'd be without it.

    That being said, while I'm sure it's true that working with film has made many digital photographers better, it's also made many of them worse. I've long observed that many of the film photographers who talk a lot about film and gear would likely be better photographers if they forgot about film, digital, and the latest gear or best traditional gear they're using or have used and learned how to make a good photo. If they talked about what they saw instead of what they used. I'm talking about learning how to express something, how to show something in a significant way, how to tell a visual story, how to uniquely observe the world, etc., in addition to dwelling on what the process feels like. What "traditional" photography seems to have given a lot of people, present company excluded, is a collection of cameras they're proud of, nostalgia for the way it used to be, and not a terribly memorable or moving body of work.

    I never photographed seriously with film. I used film cameras as a tourist mostly. Fooled around a little bit with more artistic endeavors but didn't do my own darkroom work or printing so I consider the experience negligible in terms of my formation. What benefitted me was my exposure to and love for movies, my Philosophy background which helped me learn how to question stuff, my exposure from an early age to art and museums, and living for many years with a photographer I admired. Probably the thing that has influenced me the most was having been a very uptight and emotionally closed-off kid who searched for many years for an expressive outlet and came to photography as much because it allowed me to express some things I wanted to explore as because of a draw to the physical aspects of its processes.
     
  20. I used to think that I am better at digital photography because I started with film but changed my mind recently. I shoot with a lot of people half my age that never used a film camera and it is hard to believe how good some of them got in just a short period of time. They all have a few things in common that enabled them to get really good in just a couple of years or so; a good eye for what makes an image interesting, love of image making, get up early, late or what ever it takes to get the best light, experiment, ask a lot of questions, not fair weather prima-donnas, look at and study a wide variety of photographers etc., etc. The only thing I think that shooting so much film over the years that gives me an edge with some of these young whipper- snappers is that most of them have a difficult time knowing what a good black and white image should look like and have a hard time converting a digital color file to make a sophisticated black and white image. This is my opinion only and relies exclusively on anecdotal information.
     

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