Forum thread: '35mm C41 Film Selling Very Well'

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by Karim Ghantous, Sep 23, 2021.

  1. That is what I thought when Holga and Diana became popular. But the whole idea behind those is poor image quality.

    Since many seem to believe that the image quality of an LCD screen that you might be reading this on is good enough,
    and I suspect good 35mm film can do that, maybe that isn't the reason. (Not to mention those who only
    view images on a cellphone screen.)

    At some point, higher resolution is needed in case you want to crop, and maybe severely crop.
    But if you print whole images, or display them on an LCD screen, high-end digital cameras are
    way overkill.

    When I was in college, high power and low distortion stereo systems were popular. It didn't matter that
    you couldn't play that loud in the dorm, or hear anywhere close to the low distortion of modern
    (at the time) transistor amplifiers. (And now an iPhone and ear buds are popular.)

    Also, the low cost of shooting digital gives quantity over quality. People shoot a lot, hoping that one or
    two will turn out. But those shooting more expensive film, think a little before shooting.

    According to a nearby lab, film use went up during Covid. I wouldn't have guessed, but it seems
    that social distancing encouraged many hobbies, including film photography. It might go down as
    it goes away, but maybe not so fast as you might think.
  2. It may have had more to do with saving time and energy (as well as the all-important what the client or employer wants) than technical --let's be specific-- image quality, which is, to update HCB, "a bourgeois concept".
  3. The dispute between film and digital is boring. The concept of "old" vs "new" technology is also boring. Film and digital are different mediums for photography, each with their strengths and weaknesses. They co-exist. It is worth mentioning that the technical qualities of photographs are also a consequence of the lenses -- and also the physical size of the sensor or film.

    I prefer film to digital, although I use both. I like mirrorless cameras because I can easily adapt my film lenses to them, and those lenses impart characteristics I like about film to the digital photo. These days I tend to use film for b&w, and digital for color.

    "Digital is great but it's also boring." Do you mean the process of making a digital photograph, or the photos themselves?
  4. Wet Rag!
  5. I just have to believe what people tell me. I haven't actually seen anybody shoot a single frame of film in over a decade, and that includes me as well.
  6. I have seen me shoot film, but maybe I haven't seen anyone else.

    But a film SLR doesn't look so different from a DSLR, unless you look carefully.
    The sound might be different, though.

    But most I see have cell phones.
  7. If it's boring for you, that's fine. But there are issues in digital which need improving. Some people are working on that, including me (in a small way).

    As for what it is that I meant, I meant the process. Sometimes the images are a little richer on film. OTOH, the image quality from digital cameras can be technically superior to film, at least in some ways. But that's just a bourgeois concept, right? ;-)
  8. Last April I was in Santa FE NM and we were on the square. I saw a sign for a drugstore that said they sold FILM. Humm. I walked in and sure enough they had fresh Kodak C-41 35mm film. I bought a roll just because they had it.
    ] and glen_h like this.
  9. The bourgeois concept is: 'You take good pictures, therefore you have a really good camera'...reduced to: my digital camera takes better pictures than your old 35mm camera.

    The objective technical measurements that are meant by "technically superior" IQ may not be the IQ a photographer desires for the taking of a particular photograph; maybe a Holga does have the IQ desired.
  10. Hmm, a lot of surprising answers here. I shoot films in 35, 120, and 4x5. Here in California I constantly run into people with film cameras. I enjoy the process of photography, a digital camera does not give me any of this today -- particularly not the new models that reduce me to a button presser. Yes, film development and darkroom printing (or scanning) is less reliable compared to entirely digital processes, but it is not uncontrollable. People had very reliable results for more than a hundred years. Quality-wise 35mm is just fine for some of the greatest photographs ever taken be it in 1950 or 2021. These days, we largely look at photos on 6-17" screens, and 35mm is just fine for that. If you need to pixel-peep, the picture was not that good in the first place. That said, I yet have to see a camera that provides more details than Adox CMS 20 II in 4x5 and costs less than $5k. If I need a digital platform, I use my smartphone which has surpassed all but the $2000+ cameras on the market. Film is having a huge comeback because people want to be creative, because they want to be in control, and because learning and making mistakes is fun for most of us. I still make many mistakes, I post here, I read, I watch videos, I talk to people, and I learn every day. How cool is that! Finally, film looks more organic. As far as portraits (particularly on 120 or 4x5) are concerned, I pick a good portrait on film over digital in 9/10 cases. Is film better (whatever that means) than digital? Who cares?
  11. Once it became practical to fit ships with steam engines, sailing ships slowly fell out of favor. Most people in the business were anxious to switch to something faster, simpler to operate, and cheaper.

    But while it's now rare to see people or goods transported by sail, sailing goes on as a hobby. And sails as propulsion for transporting cargo and people may also make a comeback for ecological reasons.

    I don't expect film to follow the exact same path but there are some similarities. Sailing is a lot more work than piloting a powerboat, and generally a lot slower. But for many people it's also a lot more satisfying. Just like film is for those who continue to use it.

    In many ways sailing and sailboats seem to be stuck in time. The vast majority of sailboats on my lake are decades old. But innovation does occur, - especially in high end racing and cruising boats. Maybe the same will happen with film and film cameras but I'm not sure what would spur that.

    Sailing as a pastime has had its up and downs but I doubt it will ever disappear completely. I expect the same will be true for film. It's been gaining some popularity in recent years and there's no guarantee that that will continue, but I expect that there will be people shooting film for decades into the future.
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2021
  12. And for those same ecological reasons I could possibly envision a ban on film production and processing in the not too distant future.

    When film was all that there was available for photography, it was used by professionals and grannies alike. Nothing was thought about it being 'special' or a different 'user experience'. Why not just get on with the enjoyment of making pictures with the least environmental impact?
  13. This is a good point of course. But, when video cameras became affordable and portable, I shot Super 8 only, so I'm very used to having both options available to me. And I loved loading up a camera with slide film - it just felt good. FWIW.

    As for environmental impact, I don't know how to measure that. But if we hypothetically go to zero impact, that would be counter productive, because civilisation necessarily must have some impact, and there is not a thing wrong with that per se.
  14. It's relative, the hobbyist film photographer might drive an electric car. A new enthusiast to digital photography might eat take-away junk food, and often travel in jumbojets.
  15. You may want to google 'e-waste'. I do agree about 'special', 'user experience', though.

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