Remind me why I'm learning on film?

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by laurenm, Feb 4, 2006.

  1. Though I've been taking pictures since a young kid, I'm just in last
    few years trying to really learn the technical stuff instead of
    shooting in full auto. I'm reading, watching, practicing and
    spending lots on film and processing but getting better slowly. My
    final goal to do professional wedding photography and baby /
    children photography. It is often suggested that I invest in a
    digital. (I've been tempted as with digital I'd be more inclined to
    take on some small jobs, but afraid I would start to rely on the
    viewfinder and never really keep learning) I was a second shooter
    last wedding season and took pretty good pictures, but when I shoot
    with film, my results are inconsistent (I guess because I am
    practicing with diff settings)

    When I first joined PN almost a year ago, I was encouraged to learn
    on film. Now that I've been practicing so much, it gets frustrating
    and I am trying to remember why I am doing this on film? Can someone
    just refresh my memory and keep me on the film track?
  2. > My final goal to do professional wedding photography and ...

    The workflow of professionals has been driven to digital. Not sure why people advised you to start with film. (Flame away, film buffs.)

    Digital gives you rapid feedback, lower cost if you shoot a lot of frames, and much needed practice with image manipulation and other computer tasks. It's probably time to put your money into a digital SLR system instead of film development.
  3. Well, because you don't have to learn about the bits and bytes and 1000 different settings on todays digital slr cameras. By using film, you don't have to learn all this and you can focus on the essential stuff; composition, iso, shutter speed, f/stop and depth of field matters.
  4. "The workflow of professionals has been driven to digital." Yes, but Lauren says that her final goal is "to do professional wedding photography". I am sure she'd be far better off by using Kodak or Fuji professional print film that is actually designed for wedding stuff, than by using digital. black=black, white=white in its all in the photo without blown out whites or underexposed blacks. Try that with digital.
  5. I would say that most wedding photography is medium format on print film...and this because there are industry standard processes and expected result styles.

    The digital result and process workflow for wedding photography would be particular to each photography studio...but of course digital wedding photography is developing.

    In more general terms the best reason to use film is to have both the slide and the digital image. The slide is a high quality image straight out of the tank and can be displayed to dozens of people at a time. Of course the slide can also be scanned to a digital image for computer use...
  6. Sorry, Zane, no flame from me even though I shoot 95% film. You can learn a lot about exposure with a digital SLR. But it's more about being methodical and evaluating your work than a film vs. digital debate. Even in program mode you can learn to understand what your meter "sees" and what compensation may be necessay. You can also use built-in spot metering and take more of the decision making away from the camera.

    So yes, Lauren, a DSLR might make a lot of sense. And you could just buy a 50mm lens if you use an APS-sized sensor as it will behave just like a short telephoto on a full-sized sensor.
  7. Buy a low- to mid-range digital SLR. Canon Digital Rebel (or Rebel XT) or Nikon D70. Many photographers get wonderful results with film, but it's the slow, hard way to learn. Just because something is hard and more expensive doesn't make it an intrinsically superior way. Don't get tangled up in RAW vs. JPG, monitor calibration, etc. All it will do is confuse you at this point. As you grow more comfortable with digital you can start to learn about "advanced concepts." And once you have figured out what you are trying to do, things like color management etc start to fall into place logically.<br><br>Honestly, which would you rather do? Spend a few bucks on film and processing, send them out for someone else to perform black magic upon them (which is what labs do if you are not processing your own black and white film) and hope the pictures came out right? Or take as many pictures as you want for free, discarding the hopeless losers two minutes after you take them and being able to see in the EXIF info exactly what settings you used for the picture - shutter speed, ISO, aperture. If anything, a digital SLR makes the mechanics of picture taking *more* transparent than a film camera. And, after the initial investment in the camera, it is cheaper.
  8. I shoot film, but it is not for everyone. If you think digital will serve you better, give it a try. Good luck.
  9. If you don't know why you shoot film, or it makes no difference to you if you shoot digital or film, or if it looks the same to you as long as its a sharp image with good colors, then by all means shoot digital

    If you simply can't live without grain, color casts in shadows, and that rugged look of film, then shoot film. If you don't feel all of the above, film is simply too expensive for just getting images of any kind.
  10. I learned on film, but then it was the only game back in 1973. If I was starting all over again, and could somehow have all the knowledge I've accumulated over the past 30 some years..........I would shoot digital for color, and film for black & white. That however is slowly changing and foresee in the near future that digital is going to figgure out b&w. Epson took the first step with their K3 won't be long before the camera manufacturs figure out there is a market for B&W digital out here.

    back to my split of film color you have next to zero control. film is developed exactly the same way all the time. In B&W you have a variety of methods of development that all give you slightly different results depending on what you need. Color digital has RAW and RAW converters that are just simply amazing in what they can do.

    In my opinion that is the best of both worlds right now, and also the best learning conditions for each. B&W film AND you develop yourself.........Color in RAW and you convert it yourself.
  11. Anything that slows you down (e.g. film, manual focus, fixed focal lengths, manual exposure, meterless cameras, handheld meters, and tripods) and makes you think more about what you're doing, can make you a better photographer. Large format users especially try to make every shot count.<p>

    Using film helps improve your previsualisation.<p>

    Digital does nothing to help improve compositional skills because you can just hold the shutter down until the card fills up and pick the frames you like in the editing process. Then there is the temptation to chimp. Digital camcorder users have it even better since they have moving pictures and are able to make stills.
  12. Digital gets my vote. Stick to a disciplined plan to learn the techniques & use digital for the instant feedback.
  13. By all means digital is a better way to learn. First, you get instant feedback--you can play back the image on the LCD, look at the histogram, and see flashing the area that are too light or dark to be recorded properly. Second, you can practice for virtually nothing.

    As of today, I think there are real advantages to film, mostly having to do with print film's ability to hold details in both very bright and very dark areas. Few if any digital cameras can do that as well as film--I have a current DSLR, and it doesn't come close to good print film in this regard. Also, I am not convinced that for B&W, digital can match film's tonality and the qualities of a fiber-based print, especially if medium (or large) format film is used.

    So as of now, I shoot mostly digital, and would break out the MF camera where I knew I wanted B&W and didn't expect to need the more extensive editing capability digital can give or if I wanted really big, detailed prints (like group portraits). So for, say, a wedding, medium format film still arguably has a place. For now. But digital keeps getting better, and the areas where film is superior get fewer and fewer every year.
  14. I know it must be funny to the users of digital equipment, but the instant feedback is one of the reasons I don't like digital in the first place.
    Film is like when you are unwraping christmas presents. You go to the lab to pick it up after processing, and you can't wait to get home to view your chromes, instead you take the film out every few minutes on your way back and take a look at it against the sky. You just can't wait till home. And then when you examine it at home, it always suprizes you in some way.
    While exposing film, the nature is making the image inside the camera,
    you have partial control, so you can't always know how it will come out, sure you can be 100% sure that it WILL come out if you are skilled enough, but it always has some sort of a flavour you couldn't predict, unless you used the same film in the same situation before.

    I don't want my images to look like I thought they would look, that's boring, and that's what digital is all about.

    Film always looks better than I expected

    I want to wait and see

    Digital is sooo boring to me, and thats how it looks too to me: linear and boring.
  15. I think you have a point, Edgar. Although I have done a wedding with my dslr, I enjoy shooting with film also. I like to experiment with different films, both color and b/w.

    Having shot a wedding, I understand completely why so many pros have moved to digital. There's just so much difference between shooting for fun and shooting as a job.
  16. I hear you Edgar, and agree that the unexpected little surprises one gets with film is part of the fun. But shooting a wedding isn't about fun for the photographer, it's about minimizing risk for the wedding couple. Digital, with its histograms and instant feedback, is a good way to take some of the variability out of shooting those important pics, in a hurry, under tremendous pressure.
  17. Lauren,

    I shoot digital at NASCAR events, since the agency I shoot for needs the speed to make deadlines for newspapers and web. For open wheel, I shoot film, because the magazine I shoot for appreciates the quallity.

    That being said, I used to moonlight in a "wedding & portrait" pro lab (until Thanksgiving); and I can tell you that, from the trenches, not only was the best work from the medium format film shooters, but also the digital shooters always seemed to have "problems." You name it, I saw it.

    Most of the time, it centered around either (1) exposure, (2) dynamic range, (3) white balance, or (4) in-camera JPEG processing:

    1) Digital is like shooting chromes: In fact, the exposure tolerance is even closer!

    2) Related to that is the dynamic range, i.e. can you still capture the details in the groom's tux along with the bridal gown lace and gentle folds? The digital crowd talks a good game, but the proof is in the pudding.

    MAJOR EXCEPTION -- BUT WITH BIG-TIME CAVEAT: The Fuji S3 Pro, with its "Soper CCD" technology with "R" and "S" pixels, is the only camera that can competently handle weddings, since it has a legitimate 10 stop range. The Major League Caveat is that you MUST shoot RAW .AND. in "High" mode to record all the data seen by all the pixels: This means you'll be writing 25 megabytes to your CF card each time you release the shutter; and even with an 80x card, you're limited to one shot every 12 seconds after filling the 5 shot frame buffer... And more time between shots if the card is slower. Fuji has this technology locked up tightly in patents, and in fact, not even a $30,000 PhaseOne or Leaf digital back can match the dynamic range of the S3 Pro!;

    4) White balance is an abortion with dSLR in-camera processing: You're pretty much forced to shoot RAW. This will be especially apparent when you shoot in the banquet hall, under a mixed bag of fluorescent and incandescent light... Good luck!

    What you'll find, when you actually put a digital workflow into production for wedding/Bar Mitzvah work, is that you'll be longing for the "forgiveness" of 160NC or Pro160S/NPS.


    If you plan on shooting digital, I strongly suggest you "tag along" with another photog for 3-4 events to "back up" her work -- In other words, everything you shoot is a "bonus;" but, in return for your services you get to compare your work with the other photographer's.

    Oh, and by the way, I've been shooting digital for five years now, including my current S2 Pro. That being said, in the last six months I've invested many thousands of $$$ in two Mamiya 645AFd bodies and lots of glass: The results confirmed my contention that medium format film still blows digital out of the water in terms of overall quality.

    Been there, done that... Have the T-shirt.
  18. Zane wrote, before I hit SEND, "it's about minimizing risk for the wedding couple."

    ...And Zane exactly ratified my point!

    For the bride, her wedding is the most important day of her life: This is why photographers often send alternating film rolls to different labs.

    In the studio, under controlled lighting conditions, digital is just fine. On the other hand, the "forgiveness" of color print film -- When coupled with scanning and digital post-processing -- can compensate for all sorts of exposure "issues."

    When the bride & groom are running out of the chapel in a hail of rice, you don't have time to f**k around with blinking histograms: Like an auto race, the action is gone in a blink of an eye. Color print film -- Especially when overexposed by 1/2 to 1 stop -- gives you the **real** freedom to "shoot first, and ask questions (of the camera metering) later; where it's "don't worry, the lab will fix it."

    In a perfect world, where a Fuji S3 Pro can write a RAW-High frame every second, digital is OK for weddings.

    Short of that, I'll take a 32 shot burst with my Mamiya 645AFd; then pop open the film back and slam in a new cassette in about 4 seconds.

    Been there; done that; have the T-Shirt.
  19. In case you're wondering, I'm an Electrical Engineer, specializing in providing tech support to photo labs, graphics/prepress shops, and increasingly, photographers & studios converting to digital.
  20. Before getting around to try to help you, lauren, let me give you my opinion too! Film has been optimised over decades to make people look good - when the time comes that digi does NPH the same as NPH [reala, NC, et al, etc.], I will be in like Flynn. It isn't even close, yet. Now - please humour us with the details: what are your specific problems? what 'settings' are you experimenting with? and the big one: what is you find less than great about your images?
    If you are not using a medium format camera, get one, pretty much any of them, but use one with a decent built-in meter. Shoot NPH at 250, learn light readings well, pick an aperture suitable to either deep or shallow depth of field, know how steady you are with slow shutter speeds, and let the moment will need to master flash at some stage also, a big subject in itself. BTW digi needs all the above and more, so learning is largely not media-specific.
    Epson took the first step with their K3 won't be long before the camera manufacturs figure out there is a market for B&W digital out here.​
    They know there is a market, and have been trying oh, so hard for so many years now! Remember all that talk of how great the Cone inksets were on 1280s, way better than anything that came before - that was 5 years ago...just like then, some prefer dig B&W, others see plenty of difference. I like both but 'see' in colour.
  21. Because if nothing else, you should learn how images have been captured since its inception. And learn what things of its characteristics photoshop uses to "go digital". Without learning history, the future can't be complete.

  22. Well, this has devolved into another pointless digital-vs-film debate. Weddings weren't the only things Lauren was interested in.

    I don't question that medium format film is better for the staged shots of the bride and groom with black tux and white dress - TODAY. But the weddings I've attended the last two years have had Hasselblads AND dSLRs snapping away. Learning today with dSLRs will help all wedding work she does-now and later.

    So, getting back to the original issue, what should Lauren do? I still don't see any point in shooting 35mm film. Medium format film? Sure, if she wants to and develops her own film, as was suggested. But in X years, MF is going to get swallowed by (new & improved!) digital and the time she spends now learning the digital workflow will continue to benefit her. (I'd be willing to bet that X is around 5, certainly less than 10.)
  23. This is NOT a "film vs digital" debate per se...

    Zane wrote: "I don't question that medium format film is better for the staged shots of the
    bride and groom with black tux and white dress - TODAY. But the weddings I've attended the last two years have had Hasselblads AND dSLRs snapping away. Learning today with dSLRs will help all wedding work she does-now and later."

    Maybe those stringers you see at weddings with dSLR's are there learning, with the heavy lifting still being done with the Hassy's on film? :,)

    I agree with Zane that NO professional should shoot a wedding with a 35mm camera!

    One thing that hasn't been brought up is the optics: 35mm SLR's still suffer from, in many cases, entry-level optics (Leica's excepted)... And these carry through to the dSLR bodies that get these lenses screwed into them.

    So tell me, Zane: Did these dSLR shooters you saw at weddings use a Tamron 28-300 lens?!

    And, do tell me, Zane: Have you actually seen the shots from these weddings, where you can see if a given shot is on film or digital?! Seeing a photographer shoot a picture, and seeing the finished product, are two wholly different things!


  24. Okay, settle everybody. I should have put a smiley on my "flame away, film buffs" comment, for that I apologize. I like film. I really like old mechanical cameras. Heck, I even use a box camera once in a while just for grins. I'll probably ask to be cremated with my Pentax MX.

    All this debate about film vs. digital in the context of shooting a wedding is (IMO) off the track a bit. Lauren reports she's "spending lots" on film development, slowly improving but getting inconsistent results, and wonders if she should go digital. I replied yes, since:

    1. she will get immediate feedback
    2. she will save money in the long run
    3. it will familiarize her with a workflow that is consistent with her stated goals (weddings, baby/children photography, and "small jobs").

    I never said film was bad, digital was always better, or that time spent on film was wasted. Sure, there are established individuals still shooting exclusively with film, but is that how you would advise someone starting out and looking to improve their skills?

    And Dan - you makin' fun of my 28-200 Tamron? It's okay, I don't take it personally. It's the new version, and I've been pleasantly surprised by it. A very reasonable choice if you want to pack only a single travel lens and want lotsa zoom. Not an appropriate choice for a wedding, obviously.

    I secretly lust after the Pentax Limiteds, though. They give Leica a run for its money, I hear!
  25. Whoa! Thanks for all the answers! A bit overwhelming! I guess I should have mentioned what I have now are NikonN55 and N80 and a 50mm1.4 (a few weeks old), 28-80 f3.3-5.6 and 70-300 f4-5.6 and drum roll... one sb28 Oh, and a couple filters I hardly use.
    I also should have mentioned that when I joined PN, I had no clue what aperture and shutter speed meant so that gives you an idea of what you're dealing with here.
    I posted in this "film and processing" forum thinking I wouldn't get the film vs digital debate that I would have in the wedding forum. I know if I aim to do wedding photography (or prob even kids babies) I will prob end up on digital someday and I don't look forward to learning all the computer junk that goes along with that fact but it seems a fact in the business except for maybe B&W (either that or I could be one of the only film photographers around and really stand out, but since I am not skilled enough yet to really see the diff in the final product, most likely most clients don't either and won't care about film)
    Some of you have answered my question whcih was "why should I learn on film"
    Had my question been "should I keep trying to learn on film" others of you may have swayed me toward saying, "no".
    So now I'm REALLY confused.
    If I switch to digital to keep learning on, am I ever going to achieve the skills it takes to take gorgeous pictures like so many top wedding photographers I see? Or am I going to get caught up in "hey, I can do this" and snap away and be a mediocre photographer, being able to get good enough pics to charge people to do a wedding, but never really getting to the next level?
    Other questions semi unrelated are...are digital files going to last as long as film negatives (which if they've been preserved properly can still produce beautiful prints today) or will they have to be worked on in years to come? (I'm a genealogy and archive assistant by day)
  26. "If I switch to digital to keep learning on, am I ever going to achieve the skills it takes to take gorgeous pictures like so many top wedding photographers I see? Or am I going to get caught up in "hey, I can do this" and snap away and be a mediocre photographer, being able to get good enough pics to charge people to do a wedding, but never really getting to the next level?"

    I ask as even though being new, I see many pros who never shot with film and who's pictures I think are just okay, who are out there being professional photographers.
  27. > I going to get caught up in "hey, I can do this" and snap away and be a mediocre photographer...

    You can be a careful, thoughtful photographer with digital or film. Just because you *can* snap away furiously doesn't mean you have to.

    You're in charge, not the machines.
  28. Philip, thanks for your response and I may look into a medium format.
    as for my specific problems, I guess it is that I am experimenting with many settings to learn the effects. This is where film is frustrating as it is slow to have to write down each shot (so I mostly don't) and then wait until I get them back to find out. I am often going on what I think the settings should be or what the meter says they should be and then of course getting them back and not knowing where I went wrong, and speaking of flash, that is often my problem (not firing or harsh shadows)which I guess is aside from digital or film and is a whole diff subject to study.
    I'm recalling now some tips I've been given for learning:

    get a tripod, shoot B&W, no flash, write down the settings, snap away and then study the prints.

    From my little digital experience, I feel like it is hard on the viewer to really see the difference between chosen settings (except from the histogram) as opposed to seeing it on a print.

    "what is you find less than great about your images?"

    That is a good question. Aside from the ones that are obvious to me (like flash didn't fire, to much shadow, out of focus, poor composition) I can't figure out what it is, they just don't look like the pros. Thinking about that question I guess is how I learn by studying my pictures and trying to figure out why. what did I do or not do to get my result. Guess I should just take some classes and then I'd have an instructor to tell me what I did wrong or right.

    aaarrrgh! It was so much easier when I just didn't know anything and took pictures of my family for fun. Then I didn't expect anything from myself!
  29. I have no idea why you're doing it. I certainly wouldn't be.
  30. "I don't want my images to look like I thought they would look, that's boring"

    this is the last thing I would want from film or digital and I wouldn't be in business for very long if this was the way I felt.

    there are good and bad photographers using film and or digital. I shoot film and print digitally. If you are not too invested in large amounts of equipment then go digital, if you already have film equipment then keep that, if you find it doesn't work out,'s that simple. Use what works for you and the type of business you are in. It's not about the equipment as much as it is about your personal style and quality.
  31. Lauren, let me ask you this question: Do you have extensive experience shooting chromes?

    I've been dealing with digital photography for a decade now, and I've noticed something looking back at the studios, labs and shops I've dealt with:

    The studios, photogs and graphics/prepress shops who shot chromes (or which had scanners in their workflow) had little trouble switching to digital -- They were in the first wave, with $20,000 Dicomed or Leaf scanning backs for their 4x5 studio cameras -- And matching optics.

    The second wave was about 3-4 years ago, as consumers started to adopt digital point & shoot to replace their 35mm point & shoot, especially for posting to the Web. However, these Sony and Kodak cameras just didn't measure up for professional quality, meaning there was still a gap in the market between "prosumer" and "studio" you could drive a truck through... And a gap wedding/portrait photogs fell into, with (essentially) nothing to shoot with.

    Couple this with the fact that established wedding/portrait shooters have a significant investment in lenses for their Hassy 503's or Mamiya RZ's, with no (feasible) digital upgrade path, and you can see why many stuck with film.


    In short, if you're shooting in a studio **in controlled lighting** digital today is a viable alternative, especially if you have the optics to match.

    On the other hand...

    For weddings, where failure is NOT an option, film is still king.

    [More later...]
  32. Dan, I kind of follow you. No, no experience at all shooting chromes and to remind you of my level of knowledge here, I don't know what chromes are. Maybe if I ran and looked it up in my trusty keep it simple book...but that's cheating. some sort of film I assume, but I don't know anything about it.
    I don't have extensive experience in much but composing a picture and pushing the shutter which has been my technique until recent years and mostly this past year.

    "For weddings, where failure is NOT an option, film is still king."
    Funny, the people saying shoot digital argue that for digital.

    More to follow???
  33. ok, research and re-reading earlier post...chromes are highly forgiving films? meaning you can get a picture with more incorrect exposure than a different film?
    So you're relating that to digital which is why those shooters adjusted to digital easier because they didn't see the diff in their final pictures whereas someone using less forgiving film will have to properly expose but if they do they will get a better picture and therefore not be as acceptable of the quality of digital?

    If what I said is anywhere near what you are trying to say, I feel like I just winged it on an essay test question! As it is, I'm printing this whole thread to add to my material I read over and over!

    and I am now guessing that maybe those telling me to learn on film (some friends from PN who's work I admire and others "old" pros who now use digital) are saying so for aside from several other reasons...

    If I can stick with film and learn how to properly expose on film, I will have really mastered exposure and then can allow myself to move to the (by then even more upgraded) digital (or may even choose to stick with film). The digital move would then be simply for the long term savings (in film and processing) and maybe for the advantage of being able to check for closed eyes during a formal shot.

    Do I get a t-shirt yet or am I on the worng track?
  34. Lauren - I have no idea why you bothered asking this on film forum. You might do better on the Wedding forum, but I'm not too sure about that either. Try to remember that is 99% amateurs, who are pretty clueless about the current state of wedding photography.

    More and more clients expect photographers to be using digital and want products that are only practical if you shoot digital. Thinking that you have to first lean how to shoot film is the same as thinking that you need to learn Latin to have a proper education.
  35. > ...are digital files going to last as long as film negatives ... or will they have to be worked on in years to come?

    Archiving and safeguarding digital files is a big issue. As a minimum, you should make multiple copies and store them in separate locations. Long-term (meaning 20+ years) stability of CD-ROM and DVD media is unclear, as is the availability of the hardware to read them. This means you should be migrating all your data to the new media formats as they appear.

    Negatives aren't foolproof either. I'm scanning old family photos and negatives and see color shifts in negatives as recent as the 1980s. These were stored indoors, in a closet. Not museum conditions, but not extreme either.

    At least with digital you can make multiple copies of equal quality, unlike film. But digital data management is a real concern, requiring a sound strategy and execution.

    Sorry, no easy answers.
  36. Thanks Zane that is interesting info on the digital files. My old film (or my family's) back to 1940's still makes beautiful prints (after I find and pay someone to make the prints that is)
  37. trw


    You have it backwards... Chromes (aka E-6, slides) are highly unforgiving films. Colour
    Negative films (aka c-41) are forgiving, and B&W films are the most forgiving, especially if
    you adjust your developing to alter the contrast.

    The reason people were saying that studios who shot chromes had little trouble
    transitioning to digital is because digital sensors even have less exposure latitude than
    slides, but people who use slides are used to being very careful about their exposure.

    As for the whole 35mm vs MF argument, although cameras like hasselblads do not have
    amateur quality lenses, high quality lenses for 35mm (like your 50/1.4) are readily
    available on the used market. To assume that because 35mm kits sold at drustores come
    with slow, cheap zooms, all 35mm lenses are low quality is just silly. Also, good 35mm
    lenses tend to be faster (larger max. aperture) than MF lenses so you can use slower film
    or faster shutterspeeds in the same light. This may make the difference between getting
    the shot or not.

    I have shot one wedding and chose a mix of 35mm and 6x6, with a mixture of C-41
    (Portra 400NC) and B&W (Delta 400). If I had had a full-frame dSLR with good lenses, I'd
    have likely used that in place of the 35mm.
  38. Thanks Bruce (almost called you Ben), maybe I will re-post there but I thought the film forum would have some die hard film shooters who would give their opinion on learning photography not necesarily just weddings, though it had to be mentioned as it does matter because I understand the industry is all going or gone that way. What products can't be produced from film if negs are scanned?

    "Thinking that you have to first lean how to shoot film is the same as thinking that you need to learn Latin to have a proper education."

    you do though need to learn reading and writing and arithmetic in order to have a proper education. At my phase, I'm relating it to learning how to ride a two wheel bike before learning how to drive a car. The bike teaches you coordination, road rules, safety, before getting behind the wheel of a big fancy, heavy, expensive car with lots of controls and maintenance.

    are dig and film that different from each other that knowing film down pat can't further your ability to take great digital pictures?
  39. There is at least one important reason to shoot weddings in digital. I once shot a wedding in Hawaii and there was another photographer hired to shoot at the same time. I shot with a Pentax 67 using 220 rolls. The other guy simply used a digital SLR. It did not take long to tell that digital was the choice for the other guy. I had to stop every 20 shots to change film. Each time I had to stop for 5 minutes. The other guy simply kept on going. I shot a total of 3 rolls (60 shots) in a little more than an hour. The other guy had 500. It's obvious who was going to sell more photos and make more money. But, keep in mind wedding photography is not the same as professional photography. A wedding photographer is not the same as a professional photographer. So whether digital is the trend for professional photography or not is a different matter.
  40. Trent, thanks, so those who shot chromes, which were UNforgiving had to get their exposures right, therefore when switching to digital, they were ok, because they knew how to properly expose,

    vs those who shot on forgiving film switching to digital which is less forgiving, had to re-learn or learn how to properly expose to get the shot right whereas when they shot with the forgiving film it was fixed in the lab.

    So the point (at least Dan's point) would be if you shoot chromes to learn you will really be learning how to correctly expose in which case maybe worth learning on film, but shooting c-41 won't teach as much as the film is more forgiving than digital which is why he would suggest USING film for a wedding because if the exposure is not perfect it can be fixed at lab easier than a poorly exposed digital picture?
    Sigh... more and more confused, going to bed to sleep on it!
    Am i getting it yet?

    PS - I guess I'm feeling like if I can shoot good pictures on digital where I can occassionally check and adjust the settings, I'm not as good a photographer as if I can shoot several rolls of film and nail the exposure (or appear to anyway). Which is why I have sort of been striving to be able to do that (shoot well on film) and getting frustrated in the process of learning. Maybe as Bruce said though they are seperate things and I can either be successful with a paint brush or a pencil either way I am still creating a beautiful picture?
    ok, really getting off computer now!
  41. I'm better than I thought I was. I could change in under 5 mins. Did you ever see the other pictures? How many of 500 were cut and how many of those not should have been. He may have had shots of more people and sold more reprints (good for biz), but who had nicer pictures of the clients?
  42. Lauren wrote "ok, research and re-reading earlier post...chromes are highly forgiving films? meaning you can get a picture with more incorrect exposure than a different film?"

    Lauren, it's the other way around: "Chromes" (short for Ektachrome, a/k/a slide film or color reversal film (process E-6)) are much more sensitive to shifts in exposure than color negative (color print (process C41)). Overexposure is easily tolerated with color print film; while chromes cannot tolerate this: The highlights get blown out.

    The problem with digital is that it is also sensitive to overexposure, even more so than Ektachrome.

    The photographers who shoot products, architecture, interiors, etc -- Where the lighting can be controlled -- were able to transition several years ago into digital, because they had the experience in careful exposure control.

    Wedding photographers, on the other hand, typically shot (shoot) color print film, which has more exposure latitude, i.e. it's more "forgiving" of exposure errors.

    Here's an example you can relate to, since you shoot an N80: The Fuji S2 Pro and S3 Pro cameras are built on the N80. BUT, that dependable SB28 TTL flash you use won't work well in TTL mode, because it's not accurate enough. As it turns out, the problem with controlling the flash isn't the flash itself: It's just that what was tolerable with film (even, to a degree slide film) fell apart when the film was replaced with a CCD sensor. Take a look at the five part series by Jim Tweedie entitled "Mastering On-Camera Flash Fill, starting at: (free registration required), where he goes into the problems and solutions of TTL flash, for both film and digital.

    [To be continued...]
  43. Hi again lauren: a few comments which i will try to group sensibly. Medium format is the current gold standard for wedding/portrait shooters; you will feel like a heroine looking at your results. You are best advised to cultivate a relationship with a really good pro lab, even if it is not in your neigbourhood. Mine, 300 kms away, is one of Australia's best - they specialise in wedding work (70% of prints are from film), and their Frontier work is very reasonable price-wise. I send them my rolls by registered post and get a 3-5 day turnaround. Good labs will work with you, advise you on issues you are talking about (exposure, film type, speed rating, etc). You haven't said, but you must use a pro film (NPH/ NC400 for fast film, NC160 or Pro 160S for slow (shoot at 100).

    Now this is very important - use print film only, chromes are special purpose film, not to ever be associated with weddings! Tripods for posed 'formals' only - work out your exposures ahead of time with a friend, and wedding film is very forgiving. Medium format prints easier than 35mm as well.

    OK, the dig v film issue: you will go digital sometime, at some stage, so you will have to get used to some of the issues - read up on the wedding forum. You won't like much of what you read, unless you are a computer nerd.

    "1. she will get immediate feedback 2. she will save money in the long run 3. it will familiarize her with a workflow that is consistent with her stated goals (weddings, baby/children photography, and "small jobs")."

    yeah, like chimping at a tiny low res screen really helps when the going gets thick and fast as with most weddings and events - not. Save money with dig? not unless you are a very organised pro with a strong workload - remember you are the lab once you go dig...check the depreciation against your likely output needs, lauren. Workflow? you mean, sending film to pro labs and picking it up later on? pretty easy way (workflow) to get quality, one would think.

    "More and more clients expect photographers to be using digital..." Which is why when clients see high quality medium format output they just stare, as they have become accustomed to 'expecting' digital 'quality', skin from another world, halos, chroma effects, mushy out of focus areas, etc. As most realise, dig suits wedding pros the way junky electronics suit manufacturers, and is now accepted as 'good enough' but that does not make it as good, far from it. One may except top end DSLRs, but are you ready for a five figure outlay, lauren?
  44. Lauren,

    What you REALLY need is a professional photographer to take you under his/her wing, since photography is a visual art. I was fortunate in my travels to have just this, where I learned about processing Ektachrome... And then, on the side, the pros would look at my photos and critique them honestly (i.e. no holds barred).

    If you find a photographer or photo studio that will take you in, you'll learn a lot, and quickly.
  45. This is getting tiresome. AGAIN: She's not looking to work weddings exclusively. Her other uses make a dSLR perfectly viable.

    > yeah, like chimping at a tiny low res screen really helps when the going gets thick and fast

    Chimping is for the learning stages. Obviously, when the going gets thick and fast a pro would not be dorking around with histograms. A quick shot or two to check exposure, and then click away. What, film shooters never have to worry about exposure under pressure?

    > Save money with dig? not unless you are a very organised pro with a strong workload

    Bunk. Roll of good film: $3.50/24 exp. Development & prints at a decent quality lab: $8.50. Price per film exposure: 50 cents. Not counting the gas driving to/from the photo lab. (Sure, you could mail it in and save a little, but now you're adding more delay to the learning experience.)

    Used Pentax *istDS (in Like New condition) w/ good quality 18-45 lens and 1 GB SD card: $900. Just purchased last week. Breakeven point at 50 cents per shot: 1800 exposures, or 75 rolls of film. A year and a half, if you shoot *only* 24 frames a week. It's rather likely to last a great deal longer than 18 months, too, unless I go on safari.

    With digital, calibrate your computer monitor and do your learning on-screen. Only print if you want to, and even then 4x6s are only 19 cents each.
  46. Regarding archivability of digital images it's clear that appropriate services should appear soon: cst supplies images in variety of formats and service provider stores them safely for as many years as it is required. It's good for Cst as he can ask copy of file (or print, or slide made from file) any time it's needed without worrying about where and how to store it, don't think about power supply and dust-clogged devices which stop working exactly when he needs them working. No worries about scratched CD's or DVD's - data centers archive data on tapes and take care of them. Probably casual click-see-erase digital shooters will not go this route as files are erased in a week after shooting, but those who are required to retain pictures in time and those who like idea of saving pictures for kids and kids of kids, will use that service. If suddenly sky falls and .jpg becomes obsolete, provider will warn you before that happens and offer to convert to next great format for you or give back .jpgs to you and lease software to do it yourself. Same applies to RAW files and converters.
    If some are worried about rights and such aspects of that service, million worth businesses today are keeping their valuable data in third party data centers and no one has bankrupted because someone has stolen their data. Bankrupts more often come other ways.

    How much it will cost ? OK, how much you paid for your first hi-end 2mpix digicams ? Maybe more as you pay today for decent digicams. Same will be with this service if it will become same part of digital workflow as memory cards and batteries.

    Personally I shoot film but don't see problem if digital comes even more closer to us. At the end, my TV has 1 chip, not 30 lamps, and I still can get lamp powered TV if I would need it.
  47. I guess I'm feeling like if I can shoot good pictures on digital where I can occassionally check and adjust the settings, I'm not as good a photographer as if I can shoot several rolls of film and nail the exposure (or appear to anyway).
    The overwhelming majority of people who look at and buy photography judge how good a photographer you are by 1) how good your photographs are and 2) (in the case of clients) whether you can reliably, consistently, and efficiently deliver what they need. They don't care whether you're so clever you don't even use a meter or whether you read tea leaves to figure out your exposure.
    If anything, getting good results with digital requires better metering technique than negative film does.
  48. James G. Dainis

    James G. Dainis Moderator

    Do you know how to read a negative? That is, when you get your photos back from the lab, do you take the negatives out and look at them to see which are thin, which are dense, and which look right on? Then do you check those against your notes? After that, then do you look at the prints to see how good a job the lab did with the thin or dense negatives or how well they did with a properly exposed negative?
    <p>What you see on the print is not necessary a reflection of what you captured on the film. A negative that is several stops overexposed and a few stops underexposed can still yield a print that looks fine. In the printing stage, it is the analyzer that decides what the final print will look like. It lightens or darkens the print to achieve middle gray, what it thinks the print should look like. You could have a perfectly exposed shot of a blond wearing a white dress on a white sofe against a white wall. The negative will look fine but the analyzer may think, "Whoa, this is way too light, I had better darken it down a bit" and you get a girl wearing a gray dress on a gray sofa. Then you think the fault was yours. <p>
    If you shoot slide film or digital, that is fine. What you shoot, what you set the exposure to with them, is what you get.
  49. Products that clients look for today are: CD's with images, "Coffee Table Book" albums and on-line web galleries (web galleries are great for the photographer since guests can also easily order prints). You need digital image files to do these things. Anyone who tells you that it's practicle to shoot film and then scan it, just hasn't done it. Getting good quality scans of hundreds of pictures is incredibly time consuming. Even if you get the film scanned at the time of developing, the scans will require more post production time to adjust than a digital image straight out of a digital camera. Unless all deliver is a set a proofs and traditional matted albums and have a good lab, film is a PITA.

    Good labs are also becoming a real issue. At one time, most towns and cities of any size had at least one good pro lab. That isn't the case anymore; good local labs are a dying breed. There are still labs that you can send your film to, but if you need something special communication is difficult. The lab situation has driven a number of photographers to digital.

    Back to basics - There is no differnce in the fundementals of exposure and lighting between film and digital. If you know what an f stop is, you know what an f stop is. With digital capture you can at least immediately see what you're doing. There are differences in nuances of the media. I don't see then point of spending months and years to develop a feel for, say, NC400 film when you're going to wind up going digital and have to repeat the whole process again.

    In short - film has become, and will increasing be, a niche segment of "fine art" wedding photograhy. Do you really want to sell into an ever shrinking market?
  50. Bruce, actually, since I have been practcing and have taken on some small (pretty much for free) jobs, I have sent my film out and have been able to display photos online (it is scanned by the lab) and receive digital files and am in the process of ordering an album (with the digital files) as a portfolio. I actually also am lucky enought to have one of those rare independent pro labs right in my town who have been a great help to me, though its cheaper to send stuff out and actually, its been so easy and I have yet to find what I can't do that I could do with digital and the best is that its done for me and I haven't had to learn all the computer stuff I don't look forward to. Perhaps though, if digital will be the way to go eventually, I should start learning all that junk now so when my photos are good enough to charge I'll already have the work flow down. Guess I can always use film on my own time. I will say if I had a decent digital now, I would be much less hesitant to take on a job for miney as I could occassionaly check on my pictures instead of finding out days later there was a problem.
  51. Bruce: What planet are you from?!

    Bruce Rubenstein just wrote:

    "You need digital image files to do these things. Anyone who tells you that it's practicle to shoot film and then scan it, just hasn't done it. Getting good quality scans of hundreds of pictures is incredibly time consuming. Even if you get the film scanned at the time of developing, the scans will require more post production time to adjust than a digital image straight out of a digital camera."

    Actually, you must be stuck in the 1990's, as there are fewer and fewer optical (analog) minilabs still in production.

    Instead, the workflow through Fuji Frontier, Noritsu 3300, and Agfa D-Labs is (are) develop the film, run it through a high speed scanner where it reads the DX codes on the edge of the film strips, provide the corrections and allow for operator adjustment. Then, the data is burned to a CD as well as being fed to the LED or laser printer for color output. These scanners can easily chew through a roll of 35mm film in under a minute, and are designed for production. Typically, lo-res scans are 1024 x 1536 pixels, which yields a sharp 4x6" print at 300 pixels per inch (PPI); while you can also crank it up to High, which typically yields 2048 x 3096 pixel images, enough for an 8x12 inch print. One example of this is the Fuji SP2500 scanner, which you can see by searching eBay item 7587648946 at

    Note that this is equivalent to a 6 megapixel dSLR... But a 35mm frame can easily yield four times that, at 4096 PPI with grain removal. [Also note that even at 2048 PPI, a 6x6 medium format frame from a Holga yields a 23 megapixel image... Top THAT with your $8,000 Canon 1Ds Mark II!]

    In fact, if you shmooze the lab, you can get "soup & scan only," i.e. no prints: Labs don't like this because they make less money.

    Granted, these scans are only really good for proof prints up to about 5x5 or 5x7, meaning that for the album they may need to be re-scanned on a desktop scanner.



    You're lucky: You have a nice Pro lab, so talk to them. Most likely they have a digital minilab, along with an optical package printer and one or more high quality desktop scanners.

    The key when you shoot a bunch of color print film is to use the "quick & dirty" scanning for a "Picture CD" of JPEG's. You use these for the first pass, to choose the best shots; then you send only the neg frames you want big enlargements from back to the lab.
  52. Lauren,

    Les touched on an important point: Are you planning on taking photographs or snapshots?!
  53. > Back to the original question - learning a digital workflow is encouraged but not required.

    So, for a person just entering this competitive job market, digital skills are optional? You don't think that would reduce job offers by an order of magnitude - or more?

    For the photogs who run their own businesses - who among you would hire a beginner who brings no knowledge of digital technology?
  54. Zane wrote: "For the photogs who run their own businesses - who among you would hire a beginner who brings no knowledge of digital technology?"

    If the so-called beginner is willing to learn, has the aptitude, and she doesn't have bad habits that are hard to break... The answer is YES!
  55. Les, I haven't studied enough photographers to name one off the top of my head, but when I do search around, there are many I aspire to be like (to shoot like). I do want to be a photographer, not a snapshot shooter.
    For those comments on needing to learn digital for wedding work, I have worked as a second shooter at weddings so have some experience with it. However, my whole question here which was maybe worded poorly and shouldn't have even mentioned weddings is: which is better to use now in order for me to really learn photography and to someday be a good photographer. I actually feel comfortable enough now with a dig cam to pull off a wedding if I had to and I'm sure the clients and guests would be happy with the results but that doesn't mean the results are fantastic.
    I guess I'm understanding from all this I could go either way for learning. Meanwhile, the pro I've worked for has offered to sell me some medium format bodies which I'm kind of psyched about.
  56. and I have saved on prints by sending film out, negs are scanned, I get negs back and digital files and can choose which to make prints while at same time seeing the ones I goofed on.
  57. Lauren,

    If you're learning, the most important thing is to be able to see the effect of your mistakes, without any "automatic correction" or interpretation.

    I've always thought, for this reason, that the best medium for learning is color slides.

    They have the following advantages:

    1. They're direct positives, viewed using regular old light. This means that the color you shot, including any filter effects, is what you see (modulo the film's color palette. My favorite neutral-palette film is Ektachrome EPN, which is what biologists used to use to document the colors of animal and plant specimens accurately). If you take one shot with no filter, one with a warming filter, and one with a polarizing filter, you'll be able to SEE the difference, and no post-processing will be trying to "correct" it for you.

    2. They have an acute sensitivity to correct exposure. You'll be able to SEE the difference one stop makes - again without any post-processing "corrections". You might be able to see the difference a THIRD of a stop makes.

    3. They're cheap (compared to other film products), because they don't require a printing step.

    4. They can be individually labelled with exposure details and other notes, so you can go back later to look at them and you won't have to guess at what you did.

    They have one additional advantage as tools for learning digital:

    5. They respond to exposure errors the same way a digital sensor does. With slides and digital sensors, there's a lot of detail in the shadows (even if you can't see it at first, you can still recover it by boosting the curve), but if you put too much light on the subject, the highlights burn out. Negative film is the opposite - there's a lot of detail in the highlights (which are essentially "shadows" on the negative) and the shadows block up.

    You mention that your SPECIFIC problem is that when you shoot with film, you get inconsistent results. This problem occurs because you'r e not metering carefully enough and you don't have enough experience using settings and accessories like filters. Slide film will SHOW you what effects this has, and you'll learn to avoid the mistakes that correct those effects.

    If you can't see your mistakes, you can't correct them. Using print film makes it hard to see mistakes because the lab will try to correct them for you on the print (you'll try to correct them yourself, too, if you print your own film). Using digital makes it even HARDER to see mistakes, because the camera will try to correct your mistakes when it converts RAW to JPEG, and then your software will apply some random transformation when it puts your pixels on the screen, and then your printer will apply another random transformation when it puts your pixels on the paper (all this is why companies can make money selling color-calibration gadgets).
  58. I looked at Dan Schwartz's home page. Nothing about wedding photography. Another hobbyist blowing smoke out his...
  59. Thanks Bob. what about if I ask the lab to not correct the photos? are they really able to not correct them or does some correction go on anyway?
    If I tried some slide film just to see the differences, how much would I need to practice with it? meaning would a couple rolls, 100 pictures, or I could use it for years beofre being able to get correct exposures?

    Bruce, thanks for checking up on him but for what I'm asking, learning PHOTOGRAPHY in general, not just for weddings, I don't really feel it matters what kind of photography someone does or doesn't do. I'm not taking any advice as set in stone anyway...

    Plus, I really can't afford a decent digital and all the supplies that go with it right now.
  60. Bruce wrote: "I looked at Dan Schwartz's home page. Nothing about wedding photography. Another hobbyist..."

    That's right: I don't post Bar Mitzvah/wedding photos. But, I do work those events from time to time. However, I'm a professional IndyCar and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series photographer; but because of licensing (NASCAR) and copyright (open wheel magazine) restrictions, I don't post anything until at least the end of the given season.

    To see samples of my IndyCar digital and film photography:

    To see samples of my NASCAR photography (not linked from the home page):

    There's more to life than just weddings...


    Lauren: The key is to use the best tool for the job. This means you'll be carrying both medium format AND dSLR cameras if you want to assure you have the best tool to shoot with.

    By the way, you mentioned that the pro you work with is interested in selling you his medium format gear... What is it? How good is the glass (which ultimately determines how good the image is)?
  61. Lauren,
    Unless your camera needs repair, you won't get any better results by using a different camera, digital or otherwise. If shooting something like a wedding, keep the experimentation to a minimum for now, save that for personal photo essays, they are a great way to learn, take notes on what youve done on each exposure, the conditions, lighting, etc. Use the camera you have now, learn with it, play with your lighting, study your prints and refer to your notes and in time you will get a better idea of what your results will be before you even take the shot.
  62. > ...what about if I ask the lab to not correct the photos?

    That would be the way to go for prints, but it all depends on how well your lab follows directions. When I ask my local Ritz, they cheerfully write down the instructions on the envelope, but about one roll in four gets "adjusted" anyway.
  63. Thanks Colin, yours is a very good answer probably for my current level.
    Zane, my local Ritz has been good about it (perhaps depending who is working) good to know.
    Dan, the offer is for either Bronica SQ-A or Mamiya 645E both with 80mm f2.8 lens
  64. It doesn't take too many rolls, Lauren. It does take good notes - so you know what your settings were for each slide, what filters you used, etc...

    I'd start without filters and shoot a roll in which you bracket every exposure -1 stop, metered exposure, and +1 stop. Shoot half the roll outdoors in daylight (best if it's an overcast day) and the other half indoors in tungsten light. Keep notes on aperture & shutter speed for each shot. Take a look at the slides on a light box; it will teach you a lot about exposure and about color temperature.

    Then shoot another roll with a sequence of shots (maybe environmental portraits outdoors) at the recommended exposure but at a wide range of apertures - i.e. if you're using ISO 100 film in full daylight, something like 1/60 @ f/16, 1/125 @ f/11, 1/250 @ f/8, 1/500 @ f/5.6, 1/1000 @ f/4, 1/2000 @ f/2.8 with a 35mm or 50mm lens - focus on the same point in every shot. Again, take a look at the slides.
  65. Thanks Bob, I will give it a shot (lol). Its hard to make myself take notes as I keep wanting to just take pictures but I really have to.
  66. Lauren, some MP3 players have a voice recorder built in, as do some dSLR's. If not, a tiny voice recorder is all you need to take notes.
  67. cool idea dan!
  68. Lauren, by now, you'll probably find out there is no right answer to your question, because both systems can deliver great wedding photos, and both have their strengths and weaknesses. If you find yourself leaning towards a digital camera because it gives you almost instant feedback, and you feel you are learning faster, spending most of the time composing a good picture rather than thinking about f stops, by all means, adopt that system. The ultimate goal is to make nice pictures and improve on them. The gear is just some tools you use along the journey, and tools will change, that's a given. As always, both systems are easy to learn, but difficult to master.

    Another thing is don't think of going into digital as going to the dark side. Learning digital is no different from learning how to shoot medium and large format, or black and white. Once you have found yourself mastering one format, you will try another one. That's the fun part behind photography.
  69. jtk


    One reason you might want to learn on film is that the current digital technology is essentially like DOS, very temporary. The next phase of digital will be more like traditional film process because that's more the way the human mind works. Our brains make leaps of imagination and generalization that are entirely impossible with current applications...but semi-intelligent, more visual systems are just around the corner and will much more closely emulate film, leaving histograms and digital-think in the dustbin of history, just as
    Xerox's MacWindows concept did with DOS :)
  70. thanks again for the additional responses! Yes, I now know there is pretty much no right answer :(

    I forget who asked me who's photography I aspire to imitate...
    One thing I want to do is take the first picture posted on this forum

    but without the PS.
    I want to be able to do that right from the camera (or things like that)
  71. You'll need a diffuser or soft-focus filter to get that effect out of the camera.
  72. That first photo was done with extensive Photoshop retouching.

    By the way, thanks for the lead on the website! :)
  73. Thanks Bob. I guess I want to be able to acheive a desired effect on my own instead of using PS. then again, I guess the tools are just different in the end....
    back to reading and re-reading my keep it simple book!
  74. ha ha! your welcome Dan. Though most clients don't know or care, I aspire to not take photos that need photoshop or at least so much that they look it. (though for my work right now, thank god for it!)
  75. In my opinion most wedding photographers switch to digital becuase of the advantage of shooting faster and getting more frames. There is little to do with what being preferred by customers. It was a unforgettable experience for me to shoot shoulder to shoulder with another guy shooting in digital. I could not see the 500 images the guy produced. But I was told they were mostly 4x6's. I shot with a pentax 67II. So mine can be easily blown up to 24x36. Unfortunately I recorded only 3 rolls of 220.

    If you shoot in studio, or outdoor but not during the actual wedding where you have plenty of time to shoot slowly you will get better images from film. But during actual wedding speed and volume is the key to revenue. You will want to shoot in digital.
  76. I looked at Dan Schwartz's home page. Nothing about wedding photography. Another hobbyist blowing smoke out his...
    I looked at yours and thought I was looking at the garbage can next to the Walmart mini-lab after Aunt betty went to pick up prints from her $10.000 disposable camera. People pay you for that junk? You and Les should exchange shooting tips.
    I spent 6 years working for a dedicated professional portrait lab handling weddings from over thousand different professional shooters (along with shooting a few myself). Given the worst 10% of the work we handled was better than 90% of the junk being posted here from film shooters, I'm feel compelled to warn Lauren shes listening to the wrong people.
    Rule 1 - 35mm is for amatuers, and no truly professional or even semi-professional wedding shooter I've ever met shoots 35mm. These are typically the arrogant 'cousin tony' types who've learned everything they know from Pop Photo, and never get any better from the second month they picked up their camera. This includes Leica shooters. Their work never held up any better compared to our 6x6 and 6x7 shooters - they just think it does because they have german glass.
    Rule 2 - 35mm is for amatuers with low quality standards(just in case you missed that in rule #1). If you want to see a bride cry, show her formals shot on 6x6 or 6x7 side-by-side with 35mm.
    Rule 3 - A digital SLR in the right hands will produce better results than 35mm film, especially if the lab is using digital printers, which 95% of them are. A dSLR won't produce better results than medium format film unless the MF shooter is incompetent, or the film lab is .
    Rule 4 - MF print film has gads more exposure lattitude than digital (or slide), and if the photographer shoots consistently within the exposure window (not very hard with MF print film) and uses a good lab, their results should always be good. They will however never get better beyond that point because MF print film has so much exposure 'pillow' built into it that it's impossible to get anything other than soft portraits with mushy colors - unlike using a very high end dSLR like a 1Ds or 5D.
    Rule 5 - Getting to rule 4 is tougher than you think because using MF cameras still means you're shooting film, and if you shoot print film you will always be a slave and victim to the lab. With digital, your learning curve is perfectly linear. With film, the learning curve stops when you walk into the lab. With digital, you are always under control. This is why many of the film shooters here bad mouth digital because they need the lab to think for them, or post wildly erratic and poorly scanned images I certainly woulnd't want to pay for. Simply ask yourself who has images posted you'd want in your wedding portfolio.
    Rule 6 - The wedding forum here is a better resource.
  77. I shot with a pentax 67II. So mine can be easily blown up to 24x36
    I shot with an RB67, and I'd take a 5D anyday and be happy to compare 24x36's from 6x7's.
    With your 6x7 neg, the quality of the print depends on if the poor, underpaid lab rat decideds to use a grain focuser or not when slapping lenses around on the 75year old dichro enlarger because the lab is too cheap to upgrade to professional durst series. The dSLR image gets printed directly digital and doesn't suffer this variable.
    If anything, most labs will scan your 6x7 neg and print it digitally anyhow (a sucky process at best given the wildly erratic nature of scanning professional portrait films), I'll take the 5D or 1Ds capture because it will be cleaner and more linear. You 6x7 will thump 35mm or 6mp dSLR though.
  78. Every photographer of any merit that know says basically the same thing...."digital isn't better, it's just faster". Also, there is a reason the end product, the final print, from a digital file requires photographic printing to eliminate the "layering" seen in digital prints. Pegasus and enlargers of that kind cost hundreds of thousands and pro labs purchase them just to get the same quality final print from a digital file that one would get from a film negative.
  79. I supose that a mechanical camera and film have two advantages: you learn to see and take decisions. I would start with film for a short while and then after two or three months move to digital. The inmidiate feedback of digital help you grow and learn faster. In your case I would have moved to digital long ago.

    That said I am a 70% film shooter. You may want to keep on using film for some types of pictures while using digital.
  80. "Scott, on one side of your face you say don't shoot 35mm and then on the other you say 5D. How soon you forget that I've proven to you that 35mm film has more resolution then todays DSLRs - most certainly your 10D, using minilab processed film with lossy desktop scanner. Did you take a peek in my Resolution Album recently as I added a scan with the Konica Minolta 5400 which adds the resolving ability to read Libreville" Attached is your latest 5400 scan put next to a 10D image shot at the same distance from the map as a 35mm or a full frame camera would be shot. The light falling on the 10D sensor was the same light that was falling on your film, the crop covering the same physical size on sensor as on film. I'm confused Les...*why* is the 10D image so much sharper, crisper, cleaner, better? I thought film was to be worshipped and that you had proof that not even the mighty 1Ds mkII could compare. Looks like a sensor with 10D level technology manufactured to 24x36mm would be more than a match for the best film on the best desktop scanner. Where would that place the latest technology 5D and 1Ds mkII sensors? Well, you can show us, right? Where are the 1Ds mkII images? And are they any better than your hobbled 20D "test" images? (Libreville, eh? Sorry, on the film it looks like Libeville. Try again though!)
  81. Hey Les...what's that word right above Nigeria on the film? It's...oh wait, I can see it CLEARLY on the digital: Kaduna.

    I guess if I ever want to get into photographing maps I better buy a full frame digital. 5D good enough, or should I go straight for the 1Ds?
  82. "Now that I've been practicing so much, it gets frustrating and I am trying to remember why I am doing this on film? Can someone just refresh my memory and keep me on the film track? Thanks!"

    My guess is because you've been listening to people who don't know what they're talking about. Let's see, you can shoot on film, wait a week, get the results, wonder what settings affected what or if the lab mucked thinigs up...

    OR you can shoot digital, evaluate on site, change settings and shoot again, and learn exactly what affects what. And if you ever need to look back at your shots, settings are stored in the image files. Sounds like a MUCH better way to learn to me.

    Refresh my memory: why on Earth do you want to stay "on the film track" again?
  83. Sounds like another "measurebator" has entered the fray...
  84. "You most certainly will get considerably larger quality images with a lot less effort from 35mm film then you would with this kit."

    Let me second Scott's point that serious wedding pros do not shoot on 35mm film, nor would I ever hire a 35mm wedding photographer or advise a friend to do so. Les can wet himself over maps all day long if he wants, extinction point lpmm doesn't mean jack in a portrait or wedding photo. Portraits need clean, beautiful tones, and benefit greatly from having certain details, such as the eyes, come off very sharp (i.e. high MTF in the 10-40 lpmm range). This plays right into digital's greatest strengths. Portraits are probably the most extreme example of APS 6 MP sensors beating up on 35mm despite having a lower lpmm extinction point. A properly shot digital portait holds up to enlargement far better than scanned, grainy, color all over the place, blotchy tones, small format film.

    Wedding pros do not use MF because they need more lpmm, they use it for the tonality. If you're serious about getting into weddings, pick up a MF system or a body like the 5D, 1Ds, or Nikon's highest end (always forget the number). I would recommend the digital. You will have to be more careful about exposure, but you will be in a far better position than the poor guys having to depend on a dwindling number of good, pro labs.
  85. "Sounds like another "measurebator" has entered the fray..."

    Actually I don't give a rat's a** about the lpmm tests Les gets in a fit about. To know why I made those posts would require you to know the history surrounding his little "tests". Go read past posts if you're interested.
  86. Great discussion! And, a lot of GOOD information. A large "Thanks!" to each and everyone of you.

    I've been shooting Nikon since 1968, beginning with an "F" and, progressing through FE, F-3, F4S, N90, and, presently, a couple F-100's(I'm getting older and weaker and that MONSTER F4S was just too much to lug around). As a "sop" to the digital age, I got a D70s.

    Just about all the shooting was for fun. . .though, for 20 years, I used it for "evidence" in the courtroom(5947 was great for that--getting both a slide and a print from the same shot).

    Now, after thousands of photos, I have decided to "become" an artist in the photographic medium. I am "looking" again at the works of the "greats" and "near-greats" who have gone before(Adams, Steichen, et al). And, I have bought a couple of RB-67's. Nothing fancy. . .just good solid optics and mechanics.

    And, quickly comparing my 35mm stuff with the digital, I gotta say, digital is fun and quick, and, "nice pictures." But, film is PHOTOGRAPHY!

    The late, great Ernie Kovacs, once remarked, "A woman is just a woman. But, a cigar is. . .a great smoke!"

    And, that's MY opinion!
  87. By the way. . .to the guy who was apologetic about his Tamron 28-200. I'm with you. . .when I travel by air, or, I am back-packing, and weight is a factor, I carry two lenses and two cameras: the F-100's and a Tamron 28-300mm(upgraded from the 28-200 when I got the digital); and, a Sigma 18-35mm.

    When I travel by car and have unlimited space, I carry EVERYTHING! The above stuff; an F-3; the D70s; an assortment of "other Nikkor" lenses; a couple tripods; a hundred rolls of film! Add to all that now, the two RB-67's and their lenses.

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