Slide Shooters

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by randall_pukalo, Mar 16, 2009.

  1. The regular lady who works the film desk at my local camera store was off this weekend. In her place was a 50 something year old guy, who remarked that he went digital about 3 years ago, and would never go back to film. Knowing (guessing) the answer, I asked him if he had been mainly a print or slide film shooter. Of course, he answered print film. I told him I could understand his perspective (but didnt elaborate that my first exerience with a DSLR was similar - I remember thinking "negative film has just become obsolete"....that is, until I realized I was a bit premature in that thought - my initial shots had all been in low contrast, controlled lighting...)

    Anyways, it got me thinking again. I bet that for most old time print film users, digital was a great boon. No more dust spots, bad scans, time wasted scanning, etc. But Slides, thats another matter altogether. Digital doesnt even come close to the wonderful impact of a projected slide. Nor a slide on a light box for that matter. I dont know, I just dont get the same kick (thrill) out of my digital shots as I do my slides. I guess I'm hopelessly addicted to chromes ;-).

    Maybe thats why so many old timers who have not tried digital tend to be slide shooters loading Kodachrome, or Provia, or Velvia, etc. If it aint broken, why fix it?
     
  2. I agree with you. I thought I'd better get with the times and tried to go digital in 2006, and eventually got around to using up some slide film that I still had in the fridge. Upon seeing the transparencies on the lightbox, I got the same rush of "wow" that I felt when I shot my first roll of slide film in 1997. Now I'm back to about 95% film shooting.
    I think slide film is the perfect way to keep shooting film (unless a person is into "manually" working with B&W). I've had a Nikon Coolscan IV since 2003 so I can easily scan my favorites for web or print use...or just enjoy the way the film itself looks!
     
  3. By posting this on a "film" forum, you pretty much guarantee a lot of agreement.
    I used slide film almost exclusively until the last trip I took with film cameas, on which I shot mostly color negative. Almost all of my slides were on the slowest Kodachrome I could buy at a given time, although I also shot night and low-light pictures with such classics as GAF 500 and, later, High-Speed Ektachrome. I have an wall of shelves nearly filled with filled steel slide boxes.
    I love Kodachrome, but other slide films have never had that gem-like quality for me.I used them only because there were some things KII couldn't do.
    However, so far as I am concerned, your proposed conclusion simply fails. I still shoot a lot with film, but given the old and somewhat cranky cameras I use for film, the precision of exposure required for slides is not realistic and I shoot mostly negative films for scanning these days. I do not miss the film days at all, however, so far as actually getting work done.
    For display, if you look closely, you see all the grime, dust, and specks in projected images, and the image is never better than the often dubious charms of the projector lens and the graininess or "lenticular" effect of the projection surface. My old Kodachromes (scanned in and "spotted") look much better on a large monitor than they ever could on the screen.
    Will I ever stop shooting fim? not likely. However, for me it's a lot like being a historical re-enactor is for some folks -- a lot of fun, but if I had to choose only one kind of image capture, it would always be digital.
     
  4. "By posting this on a "film" forum, you pretty much guarantee a lot of agreement."
    Well, no place like the Film & Processing forum to talk about film!
     
  5. I dont shoot slide because it will take a minimum of a month to get them back, with an extra $15 shipping costs for the local photo store to ship it out to get the roll(s) processed.
     
  6. People and experiences are all different. Maybe if the processing of Kodachrome -- with its lovely palette and wonderful vibrancy -- had been consistent over all these years, so that it didn't give me so many "surprises." Maybe if Olympus -- whose user interface felt like my own hands -- had continued to support its OM line. Maybe if I hadn't purchased a lens whose diaphragm intermittently failed to close down to the proper exposure, so that until I figured out the problem I was lost. Maybe if I hadn't decided to scan a bunch of my best trannies, to discover, in horror, that the images I was blithely projecting for friends were full of dust. I loved shooting slides, for decades, and respect those who still do, but now I shoot digital.
     
  7. Well, no place like the Film & Processing forum to talk about film!​
    Except that the OP is about switching from film to digital or not........
     
  8. stp

    stp

    This sort of topic frequently appears in "casual conversations." Opinions there might be more varied.
     
  9. Earlier today I read an article in CameraShopper by Mike Roskin. On a recent overseas trip he shot mostly with digital cameras. One of the things he said he liked about digital was that you could get prints or slides. I have never seen any kind of digital projection system whether it worked with scanned film images or original digital images which looked anything like a real projected slide. There may not be many people who still project slides so when someone sees digital projection it may look good to them. It doesn't look good to me.
     
  10. Yes, I too like slide film, but digital is not ready for me.... Digital cameras have only been around for a decade or so and compared to the first decade of film the rate of improvement is remarkable.
    I can just imagine what was said about Eastman's roll film by purists in 1900. Their opinion was that glass plates were here to stay for any real serious photography.
    It is only a matter of time when the concerns about resolution, high contrast become acedemic with digital cameras become much better than film. And only an additional amount of time before that high end stuff becomes affordable.
    In the meantime I'm shooting film.
     
  11. I still use a Pentagon 6 I love looking at the larger slides and I find that they are so easy to scan. Closest to Digital I have is a Fuji Instax 200.
     
  12. It is only a matter of time when the concerns .... become academic when digital cameras become much better than film.​
    Terrance, in the opinion of many of us that point has already been reached and passed. even in "non-professional" dSLR cameras.
    Larry: Yes the Pentacon 6 is a swell 6cm camera once you learn how to load it properly. ;) I shoot negative film though.
     
  13. JDM
    Some things will die hard like me and my 120 Communist cameras... I have a Kiev 88 and 2 Kiev 6s cameras that are my everyday shooters... I don't have to go to the gym because i have my camera bag. LOL
     
  14. Randall, as I hit 50 last year, I resent the "old timer" statement!<g> In fact, I got out of photography for a decade to work in the technology sector for awhile. I might remind you that us "geezers" were the ones who created a lot of the technology you whipper snappers take for granted today.
    In my circles, it was all of the old timers that had the money to buy the first DSLRs. So I don't think it's a young person's game at all. And for the record, we were all experienced film, slide and darkroom users. It was simply an extension of what we were already doing. I don't know too many people who have given up on film altogether. For myself, I have gone back to about 80% of my shots being on film.
     
  15. I am also 50 and left photography for 20 years got back into it in the early part of this century... I never looked back... only through a viewfinder at the present.
     
  16. I dont know - I usually use an old Bell and Howell Slide Cube Projector for ease of use - pop open the slide box, drop them in the Slide Cube, and your locked an loaded, ready to enjoy the show. Its not a particulary good projection lens, yet my images are always tack sharp with NO visible dust (Dwaynes does a great job, plus the diffuse light source...). Anyways, many times I have gotton really close to the screen, and marveled at the detail, sharpness, and colors, and wondered why people say 35mm isnt good for 24x36. My images are larger, and look simply awesome. Well, maybe thats what a carefully done analog print is capable of, dont know, that was before my time.
    And when I use my Leica projector with Elmarit Lens, and glass mounetd slides - WOW.
     
  17. "Terrance, in the opinion of many of us that point has already been reached and passed. even in "non-professional" dSLR cameras."
    And, "film" being 35 isn't saying much. But, I do agree that where 35 excels in the film formats is for slides. At least, it is cheaper to project them on a wall. Than the larger formats. But, on a light table, 35 doesn't come close!
     
  18. I will never forget the look of a 4x5 Kodachrome on a light table....
     
  19. I always wondered what the experience of seeing an 8x10" slide would be like. The NY guys still sell 8x10" Ektachrome and Fuji.
     
  20. I love slide film aND ALWAYS WILL, oops cap lock came on! Velvia is the 3rd love of my life.
     
  21. I have been using slide film for the last ten years and continue to do so. I also have a digital SLR, but much prefer the look of slides. My current projector is a Leica Pradovit P300IR with 90mm Colorplan lens. I find this really does justice to the images in a way that eludes my digital work.
    Best Regards
     
  22. It doesn't look good to me.​
    One day we will probably replace our slide projectors with our largescreen 1080 (or higher) HDTVs using an attached HD/computer (similar to the DVR). I can see that this might be as good (you can zoom the image via a remote for example), but it will be different. I am not ready for this quite yet, but when it happens (and of course with some cameras this can happen already - link up you camera via HDMI direct to the TV) I suspect even slide projector holdouts like me will be prepared to change altogether.
     
  23. One day we will probably replace our slide projectors with our largescreen 1080 (or higher) HDTVs using an attached HD/computer​
    My large monitor already shows a lot more than HDTV: you might want to look at somebody's pictures on a big computer-grade display. "One day" was a long time ago in computer terms (sort of like dog years).
     
  24. well, a smile crossed my face when I read your reply to his thoughts as my milage varys. Once I was in love with slides but I found that if I use slide I may as well use digital but if I want great high lights and some shadow detail in contrasty outdoor light. Aside from the "wow" on the lightbox I have found I get better "wow" prints from Fuji Pro160S or Portra.
     
  25. I agree with you. I think for the most part you were right. I must say I have seen a slide shooter go digital. There was a family friend that was an amazing photographer that shot amazing photos of boats around here in Massachusetts. Unfortunatly, :( I never got to know him well. I have met him on a few occasions. He shot thousand and thousands of slides, and a few years ago he went digital. I am not really sure why. I wish I knew. I could have learned so much for him but he passed two weeks ago. So there may be a few slide shooters that have gone digital, but not many...LONG LIVE SLIDES!!
     
  26. I shoot both, but my only working digital camera is a "creative compact" DMC-LX3. The only SLRs I have are film. The main reasons why I have no plans to change that are related to the cameras that shoot film rather than film itself. I'd actually welcome the advantages of cutting out developing and scanning if they didn't mean giving up the many benefits of my film SLRs:
    • Simple, uncomplicated, intuitive user interface that I'm already intimately familiar with.
    • Lighter bodies. Even the clunkiest Pentax 35mm K-mount film bodies ever made -- the K2 and KX -- are lighter than a K10D (one of the lighter DSLRs!) with batteries. I hike with my cameras, so weight is important.
    • Smaller, lighter lenses, thanks to the lack of AF motors and electronics.
    • Brighter finders thanks to the lack of light-robbing partially-silvered reflex mirrors to benefit an AF sensor I'd seldom use in the first place.
    • Avoids the completely unacceptable risk of losing (as I did last year) the majority of this year's spring wild flower season to battling a weird firmware glitch on a new DSLR.
     
  27. Slide film, for me is the ONLY way. Suspect the madness of the internet and the
    ease by which one may post digitally rendering images using a computer
    and related software makes digital attractive. Digital replaces strips of plastic film negative.
    I don't do prints, for me slide film is still the best way of enjoying my photography.
    And I don't have to fiddle with images on a computer; images to me which
    could disappear with the press of a key.
    And for many of the older photographers we've always used Kodachrome slide film
    for best results. There are many individuals that trade colour slides of transportation
    equipment (specifically railways). if the image is not on Kodachrome slide film;
    it is automatically worth considerably less. Kodachrome lasts, nothing else does.
     
  28. "Digital doesnt even come close to the wonderful impact of a projected slide"​
    I'm a full-time professional nature and conservation photographer that shot slides for years - Fujichrome 35mm and 6x9 MF. My current portfolio is 50/50%. I don't miss slides much at all. I did when I had a Canon D60 seven years ago and the color and tone sucked. The modern bodies are fantastic and the color and tone leaves little to miss. Yes, it doesn't look the same projected, but that has no real bearing on the work I do.
    I just photographed baboons in South Africa for four months, and the 35,000 frames I shot would have made the project impossible with film. Now I have beautiful, large RAW originals, I have no scanning to do, and the color, tone, and sharpness is absolutely gorgeous and natural.
    I can still get my big beautiful 6x9s out and marvel at how cool they are, but to me photography is not about the objects and the nostalgia. I want to to be able to shoot to my hearts content, to create meaningful content without minimal time investment (scanning) that I can actually afford to create for the groups I work with, to not go broke doing it, and to have top notch quality.
     
  29. I used to shoot a lot of slides, for me the issue is finding a good lab to do 120 quickly and at a decent price. Its a lot harder these days!
     
  30. 35,000 RAW frames - yikes, you could spend the rest of your life trying to process those;-).
    Seriously though, I can understand shooting digital, especially if I did photography for a living. In fact, no question about it, I would be using a DSLR. But for me, photography is a hobby, it is my passion. I would rather have 10-15 boxes of slides from a trip rather than 3,000 digital frames. Shooting film has taught me "fire discipline" - I try to shoot only when the shot is really good. I have noticed that with my digital PS, I end up taking lots useless shots, simply because I can (its free). Then I have to surf through tons of images to find the few good ones. My slides not only have a better hit rate, they are so much quicker to edit - simply spread out on a light table, and the best shots quicky jump out at you. Best of all, it gets me away from the computer, a welcome relief from work, where I sit behind a computer most of the day.
    Final thought - I am a hybrid shooter. I really like my Panasonic FX-150. It fits in my pocket, and allows me to get painless (scan free) copies of my slide shots that I can review on the spot for exposure issues/challenges, as well as review and admire at night as I lay in bed after a days landscape shooting. Instant gratification, and it builds my anticipation of seeing the slide versions I shot...And when they get back from the lab, they always blow me away! (like no digital image ever has) Also, the FX-150 gives me great screen saver images for my large workstation monitor at work.
     
  31. Back in 1977 when I got my first SLR (a Canon AT 1) I quickly became disappointed with the results of generally everything I shot with print film.I tried drugstores,Fotomat,real camera stores but the results lacked impact. Lucky for me a friend tossed me a roll of Kodachrome 64 and said "have some fun guy you won't be disappointed".Well,I have never turned back for pleasure photography because the results blew me away.I shoot mostly E6 Elitechrome these days but if were not for the fast thinking of my friend I may of chose basket weaving instead of photography as my primary hobby.Nothing and I mean nothing beats a chrome on a light table for transport back to the moment the image was captured even if it was 32 years ago.Don't even get me started on the aspects of archival storage.......
     
  32. I would take less shots with film, but only because I would be aware of the cost - and I would wind up missing out. Different situations call for different approaches. I'm never just clicking away blindly with no rhyme or reason. With digital I still take only a couple shots of a typical landscape, but if I'm photographing a troop of baboons frolicking in a field of wildflowers for 6 hours, jumping around the whole time, it gives me the freedom to make sure I get some compelling shots without going broke. I've also done a lot of work in wetlands with wild birds. The freedom to shoot is a huge asset there as well. If I'm out doing macro work of wildflowers my daily number of frames is no different than when I shot film.
    As far as processing, the high volume is a drag and a time killer with Photoshop, but Lightroom has made it much much faster. Another example, I photographed festivals in Peru last year for several months. On a great day in Cusco I took 1,000 frames - colorful dancers spinning and moving around for 12-14 hours a day. With irfanview for the first pass, then LR, I could have the whole lot down to 100 in about 2 hours, then have all my intitial tonal and color correction done in another 3 hours. Again, if I were shooting landscapes in the Andes, I'd come home with 50-60 shots for the day, and keep almost all of them.
     
  33. Agreed 100%.
     
  34. "One day" was a long time ago in computer terms (sort of like dog years).​
    The "one day" refers to me, and to many people on this thread. I have seen this and that is exactly my point, that slide shooters need not despair if slide film becomes unavailable.
    At the moment usually all I see is people hooking up their crappy point and shoots to the TV - not usually so inspiring. Perhaps JDM is really all wired up and that is great.
    Kodachrome lasts, nothing else does.​
    The Kodachrome hyperbole/fetish is extraordinary!
     
  35. Yeah, but Kodachrome was so sweet. My first rolls of it were actually ASA 10! When II came out, lots of people were running around freezing rolls of the older film, but I fell in love from the first KII slide I shot. K64 was never the same for me.
    I also like really tall, black boots......
     
  36. I guess I'm hopelessly addicted to chromes ;-).
    Well, you’re not alone. So am I. I’m shooting with Velvia’s (all three!) and love Ektachrome as well.
    Lately I’ve searched e-bay for 35mm films. I found a 10roll brick of Kodakchrome 25 dated 2002. The seller kept them in a freezer, tested it, and guaranteed that the film is in excellent condition. I’ve never used KM 25, and knowing that this was favorite film of Galen Rowell, I’ve decided to bid, hopping to buy for $60-70. No way, it’s gone for over $200. And it seems like the seller has over 20 bricks like that (or even more). I guess this is the devotion…
    Larry,
    Those are nice black leather boots. Where did you get it? Soviet Army parade?
     
  37. May Day Parade.
     
  38. I have seen this and that is exactly my point, that slide shooters need not despair if slide film becomes unavailable.​
    Robin, not that I actually despair (much) of such things, my camera of choice is a 1950's Stereo Realist, and if my preferred method of viewing the slides from this camera is in its companion viewer, what are my options if slide film becomes unavailable? And no, I really don't need any more doorstops!
     
  39. Hillary
    Well yes with your weapon of choice, you would be screwed! I can only speak for myself. For me, despite being an antiquated long time leica user, I can see a future without film if I have to go there. Ultimately, it is the pictures you make not the machinery that makes them.
    JDM - oh yes I like boots too!
     
  40. well, I am a 50+ pre-geezer and shoot film. I prefer slides but shoot a lot of color negatives for family events like holidays, weddings and funerals. I don't disrespect digital capture, but I still believe that slides have that extra image quality that I like. Nearly everyone else in our extended family shoots digital but I occasionally get the shots that win the moment! They whine that I sit on the film for days and they have to wait, and I whine that they take hundreds of frames of the same content! :) Then I pop in a roll of K64 and the "WOW" factor is magnified! My scanner is here and soon the slide feeder will be busy!
     
  41. I was dragged kicking and screaming into digital only because the number of pro film developing outlets has dropped dramatically, not becuase of the quality of digital.
    If I could buy slide film and get it processed cheaply and quickly, then I would stay with film. Alas the tide is shifting and I am on the steep, new learning curve of digital out of necessity.
    I'll still shoot heaps of film...that won't change, but trends are not making it easier. I was going to buy a used 617 camera for landscapes. Prices are around $2-3k for a good used Fuji, and only a bit more for a Linhoff. I may go that way as long as I can still get the positives processed easily. It will be a while before digital medium format becomes inexpensive.
     
  42. "If I could buy slide film and get it processed cheaply and quickly, then I would stay with film."​
    Stephen, Are you in the U.S.? If so, high quality, dependable, relatively fast processing is available through Dwayne's. If you buy film development mailers available through all the major retailers such as B&H, Adorama, Unique, etc., they very likely go to Dwayne's, as does all Kodachrome. You can use the Fuji E-6 mailers for Kodak E-6 film, too, without any problems whatsoever. Of course, film is available though the same retailers, and almost certainly at considerably lower prices than you would pay from your local shop.
    To give you an idea of the turnaround time, my last roll of Kodak 35mm Ektachrome was dropped off at the local P.O. on a Sunday night. I'm on the East Coast, Dwayne's is in Kansas. I received the perfectly developed film back in less than 6 days, on Saturday afternoon. Cost of the pro film, development, and postage: right around $13,25. I've been doing this for a few years, now, with only excellent results, no screw-ups whatsoever. Someone posted recently criticizing Dwayne's, but that is totally outside my universe of experience with them, and I'm sure others will back me up on this. Postage can be greatly reduced on a unit cost basis by combining several rolls/mailers in one larger envelope. If it would help to have direct links to any retailer's film mailers, just say so. Jeff
     
  43. "Nothing and I mean nothing beats a chrome on a light table for transport back to the moment the image was captured even if it was 32 years ago.Don't even get me started on the aspects of archival storage......."​
    Absolutely, Douglas, great points. As to the first sentence, I can think of one slide immediately of my nephews when they were little, getting off their bikes after riding up to our house on a late winter day... The late afternoon winter light, the feeling of the season that particular year, the facial expressions, that special time in kids' lives, just everything that formed the essence of that moment in time is exquisitely etched in that Kodachrome slide... I don't think that I can adequately describe it, but when I think of that image or actually look at it, I can clearly feel the unique things that a special slide is capable of conveying like nothing else I'm aware of.
     
  44. "...I just photographed baboons in South Africa for four months, and the 35,000 frames I shot would have made the project impossible with film. Now I have beautiful, large RAW originals, I have no scanning to do, and the color, tone, and sharpness is absolutely gorgeous and natural..."​
    I think that I do understand the possible advantages of a digital SLR in this sort of situation, and feel that these could be the kinds where digital capture might be the best choice...
    However, as someone that trusts his film bodies' metering capabilities, I find that for the few professional jobs I've done, as well as a workshop with a N.G.S. frequent contributing photographer, they have been very adequate. For the type of people photography that this entailed, I don't think digital capture would have helped in the least, as it was about capturing the "decisive moment". For this, I think anticipation and thought leading to action was the best path, not firing away and hoping that quality images would best be derived through sheer volume.
     
  45. Brett, No offense, and with all due respect, but don't those 35,000 frames then require post-processing? I clearly remember my workshop experience where the digital shooters were on their laptops for literally many hours each day (and nights from what they told us), while the film shooters had their slides back each morning and were done with it.
     
  46. Jeff Z. , Mar 23, 2009; 10:43 a.m.
    Brett, No offense, and with all due respect, but don't those 35,000 frames then require post-processing? I clearly remember my workshop experience where the digital shooters were on their laptops for literally many hours each day (and nights from what they told us), while the film shooters had their slides back each morning and were done with it.​
    You don't have to addjust all 35,000 frames, only the ones that look like they are going to be used.
    For me shoting slides ended up having more post-processing required. I wanted to have all my slides scanned and on my computer, even forgetting the scanning time it takes longer to adjust a slide scan then it does adjust and convert a raw image. Of course if you were to shoot 35,000 slides you likely would not scan more then 1% of them.
     
  47. "...I can just imagine what was said about Eastman's roll film by purists in 1900. Their opinion was that glass plates were here to stay for any real serious photography.
    It is only a matter of time when the concerns about resolution, high contrast become acedemic with digital cameras become much better than film..."​
    Terence, I'm not so sure that this is an accurate analogy, and a certain outcome... Perhaps if the powers that be decide, as they seem to have thus far, to continue on with solely emphasizing digital capture technology, then it will become so...
    I suppose what I'm trying to say is that it doesn't necessarily have to be an "either/or" decision. In my view, film photography is a separate technology, and also, a developing one. Consider the several great new films that Kodak has introduced in recent years. They've all been considered to be at least moderate improvements over their predecessors from all I've experienced and read, and are simply outstanding. Why can't both technologies continue to thrive?
    I think that integral to much of this is a new business model that has emerged over the last decade, or so. For manufacturers, hardware and software developers, etc., continually introducing "new and improved" digital cameras, and their myriad accoutrements is much more profitable than the old film camera based businesses. Of course, digital is a boon for many purposes, and I don't mean to denigrate it. However, film photography is very appropriate for many, too, and I certainly like transparency films for many reasons.
     
  48. I can just imagine what was said about Eastman's roll film by purists in 1900. Their opinion was that glass plates were here to stay for any real serious photography.​
    That reminds me of something I read about the author Lewis Carroll:
    "Lewis Carroll became interested in photography in the infancy of this scientific art form. He was a man of infinite patience and one who paid attention to the smallest detail. These qualities were mandatory to be a photographer in the 1850's. The wet collodion process was demanding indeed. It is thought that he gave up photography when the dry developing process came to the fore, because it made photography too easy. Anybody could do that. Where was the challenge?"

    I guess the more things change, the more they stay the same. However, I'm not sticking with my old Realist out of stubbornness. For me, the format is by far the most versatile and cost-effective, plus digital stereo displays just don't give me that "you are there" feel like my stuff shot on slide film.
     

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