why use film and scan?

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by chi_siu, May 10, 2010.

  1. I understand photographers who still shoot with films and do enlargements. Can someone tell me what is the purpose for those who shoot in film then scan and print digitally? Thanks.
  2. SCL


    For me it is two things: in B&W the control of the development process for films with vastly different characteristics, including very low ISO; for color...I feel I have better dynamic range, AND I do get better scans than what my DSLR produces (yes I have an older one without the latest gigapixels). Lastly, I have a freezer full of film just waiting to be used!See the next post (mine) for a rough example of a quick & dirty from last week, I could have come close with my DSLR, but the film did just fine).
  3. Well, if you are still using a film camera, then film is what you get out of it. The next step is then to find a way to get a useful picture from the film. Scanning is one way to do it, and if you lack darkroom equipment, space, running water, time and technique, scanning and digital printing work well. Even though the film's dynamic range and resolution may exceed the scanner's ability, newer equipment will continue to find improvement in the same image, something not so likely in purely digital images. The digital shots you made ten years ago will probably look the same on today's equipment. The Kodachromes you scanned ten years ago will look better if you rescan them with a better scanner.
  4. i prefer the results i get from it compared to my outdated digital SLR. i also prefer film in general. however, im currently tweaking an underexposed velvia slide and wondering the exact same thing! nothing more frustrating than tweaking an underexposed positive... at least its not kodachrome (while my favorite film, is even harder to scan if the frame is underexposed)
  5. 1) Because they never actually made a digital converter for 35mm SLRs
    2) I love old 35mm cameras and like to shoot with them, they only take film (see 1).
    3) There's no digital equivalent for films like Lucky, Indian made Fujipro, and respooled ORWO.
    4) I found lots of frozen film last year when we didn't have power for 2 weeks.
    5) I shot film for some 50 years so have a huge library of film images. Digitizing them lets me do things I couldn't have dreamed of without a huge lab and professional skills when I took the pictures. Suck it up Excel, Photoshop is my god now!
    I'm sure there are lots of reason, but those are mine.
  6. Jdm has my reasons pretty well listed. I shoot digital far more than film. But I shoot film for the enjoyment of using film
    cameras and for the "look" that film gives my photos (with no Photoshop time).

    However if scanning isn't your "thing" I would encourage you to shoot c-41 films and just have the fuji/noritsu machine scan them when the film is processed. No, it's not the best scan you can get. But it's cheap and plenty good enough for proofing, snapshots, or the web. At least in my opinion.
  7. One of the issues with color for me was always that you couldn't manipulate your image the way YOU wanted it to be. Digital, scanning film, allows for you to realize what you intended rather than relying on what the film/paper could yield. I am not talking about gross manipulation, but extending tonal range, isolating contrast adjustments (overall for that matter) and other things you could do even in a B/W darkroom. Digital allows more adjustments done more precisely.
    Shooting film can also yield a much better dynamic range and a good scanner, output of a RAW file can allow you to exploit this to the fullest. In fact, digital allows more dynamic range from the film than possible in traditional darkroom process. In particular, what may be "muddy" underexposed areas in a darkroom print can gain full and vibrant detail. This is an area where digital capture still can't compete.
    Digital capture is certainly better than even 5 years ago, but a film scan is still a much richer file, and sharper-no moire screens to worry about--besides, there aren't any good 4x5 backs for landscape!
  8. I, also, shoot more digital than film, but if you have never made images with a fine mechanical camera you are missing out on a wonderful tactile experience. Pick up a Leica M3, a Canon F-1 or Nikon F2 and feel the precision mechanism through your fingers...a delight! The lenses weren't too shabby either.
    On a practical note, a large or medium format negs gives a level of print quality that is hard, and extremely expensive, for digital cameras to match in a single shot capture. Important when very large, high quality prints are desired.
    On a non-practical note, there is something satisfying about using a film camera with no meter, no batteries and no automation. You actually have to slow down and think in a different way. Can you imagine not being able to "chimp" exposure or composition? Actually have to do math to figure bellows draw? There is a pleasure, for me, to exercise basic photographic fundamentals. There is a joy in the utter simplicity of the process. I helps me feel a greater connection to the subject.
  9. In the olden days, the camera shutter actually went off the INSTANT you pressed the shutter release. Not after lags induced by a lot of worthless automation, but when you actually wanted it to. Very hard to do with modern cameras. You can spend thousands of dollars for pro models to approximate that ultimate zen experience, but not quite there. (By the way, the single lens mirror flop itself adds a shutter lag.) Only film camera did this, not because they are film, but because they were all mechanical.
    If all you've ever eaten is a big mac, you think an all beef patty and a sesame seed bun is haute cuisine. (Actually, I don't have a perfect mechanical camera anymore.)
  10. I just took a look at some of my old Kodchrome slides from the summer of 1960 using a simple handheld viewer and they look like the day they came back from Rochester. No electrons were injured. I take a mix of digital and slide film nowadays but unless someone reformats all the digital picture every decade or so I doubt if they will be viewable 50 years fom now. I occasionally scan some of my old slides for email purposes but for my own use a Zadiix viewer (probably also 50 years old, needs occasional dusting) is what I use.
  11. I can't afford a large format digital back.
    And film is fun.
    Scanning film is a secondary consideratoi for me - negs don't get scanned as a matter of course, any more than they all get printed. But sometimes I want to do both.
    I was doing some LF the other day. A friendly bystanders remarks that could get a digital back.
    Thing is, the camera cost £10 on ebay, and a back would cost ?
  12. I don't get shutter lag on my smaller digital cameras.
    I think usually this refers to an AF lag, which if you work manually you don't get anyway.
    I do get with one of them a long pause while it stores the image, which some people count as shutter lag as it slows your frames per second to frames per minute.
    Yes there is a momentary but sometimes important "lag" on SLR, and the viewfinder blanking can be disconcerting.
  13. The way I see it, I added digital to my film work. I like both for their different advantages, and while I shoot digital most of the time now, I always carry and use a film body. I like the "shoot and forget" mentality where I can't look at it between shots. It makes me look forward to the next one than fussing over the one taken. It also makes me see how good I really am, or not. There's no automatic fixing or adjustments, I either got it or not (ok, bracketing aside). And the same as Keith, I can't afford a digital back for the 4x5. LF film and processing is expensive enough, but there's nothing like looking at a 4x5 transparency.
  14. Sometimes the final product that the viewers want really is just a picture on their monitor. In those instances, scanning saves work.
    Making the initial recording in film is similar to a painter deciding to make an initial recording in oil paints, even though watercolor is available. Just because a newer or different technology has come along doesn't mean that it'll have the same characteristics of interaction with the person doing the drawing.
    That is, pick the materials that you like and then carry the process through to meet the desired end results. Maybe those ideas will clarify some of the choices about the points in between.
  15. Because I can.
  16. I shoot both and submit both to publishers but prefer film. I don't have to process my transparancies. It is much easier to submit film to publishers. All I have to do is type out a ID label. It seems every publisher wants digital submitted differently. Some want the raw file while others want tiff and some, high res jpegs. they all want something different in file info. All that means hours more in front of the computer, which I don't enjoy.
  17. Digital has a limited range of luminances between the darkest and lightest area of the photo. The newer (and more expensive) sensors have a greater range. But Film has even a greater range than the most expensive digital sensors.
    As long as your light is controlled and within 5-7 stops of light, digital is great and convenient. But if you want to capture a photo with deeper shadow detail and brighter highlights, then film is better.
    Ever notice on digital photos that the sky or highlights on a person's check or forehead get blown out and just looks pure white? And at the same time, the shadows just turn pure black? Well, film can handle those situations much better and it looks more realistic.
    I suspect that as sensor technology evolves not only will megapixels grow, so will the histogram range.
  18. For me, it's all about the body and lenses, particularly the body.
    Compared to digital SLR's and lenses, film SLR's tend to be smaller and lighter, which is a big plus if like me you take camera equipment along on hikes. Most of the extra weight in DSLR's is used for features like autofocus which I seldom want to use. Ditto for the extra weight and bulk of new autofocus-era lenses.

    Film SLR's (at least, the old one I use) don't have to be powered up and running down batteries just to be ready to take a shot, and I often sit waiting for several minutes for a flower to stop waving in the breeze before I trip the shutter. Old manual-focus SLR's don't have half-silvered reflex mirrors, so their finders are brighter and easier to focus with.
    I shoot digital, too, by the way. I love my DMC-LX3; so much functionality crammed into a small package. No, it can't match the macro results I get with an SLR, a macro lens, and a tripod, but it's light and convenient and I don't want to lug an SLR, a tripod, and a bag full of lenses with me all the time.
  19. I love the process of developing my own black and white film. It's like cooking a good meal. Each time the ingredients and process can be suited to the end result. I also love looking at 35mm and larger transparencies. Nothing in the world beats holding the very camera original up to a light. Talk about capture!
    And because it's a cheap way to get full frame. My 20mm Nikkor is really wide with film. On my D90 it's just a wide normal lens....and I don't have 2 Grand for a full frame camera.
    And I love my medium format cameras. It's the same reason a lot of guys collect old muscle cars but drive a Nissan to work.
  20. stp


    I use both. I've used film for a long time and have come to "know" a few film types that I use regularly. While my goal is ultimately a print, digital is necessary to share a photo with friends, to get feedback, and to post on my website for the general public to see (and to then buy huge quantities!). I like to scan, and I like to tweak my photos to bring out the best in them --- I like to have the control. I can also send the digitized file to a pro printer for an exceptionally large, greatly detailed print, far larger than I'm able to print on my very nice Epson 3880. I'm also able to offer different printing options that I couldn't do on my own: canvas wraps, Colorplak, and aluminum prints. When I use film, I usually end up discarding pixels; when I use digital, a degree of interpolation is usually necessary prior to printing. Finally, digital usually does a poor job of tonal transitions in the vicinity of the sun; that's where film really shows (to me) its superiority over digital.
  21. Film provides another medium to back up my images. I'm a belt and suspenders guy when it comes to data backup.
  22. I shoot and print digitally for 35mm but also shoot Medium format if I want to make a serious landscape print. Maybe because I never tried it before but is there a reason to do a $150 drum scan and print it on an epson. Is it better quality that traditional enlargement?
  23. because the colors films create are better than digital. especially slides. i'm still working on a small stash of Kodachromes - http://mooostudios.com/light_kr64/light_kodachrome.htm - and digital has got about a decade to go to be this good.
    we use film for pleasure and scan for ease of sharing. i doubt professionals make money using film. maybe i'm wrong. i hope i'm wrong...
  24. Because a Leica M9 and all the accompanying accoutrements and computer system updating will run close to $9000 and since I take pictures to suit no one but myself there is no need at this time to do otherwise.
  25. Because I like it.
  26. I can't get an optical print from colour film any more, i don't have the time or inclination to learn colour printing, and the minilab CDs I've tried tend to blow, so I'd rather scan myself and then I have total control over the finished product. My Coolscan doesn't take up much room either.
    Plus, when I'm dead and buried it will be easy to get at my negatives if anyone needs to, far easier than to crack my rotating 20 digital random character password on my Mac.
  27. A digital file from scanned velvia will still show the grain character and rich color that's present in slide film. Certainly it won't compare to looking at the slide directly on a lightbox or projected, but a good scan will retain much of the "look" that keeps people shooting slide film over digital capture.
  28. I used to have my slides printed onto Cibachrome (Ilfochrome Classic), but the vast majority of the Cibachrome labs have closed down or discontinued the process. Plus, I'd like to be able to display my film images online. It's also reassuring to have digital "safety copies" of one's best negatives and chromes.
  29. I like the cameras themselves better.
  30. ted_marcus|1

    ted_marcus|1 Ted R. Marcus

    I switched to digital five years ago, but I have a large library of slides and negatives from before the switch. I have recently begun a project of making new scans of film images I scanned ten or more years ago. I have much better hardware, software, and skills than I had then, so the new scans are significantly improved (and higher resolution) than the old ones. Keeping the original film readily allows upgrading to new technology and techniques when they become available.
    On the other hand, scanning film is a much more arduous process than using a digital camera. Film scanning is slow, and even with good infrared cleaning requires significant time for the tedious and uncreative work of finding and fixing the "hickeys" of dust, scratches, and artifacts from infrared cleaning before any actual work can begin. That's one thing I don't miss at all; and I'm willing to trade reduced pixel counts for not having to do the tedious stuff.
    I also find that shooting exclusively raw digital files provides something like the upgrade advantage available with film. Even the "legacy" version of Adobe Camera Raw in CS3 is better than what I was using five years ago, so I have "upgraded" some of my earliest digital camera files with beneficial results.
    I suppose that what it ultimately comes down to is preference. If you like film and film cameras, you'll choose to scan film. If you prefer digital, you'll use that.
  31. I like the results, and I like my old cameras.
  32. They give you (arguably) better results and image quality as your image is stored in the form of tiny crystals rather than tiny square pixels. The quality of high end film specific scanners are higher than most DSLRS that most of us can afford, Film is interchangeable and typically works better than a digital ISO setting, Older film SLRS are cheaper and in some cases easier to maintain(I recently borrowed a thirty year old OM-1 from my professor and it gave me better looking shots than my DSLR and was much more sturdy) and the best part, after the untimely crash of your harddrive and loss of all those digital shots you meant to back up but didn't becuase you didn't want to spend a day burning your images to cd's and dvd's your scanned shots negatives will still be in the large unorganized box in the corner of your office :)
  33. Pierre makes a simple yet important point. If you enjoy the tool you use, then you will use it more. There is no such thing as a fully mechanical digicam, and whilst the Leica M8/M9 is as close as we've come, it's not the same as holding a Nikon F or Leica M. Shooting with a film camera is a different experience to shooting with digital, and it certainly isn't for everyone, Not only is it physically a different experience, but it is different pshycologically as well. There are times when I need the extra quality of film, but other times I cherish the "tangible" experience, as it was described above. I just feel so detached from the whole process when using my digicams. And whilst, for me, nothing beats b&w, developed and printed in my darkroom, feeding that roll of 135 film into the scanner is still a rewarding experience.
  34. I use and enjoy both but I find the satisfaction of using film somehow greater so perhaps 40% of my shooting is still film (most of that 35mm and some 120). With a good scanner, a lot of practise using it and some careful sharpening the results from 35mm can be extraordinarily good.
  35. I just like the beautiful precisions mechanical cameras, the feel, the sound of them, the handling, like they are absolute jewel Olympus OM-1 OM-2 s the Nikon FM, FE etc. To days, even the smallest digital Nikon D40 still a fat gay. Ohh.! The solid feel of the Nikon F, no meter. Hardly have ever an under or over exposed images. Mostly b/w or some time the beautiful Velvia. Nikon Super Coolscan 4000 doing a nice work for me. It is a joy and pleasure to work with them. Ok. I have to go now and scan my 5 roll of Velvias and a couple of rolls of b/w.
  36. I just like the beautiful precisions mechanical cameras, the feel, the sound of them, the handling, like they are absolute jewel Olympus OM-1 OM-2 s the Nikon FM, FE etc. To days, even the smallest digital Nikon D40 still a fat gay. Ohh.! The solid feel of the Nikon F, no meter. Hardly have ever an under or over exposed images. Mostly b/w or some time the beautiful Velvia. Nikon Super Coolscan 4000 doing a nice work for me. It is a joy and pleasure to work with them. Ok. I have to go now and scan my 5 roll of Velvias and a couple of rolls of b/w.
  37. With film cameras, there are films and there are cameras. I can use one camera with many different film types and I can use many different cameras with the same film type that I like. In other words the film are interchangable, I dont have to buy one camera to use Kodak films and another to use Fuji films
    We all know how important to have a camera with interchangable lenses instead of a fixed lens. It is as much important that our cameras can use interchangable films/sensors. Most people must spend a lot of money to buy a new DSLR just because they want the new sensor. For example, just imagine how frustrasted we would be if Nikon says "You cannot use the newest film types made by Kodak with the F6 or any Nikon cameras made before that. You will need a new $2000 Nikon F7 to be able to use new Kodak films. Or even worse if Canon says "you need to buy the new Canon EOS 1V plus to use all the 35mm Fuji films and still no Canon cameras will accept new Kodak films"
  38. Because I shoot 4x5 Provia in a sub $500 used camera (including lenses) and digitize using a sub $400 scanner and because it would cost me more than $20,000 to replicate the image quality with digital capture from the start. Don't get me wrong, I'm not against progress; if I had the money I'd have a MF digital system in a heartbeat and leave my old film equipment out as a display item. Sadly, I don't have a spare $20,000 to $30,000 sitting around.
  39. it


    Because it's fun?
  40. Sometimes I don't want to shoot raw and process the image- I like how slide films look and just want the image to look like how Fuji intended. Seriously.
    I also like using manual focus SLRs with their massive viewfinders and taking my time to compose with prime lenses.
  41. Duh, because if I matte and frame a 35mm or 120 neg or slide and hang that on the wall it looks pretty stupid. It certainly does not look like the scene I was pointing the camera at and that I wish to display, at least not without backlighting and squinting.
  42. In my case, I scan film because it's a low-cost substitute for having (and knowing how to operate in) a darkroom. I don't see any fundamental conflict between both types of technology in terms of quality, but I agree with everyone else here that it is often a lot more fun to shoot film, not only because of the feel and sound of the equipment, but also because sometimes it's more fun to wait for the results instead of seeing them instantly. There's another aspect which is the handling of the material carrier, developed film is relatively fragile and transparent but also more directly represents the images it carries, at least compared to memory cards. A bit similar to my appreciation of handling larger but more fragile and harder to replace vinyl records versus (to me) the unevocative and easily copied/disposed of compact disks or DVDs.
    I shoot and print digitally for 35mm but also shoot Medium format if I want to make a serious landscape print. Maybe because I never tried it before but is there a reason to do a $150 drum scan and print it on an epson. Is it better quality that traditional enlargement?​
    I have no experience with drum scans and will probably never be able to afford those, but like Chi I would be interested to see comments or answers about those - and it looks like his followup question may have gotten submerged in our outpourings of analog love :)
  43. I understand photographers who still shoot with films and do enlargements. Can someone tell me what is the purpose for those who shoot in film then scan and print digitally?
    This thread has predictably digressed into the "film vs digital" mode. The original question, quoted above, was something else. My take on the question is "Why scan vs a conventional darkroom approach?" It boils down to convenience, control and consistency.
    I have done both, but having worked in a professional darkroom (newspaper), it is hard to accept anything less for home use. That never worked out for a variety of reasons - space, plumbing and construction skills and the cost. By the time I had these things worked out, darkroom equipment was pretty hard to find, so things were put on hold. Meanwhile, I shot a lot of slides because commercial printing was expensive and of low quality. I bought my first film scanner in the late nineties, for publishing purposes, and a photo printer shortly thereafter.
    Color printers were pretty grim throughout most of the nineties - 16 colors and slow. What an epiphany to see what you could do with an Epson 9xx (I forget which model). It's been downhill ever since.
    I see a scanner as the replacement for an enlarger and associated paraphernalia. It holds the film and exposes a sensitive medium - a digital sensor. You don't need much space, nor a dark room. It holds the film consistently flat, and is sharp from corner to corner (with the right holder). Unlike an enlarger, it works at a single magnification and can be optimized for a flat field and high image quality. I see Photoshop as a replacement for dodging, burning and de-dusting. The printer is kinda' like hanging prints up to dry once the real work has been done.
    I think the largest conventional print I personally made was 16x20". That was using 11x14" trays, working on a diagonal. I had to turn the enlarger backwards and put the paper on the floor. You get the picture - not something you'd do routinely. These days, a 17" printer (e.g., Epson 3880) is well within reach of an home user, and a 16x20 is no harder to make than a letter-sized print.
    My darkroom experience was mostly black and white, in which you have a lot of control over density and contrast compared to wet color printing. With a scanner and inkjet (or dye sub), you have just as much control over color printing (and can still do a credible job with black and white). The transition from film to digital imaging was a minor step by comparison - easier than changing to a different brand of film.
  44. I just replaced my old scanner with a new Epson that Does film and slides. I have been having a blast scanning my old film and blowing them way beyond the size prints I had made back in the 70's, and I can tweak them in the digital dark room. I was really impressed with the quality I was am getting. I can also start scanning my dad and moms old B&W film and slides going back into the 40's. There is a lot to be said for film. I love my Canon 40D, but I have a great respect for film even though it is a little expensive per shot compared to digital.
  45. Maybe something to add to Edward's explanation: minimizing chemical hazards around the house. In my case my college job involves more than enough potential exposure to a variety of harmful lab chemicals, in a line of research that seems to raise the odds for incidence of cancers. My wife (who's in the same line of business) already went through cancer diagnosis and (fortunately) surgical removal at an early stage. Electronics are not without their own hazards, but a scanner and pc/mac are a lot less worrisome in that respect than bottles and trays with the various solutions needed for/during darkroom work.
  46. The thing about scaning is that no matter how great the scanner is, you are still getting a second generation copy of the original. I have a scanner at home, but I rarely go over 8X10 prints from 35mm or 11X14 for medium format. I mostly use it to upload pictures to the web.
  47. Edward's answer is the only one that really addresses the question as posed by the OP. There is nothing I can add to that.
    However I was heartened to read several of the responses that emphasized the preference for shooting film based primarily on the "feel", ergonomics, size, weight, and aesthetics of a high quality 35mm apparatus. In my case a Contax RTS-II which has been happily clicking away for 25+ years. I was happy to know that many others share my feelings in this regard. It's just more fun! Having said that, 80% of my images are made with a digital SLR, which I fully expect to require replacement long before my Contax bites the dust.
  48. Though I have a digital camera and plan on getting a DSLR in the fall, I will always prefer film and my manual cameras over digital. In the last year I have built a small collection of vintage cameras. I love using them all.
    Manual cameras force you to learn how to really use a camera. It's too easy for just anyone to pick up a DSLR and take a nice picture.
    It's fun to manipulate film yourself and not through a program. DIY is the best way to do anything. Knowing that you did it on your own. I guess it's self-actualizing.
    I'll be digitally scanning my film negatives because I want to share them with everyone and preserve them should anything happen to the negatives or prints.
  49. Here's another angle on this...
    If you accept that a properly-scanned 35 mm slide has at least the image quality of a decent DSLR (and I don't want to get into that argument) then scanning makes every old, cheap 35 mm SLR a surrogate DSLR. I shoot Nikon, so I have one pool of lenses shared among half a dozen bodies...one of which is digital, and the others are "kinda digital." This lets me have one at work, one in my briefcase, a few at home, etc...which I could not afford to do with a bunch of D200, D300, etc bodies.

    With a 50 mm f/1.8, my N80 is a very cheap, high-quality "DSLR" that I can bang around, drop in the surf etc. I have to wait a week to get the film back, but not all my photos require "right now" results. And if they do, I have a DSLR.
  50. To answer the other part of the question, I then scan film because I no longer have darkroom equipment nor the inclination to use it if I did (other than developing the B&W film itself). Setting up a darkroom in my bathroom for an evening's work was fine when I was 25, but I have no desire to do that anymore, and I can't really afford to blow money on pro lab services. I used to do those things, but now I have a scanner. For me, the film is the medium, and the scanner is just a convenient way of being able to put the picture up on a computer.
    I don't make photographic prints from those scans. I think that would be silly. May as well just start off with digital in the first place. If I really intend to do computerized image editing beyond what is necessary after a scan, I just use the digital camera to begin with. After all, I have to get some use out of it. I bought it 3 months ago and as I fully expected, it's already obsolete and superseded by better gadgets. My Nikon F, by comparison, is a timeless device, just like the metal Campagnolo-equipped, lugged Columbus steel road bike is that I ride every day, compared to the plastic wonders people are willing to pay thousands of dollars for to mostly look at for 6 months until the next $10,000 plastic bike model comes out.
    I don't think I have sufficient attention deficit disorder or OCD to be a modern person.
  51. Hi!
    Its because of the beautiful colour rendering and the smooth highlight detail that cannot be replicated with digital.
  52. I shoot film because I like using my F4 more than my Sony digital - better viewfinder and I don't have to carry a 100+ page manual around.
    But the main reason I shoot film is because I like projecting slides. However, a digital file is a lot cleaner than one from scanned film. I have never used a digital projector but if it gave the same results as I get from projecting through my Leica Colorplan lens, then I would be tempted to switch.
    Another factor is I can find any slide I've taken of the last ten years in a minute or two. I have them all filed chronologically. Digital files somehow seem to get lost easily. I find it's a lot less work to stick 36 slides into slide pockets in a looseleaf binder than to d ownlaod from a camera, organize and save to cd the file the cd away.
  53. For me, my Mamiya 7 gives me the portability of my D200 with significantly better resolution.
    I have just received four 30inch x 45inch prints from my scans and am delighted with the results.
  54. I don't feel digital gives the subtle shadows which are so desireable in a portrait. It doesn't give the detail of Medium or Large format. Lastly B&W conversion just does not hold up to a true B&W film.
    Digital certainly has it's place. But in some cases film is superior
  55. I truly love the feel of my all black Minolta SRT 201,takes me back to when I started out, it's loaded with some Ilford C41 and with me now ,the digital is at home ..thanx
  56. Why scan and then print digitally?
    So, to clarify I do have digital cameras, but the question is WHEN I shoot film ...
    The main reasons are :
    I have many perfectly good 35mm full frame film cameras that I like using.
    With PS I have a great deal of control how the print will look. HERE is a shot I made on film and looking at the raw scan; blech , bland, nothing. But when I put it through PS (levels, saturation adjustment, cleaning up via cloning etc...) it becomes something I actually like. If I had looked at an index sheet and saw the original I would have thought "another ruined roll, looks nothing like I originally saw." I might have just filed the negative away and forgot about it.
    So that's with color, but with BW I can process and print myself. Of course each print will be a one of a kind, but I find getting a print perfect in the darkroom harder than in PS. But at least I can DIY a BW in the darkroom; definitely not a color negative.
    I also have several Med Format cameras (again perfectly good in mint condition) so do I scan them and get really good results? Or do I look into getting a digital back? If I'm going to spend the amount of a new car on something I think I'd rather drive it.
  57. Of my eight cameras, only two are digital, so to use the other six (of which two are medium format), I use film. Digital is great when I'm in a rush or want to shoot hand-held in low light. But I've been shooting film, developing film, and making wet prints from film, for more years than I'm willing to count (though I rarely make wet prints anymore). I can't see throwing away all that hard-earned knowledge and skill just because someone invented digital cameras. I won't get into the argument about film vs. digital quality, except to say that both are giving me the quality I need for a specific purpose. But each film has its own *look*, especially black & white film when used with different developers, and I enjoy that variety. Also, I love the feel of my film cameras and the way they operate.
    Finally, I like knowing that my negatives and/or slides are safely stored in archival sleeves in various binders, and I don't need to continue to store a scanned image on my computer. I scan the film, select my favorites for printing or uploading to Flickr, delete the other images, and store the film knowing I can always re-scan the image (or other images on that film strip) should the need arise. OTOH I dislike backing up digital files and having them sitting on my computer; I have a large hard drive, but it takes too long to defragment the hard drive, for instance, with so many large (RAW and 16-bit TIFF) files stored on it. With film, I only need to store the scanned images for a brief period of time, and they can be high-quality JPEGs.
  58. Why scan instead of darkroom... With a little Photoshop manipulation of color photos, I can create files that print a lot better at Costco or Ritz Camera today than the commercial enlargements I used to get. For black and white, it might be different, but I'm hearing great things these days about B&W inkjet printing. And, a commercial B&W printing option has recently appeared in the area.
    Why film vs. digital? Sorry, I won't go for that question.
    Can we make good prints from film? You bet. With a Coolscan V on 35mm or with a lowly Epson V500 on 6x9 Medium Format, I am making 12x18 prints that I like a lot.
  59. Real estate. Richard mention scanning 6x9. Even bigger is better. I shoot Provia 4x5 in an old Graflex with an old Fujinon lens and scan on an old (but not as old) Epson 1680 scanner, and I get amazing image quality (limited, of course, by my own talent). As I said in a post earlier in this thread, if I could afford it, I'd give all of this up for a MF digital system. But that's not in the cards for me, at least not at the moment.
  60. If you're already shooting film (in my case, for landscapes especially, Large Format), then it doesn't make sense NOT to scan, especially if you have a high quality, e.g. drum, scanner.

    Once you've scanned a LF transparency or negative, for example, you've got the extremely high resolution that arguably exceeds that of a medium format digital back (there are no high speed LF digital sensors that I am aware of). Then, by scanning, you can get a 1Gb native TIF for Photoshop to start with.

    There is no more powerful combination for extremely large displays or prints that I know of.
  61. I don't shoot much film anymore. But one argument in favor of film and scanning is archivalness. I consider digital an inherently non-archival medium. No matter how much we all say we're going to back up our files and update them to the latest media as CDs give way to DVDs and DVDs to whatever is next, etc., only a very few of us will reliably do that in real life. Most likely only professionals who rely on their images to put bread on the table, and even those photographers will be selective -- your picture of the Hindenberg explosion, yes. your outakes from a shoot with a model nobody ever heard of named Norma Jean, probably not. But film is always there -- you can hold up Matthew Brady's glass plates to the light and see what they are. Who will be able to do that with a 2010 CD 150 years from now?
  62. I shoot digital and film.
    Digital is good and fast. Shutter lag isn't a problem on my Nikon D90, nor on my Olympus Tough 3000 (long as I pre-focus, a simple concept for a film guy).
    But film has a wider range of exposure latitude, and lets me make multiple scans of a single neg and merge them, for better shadow details or to prevent highlights blowing out.
    And my panoramic camera, a Widelux, does in a single shot, what would take 3-4 digi images and computer processing time with modern digital cams.
  63. I shoot a Bronica ETRSi (medium format 6x4.5). With an Imacon 343 scanner, I get 39 Mega pixels! Ok, so they are not quite all perfectly sharp, but it'll beat all but the very best digital SLR's in terms of resolution. You have to have a great scanner else the scanner will be the quality bottleneck. The imacon 343 ROCKS at 48 bit color, 3200dpi, and less noise than the film itself (scanner noise is 1LSB (least significant bit) max). The colors are amazing (albeit I must color correct the E6 as it's not perfect), and I get about 6 stops range using Fuji Provia F100. samples: www.vincenthornephotography.com
  64. Film looks different than digital, just like my old tube amplifier for my stereo sounds amazing for acoustic music, but sounds like crap for heavy metal.
    I also get much better dynamic range from black and white film than from my DSLR, although I don't find the difference between colour films and digital to be huge enough that the possible quality difference is always better than the convenience factor.
  65. I use digital and film cameras. They are very different experiences, and different processes which yield....different results. Both are quite fun and entertaining, and after all, what else is the goal for a hobbyist, right?
    They're different in much the same was as playing vinyl LPs is different than playing CDs. Film cameras are more sensual to handle, much more beautiful artifacts to behold, and operate entirely different on so many planes that it's like a different hobby almost. The difference between a compact rangefinder film camera and a compact digital P&S is stupendous.
    From a hobby perspective (I have no paying clients I have to satisfy) the outputs of each are quite different and both are useful to me in producing my art. It could probably be argued that there is nothing about one that can't be in some way done with the other, but that would leave me with half the fun!
  66. Having been film scanning for the past 5+ years, I have to agree with many of the reasons posted here. At that time, I anticipated that much will rapidly change in digital imaging and the dslr prices would drop steeply. I expected film scanning would allow me to learn the tail end of the workflow, i.e. image correction and printing, and it did. Now I only need to learn how to operate a dslr.
    Having said that, once I picked up a dslr, I pretty much stopped shooting film. By comparison, film scanning is a much more labor intensive and tedious effort.
  67. I use film and scan because that is what I have. I love photography and I'm not a pro. It's a hobby. I have excellent classic equipment that I love to use and it's paid for. I can get used equipment cheap. Things I could never afford in the past. As long as there is film, I'll use it. I get a process and scan locally and have enlargemnts made of my favorites. I'm setting up a darkroom for B&W. I don't "Spray and Pray" when I shoot. I try to make every shot count so it's still economical for me at this time. I don't even shoot anough to justify buying a scanner.
    I would love to have high end digital equipment but can not justify the expense at this time. I not only don't have the camera, lenses, flash, etc, I don't have the computer or software to support it. Frankly, I can't afford it. It also bothers me that all this great new digital stuff depreciates so quickly. I just can't do it.......................yet. I have other hobbies I need to support too.
  68. I just finished reading through this entire thread. I'm a professional computer system administrator who has lived through a house fire, and it pains me to hear the way some of you folks talk about the reliability of certain media and your methods for preserving irreplaceable photos.
    First, placing negatives in a binder on a shelf most definitely does not make them safe. Fire, flood, tornado, or even a poorly placed coffee cup can ruin your photos. The same can be said for digital photos that live only on a single hard drive, except that you can also add "theft" to the above list of threats. Any time you have only a single copy of something important, you're rolling the dice. The primary reason for scanning your important negatives is to allow you to store multiple copies of your shots in a much more reliable manner. Is the MF negative of better quality than your scan? Perhaps, but if my house burns down (again), I'd rather be left with a lower quality scan of my now-dead grandparents than nothing at all.
    However, I don't consider burning a CD or DVD of your shots as a backup and then placing them in a filing cabinet right next to your desk to be a very effective backup solution. Never let the same thief, flood, or fire take out every copy of your data. If you take few enough photos that you can actually store them practically on a reasonable number of DVD's, then at least store them in a different building, like at your workplace or your brother's house across town.
    The problem with optical media like DVD's is that the cheap ones have a lifespan of sometimes less than 10 years. Even the good ones won't last more than a few decades. You're also assuming that, if you need to reference those backups in 20 years, you'll actually be able to find a drive that can read them, which is a stretch. Anybody tried buying a 9-track tape player lately? The file format in which you store your photos is also a consideration. TIFF and JPEG have enough inertia behind them that software will be able to read those files for many decades to come, even if something better is invented next year. I wouldn't make the same statement for most RAW formats, although photography-oriented software like Photoshop CS17 will likely still retain support for a long time. Canon's CR2 raw format is just a TIFF under the covers, so it should be safe.
    I don't use optical media for backups. I save my photos (organized by date) to my internal hard drive, then make identical copies of that entire drive on two other USB drives (different brands purchased at different times) which live at my workplace. I alternate which one I bring home each night to sync up with my internal hard drive. When one of those hard drives dies, I buy a new one, sync it up with the others, and continue on my merry way. I'm very confident that my photographic memories (and financial records) will survive any disaster which doesn't also kill me. I'll be nervous about my old film negatives until I finish scanning them.
    For more details on this, see http://www.jedi.com/obiwan/technology/backup.html
  69. I'll admit, I've had pictures printed directly from negatives on a darkroom enlarger. They do tend to look better than a scan (professional) when done right. I think you loose a little, but not much, when you have to scan the image. But that said, my scans from Nikon 9000 look fantastic and on par with drumscans. Film equipment is cheaper than digital equipment when trying to achieve a similar quality. That said, nothing beats digital for those low light situations! So I have both. If I didn't have a large collection of film shots, I'd definitely spend my money on digital.
  70. If you would like to see some nice work look to Nick Brant photography. He shoots medium format film and then scans to digital.
    Film can offer a wider dynamic range especially in Black and White. Film also offers a slightly different look then the digital. I shoot film and digital Nikon gear. I enjoy both formats. People are saying Reala is discontinued now. If that is true then that is a major loss for film shooters. I just ordered some Fuji XP-2 which is a C41 black and white film. I am going to shoot 3 rolls to check it out.
  71. Pro landscape photographer Rodney Lough, Jr, ( http://www.rodneyloughjr.com ) shoots entirely large format and then scans his work before printing. The resulting image file is 1.2GB, he says. The scan gives him more options for printing (like to backlit transparencies), even though he does virtually no postprocessing of the shot itself. I've seen some of his work in galleries printed 72" wide (single shot), and the detail is fabulous. An audio interview with him from "Inside Analog Photo," in which he describes his workflow, is online at http://www.rodneyloughjr.com/podcasts/iap_Edited_audio.mp3
  72. ". . .it pains me to hear the way some of you folks talk about the reliability of certain media and your methods for preserving irreplaceable photos.
    First, placing negatives in a binder on a shelf most definitely does not make them safe. Fire, flood, tornado, or even a poorly placed coffee cup can ruin your photos. . ."
    I don't trust hard drives, either. So my backups include film, scans on my primary HD, backups to a USB HD, and an online backup (Mozy.com). It's good to have multiple sets on different media.
  73. I have a Coolscan LS-2000 film scanner, a Nikon FM3a film SLR and a D-70 DSLR. It is true that a DSLR is easier than scanning film. But I find the dynamic range is very limiting. When I take a shot of sunlight filtering through trees onto the ground, I end up with areas that are too bright and too dark. My film SLR/scanner handles this much better. In extreme situations, I can even scan the same frame twice at two different brightness settings, then combine the images to get a cheap-o HDR effect.
    When all is said and done, both film and digital have a place in my bag.
  74. I have been using film, mostly medium format, for 30 years. So I have a large archive and I need a good scanner to be able to make use of it in today's digital world. Good digital back for my Hasselblad V would cost about USD15k. I already have the scanner so there is no additional investment in that. Therefore, using film is still very much cheaper than moving completely into digital. Of course it depends a lot on what kind of photography you do and for what purpose.

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