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Wow - read this re: Film versus Digital debate!


philip_sutton
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I hope I have put this question in the right place??

 

 

I have been doing a lot of research lately. I used to shoot for a stock library (Austral international but is now called

Austral Press) years ago with a full Nikon F5 system. I had lots of stuff published and the money was starting to

come in - was all very exciting.

 

However through a family tradegy I had to give it all away.

 

Now I am in a good position to get things cranked up agian. However I have been amazed that in the interim nearly

everybody has gone digital. I still think in film and loved working with film. The idea of having to spend so much on

an expensive DSLR and spend all that time on the computer is really daunting.

 

I have just ordered a new in the box Pentax 67ii off ebay. It should be here in a few more days. I have a thread up

on the Pentax 67ii link at the moment asking a question about the metering prism.

 

Anyway - I was starting to think that I had done the wrong thing by breaking back in with film. I wondered if I would

be viewed as a dinasour or something. I wondered how many serious photographers still use film and how much

longer it will last.

 

Here is the point of this thread: I was reading some stuff from a Google search and stumbled upong this. AS it was

only written recently, I found it very inspiring and it filled me with confidence.

 

I was wondering if some of you folks who know a heap more about this subject than me at the moment, could read

this and tell me your opinion. Is this guy credible. Is it true what he asserts.

 

Can't wait to read some opinions!

 

Phil

 

http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/why-we-love-film.htm

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<em>Is this guy credible. Is it true what he asserts.</em>

<p>No, he's a crackpot. Take his writings with large grains of salt. Much of what he says is tounge-in-cheek. He

can nonetheless be insightful and has written valuable articles. He's also written a lot of hogwash.

<p>This article about film's superiority was good for laughs. I agree with some of the things he says there, and

he raises some good points.

<p>And to Phil: by all means go ahead and use film if you like working that way. It's the result that counts. I'm

shooting mostly film too but I'm not a professional.

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You will love your Pentax, I had one for a while and loved the quality and results I obtained. Be confident about your

choice there are loads of films out there, rather than film vs digital think film and digital they are quite different mediums.

 

On the site you linked to, he's not a 'crackpot' as previously inferred but a very shrewd blogger, who publishes

contentious material to drive hits to earn cash, kind of the photo blog version of those magazines about celebrities and

what surgery they are having etc.

Think about what you want to achieve from your photography, look at the work of others, develop a style don't worry

about internet debates that are basically driven by bored people who just want to back up their choices.

In fact I'd go further, those who tell you to 'go digital' are not to be trusted, ask yourself 'why does it matter to them what

camera I use?"

There is a huge amount of misinformation out there, based upon others choice, people will try to convince you film is

binary (its not) a 6mp DSLR is better than your 6x7 or a $5 camera is better than a $5 digicam. those sites are for

entertainment rather than science or guidance.

Have Fun!!

Mark

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Hey thanks guys - this is a very good start. I really enjoyed your responses. I had to laugh Fredrik where you called him a 'crackpot'.

 

Mark you really made a lot of sense. I am starting to think down that road - better to concentrate on making good images than to worry about which medium I use.

 

I suppose a more direct question to Ken's link is what he says about dropping off his films to the lab, getting them processed and the resultant slides are then scanned. My question is - the scans that he speaks about - how do they compare with the same image taken on a top range DSLR.

 

I would be getting 6x7 transparencies scanned. I rang my lab today and they said that their high quality scans are about 18 meg. Would they be enough to submit to a stock library, take high quality prints from or to view on the screen.

 

Sorry about the stupid questions but I am just getting back into photography. When I gave photography up in the mid 90's, digital was barely around so I know nothing about it.

 

Cheers - Phil

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I don't know much about digital cameras but I do know about computers and scanning. I use film and then scan it because I just don't have the room at the time since I moved for a dark room. I will tell you personally in a print magazine I can't tell much difference between Digital and Film but I can tell it in a print even a digital print from film. You will love your Pentax it is a great camera and shoot tons of film I have not gone digital because I have about 6 liters of rodinal in the cubby and about 3 miles of film in a huge freezer and always adding more to it.

 

I wish you luck in getting back to photography and the secret I recently learned is shoot and worry later.

 

Larry

 

P.S. Crackpot is a bit harsh *g*

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<em>I suppose a more direct question to Ken's link is what he says about dropping off his films to the lab, getting them processed and the resultant slides are then scanned. My question is - the scans that he speaks about - how do they compare with the same image taken on a top range DSLR.</em>

<p>I can't imagine that they compare. I do believe that if digital images is what you want, a digital camera is the way to go. I shoot slides for projection myself. I don't shoot color negative film; few labs print optically these days and if they are going to scan the negative before printing, I can just as well shoot digitally in the first place.

 

<p>However, your 6x7 transparencies are <b>large</b>; scanned competently using good equipment they will give any DSLR a run for the money.

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You trade time or travel to get film processed vs some computer time. Scanning or making prints in the darkroom are labor intensive.

 

To me the biggest advantage is being able to make two pics and load into my computer in a few minutes and I am done. No worries about what to do with the rest of the roll.

 

With a computer, you can walk away and not worry about chems spoiling. Learn to use action and other tricks to process many pics at one time. Let the computer slug through it.

 

If you are comfortable with film, continue. I like and use both.

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"I wondered how many serious photographers still use film and how much longer it will last."

 

Many serious photographers continue to use film: some exclusively, some in addition to digital. Film will be around for a long time, although it will probably get more expensive, and quality lab services rarer.

 

I don't agree much with Ken Rockwell's article, but it's mostly an opinion piece. The problems he has with digital are because he prefers photos "straight out of the camera", and doesn't want to deal with getting too involved in digital processing. There are so many variables in the creation of a photo that's it's best to test your own methods; having the same gear/materials doesn't mean you'll get the same results. A lot of folks on the internet like to show highly magnified samples as quality comparison. I've found hanging large prints side by side on a wall to be a better way for me to compare.

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"I will tell you personally in a print magazine I can't tell much difference between Digital and Film but I can tell it in a print even a digital print from film."

 

Then you've apparently never seen a well printed digital image. The ONLY way you can tell, is if the print is inkjet printed on matte paper. Why? Because there is nothing in the traditional photographic papers that has that type of matte paper look. That says nothing about the quality of the results - only the difference in media. A LightJet print on traditional photographic paper is indistinquishable from a wet darkroom print on the same paper - unless you're looking at the prints with a 10x or higher power loupe. Then you can see the individual lines made by the lasers on the digital print.

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"I will tell you personally in a print magazine I can't tell much difference between Digital and Film but I can tell it in a print

even a digital print from film."

 

>Then you've apparently never seen a well printed digital image.

 

Steve he's talking about a results from film cameras vs DSLRs on the SAME media, and I agree I can tell an image from

film no matter what it is printed on.

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In response to a question about a lens, I once tried to insert a link to some factual, straightforward

information from Ken's site and was blocked from posting. That's why I made the comment above.

 

I'm not much for putting smileys in my posts, though that may have helped with the lighthearted intent of my

comment. :-)

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This debate is over.

 

If you are shooting photos strictly as a hobby choose anything you want, but beyond that we have moved past film.

 

I really enjoyed film and I was very wary of digital, but then I picked up a Nikon D200 and I haven't been able to put it down. 2 1/2 years later and my poor Hasselblad has not had a roll of film through it.

 

Time has moved on. Digital has its issues, I agree, but I would never go back.

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Keep on using film, if that's what you like; unless reportage or telecom is an important part of your business deals. If

they are, then move over to digital, and just be prepared to take the long-term losses. Your overhead will take a hit with digital because

there are more people involved in the process, all of whom will take their cut as you go along.

 

I ended up buying a digi-cam for color images; the whole thing was over-rated. Within six weeks, I ordered a

replacement film camera in small format. The digital does what it does, but there's some real class-conscious vanity

built into modern marketing schemes. For what I do, I would rather use older film cameras. Viewers prefer some of the

digital products for now; but overall satisfaction on film photography is rock solid for me.

 

Ultimately, it's a matter of personal choice. I would recommend that you go with what makes you feel good about what

you are doing. Proceed with confidence. J.

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A friend of mine who has shot stock for over 40 years says his agencies want everything in digital form but they actually

prefer the look of film scanned to a digital original because of better tonality. Also many tests have shown that in all MF vs

DSLR comparisons as long as the MF is scanned at high quality (ie not a flat bed) especially using a drum scanner, that

the MF always wins. But don't think that digital is more expensive, as the high initial investment rapidly pays for itself in the

savings on film, processing and, if you don't do your own, scanning costs.

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Phil, I'm a film shooter BUT we I see what you can do with digital I think that's time to move on...althought i do not have any digital camera I think that sooner or later we have to go digital!

That's future!!

BUT now I'm saving money to buy a 35 summilux asph. for my m6 titan (just bought with 21/2,8 and 75/1.4)

Ciao

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"Even Kodak Is back into Film Look at the new Ektar"

 

The new Ektar is a movie film without the "remjet" (removable jet black) anti-halation layer. If anything, it is proof that Kodak is getting out of film. No new still films, just the systematic replacement of the old still line with adapter movie films to lower Kodak's production costs and R&D budget.

 

"No, he's a crackpot."

 

Ken declares, openly, in many places throughout his site that what he writes is humor. He is honest about not taking what he writes too seriously. That is the total opposite of a crackpot: one who is completely convinced of the truth of his strange beliefs.

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Larry wrote: Even Kodak Is back into Film Look at the new Ektar and the secret stuff they sell through Freestyle.

 

What secret stuff? Im curious:) And hell yeah, im using more and more film. Digital is for press use when its about to be published within minutes on internet and in the paper the following day. Most of my comercial/portrait is in b&w-film or Fuji Astia.

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I really don't understand why people keep posting Film VS Digital topics, or ask if anyone is still using film...in a

FILM forum. Just look in the film and processing forums and Classic Manual Camera forums and ask if "anyone is

still using film." Obviously so, for there to be enough interest to have a very active film forum! It's almost like you're

trying to ask a rhetorical question. Are people using film? Hello! Yes, of course. Then you say things like "oh, will I

be viewed as a dinosaur for using film?" NO. Why are you saying things like that?

 

I just turned 31 and I love film. I talked to friend who is 25 and he uses film at least half the time. He got a new

digital camera for Christmas last year, but he's getting BACK into film. So why do people keep saying "oh, are you

STILL using film." It's not a matter of "STILL," it's a matter of preference. Some people just like film. Why is that so

hard to accept? It's not just older people or people who are anti-technology. Some people just prefer film. I've been

around computers my entire life, and the internet has been around most of my life. I've grown up with technology. I

have an 8 megapixel digital camera. But I still prefer using film.

 

Philip, it sounds like you really want to use film, but you're trying to justify it. Why? You do NOT have to explain or

justify anything to anyone. When I go out with my friends, I love getting out my Argus C4 and taking pictures with

it...and I really don't freaking care what ANYONE thinks. Not one bit. If I want to use film and a 50 year old

mechanical camera because it's FUN...that's my business. Besides, if anyone really wants to GENERALIZE, then

we can just say that most consumers who use digital cameras are just taking lame snapshots with their point and

shoot digital camera for their MySpace page. Sorry, but that's what most young people are doing with digital

photography. I know because I'm actually around them. The people who would post on this website are an

exception, but the average consumer isn't using digital SLR cameras. They're not even seriously interested in

photography at all. They're taking "pics" for their MySpace and Flickr pages.

 

So Philip, why do you feel like you have to explain or justify yourself for wanting to use film? I don't justify anything.

I just ordered Ektar 100 film from Freestyle, and I've lost count now of how many rolls of film I've used in the last year

or so. So is anyone "still" using film? What do you think? I sure am.

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