Film Photography

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JamesEG
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Film Photography

Post by JamesEG »

I wondered if anyone still shoots film, I managed to get my hands on a lovely Nikon FM2n last year, as well as a motor drive and a nice little set of lenses (24mm, 50mm and 105mm). I love using it, and even though I really enjoy using my Canon 60D DSLR for wildlife there's something about film that just makes me want to keep using it. Being a photography student, I also get access to the school darkroom to develop some of my images which is good fun :D I wouldn't mind getting a medium format camera at some point, but then it starts getting rather expensive!

Here's a few from the summer with the new camera, a bit of a cat theme, I know, but they seem to make good subjects and these photos showed off the ability of the camera and film the best from the ones I have
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K.W.
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Re: Film Photography

Post by K.W. »

Great photos!

Wonderful. . .


K.W.
We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.
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JamesEG
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Re: Film Photography

Post by JamesEG »

Thanks! Much appreciated :D
DaveW
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Re: Film Photography

Post by DaveW »

Nice pictures James,

Nothing wrong with film it's just inconvenient, the problem in future will be the choice available and smaller sales will probably push up the cost of film stock. Also sprocket holed 35mm film was originally created for cinema use and Oskar Barnack invented the first 35mm stills camera to use it where it ran horizontally rather than vertical as in a cine camera.

http://www.kenrockwell.com/leica/oskar-barnack.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

However the biggest user still was the cinema and cinema's like stills users have now largely switched to digital, therefore the 35mm film market will now have drastically shrunk to a niche market making it much more expensive to cater for the few remaining users, therefore increasing it's cost meaning less and less people will use it in future. As the following link says:-

"But it has some interesting factoids regarding the transition from celluloid to digital prints. The firm says that at one point distributors used 13B feet of film a year, equal to five trips to the moon and back. By 2010, though, film usage was down to about 5B feet. One big reason for the shift: The price of silver, heavily used in film processing, soared from $5 an ounce to about $25 this year."

http://deadline.com/2012/06/studios-wil ... rt-283549/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

The main looser will be 35mm colour film since that is harder for small independent suppliers to produce. Monochrome will be around for a long time provided you develop your own.

The reason I switched to digital was as a Kodachrome slide film user they shut their UK processing plant and my last Kodachrome I had to send to Switzerland to process. Later I understand they shut all processing plants in Europe and all European film for processing had to be couriered back and forth to the USA. Also in the UK a film cassette used to post at letter rate, but now our Post Office only allows letter rate on objects that will go through about a quarter inch slot, therefore sending cassettes for processing is now much dearer. Incidentally I was still using a 35 year old Nikon Photomic F2 when I switched to digital, the last really manual Pro Nikon before electronics was introduced to the range. The Pro's were upset at the time since they did not trust electronically controlled cameras! I don't think modern electronic cameras with LED displays will still be working that long.

Would I change back to film again, the answer would be no. After purchasing your digital camera the images are free with no processing or chemicals costs. It is far more civilised to process in the light on the computer than in the darkroom using noxious chemicals under a dim safelight or complete dark.

http://thediscerningphotographer.com/da ... ave-known/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

The one advantage film users now have is that film equipment is virtually being dumped on places like EBAY, so can be picked up for a fraction of what it originally cost (but then so are two or three year old lower megapixeled excellent digital cameras). The downside is that means little new film equipment will be produced as even firms like Durst have stopped making enlargers and most camera manufacturers will not be introducing any new film cameras in future.

We have the usual generation shift however, those who loved darkroom work will still prefer film since Photoshop on computer may take all the skill out of manipulating images they believe. School and University art teachers of the film generation will continue to teach darkroom work since take away that and many of their teaching qualifications have gone. We old ones are always slow to fully embrace new technology and consider what we were originally taught is still the best way.

People can always come up with reasons as to why the old ways were better:-

http://thenextweb.com/creativity/2014/0 ... artphones/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

No nothing wrong with film James, it's just dying as a mass media because something better has been invented. Some will always cling to old methods, just as the monochrome photographers clung to it long after far better colour film was invented. As they say if colour film had been invented first would anybody have bothered inventing monochrome? We all tend to cling to the methods of our past and can always find reasons for doing so.

We all enjoy what we want James and nobody should tell us to do otherwise, so if you enjoy film good luck, but I think as less and less people use it both film and chemicals will get much dearer. There are still photographers out there coating their own glass plates with wet collodion, therefore film is comparatively modern to them, let alone digital:-

http://cdtp-photography.blogspot.co.uk/ ... odion.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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JamesEG
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Re: Film Photography

Post by JamesEG »

Thanks Dave very interesting links there, I agree, film is dying away but I think I might as well enjoy it while it's still around, since I'd never used it before last year and was pleasantly surprised. Personally I was also quite surprised at how much film is still produced (although nothing compared to before digital), and by how many people still use it. Last year a Kickstarter campaign was started to revive the Italian company Ferrania film, and they raised more than $70,000 above their goal of $250,000, so there's definitely people who still want film around. (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/fi ... nav_search" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;)

I'm not saying film should be used more than or instead of digital or anything, digital is definitely the way to go, there's just something about it that I really like and in some cases I think it can produce superior images to digital.

Regarding processing and developing film, it is a very long procedure, I process the film and scan the negatives so that I have them on my computer. It's a lot easier and faster than using the darkroom to develop images! In the end film is something that's fun to use and produces some very nice images, but I'd never be able to go without digital, especially for wildlife photography, I'd always pick up my Canon DSLR before the Nikon FM2n!
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SnowFella
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Re: Film Photography

Post by SnowFella »

Have to say I have had thoughts of loading up one of the many old 35mm film bodies that I have laying around, last count was 10 oldish Minolta AF bodies that since I still mainly use Minolta AF lenses would be compatible with the majority of them.
Only thing that really holds me back in the processing side of things, absolutely no idea how to do it myself and sending rolls in costs an arm and a leg down here.
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JamesEG
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Re: Film Photography

Post by JamesEG »

That's unfortunate that processing costs so much SnowFella! I can process black and white film at school but I still need to send colour film away, and it can get quite expensive so I tend to use black and white film a lot more. I wouldn't have a clue where to start if I tried to do it myself!
DaveW
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Re: Film Photography

Post by DaveW »

I have processed colour and monochrome film, both slide and negative in a night school photography course decades ago, but never took to it since I never liked darkroom work because I prefer to work in the light and see clearly what I am doing, something digital computer processing allows.

You should find all the film processing equipment going cheap on EBAY or in local flea markets or auctions, including enlargers, but I don't know how freely the processing chemicals are available now? The main problem with colour developing is some of it has to be done in complete darkness by touch since there are virtually no safelight colours that will not fog it. Therefore monochrome is easier since you can at least use an orange safelight. I believe many colour labs in the past used to employ blind workers in their developing facilities since they were able to work more effectively without needing lights.

For those who want to try it you may find these videos useful (some more videos in the right hand column's of the video:-

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Y586-3KdOA" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l1TVxfLsSDM" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Also of course there are similar processes required for then developing the prints:-

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f3el3Yp0VHE" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

A good source of information on film photography and printing is in the old photography books that digital users are giving to charity shops and other such places, so just browse around their cheap bookshelves or even your local library shelves.

As I said before, I was mainly a Kodachrome slide user which could not be home processed as it was a non substantive process if I remember correctly, so required special Kodak processing lines? However I have never regretted the change to digital as I find digital images on the projection screen are far brighter than ever my colour slides were.

As to monochrome, I am afraid I see in colour not black and white as do most non colour-blind people. I don't feel the need of colour film anymore when it is so much easier to get virtually instant results like this with digital?
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JamesEG
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Re: Film Photography

Post by JamesEG »

I agree Dave, I didn't really like the process of developing photos in the dark and I haven't done it since the first workshop I had, since then I have processed the film and scanned it onto my computer, which eliminates the need for a darkroom :) As far as I know slide film uses E6 processing, one of the colour films I used last year used this process and it was more expensive than the C41 black and white or colour negatives, very few people do C41 processing at home, I'd be surprised if I heard of someone developing E6 film at home! We can't do colour film at school because it's too difficult, there's also some health and safety problems associated with the chemicals it uses.
I tend to just use black and white film when there's poor light, for example in fog or if it's overcast, as I think images like that look better in black and white than they do in colour, and black and white film looks better than a digital colour image changed to black and white. Some colour films like Kodak Ektar have amazing colour reproduction, I'll probably use it every now and then but it's not worth the cost of processing when I could use digital and edit the image a little if needed! Also those are two lovely images Dave :D I would love to get a nice macro lens some day...
DaveW
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Re: Film Photography

Post by DaveW »

We used to find you needed to take a few rolls of colour film at a time to justify the cost of buying the chemicals in order to use them before they went off. When I started slide film was the E4 process, which was superseded by E6 and often developed at home. Kodachrome, now no longer made, used a different process and could not be home developed since the colours were put in during the processing. If you tried to process it at home you got a black and white, not a colour film!

One problem with other than Kodachrome in the past was the E6 colours eventually faded and the slides were then useless, though I understand Fuji is pretty good these days:-

http://www.fujifilm.com/products/films/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Cannot process colour film at school? Health and Safety gone mad again, but it's usually down to teachers interpretation not the Health and Safety authorities! I read once one UK local council would not let their employee wade into shallow water to recover a shopping trolley because he had not been trained how to wear wellingtons! Even the Health and Safety Executive thought they had gone mad!

http://www.hse.gov.uk/press/2012/hse-myth-busting.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Plenty of good second-hand Nikon and independent Nikon fit macro lenses on EBAY. The above pictures were taken with a Micro Nikkor 70-180mm, but they are no longer made. Thought plenty of older Micro Nikkor's to fit your FM2:-

http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/nikortek.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nikon_FM2" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

http://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/i.html?_odkw= ... r&_sacat=0" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Or search for independent macro lenses for Nikon.

Also plenty of modern ones on EBAY for your Canon DSLR

http://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/i.html?_odkw= ... s&_sacat=0" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Unfortunately lenses keep their value longer than cameras. My Nikon D200 cost more than my 70-180 Micro Nikkor when I bought it, but now the lens sells for much more second-hand than the camera does!
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JamesEG
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Re: Film Photography

Post by JamesEG »

I guess the process was a way for Kodak to make a bit more money... Although as people stopped using it I suppose it was too expensive to keep running. My parents have a few small boxes of film slides, they are fading quite a bit. Yeah health and safety is ridiculous sometimes, our school built a new sixth form block over the last year and one set of stairs was built a little too high, by a few millimetres, apparently this didn't meet building standards and had to be rebuilt!
I've had to do a training course on how to use a ladder at work, I thought that was a bit pointless as it's all just common sense. But wellingtons? That's crazy, how do you even train someone on how to wear them!?

Thanks for the links, I'll have a look and see what I can find :) I think the lenses have probably kept their value as they can still be used on Nikon DSLRs, I've used the lenses on my sister's D7000 with some stunning results. Maybe I could find a Nikon macro lens and use her camera for a while :D Although I've wanted to get a macro lens for my 60D but they seem to be rather expensive!
DaveW
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Re: Film Photography

Post by DaveW »

The cheaper way of course James is a set of extension tubes. One of the main differences of a macro lens is it has a longer focussing travel allowing closer focus therefore just extending your lens with extension tubes produces the same effect. The rule of thumb is with the lens set at infinity you extend it one focal length to reach life size on the film/sensor or 1:1. Therefore a 60mm lens set at infinity will achieve 1:1 with 60mm of extension tubes. One reason very long lenses are not usually used with tubes is with a 200mm lens at infinity you would need 200mm of tubes to achieve 1:1. Of course in addition to the tubes you have the focusing travel on your lens nearer than infinity, which is really the equivalent of an additional variable extension tube.

You can get manual tubes or fully auto ones that link all modern cameras electronics, obviously the latter are dearer. Kenko produced some good auto tubes:-

http://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/i.html?_from= ... s&_sacat=0" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutori ... loseup.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Also see:-

http://digital-photography-school.com/e ... -lesson-2/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dNeTFbJ9YVw" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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JamesEG
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Re: Film Photography

Post by JamesEG »

I had thought about tubes before, thanks for the information, I wasn't sure which ones I should be looking for before. And thanks for those links :)
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SnowFella
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Re: Film Photography

Post by SnowFella »

I've got a set of Kenko tubes for my Sony kit and it's highly depending on the lens how far magnification goes using them.
"Best" lens I've found so far for me to use them with is an old Minolta 35-70 F4 that already has a "macro" mode, ie twist the zoom ring past the 70mm setting and it kicks into a MF macro mode that allows 1:4 magnification, add the full 68mm worth of tubes and I'm well past 1:1. Fair enough we are no longer talking lens set at infinity.

Here's a full frame of a Opuntia microdasys areole using the above setup.
Image
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JamesEG
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Re: Film Photography

Post by JamesEG »

That's an amazing image SnowFella, I'll definitely be looking into getting extension tubes then!
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