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Is shooting film still worth it in 2022 ?


Steven

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50 minutes ago, logan2z said:

I don't necessarily shoot film for the 'look' of the final result, although that's a nice side benefit.  I shoot it because I was tired of sitting in front of a computer, endlessly staring at a screen and dicking around with post-processing software.  I'm also sick and tired of constantly having to charge batteries for every single thing I touch.  Film divorces me from computers, screens and software and lets me focus on photography I pick up my M-A or M4 and it's ready to shoot.  My camera isn't a computer with a lens bolted to the front.  No menus, settings, screens, etc.  Developing and darkroom printing my photos also gives me a much-needed break from computers and digital everything.  I find it soothing and satisfying to work with my hands to produce a print rather than endlessly tweaking an image in Lightroom or Photoshop and finally pressing a button to have it spit out of a printer.  There's little satisfaction in that for me personally.  And no, I'm not a Luddite, I'm a Software Engineer by trade.  But I have absolutely no desire to spend my free time like I do my professional time, chained to a computer.  Film sets me free!

Good points.  We as a species have become too digitized IMO.  I still buy "analog" books and do not own a Kindle reader.  I have no interest in that contraption.

The absolute worst part of digital photography to me is Lightroom's library module.  🤮  I am certain it was created in the pit of hell by Lucifer himself to torture we humans.

The worst part of shooting film to me is developing it.  When I finish developing a batch of film, there's always a feeling of accomplishment, but the process is very time consuming when you do a dozen rolls at a time as I do, using a four roll tank.

 

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logan2z

I don't necessarily shoot film for the 'look' of the final result, although that's a nice side benefit.  I shoot it because I was tired of sitting in front of a computer, endlessly staring at a screen and dicking around with post-processing software.  I'm also sick and tired of constantly having to charge batteries for every single thing I touch.  Film divorces me from computers, screens and software and lets me focus on photography.  I pick up my M-A or M4 and it's ready to shoot.  My camera is

Herr Barnack

@Steven  Here are a couple of images made with a film MP, a 90/2 APO (the two monks) and a 50/1.4 Summilux pre-ASPH and Kodak Tri-X developed in D-76 (click on image for high res view). I'm not so sure this visual fingerprint can be reproduced with a digital M to be 100% the same - perhaps close, but not 100%.  Maybe I'm wrong, but that's JMHO.  The prints that resulted from these negs were scanned and made by inkjet printer simply because my printer no longer maintains a wet darkroom.

Steven

Just receive some Cinestill C41 mix and the Cinestill temperature controller.  Just developed this test roll of Portra 160 at home and scanned with a plustek 8200 that I had laying around. These are the non edited photos.  If you ask me, apart from the dust and scratches on some shots, I did a better job than all my labs in Paris ever did for me. And I didn't focus yet. I was on the phone during the dev and I leaked the Blix all over the floor.  Developing this roll cost me only 1

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Guest BlackBarn

I’m new to film and accept on the screen I haven’t yet developed the eye to confidently tell the finer differences between film and digital when the photographer decides to give their digital image a ‘film look’. So from that aspect  - why then go to the extra hassle/cost of working with film, becomes a valid question.

Hassle and cost are relative and personal but generally I rarely see  film photographers trying to replicate the sense of a digital image  which leads to the possibility that digital is simply a  ‘convenience’ choice and similar to when becoming accustomed to  ‘fast food’ we may forget the benefits and enjoyment that ‘slow cooking’ provides. 

With my digital cameras (with Leica at the moment having lenses calibrated) I take on average 30 photographs a week*. That’s not because I’m not thinking about photographs but because I’m selecting what I believe to be special enough for a photograph.  With film that has been reduced to around 7 photos a week because I have become more sensitive to composition and subject before taking the shot.

May be it’s not about can film be replicated with digital but separating the experiences of working with digital and then with  film. For example…with digital 1000 shots per day or whatever but when using film limiting that to say one roll of film per day with the intent each of those shots become  ‘film worthy’….whatever that would personally mean.

 

* Quite a few years back - in Venice - I was taking around 500 shots a day. Back home I dawned on me  I had only experienced Venice through the limiting lens of a camera. The true experience of being in Venice had passed me by.  At that point I realised I was a photoholic and since that time I have placed a different emphasis on what - for me - it means to take a photo.

 

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2 hours ago, Steven said:

Probably not the first time this question is asked in since the digital revolution. But with the new Kodak price increase, it's fair to ask again. Is it still worth it to shoot film in 2022?

 Will it ever be as satisfying ? 

Great question Steven, I've been trying to frame it myself several times for these forum pages but failed where I believe here  you've succeeded in cracking the door open.

From my perspective, others will of course vary, there's a couple of points to make as far as answering your question..........First you shot a lot of film last week for sure, 27 rolls of 35mm in a week? That's something like what I could have shot as a professional on a session for a magazine or advertising work back in the day, not a problem when you're getting paid for it and the job is "costs plus", in other words the clients pick up the tab for film and process out of which maybe a dozen selects will make the first final cut. BUT for an "amateur" to shoot that much is as you say quite a chunk of money to blow through. Some can afford that, but it's my guess that most cannot, or would not, if they aren't getting paid for it.

Shooting less, shooting more deliberately would vastly cut down the costs and it might, might, help to refine one's deliberation skills in crafting an image. No promises.

Looking at the few examples you posted here the one that pulls my eye for colour is the Kodak Vision stock, there's nothing like it. Same goes for digital cinema work come to that, they try and try, Arri comes close, but somehow Vision always tops digital for me.

I've stepped back shooting digital quite a bit this past year, and on reflection this was probably after taking a workshop late Spring in Arles that I found utterly illuminating in regards to the way I want now to pursue my personal work, to pursue it hopefully with more deliberation. So for me now I am finding that I am using a film camera more so than I was a year ago, not necessarily because of a certain "look" that you get with various film stocks, more so that I now make images in a much more careful way. Look, wait, come back later maybe, then take the frame or two. I am taking out my film M's most days, shoot maybe 4-8 frames on each outing, I've also dusted off my Pentax 6x7 and I'm back truly appreciating that camera again as too with the Nikon F3 that has it's own joy of re-use. Film focuses, ( for want of a better word ), me more on what I want to photograph, and how and why. Digital is wonderful for sure, but it's too damn easy.

Processing one's own film is also very satisfying, after the workshop in Arles I resolved to build a darkroom at my home here in the SW and by summer it was in operation, ( this was the first home in many decades that didn't have a darkroom in, it feels "right" now it has ), and I like a few others here wouldn't bother to take photographs at all if I wasn't able to round the whole process off by making prints of the few selects that have worked for me.

With film it's the "whole process" of the craft, with digital not so much so. A personal view of course but from someone who has been at this game since Art School back many decades now, but however you play it it is still magic!

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I shoot both, I use digital for everyday stuff and recce shoots and use film for specific shoots. I think there's room for both in my life and FWIW I bought a big load of Portra 120 and 35mm a couple or 3 of years ago and have frozen it for future use. I am currently doing a Landscape Book project which I will eventually shoot the final images on that film but as I said all my recces are digital for the convenience, immediacy and cost. My answer to the question is absolutely yes but not in the volumes you are shooting.

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1 hour ago, Knipsknecht said:

@StevenFrom my very individual point of view your problem isn’t analog photography in 2022, it’s the way you do it😉

<snip>

So, of course I would never shoot 27 rolls of film in a week. That’s more than I shoot in an average year.

+1

@StevenHow many keepers did you end up with from those 1000 photos?  It seems like you're shooting film like you would shoot digital, - indiscriminately.  Take advantage of the fact that film costs money per shot and be pickier about when to press the shutter button.  I think you'll find the cost of shooting film is reduced dramatically and you'll end up with a much better hit rate.

Edited by logan2z
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I am also a digital breed. First serious camera was a Nikon d80 😉. Today, I shoot 100% film. I ended up this way the same way I select lenses cameras etc. Just shoot what I feel like and sell the untouched items once I am sure. My digital cameras are all long gone. I shoot mostly black and white now, process and print in the darkroom. The main cost for me is time. When I process 4 rolls, I get 144 images. I will have a chance to print less than 1/10 of these. This has considerably slowed me down. However, the keepers are all worth it to me.

The main question to me is was each time you pressed the shutter something you truly wanted to record? Regardless of digital or film, each time we press the shutter, we are freezing a small slice of life. It’ll replace our memories of this time. To me, this feeling is even stronger for film because it exist physically.

Maybe I had too many drinks 😝

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1 hour ago, logan2z said:

+1

@StevenHow many keepers did you end up with from those 1000 photos?  It seems like you're shooting film like you would shoot digital, - indiscriminately.  Take advantage of the fact that film costs money per shot and be pickier about when to press the shutter button.  I think you'll find the cost of shooting film is reduced dramatically and you'll end up with a much better hit rate.

A "mad clicker" shooting 27 rolls in a week, unless on assignment is a bit excessive.  As Logan said, of those how may are "keepers"? Probably less than 10%, maybe 2%  is more like it. Blasting away like mad is very digital. Pixels are free and you then spend hours editing in front of the computer. Film promotes discipline. Try shooting a 4x5 view camera for a while. You will go a full day with maybe five exposures but the "keeper" ratio will be around 50% because you actually thought and planned each shot.  

My son and daughter in law have a wedding photography business. For a typical wedding they shoot between 4-5 thousand exposures on digital cameras, then spend days sorting and proofing for an album.  When I was young I worked for a VERY good wedding photographer. For a normal smallish wedding he would shoot three rolls of 220 film in his Rolleiflex TLR. In those 72 images he would capture the entire wedding with all the standard shots, inside the church shots,  bride, groom beauty shots, ring, cutting cake, family group shots, etc, etc. and he was in great demand in So. Cal. (I jokingly told my son that even a blind monkey would get lucky in 5,000 shots). Discipline, planning and technique win the day with film. Carry a digital for blasting away, take a film M out when you want to think about what you're shooting.

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i usually carry both when in a different city or country:

 

Leica iiif + Canon 50mm LTM + Fuji Industrial 100

 

and a few seconds earlier >>

SL2-S + Leica 90mm APO Summicron-M  ASPH [3 shots stitched, but de-saturated]

 

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Very interesting Steven! I think this is a question which is not bad at all. On the one hand you have all possibilities with digital photography on the other hand analog photography is totally different. I use both and for me it is the best solution. Especially for portraiture photography I use digital as well as analog and it works pretty well. I start digitally until everything is ok and then I repeat it on film. Also if you work with a model, it makes it easier to control or to improve it when you shoot with a digital camera.  For a shooting I use maybe 5 or 6 rolls of film which is enough for me. I would not use "analog only" anymore since during a shooting my Nikon lens failed and I was very happy to have digital photos which I did as a backup. I develop the films by myself and I like in most cases these photos more than my digital photos. But I think the mainstream taste is used to see digital photos. 

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3 hours ago, Knipsknecht said:

I just listen to my gut feeling. Am I in the mood for shooting film today? Or do I want to shoot digital? Most of the time I know pretty well which medium I want to use on a specific day.

I have been having gut feelings, lately, too. I'm just trying to hang on to the convenience of digital... But the love for film is growing stronger. 

 

3 hours ago, Knipsknecht said:

you are behaving like an addict.

Didn't need you to figure this out 🤣 but when you're an addict, youre an addict. 

 

3 hours ago, Knipsknecht said:

I try to use film like I drink a good whisky

Very nice, I will reuse this one !  

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4 hours ago, logan2z said:

I don't necessarily shoot film for the 'look' of the final result, although that's a nice side benefit.  I shoot it because I was tired of sitting in front of a computer, endlessly staring at a screen and dicking around with post-processing software.  I'm also sick and tired of constantly having to charge batteries for every single thing I touch.  Film divorces me from computers, screens and software and lets me focus on photography.  I pick up my M-A or M4 and it's ready to shoot.  My camera isn't a computer with a lens bolted to the front.  No menus, settings, screens, etc.  Developing and darkroom printing my photos also gives me a much-needed break from computers and digital everything.  I find it soothing and satisfying to work with my hands to produce a print rather than endlessly tweaking an image in Lightroom or Photoshop and finally pressing a button to have it spit out of a printer.  There's little satisfaction in that for me personally.  And no, I'm not a Luddite, I'm a Software Engineer by trade.  But I have absolutely no desire to spend my free time like I do my professional time, chained to a computer.  Film sets me free!

Very nicely put, mate. It summarises the way I feel, and the question ive answered with the beginning of this thread. 

As I was working on these little side by sides of film vs digital, I realised something so simple, so obvious. Every time, I took twenty minutes trying to make a digital image look like film. Never the other way around. I never thought the film image needed to look like digital. As a matter of fact, I never thought that the film image needed any work. There is something artificial, and something real. 

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3 hours ago, BlackBarn said:

With my digital cameras (with Leica at the moment having lenses calibrated) I take on average 30 photographs a week*. That’s not because I’m not thinking about photographs but because I’m selecting what I believe to be special enough for a photograph.  With film that has been reduced to around 7 photos a week because I have become more sensitive to composition and subject before taking the shot.

Sometimes, I got out (with my digital camera), shoot carefully, look for composition. When I come home, it's the shot that I didn't plan, and sometimes that I didn't even remember, that I love the most. The shot I would not have take on a film camera. Planning doesn't always work. 

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3 hours ago, petermullett said:

Processing one's own film is also very satisfying, after the workshop in Arles I resolved to build a darkroom at my home here in the SW and by summer it was in operation, ( this was the first home in many decades that didn't have a darkroom in, it feels "right" now it has ), and I like a few others here wouldn't bother to take photographs at all if I wasn't able to round the whole process off by making prints of the few selects that have worked for me.

Nice! Color or BW? 

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4 hours ago, logan2z said:

I don't necessarily shoot film for the 'look' of the final result, although that's a nice side benefit.  I shoot it because I was tired of sitting in front of a computer, endlessly staring at a screen and dicking around with post-processing software.  I'm also sick and tired of constantly having to charge batteries for every single thing I touch.  Film divorces me from computers, screens and software and lets me focus on photography.  I pick up my M-A or M4 and it's ready to shoot.  My camera isn't a computer with a lens bolted to the front.  No menus, settings, screens, etc.  Developing and darkroom printing my photos also gives me a much-needed break from computers and digital everything.  I find it soothing and satisfying to work with my hands to produce a print rather than endlessly tweaking an image in Lightroom or Photoshop and finally pressing a button to have it spit out of a printer.  There's little satisfaction in that for me personally.  And no, I'm not a Luddite, I'm a Software Engineer by trade.  But I have absolutely no desire to spend my free time like I do my professional time, chained to a computer.  Film sets me free!

Fellow Software Engineer here: I couldn't agree more (though I have an MP because I'm not good enough at Sunny 16 (yet).

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2 hours ago, logan2z said:

+1

@StevenHow many keepers did you end up with from those 1000 photos?  It seems like you're shooting film like you would shoot digital, - indiscriminately.  Take advantage of the fact that film costs money per shot and be pickier about when to press the shutter button.  I think you'll find the cost of shooting film is reduced dramatically and you'll end up with a much better hit rate.

I havent seen the scans yet. But I have 0 regret about shooting the 27 rolls. I would do it again if I had too. 

Admittedly, I had a lot to drink. I left the house with some friends and walked around Paris in the freezing cold all night. Before leaving the house, I threw all my 800 film from the fridge into a handbag. If I didn't have 27 rolls, I would have maybe paced it out more. 

But the point is that, film or not, I hate limitations. it doesn't go well with my creativity. It doesn't make me think in a better way. It stresses me out and blocks me. 

The truth is, the amount I shoot is not the problem I have with film. I can shoot 20 rolls a day, I can afford it. My real problem is in low light. I'm still struggling, considering I don't like black and white photography. 

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1 hour ago, frame-it said:

i usually carry both when in a different city or country:

 

Leica iiif + Canon 50mm LTM + Fuji Industrial 100

 

and a few seconds earlier >>

SL2-S + Leica 90mm APO Summicron-M  ASPH [3 shots stitched, but de-saturated]

 

The film shot is much more interesting, I find ! 

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Yesterday, I took 2 backup cameras out (main camera is getting CLAed) with my new Peak Design tripod. I spent most of my attention on putting the tripod through the paces. When I was nearly done, I realized I hadn't taken the lens cap off either camera. Easy to do with digital RF too, if you aren't looking through live view and if you ignore the camera's warning that Leica will take the camera back if you try to take the shot.

I laughed really hard and had a great time anyway. If I had had my M10 with me, I'd have probably thrown it in the river.

I don't overthink it: film is just a lot, lot more fun. 

Edited by bags27
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