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BerndReini

The look of film

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Robert, yes it is Ektar and it does scan beautifully. It also exaggerates the difference in color temperature between the late afternoon sun on the woman and the blue shadows on the asphalt.

 

Mitch, I agree, I usually shoot between f8 and f11 when shooting street photography. However, the film is ISO100 and the woman was running across the street, so I had to shoot at a fairly wide asperture.

 

Here's what my street photography with my M8 looks like. this is a photo that is part of a solo exhibition and not something I consider a snap shot. Everything is done purposefully and there is nothing I will try to argue away. Take it or leave it.

Nice picture and processing.

What did you use besides the M8?

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I dunno. I'm only a happy snapper, not a pro, but in the few years I've been involved in digital I've constantly upgraded external drives, main computers, laptops, calibrated displays, and of course camera bodies.

 

The film I've shot on my 1953 IIIf remains happily in the one (large) pack of wallets I bought years ago. Sure I've gone through some chemicals but nothing like the environmental impact of all the above hardware with its exotic materials and rare earth resources.

 

You have to upgrade computers periodically whether you shoot digitally or on film and scan. I went through a number of them before I used them for photography in any manner. I still have and use the 1Ds I bought 6 years ago. All of the current digital cameras represent quite mature technology and will be useful until they wear out. The same has been true with film cameras for many years.

 

The film you shot may fit into one large pack of wallets. But mine filled many 4 drawer filing cabinets and various large storage boxes. At one time, I had an entire 10x18' room used for image storage and sorting. It was not uncommon for me to shoot 20 rolls of 120 film per day. I started to dispose of that film at one point and I filled several 32 gallon trash cans with film and barely made a dent. It is in my basement now and I need to get around to another major purge.

 

I used to do custom color printing with the Ektachrome R process and Cibachrome. I mixed up 5 gallons of chemicals at a time and I had a very small operation. I remember meeting with a Kodak rep about 12 years ago and he told me that one of the important reasons why the US military was switching over to a digital work flow was to eliminate the environmental impact of film and print processing.

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well this is the ironic thing, when someone is paying they want digital and when someone is not paying, (me) they want film. Process and scan is 26/roll!

 

the world is inverted with respect to my clients;) and me anyway...

 

I agree that the only way is to form a partnership with your lab, dial in the chemistry part wrt your exposure tendencies, and have them do scans when the film is fresh and clean. In the past when I have had film scanned it has been done on fuji minilab scanners, and i went through a process where I got the tech's to turn off all the grain reduction and dust removal software, this sort of restored the look of the grain, not that pointillist look you get after most minilab scans. 20mb scans is al they could do however.

 

At home here I can do 60mb scans, really I consider this the vanishing point in terms of 35mm information and practicality, maybe even overkill. But the other shoe is grain management wrt smoothness and of course overall sharpness without having to go to a glass carrier for everything.

 

I thought, well, I could use the minilab scans as proofing and then rescan personally the keepers, but it is so much better when the film is clean.

 

Second issue was grain structure of 400 and up ISO colour neg films. Really pretty coarse, even on medium format scans. Not because it is, but because it scans that way. So I have tried Exposure to replace grain, and lately dfine to massage.

 

Third problem is consistency: some people may be ok with it, but I have a hard time mixing mediums so to speak. When you have some of your output in film and some of it in digital, I have not gotten comfortable putting those images side by side.

 

Life is about choices isn't it...

 

 

All my film work is done by Richard Photo Lab (Richard Photo Lab), they are the best film lab out there... The great thing about Richard is that they work with you to nail your look (developing, color, etc...) and base all your work on those parameters... If you go to their lab you can see how certain folks work only on a specific photographer(s)... Think of it like having your own lab technician and if you ever want to tweak anything you can just give them a call. This is the reason why the top film wedding shooters from all over the country send their work to Richard.

 

Cheers,

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Guest Luis D
My workflow...

 

 

 

3-Take care of other more important things that benefit more my business than sitting behind a computer doing post-processing

 

I prefer to keep control over post processing because it is interesting and fun to control that part of photography. Buying, developing, and scanning film is three extra steps and time to arrive at the same place (.tif). I donot do photography for a business, but in my business I also prefer donot outsource important parts what affects the final outcome. You are lucky you find someone who you can trust with your reputation.

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So we've established that for happy snappers like me and michael_boylan, and for low-output pros like Riccis, the film workflow is perfectly viable if that's how we want to work.

For the big-time pros like AlanG who shoot a gazillion frames per assignment, digital seems to be the way to go.

Then there's the KM-25s out there who can be comfortable shooting both.

Well I'm glad that's all sorted and we can move on to the next exciting topic!

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I think the people on this thread have never been the "film is dead" crowd. Heck, I am still upset that Polaroid and their wonderful Type 55 film went under. Horses for courses.

 

Ricky, great broadcast, thanks for sharing, I am listening to it as I am typing.

 

..i stocked up a bit on type 55

 

john

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For the big-time pros like AlanG who shoot a gazillion frames per assignment, digital seems to be the way to go.

 

Interesting way to put it. Being a big time pro has absolutely nothing to do with the volume you put out. It has to do with your reputation as a shooter solely.

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Interesting way to put it. Being a big time pro has absolutely nothing to do with the volume you put out. It has to do with your reputation as a shooter solely.

 

...and the amount in your bank account

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Film is still a very viable option. Supply is restricted but still available, given some advance planning and corrdination.

 

For many of us however, the sticking point is the convenient availability of quality color film processing. The lamentable decline of reliable color processing is THE reason I sold my M7 and bought an early M8 in 2006.

 

(How I miss the silky, cloth shutter of the M7!)

 

-g

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Interesting way to put it. Being a big time pro has absolutely nothing to do with the volume you put out. It has to do with your reputation as a shooter solely.

 

I know. I was having a bit of a laugh because the thread was starting to get a little silly!

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Nice picture and processing.

What did you use besides the M8?

 

I used a 35cron pre-aspherical since it handles harsh contrast a little better than my new aspherical lenses. Other than that I didn't do much to it. I process my selects in C1 Pro and add a slight bit of grain using Alienskin Exposure. That's it.

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I used a 35cron pre-aspherical since it handles harsh contrast a little better than my new aspherical lenses. Other than that I didn't do much to it. I process my selects in C1 Pro and add a slight bit of grain using Alienskin Exposure. That's it.

Sounds simple and effective.

The photo has a nice balance to it.

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So we've established that for happy snappers like me and michael_boylan, and for low-output pros like Riccis, the film workflow is perfectly viable if that's how we want to work.

For the big-time pros like AlanG who shoot a gazillion frames per assignment, digital seems to be the way to go.

Then there's the KM-25s out there who can be comfortable shooting both.

Well I'm glad that's all sorted and we can move on to the next exciting topic!

 

I certainly do not consider myself a big time pro. Just someone who found a niche that fortunately had a high volume of work. There are a lot of shooters who do pretty high volume.

 

Wedding shooters have the luxury of time (2-4 weeks wait would be a lifetime for my clients). And they usually are most concerned about delivering prints not high res adjusted files that have been retouched. Although a lot of wedding and portrait work also needs to be retouched. And wedding shooters typically outsource their printing which can be digital or traditional from negs or from digital capture. And how many wedding shooters are using chrome film vs. negs? Commercial film work was rarely done on negs. Although many architectural shooters used Reala 4x5. When you shoot chrome, you burn through a lot more film.

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Very interesting thread. But can we go back to the original topic: the LOOK of film? I am seeing many Leica photographs on the internet everyday, and it sometimes is difficult to tell what was taken with an M8 and what with another M camera! So, is there really a noticeable difference between the results of difital or film M? If so, are these differences perhaps more visible on paper than on a computer?

 

Ed

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I have to disagree, a double shadow would be ok, but one that identifies the photographer destroys the mystique IMHO. Feel free to disagree.

I totally missed the shadows.

 

I shoot with both . . . but then I am a total amateur and not against any kind of a deadline. To me, one is not better than the other . . . just different.

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I am actually setting out to do some tests again between my M8 and my MP with Ektar. My initial impression is this: the contrast curve with the M8 is steeper than that of film, i.e. what reads as dark shadows with the M8 is still more of a dark midtone with film.

 

Film is grainier than the M8, so I only shoot ISO 100 film for color, whereas I set my M8 to 320 at all times. When shooting black and white, the new TMax400 has very subtle grain and unbelievable tonal range.

 

One really nice quality of film that I have found a new appreciation for is how the highlights roll off. When you clip the whites with the M8, especially on skin, it is just plain ugly. The clipped white becomes a hard white cut-out area, comparable to slide film. On negative film, the whites gradually fade out, almost like in a water color painting.

 

I would place the M8 somewhere between slide film and negative film as far as latitude is concerned. It rivals slide film in sharpness, and definitely exceeds both negative and slide in terms of low-grain and low-light capabilities.

 

I love them both, and I will definitely do some tests in real applications of my style of photography, i.e. high contrast mixed lighting and bold colors.

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The most depressing aspect of my trip to the PMA convention last week was that the best print displayed at the show was shot on Fuji Velvia. That was just my personal opinion and others could certainly disagree....but I drooled over the tones on the Velvia print

 

My first job in photography was processing E6 film with a small jobo processor at a commercial photography studio. The photographer that I worked with didn't trust labs and processed everything in-house. The amount of control we had was just incredible. I still haven't seen digital get the tonal and color range of what we were able to accomplish in that studio with polaroid and film.

 

yeah, I definitely miss a lot of things about film

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My initial impression is this: the contrast curve with the M8 is steeper than that of film, i.e. what reads as dark shadows with the M8 is still more of a dark midtone with film

 

I've no desire to ignite yet another pointless film v digital thread, but try boosting the level of the M8 shadows a little, I think you'll find that there's more detail there than you perhaps thought. The response may be "so what, I don't have to do that with film", and that's a fair response, but it may be worth trying none the less.

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Interesting comment, Berndt. Being quite new to the forum, I must confessed that I missed all the "digital vs film" threads many people talk about, so these observations are all quite new to me. (Actually I would be very pleased if somebody could point out what these (in)famous threads are...)

 

Regarding grain, I have never disliked it. On the contrary, I have always found that it adds some magic to many photos, giving them a kinds painting-like look. Anyway, do you guys reckon that the M8's noise pattern is somehow similiar to gran (at least in BW)? And what does the noise look like in prints?

 

Ed

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If you look at my M8 street shot in this post, you'll see that I push the M8 to the limits as far as boosting the shadows and pulling back the highlights is concerned. However, there comes a point when you are trying to flatten out the curve, when the image simply falls apart and gets blotchy (try setting highlight and shadow recovery to the highest setting in C1 and you'll see what I mean.)

 

I agree that the M8 has pretty awesome dynamic range, especially in the shadows, yet I was still surprised at how much latitude that Ektar negative had.

 

Again, I'm not saying the M8 is bad, I'm just comparing the two.

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