back to film camera digital digital history digital vs film early digital cameras film film vs film-look film-scanning flashback Gear Photo Basics photography Post-processing Technology

Why I Won’t be Going Back to Film

Why I Won’t be Going Back to Film

The envelope please. And the winner is – Not this batch of underexposed movie pictures!

It had been virtually 20 years since I took a shot with my final movie digital camera, a Pentax ME Tremendous.  It has sat on a shelf with another relic cameras, decorations and dust-collectors as a lot as something.  However when Russ Butler, a digital camera membership buddy, just lately handed me a 36-roll of Fujicolor 200 I thought, “why not,” let’s give it a go.

Do a seek for “Back to Film Photography” and you’ll get many articles with titles like “10 Reasons I’ve Gone Back to Film Photography” or comparable.  Nicely, I might as properly confess up entrance, I’m contemplating my 36-exposure journey a “Fail” and a reminder of how digital images reinvigorated my curiosity in images from the second I first tried it.

Some Historical past

This was my first movie digital camera, a Kodak Brownie. Really a point-and-shoot!

I shot the occasional roll of movie in a Kodak Brownie as a younger child within the early 60’s.  I later moved up to a Kodak Instamatic 104 which used drop-in 126 cartridges and flash cubes.  Like most newbie photographers of the period, I’d shoot an occasional few pictures of particular household occasions, whereas on trip, or if one thing particular caught my eye.  The pharmacy or 1-Hour Photograph processed my movie and made my prints.  These cameras had no controls, it was purely point-and-shoot.

Then in highschool within the early 70’s, I took a images class and purchased my first 35mm digital camera, a Hanimex Praktica Nova 1B.  It was purely guide and even the meter was a easy Selenium averaging gadget that sat behind the nameplate, no through-the-lens meter right here.

My first 35mm digital camera, an East German made Hanimex Praktica Nova 1B. That spot the place the nameplate is above the lens – that is the meter.

I sometimes shot Kodak Plus-X and Tri-X black-and-white movie and discovered to course of that in movie tanks.  I additionally used the varsity darkroom to make black-and-white prints.  By now, the photograph bug had bitten and I constructed a darkroom within the nook of the storage at house, purchased an enlarger and all of the trays, chemical compounds, and various stuff to do monochrome images. (I Love the Odor of D-76 and Dektol within the morning! – Not!)  I continued my curiosity when I went to school, discovered to shoot with the varsity’s Four×5 view cameras, processed that sheet movie and made prints.  I additionally shot for the school newspaper.  Sometimes I’d purchase a roll of Kodacolor II and shoot that within the Praktica, however had the pharmacy course of that as I had no entry to a colour lab and hadn’t discovered these processing and printing methods.

After school, I didn’t shoot as typically however sometimes would make slides with Kodachrome.  I gave Ektachrome a attempt, however didn’t look after what I felt have been colder blue tones and caught with Kodachrome. (Paul Simon was proper).  Within the late 80’s I purchased the Pentax ME Tremendous which I nonetheless have as talked about. Fujifilm was approaching within the 80’s and so when I needed to shoot for prints I’d use FujiColor, sometimes making an attempt Fuji Velvia for my slides.  I nonetheless was solely an occasional photographer and relied on others for processing and printing.

This Nikon Coolpix 950 was my first private digital digital camera. It began my love affair with digital images. I put my movie digital camera away and by no means shot a roll of movie after that till this text.

The Daybreak of Digital Images

It was straightforward to fall in love with the little Nikon Coolpix 950. Most of the pictures I took with it within the early 2000’s stay amongst my favorites.

I really feel lucky to have skilled what I’d contemplate the “dawn of digital photography.”  A part of my work as a Public Info Officer for a state company included some images and I took nice curiosity when the primary digital cameras started to seem.  I satisfied my company to buy a Sony DXC-ID1, a wierd “still video” digital digital camera with an digital viewfinder and a flat, binocular-like design.  It first appeared in 1996 and we in all probability bought it a few yr or two after that.  It shot photographs with a 768 x 576 decision and saved then on a big PCMCIA card.  A dinosaur by right now’s normal, it positive was cool again then!  On the spot outcomes, no want to purchase movie or course of it!  I might take photographs and embrace them in written reviews and Powerpoint shows. It made for an awesome workplace software!

The Nikon Coolpix 950 in “Storage Mode.” The articulating cut up physique was truly very helpful, particularly for ground-level photographs.

Contemplating the Coolpix 950 max decision was 1200 x 1600, not fairly 2-megapixels, (and this can be a cropped from that) it took a pleasant photograph!

Because the years handed, my company was good to permit me to purchase newer know-how because it got here out.  Among the many digital cameras we had have been the:

1998 – Sony Digital Mavica – Saved pictures on three.5” floppy discs – 640×480.  A disk would maintain about 20 photographs.

1999 – Canon Powershot Professional 70 – an oddly designed digital camera with a hard and fast lens and a swing-out LCD display – 1536 x 1024

2000 – Canon D30 – This was a breakthrough – Our first digital DSLR!  (Notice the D30 isn’t to be confused with the 30D, which was a number of generations past that).  – 2160 x 1440

Because the years handed, we continued to buy newer cameras within the Canon DSLR collection together with numerous Canon lenses.  We had the 10D, 20D, 30D, and when I retired in 2009 I was capturing with a Canon 50D.

The Coolpix 950 made nice closeups…

My Private Digital Cameras

…and even superb macros with the inventory lens!

When digital cameras first appeared, I was lucky to have another person paying the invoice for gear, however briefly order, I needed my very own private digital digital camera.  Within the spring of 2000, the Nikon Coolpix 950 was all the fad and I had to have one.  Powered by Four AA batteries and storing 1600 x 1200 photographs to a CF Card, I went nuts over the little digital camera!  I’m positive I shot extra photographs within the first yr with the Coolpix than I’d shot in all my years of movie images.  I nonetheless have pictures taken again then that stay amongst my favorites at present.  After that digital camera, I progressed by means of Canon DSLRs and have owned a D30, 10D, 30D, 50D and now shoot with a 6D.

The transfer to digital has resulted in… Greater cameras? On this case, Sure. Clockwise from the underside; my Nikon Coolpix 950, my present Canon 6D, and the movie digital camera used for this text – a Pentax ME Tremendous.

Film Flashback

So, when you’re nonetheless with me, let’s speak concerning the current “film flashback experiment.”  I dusted off the Pentax which had the inventory Pentax M 50mm f/2 lens.  I additionally discovered my previous Vivitar 28-105 f/three.5-Four.5 zoom lens.  In fact each are purely guide focus and have the aperture ring on the barrel.  I was taken at how small the ME Tremendous appeared as compared to my Canon 6D, (which is a reasonably small digital DSLR).  I knew new batteries have been going to be wanted, so I put in these, checked to see if the metering lights lit up, put within the 36-roll of Fujifilm, set the ISO to 200 to match the movie, and was set.

The movie photograph. Waaaay under-exposed.

The LG V30 cellphone photograph – A bit lens flare, however not dangerous.

This was the most effective publicity from my complete roll of 36 movie photographs. Not dangerous, however I used the readings from the 6D for setting publicity on the Pentax and ignored the meter. (I ought to have achieved this for the whole roll! However who takes a digital digital camera to use as a “meter” for his or her movie digital camera?)

That is the Canon 6D shot. A barely totally different angle so the colour is considerably totally different. Onerous to inform from this decreased picture within the article, nevertheless it enlarges waaaay higher and with no grain as seen within the movie picture.

I took the Pentax in addition to my 6D and my LG V30 cellphone out one night to make a number of photographs.  I determined to put the Pentax in Auto mode, which on this aperture-preferred digital camera has you set the aperture on the lens ring and it’ll decide the shutter velocity.  Not having used the digital camera for nearly 20 years, I figured this was not the time to get artistic, I’d belief that it might calculate publicity.  It did appear the publicity settings have been fairly totally different than what my 6D and even my cellphone have been displaying, however once more, I trusted the digital camera.  With no potential to “chimp” photographs on a movie digital camera, what else was I to do?  I shot a few third of the roll.  For every shot, I wrote down my settings.  Digital does that for you, movie… nope.

This was one of many flower photographs with the Pentax. Significantly underexposed, I had to “rescue it” as a lot as attainable from the movie scan utilizing Lightroom.

With the LG V30 cellphone this was easy-peasy and in contrast to the movie digital camera, I might see what I was doing whereas making the shot, not days later. What an idea!

In one other session, I made some photographs of flowers within the yard.  This time, the publicity settings appeared a bit nearer and I hoped a much less contrasty topic may assist.  After that, I learn up on the Pentax ME Tremendous and discovered some discovered that if the digital camera had sat unused for a time, (like 18 years??!!), the contacts on a number of the dials might turn into corroded.  I labored the dials a bit and completed off the roll.  The settings appeared a bit extra regular, however I had an uneasy feeling when I dropped off the movie.  They have been to develop it, make a print of every shot, and scan the negatives to a CD.  I’d been given the movie, (which might have value about $three.99) and paid about $15.00 for the creating, prints and scanning, so slightly below $20.00 for the works.


Opening the package deal took me again to the occasions in years previous when I’d dropped off movie after which waited for the outcome.  No on the spot suggestions like digital.  Would they appear good?  This time – No… not even shut.  Except one shot, all have been fairly underexposed and the primary few virtually black.   &^%@!!!  Issues had improved barely as I’d made the changes additional into the roll and the one shot that was truthful was one the place I’d copied the publicity settings from my 6D.  So… What have been the teachings discovered?

The underexposed movie shot. Yeah, my dangerous. However… how might I know when I made it? There isn’t any “chimping” with a movie digital camera.

The shot as I meant – This time with my Canon 6D. Capturing into the solar is all the time am publicity trick, however as a result of I might see what I was doing, I might dial it in with the digital digital camera. Not so with the movie digital camera.

Primary Classes Discovered

With digital, we will make a shot, examine and consider it, make any essential changes, and shoot once more.  With movie, it’s purely studying what settings are apt to be applicable for a given lighting state of affairs. Verify the meter within the digital camera, see if these settings look about proper, and study to belief your digital camera  — and your intestine.  You gained’t have an opportunity to see if the settings have been proper till later.  Typically a lot later, after which it’ll be too late.  Earlier than digital, that was simply the way it was and I’m positive photographers developed a lot higher instincts.  For that matter, earlier than cameras had mild meters in any respect, information, familiarity with their digital camera and movie, and far follow is what they relied on to get constant outcomes.

You learn that I did have fairly a little bit of movie expertise prior to now.  However since 2000 or so, all my expertise has been with digital.  I’ll readily admit – The power to shoot, chimp, regulate and re-shoot if crucial has little question wiped away a few of these “instincts.”  Then there’s the sheer quantity of photographs made with digital.  I’m positive I’ve clicked the shutter of a digital digital camera dozens, (perhaps a whole lot, hundreds?) of occasions greater than I ever did capturing movie.  I have a part-time job capturing net photographs for a automotive dealership and routinely shoot over 250 pictures each day! Whereas I have nice admiration for movie photographers, (and may’t even fathom capturing a marriage with an early movie digital camera!), I haven’t any want to return.  In contrast to the writers of a few of these different articles, I don’t have Ten, and even One Purpose, to need to return to movie.  I do have Ten Causes nevertheless I love and can proceed with Digital Images.  These ought to be learn as rebuttals to a number of the causes the movie fanciers listing for wanting to change again to movie images.

  1. Film will Sluggish you Down – The argument right here is that you’ll be pressured to decelerate, research your shot, and be extra purposeful. Sure, I agree the mechanics of movie cameras will sluggish you down.  You’ll possible want to manually focus. Until you could have a motor drive you will have to advance the movie after every shot. You’ll merely want to make extra time making a photograph.  That may be good if as a digital photographer you’ve adopted a “run-and-gun” fashion and don’t take time to research your composition or take into consideration your photographs.  However that’s you, not the digital camera.  There’s no cause you’ll be able to’t be simply as considerate and purposeful together with your digital digital camera.  You simply gained’t be pressured to.  And when capturing a fast-paced sporting occasion, that may be a great factor.
  2. This one with the LG V30 cellphone. I purchased this particular telephone for its nice digital camera and it all the time delivers.

    Film will Trigger you to be extra Selective in Capturing – Properly, positive. For those who solely have 36 photographs on a roll, (and that’s when you spring for the bigger roll, not a 24 publicity), you’ll in all probability not blast away.  You additionally gained’t be as experimental and check out new issues.  It prices cash every time you click on the shutter on a movie digital camera.  Do you have to make that shot of a dewdrop on a leaf that caught your eye?  How about making a dozen to get it “just right?  Heck, that’s a third of the roll!  No, I can still be selective if I like with digital, but if I just want to play with new things or keep shooting and tweaking to make it “just right” there’s no penalty, no further value, and no disappointment later when I get again to discover I paid for a bunch of throwaways.

  3. Capturing with Film will Require Much less Gear – Sure, perhaps much less gear.  No battery chargers maybe.  However what else would be totally different?  Oh yeah, the movie itself.  If I put a 32GB card in my Canon 6D I can shoot over 1,100 Uncooked pictures.  I can doubtless go days with that, even on a photograph journey.  I can in all probability shoot a whole wedding ceremony with room to spare.  (How did wedding ceremony movie photographers do it once they have been on the finish of a roll simply earlier than the “Kiss?”)   In fact, I might carry 30 rolls of 36-exposure movie, (and a cooler to maintain it in).  Much less gear?
  4. With Film You’ll Study from Your Errors Extra Effectively – Oh sure, and you’ll be extra apt to keep in mind them too when there’s the painful actuality of no do-overs and also you gained’t know you tousled for a number of days at greatest. However then, what was it I did a number of days in the past?  There’s no publicity info recorded until you wrote it down.  The place’re my notes?  How a lot did I pay to course of these errors? How do I clarify to the bride that the photographs didn’t “turn out?”  No, perhaps the factor I most like about digital is the moment suggestions.  I could make a shot, research the histogram, decide what I may do higher and do it… proper then.  I can see the trigger and impact of varied settings.  Heck, with Stay View or a brand new mirrorless digital camera with an Digital Viewfinder I can see the consequences of settings reside and have them change as I change the settings!
  5. You’ll Study to Focus your Digital camera when you need to do it Manually – Sure, and you’ll study to drive a guide transmission when you haven’t any automated transmission too. A superb talent maybe and there are lots of occasions even with autofocus digital camera you –should- go guide.  Simply don’t ask me to do it when I’m capturing wildlife and making an attempt to hold that flying fowl in focus or a charging rhino.  Earlier than autofocus, many people obtained fairly good with manually focusing a digital camera.  Simply not that good.
  6. With movie, you gained’t have to fear about Drive Failures and dropping your Pictures – One phrase – Backups.  A reality of life with digital.  However who makes backups of their negatives?  How concerning the bane of a movie photographer’s existence, mud and scratches?  What about discovering that picture you’re on the lookout for?  I guess you can have some elaborate key phrase and numbering system in your negatives.  Or you may simply shoot digital and use Lightroom.

There’s additionally the difficulty of storage.  How a lot room does a Four-terabyte drive take up and what number of pictures might it retailer?  How a lot room wouldn’t it take to retailer all these negatives and the prints too?  Should you want to have a bodily copy of a picture that may exist after new know-how has made your exhausting drive out of date… make prints!  It is best to be doing that anyway.  Learn my article – “Preserving your Photo Legacy.”

  1. You’ll be able to shoot movie and scan your negatives to reap the benefits of digital processing software program   – Sure, and add one other step within the course of.  When I shot my failed roll they did scan the negatives.  Actually, the scans give me some risk of “rescuing” the underexposed photographs. The rub is, the scans they did are low res – simply 1940 x 1287.  I’d have to pay additional for larger res scans. The prints they made?  Just about a waste of photograph paper on this case.  Shoot movie, have it scanned and pay the additional for that course of, (or purchase a movie scanner and do it your self).  Or, since your scanned negatives will be “digital” information after that, maybe you ought to simply shoot digital to begin with?
  2. Is that this the “film look” individuals speak about? Not fairly sharp and with grain? Sure, this one too was underexposed and had to be rescued with Lightroom and a lab scan of solely 1940 x 1287 does not assist both, however nonetheless… I assume I’ll keep on with digital thanks.

    I like that “Film Look” – Sure, movie does give a special look.  Some prefer it higher, some not as a lot.  I often choose tack-sharp, excessive distinction, snappy photographs and may simply get that with digital.  With movie, that look shouldn’t be as straightforward.  Nevertheless, if I need my digital picture to seem like movie, there are numerous, many methods, filters, and instruments to get the “film look.“  I can’t see putting up with the hassles, expense, and limitations of film to get that “look” when it’s so simply simulated with digital.

  3. Whenever you Shoot Film, you’ll –Actually- study the fundamentals of Images – I truly agree with this one, to some extent.  Sure, I just about realized with my “One Roll Failed Film Flashback Experience” that I’ve been counting on the digital camera to do a lot of the “thinking” for me.  I can’t simply take a look at a scene and inform you what the ISO, Aperture and Shutter Velocity ought to be, I let the digital camera determine that out for probably the most half.  It really works nevertheless, and… it will get that stuff out of the best way.  I need to spend my time desirous about what I need to photograph and the way I need to achieve this creatively and fewer concerning the mechanics of creating the publicity.  I’m positive that if I purchased extra movie and repeated the method many times I’d get higher.  However how shortly and at what expense?  Individuals I’ve taught to be digital photographers can go from newbies to fairly respectable photographers in a yr or two.  How lengthy would that take in the event that they have been capturing movie, capturing much less, and never getting the moment suggestions?  Some would merely hand over in frustration.    
  4. Digital Photographs are simply “Too Perfect” – Some argue that the great thing about movie images is that the pictures aren’t good, perhaps barely softer with extra tonality and fewer vibrant colours.  In fact, some additionally like mild leaks, plastic toy cameras, a Lomography-type look.  These might be the identical folks that argue vinyl recordings sound so a lot better than these on CD.  (I was blown away the primary time I heard a CD when there have been NO scratches or different sounds in any respect throughout silent elements of the music).  Once more, that’s a choice in style, however I nonetheless argue that whereas I can add imperfections and that “look” to a digital picture, I can’t take it away from a movie photograph ought to I need to.

Now, in case you are a fan of movie you could be screaming by now – “He just doesn’t Get It!”  No, I assume I do.  Film does have its place and there are appears you possibly can nonetheless get that may’t be had with digital.  The restrictions of a movie digital camera and fewer exposures to work with will sluggish you down, make you extra deliberate in your work and drive you to discover high quality relatively than amount.  Additionally, you will study to higher research mild, perceive what your digital camera can do and the way to obtain it.  Digital could make you lazy.  Perhaps it’s “too easy?”  However then, does it have to be?  Are you able to not use your digital digital camera for what it does greatest however shoot it with a “film-style-approach?”

You do not have to shoot movie to shoot such as you did with movie. These have been a couple of from my “film-like” shoot I describe.

I tried this experiment as soon as simply to see the way it felt.  Utilizing my Canon 6D I mounted my 50mm prime in order not to have any zoom functionality.  I left the capturing mode in Uncooked, however set the Image Type to Monochrome in order that it will nonetheless make colour pictures however present monochrome playback on the LCD.  However then I taped over the LCD so I couldn’t “chimp” my photographs.  Then, I advised myself I’d shoot not more than 36 pictures.  What I was making an attempt to do is emulate these previous days with my Praktica loaded with a roll of Plus-X.  It was enjoyable, and I acquired some nice photographs!  It did deliver again reminiscences.  One of the best half was it labored… there was no discovering out days later that the experiment had failed and I’d wasted the capturing time and the price of movie and processing for my hassle.

When images first got here alongside, I have to assume there have been painters that frowned on the brand new “technology” and scoffed.  I can hear them cry – Images shouldn’t be Artwork!  Are they proper?  Are digital photographs not “Photography?”  My thought is that not more than I assume painters ought to be relegated to the ash heap of historical past do I assume movie photographers belong there both.  There’s room for all.  I’m simply personally completely satisfied to reside in an period the place digital images is out there and I’m in a position to develop that a lot quicker as a photographer.  Convey on mirrorless! Deliver on the longer term! And sure, park that new self-driving automotive in my driveway someday too.

I made this shot a number of nights later with my LG V30 cellphone, edited it with Snapseed on the telephone after which uploaded it to the online. It was posted not more than 5 minutes after I shot it. Attempt THAT with movie!

Concerning the Writer

Rick Ohnsman

It isn’t only a pastime… It is an Journey!
That is how I really feel about images. My digital camera takes me to new locations, exhibits me new sights and most of all, permits me to categorical my private imaginative and prescient of the world. From highschool within the 70’s with a Hanimex Practica Nova 1B and a darkroom within the storage, school work with 4×5 view cameras, by means of Kodachrome slides after which on to the digital age I’ve pursued images for over 45 years. I am an enthusiastic member of the Boise Digital camera Membership the place I take pleasure in pursuing our widespread ardour and in addition educating new members.Take a look at a few of my favourite photographs on my 500px website!