From Digital to Film

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I'm really enjoying this article on a professional photographer moving from digital back to film.

After two years of photographing with a digital monochrome camera, I have returned to photographing with film and the Leica MP. Even if you are shooting digital, this article contains some thoughts that may make it worth your reading — so let’s press on.
I agree with him, so far :) I would also love to own a Leica MP knowing that some giants of photography used one. Kinda cool to know you can go out and buy the same equipment that they used. Ok, so its £2k for the body and a bit more for the lens, but hey :)

Since using my Lomo with Ilford ISO400 black and white film, I've totally fallen in love with it. Its producing results instantly. Take the picture, job done. No spending hours in photoshop trying to fix images and get everything perfect. To that effect I bought a Canon EOS 50 on Monday. I hope it arrives tomorrow so I can try stuff out. £40 for full frame goodness :D Who said you need to spend out on a 1D? :D
 
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whats you keep ratio of digital shots Pete? I think the film camera makes you think more before you take the shot, would you agree with that?
 
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EosD said:
whats you keep ratio of digital shots Pete? I think the film camera makes you think more before you take the shot, would you agree with that?
It should :) With my lomo I usually just point and shoot. I think my keep ratio is around 10%. Expensive for film, but that 10% should be worth it. Even if it was 1 shot per roll, it'd be worth it.
 
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i wouldnt mind betting that using the film canon will make the keep rate go up, over a period of time you should keep a rough record and see if it does, i know i would keep more, too tight see, lol
 
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Thats the theory. Its also a cheap backup camera for weddings and what not.
 
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I recently had a hankering for shooting a bit of film after a gap of some 15 years, so I bought a Canon Canonet GIII QL on eBay. It was known in its day as the "poor man's Leica" and although it doesn't have interchangeable lenses it's got a very sharp f/1.7 40mm lens which gives great results especially when using mono film. Keep ratio is about 8 out of 10 as I really do concentrate on getting everything right before pressing the button. Trouble is, I don't use it anything like as much as really want to as digital is so convenient.
 
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Are you going to be processing your own pictures or have you found a lab that gives excellent results consistently?

My reason for going digital was that the labs (admittedly I wasn't using pro labs due to cost) would undo my creative streak during processing or simply not be consistent. What I shot was not, in most cases what was returned to me. That and the cost made me lose interest in film photography.

Now that technology has improved and pro DSLR's are almost affordable I can see even less reason to switch back to film. Some will argue until the cows come home about the quality differences but unless you can absolutely prove to me that your photography results with film cannot be matched by a modern digital, I really cannot see the point.

If it’s for the fun, the nostalgia or to be retro then that’s fine but as a business decision, sorry I just can’t see it.
 
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Using my Lomo has taught me more about light than using my 10D. I think its due to the way the Lomo works. Its amazing with the sun behind you in the evening. It's taught me to appreciate light more and use it correctly. I doubt this new camera will have the same effect, but it will be nice to have a full frame sensor. I'll be able to do wide(ish) angle shots. Wider than my lomo anyway.

While we're on the subject of digital to film. The whole 1.6x crop factor thing. How exactly do you work out the real stats of your lens? Is it simply to do like 28 x 1.6? That would mean my 28mm - 105mm is actually a 44 - 168mm. Is that right?
 
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Steve said:
Are you going to be processing your own pictures or have you found a lab that gives excellent results consistently?

My reason for going digital was that the labs (admittedly I wasn't using pro labs due to cost) would undo my creative streak during processing or simply not be consistent. What I shot was not, in most cases what was returned to me. That and the cost made me lose interest in film photography.

Now that technology has improved and pro DSLR's are almost affordable I can see even less reason to switch back to film. Some will argue until the cows come home about the quality differences but unless you can absolutely prove to me that your photography results with film cannot be matched by a modern digital, I really cannot see the point.

If it’s for the fun, the nostalgia or to be retro then that’s fine but as a business decision, sorry I just can’t see it.
I find Boots processing to be quite nice on Ilford ISO400 C41 film. I get a photo cd done too so I can tweak the shots in Photoshop. I can't afford £1000 on a 20D so I could have my 10D as a backup camera, but I can afford £40 on this EOS 50 so I can have that as a backup camera at weddings and things. Its not ideal, but I will be able to use my equipment with it and I should be able to get the shots. Of course, I'll have to learn a bit more about ISO so I have the right film, but its all good.
 
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Using my Canon Rangefinder has reminded me what taking pictures was like before digital and made me less "trigger happy". That said, the few films I do shoot get processed by Jessops (I use XP2 which can go through C41) and are fine, negative-wise. The prints aren't bad but lack contrast and tonal range - black doesn't really end up as black.
 

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petemc said:
While we're on the subject of digital to film. The whole 1.6x crop factor thing. How exactly do you work out the real stats of your lens? Is it simply to do like 28 x 1.6? That would mean my 28mm - 105mm is actually a 44 - 168mm. Is that right?
You've got it. ;)

Your biggest problem is going to be dissatisfaction with your resullts from film unless you're really lucky to find a good processor. I used to use a pro lab for my wedding work and they were expensive, but of course, I just passed the cost on. I had few complaints really with the lab I used , but I did have the odd one or two issues with them. It's not the film developing which is the problem, it's the printing where it starts to go wrong and so many of the processors these days use fully automated printing set ups with no human judgement at all.
 
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petemc said:
I get a photo cd done too so I can tweak the shots in Photoshop.
So basically your initial statement is incorrect as you still have to spend time post processing afterwards. Add to that the differences between the 10D and Eos50 and the differing output that will be inevitable and all you are doing is finding more stuff that you need to learn and compensate for to get predictable, consistent results.

petemc said:
I can't afford £1000 on a 20D so I could have my 10D as a backup camera
That’s a fair comment and one which I can’t argue with, although a 300D or a second hand 10D would probably be affordable and serve you fine as a backup while behaving almost identically to your other 10D.

petemc said:
Of course, I'll have to learn a bit more about ISO so I have the right film, but its all good.
Learning your current equipment inside out is a better way to improve IMO. As a professional you need to be able to produce stunning work everytime in all circumstances, the route to that is to understand your equipment and how it behaves and what it is and is not capable off. You need to understand how to work with and against light, when and how to compromise, when a different approach is needed. There are enough variables that’s we have to attempt to control without us adding in extra things to make the job harder.

I am not having a go Pete, really I am not, I just feel that you are trying to justify buying the Eos50 for the wrong reasons. Like I said, fun, nostalgia, experimentation that’s fine, but to use as a backup to your professional work, I feel there are far better options that really are not as expensive as you are making out.
 

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I see where he's coming from but it's from a fairly narrow viewpoint, in my opinion anyway. Looking at his shots they're mainly static. In that environment the leica is an outstanding camera and lens combination.

Give him a Premiership football match however and the Leica's out of it's depth.
Especially when you consider the next step. I find it quite confusing that in going down the 35mm film route he still chooses to manipulate on a PC rather than in the darkroom. As his other article (Making images - not taking images) states it can take weeks from taking the picture to actually geting the finished image, hardly an argument for speeding up the process. In any event whats another 10 minutes in the field if he's taking weeks post production?

Using simplicity in the field as a reason for going back to film isn't enough I don't think. I'd have liked to see a better comparison between the benefits of his favoured film and digital and some evidence showing he gets better tones/contrast whatever. Again though, the fact that he's manipulating so heavily sort of goes against that argument as well.

About the only bit of the article which doesn't confuse me is his argument about the glass being the most important element of the combination. I do think he makes a good argument for investing in the Leica system for lens quality but thats a different argument from moving from digital to film for convenience.

I think it's also different for a professional like him and the majority of us enthusiasts anyway. Digital has rekindled my enjoyment of the hobby. I went through a phase where I was taking the shots but cost and inconvenience of development meant I had an ever growing pile of undeveloped films, I still ocasionally find a couple I'd forgotten about. It got to a stage where I sold off most of my 35mm kit and went digital about 4 or 5 years ago. Since then I've began to enjoy the hobby again.

Just my take on it though, maybe I'm totally missing the point, wouldn't be the first time, hope you enjoy the new cam :)
 
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A 300D would be better, but I can't afford that right now. It's not goint to be my backup for ever, and I've never had an issue with my 10D. But, for its price it will be handy just incase the worst ever happens.

I wouldn't say my original statement is incorrect. Getting them put onto a photocd helps for many reasons. I can tweak them if I want to, and most times I don't need to. It also saves time scanning them in.

I am mainly getting it to play around with and learn from, but there are other advantages as I've stated. My Lomo has taught me more about light recently than my 10D has. All I have to do with my lomo it push a button and it can take a better picture than my 10D sometimes. The problem I have with my Lomo is the lack of real controls. I can't tell if the settings are right, and I can't really use it in anything but Auto. By getting this camera hopefully I'll be able to use the features I like on my 10D with the lovely Ilford film.

The other kinda cool thing is that the 17-40 @ 1.6x crop is actually 27.2mm wide. On a full frame camera using my 28mm, I'll have close to that. So for £40 I get to save the cost of a 20D + 17-40L. It is only a quick fix and I do plan to get a 20D and a 17-40L at some point.
 
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