Pondering Film vs Digital, yet again.

Messages
7,604
Name
Jon
Edit My Images
Yes
#1
After discussing film cameras in another thread, it got me to think about film again. Before I decided to get my film camera back out, I wanted to have another look at the last photos I took. The last photos I took, were about three or four years ago. While they are memorable photos of the family, they are bad photos. They are badly over exposed, my fault entirely.
Had they been digital, I could have corrected the problem.

Yes, I know I should have the correct exposure set, at the time of taking the photo. But sometimes you don't have the time, if a good opportunity crops up, grab she shot quickly, before the moment has gone. Using film slows you down, and makes you think. But sometimes, being slow is no good.

After looking at my last film photos, I think I will leave the film camera boxed up, just for now. :giggle:
 
OP
OP
jonbeeza
Messages
7,604
Name
Jon
Edit My Images
Yes
#2
Film is exciting to use, and it does give an air of mystery. Dare I say it? OK I will, it feels like real photography. What I don't like, the expense, and the lack of control of the finished photo. Plus, I don't like the idea, of a complete stranger, seeing my photos before I do. Yes I know this is how it was years ago, but times have changed.

I have not posted the above for an argument, it is just me thinking out aloud. :)
 
OP
OP
jonbeeza
Messages
7,604
Name
Jon
Edit My Images
Yes
#4
Why restrict yourself? There’s always room for both.
I remember being annoyed last time, when I first saw the results of my last film images. They were of our grand children, and they were massively over exposed. I remember thinking if I only I had of taken them in digital, I could have put them in my RAW programme, and gotten a much better image.
 
Messages
4,474
Name
Gareth (Not Gary!)
Edit My Images
No
#5
As has been said, there is room for both (not for me, but for most).

massively over exposed. I remember thinking if I only I had of taken them in digital, I could have put them in my RAW programme, and gotten a much better image.
Or if you had taken a quick 2 second light reading with a meter they would be fine. I don't know what film camera you are/were using but does it have a built in meter?

Yes, film slows you down, makes you think, etc but it can also be used for fast paced, documentary stuff with the right equipment. It's not the medium of capture, but the photographer and equipment or a combination of both. It all depends what you want to do with it. For me personally, there is no substitute for shooting film. You mention the last film photos you shot were 3-4 years ago and they were disappointing. Doing something once every three to four years won't improve it much unfortunately. Shooting regularly, assessing your mistakes and correcting for next time is what creates improvement as I am sure you know. Yes, it's easier with digitals instant review and less expense, however with a little care at time of capture, you can get consistently great results from film. My lab gives me feedback on exposure and it's very rare for me to have rolls or frames that are severely overexposed, in fact with colour negative it's almost impossible to blow highlights.

There's so, so much more I could write but I will leave it there for now.
 
Messages
3,746
Name
droj
Edit My Images
No
#6
If you're talking colour neg, then it's got good latitude & there isn't much excuse for exposing it badly.

One might ask why you were using film at all in this largely digital age? What was the driver? Is there a clear purpose?

To me there's just one wholly valid reason for using film, which is that the images will have a certain filmic quality. In other words, the use of film equipment in the main should at best be image-led, rather than some kind of nostalgia trip about the equipment used.

For some, there will also be a productive immersion in the processes of development, enlargement and printing. Though for years now a hybrid workflow's been possible, which has its own attractions. But if you're getting negs lab-printed on an automatic line, then you're relinquishing a sensible measure of control.

To view digital image-making as a resource for the correction of mistakes however is poor thinking in my book.
 
Last edited:
Messages
22,732
Name
Alan
Edit My Images
No
#7
I briefly used film again years ago just because I liked using my RF's but the quality of the pictures I was getting just weren't up to what I get from digital.

When digital was taking off I held back while others changed but I remember exactly what pushed me to digital and it was that the quality of prints I was getting back nosedived. I always assumed they'd cut costs faced with competition from with digital but whatever the reason my prints were coming back with spots and hairs etc which I'd not seen to that degree before and when I complained they blamed me. How I was supposed to get dust and hairs on my 35mm shots I don't know. It's not as if I was sending in negatives that had been in a coat pocket or left my camera open in a dust storm, these were new rolls taken put in and taken out of the camera how I'd always done it and sent for development.

I suppose if developing film at home any slap dash careless stuff that might go on at the developers can be avoided but those of us who rely on other people developing our pictures aren't in control of quality whereas we have much more control with digital.
 
OP
OP
jonbeeza
Messages
7,604
Name
Jon
Edit My Images
Yes
#8
As has been said, there is room for both (not for me, but for most).



Or if you had taken a quick 2 second light reading with a meter they would be fine. I don't know what film camera you are/were using but does it have a built in meter?

Yes, film slows you down, makes you think, etc but it can also be used for fast paced, documentary stuff with the right equipment. It's not the medium of capture, but the photographer and equipment or a combination of both. It all depends what you want to do with it. For me personally, there is no substitute for shooting film. You mention the last film photos you shot were 3-4 years ago and they were disappointing. Doing something once every three to four years won't improve it much unfortunately. Shooting regularly, assessing your mistakes and correcting for next time is what creates improvement as I am sure you know. Yes, it's easier with digitals instant review and less expense, however with a little care at time of capture, you can get consistently great results from film. My lab gives me feedback on exposure and it's very rare for me to have rolls or frames that are severely overexposed, in fact with colour negative it's almost impossible to blow highlights.

There's so, so much more I could write but I will leave it there for now.
If you're talking colour neg, then it's got good latitude & there isn't much excuse for exposing it badly.

One might ask why you were using film at all in this largely digital age? What was the driver? Is there a clear purpose?

To me there's just one wholly valid reason for using film, which is that the images will have a certain filmic quality. In other words, the use of film equipment in the main should at best be image-led, rather than some kind of nostalgia trip about the equipment used.

For some, there will also be a productive immersion in the processes of development, enlargement and printing. Though for years now a hybrid workflow's been possible, which has its own attractions. But if you're getting negs lab-printed on an automatic line, then you're relinquishing a sensible measure of control.

To view digital image-making as a resource for the correction of mistakes however is poor thinking in my book.
I can't recall the details now, it was so long ago.

It does have a light meter, so it was purely my fault. Yes I know it is easy to check the exposure, but sometimes there just is not the time. With children always dashing about, you sometimes only just have time to lift the camera, and press the button quickly.

I have just got the camera out now, and put the original batteries in. I can't believe the batteries are still showing as full. They are the original ones. Pity I don't have any film to hand.
 
OP
OP
jonbeeza
Messages
7,604
Name
Jon
Edit My Images
Yes
#9

This is the camera I am on about. Only an entry level Nikon F60. I think I bought it about twenty years ago. I remember when I was buying it, my brother asked why am I getting an old film camera, and why not get a digital camera. When I saw the price of flash cards, I said I am not paying that sort of money, to take photos. He went to explain, you save them on a computer, then clean the card and use it again. I could not understand what he was saying, so I went ahead and bought the Nikon film camera. This was when shops were desperate to get rid of film cameras, and I bought my first new film camera, when they were on the way out.
 
OP
OP
jonbeeza
Messages
7,604
Name
Jon
Edit My Images
Yes
#11
If you could walk down the high street, and pop into the Chemist, and be greeted by a friendly cheerful assistant. Who then serves you with a roll of film, that you then load into your camera, that you then walk about with taking peoples photos carefree, and without threats, people may even ask you to take a photo of them. When roll has been used, you then take it back to the Chemist, who greets you with a big smile, and tells you when it will be ready. You then wait excitedly for the days to pass.

I think if I could have the above experience again, then I most probably would use film again. Maybe Digital is more suited to the world we live in today, imagine giving your film in to be developed today, nosey busy bodies would be scrutinising most photos.
 
Messages
4,474
Name
Gareth (Not Gary!)
Edit My Images
No
#12
If you could walk down the high street, and pop into the Chemist, and be greeted by a friendly cheerful assistant. Who then serves you with a roll of film, that you then load into your camera, that you then walk about with taking peoples photos carefree, and without threats, people may even ask you to take a photo of them. When roll has been used, you then take it back to the Chemist, who greets you with a big smile, and tells you when it will be ready. You then wait excitedly for the days to pass.

I think if I could have the above experience again, then I most probably would use film again. Maybe Digital is more suited to the world we live in today, imagine giving your film in to be developed today, nosey busy bodies would be scrutinising most photos.
I think you have either had a bad experience with having your film developed in modern times or know very little about it. The lab I use and others I have used are not like what you describe. Definitely not "nosey busy bodies" as you put it but helpful, non judgemental people who care about my rolls and work with me to get the best exposures, scans and end results. I have shot weddings on film and shipped hundreds of rolls over the last few years to two major labs, one is my main one but when they closed to relocate I had no choice but to use a different one temporarily. Both are and continue to be excellent.

The methods we use to capture the images are not what's important. What is important is light, moment, connection, context, story, narrative to name but a few. Anything else like megapixels, a million AF points and 20fps is just noise and marketing.
 
OP
OP
jonbeeza
Messages
7,604
Name
Jon
Edit My Images
Yes
#14
I think you have either had a bad experience with having your film developed in modern times or know very little about it. The lab I use and others I have used are not like what you describe. Definitely not "nosey busy bodies" as you put it but helpful, non judgemental people who care about my rolls and work with me to get the best exposures, scans and end results. I have shot weddings on film and shipped hundreds of rolls over the last few years to two major labs, one is my main one but when they closed to relocate I had no choice but to use a different one temporarily. Both are and continue to be excellent.

The methods we use to capture the images are not what's important. What is important is light, moment, connection, context, story, narrative to name but a few. Anything else like megapixels, a million AF points and 20fps is just noise and marketing.
I have to hold my hands up yes, I know absolutely nothing about film development. Only real experience is the Chemists of the 70s, who served the masses, yes I am one of them. I have no idea what goes on behind the scenes. :)
 
OP
OP
jonbeeza
Messages
7,604
Name
Jon
Edit My Images
Yes
#16
Now that I have been looking at my old film camera, if I happen to spot any film, I WILL buy it. Now, how likely is it, that I will spot any film while out shopping?
 
Messages
3,552
Name
Brian
Edit My Images
Yes
#17
Not fun any longer? :)
Probably is but I'm afraid I've succumbed to digital. It's better/easier/cheaper & more convenient for sharing on social media etc.
Its an evolution where we've gone past the most exciting bit.
Like cars and motorbikes. More reliable and efficient now but nowhere near the same experience as the 60s for example.
 
OP
OP
jonbeeza
Messages
7,604
Name
Jon
Edit My Images
Yes
#21

The last film I bought was from Asda, going by the media file I added, 2015. Did not realise it was that long ago. Could of sworn it was someplace like pound land.
 
OP
OP
jonbeeza
Messages
7,604
Name
Jon
Edit My Images
Yes
#23
If I did get film, it would be to photograph the family. I don't fancy just snapping away, at lamp post and any old thing, just to say I shot a roll of film. If it was the family, I would not be posting the results on the net.
 
Messages
5,042
Name
Dave
Edit My Images
No
#24
The methods we use to capture the images are not what's important. What is important is light, moment, connection, context, story, narrative to name but a few. Anything else like megapixels, a million AF points and 20fps is just noise and marketing.
And using film in the 21st century isn't hype and bulls***tery noise and marketing? :ROFLMAO:

(When is TP gonna get a stirring it smiley? )
 

moomike

TPer Emeritus
Messages
6,218
Name
Mike
Edit My Images
Yes
#25
I love my digital stuff and wouldn't be without it, but given the choice over digital or film and knowing whether or not I would prefer the results if the image was exposed "correctly" I'd pick film every single time. Every single one of my favourite images bar maybe one or two at most have been shot on film - even then, it's most likely law of averages that makes it that way.

Saying that, I love film with grain - if I was looking for hyper sharp, noiseless images, the digital would win instead - it's horses for courses, but I teach Photoshop and digital photography manipulations, composites, etc & have come to realise that I don't really tend to mess around with film images - they just have a different quality and feel to them & it's a good thing in my book - I find that a lot of people who ask for me to help with retouching images are just looking to emulate film - think I'd drive away a lot of clients if I just said "shoot film then" :LOL:
 
OP
OP
jonbeeza
Messages
7,604
Name
Jon
Edit My Images
Yes
#26
Just been looking at prices of film and developing. I certainly could not take a film camera out, and snap away like I do with digital.
 
Messages
2,391
Edit My Images
Yes
#27
If you could walk down the high street, and pop into the Chemist, and be greeted by a friendly cheerful assistant. Who then serves you with a roll of film, that you then load into your camera, that you then walk about with taking peoples photos carefree, and without threats, people may even ask you to take a photo of them. When roll has been used, you then take it back to the Chemist, who greets you with a big smile, and tells you when it will be ready. You then wait excitedly for the days to pass.

I think if I could have the above experience again, then I most probably would use film again. Maybe Digital is more suited to the world we live in today, imagine giving your film in to be developed today, nosey busy bodies would be scrutinising most photos.
I use Snappy Snaps for those films I do not develop myself. That is the experience I get. Together with a chat about the camera and advice on dealing with any camera problems.
 
Messages
746
Name
Leroy
Edit My Images
Yes
#28
I bought my first camera 40 years ago on a whim with absolutely no idea how it worked. I took rolls of film to the chemist only to find when I got them back, must had the dreaded stickers on them, I was lucky if I got half a dozen keepers.
I tried for years to perceiver but just ended up with rolls and rolls of undeveloped film I couldn’t afford to get processed.
 
Messages
2,360
Name
Nick
Edit My Images
No
#29
I remember being annoyed last time, when I first saw the results of my last film images. They were of our grand children, and they were massively over exposed. I remember thinking if I only I had of taken them in digital, I could have put them in my RAW programme, and gotten a much better image.
Film is great, but take time to learn the camera and the films before trying to get critical shots. I lost shots initially due to the excitement of shooting on a different medium when I bought my TLR; I then took a step back and decided to slow myself down and get to grips with it all. I also decided to use digital for the important things (brothers wedding etc), and film for the experimental things.
 
OP
OP
jonbeeza
Messages
7,604
Name
Jon
Edit My Images
Yes
#32
Film is great, but take time to learn the camera and the films before trying to get critical shots. I lost shots initially due to the excitement of shooting on a different medium when I bought my TLR; I then took a step back and decided to slow myself down and get to grips with it all. I also decided to use digital for the important things (brothers wedding etc), and film for the experimental things.
I have only had my film camera for twenty years. :)
 
Messages
5,283
Edit My Images
Yes
#33
And using film in the 21st century isn't hype and bulls***tery noise and marketing? :ROFLMAO:

(When is TP gonna get a stirring it smiley? )
Noise and marketing? :LOL: Film still works just as well as it always did, and having a maximum of 36 shots per roll to play with can make capturing the decisive moment even more satisfying. It can be great for toning up those shutter button finger reflexes! So come on Dave, join in the fun. (y)

 
Messages
5,042
Name
Dave
Edit My Images
No
#34
So come on Dave, join in the fun. (y)

I tried two or three rolls again sometime last decade.

film1.jpg

I decided the results were no different to digital - except I get more good pictures using digital because my 'hit rate' is the same no matter what I use. 1% of 500 shots is better than 1% of 36 shots.;) And with digital I can shoot colour and black & white at the same time, correct exposure cock ups with little loss of quality, shoot in near darkness at astronomical ISOs to get shutter speeds which freeze motion and much, much more. There's no going back for me.

The only bit I did enjoy, weirdly, was manually winding the film on to the next frame. :thinking: :LOL:
 
Messages
5,283
Edit My Images
Yes
#35
I tried two or three rolls again sometime last decade.

View attachment 266925

I decided the results were no different to digital - except I get more good pictures using digital because my 'hit rate' is the same no matter what I use. 1% of 500 shots is better than 1% of 36 shots.;) And with digital I can shoot colour and black & white at the same time, correct exposure cock ups with little loss of quality, shoot in near darkness at astronomical ISOs to get shutter speeds which freeze motion and much, much more. There's no going back for me.

The only bit I did enjoy, weirdly, was manually winding the film on to the next frame. :thinking: :LOL:

You can always convert scans of colour film to B&W these days in Photoshop, so no real advantage there. Not to say that colour can't be fun as it is though.

 
Last edited:
Messages
5,042
Name
Dave
Edit My Images
No
#36
You can always convert scans of colour film to B&W these days in Photoshop, so no real advantage there.
I printed a few colour negs on black and white paper in the dark ages room. :D

Maybe if I had limitless funds and a fully equipped darkroom - with an army of assistants to do the drudge work -I might consider going back to film. But it's way too much faffing about for me. Lazy has always been my middle name!
 
Messages
5,283
Edit My Images
Yes
#37
I printed a few colour negs on black and white paper in the dark ages room. :D

Maybe if I had limitless funds and a fully equipped darkroom - with an army of assistants to do the drudge work -I might consider going back to film. But it's way too much faffing about for me. Lazy has always been my middle name!
I tried that too back in the day but find that B&W conversions from colour scans look much better. I wouldn't say no to developing my own films again but wouldn't want to go back to darkroom printing. If I want a wet print I'll send the negs off and let a pro lab do the faffing for me! Like you, I'd rather be out taking the photos than slaving over them. (y)
 
OP
OP
jonbeeza
Messages
7,604
Name
Jon
Edit My Images
Yes
#40
Only one way to find out, scratch that itch and get some film bought! ;)
Well I have been out shopping this morning, I was not purposely looking for film. But I certainly would have noticed any film, in those dump bin/baskets that nobody buys from, but obviously do. :)
 
Top