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Old 10-30-2012   #41
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Default Re: Considering doing film photography as a hobby. Can i succeed?

Quote:
Originally Posted by drkm_4_frm View Post
First post in this forum and quite a long one as well !

Folks, Please help this poor novice take a decision on pursuing film photography

A little bit about myself:
I'm relatively new to digital photography as well. Been doing it only for the past 2 years. I mostly shoot my family and friends. I own a four-thirds system (2X crop). Olympus E-5 body, a 50mm prime, a 12-60 and a 50-200 lens.
Though I'm fascinated, I have zero knowledge about film photography (the film development process even scares me!). If i choose to pursue film photography, I'll mostly shoot portraits. I'm planning to spend around 150-200 bucks on equipment.

My questions:

1. Practically is it possible for a complete novice like me to pursue film photography as a hobby at this digital era? At least for the next 4-5 years? What you think is the likely hood of film related supplies and services being
available, at least online?

2. I'm thinking places like walmart, walgreens and even camera specialty shops may phase out film development services in another 1-2 years. Do you think my prediction will happen? At least, will i be able to do development online.

3. At this time, I'm thinking about scanning the negatives. Do i need to invest in a specialty flat bed scanner? I have a consumer-grade all-in-one hp printer that does scanning. The specs of it says it can do 4800 x 4800 ppi. Will this suffice to do quality scans of negatives?

4. Any particular camera/portrait prime lens recommendations for my modest budget? I'm open to any brand since i don't think I'll be able to use my 4/3 digital lenses on Olympus bodies. I'm liking retro-looking cameras like the Olympus OM-4t though.

My mind wobbles a lot (I thought about pursuing HDR photography, then IR photography now about film photography), So I'm kind of a little pessimistic now. After 6 months, I don't want to curse my camera like "I wish i had got that fish-eye lens rather than this piece of junk"

Thanks for reading my post.
Why not learn the craft of developing your own film? I hear the chemicals are quite nasty though.
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Old 11-01-2012   #42
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Default Re: Considering doing film photography as a hobby. Can i succeed?

The few times I've shot BW400CN and had it scanned by the lab I've had to use Elements to convert to black and white. The base on that film is a C41 base with a definite color cast to it. The lab will scan it as a color neg, and the base will come through.
I will say that once I've done the conversion I've been very pleased with the results.
At home I scan it as black and white negative with no trouble.
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Old 11-07-2012   #43
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Default Re: Considering doing film photography as a hobby. Can i succeed?

It is kind of sad how poorly the labs are doing with your photos.

Here is a sample, taken by me with a 1960's Yashicamat, processed by me with only normal care, scanned on a old flat bed scanner with a transparency adapter by me, minimal post processing by me.



It was just a test to see if cleaning the lens fixed most of the problems, and posted on my blog. You should be getting at least as good from the labs, if not try a different one.
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Old 10-08-2015   #44
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Default Re: Considering doing film photography as a hobby. Can i succeed?

Google led me to this thread, the only one on this form I've read. The original poster asked a great question and got fantastic answers. Impressed by the quality of the responses I just had to sign up. I turned 70 yesterday and for more years I can count I shot 35 mm slides using everything from a viewfinder camera to a decent SLR. Being a electronic engineer and computer geek, when Sony introduced the maverick which recorded digital pictures to a floppy disk, I pre-ordered one before they even hit the stores. A a dozen digital cameras later my favorite is now a Sony Alpha digital SLR.
Film was abandoned.
When my dad died and I was charged with converting his thousands of slides to digital for my brothers and sisters. I remember as a kid eagerly waiting to see the family pictures when relatives would visit. Dad would make popcorn wait until dark, turn off the lights, and fire of an old Argus PA100 slide projector.

I ended up buying several projectors identical to my dads from eBay for my brother, sister, and our four kids. I also bought Barnett and Jaffe cases exactly like my dad's to hold duplicates of dad slides. While searching for these things on eBay I came across a Minolta 7000 camera body that would work with my existing Sony alpha camera lenses. I won the bid for $2.99. That cost me another $10 just to find the weird battery. And another $10 for a roll of slide film.
I soon discovered that the Minolta film camera took much better pictures than my digital camera. And a $20.00 - 70-year-old Argus projector looked much better on my glass beaded screen than the $4000 digital projector.
I then found that I was bidding $10 on all sorts of Minolta lenses flashes and bodies on eBay and winning them. One of my favorites is a Minolta 50. I love the look of the silver body and I got matching silver lens for it. I love the way the flash pops up automatically when you don't have enough light. The camera cost $9.99 on eBay but my expensive Sony Alpha digital SLR doesn't even have a pop-up flash, let alone one that pops up automatically. The old film camera even does red-eye reduction just as good as the Sony Alpha.
Next I turned my attention to dad's old Argus A3 viewfinder camera. It's as basic as you can get, everything is manual!
I had to repair it, the shutter didn't work. But it has no electronics whatsoever. The A3 uses an extinction meter and complicated rotary slide rule on the back of the camera to calculate exposure settings. It took me a while to figure that out.
I soon found myself putting my digital Sony into full manual and setting the shutter speed to ASA 100, taking a couple shots and seeing if exposure and everything was correct, then using the aperture and shutter speed from the alpha to set the settings on the Argus. By doing that I eventually figured out how to interpret the extension meter. I also had to relearn the sunny 16 rule.
When going through the thousands of slides my dad took, I noticed that for any given processing date, there were almost no missing sequence numbers. I wondered, how he managed to get the exposure correct almost every time. Then I remembered that he had an exposure meter. I remember as a very young boy, dad setting up a shot by holding the exposure meter about a foot from our faces then going back and setting the dials on the camera. We couldn't find dad's meter. So, I got an Argus L3 meter on ebay. It didn't work! I got two more. They didn't work. After a little research I discovered that any meter purchased in 1940 when he bought his, would not work. The transparent silver conductive layer on top of the selenium will it turn to silver sulfate (tarnish). If you remove the tarnish you basically have removed all the silver. I found replacement cells and repaired the meters. I even discovered the secret of how Argus calibrated the meters even though there is no resistors or trimpots.

Okay now I'm rambling, but I thought a little background what I've done might encourage the OP or others new to film to take the time to learn.

I really like the advice given earlier to set your digital camera into full manual. You'll save a lot of film.
Personally, I like the appearance of the 35mm slides. Even after I scan them, the resulting digital image just seems to look better. Part of it is because film has a wider dynamic range than digital. I'm always amazed at the detail I can see in the dark shadows or outside sun lit windows.

I found a little mechanical timer/cable release in dad's stuff. It's entirely mechanical. Twist a dial on it, and it's slowly rotates back to 0 and mechanically operates the shutter. I can now take a selfie the same way my dad did... without electronics. Smart people those guys were in the greatest generation.

Since dad's camera is a family heirloom, I bought one identical to it on eBay. I got to like it so much that I purchased a couple of other early Argus cameras, including the Argus C forty four R with an attachable coupled exposure meter and 3 interchangeable lenses. Compared to the more modern Minolta 7000 the Argus C 44 is like a Mack truck or a tank. Now when I go to visit the grand-kids, I have to drag along 3 or 4 cameras.

I can see why film photography is such a fast growing new hobby. I've given up cigarettes but now I'm addicted to film.
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Old 10-10-2015   #45
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Default Re: Considering doing film photography as a hobby. Can i succeed?

Hey Bob,
Congratulations on giving up cigarettes and again for taking up film! I'm in the same boat but never really shot that much 35mm so I've picked up several medium and large format cameras on ebay for very good prices.

Interestingly, I posed the question on the Zeiss Ikonta group in Flickr about the cameras' original prices. Adjusted for inflation as best I can, these folding medium format cameras from the 1930's sold new for about the same price a decent DSLR outfit goes for today. They are real bargains in my opinion, as long as you develop your own film. Ditto for Speed Graphics if you are a bargain hunter.

I took this one recently with a 1934 Super Ikonta A; a 645 medium format folder that literally fits in your pant's pocket (or will once I loose a few pounds anyway). I picked this up on ebay about 4 or 5 years ago for just over $100.

Hindu Temple 1 by Alan Butler, on Flickr
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Old 12-08-2015   #46
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Default Re: Considering doing film photography as a hobby. Can i succeed?

I stayed with film until late in the game. After some on-line film disasters such as losing 7 rolls of film I finally went digital. First the Nikon D200 and then Oly OMD EM5. Both camera's worked well and the Oly is bullet proof. Just point and shoot and the exposure is great. Even the Oly finally gave way to the cell phone camera. No process, no film loading, no holding up the negative and squinting at it. No saving the negatives or trying new film.

Anyway with all the advancements the fun for me went out the window to China.
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Old 12-26-2015   #47
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Default Re: Considering doing film photography as a hobby. Can i succeed?

I have been shooting film, particularly medium format, since 1954 an I shall continue to do so as long as film is still available.

I use #1. Sinar 4x5 monorail view camera +120 roll film adapter.
#2. Mamiya rb67 I have 65mm, 90mm, 360mm lens for this camera
#3 1947 Speed Graphic Pacemaker again with roll film adapter.
I use 120 film because of costs.

I am totally addicted to film. Mostly I use Portra 160 Vc or Fugichrome.
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Old 01-04-2016   #48
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Default Re: Considering doing film photography as a hobby. Can i succeed?

Since it is 4~5 years since the original post that asked about the viability of film in the next 4 or 5 years, I thought I would post that is is still viable!

The only problem is that all you collectors are driving up the price of equipment.
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Old 01-08-2016   #49
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Default Re: Considering doing film photography as a hobby. Can i succeed?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tomrit View Post
Since it is 4~5 years since the original post that asked
about the viability of film in the next 4 or 5 years, I
thought I would post that is is still viable!

The only problem is that all you collectors are driving
up the price of equipment.
Non-collectible gear is generally more useable than
collectible stuff, and is still sold for a pittance. The
darkroom gear is often free and perhaps someone
will even pay you to haul it away.

I will never go back to film. It's not a judgment of
quality or aesthetics. I've shot AND processed far
more film, BW, C41, E6 and printed far more BW,
C-prints, and Ciba than prolly 90% of the rest of us
all combined. I didn't choose the media. It was the
current material of the times. Whatever replaces
today's sensor technology is what I will use next, if
I'm still around.

"Replaces" means just that. I don't keep up with
every evolutionary improvement in the current
medium. There is no useful difference between
"more than good enuf" and "state of the art". Film
is a technical experience, an exploration if you've
never used it, a hobby if you need one. Nothing
wrong with any of that, but no reason for me to
re-burden myself with bygone burdens. YMMV.

But if you are tempted to try film, I just cannot
see this "considering film" idea. It's not a major
expense nor does it need to be any sort of huge
commitment. You can use film only for capture
and the rest of the flow is digital, or you can do
darkroom printing. Level of commitment is quite
flexible. Buy a camera, order some film and see
for yourself. No big deal about it. If you just want
to muck around with chemicals, make a pinhole
tin can camera and shoot paper negatives. Then
you scan the paper negatives. Whatever works.
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Old 01-09-2016   #50
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Default Re: Considering doing film photography as a hobby. Can i succeed?

Almost all of my present photography is digital, but the few exceptions are treasured. For the cost of a new tilt/shift lens for a DSLR, one can buy a view camera with an arsenal of competent lenses and tilt/shift that works with all lenses built into the body. Then there are the cameras themselves. Few 35mm cameras have the functional, but svelte, elegance of an early Leica or the brass and wood craftsmanship of even earlier cameras. These antiques can still do today what they did many decades ago, which often competes well with many digital cameras. Remember, many of the most revered photographs of the past 176 years were taken on film, glass plates, or silver plated brass plates. They still look great.

Photography has become too easy. We often let the camera do its best, and no longer invest the extra effort that was so productive in those earlier years. Just last night I shot over 100 digital frames at two basketball games. Few compete with the B&W photographs I was making with a Leica rangefinder camera decades ago, although editing and distributing the digital images will be much easier.


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