Considering doing film photography as a hobby. Can i succeed?
PhotoCamel: Your friendly photo community, with free discussion forums, digital photography reviews, photo sharing, galleries, downloads, blogs, photography contests, and prizes.
 

Go Back   PhotoCamel - Your Friendly Photography Forum > Cameras and Lenses > Film Camera

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 08-31-2011   #1
Alpaca
 
Posts: 7
CamelKarma: 10
Editing OK?: Ask First
Constructive Critique?: Yes
Default Considering doing film photography as a hobby. Can i succeed?

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.

__________________
Members don't see ads in threads. Register for your free account today and become a member of PhotoCamel to open up the site's many benefits and features.
drkm_4_frm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-31-2011   #2
Guanaco
 
Location: Indianapolis, IN
Posts: 339
CamelKarma: 11352
Editing OK?: Yes
Constructive Critique?: Yes
Default Re: Considering doing film photography as a hobby. Can i succeed?

I don't know anything about film photography, but curious why you would want to go and use film? vs continuing to invest in digital? what draws you to film?
ahpaquin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-31-2011   #3
PhotoCamel Supporter DONATED
Bactrian
 
Jim Jones's Avatar
 
Location: Rural Missouri
Posts: 2,338
CamelKarma: 501383
Editing OK?: Yes
Constructive Critique?: Yes
Default Re: Considering doing film photography as a hobby. Can i succeed?

1. Film supplies, especially black & white, will be around for a long time. Local services probably won't.

2. I expect some online development will be available after local shops have discontinued it. Black & White film is easy enough to develop at home.

3. To scan film you should use a scanner with a transparancy adaptor and light source for the job. 4800x4800 is certainly enough resolution. Few consumer scanners are nearly that good, despite what they advertise. After decades of darkroom experience, I often scan black & white negatives and edit and print with a computer.

4. Any of the major brand film cameras in good condition should do fine. A somewhat longer than normal prime lens is nice for head and shoulder portraits. With careful shopping camera and lens should be quite inexpensive.
Jim Jones is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-31-2011   #4
Alpaca
 
Posts: 7
CamelKarma: 10
Editing OK?: Ask First
Constructive Critique?: Yes
Default Re: Considering doing film photography as a hobby. Can i succeed?

I'm just fascinated my the film camera workflow. Coming up with proper exposure parameters, manually focusing on the subjects, sending the rolls for negative development, selecting the best ones for positives/scanning, all these things look interesting to me.

The most important reason is to get some real hold on photography principles and techniques which i think i wasn't able to get with my digital arsenal
drkm_4_frm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-31-2011   #5
Alpaca
 
Posts: 7
CamelKarma: 10
Editing OK?: Ask First
Constructive Critique?: Yes
Default Re: Considering doing film photography as a hobby. Can i succeed?

Thanks for the answers Jim. your prediction about the availability of at least B&W is comforting because doing B&W is one of the reasons that hooked me in to film photography.

I'm thinking about pro grade models since they'll be usually more durable and rugged. Do you have any recommendations on any particular camera models?
drkm_4_frm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-01-2011   #6
Guanaco
 
Location: Indianapolis, IN
Posts: 339
CamelKarma: 11352
Editing OK?: Yes
Constructive Critique?: Yes
Default Re: Considering doing film photography as a hobby. Can i succeed?

thanks for sharing!
ahpaquin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-01-2011   #7
PhotoCamel Supporter DONATED
Bactrian
 
Jim Jones's Avatar
 
Location: Rural Missouri
Posts: 2,338
CamelKarma: 501383
Editing OK?: Yes
Constructive Critique?: Yes
Default Re: Considering doing film photography as a hobby. Can i succeed?

Quote:
Originally Posted by drkm_4_frm View Post
. . . I'm thinking about pro grade models since they'll be usually more durable and rugged. Do you have any recommendations on any particular camera models?
My experience is limited mostly to Nikon, Leica, and large format cameras. The Leica M4 bought new in 1970 is still going strong. The cost of the body and five lenses spread over those years comes to just a few dollars a month. My Nikon F outfit is about that old, although I've replaced the original body. In the current Nikon lineup, the F100 is the top of the line. With the decline in used film camera values, a used one is probably a much better investment than a new one. Anyone buying a Nikon film camera, new or old, should consider lens compatibility with Nikon digital cameras.

We hear strong recommendations based more on what the photographer has used than on comparative testing. The best of other brands offer comparable performance and durability in normal use. It's how the camera is used more than the quality of the camera that limits most photographers. I have the same equipment that many of the best photographers of that time used, but the results aren't nearly as good. Many of my shots might as well have been made with a point and shoot camera.
Jim Jones is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-01-2011   #8
Dromedary
 
Posts: 1,092
CamelKarma: 17045
Editing OK?: No
Constructive Critique?: Yes
Default Re: Considering doing film photography as a hobby. Can i succeed?

I shoot film and enjoy it myself. I shoot C41 B/W film such as Illford XP-2 and Kodak BW400CN. The C41 processing is the most widely available and the film provides easy scanning and a very wide dynamic range in a low grain film. I do use B/W filters when shooting. (red, yellow, green, red) and I use a 2 stop ND filter to help achieve long shutter speeds when I want them. I also shoot a DSLR for color pictures, however that is only about 5% of the photos that I take. B/W film is my real interest. I admit I have tossed in the towel on film at least 3 times due to the difficulties with it but then I find I am not having any fun with photograhy and out comes the film rig again. What can you do when you love something.

Processing in big cities and college towns is available and in the small towns it many times is not available. Places like Wallmart or the 1 hour labs might give you decent service sometimes and other times not. I use the services of high quality labs such as Bay Photo labs in Santa Cruz. I do think that CostCo provides decent work on the cheap. Unfortuneately our CostCo stopped film services. However nobody has a crystall ball about film but I would expect shooting film to become more difficult in the future. The camera's are getting pretty old and services continue to dry up.

You can buy chemicals and gear and process you own film, use your scanner or buy a new scanner if yours is not adequate. You can pay for processing and scanning at some lab around your area or you can use mail order processing. Anyway it's possible to do it all and find your way with film. I would recommend keeing it very inexpensive while testing the waters. Maybe borrow a camera if you can for a few rolls of film. However a nice camera rig makes the hobby enjoyable. Using a junker that provides inconsistent results is not that satisfying.

Some film photograhers out there that are current are Nick Brandt, Clyde Butcher, and Kim Weston. It's a good hobby and if you like to be a bit different then give it a go.

Good luck.
nolanr66 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-01-2011   #9
Guanaco
 
JimmyH's Avatar
 
Location: Western Michigan
Posts: 307
CamelKarma: 1106
Editing OK?: Ask First
Constructive Critique?: Yes
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 !

If i choose to pursue film photography, I'll mostly shoot portraits. I'm planning to spend around 150-200 bucks on equipment.
Hi and welcome back. You can get a good start with even less, mostly depending on the lens(es) you select.

Quote:
First post in this forum and quite a long one as well !

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?
I suspect film will be around 4-5 years, at least online. Well, at least I hope so...

Quote:
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.
I can't really predict the future, but our local Sam's Club still has their film processor as well as the digital printer equipment. I think the Walmart across the street gave theirs up, but the Walgreen's has one.

Quote:
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?
So far, Sam's will process AND scan film, and so I think Walgreens and other will also, so I don't scan my own film. Keeps costs down.

Quote:
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.
You can use almost any film body. I am more familiar with Nikon, and own several of the following, but I am not an expert. The features list is also by no means complete, but here goes:

FM - (My 1st 35mm SLR) Manual focus and exposure. Simple three-dot exposure meter, will fire at all shutter speeds without battery! It likes manual AI/AI-S lenses but you can also use autofocus AF lenses and focus manually. AF-S or G lenses do not let you select the aperture, so they aren't going to work well on the FM.
FE - FM-size with Aperture priority exposure metering. Likes the same AI manual lenses as the FM.
FG - Small body, manual focus, Aperture priority, adds Program exposure mode. Likes the same AI manual lenses as the FM.
N6006, N8008s - autofocus body, built-in film winder. Likes AF/AF-D lenses and can meter manual AI/AI-S lenses using center weight or spot meter.
N90s - AF lenses, can use manual lenses
F4s - arguably Nikon's first true Professional AF body. It can accept a wider variety of AF and MF lenses than almost any other body. This is a solid, heavy beast. A lighter 4-AA cell battery holder is available, but since it is rare it sells for almost as much as the camera body itself.

Almost every Nikon AF body has a focus-assist indicator lamp in the viewfinder display that helps you 'cheat' by telling you when it thinks your lens is in focus. This way I, with 'older eyes' syndrome, can use my collection of MF lenses on any camera body.

Quote:
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"
In 6 months the prices of film cameras may be even lower, and you can the pick up what you want...

Take your time and read some online review of Nikon bodies and lenses, then ask more questions, I love to read questions and sometimes have helpful answers.
__________________
I'm a user, not a collector. I'm a user, not a collector. I'm a user, not a collector. ...
JimmyH is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-01-2011   #10
Alpaca
 
Posts: 7
CamelKarma: 10
Editing OK?: Ask First
Constructive Critique?: Yes
Default Re: Considering doing film photography as a hobby. Can i succeed?

Jimmy, nolan, jim and all the helpful folks out there, please accept my thanks for coming up with with your valuable suggestions.

When i started photography, going digital prooved to be the easy route for me economically. With instant results and ability to post process, i didn't give much importance to the need to understand what i was doing. Most of the good pictures i shot (the pictures for which i got compliments from my friends and family) were mostly fluke. While i was able to produce a great picture of my kid while playing (by mindlessly holding the shutter button in continous-shoot mode), i always struggled whenever i tried to take a even simple landscape shot or a portrait. By going the film photography route, i believe, i'll be forced to put that extra effort to think about the composition, exposure and other aspects that will make a good picture.

After reading all your posts, i'm certainly convinced that doing film photography is not a bad thing after all

I haven't researched extensively about the camera bodies but Canon's AE-1 program is the one i'm looking right now. It's in my price range as well. I'm planning on researching nikon's lineup before taking a decision. Being my 4/3 user, my wish was to get an Oly OM camera like the OM-4T but that looks beyond my budget :-(


__________________
Members don't see ads in threads. Register for your free account today and become a member of PhotoCamel to open up the site's many benefits and features.
drkm_4_frm is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

« PhotoCamel - Your Friendly Photography Forum > Cameras and Lenses > Film Camera »


Share this topic:

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
If you don't succeed at first....... toonamp 365 Projects - Photo A Day 4193 10-07-2012 12:30 PM
Hobby Bakkery Birds 4 08-15-2011 03:58 AM
Hobby Bakkery Birds 7 08-13-2011 09:38 PM
Film photography forecast Rense Photography Talk 5 05-24-2011 09:13 AM
Hobby Bakkery Birds 6 04-26-2011 05:21 AM