New to film

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by zackesch, Oct 17, 2012.

  1. zackesch

    zackesch Member

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    I currently Have an Elan II with my canon 50mm 1.4 attached. I am currently in the process of shooting my first roll of film. Are there any general guidelines that I should keep in mind from switching from ditital to film? I'm finding out chimping is a hard habit to break. :smile:

    I dont use the dreaded green square, or other pre set functions. 95% of the time im in AV mode with a shutter speed of 1/60 or higher. This is when I was shooting my Rebel XT, and applying it to my Elan.

    Any tips would be greatly appriciated.

    -Zack
     
  2. fmajor

    fmajor Member

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    Welcome!!!!

    Its going to be a little bit of a 'detox' for you :tongue: , but honestly, i *love* my film cameras and the look of the results i get from film.

    1st - enjoy every single frame and frame advance!!!!
    2nd - find a place where you can get your film developed - this may sound strange, but a *good, reliable* place for development is getting harder to source
    3rd - once you find a developer, *ensure you get your negatives back*
    4th - have them do a scan for you - it's usually cheap and provides a "digital negative" to manipulate/adjust/play with and upload to your favorite on-line social medium
    5th - plan on learning about film and how it looks (it really is different than digi, but sometimes less obvious at 1st)
    6th - look into developing your own b&w film - it's soooo easy and the results are very self-satisfying
    7th - eventually you may consider scanning your own negatives, but that's down the path and not an APUG discussion topic (there is a companion site to APUG that is more appropriate/helpful)
    8th - choose 1 film, be it color or b&w, order 5 rolls of it and use it all before you change to another (this will help you learn how your lens and the film combination *really* work together - important to know)
    9th - learn about the "Golden Triangle" of a single image - aperture, shutter speed, and film ISO (also referred to as speed because of it's relative sensitivity to light - "fast" or light sensitive film responds to light "faster" than "slow" film - ISO 800 vs ISO 100)
    10th - remember that *you* make the picture - it's not the camera - no matter how many cool features the camera body has (though your choice of lens and film affect how the image looks)

    OK, that's all i've got for now.....
     
  3. Felinik

    Felinik Member

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    Chimping will be tough when shooting film...

    I started shooting film in March this year, after having been shooting only a cpl of months, then my digital camera broke down and had to be sent in for repair, 45 days the said, so I got myself a film body and a cpl of manual focus lenses.

    Since then I've been trying out a cpl of different films, buying 5-10 rolls of each, develop, scan (I dont do darkroom, no time or space) in order to see what came to my liking (yeah, I bought a basic dev kit for b&w and an Epson v500, an Epson SP 1400, and, and, and, looking back today I could've just as well bought a new digital camera.... hehe!!).

    For 400 iso I ended up with Fomapan 400, the Fuji Neopan 400 was great too, but the Foma is cheaper and I like it a lot as well. For ~100 iso I'm now testing Rollei Retro 80s (Agfa), and so far so good.

    Anyway, it's not about the camera, film, whatever, it's all about how much and how consious you shoot, just get out there and get some nice crops. The big difference I noticed was that with film, I started to think more about what I had in the viewfinder, not like with digital, where I instead just shot and if it wasnt good, shot another cpl of shots etc.

    Though I have no long experience in photography, so I assume this is pretty much a newbie behavior no matter what. However, it did improve dramatically when I started to shoot film, and it still does, I'd say my first 20 rolls are, hmm, interesting... though with a cpl of nice shots in more or less each and one of them!

    :smile:


    Enjoy!
     
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  4. edibot42

    edibot42 Member

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    Enjoy your first roll! Which film are you using? As for tips, I can't think of too many, one advantage to using a modern, AF camera is that you can just shoot without worrying too much about settings and the like. There's no need to radically change anything just because you're using film. Just have fun, relax, and then see the results after you develop your film. Then you can see what worked for you and what didn't.
     
  5. PentaxBronica

    PentaxBronica Member

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    1/60 is fine with that lens. If you need to go to a slower shutter speed then you will need a tripod. The best rule is to think in terms of the shutter speed always being higher than the focal length of the lens when shooting hand-held - so for a 200mm lens you'd want 1/250 and so on. I always use some sort of support if shooting at 1/30 or below though, even with a 28mm lens. It doesn't need to be a big tripod either - Slik make some brilliant little ones which can perch on rocks, chairs, tables, etc or you can do as I've done before and use the lens cap to help level the camera while it rests on a handy bit of landscape.

    Assuming that you're shooting negative film then you will notice that you have much greater dynamic range, film is capable of far more subtlety in colour and lighting. Situations where you have to choose between a blown-out sky or an underexposed foreground with digital simply don't occur - I just meter for the foreground, shoot, and get shots with decent lighting throughout. The Elan's meter may handle this well on its own - I'm used to centre-weighted metering on 1970s or '80s SLRs where you need to take readings from a few places in the desired scene and then decide your settings.
     
  6. daleeman

    daleeman Subscriber

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    Hi Zack,

    Welcome into the world of silver and light. I'm not a Canon owner but there are many things common to all cameras I think.
    The one thing I can suggest is "be in the moment" when you are shooting film. Like a carpenter, measure twice, cut once I tend to use the in-camera light meter or hand held a bunch of times in a given situation and then compose and shoot. since you are looking to put 24 or 36 images on a roll verses several 100 on a card, I find I need to be in the moment and spending more time on each image. Previsualize a lot!

    When you find yourself chimping, just smile and say to yourself "AHH Film"

    Lee
     
  7. zackesch

    zackesch Member

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    I should of been a bit more descriptive in my post. I apologise.

    On monday, my durst f60 came in the mail with 50 and 70 mm condencers and lenses. My local shop carries Ilford film, and Ilford chem and paper. I do plan on having full control over my devoloping and printing processes. In the future, I do plan on getting a canon scanner for film to create a catalog of my neg so i have an idea of what i have. Printing wise, I have the intention of only using my enlarger. No ink jet for me.

    The only reason I have color film is to adjust to using film. The Target by my house was having a deep clearance on their last box of Kodak 200, 24 exposure color film for 2.98. I also recieved a roll of 400 kodak Max with the camera. My intention is to use only B&W. For processing the color rolls, my local walgreens still has a mini lab and will get those on cd.

    Just a side note. Earlier this month I picked up a Suri T005 tripod and that thing packs small! I always have my camera, Suri tripod, shutter release cable and a photography journal on me in my messenger bag.
     
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  8. AgX

    AgX Member

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    I'm not a newbie, but still today it's the first time I come across the term "chimping". Had to look it up.
    Though I regularly have seen such behavior at others.
     
  9. Hatchetman

    Hatchetman Subscriber

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    Damn, you go all in! Haven't shot your first roll and already have an enlarger! Anyway, with digital you always have to worry about the blown highlights. Not so with film, particularly with B&W. So make sure you expose for the shadows and not worry about killing the highlights. That's the big thing I've learned. The other is that scanning is a huge drag and good scans cost $$$. Best bang for the buck is projecting slides.
     
  10. zackesch

    zackesch Member

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    Hatchetman, I saw a deal too good to pass up. Everything shipped for 47ish. Plus, I want to expierence the triditional methods. Its art after all. I dont want it to be built of pixels and apply PS "Filters"... Photo editing on the pc simply feels fake.
     
  11. SafetyBob

    SafetyBob Member

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    My two cents: absolutely great advice to pick one (maybe two) kinds of film, blow through 5 rolls each. You will certainly be able to see how you are doing and how the camera is performing.

    I will firmly second Hatchetman's advice in looking at slides. I initially got an old Kodak projector for next to nothing that looked like it was used 5 times. Only four years later am I strongly deciding to leave negative film for slide film. Kodak Porta took control of my life for four years trying to challange me into making the perfect photograph.

    In my opinion, with slides you have to have either a nice place to project those images or a nice hand held viewer that does justice to your images. However, this is down the road for you.

    I certainly think with a Ilford dealer close by with chemicals and stuff and an enlarger, you are set up really nice. Don't be throwing everything out the front door if you get some pictures back from your local lab that don't look "good". What I am trying to say is I am so new to developing it's not even funny.....but I can develop just as good as my local lab AND I can scan pretty much better than them too (look at DPUG when you are ready for little more help with the digital scanning thing). With an enlarger, your set.

    Again, preaching to/from the choir, you are the one that is going to make that really exceptional photo, not your camera. The camera is the tool. It cannot compose nor see the perfect image. Get used to what you have, you may want to upgrade later on to get the advantages of autofocus and advanced metering which I find are needed when chasing moving objects (kids) around with a camera. Half of my problem photos are because I don't bring along the tripod (consider a monopod), you already do, so you are way ahead of the curve. Keep it up!!

    Welcome to APUG!!

    Bob E.
     
  12. Diapositivo

    Diapositivo Subscriber

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    With digital your main consideration in choosing exposure is not to blow highlights while maintaining decent shadow detail. When shooting raw that means applying the "expose to the the right" (ETTR) strategy. Maybe you are familiar with that.

    With slide film the logic is similar to digital. You take attention not to blow highlights. You can't use ETTR because you don't have a histogram. You "expose for the highlights". You'll find plenty of material searching APUG about this.

    With negative film (both B&W and colour) it's the other way round. Negative film suffers from underexposure while letting you a lot of "room" for overexposure. That means you just take care not to block the shadows, and you let the film take care of the highlights wherever they fall. That's "exposing for the shadows". Considering that this is the opposite of what the careful digital photographer does, this is the first important difference to keep in mind.

    I suggest the next step is buying an incident light meter. This is something which is much more useful with film than with digital. With digital you can rely on histograms previews and lightview. With film you cannot. An incident light meter will teach you a lot about light and exposure.

    Generally speaking I would also study, if you are not familiar with it, the typical shortfalls of in-camera reflected light exposure. In-camera exposure is VERY prone to exposure mistake. As a consequence relying on Autoexposure is not a good thing unless you know what you do and you have a proper reason to do it. In many situation an incident reading will give you a better exposure than any auto thing.

    The concepts of "exposing for the highlights" and "exposing for the shadows" can be applied with any kind of light metering: in-camera, incident, spot. I suggest you familiarize with all situations with all instruments ("spot" being optional).

    Another suggestion: when learning exposure just disable "matrix" metering. Matrix metering is just conceptually wrong. It examines light levels in several areas of the frame and then applies a "reasoning" which is hidden to you. If there is a high subject brightness range the Matrix algorithm tries to understand if the shadows or the highlights have the important detail to salvage. This is done by programming it according to a statistical analysis.

    For instance: night scene, there is a very bright spot and the camera infers it is the moon, or a street lamp, and can be ignored. Very bright background with prominent shade in the centre: the camera decides the shade in the centre is the important subject and exposes for it because it "infers" that you are making a backlit portrait (with monument in the background, you know) and that you don't want a silhouette of your wife in front of you.

    Basically Matrix metering applies an automatic correction to the typical exposure mistakes exposure-challenged people make, assumes you are exposure-challenged, and tries to save your day. That's not very useful unless you actually are exposure-challenged.

    A Matrix light meter doesn't know if you are using slide or negative, doesn't know if the highlights or the shadows have important details or can be sacrificed, and whatever algorithm it applies it cannot be the right one if not by mere random chance.

    Only if 80 - 90% of good exposure is enough for you, then you may use Matrix and forget about exposure :sad: (that's because in those 80 - 90% of cases the subject brightness range will be moderate and the Matrix metering will make a decent job of placing the subject brightness range more or less within any film dynamic range without being distracted by very intense bright spots, such as street lamps at night, which might more easily influence an average-reading light meter). If Matrix meterings had a switch between slide and negative and could be told to "expose for the highlights" or "expose for the shadows" maybe they would make some slight sense, but I don't know any which is designed this way.
     
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  13. PentaxBronica

    PentaxBronica Member

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    Slide projectors are definitely good value at the moment, so don't buy cheap and nasty. Also check whether you can get magazines for your projector easily - I picked mine as it looked decent quality (Zeiss branded and made in Germany) but takes the same type of magazines as the one my Dad bought back in the 1980s (which managed to melt one of its internal lenses). As a result I can project all the old family holiday shots as well as my new ones.

    What I will say about slide film is to check availability of film and processing. I'm down to my last two rolls of process paid slide and probably won't be able to get any more locally, so I don't know if I'll shoot any more after then. One of the final rolls will probably be used as an Xmas/New Year roll, I'm trying to save them for important stuff now.
     
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  15. daleeman

    daleeman Subscriber

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    The flood of advice will soon be overwhelming. Just remember to enjoy what you see and photograph.
     
  16. Nick Merritt

    Nick Merritt Member

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    I echo what the others have said, particularly about exposure -- learning the strengths and weaknesses of reflected and incident metering, and learning to estimate exposure on your own, is very helpful to using film (since you don't get a histogram preview). The exposure info printed inside the film boxes is pretty useful, actually.

    There are other things to learn about, such as hyperfocal technique and selective depth of field, that may be a little harder to do with an AF camera. Does the Elan have depth of field preview?
     
  17. zackesch

    zackesch Member

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    Yes it does as a CF. Unfortunatly, it isnt a dedicated button like it is on my dslr.
     
  18. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    Hello and a warm welcome to APUG. Go to your local library and look up some old books on film.

    Jeff
     
  19. AgX

    AgX Member

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    What does "CF" mean?
     
  20. zackesch

    zackesch Member

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    custom function
     
  21. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    While APUG can be very helpful I think your OP exceeds what can be communicated easily. I would suggest reading some books on photography. As far as general analog camera use I'm sure that many here who can offer good selections. As far as the photographic process and enlarging read the Ansel Adams seriers in particular The Negative and The Print. As Groucho once said, "Outside of a dog a book is man's best friend, inside of a dog is too dark to read."
     
  22. dsmccrac

    dsmccrac Member

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    Film can be so diverse and analog cameras are so cool (and affordable) that it is easy to get a case of the GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome) and I get pulled down that path too frequently ;-) So be strong and try to resist the urge and try to have one camera and a couple of films that are what are your bread and butter for the time being.

    I find film, especially bw, has a great latitude. I have just got back to printing again and am loving it, but for scanning I do it at16 bit and then adjust before making a jpeg. When I returned to film I took a hybrid mode (just scanning for the first bit) which is a great way to step in to it. Even if you are getting an enlarger soon, it
     
  23. dsmccrac

    dsmccrac Member

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    Oops, I did not finish, darned iPhone ;-)

    I was going to say, if you are getting in to it, I think it is not bad to get stuff into the digital workflow if you are used to that world. Not to say you should not go totally old skool :smile: but I liked moving between both worlds when I was getting back into it.
     
  24. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    Chimping with film is commonly called bracketing, and there is nothing abnormal or hard about it.
    The Elan II (I thin that's the EOS 5 in some markets?) has exceptionally capable evaluative metering and will not need prompting to land exposures correctly, assuming you don't have exposure compensation set or the wrong ISO (both are adjustable and useful in bracketing, remember!?).

    CF (or Cf) is custom function: Eos 1, 1N, 1NRS, HS, 5 and 3 all have custom functions. I suggest you leave these at the factory/default settings until you come to grips with how well the camera handles exposure without additional adjustments, but custom functions can be viewed as "creature comforts", but they also do change the way the camera behaves e.g. transposing dials etc.

    Begin the move now into hybridisation of your workflow; that is to say, analogue to digital. It is a very valuable skill especially when colour printing is rarely done in wet darkrooms now. But stick with film and the lasting quality it provides and forget about the negative effects of "chimping" (bracketing, remember!?). :smile:
     
  25. zackesch

    zackesch Member

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    I always thought chimping came from the act of taking a picture with a digital camera and looking at the screen and going "ooh" thus sounding like a chimp.

    There are some Custom Functions on my elan that are creature comforts such as: Auto rewind speed "fast or quiet," film leader in or out, etc. There are some CF's that are very useful to me like being able to set a set button" the * for canon users" so I can set the * button to Auto Focus, and the half pressed shutter will meter light. I like to have my camera setup for the back focus button to allow me to do a quick focus and allow me to adjust my focus manualy without my camera re-focusing. Also the * button can be set to AF and DOF preview.
     
  26. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    As I understand it, "chimp" comes from "check image"

    My best advice? Take detailed notes, and then compare the notes you take with the results you obtain.

    And have fun!