No Buzz with Digital!

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Ragtime Clown, Jul 26, 2009.

  1. Ragtime Clown

    Ragtime Clown Member

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    Having just returned from the Lake District after a week long holiday I'm really thinking hard about returning to film. Having spent 15 years in a darkroom before moving to film, I get no thrill out of digital photography at all and just reduce my trips to Auto Mode compact shooting all the time.

    I'm worried however about what materials are still available and will it be a wise investment considering I no longer have a ddarkroom either.
     
  2. Andy K

    Andy K Member

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    Darkroom equipment is very easy and cheap to find. Temporarily blacking out a kitchen or bathroom is relatively easy. Film and chemicals are in plentiful supply from many sources, although these days mainly from internet suppliers. From your post I'm assuming you are in the UK* I would suggest your first port of call be Silverprint or Ag Photographic.



    *it helps if people show their approximate location in their profiles, even if it is only a country.
     
  3. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    Darkrooms are being given away, at least around here.

    Lots of materials are still available. Even some new films that have only been around a couple years.
     
  4. Shaggysk8

    Shaggysk8 Member

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    I am just getting in to film and darkroom stuff is cheap! I think you should go for it.

    Just take your time to find the bargains, I have found eBay odd over the last year, people seem to think just because it is on eBay what ever price they get it for is a bargain, so don't get caught in a bidding war.

    I did just wonder what it is about your digital photos you don't like?

    Paul
     
  5. arigram

    arigram Member

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    Every time I spend money on materials and "upgrades" for my dark room, I consider the fact that some of my equipment will be plain museum pieces if and when film disappears. Then I think of all the money digital photographers spend on hardware and software, just to keep up. Then I look at my prints and my negatives and have this sense that they will last forever, especially when comparing them to CDs or the bits on a computer screen.
    I think a dark room is an investment as wise as any other artistic studio: you pay for materials and everything you do in there is practically useless. But you are creating artwork in one of the best ways ever invented.
     
  6. steven_e007

    steven_e007 Member

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    Search on eBay for those magic words... "Collection only".

    I've seen a whole darkroom go just down the road from me, all porcelain dishes and a 35mm enlarger. The guy literally couldn't give it away. I would have taken it just for spares and just...well, just because I couldn't bear to think it might go to the skip, but the wife spotted me looking at it :wink:
     
  7. darkosaric

    darkosaric Subscriber

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    About price - if you want paper print as your final result: having darkroom is cheaper that digital.
     
  8. brofkand

    brofkand Member

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    I found a very nice Omega enlarger with a dichroic head at my local Goodwill store for $25. (C76 model I believe). They have a low-end Omega enlarger (with a condenser head and a horribly fogged lens) for $15 as we speak.

    About a year prior I got an older Unicolor enlarger from a Craigslist user for $15.

    Chemicals are relatively cheap, especially if you order from Freestyle or Adorama and buy their store brand where available if you feel comfortable doing that. If not, then D-76, Dektol, and Fixer are around $7-8 a gallon. Ilford is slightly more expensive because of shipping from UK->US (assuming you are in the US).
     
  9. jasonhall

    jasonhall Member

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    Bottom line...if you have the desire to shoot film, there is absolutly not a reason in the world not to, and in fact plenty of reason to start right away.

    Jason
     
  10. Nikanon

    Nikanon Member

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    In this digital age we here at APUG are renaissance people, we see the value in what was and that it did not need to change. We are romantic in our creation of art through true skill, ability, knowledge and know how of all of what we do. We here see what all those who support advancements in technology lack, they lack the ability to slow down and enjoy what is. People these days are looking for faster and better all the time, although art is not about about quick, it is about spending time with your artwork so it is not just a picture of a mountain, you see yourself in the tones, the quality, the focus, the time spent, the actual PRINT, the one you hold in your hands dripping wet as you come out of the darkroom squinty eyed, and you can proudly say, i made this, this is me.
     
  11. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    All new technologies are not technological advancements.
     
  12. cknapp1961

    cknapp1961 Member

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    I agree with Nikanon. My interest in photography started in about 1975. I started developing and printing B&W in High School around 1976, moved to making Cibacrhome prints, and processing my own E4 then E6 slides. Moved to digital in about 2001, and in 2009 I got bit by the Analogue bug, started buying Franka Rolfix 6x9 folders, a Bronica ETRS system, and adding to my Nikon 35mm system, as well as establishing my own "wet" darkroom again. I can print up to 16x20, mat it, and dry mount it myself (thank God for Evilb@y and Craigslist).

    One of my initial interests in photography was the fact that I could roll (film you guys) and load my own, study it, shoot it, develop it, print it and realize I had created something from start to finish. How many of our regular jobs offer the same sense of accomplishment? Personally, I am currently 47 with just over 20 years continuous service to the U.S. Army, and though I am frequently in the planning process of training events as well as deployment operations, I rarely get to see a project through from start to finish. I suspect that most people working a "regular job" assemble part of a widget, or initiate a project, or work on a project at certain points, but rarely get the opportunity to say "I made it myself".

    My wife would say that this need to accomplish something on my own is a "control issue", but I have no idea what she is talking about...it is though she speaks a foreign language sometimes.
     
  13. Rich Ullsmith

    Rich Ullsmith Subscriber

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    You said it, brother!
     
  14. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Ragtime Clown,

    There is plenty of stuff to play with.

    I forget where, maybe the large format site, but I saw someone "promoting the virtues of digital" and complaining that the reason good film cameras were cheap was that you could get 20-50 year old cameras that still worked well. :surprised:

    Well, as a famous animated dog once said, "if this is torture, chain me to the wall".

    I use labs when I need things fast or simple, I do my own developing of film when I can, and my daughter is off to college at the end of August; in September, her room, becomes my room and it's going to get dark in there. :smile:

    My point is that you can do as much or as little of the process in film as you want.
     
  15. Andrew Sanderson

    Andrew Sanderson Member

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    The difference is down to the quality of the experience. The easier photography becomes, the less of an experience it is. When you make a great print in the darkroom it exists because of decisions you made and problems you overcame, therefore the satisfaction and reward are greater.
    A great digital shot is down to someone else's efforts. Press a button, move a slider -get a peanut as reward. Digital photography is like a helicopter ride to the top of Everest; OK you got there, but where's the satisfaction? you didn't do it through your own efforts.
     
  16. Nikanon

    Nikanon Member

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    Not even that, digital wont get you as far as film can, in terms of different films having different characteristic curves and capabilities with exposure. Basically with digital there is under, over and correct exposure, with film there is exposure and it can be correct to how you visualize based on techniques applied, filters used, development used and darkroom papers , toners, etc etc etc.
     
  17. bsdunek

    bsdunek Subscriber

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    Boy, lots of good thoughts here!
    Two years ago I spent about the value of a cheap DSLR to re-do my darkroom. From what I see, film, paper and chemicals are all easily available, and probably will be for many years. Yes, I have to mail order them, but with the internet it's easy.
    Look at the availability of other art materials; oils, watercolors, brushes, papers, charcoal, and on and on. Better than it's ever been, and what's more out of date than painting. After all, it was predicted in the mid-1800's that photography would end painting. Sure is dying a slow death!
    If you like film - go for it!!!
     
  18. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

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    To me film is the best of both worlds - print in the darkroom or scan negatives. Printing larger prints in the darkroom costs alot less than buying a large printer for the computer and large size archival digital papers are not cheap and then there are inks monitor calibration gagets and software. I have heard of people giving away their darkroom equipment just to get rid of it.
    Jeffreyg
     
  19. brofkand

    brofkand Member

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    Jeffrey;

    I've never looked at it that way. You can shoot analog or digital with film. It seems so obvious, but I've never seen it that way.

    It's really cool when you think about it; a digital sensor in a D3 will ALWAYS produce a 12MP file. But, a piece of 35mm film will only go up in resolution down the road, as scanners get better and better. It seems more future-proof to shoot film!