Shooting film like digital - or not.

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by JohnRichard, Jul 14, 2013.

  1. JohnRichard

    JohnRichard Member

    Messages:
    263
    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2008
    Location:
    Lexington, K
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Forgive me if this topic has been covered elsewhere, I've been doing research on the forum and haven't found a topic like this.
    I've been feeling a little odd lately, like my mind is trying to sort itself out.
    I might ramble a bit but I'm trying to explore a topic.

    I wish I could afford to shoot film like digital. 15 years ago, burning through 20 rolls of 35mm in a short weekend wouldn't get a second thought.
    Now things are different, yet I can't help sometimes get ahead of myself when shooting film. I think the problem for me is that while I grew
    up on film, I also learned digital. Somehow those trappings of instant society are encroaching on my film shooting the smaller the format.
    4x5 and larger takes time no matter what, and while you can be careless, It's not the same as firing off quick shots with my rangefinder,
    flipping the film advance like is a habit, not thinking to check the aperture when you walk back inside. Crap, 1/50 f22 is not going to work well
    in this restaurant. I think the most automatic camera I own is my Yashica GSN.

    The interesting thing is I find myself shooting slower on my digital camera, not ever using the display (Canon G12 with viewfinder diopter!).
    I own one digital camera and perhaps it has ruined the way I shoot 35mm. Or perhaps in my mind, I am blurring the lines of how to deal
    with the medium. I find I force myself to slow down, write every little detail down for each frame. But that's not really fun when you're
    out with friends and you want to "shoot film like digital". Should I leave the film at home when out and about? I would feel worse about
    something happening to my $500 digital camera than something happening to my $10 Yashica. I do however treat both with the same
    respect. How do you feel about the way you shoot small formats?
     
  2. Truzi

    Truzi Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,776
    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2012
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Many used to do what you are suggesting before digital existed. Point-and-shoot cameras were good for this, or setting up a rangefinder correctly (f8 or f11, infinity focus, just snap a picture). Not the same as taking your time, but you still get your photos. I used to have a 35mm P&S with the thumb-wheel advance and it served me well in those situations for years. Think outside the SLR.
     
  3. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

    Messages:
    4,252
    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2009
    Location:
    Central Flor
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I do shoot film like digital....

    Arista Premium is less than $3.00 a roll. I have lots of chems. I have lots of paper. My only concern is shooting a photograph that's worth processing and spending days in my darkroom. I do slow down when I shoot medium format. WLF and everything manual nature of RB forces me to slow way down.

    Unless situations truly call for it, I don't machine gun my cameras regardless of mediums in use.
     
  4. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,991
    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2009
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Shooting digital is not like shooting film and vise versa. When I shoot digital, I shoot more and more carelessly. When I shoot film I shoot with more thought. When there's more at stake, I'm more careful. Digital also offer more post production possibilities like retouching and HDR. With analog, there also more of the element of chance and surprises since there's no preview of what I've shot. I never feel that I've accomplished he shot until I have the processed film in my hand. With digital, I always preview the shot and I know I have the shot I want. Digital deprives me the pleasure of anticipation. I look forward to processing the film and bringing the image to fruition. There's no immediate gratification with analog. With is perfectly fine me.
     
  5. DWThomas

    DWThomas Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,914
    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2006
    Location:
    SE Pennsylvania
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I suppose it's partly forty-plus years of conditioning, but I tend to shoot digital more like film. I'm sure there are people who shoot as many digi-shots in an afternoon as I shoot in a week's vacation. That said, just as if i were shooting Polaroid, I do chimp and will correct and repeat if it appears warranted. Yet I often shoot both technologies side by side without significant problem. Guess I'm either very adaptable or not very discerning! :whistling:

    My "most serious" work is done with a Bronica SQ-A, with a Yashica 124G, Perkeo II and an Ercona II as backup, depending on the specifics of what I'm attempting to do. The two folders are manual to the point of a separate lever to cock the shutter, so they encourage the slow and deliberate modus operandi.
     
  6. hoffy

    hoffy Member

    Messages:
    2,334
    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2009
    Location:
    Adelaide, Au
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Some days I wish I could shoot film like I used to shoot digital. For me, there is a psychological barrier - I know that each time I trip the shutter and advance a frame, its going to cost me some money. This often leads to me looking at a scene and going ".......nah". If I was shooting my pixel exciter, I'd press the shutter anyhow. The biggest issue is that quite often, these spur of the moment "I wonder how that looks" pictures are often some of my favourites.

    Maybe I need to see a shrink :smile:
     
  7. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

    Messages:
    20,096
    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2003
    Location:
    local
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    there will always be more film, shoot it and buy more.
     
  8. zsas

    zsas Member

    Messages:
    1,961
    Joined:
    May 12, 2011
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    I think the key is to not own a digital. So the other weekend my wife (who shall I say would be over at DPUG if she hung out online), wasn't feeling well, though she asked that I shoot some photos with her camera of an important holiday family event. So I put her camera in manual, did the shots, looked through the shots on the display when it was all over, deleted all but about 5 pictures, she was thrilled, these 5 photos made her day....

    Shoot film like its film, some days I might go to the park with the kids/my wife and get through a few rolls. If I've one print outa that session, I'm grinning ear to ear....

    If the volume of rolls is a financial burden, get yer bulk loader out:smile: HC-110 or Rodinal cost next t'a nothin....
     
  9. Truzi

    Truzi Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,776
    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2012
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I did the math once (I don't get along well with math). A decent digital approaching the quality of film for my admittedly poor snapshots would cost quite a bit - more than the rolls I'd buy and have processed before I'd upgrade to a new digital camera.
     
  10. hoffy

    hoffy Member

    Messages:
    2,334
    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2009
    Location:
    Adelaide, Au
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    But, do you ACTUALLY need to upgrade to a new digital camera? Think about it - 100,000 actuations on a digital camera is not totally uncommon - heck, even more. Thats over 2500 rolls of film. If you shot your digital like most people have shot film over the last 100 years, I think a digital would last a very very long time! The last digital camera I bought cost me $1000, around 6 years ago. Apart from the batteries not holding charge as long as they used to, there is absolutely no reason for me to upgrade it......

    But, yes, I do get that many film cameras produced before the mid 80's are pretty much indestructible.....but those electronic 35mm wonders produced since then probably won't last as long as many of todays DSLR's...... Just a thought!
     
  11. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

    Messages:
    6,930
    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2007
    Location:
    Richmond VA.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    +1

    Jeff
     
  12. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    17,979
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Honolulu, Ha
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    I shoot digital and 35mm about the same. I'd rather get as much right in the camera and edit as much in my head as I can, than have lots of bad frames to edit/sort/store later, whether film or pixels.
     
  13. Truzi

    Truzi Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,776
    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2012
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    If my film camera has some "dead pixels" a new roll of film is less than $10 :wink:

    It does remind me of the old Married With Children episode when Peg bought a computer and "saved" money by purchasing more peripherals. Even if the digital quality appealed to me and I used it five times as much as film, it would still be more expensive for me in the long run.

    There is also the upgrade hamster-wheel, which few have the resolve to avoid. It is good that you do, but I can't afford a digital camera with the quality I'd be satisfied with five years down the road.

    Presently I'm in a similar car situation. My 2003 used car is really making me angry. For what I've put into it I could have restored two early 70s GMs that I truly wanted, met my criteria, and have fewer things to go wrong - plus I'd not have to worry about them for about a decade.
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. Nuff

    Nuff Member

    Messages:
    550
    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2013
    Location:
    Tokyo, Japan
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    To me shooting film like digital means taking lots of sub average photos that I will not even want to look at again. To me that's not even worth taking the time to take the photo. With film I'm much better at composing, anticipating the moment and taking good photos. Photos that I will want to look at over and over again. To me that's what photography is all about.

    I guess the biggest difference for me between the mediums are the viewfinders. The ones on my film cameras are bigger and brighter and it's much easier to see if the photo will work and I can compose it much better.

    To give you an example, last year I went on an overseas holiday to Okinawa for 2 weeks. I took lots of random photos, 3500 of them to be exact and majority of them was total junk. I had about 40 good photos in there.

    Few weeks ago I went to Nepal for 2 weeks and I took my film gear. I took all up 240 MF and 216 36mm in C41, E6 and B&W photos. Quiet large percentage is bracketing E6 photos in this group, because of difficult lighting conditions. But as a result of more thoughtful composing and thinking about every shot like it matters, I got 60 photos that I'm really happy with. Now I wish that I took my film gear to Okinawa last year, especially because of the much higher keeper rate of 13% vs 1%.

    I should also mention that I had a lot more time to enjoy holiday and looking through my own eyes instead of viewfinder.
     
  16. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    7,076
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2005
    Location:
    Basin and Range Province
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    Back in the day when I was a commercial photographer burning through 120, with two assistants to load backs and no financial or logistical limit to the amount I could shoot, I didn't shoot really much more or less than I did later with digital. I might have shot a tad more with digital simply because film is so much more trustworthy with exposure, but that would be about it. I hate overshooting. It's just simply more work for the same result, or worse, a dilution of effort and subsequent sub par performance resultant from overshooting whilst under thinking. It was always the young guys who wanted 900 half baked shots. I usually got around to firing them.
     
  17. clayne

    clayne Member

    Messages:
    2,837
    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2008
    Location:
    San Francisc
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    What are we actually debating here? The ability to machine gun a bunch of stuff and sort it all out later? Machine gun when it's necessary because of something happening so quickly. But to do it as standard is just bad discipline in the first place. Plenty of shots should never be taken but people do it anyway "just in case!". That mentality is flawed and reduces discipline.
     
  18. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

    Messages:
    4,267
    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2008
    Location:
    Richmond/Geelong, AUS
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    If you are professionally trained or classically trained in visual art, e.g. photography, the use of digital or analogue will produce the same result with the same skills with the only difference being the means: analogue is film, digital is a mathematical interpolation of colour and space. The format (size) is a secondary consideration. There should be no waste with either method. The thought and conscious study of the subject you photograph will be carried through equally irrespective of analogue or digital. The workflow will differ: digital is a skilled, ordered discipline no less so than going to work in the darkroom and printing. I don't buy this bullshit where analogue is better than digital, or digital is better than analogue for whatever purpose. As things stand, lots of us here on APUG can stand up and say we use both means to enjoy what we are doing and that's the happy medium. :smile:
     
  19. rthomas

    rthomas Member

    Messages:
    1,184
    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2009
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC, USA
    Shooter:
    35mm
    When I first got started in photography, in the early 90s, I burned through hundreds of rolls of film. I bulk-loaded black and white (which I could process at school myself), and for color I shot slides, buying expired rolls of Kodachrome and Extachrome for $1 each at local camera shops. At that time my school would process E6 films as part of the course fee, so I took advantage of that and effectively had my E6 done for free. And the Kodachrome? I lucked out and found myself the proud owner of dozens of prepaid processing mailers. The point of my telling this story is that I went crazy, producing many, many bad photographs, not unlike what we often see with digital photographers. The same thing happened when I first got into digital; I found myself shooting like crazy, all the time, and often made many not-very-good images. After a few years with either medium, my quality improved and I settled down into a more contemplative approach to photography. Of course, digital does allow more "waste" but it's not necessary. I think it has more to do with the learning curve than the traits of either medium, at least that was my experience. These days, even with my cell phone camera, I rarely take more than those shots that really get my attention, and I post almost nothing online.
     
  20. Slixtiesix

    Slixtiesix Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,115
    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2006
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    A real concern for me is that the costs of shooting color slides has more than doubled during the last three years. A five pack of Astia did cost 16 Euro in 2010. Today, there is no Astia anymore and a pack of Provia 100F or 400X does cost around 30 Euro. In 2010 my lab took me 1,59 Euro to process a roll of 120, today they charge me 3 Euro. The result is that I shoot less slide film and think more carefully about what I shoot and how much film I use.

    I don´t own a digital camera myself but every now and then people hand me their compact to take a picture. I made the experience that I tend to frame and focus more carefully with digital, like I would do it with film. This usually leads to less wasted shots. So I think using film and especially medium format has improved the way I take pictures in general, regardless of the medium.
     
  21. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

    Messages:
    7,589
    Joined:
    May 18, 2008
    Location:
    Beaverton, OR
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I hate overshooting too.

    Came to the realization that regardless of how many shots I shoot there are only so many places to put the prints I make.
     
  22. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

    Messages:
    8,598
    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2005
    Location:
    U.K.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I don't understand what these digiheads find to shoot all these thousands of shots of, I don't have digital gear, but I lug my film equipment for miles to find a subject that's worth shooting, they must be photographing some real garbage.
     
  23. zsas

    zsas Member

    Messages:
    1,961
    Joined:
    May 12, 2011
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    Bingo!
     
  24. TareqPhoto

    TareqPhoto Member

    Messages:
    1,043
    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2009
    Location:
    Ajman - UAE
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Well, i feel shy or ashamed to say that i went to film only because of digital, how? Well, i started with digital SLR-like camera[point and shoot], then upgraded to DSLR, i was quit happy with DSLR until got some pro cameras then never looked back and my photography skill improved gradually.
    Then by sudden, i bought digital medium format, this changed my view, because of it i was asking myself: If this is the quality or power of digital MF, how is it with film MF or LF then, from there i started to read more about film and then bought MF first then LF later only and no 35mm film at all.

    To me, i can use both at high level of skill, i wasted many rolls as well trying to get used and understand film world, i am able to buy 100 rolls to just shoot for tests, but then i know that even with my digital i try not to shot over 200 shots for a scene, i only shoot over 200 in sports only because that is the field where the actions come as a factor, even with that i learnt about timings, but when i came to think about it, why in the HELL i buy a camera that expensive capable of 8-10+ fps and i must shoot at 1-2 fps? I bought it for sports mostly or mainly then i must use this feature, if i shoot landscape with digital i take long time to setup and settings and then shoot very minimal shots and move, people think if i have that camera to shoot 10fps then i must fire, not necessarily, i shoot 1-2 frames if i am all free and increase that if i am in very hurry, i am not that kind of photographer to shoot everything in slow time, even i know many PJs nowadays in my area who were shooting with film in the past told me they will never go back to film for their work, so what happened to that slowing down method then?
     
  25. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

    Messages:
    5,985
    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2002
    Location:
    Wine country, N. Cal.
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    In case you forgot, machine gunning shots was happening long before digital.

    Motor drive Nikons were around in the early 70s at something like 10-12 frames per second.

    How you shoot is a personal choice. If you're deliberate and set up your shots and only take a few, that's a choice, as is firing off 100 at a time.

    Digital has nothing to do with any of this.
     
  26. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

    Messages:
    8,598
    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2005
    Location:
    U.K.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    From my experience of using real machine guns, you can fire hundreds of rounds and not do half as much damage to the enemy as aimed rifle fire from skilled and experienced infantrymen, but I digress.