Which film is best for a newbie

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by 0llym, Jul 24, 2003.

  1. 0llym

    0llym Member

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    I have been talking to a professional photographer friend of mine about how, as a learner, I can keep the costs down in what can be a very expensive hobby.

    I was speaking to him about film and the cost of processing. He is of the opinion that I should start out using either black and white film or colour slide film. The black and white film can be processed easily by either him or myself and a contact sheet would mean that i only need get prints of the ones that i wanted to see more of. COlour slides would mean processing at the lab, but then i wouldnt need to pay for any prints, and could view the shots using a handheld view or projector. Then I could make prints if I needed too at a later date.

    I was wondering what the collective here thought about the issue.

    As a learner, wanting to experiment with the camera, light, exposure triangles etc, what would be the best kind of film that would allow me to easily go about my hobby, but that would keep costs down ?

    Olly
     
  2. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    If you're shooting 35mm, you can save a lot by buying film in 100 foot bulk rolls and loading it into cartridges yourself. The bulk loader will pay for itself very quickly.

    A B&W film that's both attractive and surprisingly cheap is Agfa APX 100.

    For color slide Fuji Sensia is a good quality film that isn't too costly. In this case, conventional preloaded cartridges are probably the cheapest (around $2 a roll), and I don't know that it is sold in bulk.
     
  3. 0llym

    0llym Member

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    would you say that I am, as he said, better of starting out using slide film or black and white though? Both are cheaper processing, and both save space as i wouldnt end up with loads of photos everywhere.

    Olly
     
  4. juan

    juan Subscriber

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    I'd recommend starting with black and white. The film is far more forgiving with exposure than slide film. A properly made contact sheet can help you learn proper exposure and development as well as help you learn to see critically. Making prints will help you learn all aspects of being a better photographer. After you learn a little, and if you find yourself truly seeing in color, you could try slide film.

    Welcome to photography - it's great fun.
    juan
     
  5. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    That's really a thing you could only decide yourself. Do you prefer color or B&W?

    When I haven't had access to a darkroom, I've shot color slides exclusively. Color slides require that you get everything right in the camera--composition, exposure, etc.--because you are creating the final product right there, and slide film doesn't give you much exposure latitude. Even if you decide to print the slide later, the slide is the original image that one usually tries to match at the printing stage (unless you are consciously trying to manipulate the image for effect).

    B&W will give you much more control, on the other hand, if you do your own darkroom work, since you have many options for interpreting the negative after the fact.

    They are different disciplines, and both are worth learning. Currently, I lean more toward B&W.
     
  6. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

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    B&W is a great way to learn photography and gain a familiarity with the way it all works from composition and exposure to the final print. The color process is much easier to understand and implement once you have a knowledge of B&W. The materials can be reasonably inexpensive and, as you say, you can easily identify the negs that didn't work out and spare yourself the expense of printing them but the initial investment in darkroom equipment can be a tough nut for someone who is trying to get started on a shoestring. When I started out as a penniless high school student, I shot slides and processed them myself. The only equipment needed is a daylight tank, a couple of reels, and a good thermometer. I started with the E-4 process which required lots of chemical mixing and many processing steps. Now they have three-step E-6 kits that are very convenient and give nice results

    Whatever you decide, Best of luck!

    -Neal
     
  7. Jorge Oliveira

    Jorge Oliveira Member

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    The all around B&W combo:

    Tri-X and D-76 dilluted 1+1.

    Jorge O
     
  8. 0llym

    0llym Member

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    Thanks for the feedback. Im still torn. I will confess to loving black and white images, but im still leaning towards colour (most likely slides).

    what to do !!!

    I think I will do a few rolls of each next month and see what grabs me.

    Thanks

    Olly
     
  9. Robert

    Robert Member

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    B&W only tends to be cheaper if you do it yourself. Around here B&W is no cheaper if done commerically and can be more expensive.

    Personally I'm a B&W person. I see B&W better. With colour I tend towards snapshots.

    From the sound of it you're looking at about the same cash outlay either way. So why not pickup a few rolls of each and give them a try?

    B&W film is going to be cheaper then most [all??] slide film. If cost is the only issue then go B&W. If you are more a colour person go colour and shoot less if need be.
     
  10. Sean

    Sean Admin Staff Member Admin

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    Depends what your gear is too. Your slides might not satisfy you unless you've got outstanding glass. For example slides from a Leica M6 have a 3d quality and vibrance to them, where you might not find that shooting an old pentax with a promaster lens. Also like mentioned in previous posts slides are not as forgiving. I guess shoot a few rolls of each and see how you feel.
     
  11. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    The film *I* used most during the "early" years was a brand of black and white named "Arrow". From there, I grad..... uh ... *moved* to Kodak "Verichrome", "Super-XX", and Ansco "Supreme" .. and into Agfa films ... that is primarily where I am today ... but not exclusively.

    What is *best* ? In my humble opinion, - the hell with it - use whatever. None of it will cause the camera to explode, and all of it can and WILL be a wonderful carrier for discovery. There will be lots of time for sorting out films and developers, and forming ALL kinds of superstitions and weird ideas - and genuine, logical, well-thought-out preferences - as you progress.

    Cost? I don't know - off the top of my head, color negative film and prints from the local one-hour lab will probably cost the least, per image, and provide the least quality. "Doing your own" - I'd strongly recommend Black and White to start - but that - with enlarging and all - will be the frst giant leap.