I use film because of the process and science. When I set up for a shot, some of the things I think about are: how thick will the emulsion be in that highlight? How thin will the emulsion be in that shadow? How do I manipulate the camera to get the focus I want? What compromises do I have to resolve? How do I develop the film? How do I make the print? Do I make a print? AGAIN, what compromises do I make? How do I display the print? Do I throw the print away?
For me, film is a means to a journey that I enjoy.
Perhaps this explains it best: a negative provides a visual, tangible image that most assuredly is 'there'. A digital capture provides a theoretical image that will not manifest until the software confirms this (and, hopefully, at that).
As analogy, take traveling: you have two distinct ways to take money. Either a debit/credit card or travelers cheques. Now the Travelers Cheques are: cumbersome, lower exchange rate, lines to wait in, etc, BUT...their denomination is readily ascertainable and if lost, can be replaced MUCH more readily than a card can (usually, as AMEX might have immediate replacement, I do not know). The fact remains is this: do you want convenience over avoidance of disaster? I like the more conservative approach: I do not wish to be stranded, so travelers cheques seem to be more in line with reality, cumbersome as they are. - David Lyga
Paul..you have covered most of the reasons I came back to film.I reacquired a Linhof 617s..a Mamiya 6 someday soon..and a little Olympus Trip 35..and shoot film with intention knowing as I shoot that I am making a physical photograph..and not simply a theoretical file.
And those nig chromes on the light table.
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There are practical reasons to use film as well.
I shot some digital photos this past weekend for our Christmas card. It was a contrasty scene, but nothing out of the ordinary. My fair-skinned daughter's face was completely blown out and the images were unusable. I was using my Canon 5Dii, which is a very nice camera. I guarantee had I been using my EOS 3 and Portra film, they would have come out just fine. Yes, I could have probably bracketed the scene and shot in RAW and used Photoshop and digital would have gotten the job done. Lesson learned -> next time plan ahead and shoot a roll of film.
David, I really like your analogy. It is similar to why my next car will likely have a distributor - it is more robust and tangible.
I started my quest with photography and film at the same time earlier this year with a $6 Konica Autoreflex T3 full mechanical 35mm. Picked it up at the second hand store because I like peculiar obsolete stuff in general (think open reel tape decks, record players, 70's stuff) and the sweet sound of the shutter meant that I had to own it.
Found out a couple of days later that film apparently still is wide available and has many fans online; why not try to shoot a roll? Did it once and decided to bring it with me on summer holiday through Europe. Great colours, I especially like the Fujicolor C200 for the saturated greens and Agfacolor Vista 400 for saturated red/orange hues, just much more interesting and exciting to use film in general. Gonna have a go at slide film when spring arrives.
Let me add my thoughts to some very good ideas already mentioned. It slows me down. It makes me think about what I'm doing. It improves my photography. No chimping here. It creates anticipation waiting for the developing negatives and chromes to come back from the processor. (I don't have nor want a darkroom. There's no space anyway). It hasn't gotten boring. It's nice to handle and use the old MF equipment.
When you finally scan it and post it on line or print it (rarely right now), you have a feeling of accomplishment. Here's one I just posted. It took over a month from the time I shot it until now. Film teaches patience. http://www.flickr.com/photos/alanklein2000/11021823226/
And, Truzi, it will probably be why my next car will be continued use of public transport! - David Lyga
Originally Posted by Truzi
There's no reason that should have happened with a digital camera, you shouldn't blame the digital for your own failures of exposure when you can look right at the back(not that you need to, but you have that option if you're unsure if the exposure and you're not using a separate meter), I own the same camera and you have to try really hard to blow stuff out on that thing. I agree film has a little more play in c-41 or B&W film, but you blowing out your daughters face isn't the digital camera, that's your ability to properly use it.
Originally Posted by Hatchetman
Sorry if that sounds harsh, I'm not defending digital, I love film, and shoot more film than digital, I just didn't like that example because it's a false example IMO.
I knew someone would come to the defense of digital! I didn't even look at viewfinder or histogram. I assumed people used digital b/c its so easy to use! Point and shoot, right? Nope. If I wanted to get all Ansel Adams and spotmeter crap and average out exposures and calculate zones, I would have brought out the 4x5. But it was like 12 degrees, the wind was blowing, kids had taken their coats off, dog was feisty.
I would have had a better chance with one of those new Ilford disposables!