Attempting a change in workflow back to using film
Hello everybody - new guy here.
I apologize if any of you have asked this question before but I've done a search and nothing came up pertaining to what I'm about to ask, so I'll give it a go here. Honest, I am not bringing on a "digital vs. film" discussion...
I cut my teeth shooting 35mm and taking my film to a lab. In the last 10 years, a majority of my work has been with digital. I have a couple of school clients where it's easy to come in and shoot their groups, and then do individuals, and I can bang those out pretty quickly in the digital realm. In fact, what I do is shoot it digitally, then edit a little, and then take the files to a Sam's Club for the printing of the packages. Slick and cheap. I like Sam's doing the printing of those projects.
As an epiphany, a couple of summers ago I traveled to Yosemite with a 30 year old Nikon F2 and a 50mm lens with some cheap Fuji Superia 100 color film. Took the rolls to Sam's Club and got back CD's and negatives. Just last week I took two of those images and in Photoshop, re-sized them to 8x12 (did no tweaking in PS, mind you) and had Sam's print them up for me. I was stunned to say the least! The amount of detail was a shock to my more muted digital files.
Anyway, couple this with finding some Photo CD's I had made in 1999 having longevity issues, and I'm now thinking of the viability of going back to film as a primary way to work. I think it would be tough going back to digital for shooting individuals and groups at the local high school, it's so easy digitally, and I don't think you can tell that much difference in the portraits.
Obviously I would shoot 35mm C-41 so I'd have to go to a minilab. My lab of choice has been this Sam's Club because of the price and the relationship I've developed with those workers, but with the slow demise of film, I had heard rumor that some places don't even develop film anymore, and I fear these big box stores are next. Has anyone here found this to be true? I can order film all day long from places like Freestyle and B&H, but now I'm worried about finding an OK lab that could at least give me the negs and a CD for stuff like the high school shoots.
Everyone seems to say the same thing that there will always be a 35mm minilab somewhere, and that film is going through some kind of resurgence. True? I'm worried about images just disintergrating over time as they live on these archival CDs and DVDs (I've just lost two disks from age! And it wasn't even 10 years ago!) And we're not even talking about making sure you have a machine that can read them in 30 years' time.
So, the quality-longevity issue is one pushing me towards film again. Plus the fact that, my life was so much simpler when I just shot film. Imagine it: nothing to plug in. No real batteries to use. Just frame it up, get your exposure right and pull the trigger. My life for the last ten years has been all about upgrading computers, let alone cameras, carrying too much stuff around and for images that are a little less than what I saw with that 30 year old Nikon! (These days I've been using the old Nikon D1x's, Canon EOS-1D, among others) I want to keep using this hybrid method of shooting film, and getting a CD for the quick-portrait shoots (I'd like to avoid scanning too) - but I'm worried about the drying up of minilabs out there.
Anyone have a better take on what I'm describing? Thanks in advance for the plies!