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  1. #1

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    The Future of Film Photography

    OK, Here goes. This is not a debate as to which medium is best. It is simply a thread to establish where the future of film photography lies. I am a mature student at NESCOT, near Epsom in Surrey, coming to the end of a foundation degree in photography and for my extended study essay, I have decided to investigate what the future of film photography holds in the 21st century digital age, so any thoughts and opinions will be very gratefully received.

    For your information, I very much prefer film photography and shoot with a Mamiya 7 and Hasselblad XPan, as well as a Shen Hao 54 camera. Although it was digital that re-ignited my passion in photography it is film that really inspires me, so much so that I have sold pretty much all of my digital gear except my Panasonic GF-1. I also work for a Canon Pro dealer and Phase One retailer, and even being surrounded by this technology I really feel most comfortable with a film camera as my companion!

    Please let me know your thoughts on the destiny of film photography. For example, is it worth the investment of perhaps several hundreds, even thousands, of pounds in film equipment? Are there future advances to be made in film emulsions and papers? Is film photography still a viable proposition in the commercial arena? Which medium do you prefer (film or digital, and why?)? Are there more advances to be made in scanning and/or printing?

    I look forward to your replies.

    Regards

    Ian

  2. #2
    DanielStone's Avatar
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    Ian,

    film still has some uses in the advertising/commercial arena. What I've found from working here in LA as an assistant, in addition to being a current college student, film is slipping. Unfortunately, but true.

    what I've found though, is that film seems to get the most use on editorial projects, or personal work. Being that budgets are getting smaller and smaller by day, clients generally aren't: 1. needing the quality of film, and 2. need/want results faster than film can provide.

    working with DSLR's has become the norm, even for high-end work. Also, the extra time and worry of flying with film(x-rays) is "nil" with digital, since there isn't anything to get damaged. But there are some holdouts, though they are rare, who prefer to shoot on film(when they can). These people are generally the "old timers" who have been shooting for years, and have the know-how, let alone the portfolio, and the TRUST of their clients, to give the client what they want.

    up and comers, like you and me(I'm a photo major), are having a harder time proving that film is still a viable alternative to digital. Some AD's specifically ask for film on some jobs, but now, that's quite rare.

    not to mention the reduction in the amount of quality labs that can process/proof film these days, even in a grand ol' place like LA.

    I'll still continue to shoot film when I can, but given the option of getting a job(and having to shoot digital due to time), I'll shoot digi, just to put money in the bank(and to buy more film )

    shoot it while you can

    -Dan

  3. #3

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    Seems to me that a trip to the library is in order. You will get many many answers here and if I were your professor I would discount everyone of them because there is no valid basis to back up the claims, nor is there a way to prove the validity of the source. Looking at company sales reports and reporting on the actual sales of film and film equipment for stores in your area would make a lot more sense than asking around here

    If you are just looking for validation of your film habit this is definately the place to get it. Spending lots of money on film and film equipment is what we do, and we like it.
    Technological society has succeeded in multiplying the opportunities for pleasure, but it has great difficulty in generating joy. Pope Paul VI

    So, I think the "greats" were true to their visions, once their visions no longer sucked. Ralph Barker 12/2004

  4. #4
    markbarendt's Avatar
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    Welcome,

    Quote Originally Posted by mamiya7 View Post
    it is film that really inspires me
    That Ian is all that matters.

    Quote Originally Posted by mamiya7 View Post
    is it worth the investment ... ?
    IMO yes.

    Quote Originally Posted by mamiya7 View Post
    Are there future advances to be made in film emulsions and papers?
    IMO "who cares". Technical advancements don't make good art, people do.

    Quote Originally Posted by mamiya7 View Post
    Is film photography still a viable proposition in the commercial arena?
    Sure, but this depends on you defining your workflow. The market generally buys the end product, not the manufacturing process.

    Quote Originally Posted by mamiya7 View Post
    Which medium do you prefer (film or digital, and why?)? Are there more advances to be made in scanning
    Just FYI, digital questions are off topic here at APUG please try these over at http://www.hybridphoto.com/forums/home.php .
    Mark Barendt, Ignacio, CO

    "We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin

  5. #5
    tiberiustibz's Avatar
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    Is it going to be popular ever again to the masses? No. It will fall into its niche as an alternative medium. I will continue to use it. I know a number of other people will continue to use it. It will become more specialized in its use and people will use it to perfect a certain look or when super high resolution is required.

    I personally prefer film because the cost of every shot causes me to shoot less than I did when I used the shotgun digital method. Would you rather look at 36 pictures or 600?

    Optical printing is as good as it's going to get (which is very, very good.) Colors look colorful and gloss looks glossy.
    --Nicholas Andre

  6. #6

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    Leaf through a copy of Outdoor Photography. At least 50% of the pictures were shot on Velvia 50.

    I don't have the data off hand, but a search through Lexis-Nexis or SEC filings would easily get the data: After a decade or so of declining film sales and cutting film lines, sales volumes and revenues have plateaued and in some cases risen from their lows.

  7. #7

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    I do not earn my living with photography but I have been active in "fine art" photography for over thirty years and believe there is a place for both film and digital media. Personally, I prefer film which to me permits both wet and dry opportunities for printing as well alternative process such as pt/pd, etc. I can scan negatives. Digital capture and printing provide certain conveniences that film doesn't. My children just gave me a wonderful DSLR and I look forward to incorporating that into my shooting as well. Since I use medium and large format, I suppose I will use the digital when the other is not convenient. I am confident there is a place for both -- some painters use acrylics and some water color and some both. Film won't disappear obviously new technology will be in digital and there will be fewer film choices but there has been a resurgence in large format and at least for now the medium and large format digital equipment is very expensive and out of the price range for most who don't need it for their occupation.

  8. #8
    Mainecoonmaniac's Avatar
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    My view on the future of film

    Hi Ian,
    I think film will be around for a while. The use of film cameras have definitely dropped of due to digital cameras. I think film will be mostly used by art photographers and the rest of the remaining photographers will shoot digital. I work at the art department at the University of California, Davis that still teaches with film cameras. I met some art students that never touched a film camera or even used film until they took a photography course here at UCD. I think a younger generation of photographers that shoot with film will have a greater appreciation for analog photography. I think commercial work won't use much digital because the the work for the most part is disposable photography. If you have plans to do fine art, invest in some film gear. A lot of people are disposing their film cameras so they could buy digital camera gear. I remember when I was in photo school 20 years ago and all the gear that could be had inexpensively today, cost a kings ransom. Besides, film gear never goes obsolete like digital cameras. Good luck.

  9. #9
    jamesgignac's Avatar
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    Ian,
    I'm just starting out my career in photography (event shots, portraits, advertising, photojournalism) and I'm going at it with film. For me it takes the cake and I couldn't see myself doing the work without it. I do, however, have a serious digital background and a lot of my end-products are digital (website content, etc.) - for me it's the love of the equipment which dramatically increases the overall enjoyment that I get out of my work - and believe me it's very easy to become good enough to leave nothing to chance in terms of your results. I just started back into film about a year and a half ago and am not looking back. I will most likely end up shooting digital more in the future but thankfully several of my cameras can take lovely digital backs.

    At this point the quality to cost ratio is on the side of film for me and I will wait until I can afford a 30+ Mp digital back.

    I've thought a lot about where film is going as well before I decided to venture into it - now I just hope I can keep my technique up and don't really have the time to worry about where the markets are headed - I know the quality of my work and to worry about becoming 'obsolete' in someone else's eyes is just a silly waste of time.
    -dereck|james|gignac
    dereckjamesgignac.com

  10. #10

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    The future of film-

    What is the future of ....Ham Radio????

    new licenses are up 60% since "81---who knew?





    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/s...86&ft=1&f=1019

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