I know that you are using a tripod. Last year, when the Occupy fill-in-the-blank stuff was popular, I photographed a meeting with a Pentax 645 and Delta 3200. I went wide open with f/2.8, and metered manually. My exposure was 1/2 second, and I had to wait until people weren't moving so much. Otherwise limbs and heads disappeared.
Originally Posted by RattyMouse
Anyways, set your camera to M for manual, set the lens for wide, and set everything manually. Now you are set to have fun!
Ratty, I grew up shooting B&W film at a time when color was too expensive (for me or my friends). (I don't want to be specific about time frames, but it was way before the C-41 process.) Shortly after C-41, 6-hour mini-labs came out, soon followed by 1-hour. When these 1-hour places starting doing half-price processing, color suddenly became very affordable. As I recall, those prices, in ~1985 dollars, were about the same as you are paying in 2012 dollars. Anyway, to me, these prices are still a pretty good deal.
I would ask, "What do you have more of, time or money?" If the answer is time, my own tendency would be to set up to print B&W, and leave the color work for digital. (I don't suggest to process and print your own color, because the learning curve is higher, and chemicals are more elaborate (harder to get). Alternatively, if you DON'T want to learn to process, perhaps you can use some of that spare time doing photo work on the side for $$, using that to subsidize your own photo hobby. I don't know if you can write, or where you are originally from, but perhaps your home-town newspaper would be interested in periodic human-interest photo-stories from you, contrasting your life in Shanghai to your hometown?
I'm going through a similar philosophical dilemma myself, although not quite for the same reasons. I'm single, I don't have any family around me, and I live in a boring kind of place. My photographic opportunities are limited -- most of what I do is travel-related, so probably at best I shoot about 100 rolls a year, mostly black and white (80%). But...I do like colour, and even though I can get same day developing (within a couple of hours) for slide film, recently it's been coming back not so clean. Plus, most of what I really like to shoot in colour is in low light, and I'm now at the point where I've realized there are very little film options left for me for good quality high speed colour films.
So...really the best option is to get a good DSLR to handle that kind of work, but I'm reluctant to spend thousands of dollars on another camera and most likely upgraded software and hardware...just to be able to take a specific kind of photo. And since I regularly lug around 2 or 3 cameras, the idea of adding another just for colour would probably lead me to using the only digital option...which I don't want to do. I like film. I like the process. I like working in the darkroom -- it's not something I want to give up, and I'd like to do it for as long as films and papers remain viable options. I would also like to go a more hybrid route (with digital negs) -- I think that would open up possibilities, but then it's the problem of getting a printer, inks, etc. I move around a lot (3 countries in 5 years, 3 moves within one country and two in another) so it's not practical for me to have a lot of gear that people who are more settled can have.
I've never been anti-digital, just pro-film, but now that the digital option is looming as the most probably future outcome for what I want to achieve, I'm having a bit of an existential crisis about it.
My favorite thing is to go where I've never been. D. Arbus
fwiw, i left the color to my wife who shoots digi, i 'fill in' with my film camera(s), almost always sporting b/w. i find my b/w have a bit of soul that her color often miss. i print em myself and find it a joy...as does my wife/kids.
the cost of home processing/printing b/w is not a whole lot....
keep it up..you will find your ballance...
Originally Posted by mooseontheloose
it says here that you live in Japan. Your photographic opps are limited? NO way! Japan is a wonderful country. I'd burn through enormous amounts of film if I lived there. I love Japan!
Thanks for your post!
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I think I'm going to mess around with some color slide film, but after that, probably shoot strictly b & w film. Without optical prints, I dont see much point to color film.
Originally Posted by zsas
It's interesting, to think of film as long lasting. In my family, growing up, nobody owned a decent camera. Not even my father, whose photographic interest sparked my interest, post-mortem. He died when I was five.
I recall a photo that stayed on my mother's nightstand until she died, in 2002. It was a photo of my dad, my mom, and me as an infant. It was B&W and hand colored, because nobody could afford real color in 1962, but over the years that photo faded and faded. When we went to clear out my mom's house after she died, nobody wanted that photo. It was that badly faded. And of course, the studio was long gone, the negative thrown in the trash no doubt.
I took as many photos as I could in the 70's, 80's, but the cheaper lab processing I sometimes used resulted in bad prints and bad negatives. When I could afford it I went with the lab's premium service, and many of those prints and negatives are with me to this day, but I have lots of garbage prints and faded negatives.
I wonder, if, just a bit, the fading of these low-cost (and maybe cheaply and improperly fixed?) photos people used to hold dear helped spark the near-hatred of film-based imaging that lead to the digital revolution.
In life you only get one great dog, one great car, and one great woman. Pet the dog. Drive the car. Make love to the woman. Don't mix them up.
Originally Posted by Photo Engineer
This is 110% truth
Ahahaha no. You're effectively paying $3/roll for scanning since the B&W chemistry would cost you under 50c. You can get a mid-range flatbed (~1200dpi optical resolution, enough for an 8x10" print from medium format) for about $180, which is 60 rolls of lab scans and that's only 10 weeks at your current burn rate.
Originally Posted by RattyMouse
If you value your time (and at 6 rolls/week this might be important) then scanning yourself can be a big time-sink but the results are generally going to be much better than what the $3.50 lab gives you. And you don't need to scan every damn frame, just the good ones - same as you wouldn't print every frame. If you really want someone to do the labour for you, I'd be surprised if you can't find a lab to do bulk scanning, say 20+ rolls in a batch.
The next step on the slippery-slope is to pick up a free enlarger and do real printing. It's a huge time-sink but you can get razor-sharp 16x20" prints from MF Acros for about $5/sheet - just make sure you by the same paper in each size so you can setup your prints at small/cheap sizes then just scale the exposure accordingly to make a big print. Pretty sure you aren't gonna see 16x20" digital prints from any lab or inkjet for $5.
If the running costs are too high, then think before pushing the button. Ask yourself "am I honestly happy to spend an hour in the dark putting this image onto paper?". If not, move on and see your standards climb.
Originally Posted by RattyMouse
You completely misread what I was talking about. I was using the child as a metaphor for your use of film. Sure, shooting film has some challenges, just as raising a child does. But you don't think about trading in your child because they MIGHT need to see the orthodontist at age fourteen. You are having existential worries about a possible hypothetical future, and allowing that to cloud your enjoyment of what you're doing. You should view your photography the way you view your children - it's an investment that pays you back in ways you can never account for with money.
IF for some strange reason I were to wake up tomorrow and be told that all film production had ceased, and all photo chemistry were now no longer available, I would persist with digital photography, and enjoy it for the benefits it does bring. But until then, I'll persist with film as my first love in photography, and work with it. Sure, it's not CHEAP, not as cheap as it used to be, but then everything has gone up in price too. A roll of film (and processing) is cheaper than a movie ticket, and the images mean more to me. It also gets me out of the house, walking around and exercising while I'm looking for images. Which is definitely something I need more of. I could go on and on, but I hope you get the idea.