Originally Posted by jnanian
Mark Barendt, Beaverton, OR
"We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin
I use film and digital, roughly 60/40. Until relatively recent times 35mm film had objectively superior image quality, being equivalent to somewhere between 6 and 22 megapixels, depending on who you asked, and what lens, film and developer was used. You could have bypassed the first decade of digital photography (as I did) and missed nothing in visual progress. All digital cameras, and professional digital cameras in particular, showed massive depreciation, making digital photography very expensive year on year.
Subjectively, digital photography requires significant intervention (IMHO) to provide an aesthetically pleasing image. In a blind test my wife, who is a visual artist but not a photographer, picked film images as the ones which most pleased her, with photographs being taken on a mix of film and digital formats. Film definitely has something, though what that thing is is hard to quantify. To achieve it in digital takes much more effort, if it can be gained at all. I have serious doubts about whether digital formats are as stable as people hope, and question whether files and access to them will exist in a hundred years time. Hard copy prints spread the technological base, but few digital photographers seem to make prints habitually as film photographers once did.
Things I like about digital? The latest cameras are capable of squaring the exposure circle, providing low noise, fast shutter speeds and depth of field at high ISOs, in a way film cameras simply can't. A 400 ASA colour film is the fastest commonly available, and the highest speed with moderate grain, whereas new digital cameras are barely out their base ISO at 400. That's a real advantage for street photographers seeking Dof and freezing action under mixed lighting. Research into film science stopped early in the new millennium, and shows no sign of returning - what we have now is all there is likely to be, technologically speaking - while digital research moves on apace. Digital moving images are superb compared to what was available at a reasonable price with film.
A mixed bag of benefits and downsides.
Essentially most of the world of photographers were and still are "press a button" enthusiasts. The camera phone does instantly what George Eastman did when he said "you press the shutter we do the rest.
In the "old days" however everyone did "it" the same way whether it was Eastman's factories or the home enthusiast's darkroom so we had a guaranteed supply. Now we have two systems with no common materials and the "snappers" instead of helping the enthusiasts without meaning to, are hindering the enthusiasts, again without meaning to, by making the supply of our materials more expensive and less certain purely on the basis of what sells creates supply and what doesn't creates high prices and eventually no supply.
No-one "on the other side" is asking me to be defensive about my kind of photography from my experience. It is just that the other kind of photography is easier, is part of other equipment that few seem to be able to do without and essentially my kind of photography just isn't relevant to their lives
Whenever I show a 5x7 or 8x10 darkroom print to those who simply "share" pictures on a VDU or have the occasional print made, they are happy to look at my prints, never say "why do you bother with out-dated technology?" and generally appreciate the prints but equally they never say "Wow, how do I get into this kind of photography?"
The sad truth is that what most of us do on APUG isn't relevant enough to most people's lives to actually excite any real emotion in them.
I wander amongst a race whose diet is totally different from mine and who will without malice see me starve because it is none of their business if my food source is disappearing.
I don't find that especially sad; it is just a fact.
Originally Posted by pentaxuser
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I use digital, also thanks to digital, I can afford cameras which i never could before. Even if film is more expensive...
For me in the end it is about good photographs and for some reason I can get better ones on film than digital. No matter how many megapixels there are...
I never get defensive about film. I use what I want, when I want, no apologies to anyone.
The only thing I have done is snicker a bit when a coworker explained to me that the camera was dead, because the cell phone could take just as good a picture as any camera.
If you don't want to see me use film, don't look.
There is nothing to be defensive about. Digital has obviously developed into a fantastic technology. Look at the new Nikon D800.
I am shooting film because I like it. It is fun and gives a great look. When I get the time I will definitely go MF and do wet printing, because thst is wh a t it is all about.
I do not understand the complaint about availability of gear and materials. There have never been a better line of films available. Kodak has a great offer of both b/w and negative color film. What can beat TMax, Tri-X, Portra and Ektar? Ilford are also offering top of the line film: Pan-F, FP-4, HP-5, Delta etc. Fuji Velvia. ADOX.
There's plenty of interesting chemistry.
Loads of fantastic print papers.
Mountains of used gear on Ebay.
Today is the film photographer's heaven!
I would seriously question that. With the possible exception of Kodak Portra 400, the loss of film products far outweighs the gains. Slide films, true infra red, slow film, technical film, are all down to bare bones, with regular abandonment of existing materials. Print products show even more extinctions, notably the entire Agfa line and Cibachrome. All current film is old technology, something analogue photographers currently celebrate but will eventually pale in comparison to digital. Who wouldn't like a nice, fine-grained 1600 ASA film with good colour saturation? Or beautiful 25 ASA black and white that will outshine the old Agfapan? Without research - and there is none because there's no commercial motivation for it - there will be no new films, and we'll be using c20th technology for ever.
Originally Posted by jonasfj
The D800 is now officially old . The D810 has been announced, knocking probably 20% off the D800's value straight away. But I agree, if film goes away, we'll still be able to do photography, just not in all the ways we liked and were used to. The world would become a poorer place, in the same way that it does when a species of frog goes extinct in Papua New Guinea or a flower in Zimbabwe. Barely noticeable in the collective conscience, but it would matter to us who care and know better.
Originally Posted by jonasfj
The issue is the recent demise of great films like Reala, Provia 400X, Astia, Plus X, Ektachrome, true IR films. Add to that unavailability of many extant films in some formats, and not everyone is as happy as you seem to be. I am jittery about slide film in general, but the rest does not bother me that badly yet. Still, I can understand the yearning for 110 and 126 films, and Neopan 400 in 120 and sheet sizes, etc.
Originally Posted by jonasfj
Also, when last did you have a medium format camera serviced? If you need Mamiya/Bronica/Contax/Pentax parts, you are probably stuffed. There are a few repairsmen that still have parts stashed here and there, but no new parts are entering the world, and when those finally run out, that's the end of that I'm afraid. Well, we'll still be shooting pinholes on 4x5 film, I suppose.