Once people have made the investment in a DSLR they don't see any more any reason to use film. If you don't develop at home, film IS expensive and your wife will look at you very strangely if you spend money on a good DSLR and then bring film to a laboratory.
Sometimes when one tries to be evangelical the other side reacts in disbelief or in defense of his habit, a "who is right who is wrong" attitude.
I think the best suggestion to give, to all those people who say they have a nice film camera at home, is to sell it on eBay, craigslist, garage sale etc. "because there still is a number of people who would be interested in buying it". The question by the other person will then arise, why should people bother using a film camera? That's the moment to sing the Gospel, and talk about the very good highlight rendition, the clean shadow rendition, the nicety of having a solid peace of work in your hand, the pleasure of processing your film at home, which is not difficult at all, etc.".
At that point it's their question, it's an answer to their curiosity, so there's going to be less defensive attitude. It all should be said without the least antipathy for digital. Digital is very good for what it is good at. A proponent of film practice should never be an anti-digital zealot.
I'm not anti-digital, and I understand perfectly the reasons why it is mainstream. The thread is about why some people will tell you that they remember how much better film "was"--"those were the days" etc--but they are using digital anyway. There is a disconnect there.
I actually thought of a similar parallel. I've heard a lot of people wax nostalgic about old videogames, and how much better they were. They claim that their new wonder console just doesn't get played the way their old systems did, and they wish they could "go back" to the games of their youth, which were better (and I like some old videogames too). Then I ask them if their old system broke, or they can't find a cartridge, because some of the old videogame systems are not well supported anymore. "Oh no, all my old game gear works perfectly, it's in box around here somewhere...". It seems to be a similar phenomenon. Are they lying to themselves (hindsight bias) when they claim that they remember their old games with fondness, or is there some social pressure that keeps them from placing the Super Nintendo in the entertainment system alongside the Xbox 360?
First of all people usually imitate what people around them do so nowadays they tend to shoot digital without even knowing why just because everybody does.
Second, the cost of buying the film is something that people who are used to digital cannot explain. (The cost of developing too)
Third, having just 36 or 24 or 12 etc. photos per film seems so constraining for the digital shooter.
And fourth, what I think is the most important thing, a digital shooter cannot bear the thought that he/she will not know how the photo looks until the film is developed. He/she keeps wondering "what if... it's too dark/it's too bright /it's shaken /my eyes are closed?" and so on.
Therefore it takes someone who know what he 's doing to shoot film and keeping this in mind, I would say it is not embarrassing. Quite the opposite.
It's not a silly question. iPads, iPods, iPhones, etcetera create the "perfect" quality output for electronic media. DSLRs and film don't. DSLRs and even P&S digis are dinosaurs just as much as film cameras when you want to display on electronic devices.
The question becomes what's the intended use?
If it is simply to become part of the everyday chatter on Facebook or via e-mail then an iPhone is about as good as gets, period.
A buddy of mine shoots two formats that I know of, 8x10 and iPhone. He does great work on both.
I've actually considered taking a similar path, not quite there yet. Possibly selling off my cc-400 and 35mm gear, and keeping my RB kit plus maybe a 5x7 Rittreck for the artsy hang on the wall stuff then using my iPad for all the banal daily conversation stuff.
Heck this month I'm even turning the iPad into my phone via Skype and dumping my cell phone altogether.
Originally Posted by hpulley
Mark Barendt, Ignacio, CO
"We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin
BetterSense: I still own and play Dreamcast.. and emulator games.. some times I get around to installing Baldur's Gate II and Icewind Dale II for a bit of fun too!
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No, I am not embarrassed to shoot film, and I have others shooting it as well.
As for why I believe so many people shoot digital, I want you to think back to the 1970's 80's and 90's when one could walk into Kmart or Sears and pickup a nifty little point and shoot for about a half a days pay. People that were really into photography could go to the local camera store and get a "nice" camera for anywhere from a days pay to a months pay or more. If you went to a camera store to buy a camera especially if you were young they did not, in my experience, even try to help encourage your interest, it was a here's your film now get out and take that crappy camera with you attitude. If you want to see this today stop by a Ritz camera store and try to buy a roll of film and maybe a filter then ask about a film camera.
The next logical step for Kmart, Sears, now Walmart, and other retailers was to carry the popular point and shoots, guess what, they are all digital, that frees up retail floor space that had film and processing in it so it is a no brainier. Well, without access to film at the entry level there is less interest in film as a medium as the budding photographer matures. Not many camera stores have adjusted their attitude, the Independent stores caught on quick, but the chains still have not. If you go to a local camera shop you will find that some of them have a bunch of used film gear and are encouraging younger users to use film as a way to get DSLR results without the huge DSLR entry level price tag. The chain stores on the other hand will shove a crappy DSLR or higher end point and shoot onto a customers credit card and tell them that film is something that is going away and should not be used while they still process it and sell it, begrudgingly, but they still have it.
What are people to believe, they don't see film, they have their glances averted away from film, and have digital shoved in their face wherever they do their shopping. Lets face it if you want to shoot film these days you really have to work at it, while the attitude at the local camera store has changed, they are still the place to go for film, but average people still don't go there for cameras.
Just my thoughts.
"Would you like it if someone that painted in oils told you that you were not making portraits because you were using a camera?"
"Shouldn't it be more about the joy of producing and viewing the photo than what you paid for the camera?"
I took a few snaps of my father in law and his "war" buddies yesterday with a rangefinder.
One of the subjects handed me his card and asked me to e-mail him the photo ASAP.
He didn't notice the camera I was using was Korean war era.... assumed it was digital.
Plates, Roll film, The Box Brownie, 35mm film, Rangefinder, SLR, Advanced Photo System, Quicktime 150, the digital camera explosion. the phone, the compact and the dSLR cameras of today.
The march has always been towards ease of use, ease of manufacture and reduced consumer cost. The aim has always been to make it available to anyone without any specialised skill or knowledge. From this perspective digital photography is no different to the Kodak Box Brownie model which was of 'shoot it and we'll take care of the rest for you' kind.
Unless you are a serious hobbyist or an artist, to use film today is either quant or stupid*. It costs more and it's harder. Why on earth should anyone using photography on a day to day personal basis go back to film unless they are amongst the specialist groups mentioned? It's not about marketing and brainwashing.
*Talking as someone using film.
I worked at a Ritz/Wolf camera for about 6 years through college, etc. Even after getting a job at an ad agency, I kept the Ritz thing two weekends a month so I'd have access to the lab. I had a huge part in the Fuji Frontier system we had there and I knew personally that it was the best minilab anywhere near me. I can remember starting at Ritz in probably 2003 or so and getting anywhere from 40-100 rolls a day. By the time I left there 6 years later, we were lucky to do 40 rolls a week. People would come in and see me loading the machines and say things like, "You guys are STILL running that dinosaur!?" Unfortunately all the Ritz's near me shut down because they're stupid. But that's for another thread.
I don't think film is anything to be ashamed of. Just because you don't have a Canon 1Ds III with a 24L II on the front of it, doesn't mean you're a bad photographer. Unfortunately, a lot of clients want digital. It's the me me me, mine mine mine, now now now mentality we have. They don't want to wait. Nor do they care to incur the expense of the time and cost associated with film.
Think of it like this: You own a digital SLR with memory cards. Say you do a job for Magazine X shot on digital. You charge them $500. You go to the BMX park and rattle off 360 frames on your DSLR and end up with the 10 images for the story. Done. You've got $500 in your pocket and they have their images in 48 hours. You invoice and get paid. You've now spent a total of 12 hours on this project, earning you somewhere in the vicinity of $42 per hour. Now, Magazine Y asks you to shoot something for them on FILM. They pay you $500. You shoot 10 rolls of Portra 400 at $5 per roll. Then you take them to a lab and have them developed only because you have an awesome scanner at home. That's another $30 for developing. You scan them over the next 2 days. Edit the images, taking extra care to remove all those dust particles, etc. They have their 10 images in hand within 96 hours because it took a little longer than expected at the lab and for scanning. Now, you've spent 24 hours total on this job. You get $500, then take away the $50 for film and the $30 for developing. You're down to $420. Divide that by your 24 hours (double what the digital workflow took you) and you're in it for $17.50 an hour. Not a bad payday, but not $42 per hour.
The majority of clients wont want film. Some will. I had a wedding a few years back and the girl bought me 20 rolls of black and white film and wanted it shot on that. No digital at all. That's rare.
On the flip side, though you could say that from a fine-art standpoint, film and digital are just different mediums the way acrylic and oil are different mediums and that it's about the photographer and the light and the subject.
Hell, I don't know. I just know that when I was 18 and working at Ritz camera, I developed thousands of rolls of film. In my early-mid twenties when I left, I was lucky to see 5 rolls a day.
Don't ever be embarrassed by what you shoot. Embrace what you have at your disposal and make the most of it. No one who is truly a good person will make fun of you for shooting film. And if someone does, snap a photo of them and make a nice dartboard out of it. I'm sure you can get one from one of those photo gift websites somewhere.
Ultimately, Photography is subversive, not when it frightens, repels, or even stigmatizes, but when it is pensive, when it thinks. --from Camera Lucida, Roland Barthes
Cameras: Canon 5D2 | Ricoh GRD III | Fuji Klasse